Winter Decor Updates

Here we are just a week into a winter that is expected to be colder than most of our recent past winters; so I hope you have taken care of insulation and infiltration issues.

Assuming that’s all up to date, lets talk about my favorite subject: No it not me! It’s decorating. I love helping you update and beautify your home. If your décor is becoming warn and dated, winter is a good time to make the upgrades you have been putting off. Why winter? Well first of all it’s a good time to be doing inside work – do you really want to be stuck painting inside in the summer? Another reason is so that you can enjoy the new fruit of your effort while the weather is still making the inside environment more enjoyable than the outside. I can speak from personal experience on this. I just refinished my basement last year and have been very happily hosting little get togethers. It is soooo much easier to share my home when it is attractive.

New flooring has been a hot subject for many of my customers. Floating floors have become very common. The competition among manufacturers of these products gives you a huge selection to choose from and has kept the prices quite reasonable. You now have the original plastic laminate type of floating floors with patterns that are nearly impossible to differentiate from wood along with engineered wood flooring that can be installed as floating floor systems and prefinished solid flooring. Each type has its advantages and one will be better in one application while another is more appropriate in another situation. Some factors to consider include type of traffic, compatibility with the value of the home itself, and expectations for replacement or refinishing of the new flooring years down the road.

If new kitchen cabinets are being considered there are many high quality manufactures of ready to assemble cabinets. Most of them provide free samples of doors they offer. Check them out online. There is at least one local warehouse distributor of RTA cabinets that I have visited. They have a reasonable selection to see in their warehouse; but for the most part you place an order and receive it in about two to three weeks. The cabinet materials and construction techniques appear quite durable plus they do the assembly as part of their warranty requirements.

Ready For Winter?

As this August is presenting more of a fall feel than a dog days feel it reminds me that the opportunity to prepare the outside our homes for winter will soon end. I think it was Ben Franklin who said “A stitch in time saves nine.” That as super true when talking about getting our homes ready for winter. Taking care of some of the minor issues now can prevent major damage later.

Take a walk around the outside of your house. Especially look for the potential for water to get where it does not belong.

Failing caulk and paint. Especially around windows and doors and other joints.
Gaps between the house and concrete adjacent to it.
Failing weather stripping on doors and windows
Loose gutters and downspouts – downspouts not properly entering drain pipe.
Irregular loose missing roof shingles.
Shingles not extending over gutter or missing drip edge.
Leaking faucets (remember to disconnect your hose or even a freezeproof sillcock can freeze.!)
Ground sloping toward house instead of away.
If you had icicles or ice dams last year did you do anything about preventing it this year? Even if there was no evidence inside the house that the icicles and ice dams leaked into the house you would be wise to look to prevent them from occurring again. Water and ice will eventually cause problems if you let them.

If you haven’t already added insulation to your attic you cannot imagine the difference in comfort and utility bills this project will provide. I did it for my home last fall finally! My gas use went down quite a bit last winter. This is the first year I have had air conditioning so the only comparison I can make there is knowing that even on some of the warm days when I didn’t turn on the a/c my home stayed cooler inside than out. Last year some days my house was quite warm and uncomfortable.

If you are having your attic insulated make sure it is properly ventilated as inadequate ventilation is often a contributing factor to ice dam roof leaks and other premature failures of the roof. I have seen at least one roofing contractor install a ridge vent without providing an opening in the roof as needed to vent the attic.

This note is not a full review of everything you want to check on the outside of your house before winter comes; but it covers many of the most common problems I have seen. Hopefully you are forecasting to prevent unnecessary problems.

Spring projects to recover from Winter and prepare for Summer

First things first: Maintenance and repairs. Winter may have revealed some issues that warrant correction. Take a look around outside: Loose or overflowing gutters? Loose or missing shingles? Loose or missing siding or trim. Rotted wood. Rotted rusted doors or windows. Windows not working properly or poorly sealed. Dirty or damaged siding or paint. Loose or damaged caulk. These issues, left unattended, often worsen over time and cause additional damage that can be avoided. The old saying, “A stitch in time saves nine,” holds true in household maintenance. Look for evidence that problems are starting and you can prevent further damage along with additional costs.

Anticipating summer parties? Obviously you will want to make the exterior of your home and yard look nice and be comfortable; but you may want to consider the inside of your home also as most summer parties have guests using facilities inside as well as outside. Now is a great time to get that basement finishing project started so the party that was planned to be an outdoor event can move to the basement in case the weather requires it. It is also a great time to start a kitchen remodel so that you are ready to support the dining needs of your guests in style.

In short: Staying ahead of the maintenance and upgrade needs of your home will keep your house more comfortable, beautiful, functional and valuable.

Contractor’s License

A couple of weeks ago I renewed my Summit county contractor’s license. In order to get that license I am required to have a few things. First is worker’s compensation, next is general liability insurance, and finally I am required to have an insurance bond naming Summit County. These insurances provide my customers with additional peace of mind because of the protection they afford.

The following link provides information from Summit County Executive Office, Office of Consumer Affairs about contractor registrations and some suggested guidelines to selecting and working with your contractor. See more.