|Since relocating from our Pennsylvania farm we have undertaken many projects
maintaining and enhancing our farm property here in Ridgeway, Ontario.
Our farm was once part of the famous Long Meadows Farm enterprise which still
exists today to a lesser extent just one quarter of a mile east of us. Our house
was built prior to 1850 with an addition in the post Civil War years. In the 1950's
the farm was separated from Long Meadows and was transformed into a modern
dairy farm which flourished until the early 1970's when it fell into dereliction.
During the 1980's the property was sold and the new owners raised and rebuilt
the house as new using salvageable materials and adding another addition. The
exterior of the house,except for th new addition, remains historically true with all
the original brickwork that was meticulously restored. The barn was also
refurbished and received a new roof, new foundation, siding repairs, and paint.
It is our goal to continue a progressive maintenance and renovation plan to
preserve and enhance this historical property that we have been blessed to own.
| 2013 - 2014 PROJECTS
The projects for 2013 include general grounds maintenance, repairing and maintaining the brick work on the house, replacing the
windows on the house, and replacing the roof on the house and garage.
Probably the most difficult part of proceeding is securing contractors who excel in their field of expertise and who personally take
pride in their work. In this day and age such contractors are few and far between. During our selection process many contractors
bid on our projects. Some contractors we asked not to submit a bid, but most were reputable and good at what they do, but we
were looking for he best.
Below is a collage of pictures of the work we had done and a review of the contractors performing that work.
| BRICK RESTORATION
On a Sunday drive a few months ago Janie and I stopped by the ruins of the old Decew House in Thorold, Ontario, the destination for the
famed Crown loyalist Laura Secord on her celebrated trek from Queenston over the rough terrain of the Niagara Escarpment in June of 1813
to warn the British military of an impending American attack during the War of 1812. We were very impressed by the restoration of the ruins
especially the care and attention to detail that was taken with the masonry work. I grew up in a 1730 circa stone farm house in Pennsylvania
and appreciate stone work by the early settler masons. When we were planning the restorative maintenance of the brick work on our home
we wanted the work done by a skilled mason who was experienced working on historical buildings.
Of all of the masonry contractors who submitted a bid, Bill Robins from Welland was our final selection and the only mason who met our
qualifications for the work to be done. On our first meeting I was delighted to know that Bill did the masonry work on the restoration of the
Decew House. He and his crew did a meticulous job repairing and restoring on our brick work on the chimney and walls.
Before purchasing our home it was quite evident that the roof on the house and garage was in great need of replacement. The asphalt
shingles were badly deteriorated with a leak on the front porch and eaves trough absent on the back porch and garage. Fortunately the
substrate on the roofs were still good for the most part and the existing eaves troughs were good.
We investigated the feasibility of metal roofing like the type we had on our Pennsylvania farm house but the cost was just outside of our
budget so we choose to use the difference in cost for conventional shingles on future maintenance and projects on the property. We
selected GAF 50 Year Timberline HD shingle in Slate Gray to best match the time period of our our house and its colours, brick, and siding
as well as providing maximum weather protection.
Roofing is my expertise so I wanted be certain the roofing contractor we hired would far surpass our expectations for the quality of work on
our home. More than eight roofing contractors, the good bad and the ugly, submitted bids and one walked off when we asked him not put his
ladder in the flower bid. After much deliberation we had to make a decision between contractors and bids but after Vince from the Welland
office of Precision Roofing came out fora price match bid our decision was made.
We were highly impressed with Precision Roofing with the work they did on our house and garage which was quite extensive and demanded
attention to detail. As a former project manager of a major roofing corporation with ten crews I was highly impressed with the Precision
Roofing crew who worked on our house. The Precision crew was highly trained, worked efficiently as a team, and worked as gentlemen
without a curse word or unsavory talk to be heard which we were very appreciative of since our nine year old grandson was Precision's
un-official roofing supervisor. Jamie, Precision's foreman, was very cooperative and made certain, as well as the rest of the crew, that we
were satisfied with their work. The Precision crew took great care of our property and after each days work they took the extra effort to make
sure all debris were picked up and work areas clean.
| WINDOW REPLACEMENT
The windows on our house consisted of a sampling of 19th, 20th, and 21st century styles and installation and all were in need of
replacement. Not much priority was given in the past to the historical significance of our house so when a window or windows were replaced
whatever was on hand was used. We wanted to match as best we could the original style of windows that our home had in the 19th century.
But reality is reality and we had to draw a fine line between budget, practicality, and historical accuracy. All windows were scheduled to be
replaced except for an original fixed window in the laundry room. With the historical nature of our home, the fine detailed window trim work,
and the complexity of some of the original double hinged windows, the big challenge was to find a window contractor who was a detail
oriented skilled craftsman and who could supply a high quality replacement window that could best match the era and style of our house.
After many visits from window salesmen selling miracle windows and bids from big box franchises we found Paul Lahay from the Glass
Company in Fort Erie. Paul came out to our home to give an estimate and it was evident from the start that he was the contractor for
replacing our windows. We chose the AC line of vinyl windows which Paul with his assistant, Rod, meticulously installed along with replacing
all the detailed trim work. Our house is now brighter and naturally cool inside with the new windows and we are looking forward to saving on
our energy bills this heating season. We are so appreciative of the care taken and the above excellence in work performed replacing our
| TREE REMOVAL & PRUNING
The trees around our house and along the road were in need of maintenance and sadly one required removal. It had been many years
since I last donned my harness and spikes to do tree work and was not looking forward to doing this project myself. Fortunately Janie and I
found Rickys Tree and Land Company.
Ricky Shaubel and his crew came out on a cold winter day taking advantage of frozen ground to avoid rutting the lawn. They worked safely
and efficiently in the cold weather and did a super job cleaning up afterwards. Two large silver maple trees received much needed
maintenance to correct earlier pruning and several limbs were removed that overhung the garage. The dead tree with a precarious lean
along the road was felled with precision and without incident.
From the initial estimate through the work process to the finish its was a hassle free experience. As a forester and home owner, it was a
pleasure to do business with a dedicated professional who knows his craft and puts his customers first.