Duluth Home Improvement

So with spring right around the corner (let’s pretend, shall we?) it’s time to start planning all of those lovely projects that are part of the joys of being a home owner.  This year, our house is definitely going to need to be repainted, but because of the way we’re nestled into the hillside, this is not a project we want to attempt on our own. We’re dreading spending the money, but it must be done!

Please help ease our anxiety by sharing your recommendations for reputable house painters.  Anyone know how much one might generally expect to pay for a typical two-story home on the hill to be scraped/washed and painted?

While we’re at it, we plan on pricing out maintenance-free siding.  Recommendations for type of siding and contractors are also appreciated!

And just because we’re not feeling poor enough yet, also on our wish list are some new windows.  What brands are the best?  Who should we hire to install them?   Just to cover all of our bases, if you know a good plumber, now is the time to sing their praises!

Is that a long enough list?  Share your horror stories and happy endings here!



about 13 years ago

I have a single story one car garage (maybe 12 X 18?) and College Pro quoted me $6000 for scrape, prime and paint. Oh yeah, I was providing the paint.


about 13 years ago

My only comment would be that you should not, under any circumstances, hire college pro.  They do a sloppy job and leave things a mess.  Based on the quote above, you might be better off going with vinyl.  We went to vinyl a couple years ago, and it was about $7k for our 1.5 story house.  The trick on vinyl is finding the right contractor - some will dramatically overcharge.  It's extremely easy work, in some ways.


about 13 years ago

Windows - we went with Home Depot because the price was about the same as others but we got a lifetime warranty on the windows (that passes to the next owner).  A local guy was the installer so although we went big box, at least part of the cost was locally spent.

Cory Fechner

about 13 years ago

I highly recommend J.A. Houle Painters.

They do very good work!


about 13 years ago

Does Bill Meier still do this type of thing? 

Somebody put up his contact if he does.


about 13 years ago

Maintenance free siding: Go with steel or Aluminum. Vinyl is crap and the manufacturing process poisons people. Steel and Aluminum are recyclable at the end of their use. Vinyl goes to the landfill. Watch the movie "Blue Vinyl" if you are on the fence. If you are residing, add at least 1" of rigid foam to the building (1-1/2" to 2" is all the better, but can create some siding installation complications).

Windows: Anderson "Renewal" allows replacement of sash only, but you get what you pay for (they are inexpensive, and perform alright). Total window replacement, frame and all? Stay away from all vinyl windows entirely (vinyl clad wood is acceptable though). As for the reasons above, plus to emphasize the issue, vinyl windows are crap. Aluminum clad wood is better (Marvin, Pella, Loewen). Fiberglass is best, no contest (Duxton, Thermotech Fiberglass). Triple pane glass is worth the money in our climate (you WILL get condensation on double pane units). That narrows the playing field significantly. Depends if you want to make it good, or just better.

Don't even get me started on the right and wrong ways to install them.

Document it all and go for the tax incentives. Windows and insulation are good for major incentives from the govm'nt these days. Might take a bit of the sting off.


Eric Creger

about 13 years ago

If you decide on the scrape, wash, paint, method
do the prep work before April 22 there are new laws going into effect that will raise that cost to about double or triple on homes built  before 1978.  It's all about lead abatement and the EPA.
  New I like the Hardy Board siding, paint it with a "Life Time" paint and your good for at least 20 years or when you get sick of the color.  Putting on the new siding also gets rid of your lead issues. I like Top Rung Painting 952-270-3885


about 13 years ago

Tim Gosline hands down. He did part of my house.


about 13 years ago

We had an addition put on by Walker Construction. They've also done smaller jobs for us, like installing doors and windows and putting up a fence. They are really great guys, scrupulously honest. 

[email protected]


about 13 years ago

You can also look into weatherization loans from AEOA, Neighborhood Housing Services, and the Duluth HRA.


about 13 years ago

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, they are really appreciated.  Keep them coming!  That's extra good info about the new lead laws; we'll have to look into that and take it into consideration.  

It's hard to judge how much we want to spend.  Right now, neither of the houses on either side of us are occupied.  One is being remodeled (yay!) albeit very slowly, and the other house is in foreclosure.  The foreclosure in pretty poor shape, and it remains to be seen who will buy it and what they will do with with the property.  We love our house, but don't imagine it will be our forever home.  How long we stay will be determined by how our family grows and what happens in the neighborhood.  We don't want to pour tens of thousands of dollars into our house if the place next door is going to be left to rot or taken over by slumlords.  It's a tough call, and we just hope it works out for the best. :)


about 13 years ago

Tim Gosline. You can get his phone number from the fine folks at Marshall Hardware, 525-3638.


about 13 years ago

I agree with Chris.  Tim Gosline is as honest as you can get.  
Have you considered Fiber Cement Board for siding?  Check out www.jameshardie.com.  Great product when installed properly, and it has a 30 year warranty on the paint.  It's also recyclable.

Marvin windows are made in MN, install fast, and all of their line qualifies for the tax credit.

Good luck with your projects!


about 12 years ago

As always, ask for previous customer references.

House Painter MN

about 12 years ago

I hire a handyman service for my home improvements.

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