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Why Vinyl Siding Is Such A Smart Investment

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Vinyl Siding Is Such A Smart Investment

There are many ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home. One of the most popular ways is to add vinyl siding to your exterior walls. Of course, this remodel does much more that just increase the efficiency of your home, it also affords you the chance to make your home look completely different. Vinyl siding is one of the most practical and cost effective remodels because it makes your home cheaper to run and more valuable at the same time. So, it is ideal both for homeowners who plan on selling soon and those who want to stay put for many years to come. This article explains why vinyl siding is such a smart remodel. It is Easy to Install Vinyl siding is attractive to handy homeowners who are looking for an ambitious DIY project. The great thing about vinyl siding is that it is largely modular, meaning most pieces can be attached to each other without any screws or glue. It is sold in kits that include detailed installation instruction. That being said, the project still requires the use of large ladders or scaffolding systems. Also, it requires a lot of lifting and climbing. The physical requirements of the job persuade some homeowners to leave it to the pros. Luckily, if you do end up letting professionals install your vinyl siding, you can rest assured that the labor cost will be minimal, especially when compared to materials like brick or wood. It is Easy to Clean Most people will want to install a new siding material that is no nonsense and easy to maintain. There are very few materials that are easier to clean. You can spray down your siding with a hose or pressure washer to keep dirt away. If necessary, you can wipe it down with a wet sponge and mild household cleaners. It Will Save You Money Vinyl siding basically adds an extra layer of protection to your home. It shields your existing sidewalls from wind, sun and moisture. This thin, but ultra effective layer of protection will definitely help reduce your reliance on your heating and air conditioning appliances. Also, vinyl can be found in varying degrees of insulation. Siding that is lined with foam insulation on the inside is very helpful in cold environments. No matter where you live, you will enjoy the many benefits of vinyl siding. For more information, contact C & Z Construction or a similar...

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Two Signs It’s Time To Repair Your Brick Fireplace

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two Signs It’s Time To Repair Your Brick Fireplace

A brick fireplace is a beautiful addition to any home. The look of brick can be complementary to a modern decor or even a more classic look. This versatility is one of the factors that makes brick so popular. However, this is only the case when the brick is in good condition. When brick starts to show signs of aging or deterioration, it can actually make the entire space look bad. Make sure you know when it’s time to restore your brick fireplace.    White Coating On Bricks When looking at your brick fireplace, do you notice a white coating over the surface of the bricks? If so, this is an indication that it’s time for some work. This white coating is formally known as efflorescence. This problem arises when there are issues with moisture. As the high levels of moisture come in contact with the brick, over time, this causes the salt naturally found in the mortar to come to the surface. Once it dries, it leaves behind a white residue. In terms of removal, there is no way to wash away the residue. You need to have the brick painted or refinished to eliminate the stains. However, more importantly, until you have the issue resolved, even after refinishing, the problem will only return. This issue most often arises in homes with uncontrolled humidity levels. Mortar Joint Deterioration One important concern not to overlook is mortar joint deterioration. In short, this issue is best described as pieces of crumbling mortar and in extreme cases, there might actually be chunks of mortar missing. Not only does this issue look bad, this is an indication that the structural integrity of the brick fireplace is in jeopardy. The mortar joints are responsible for helping keep the bricks in place. When it starts to wear away, the bricks start to adjust and can eventually fall out of place. Typically, this issue will originate simply due to the age of the fireplace. If you have an old home with an original brick fireplace, it’s not uncommon to experience this issue. Generally, repairing this issue involves a process known as tuck-pointing, which can restore the damaged mortar and fill in any gaps. If your fireplace is showing signs of wear, it’s time to contact a masonry professional. A professional can assess the condition of your fireplace to highlight any necessary repairs, as well as provide helpful tips on preserving your brick fireplace in the future. For masonry restoration, click on this link or do an online...

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Three Lighting Techniques To Enhance The Appeal Of Your Living Room

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Lighting Techniques To Enhance The Appeal Of Your Living Room

Adding comfort and style to your living room doesn’t just involve choosing the right furniture and other decorative elements. It also involves choosing the best lighting. Compared to other spaces in a home, such as a kitchen or bathroom, living room lighting is often an afterthought. However, a focus on this feature can dramatically improve the room’s appeal. Layered Lighting In the average home, the living room is used to entertain, watch television, and even read. Layered lighting ensures you have the right level of illumination for every activity. In simple terms, layered lighting is simply the installation of a combination of lighting sources in a single space. Take a room that only has track lighting installed, for instance. While the space will be illuminated well, when watching television with the lights on, the space might be too bright. However, if there were also ambient and pendant lights in the space, these less intrusive lighting options could be relied on for this activity. Layered lighting is all about variety. Upward Lights Traditional recessed lighting patterns are designed so that light is illuminated in a downward pattern. Seems harmless right? The problem is that this lighting style can also produce shadows, particularly when the light is very bright. When you’re performing a tedious task, such as reading, shadows can make it more challenging to see. Consider installing upward light fixtures in your living room. Upward light fixtures are designed to make the light bounce off the ceiling, creating an ambient and relaxing effect. With upward light illumination your space will be well lit and void any shadows or blind spots. Accent Lighting Living rooms are often spaces where family photos and other prominent decorative elements are displayed. Accent lighting will highlight these features. This lighting can come in any form of fixture, including wall lights, spot-lights, and recessed lights. There are only two real requirements. First, the fixture needs to deliver significantly more light to the focal point than the general lighting in the space does. Second, is proper placement. Take a family photograph, for example. The accent fixture should be installed at a 30-degree angle and at least 7 inches away from the space where the ceiling and wall meet, per foot of space between the center of the object and the ceiling. A residential electrician can help you improve your living room’s lighting. In addition to these lighting features, an electrician like those found at Excel Electric Inc can introduce you to a number of additional techniques to enhance your...

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Key Repairs For Your Wooden Windows

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Key Repairs For Your Wooden Windows

If you have attractive wooden windows in your home, you certainly don’t want a problem with your windows to mar their appearance or usefulness. Fortunately, in some cases you can fix wooden window problems yourself. Let’s take a look at how to deal with some of the most common issues.  Scratches  A scratch on your window pane is an annoying flaw that looks bad even if it does not affect the window’s functionality. If the scratch is relatively minor, then you have a couple of good ways to make the repair yourself, but if it’s a deep scratch, it’s best to consult an expert.  One good idea to fix light scratches is to use clear nail polish. First, clean and dry the glass. Rub a soft cloth over the pane to make sure that it’s free of dirt or grime and completely dry. Then brush on the nail polish. Remove any excess with nail polish remover.  Another method is to use metal polish instead of clear nail polish. After making sure that the area is free of any dirt or debris, apply the polish with a cloth.   Broken  If one of your panes is broken, then you might be able to replace it without too much difficulty. You will need to first have a replacement pane cut to size. After removing the broken glass, old putty and the old glazier’s points (the metal hardware that helps affix the glass to the sash), place fresh putty in the grooves of the sash. Then install the new pane in the grooves and attach new glazier’s points to the sash. Apply more putty to the edges of the pane and let it cure.  Rattling  Another common problem with wooden windows is rattling. This typically happens because the window is not tight within the frame. To fix this, purchase some weather stripping and apply it to the window jams as well as the top of the upper sash and the bottom of the lower sash. This should make the window less loose within the frame and reduce or eliminate any rattling. Another good idea is to caulk around the edges of the glass panes. This can be done in combination with the weather stripping.  Fixing some of the repair issues that arise with wooden windows is not especially difficult in certain instances. If a major problem crops up with your windows, however, contact a professional window specialist like those found at Port Orchard...

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Redoing Your Bathroom? 5 Costly Mistakes To Avoid

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Redoing Your Bathroom? 5 Costly Mistakes To Avoid

Planning a bathroom remodel project? It’s a great way to enjoy your home more while adding value to it at the same time. But that all depends on making the right choices when renovating. To help you, here is a handy guide to the top mistakes homeowners make when planning their new bathroom. Fudging the Budget Numbers. It’s vital to be realistic about what your budget is and how much of your renovation goals it can achieve. Some homeowners start out with pie-in-the-sky dreams about their new bathroom but end up with a mishmash of a renovation when their budget fails. It’s better to properly research everything you want to add or change to the bath before you start demolition so that you can avoid running out of money halfway through or having to compromise in areas that are important to you. Overestimating Your Skill. You may feel you’re a handyman-extraordinaire, but be certain you can safely and properly complete tasks like electrical installation, moving plumbing or installing fixtures before trying them yourself. While many areas of remodeling — such as demolition, flooring installation or decoration — are great for do-it-yourself folks, some can be dangerous, costly or illegal if done improperly. Don’t be afraid to hire professional help for the things you’re not experienced in.  Underestimating Space Needs. Modern bathrooms tend to be larger and more luxurious than the older, more utilitarian versions. When planning your upgrade, don’t short yourself on space. Meeting the minimum space required by local building codes may not leave much for you to enjoy. If you plan to age in the home, you may also find that a tight bathroom is a bad fit for anyone with mobility issues. In this case, bigger tends to be better.  Not Enough Storage. Storage isn’t an exciting part of home renovation, but it’s a very useful one. Failing to have enough space to store supplies, towels, hygiene goods, bathrobes or your favorite bath accessories can leave you disenchanted with your bathroom. Little storage is fine for a guest bathroom, but for your everyday-use rooms, be sure to include under-sink cabinets, wall shelving, mounted cabinets, racks and hanging hooks.  Not Thinking Long-Term. Trendy ideas can be here-today/gone-tomorrow and leave your bathroom feeling dated or less functional than you want. Instead of following the latest new idea you see in magazines or on television, work with your contractor to determine what classic and long-lasting elements you should use as a base design. You can always accessorize with fun and eclectic touches — preferably in things that you can easily remove if you decide to sell or update.  By avoiding these 5 design mistakes, you can ensure that you will end up with a great remodel that will serve your family and guests well for years to...

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Can Flood-Damaged Wooden Furniture Be Saved?

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Can Flood-Damaged Wooden Furniture Be Saved?

Water damage is one of the greatest problems that can happen to a property, but luckily, water damage on wooden furniture is often reversible. As with other water damaged items, expediting the drying process is important. The following frequently asked questions and answers will help you determine whether or not your wooden furniture can be saved, and how it can be done. Can flood-damaged wood furniture be saved? Yes, flood-damaged wood furniture can often be saved, provided that it’s properly dried after being removed from the flood waters, and then refinished. What’s the procedure for saving water-damaged wood furniture? To dry the furniture, don’t set the piece in the sun. Putting the furniture in the sun can cause the wood to dry too quickly and can result in the wood becoming warped and cracked. Instead, put it in a location where the humidity is low, out of direct sunlight, and where the temperature is moderate. If the piece of furniture has an inside area (like a wooden cabinet), sprinkle the inside with baking soda and leaves the doors open to absorb the moisture. Allow the furniture to dry for several days before attempting to fix it. Once the outside has dried, you may notice a layer of white moisture droplets trapped beneath the varnish over the wood. This is the moisture that has penetrated the sealant and is on top of the wood. This layer of moisture can only be removed by stripping off the varnish. To remove the finish, use a solvent-based chemical stripper and follow all manufacturer’s instructions. Once the varnish has been removed, allow the wood to dry for several more days before sanding down the wood then re-applying stain and wood varnish. What should you do if the wood is moldy? If the wood has begun to mold, let the furniture dry for several days (as described above), then use the chemical stripper to remove the varnish or finish. When the varnish has been removed, scrub the mold with a stiff-bristled brush dipped in a solution of equal parts bleach and water. Doing this will help kill the bacteria. Next, sand off the mold to the best of your ability. If spots of mold remain visible on the wood, consider refinishing the furniture with a dark enough stain that the mold will not be noticeable when the furniture is refinished. Allow the furniture to dry for several days then apply stain and wood varnish. If the mold goes too deep to sand off, or if the mold is spread out over the majority of the piece of furniture, contact a water damage repair company (like Complete Restoration Services or a similar location) for...

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Finishing A Basement Ceiling

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Finishing A Basement Ceiling

It is a great plan to add more living space to your home by finishing off the basement. However, many things must be considered before the process begins and you make the investment. A good plan must be in place beginning with any moisture problems. Consider the best options for the ceiling, including insulation and lighting sources. Make it Efficient It is important to seal any existing gaps between the pipes that extend to the rest of the home. You will also need to use spray foam or caulk for the process. Be sure to enclose any gaps between the masonry and framing of the exterior, including the rim joist which is the foundation wall supporting the home’s floor joists. Condensation can enter these areas, but the caulk or foam should help the problem. Pressure treated wood should be used in case it gets wet to prevent rotting. Drop Ceilings Using a drop ceiling, also called a suspended ceiling, will allow easy access to valves and pipes and also provide easy wiring access for lights. These panels will also absorb some of the sound created from the rooms above. Plan on losing about four or five inches of the ceiling space. If damage occurs from backed up plumbing from the upper floors, you will only need to repair or replace the damaged areas, not the entire ceiling. The materials for an average room if you do the work should cost approximately $300 to $400. The prices vary depending on the type of ceiling chosen. On average, you should plan on spending in the neighborhood of $2 to $5 per square foot for the cost of materials. Therefore, it is important to take all of the measurements for the area you enclose before you start the project. If not, you can exceed the budget quickly. Drywall Ceilings  Before enclosing the ceiling with drywall, consider problems this can cause if you have water damage. If any pipes overflow, such as a toilet, you will have permanent stains on the ceiling. This will require removing sections of the ceiling to repair the damage. The entire ceiling will need to be refinished. Using drywall for the ceiling will not provide as much soundproofing as used with a drop ceiling. These are just a few suggestions to consider before you decide which material you want to use for the ceiling in the basement. Researching building codes may need to be considered before you convert the basement to a living space. It is always best to be prepared and understand all of the steps before you begin the process. It can become difficult, and may require a professional in case you are not educated in building or adding onto the home. To learn more, find a contractor near...

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Low Water Pressure ~ Your Well Pump May Not Be The Culprit

Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Low Water Pressure ~ Your Well Pump May Not Be The Culprit

If you reside on a property that relies on well water to supply it, you have likely been advised that low water pressure is a sign of a failing well pump. This is true, but sometimes there are other things that negatively impact water pressure in well water systems. The following are examples of other things that can result in low pressure or low water flow.  Water Source Issues A water drought could be the cause for your water pressure issues. Your well water system will need sufficient water to provide water at optimal pressure levels. If there are restrictions on city water usage in your jurisdiction, it is a good indicator that well water supplies may also be impacted by hot weather or rainfall shortages. You can help preserve water by following the same protocols that people who rely on city water follow. For example, you could refrain from washing your vehicle at home or deactivate water sprinklers to conserve water.  Simultaneous Water Usage Perhaps you have noticed that the pressure issues occur when you are doing more than one thing in your home that requires the use of water. For example, you might notice that the water pressure from the kitchen faucet gets low when you are washing clothes or when the shower is being used. This is indicative of a “water draw” issue. A potential solution to this problem is getting a constant pressure system installed. This is an add-on that does what its name implies. It keeps the pressure at a consistent level when water is needed at various places throughout a property simultaneously. Recent Renovations or Upgrades If you had a remodeling project completed recently, it is possible that your water demands changed. Examples of projects that could impact water demands are kitchen upgrades such as a new dishwasher or adding on a new bathroom.  Clogs Some well water system owners have hard water issues. If you have this issue, it is possible that the hard water has built up and is causing clogs. Your well casing or pipes in your home may have this buildup, which will need to be cleaned up to ensure water can flow through correctly.  A well water professional is the best resource to use for low-pressure issues. They can perform tests to ensure that the pressure issues are not affecting the quality of your well water. Their tests can also reveal the exact cause of the pressure problems, which is important to resolving the issue. The fix for some low water pressure issues is as easy as adjusting the pressure on the pressure tank.  Click here for info about well...

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What To Do When You Want Interior Brick Walls In Earthquake Country

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Do When You Want Interior Brick Walls In Earthquake Country

If you have just moved to a quake-prone section of the country from a non-quake-prone area, you are in for a new experience, to say the least. This is especially true if you’re looking at houses to buy. Not only do you have to get used to occasional shaking, but you have to redo your concept of decorating and having a strong, sturdy home. If you are used to brick being one of the strongest materials available (maybe you came from a windy area where brick was king), now you have to get used to brick being one of the more dangerous materials available. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid brick completely. If you want to have the look of an exposed brick wall inside your home, for example, you have a few options. Existing Brick Walls If you’re considering buying a very old home, you may find real brick walls. Your pre-sale home inspection should tell you if these walls are reinforced or unreinforced. If they are unreinforced, either don’t buy the home, or be prepared to spend the money to have the walls reinforced immediately. Unreinforced masonry has a very good chance of collapsing in a quake, and retrofitting can be expensive. If the walls are reinforced, and you decide to buy, have the walls inspected by engineers who can tell you if the reinforcements are up to current technological standards. If they aren’t, get to work and get those walls shored up. As more and more quakes happen, scientists, engineers, and builders learn more about what works and doesn’t work to keep a wall upright. Take advantage of this knowledge, especially if the wall is an interior wall. Even reinforced masonry can see damage and have bits crumble off during a quake, so ensure that each and every brick is as secure as can be — and don’t put your bed or any seats next to those walls. You Want to Add Real Brick If the home doesn’t have actual brick walls, but you want that look and want to use real brick, you can find thinner brick veneers made of real brick. Curbly describes the process used to turn a downtown San Diego condo (and yes, downtown San Diego sits directly over one end of a quake fault, the Rose Canyon fault) into a New-York-warehouse-style home using these veneers. Some veneers use materials other than brick, like plastic, so ensure that the ones you buy are made of real brick material if you really want an authentic look. Faux Brick If you’ve decided you just don’t want to mess with real brick, or you can’t find it (or your homeowner’s association forbids it), go for the faux look, which can be pretty realistic looking if you find the right material. Apartment Therapy lists five different ways to fake the exposed-brick look, ranging from painted stencils to molded paneling to drywall that’s formed to resemble bricks on one side. There’s even 3-D brick wallpaper that’s removable. If you’d like more information about getting that brick look or living with brick in a quake zone, contact a masonry company in the new city. They will be very knowledgeable about how brick reacts in an earthquake and how to use it safely. They can also help...

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Three Important Jobs That Can Extend The Lifespan Of Your Roof

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Important Jobs That Can Extend The Lifespan Of Your Roof

While it might not be something you spend much time looking at, the roof of your home serves as a valuable line of defense against weather elements that can cause considerable damage. As such, it’s important to give some regular thought to your roof and, in particular, think about the jobs you can perform to keep the roof healthy and prolong its life. Hiring a roofing contractor to inspect your roof is ideal if you aren’t able or willing to do the job yourself. Between inspections, here are three jobs that you can perform or hire someone to do that can often add years of life to your roof. Ensure Your Attic Is Adequately Insulated An attic that lacks proper insulation can be detrimental to the health of your roof. When heat from your attic escapes through the roof, it can form ice dams during the winter. Ice dams are barriers of ice that run the length of the edge of the roof and can prevent snow from sliding off. Over time, accumulated snow can put strain on the roof and cause damage. Additionally, the ice dam can force the water from melting snow under the roofing shingles, which can lead to the rot of your sheathing and the need for a major repair job. Add extra insulation to your attic or have a contractor do the work for you. Install Gutter Guards The installation of guards on your home’s gutter system is an effective way to keep the gutters operating properly. Guards prevent them from filling up with leaves and seeds that can form barriers over time and push the water under your shingles, which promotes rot. This task is especially important for homeowners with multiple trees on their properties. Gutter guards are sold in a variety of different styles, but the main premise is that they contain holes or a screened section that allows rainwater to enter but blocks the entrance of debris. Keep Your Trees Tidy Trees can pose a risk to your roof beyond just shedding their leaves into your gutter and leading to water damage. If the trees are left to grow wildly, their branches can interfere with the shingles on your roof. In time, there’s a risk of individual branches actually lifting your shingles away from the sheathing, which will allow the rain to cause damage that can be costly to fix. Keeping tabs on your tree branches—or hiring a contractor to do the work on your behalf—can save you significant roof-related headaches. If you do find that your roof needs some repairs, contact a professional roofing contractor, such as Liberty Exteriors LLC, to do the work for...

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