Archive for May, 2010

Bathroom Design Trends for 2010

Friday, May 28th, 2010

bathroomAccording to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, Traditional designs for bathrooms continue to hold the top spot for 2010. Sleek contemporary and simple Shaker styles are the distant runners up. Colors are bland with beige and bone beating out white as the most popular hues. Ivory and brown will also be featured making earth tones a prevailing theme for this year.

Fixtures are still predominantly white with off-white and bisque as the secondary choices. In keeping with the Traditional concept, undermount sinks will continue leading the pack. Pedestal, vessel, and other sink styles will also have a place in modern bathroom designs.

Faucets will continue to boast a brushed nickel finish that can be cleaned with delicate agents such as a vinegar/water mixture. Shiny chrome and rich bronze are other popular 2010 choices. Tile and stone will provide the foundation for bathroom décor as flooring while granite tops off most new vanities.

The folks at Signature Contractors have compiled a different list of bathroom trends for this year. They point to luxury items like flat screen TVs and filtered shower heads as prime picks. Radiant floor heating, low flow toilets, and other environmentally friendly upgrades are also heading the list of remodeling projects.

Sunrooms: Financial Considerations

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Are you planning to add a sunroom to your home? This is the type of home improvement project that should be done because you plan to enjoy the room yourself. While this type of addition does offer an increase in property value, you can’t expect to recoup your entire investment. In fact, the average cost recovery is just 51% of the price of the sunroom when you sell your house. The percentage is slightly higher if you live in the Southern United States, but it tops out around 55%.

sunroom-being-builtAnother important financial issue that you should be aware of before constructing a sunroom is homeowner’s insurance. What happens if you build the room yourself and someone is injured in the process (or if you inadvertently damage the structure of your house)? You need to know if your existing insurance policy will cover the claim.

It’s also important to revisit your current coverage to add the sunroom. Otherwise, it will not be replaced if your home is lost in a fire or other catastrophic event. Then, your full investment in this remodeling project will be lost and you will have to rebuild the sunroom out of your own pocket. Think of the cost of purchasing additional coverage as a small maintenance fee that is just part of having a beautiful new sunroom to relax in.

Coping With Clogged Gutter Downspouts

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

clogged-gutterGutter downspouts can become clogged by all sorts of debris. Twigs, silt, leaves, catkins, and more can drop into the trough and get swept along the gutters creating a logjam. When a downspout becomes clogged, water doesn’t drain quickly and the gutters will overflow dumping water around the foundation of your home. Spouts that are completely clogged permit water to pool in the gutters providing an ideal environment for algae, mold, and mosquito larvae.

This scummy water can smell pretty bad, so be prepared when you climb up a ladder to check your gutters. Wear work gloves and bring a tool to scrape out as much debris as you can. A hand trowel works well. You can also pull twigs and leaves out of the top of the downspout with a pair of metal tongs.

Some people recommend using a wire hanger or a plumber’s snake to push debris down the spout. However, this can puncture the downspout if you aren’t careful. Use a hose with a high pressure spray head to wash clogged materials out of the length of the downspout. If that doesn’t work, you will have to disassemble the spout and remove the clog manually.

Keep It Draining

To prevent future clogs, cut tree branches well away from your roof. Consider installing a wider downspout that is less prone to obstruction. You may also use a guard, screen, leaf strainer, or filter to keep debris out of the spout opening. Some of these are installed at the top of the downspout. The DrainGuard is a little different since it puts a filter about halfway down the spout where it is easy to clean out. Whichever system you use, you will need to perform a full maintenance check every 6 months and a spot check after any significant storm event.

Gutter Liners Offer A Quick Fix

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

gutterseal_linerIf you have a small leak in your gutters, it is possible to patch just the affected area. However, where there is one hole more will probably develop over time – especially if your gutters are fairly old. This means it may save you time and trouble to proactively stop leaks. You can do this by installing a liner along the entire width of the gutter.

This material may consist of a geosynthetic membrane or aluminum fixed in a self adhesive matrix. Either type of material can generally be cut to the desired width with scissors or a utility knife. The liner is slipped into place just under the hangers along the entire length of the trough for full coverage. Using a single, uninterrupted piece of liner reduces the risk of leaking since there will be no overlapped areas.

A gutter liner kit will generally come with a caulk gun and adhesive for putting the gutter back together and sealing all the seams (such as around the downspouts). Aluminum faced liners can be painted, but since they are hidden inside the gutter this is not absolutely necessary.

DIY Or Hire It Out

This is a project that you can do yourself if you don’t mind working on a ladder. Whether you actually need to remove the gutter from the house depends on the type of liner used. It is possible to hire a gutter company to do this job. The labor costs will make the job more expensive than it would be otherwise, but it is still much cheaper than having new gutters installed.

Some liner manufacturers claim that their products can extend the life of a gutter system by 10 years. However, if your gutters have large holes caused by corrosion or serious damage from a storm, a liner isn’t the appropriate solution.

3 Siding Installation Mistakes To Avoid

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Siding installation is often touted as a DIY job. But without proper tools, materials, and information, there is a high likelihood that the average homeowner will make a few mistakes. Some errors are evident (like crooked or sagging panels). However, others are hidden and will only become evident over time. By then, a lot of damage may have occurred. Here are 3 common mistakes the amateur siding installer tends to make.

Measuring Too Perfectly

Both vinyl and aluminum siding products expand in hot weather. This means there has to be a little room left for the material to increase in size. Otherwise, the siding may buckle where it presses into the wooden frame of a door or window.

Pounding Too Hard

nailIt can be tempting to nail siding down as hard as you can. However, since the material expands and contracts it needs to have a little wiggle room. Leaving a tiny gap between the nail head and the aluminum or vinyl permits enough movement to protect the integrity of the siding.

Choosing Cheap Materials

The underlayment for siding needs to be high quality. Furring strips over a foam board is one combination that some siding installers recommend to make the job easier. The specific materials used are very important. For example, using moisture permeable insulation with vinyl siding is not a good plan. It may trap and hold moisture under the siding and permit mold to colonize the interior of the home.