Following a renovation of their old kitchen and bathroom, the owners of a small bungalow home in Huntsville, Alabama, wanted a new exterior to match the quality of their interior. Through some family friends they discovered CrossTek Construction, a local contractor who offers kitchen and bath remodeling, complete and repair roofing, painting, and landscaping services, among others.

“It was white, vinyl siding with dirt stains all over the sides of it from all the rains,” recalls Clark Crosson, founder and owner/estimator. “The house had no overhang on the sides and the front; it was literally the roof went straight to the edge. There wasn’t any soffit or fascia. The rain just ran straight down each side, and the whole house just looked kind of stained and dirty, to be honest.”

The company added a large front porch and a new dormer window above to give the home some much-needed charm. On its sides, CrossTek installed soffits to provide depth and create a proper overhang for new roofing and windows. Fiber cement replaced the old vinyl siding, and two gas lanterns on the front porch serve as the finishing touch to help welcome both family and friends.

Ideal Timing

Early on the clients presented the company with a picture of little bungalow house with a dormer as a template for what they desired. CrossTek worked exclusively from the photo, so the finished product looked almost exactly like the picture, Crosson says. About a third of his customers have a good idea of what they are seeking in their project, which makes the design phase much easier.

“I enjoy helping people figure out their designs too,” he explains. “I enjoy when they don’t have a full concept that I can help give my input. But for this one, she had her color, [and] she had that picture. We literally just mimicked that picture, tweaking it a bit to the actual size of their house.”

For their new siding the owners wanted a smooth look instead of a wood texture appearance and chose an 8-inch lap product from James Hardie. They originally intended to build only the front porch, but with framers already on site, Crosson suggested they also bump out soffits on the side of the home. Because the company was replacing the roof as well, the timing proved to be ideal.

“The roof was pretty old and since we were tearing out so much of it, [the clients] wanted to go ahead and just make it all brand new,” Crosson says. “We were cutting out a huge portion of the front. We did a metal treatment over that little front dormer but went ahead and shingled the rest of [the residence] since we had to do new shingles over the addition and those soffits anyways.”

Further Forward

Part of the job scope involved enlarging a small storage room and turning it into a third bedroom with a new, full bathroom off the back. “We had to go to zoning to make sure because it was on the left side of the house,” Crosson explains. “We couldn’t move any further forward, but we did have enough room to go to the left, [although] that was also where the driveway was established.

“We took as much space as we could to make a decent-size room without blocking the driveway and keeping the outside functional. The storage room was just too small for a full-size bedroom.”

The clients signed a separate contract with a window company to install new windows during the project, Crosson adds. He did not inspect the windows for the two existing bedrooms before they were installed, however, and doubted they met egress requirements after seeing them for the first time. The homeowners called the window company, and it had to send people back to the jobsite.

“So, we ran into an issue there and even though it wasn’t our fault, it kind of became our problem that I had to deal with on the job,” Crosson says. “They ended up having to replace the two new bedroom windows with [casement windows] in order for them to meet the egress requirements.”

Proper Support

Built in the 1950s, the home used some older construction methods, including 2×4 rafters above the main living room. Part of the structure was also braced off the chimney, so tying in the new dormer became the biggest challenge of the project. CrossTek redesigned the dormer to fit over the interior walls to provide proper support since 2×10 rafters were unable to fit, Crosson notes.

“The homeowners wanted to floor that dormer for some storage space,” he says. “We ended up flooring a portion of it, although we couldn’t get enough structural support. They wanted to make it a room in the future, but we had to scrap that—we just couldn’t get enough support up there.”

Even though the dormer contains only unfinished attic space, the structure gave the house a vital update and increased its overall curb appeal. “It’s an old house; that’s pretty much all you’ve got to work with,” Crosson adds. “We basically went up there and had to move [the dormer] a slight bit to line up with the walls below to give support for the edges of the dormer and on the sides.

”Each morning he met with the framer, who is a friend, to ensure everyone was on the same page about the framing. “[I wanted to] make sure No. 1, it was going to meet code, and No. 2, it would meet my standards,” Crosson says. “Once we were good to go, they would proceed. Pretty much all the framing occurred in the first two weeks, then we got everything inspected and moved on.”

Usable Space

CrossTek tried a new gas vendor for the gas lanterns on the front porch, but it took weeks for the gas inspector to come out, he notes. Otherwise, besides the delay on windows that satisfy egress, the project went smoothly, and the clients have expressed their delight with the finished product.

“They have two kids, so the kids have their own bath now,” Crosson says. “Each of the kids gets their own room too because the parents moved over [to the expanded primary suite], plus it is on the other side of the house; it gives them a little more privacy. They love their front porch, which affords them a little more usable space. They’re out there on that front porch all the time now.” QR

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