Living La Vida Local


As we move into the summer months, we’d like to share a few wise tips about the sun and your home. Advice is courtesy James Carey and Morris Carey, a.k.a. the Carey Bros., nationally recognized experts on home building and renovation.

Smart landscaping can lower your utility bill. As the sun rises in the morning, it heats a home through east-facing windows. In the afternoon, the sun blazes through the west-facing windows. Cool your home with landscaping. To block early morning and late afternoon sun, place shrubs on east and west exposures. Late morning and early evening sun glare can be regulated with moderate-size trees. Large trees will shade the roof from those blistering mid-day rays. In the winter, sunshine is a good thing for a house —
think deciduous trees.

Metal roofs reflect more heat from intense sun, while asphalt shingles absorb heat and transfer it indoors. Metal roofs are a value as they may come with lifetime transferable warranties, meaning you (or future owners) will never have to reroof. They’re also fireproof, and may lead to lower homeowners’ insurance.

When you replace your roof, think about color — it offers free heating and cooling. In sunny climates a light-colored roof reflects the heat of the sun, and can reducing air conditioning costs by as much as 20 percent. Finally, be sure that there is a thick layer of insulation in your attic to keep the heat from penetrating into your living area.

Solar roof tiles also are photovoltaic collectors that convert sunlight into electricity. A normal “energy roof” uses 300 square feet and covers approximately a 17x17 area. In SoCal it can produce many thousands of kilowatts of clean energy a year, and get you a credit on your utility bill.

The sun’s ultraviolet rays lead the list reasons for caulk deterioration. When using an exterior caulk, be sure to select a product that offers UV protection. It will last longer and look better.

How often should you paint the exterior of your home depends on a number of factors. What kind of siding? How’s the micro-climate? Sun exposure? Did they use cheap paint? With proper preparation and quality paint, a home typically requires painting every five to seven years. Think of paint as an investment and not a cost.

Because the north side of a home’s roof side gets less direct sun, it can out last the south side of the roof. Same goes for the paint — the paint job on the north side of your home may look perkier longer. If finances are an issue, repairing half your property may be an option worth considering.

Awnings are a great way to reduce heat. Shaded windows, walls and patios block 60 percent of heat and almost all damaging sunlight. Cooling bills will be lower and inside fabrics will last longer. Curtains are cute, but exterior shades prevent the heat from entering the property. Check with your local utility company for rebates and other incentives for energy efficient improvements to your property.

(James Carey and Morris Carey, known as the Carey Bros., share their 50-plus years of experience as licensed contractors at

Work with an authority. Enjoy my real estate column and statistics every Wednesday in the Santa Monica Daily Press.

Jodi Summers
Boardwalk Realty