Archive for June, 2010

EcoClad Recycled Siding – For Greener Homes

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

KlipTech™, the manufacturer of EcoClad siding, originally got its start in the skateboard ramp building industry before moving on to creating a green countertop material called PaperStone. After this, the company “went vertical” with the EcoClad product for commercial and residential buildings. This durable and eco-friendly cladding is made of post-consumer recycled wood and paper fiber mixed with bamboo (a readily renewable plant source).

ecoclad sidingUnlike vinyl, which contains ethylene derived from crude oil, EcoClad contains no petroleum products. It also gives off no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Instead, the fibers are bound together with a resin that is water based. This means it does not off gas toxic fumes as it cures. The siding is currently produced in a number of natural-looking wood grain designs and solid colors. This bamboo/recycled wood siding is resistant to moisture, fire, impact damage, and microbe growth.

KlipTech currently warrants its products to be free from defects for a period of 10 years. This covers only the siding itself, so make sure you get a separate warranty from your contractor to cover any damage or errors during installation. The company currently doesn’t offer a list of preferred installers. This means it’s may be up to customers to locate a dealer who has experience working with the EcoClad product. The siding can be purchased directly from the manufacturer at this time.

Tinting Films for Residential Windows

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

tinted-windowsOften, when homeowners are thinking about purchasing replacement windows they look for special features like UV blocking capabilities. However, you don’t necessarily have to replace an entire window and frame to obtain this particular benefit. A number of manufacturers offer tinting films that can be applied to existing windows to allow residents to enjoy:

  • Less fading of carpet and drapes
  • Reduction of glare on TV screens and computer monitors
  • Greater privacy (with mirror tinted film)
  • More security and safety (with shatter resistant film)
  • Energy savings (with metalized film)

Many of these products can be installed as a DIY project. For individuals who don’t want to permanently alter their windows or who are afraid of making a mistake in applying the film, there is also the option of purchasing transparent roll down shades that serve the same purpose. Some films darken the appearance of the window, while others are fully transparent.

While many films are marketed for their ability to reduce heating and cooling costs, homeowners should be aware that this is limited to the glass pane. If the frame is made of aluminum instead of vinyl, there will still be significant heat transfer. That’s one reason to spring for replacement windows that conserve energy via the materials used for both the frame and glass.

Tiny Bathrooms – Powder Room Decoration Ideas

Friday, June 25th, 2010

A half bath or powder room usually doesn’t offer much in the way of space, but it can be elegant and inviting if you decorate with care. Here are some ideas for making this room special for your guests:

  • Install wall sconces with a fairly flat profile to brighten the room without taking up too much room. If the half bathroom has a high ceiling, consider putting in a mini chandelier for an extra touch of class.
  • Since a powder room has no tub or shower, this area can be carpeted without much risk of mildew. Choose a product with a soft, lush pile for a luxurious feel. Add a decorative mat made of a water resistant material in front of the sink to catch any drips.
  • Replace the traditional sink with an old fashioned wash basin style or pedestal sink. Select unusual materials and shapes to make the sink the focal point of the half bath. Store extra towels and toilet paper in a small, ornate armoire.
  • powder-room2Select a tryptic painting to use as wall art. The three pieces can be hung in a series along a single wall. Or, they can be split up around the room to make the space more visually interesting and lead the eye from one wall to the next.

Sunroom Painting Tips

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Painting the interior of your new sunroom is what gives it that “ready to live in” feel. Picking the right shade and texture is important here. You don’t want to have to repaint again anytime soon when you’ve just finished a major remodel project.

Walls

According to the folks at Benjamin Moore, some of the most popular shades for sunrooms are light browns, peach, cream, and beige. Spring greens and yellows are also often used to brighten the walls while blues are a common choice for homeowners who plan to use the sunroom mainly for relaxation. Using a kitchen or bathroom quality paint is a good idea if this area will be exposed to moisture from outdoors.

Floor

paintA concrete floor can be painted with a concrete binding primer and a tough epoxy (such as the products used for painting garage floors). Your desired tint can be added to whatever paint you choose. So, the floor can be made to match the walls or it can be a complimentary color. Adding a faux or sponged finish in a contrasting color can make it easier to conceal cracks, stains, and scuff marks as the floor ages.

Some resources recommend applying paint directly to an unsealed concrete floor for the highest level of adherence. If the concrete is already sealed, it may need to be treated with acid so the paint will stick. Either way, applying a layer of sealant as a final coat is a good idea since it will help the paint last longer.

Has Hail Damaged Your Roof?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

hailUnlike house fires (which can often be prevented), hail is a natural phenomenon over which you have no control. You also can’t predict how much damage a hail storm will do to your home. The size of the hailstones, the speed at which they hit your house and how long the storm lasts all play a role in roof damage. Roofing that is bruised by hail won’t start leaking immediately. However, the structural integrity of the shingles will be compromised causing them to wear out faster than they would otherwise. This means that even though damage may not be visible from the ground you might actually need your entire roof replaced.

Why You Should Get an Inspection

After a moderate or severe hailstorm, you should have your roof inspected to ensure that any damage is identified and fixed quickly. If you wait until the next storm, your insurance company may claim that the damage was from the previous event and refuse to repair/replace your roof.

Many roofing companies are happy to provide an estimate free of charge to confirm that there is significant damage before you file with your homeowners insurance. Some will even meet with your claims adjuster to point out areas of damage. This may help ensure the estimate from their company and the reimbursement offered by your insurance company are based on the same information.

Picking the Right Contractor is Critical

Working with a contractor who takes responsibility for negotiating the repair price with your insurance carrier and explaining the process to you at each step is ideal. This way, you know exactly what is covered and you won’t be left holding the bag for repair costs not provided for under the adjuster’s estimate. You do have the right to select the contractor of your choice to handle roof repairs when you file an insurance claim; so don’t settle for a company that doesn’t put forth the effort to provide excellent service.