Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 15
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

HOME HELP: "Siding and roofing are the main part of the business now, with an emphasis on siding. There are many options today, and we will help clients with choices, color schemes, and guide them throughout the project." Thomas Maslowski (left) and Murray Gilbert are owners of MainStreet Siding, Home Improvements, LLC.

MainStreet Home Improvements, LLC Provides Siding and Roofing Expertise

Spring is here, and many homeowners, if not contemplating a full face lift, are hoping for a new look — for their house, that is!

It is traditionally the time for planning, planting, and painting, and now more than ever, people want to spruce up their home. New roof, new windows, new siding — all can be on the agenda.

For many years, aluminum and vinyl siding have been options to replace painting, Now, a newer cement siding is available, says Murray Gilbert, owner with Thomas Maslowski, of MainStreet Siding, Home Improvements, LLC.

"The siding industry has been changing in the past five years. In the 1950s and '60s, it was aluminum siding; then in the late '60s, '70s, and '80s, it was vinyl siding, which was a big improvement. Now, it's cement siding. It's been available for the last 15 years, but is just now getting very popular.

Real Improvement

"It's a real improvement. It's attached in long panels, and is termite-proof and fire-proof. The panels are five times thicker than vinyl, and it's painted and looks like wood. You can see the grain. It doesn't rust, have mildew, or mold, and there's no maintenance. It's also great for houses near the water. It's guaranteed for 15 or 25 years, and it's really replacing vinyl now. There are many colors available, and it can also be custom-painted."

Roofing is another important area of MainStreet Siding, Home Improvements' work, and in as in the case of siding, new developments are seen all the time, including shingles available in a variety of colors.

"We recommend heavier shingles, which are longer-lasting," says Mr. Gilbert. "Shingles today are more durable, and can have a 50-year guarantee. For example, the 'Manor' roof looks like slate, and is guaranteed for 50 years. There are shingles now that are algae-free. They are protected from the algae of the leaves that may overhang the house.

"There are also ice and water shields that go around the perimeter of the roof," he continues, "and in addition, there are snow guards, which help prevent an avalanche if heavy snow falls off the roof."

Having been in the siding, roofing, and window replacement business for 50 years, including in the wholesale end, Mr. Gilbert has seen the development of many new products, and he has the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help customers make the right decision.

"I started out in the home improvement business in Middlesex County in the '50s, and then in the '60s, I went to work for a wholesaler," he recalls. "Later, in 1980, I owned my own wholesale business with a partner in East Brunswick.

Three Months

Mr. Gilbert moved to Princeton in 1986, and then in 2000, he sold the business, and retired for three months!

"I just couldn't stay home," he says, with a smile. "So, I went into business with one of my customers, Thomas Maslowski, an engineer. We formed MainStreet Siding, Home Improvements, LLC. Tom handles the installation, and I do the selling and marketing."

One of the areas that sets MainStreet Siding, Home Improvements apart, he believes, is the company's attention to detail and customer service. "We train all our workers, and they are all insured. And Tom and I supervise. We are both on the different job sites every day. We want to make sure that the job is done right. We don't want any mistakes.

"Also, I keep people informed, let them know when a permit has been obtained, and I keep them apprised of details, such as where we will place the dumpster, etc."

A typical roofing job is three days, he adds, and siding can take a week to two weeks, depending on the size of the job. "Also, there's not a long wait to get started. When someone calls, we can begin right away. We are licensed for both siding and roofing."

MainStreet Home Improvements uses the products of a number of different manufacturers for vinyl and aluminum siding and roof shingles. For the new cement siding, Mr. Gilbert selects James Hardie cement plank for its quality.

Good Rapport

Mr. Gilbert is delighted when a house is transformed and becomes a wonderful new home for the resident. "A big pleasure for me is the change of appearance of the house, and the enjoyment of the people when they see the changes when the work is completed.

"I really enjoy meeting the homeowners, and every job is a learning experience. We learn about the clients' life-style, and we have a good rapport. We have received many notes and letters from clients, complimenting the job and the crew. They appreciate our attention to detail and our experience in the business."

Headquartered in Mercervile, MainStreet Siding, Home Improvements works all over New Jersey, and in Bucks County, Pa., with a focus on Princeton, Lawrenceville, Pennington, and West Windsor in this area.

"We are competitively-priced, with an emphasis on quality," says Mr. Gilbert. "In the case of cement siding, it is somewhat more expensive than vinyl and aluminum, but it has more benefits, including durability."

Call 609-584-9572 for an appointment. Also, MainStreet's website is filled with photos of completed jobs, references, and links to manufacturers.

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