Sunrooms By Brady Sunrooms By Brady

May 12, 2014

The Quality of the Brady-Built Sunroom Product Is Clear As Glass

Filed under: Business News,Solarium,Sunrooms — marco @ 3:40 pm

Article shared from Softwood Forest Products Buyers Guide, May/June 2014

By Clare Adrian

Ever so casually, a passenger gazing out the window of a vehicle traveling along one of the three highways circling Auburn, MA, turns to her partner and blurts out, “Honey, we should add a sunroom to the house.” The inspiration for such an idea might arise any of up to six days a week during peak season from April through October, when flat bed trailers haul Brady-Built Sunrooms to their destined mooring for installation snug against a house prepared to receive it. It’s a sight to behold, the glass structure, delivered in one piece, held together by curving eaves and framing in solid Southern Yellow Pine wood that’s been laminated to create just the shape and style desired. kitchen_1

Besides observing the craftsmanship and production process, visitors of Brady-Built Sunrooms discover an efficient and environmentally-conscious operation. First off, the more than 100,000 board feet of lumber ordered annually comes from sawmills that work with tree farms in the Midwest and Southern States, known to replant and not take trees from the wild, to be eco-friendly in every way. The company recycles all sawdust so that none gets thrown out, selling it to companies who use it to manufacture other products or to paper mills. Brady-Built also changed over to using an eco-friendly glue formula, switched to energy efficient light bulbs throughout the factory to save energy, and on the road, combines trips, schedules projects in close proximity, and maintains vehicles in top running condition to limit gas consumption as much as possible.

The majority of customers that do succumb to the potential to enjoy an open view of nature from the comfort of their chosen locale in the New England area and beyond, are the empty nesters, followedby many double income childless couples, and thirdly, the commercial market. Conveniently juxtaposed at the nexus of highways 20, 90 and 290, Brady-Built is located two to three miles from several major cities and on the way to the far reaches of the market spread in the north from Portland, MN, south to Pennsylvania and New Jersey and west to New York State.

 “Usually we have 12 to 15 completed built-to-order rooms on site awaiting shipment,” said President and General Manager Marco Gabrielli. Larger rooms are shipped in two or more pieces and assembled on-site. Occasionally rooms are shipped in kit form for final assembly at the job site.

 

It’s not hard to be sold on the product. It wasn’t for company board member Kevin Kieler. Enthralled with the product after building a room for a Brady-Built board member and adding one on to his own house, he sold hisDSC00009 custom home construction business to join the company in 1998. He is one of the five board members that currently run the company. The succession originated with Peter Brady, who founded the company in 1977. Mario Gabrielli, who was running the manufacturing operations, bought the business and assets from Brady in 1999. When Gabrielli passed away in 2010, his son, Marco, succeeded him as president.

Brady-Built Sunrooms absorbed a steady stream of customers until the decline in the building market after 2006 and as of 2012 is seeing its growth pattern turnaround. “The company has experienced the disadvantages and advantages of going through the economic downturns in a time when others haven’t survived and have gone out of business,” Kieler remarked. “That we made it through is testimony to the quality of the product we build and to the determination of fantastic employees to make it work.”

That several employees continue on with the company, some up to 26 years, added Kieler, demonstrates their satisfaction with working conditions and their pride in being associated with the company. “We recognize each person’s talent, reward people for the good job well done, remember birthdays and anniversaries, have cookouts and parties and socialize as a company, take the entire company on fishing trips, have lots of perks other companies have done away with to increase the bottom line. Whereas, we think the best assets are the employees and want to keep them.” The number of employees fluctuates between 25 to 35 workers, depending on the time of year. Part of the team includes the sunroom designers who work directly with and liaison between the in-house engineers and architectural department.

Though the product is fully customized, they have several starting point sunroom style designs to offer clients. The original style that Peter Brady developed was the curved eaveSpring Postcard Photo style room, followed by the straight eave style, easily adaptable to the many New England Victorian homes, a more hip style and two story model of it, as well as the newest garden style and a branch into conservatories. Concurrently, the team works with the customer to blend the chosen design with the look of the house and individual tastes which can veer into unchartered territories, remarked Kieler. “Because of our reputation for unlimited customization capabilities we get wild and crazy jobs no one wants to do. Someone brings a picture and says, “Make it look like that,” or they have a look in mind that other companies they talked to can’t achieve—and we can.” Recent wood-framed glass enclosures include a record size one—32′ x 66’— built around a pool that other companies wouldn’t attempt, a three-story high enclosed staircase for exposure to sunlight when walking on the stairs, and a building off of a customer’s parent’s living room that became a mammoth exotic bird cage.

If a little partner persuading is needed or customers simply want a firsthand look at the manufacturing process, a company representative arranges a tour for them of the 25,000 square-foot facility where lumber is loaded in at one end of the long production room and finished product is stored at the other end, inside and out, in a 15,000-square-foot area dedicated to storage of completed rooms separate from the 5,000-square-feet of office space. Only No. 1 Select or Better Yellow Pine 2X4’s are used to build frames, which is, affirmed Kieler, “a very durable, terrific wood to laminate with. It’s also a strong wood, and when we laminate it into a beam it can take a tremendous amount of wind, snow load and abuse.” The Yellow Pine that arrives, pre-dried to 16 percent moisture content ideal for lamination, is moved within the facility using a 10-ton gantry crane that traverses the entire length of the building. A 5-ton fork truck with extended forks is used to move rooms and room parts inside and outside the factory. Once lumber is cut to the prescribed sizes, it’s processed through to lamination and beam construction, to assembly and finishing, unique to each job, said Kieler. “The sunroom is customized using impeccable carpentry skills unrivaled in the industry and we are the undisputed king of sunrooms in New England. Putting the components together becomes very specialized and customized with the all glass roof and each room is an individual creation. No two are alike, built with a beautiful signature woodwork finish, joinery, moulding and attention to detail.”

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May 5, 2014

Sunroom Semantics

Filed under: Business News,Solarium,Sunrooms,Tips — marco @ 4:33 pm

Creating an elegant design may become much simpler, once you know how to ask

Among those who prefer to have a more precise understanding of the terminology, and do not mind a bit to split hairs on the shades of meaning among synonyms, sunrooms can present a few variants that may leave you wanting to clarify your vision, or at least be able to refer most appropriately to those installations that you see as you are cruising through the neighborhoods.  The semantics of sunrooms are not as set in stone as many of the terms you will find in the architectural landscape, but if you take this opportunity to explore, new ideas may present that you had never really considered.   

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In discussing “sunrooms” specifically, one is generally referring to any of a variety of styles of rooms or porches or decks that are attached to the home or business, and enclosed with glass and windows designed to admit and retain the sun’s heat during colder times and reflect more away in hotter times.  Without the latter abilities, the enclosure is not much better than a standard greenhouse or a cold frame at controlling the internal climate and would not be suitable as a living space for much more than the shoulder seasons of the year.  “Greenhouses” are more typically freestanding and are often intended more for plants than for living space and are therefore unlikely to require the quality of materials one ought to use in the construction of a sunroom that is attached to the home.   

“Solariums,” however, are often envisioned as a more contemporary style of sunrooms with curving eaves along the exterior.  There are those, on the other hand, who prefer instead to divide sunrooms and solariums into separate groups altogether.  In this case, “solariums” would be those enclosures whose roofs are made of glass, whereas a “sunroom” would be those with solid roofs that may or may not include operational skylights.    

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While the curved-eave style of the more contemporary “solariums” is one style very popular, especially among commercial properties, there are a couple of other styles well worth mentioning here too.  The first of those is the “orangery” or “orangerie,” a particularly boxy style that combines the partial shade of a solid, flat roof around the edges of the structure with a more centrally positioned glass gable or peak, occasionally decorated with a row of iron fleurs-de-lis or more intricate roof patterns.  This post-Renaissance style is one that had originated among the more disgustingly opulent estates in Europe as a modified structure, intended to house tropical fruit trees like citrus and pineapple through the winter months, before the process of importing fruit became faster and more affordable.   

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Last but not least, while the orangery is a more distinctive style of construction, the Victorian-associated “conservatories” encompass a much wider range of less traditionally shaped enclosures.  This might refer to those rooms that have a footprint whose corner are not set at right angles, such as a more octagonal format or in a rectangle whose corners are clipped.  Modifications like these would then translate above into panels, glass or otherwise, that could no longer be rectangular either, potentially resulting in a roughly conical pattern of triangular cuts.  This concept could also extend potentially into the realm of those with more standard rectangular footprints, yet with roof styles other than flat or gabled, such as many hip roofs.   

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No matter how you slice it, sunrooms of any shape or style are intended bring in much more light than your traditional construction, warming your home and balancing your life by setting your internal clock by the sun, as nature had always intended.  If this is the time to begin discussing which style is best for your home, I can guide you in designing an addition that suits your home and your needs, retains the value of your investment and will provide comfort for years to come.

January 30, 2014

How To Finally Afford The Sunroom You Are Aching For!

Filed under: Business News,Solarium,Sunrooms,Tips — brady @ 10:42 am

 

Not Paying Up Front? How To Navigate the Muddy Waters Of the Financing World

If you are a homeowner considering investing in a sunroom addition or any other home improvement project and you have not saved up enough cash to pay outright, this message is for YOU.

Sunroom additions, like nearly any home improvement project, tend to require a healthy budget and of course we all know you can save a good chunk of money by avoiding borrowing altogether.  However, many that are considering this type of a project today – whether or not their income has been directly affected by the Fed’s policies regarding our money supply – are not entirely sure where the balance of payment for such a project will come from.  In response to this common uncertainty, many financing options exist that you should know about.

The source of financing that suits you best will depend on many factors, including how much your project will cost vs. how much cash you have on hand, the length of terms you are seeking, whether you will be doing other home improvement projects in the future, how much equity you have in your home and other questions of risk and collateral.  If you remain convinced that the personal return you will get in your quality of life by transforming your environment one step closer to your dream home will outweigh the purchase costs, below I will review some general and more specific DOs and DON’Ts that you ought to consider in rounding out your payment.

Of course in the land of lending there are no guarantees.  We at Brady-Built Sunrooms cannot promise that you will necessarily have success or good handling by any of these third parties.  However, it is important that you are aware that home improvement projects can come to life under a wider variety of circumstances than you might have thought. We wish you all the best in the pursuit of your remodeling dreams.

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 First of all, if it is even being offered, we would generally warn against getting financing from your contractor.  Some contractors even unwittingly negotiate shady deals from sub-prime lenders that are loaded with hidden costs and fees.  It is usually in your best interest to negotiate the project price with your contractor and then get financing on your own.

Then, unless you have nearly enough cash on hand to complete your project we would certainly not recommend paying with a credit card, since anything more than a few thousand dollars is rarely worth the high interestrates those companies charge. Although you will not pay any loan fees or closing costs on credit card transactions, you should use this option only if you can pay off the balance in under a year.

Your consideration might be an unsecured personal loan, in which you borrow money without using your home as collateral.  That means that if you fail to pay, your home is not at risk for foreclosure. Banks tend to offer unsecured personal loans for small sums of money, for example, under $10K and these are generally considered purely based on one’s income and ability to consistently repay.  Of course, beware of personal loans offered by non-bank lenders since many have exorbitant interest rates.

We have recently discovered that whether for kitchen or bathroom remodeling, or asunroom or a swimming pool, HFS Financial has been helping clients in all 50 states get unsecured remodeling loans.  At their website, YourProjectLoan.com, you can fill out their 60 Second Loan Application and one of their team members will contact you with information within 24 hours.  One big advantage here is that your credit will NOT be pulled so there is no impact on your credit score regardless of the decision.

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Next up is a home equity loan from a credit union or elsewhere, that uses your house as collateral, just like a primary mortgage. With a home equity loan, you borrow once against the equity you have already paid into your home, in other words, its current value less the amount of the existing mortgage.  This can be an especially good option for financing a one-time project, since the borrowed amount is fixed.  The interest rate is also fixed, which can be an advantage since today’s low interest rates are fairly likely to rise over the life of such a loan. One major plus with home equity loans used for home improvements is that the interest you pay back to the lender is typically tax deductible under both state and federal guidelines up to $1,000,000.  The down side is that, in most cases, you will have to pay a closing cost.  And, as with any loan secured by your home, you risk foreclosure if you cannot make the payments on top of your regular mortgage. A few local Massachusetts options currently advertising their home improvement lending programs are IC Federal Credit Union with branches in Fitchburg, Leominster, Ayer, Westminster; Spencer Savings Bank with branches in Spencer, Leicester, Rutland, Warren, Worcester; Metro Credit Union offering services to all Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth, Barnstable or Worcester county residents, and Salem Five.

Alternatively, you may decide to refinance your original mortgage for a larger amount while interest rates are low and home prices are rising.  You will simply get the difference back in cash and, as with a home equity loan, you will pay closing costs and fees.

If you are ambitiously planning to stack a sunroom alongside other home improvement projects instead, you might consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which, like a home equity loan, uses your home as collateral to guarantee payment.  The idea is that a HELOC allows you to vary the amount of your withdrawal over time up to a maximum point based upon the available equity in your home.  The other big difference is that the interest rate for a HELOC is usually variable, which means it can rise and fall along with the prime rate set by the Fed.  Like home equity loans though, the interest you pay on a HELOC is also tax-deductible.

If you do not have a lot of equity in the home, you can still apply to certain banks for Title 1 loans which use your home as collateral and pay interest and closing costs just like home equity loans and HELOCs, but the risk is insured by the federal government.  They are meant to help finance light-to-moderate rehab projects on either private homes or nonresidential buildings and the maximum loan amount for a single family home is $25,000.

Sunrooms by Brady

Regardless of whether you have reached the 59½ threshold for tax exempt withdrawals, most employer 401(k) plans allow you to borrow money to pay for home improvements.  It is usually worth checking since the rates are usually low, the term is generally five years and you don’t have to pay fees or qualify for a loan.  The biggest risk here is if you change jobs while carrying a remainder, you will have to pay back as much as possible in only 60 days or get hit with penalties and taxes on the balance.

For those not necessarily planning an immediate home improvement project but who have a good amount of free cash flow and who are looking for long term liquidity, there is also a concept know as Bank On Yourself.  This is a super-interesting twist on a few technical aspects of a whole life insurance policy that takes all the standard death and equity benefits and adds the ability to borrow tax-free once your equity builds up without ever losing the interest growing in the cash value of the policy, as you would in borrowing from the 401(k). 

Lower on the scale, Massachusetts has a Home Modification Loan Program that provides low- and moderate income residents no-interest loans to elders, adults and children with disabilities. Such home modifications allow individuals with disabilities to remain in their homes and continue to live independently in their communities. Any homeowner who has a disability or has a household member who has a disability, or rents to an individual with a disability may apply for this loan. Contact Susan Gillam at (617)-204-3739 or Susan.Gillam@MRC.state.ma.us if you believe a sunroom can help improve the life and health of a disabled family member.

Another low- and moderate-income option for residents of Massachusetts lies with Mass Housing, the state’s most affordable housing bank. They lend money at rates below the conventional market to support affordable rental and home ownership opportunities. Their Home Improvement Loan Program provides funds to make general, “non-luxury” improvements to your property, which include necessary home modifications.

Low income rural homeowners may receive Rural Development funds from the USDA at a 1% interest rate to make substantial home repairs, or to remove health and safety hazards.  The Home Repair Program also provides funds to improve accessibility for someone with disabilities.  Homeowners 62 and older are eligible for grants and low income families and individuals may also apply.  USDA regional offices: Western MA 413-585-1000, Central MA and the North Shore 508-829-4477, Southeastern MA, Cape and Islands 508-295-5151.

Windows are obviously a very important part of sunrooms!

Copyright © 2014 Brady-Built Sunrooms, All rights reserved.

December 20, 2012

Why do we use laminated wood instead of solid sawn wood?

Filed under: Business News — Sunrooms by Brady @ 11:42 am

Brady-Built uses laminated wood for three reasons: beauty, structural strength and environmental benefits.  The beauty of natural wood speaks for itself.  It’s hard to imagine anyone preferring the look of extruded aluminum or vinyl over wood.  Taking that wood and laminating it takes it one step further, resulting in a very distinctive aesthetic, yet retaining the warmth and appeal of this natural product.

The structural advantages of southern yellow pine (sometimes called long leaf pine) are well known.  It is a particularly fine grained, dense, and strong variety of wood.  For example, southern yellow pine is about 50% to 60% stronger than eastern white pine, which is the most commonly used wood for framing houses in New England.  Because southern yellow pine is relatively hard, it also resists denting better than most other softwoods.  (more…)

November 16, 2012

Press Release – Brady-Built Sunrooms has teamed up with Janco

Filed under: Business News — Tags: , , , — Sunrooms by Brady @ 1:33 pm

Brady-Built Sunrooms announced the signing of an agreement with Janco Greenhouses, Inc. in which Brady-Built will be the exclusive reseller of Janco Greenhouse products in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York.  With this agreement, Janco will be the exclusive reseller of Brady-Built’s sunroom products in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and Washington, DC.  Bob Wironen, General Manager and CEO of Brady-Built Sunrooms, said, “This agreement represents a major step forward in our strategy to expand our product offerings while leveraging the skills of our workforce.  It also opens a whole new geographic market for our hand crafted laminated wood sunrooms.”  Brady-Built and Janco recently kicked off the new relationship by showing their respective products at The Big E in Springfield, MA, as well as The Boston Fall Home Show in Wilmington, MA.

Brady-Built has been custom building hand crafted laminated wood sunrooms in Auburn, MA for over 35 years.

Janco Greenhouses, Inc. was founded in 1948 and has shipped over 30,000 aluminum greenhouses, counting The White House, the Department of Agriculture and countless prestigious institutions and private homeowners among their satisfied customers.

November 10, 2010

Laminated Wood vs Aluminum

Why Laminated Wood?

When considering the purchase of a sunroom, there are many decisions to make.  What the sunroom’s structure is made from is one of the most important from a practical as well as an aesthetic perspective.

Extruded vinyl or aluminum are commonly used to build the frames for sunrooms.  Both materials are very resistant to rot and require little maintenance but have the look and feel of a poor quality product.  Furthermore, sunroom built from vinyl or aluminum are “stick” built on-site with very little control over quality due to the variability of the skills between one technician and another.

Laminated wood sunrooms offer several advantages.  There is little doubt that wood looks “warmer and richer” than either of it’s competitors.  In fact, wood is literally warmer because it is a much better thermal insulator than either aluminum or vinyl.  The color and grain patterns in wood are beautiful.  Laminating wood to form the beams takes advantage of the beauty of the wood and enhances its structural qualities.  Sawn timber beams are weakened by knots and other natural variations in the wood.  When wood is cut into thin laminations and then glued together to make up a full thickness beam, the knots and other “defects” are limited to only the thickness of each lamination.  Since the natural flaws don’t line up from layer to layer, the effective strength of the beam is not impacted.

To protect the beautiful wood from the elements, the exterior surfaces of laminated wood sunrooms are clad in aluminum extrusions.  This technique offers all of the advantages of wood and aluminum.

Since wood is an easily machined material, it makes customizing the sunroom easy.  Manufacturers of aluminum and vinyl sunrooms will not customize their rooms to fit special customer requirements.  Building sunrooms from laminated wood makes customization a natural benefit.

August 25, 2010

Solar Screens vs. Solar Glass

Filed under: Business News,Glass,Solar Glass,Solar Screens,Solarium,Sunrooms — Sunrooms by Brady @ 11:36 am

Solar screens, the best way to manage sunroom temperatures year-round.

There are many competing claims by sunroom manufacturers about glass.  Some claim to have the “best” glass in the industry, others claim that their glass blocks out most of the sun’s heat in summer; others say theirs allows most of the sun’s warmth through in the winter.  Like so many things in life, you can’t have it all.  Magic glass is a myth.  Designing glazing systems is a science that requires a clear understanding of what it will be used for, what qualities are most important and where compromises can be made.  Glass, if not modified, allows most of the visible light spectrum to pass through and has virtually no insulating value.  What this means is any light that passes through the glass will strike another surface (inside your house or sunroom) and either be reflected or absorbed.  The light that is absorbed is converted into heat energy (remember the conservation of energy law from high school physics class?).  This heat in the winter is desirable and in the summer can make the room uncomfortably hot. (more…)

August 17, 2010

Solariums – The Glass Room

Filed under: Business News,Solarium,Sunrooms,Tips — Sunrooms by Brady @ 12:34 pm
Brady Built vs. Four Seasons

It's pretty "clear" that Brady's Glass will let in more sun

Property values have plummeted with the massive foreclosure rate that still plagues the U.S. in this current economy. Homeowners who have had the good fortune to keep their residence are looking for ways to increase their home and property value in hopes that if they do decided to move that they might get back their initial investment. There are several ways to increase a home’s value.; A new coat of paint, better insulation, and one that seem to be growing with popularity the solarium.

The word solarium is often used when talking about tanning beds, but for this purpose, that is not the case. Solarium in this instance refers to the room made completely out glass, including the roof. The floors are usually ceramic tiles to maximize the absorption of the sun. (more…)

June 29, 2010

Sunrooms For New England

Filed under: Business News — Sunrooms by Brady @ 11:57 am

Harsh winters filled with unforgiving storms that during the coldest months of the New England year seem unyielding can make even a lifelong resident of this unpredictable region wonder why he/she hasn’t made the move to sunny California.Perhaps the mild, short summers open the way for the familiar smells of autumn. Cool winds, wood stoves and magic in the air are what make New England residents suffer through the trials of weather to reap Fall’s reward. The crunching of the leaves under sneakers while the crisp air kisses the face needing only a sweatshirt and jeans to brave its season, autumn never seems long enough.

Sunrooms though mainly considered a summer idea have gained popularity with New England residents. Perhaps it is the innovations in glass technology that allows the New Englander to have options where there once was none. Even as early as 15 years ago the idea of a sunroom made entirely out of glass on a New England home was preposterous. It would be as if the resident was asking for it to be shattered, cracked or destroyed. Temperatures under 0 degrees, icicles falling, and what seems like infinite pounds of heavy snow would have scared off the home owner from having anything more than an enclosed porch or screen house that could be disassembled when the bad weather was about to begin its tyrannical season. (more…)

June 14, 2010

Home Vacation

Filed under: Business News,Sunrooms,Vacation Homes — Sunrooms by Brady @ 2:15 pm

With airlines charging outrageous extra fees for baggage and food, along with their ticket prices, more people are deciding not to travel and leave home for a vacation destination. Hotels, food and car rentals can add up to thousands more dollars on top of the inflated costs to fly.A vacation is supposed to be relaxing, so stress over finances seems to defeat the purpose. Five days at a resort with nothing but bills and a tan to show for it upon return can leave the traveler with vacationers’ remorse.

There is an alternative to escaping from home in order to bring a little sunshine in to the days. Brady-Built Sunrooms provides the service of adding a custom-built sunroom to an already existing structure. Considering the costs of vacationing and travel, adding a sunroom costs little more and provides no one but countless vacations without having to leave home. Every person needs a sanctuary of sorts and a custom-built sunroom brings in the healing, relaxing warmth of the sun, while blocking out the noise of the world on which it shines. (more…)

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