Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GAF Announces Groundbreaking Lifetime Limited Warranty

(from a GAF press release)

WAYNE, NJ (1/2011) – GAF Materials Corporation, North America’s largest roofing and ventilation manufacturer, is announcing groundbreaking changes to its laminated shingle warranties. Effective January 1, 2011, every GAF laminated shingle, including all Timberline® shingles—the #1-selling shingles in North America—will be covered by a lifetime ltd. warranty when installed on single family residences (see ltd. warranty for complete coverage and restrictions). GAF will no longer offer any laminated shingles with just a 30-year or 40-year warranty, a first for any roofing manufacturer.

This revolutionary change has been made possible by GAF’s Advanced Protection technology, which was first introduced in 2007. This innovative shingle technology has resulted in shingles that offer improved performance, including superior durability and wind resistance. GAF is so confident in the performance of its Advanced Protection shingles that it has decided to make this unprecedented improvement in its warranties.

“As a company, we are committed to advanced quality, industry-leading expertise, and solutions that make our customers’ lives simple — which is what this warranty upgrade is all about,” stated Bob Tafaro, President and CEO of GAF. “Contractors will benefit from knowing that they can stand with confidence behind every installation of GAF laminated shingles. Homeowners will benefit from knowing that their installed shingles are warranted for a lifetime, adding significant value to their home.”

The whole article can be read at:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hardware Line Expansion

The Freeport community received bad news last month when word spread around town that the town's only hardware store would be closing its doors and going out of business. The next nearest hardware store would be eight miles away.

Tim, the owner and manager of Hennen Lumber, thought it would be a good idea to add some basic hardware items to our inventory to keep things convenient for the local citizens. That meant it was time to reorganize our retail sales area to make room for new products. That reorganization is almost completed.

Hennen Lumber has expanded its tool line slightly. We do not carry paints and stains, but we did expand the paint accessories area to contain a larger variety of brushes, rollers, and supplies. New items like batteries, trash bags, and flashlights can now be found, in addition to a small electrical area which will include fuses, outlets, and light bulbs.

We are moving slowly with this expanded hardware line. We do not have the space to carry everything a regular hardware store would carry so we are starting with some basics that we think the community would need.

Stop in for a visit, look around, and let us know what you think.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Market Prices

I received a letter today from a manufacturer of steel goods from which we buy products for polesheds and agricultural buildings. It stated that the cost of steel products would be rising next month on June 1st, by 20-35 percent, depending of the item. It blamed the rising prices on the costs of raw materials, energy, and transportation.

My first thought after reading this letter was, "Wow! A twenty percent increase in one shot." My second thought was, "Well, one more factor toward killing this economy." Add the rising prices of gas and food and we all ask, "When are things going to stop?"

But even with the rising prices of roofing materials and steel siding there is some good news to pass along. I recently needed to look up something in a ten year old estimate for a new house and discovered the current cost of lumber, drywall, and OSB sheathing is lower then it was back then.

You read that correctly. Today's prices on lumber and OSB are lower today then a decade ago. As I write this article, the price of a sheet of 1/2" OSB sheathing is a couple percent less then the price in 1998. The cost of 2x4's and 2x6's average out to be about fifteen percent lower today.

How long these lower prices will last is anyone's guess. With gas prices rising a couple times each week I would think the cost of lumber would also be rising. But then, the evening news anchormen keep talking about the housing market crisis so you know the demand for lumber and sheathing is down from a year ago.

What is the market going to be like in a month or year from now? I do not have a clue. And to tell the truth, I do not think the so-called economists know either.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Home Show

If you happen to be in central Minnesota on Saturday, February 3, then you are invited to stop by the "Home Show" held at Gerard's in Sauk Centre and visit us at our booth. The doors open at 9:00 am. The show will be open until 3:00 pm.

The Hennen Lumber booth will be displaying ThermoTech vinyl windows, GAF Timberline Prestique shingles, and Edco sidings. Hennen Lumber employees will be on hand to answer your building project questions.

We hope to see you there.

Friday, November 30, 2007

To Basement, or Not To Basement

Minnesota is well known for its brutally cold winters. Temperatures can easily fall to twenty degrees below zero, or more. Add in the wind chill and it could feel like fifty below. And for some reason, Minnesotans like to brag about it.

Cold temperatures will mean deep ground frost. That is the reason that codes in Minnesota state that footing depths must be 42" to 48" below finished grade throughout most of the state. You would not want frost to get below your footings and heave your building to a new elevation. Even a movement of a fraction of an inch can cause cracks in foundations and drywall. More movement could cause structural damage.

When you consider the frost footing depth, you begin to understand why so many homes and buildings in Minnesota have a basement. Just add another six or seven course of block and a floor system and you can gain another level of relative inexpensive living quarters or storage are. The basement offers room to expand with another bedroom, bathroom, or family room. A basement allows the furnace and other utilities to be off the ground floor, possibly allowing more area to add to bedrooms or living rooms. Of course, the drawback of a basement is that room must be found for a stairway.

During the last several years there has been a growing trend to build patio homes in the area. The patio home allows the ground floor to be nearly level with the finish grade and sidewalks, creating only one step or a small ramp to get into the house. This has been very popular with the growing senior population. Many of these homes also have in-floor heating which feels great on bare feet during those cold winter morning.

So, to basement or not to basement. That is one of the many questions you will need to answer before building your new house.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Choosing A Draftsman

Congratulations! You are planning to build a new home. You may have outgrown your present home, or you may be building the retirement house of your dreams. Whatever the reason you are building you will need to find a draftsman or architect to prepare your plans. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a draftsman.

1) Experience - Does your draftsman have the experience needed to draw the plans for your home? With today's computer programs nearly anyone can draw a floor plan. A draftsman needs to take the plans beyond a simple drawing. He, or she, needs to be able to prepare the plans needed to succor the building permits and include the information needed for all the contractors, from the framers to the millwork installers. You will need a floor plan of each level of the building, complete with all dimensions, notes, and details. You will need elevation drawings of all sides of the exterior of the building, and maybe even a few of the interior. You will also need wall sections and other structural details.

2) Structural Knowledge - Does your draftsman have an understanding of structural bearing and loading? Does he understand floor loading, or how your roof trusses will be supported down to the footings? Where will posts and bearing walls be needed? Over the years I have seen several plans drawn by someone who knew how to draw a floor plan, but obviously had not given the plan any consideration as to how the floor and roof loads were to be supported. It is tough to tell people that changes have to be made to the plan so that the roof will not fall in on them during the first snow storm.

3) Codes and Zoning - There are few things more frustrating for a homeowner then to have plans for a new house drawn and then find out it does not meet local building codes, or fit on your lot. A house designed for Florida will probably not meet building codes for Minnesota. Choose a draftsman that is familiar with local building codes and zoning ordinances, or at least willing to find out what they are and draw your plans according to them.

4) Listening Skills - I have lost track of how many times people have come to me because their previous draftsman would not listen to their ideas and needs. A draftsman should be designing the house to your specifications, not the way he wants it to be. Of course, structural considerations must be taking into account. You the homeowner will be living in the house, not the draftsman. The draftsman should also be able, and willing, to make suggestions to make your plan better. There needs to be good communication between the homeowner and the draftsman.

Lastly, do not be afraid to ask questions and for references if you happen to be working with someone new to you. A good draftsman or architect should be willing to give you several references.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Designing A House: The Lot

It is time to design your new home. The lot will be the first thing to consider. The lot size, easements, setbacks, slope and drainage are just a few things that may effect the placement and layout of the house and/or garage.

The size of the lot will be the first consideration. After all, you cannot place a wide rambler-style house on a narrow lot. Be sure to check over your plot plan for any easements. Check with your city, township, or county for setback requirements. Easements and setbacks will decrease the "usable area" of your lot.

How is the lot orientated. How will you get the most sunshine to warm the house in the winter? You may want to design the project with the garage located on the "cold side", usually the north or west side. This allows the garage to act as a barrier between the house and the cold Minnesota winter winds, thus helping to keep the house warmer.

Highways, roads, and alleys will need to be considered. You will want easy access to your garage or carport, but you may not want your living room window positioned to watch the traffic of the highway as it goes by. If you have an alleyway you will probably want you garage placed at the rear of the lot.

Is the lot fairly flat, or is there enough slope to have some basement windows located out of the ground, thereby making the lower level more usable. If there is enough slope you may be able to have a walk-out basement with a family room as part of your plan. If there is too much slope toward the front of the house you may end up with a steep driveway, or a tuck under garage may be a possibility.

How the the water drain from the lot? Hopefully, it does not pool where you plan to place your house. If it does you will need to have some landscaping added to the cost of the project. Do not redirect your drainage to your neighbor's lot unless you want to have a lawsuit to go with the new house.

Many cities will have ordinances which restrict how much of a lot may be used by buildings. Be sure that your buildings do not exceed this percentage or you may find yourself redesigning your project when it comes time to get your permits.

Of course, their may be other factors or restrictions in your city, township, or county that could effect your building plans. Do your homework early and you will avoid problems later.