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Home Repair

Home Remodeling – Construction Brings Happiness to Homeowners

Many homeowners shy away from home remodeling because of the expense and the difficulty in getting a project done. Others jump right in with no clear idea of how they are going to pay for it or even how they will accomplish the job. Between these two extremes is a healthy attitude towards upgrading the rooms in your house, doing something positive for your life, and incorporating the proper planning to accomplish your goals. When done this way, changing things up can impart a number of benefits. Here are some of the ways a little construction can bring a lot of happiness to homeowners.
Realizing a Dream House
More often than not, a compromise or two has to be made when buying a house. It could be due to finances, or it could simply be because of availability. After all, are you going to turn down that lovely house on the lake with everything you wanted just because you don’t like the way the kitchen looks? Of course not. But once you are settled in, you can turn your attention towards improving what you have. This is one of the joys of owning a house in the first place. Once it’s yours, it’s yours. You can do with it what you like, and for many, this includes quite a bit of home remodeling.
Fixing Damage
Over time, a house is going to start to fall apart. Whether it comes from storms, flooding, a raucous party, or just time, you’re going to take on damage at some point. When this happens, you can either hide that damage with creative furniture placement or you can start fixing the problem. Few people want to live in a house where a hole in the wall is behind every painting, so they use repairs as an opportunity to do some home remodeling at the same time. Sometimes that wall doesn’t want to be patched up. Sometimes it just wants to be knocked down.
Resale Value
Even if you are going forward with the idea that you will stay in your house forever, it’s always wise to think about your house in investment terms. Anything can happen, and you may find yourself wanting to sell at some point in the future. When that say comes, you want to be able to get as much out of it as possible. This can be done through home remodeling. For best results, unless you’re flipping the house immediately, try not to follow trends. Stick with timeless (or as close to it as you can find) adjustments and upgrades and you can be sure that it will have a positive impact on your resale value.

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Home Repair

6 Great Tips For Improving, Organizing And Repairing Your Home

Whether you’re improving, organizing or repairing some aspect of your home, getting it done efficiently and at the most affordable cost is generally the goal. The seven tips below touch on several of these areas and provide food for thought for achieving this objective.
1. Invest in a toilet tank water saver. If you’re remodeling your bathroom and you have a perfectly good commode that matches the other fixtures, but you’d like it to be environmentally friendly, save the money involved in an extravagant low flow toilet and purchase a toilet tank water saver instead, installing it into your present toilet.
2. Seal drafty areas. When you want to stop paying money where you don’t have to, go over your home and seal all the little air gaps around windows and doors that can let out all of your heat and cool. Caulking, draft excluders when your windows are closed, weather stripping, and draft stoppers under doors can make a measurable difference.
3. Save used coffee and tea grounds for acid-loving plants. Plants like gardenias, blueberries, azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons are plants that love high acidity in their soil. To ensure that they have what they need for optimal health, without spending extra money, save used coffee grounds and tea leaves and sprinkle about a quarter of an inch thickness of them onto the soil on a monthly basis. This will keep the soil adequately acidic.
4. Consider the long-term value of a kitchen counter before buying. Think very carefully about the material that you would like to use for your countertops. The actual price you pay is different than its genuine value. If a countertop cost less, but doesn’t last very long, then you’ll end up paying much more in the long run. Find a material that has a long life and a price within your budget to ensure the highest value overall.
5. Use a pegboard in your garage. To make sure that your most often used tools are easy to find and grab when you need them, hang them from a pegboard with screws set into them to fit the tools perfectly. Trace each item with a marker so that you can always see where to put it back at a brief glance.
6. Create a renovation schedule. Planning with a schedule will help you to keep motivated and on track. It doesn’t need to be set in stone; as elements take more or less time than thought, it can be altered to some extent. However, scheduling will make certain that the work will continue to move ahead instead of slowing, stagnating or being left partially completed.

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Home Repair

Sealing and Insulating to Save Money

As the colder months creep in, homeowners’ thoughts are turning to methods of saving on heating bills this winter. Keeping the furnace lower and putting on an extra sweater and wool socks are a couple of solutions, but there are several other ways to stay warm and keep your money.
Stop the air leaks
There can be literally dozens of places in your home where cold air can come in, and precious warm air can escape. Windows, doors, dryer vents, and plumbing vent stacks are some examples. In areas readily accessible, you can normally feel a slight draft. Other sections of the house – such as the attic, basement or crawl space – take a little more hunting to find the spots to dam the air flow.
Weatherstripping is the easiest way to stop drafts, and is available in a wide variety of sizes and widths. The type of weatherstripping used for windows may be quite different from that used to seal the threshold of a door. Weather conditions will also be a factor when deciding which type of weatherstripping to use, such as a cold and rainy climate in the Pacific Northwest vs. a dryer climate in Arizona. Ensure that the temperature is above 20 degrees Fahrenheit when you are installing the product.
Layer it up with insulation
Insulation is the next key to a warm house over the winter months. Different regions of the country require higher R-values in the insulation you install. This rating also varies for specific parts of your house. For example, homes in Texas, Louisiana and Florida would only need R30 to R60 insulation in their attic, but homes in Montana and Idaho would require R49 to R60 insulation.
One litmus test is to see if your roof generates icicles on a snowy winter day. If so, your roof is emitting heat which is melting the snow on the roof. The runoff from that melt is freezing again. A key to success is to see if your attic is very cold. That means the heat is staying where it belongs – in your house.
The requirement is significantly lower in walls and floors, but important none-the-less. The recommended R-value will also change depending on the type of heating you have in your home. The style of insulation also comes into play to determine how much is required for installation. Every inch of fiberglass blanket insulation provides an R-value of approximately 3.27. Loose-fill insulation can vary from 2.2 to 4.0 per inch, depending on how it is installed. If polyurethane foam is sprayed in the area, the rating can go as high as 6.0 to 7.3.
Homes built two or three decades ago, or earlier, were not required to have minimum amounts of insulation. Because of this, it may be necessary to do an in-depth analysis to find out where heat is escaping in homes of that era. Conversely, new home construction may skimp on installing the best insulation to save costs, and get a higher profit on the sale.
Get your ducts in a row
People who have forced-air heating may be losing upwards of 20 percent of the air normally meant to move through the duct system. This is due to poorly sealed connections, resulting in leaks. It may be difficult – if not impossible – to repair these leaks if the ducts are located between walls or floors. If the ducts can be reached, it is a relatively easy job using duct sealant, or duct mastic as it is also known.

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Home Repair

Exterior Home Improvements

Replacement Windows
How do I know if I need new windows?
Like any part of your home your windows and doors have a life-span. Experts agree that if your windows and doors aren’t performing properly, you need to have them examined for replacement. When replacing your windows choose energy star windows. These windows are the most efficient and will provide you with home energy savings.
This is what makes a window energy efficient:
o Improved frame materials which will help reduce heat transfer and help to insulate
o Multiple panes of glass
o Low e-gas
o Gas fills – argon, krypton, or other gases between the panes
o Warm edge spaces
Here is a few things you can look for to help determine if you need new windows:
o Condensation within the glass, this indicates seal failure
o If you have single pane windows you should replace them with double or triple pane windows to reduce energy costs
o On a very hot day or a very cold day check for warm or cold spots that are near the windows/doors
o If your furniture or drapes are discolored you may want to consider an upgrade to a low E coating window designed to help filter the sun and harmful rays from the sun
o Do your windows open and close easily?
o Are your windows warped or pitted? Rotting frames?
Here’s a test you can try yourself to determine if you need windows:
o Place someone outside your window.
o Have someone stand inside with a flashlight and go around the window’s perimeter with the flashlight
o If the person outside sees some light coming through this indicates the seal is probably broken and you will experience energy loss.
Vinyl Siding
Why Buy new vinyl siding?
What is on the exterior of your house creates the first and often lasting impression of your home. Plus, the siding material protects your home’s structure from the elements, mainly rain and wind driven moisture. Siding should be selected based on cost, aesthetics, durability, maintenance requirements, and environmental impact. With new vinyl siding, you will never paint or stain again. The siding will not warp, rot, or crack and it is maintenance free. Vinyl siding does not dent or require painting. Vinyl siding is manufactured in many colors and in a wide variety of styles. It can be made to look like clapboard, logs, cedar shakes or shingles. It can also be shaped in scallops or board and batten, just for starters. Vinyl siding is suitable for all climates. It will withstand hurricane wind speeds and is not damaged by heat, cold or moisture. The only thing it will not withstand is exposure to direct heat, such as a grill placed to close to the siding.
The precursor to vinyl siding was aluminum siding. This was first marketed about 50 years ago as a long-lasting, maintenance-free alternative to traditional sidings such as clapboard or wood shingles. Since aluminum is rot-proof, waterproof, fireproof, corrosion-resistant, impervious to termites and able to withstand years of exposure to the elements, the siding itself will last virtually indefinitely. But, the aluminum is a painted metal and may require painting over time. Aluminum siding is also susceptible to denting and scratching. If you plan on doing home remodeling, new vinyl siding is a great way to start. It will add beauty to your home, protect your homes structure, and it will add a great deal of value to your home.

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Home Repair

Don’t Paint Stucco!

People often call me with the same problem. They tell me they have mold on their walls, behind their bed, for example. I ask a few probing questions, eventually coming to the same conclusion. At some point in time, their stucco has been painted.
It is very common in our region to find painted stucco. This does not make it right. Stucco is a porous product. It is made of sand and cement and is meant to stay porous. When you paint your stucco it can no longer breathe.
The black paper behind the stucco is designed to keep water out of your house. As the water migrates through the stucco it hits this paper. Water then runs down the paper and back out through the stucco towards the bottom of the wall. If the stucco has been painted, any water that enters the wall will be trapped in the bottom and begin to mold, eventually rotting the paper and stucco. Remember that water always travels in the easiest direction. In most cases that is inside your house.
In the mid ’70s, the Federal Housing Authority invented a screed (metal trim) to go along the bottom of the house. This screed allows any water in the wall to escape. Most Clairemont houses don’t have this screed. The stucco goes right down into the dirt. The moisture in the dirt wicks up into the wall. If your stucco has been painted, it stops the stucco from drying out. It then decomposes. I call it stucco cancer.
Look around your own home to see if you are experiencing any of the same problems. Many Clairemont homes need to be re-stuccoed. The correct method is to sandblast and re-stucco. This removes all the paint from the stucco. Then it can breathe again. This is also important when we re-stucco. It makes the stucco even more porous and helps get much better adhesion. The new color coat attaches to the old effectively.
The top layer of stucco is called “the color coat”. It is approximately 1/8″ thick. This surface should last for up to 30 years. (As long as you don’t paint it!). If you find that your stucco has not been painted, you can water blast then re-color coat. The new color coat will last a long time if the preparation is done properly. A common technique is to put an acrylic bonder (glue) on the wall first and in the mix.
Fresh stucco is an elegant look on a home. We prefer a Spanish lace texture as this hides some of the imperfections on the surface of an old house. The smoother the finish the harder it is to conceal the problems. There are many colors to choose from. It is a good idea to re-paint any wood or metal trim before re-stuccoing. We suggest sandblast, paint, then re-stucco.
One thing to think about before you re-stucco is replacing your windows. Wait, that’s another story.