Category: Home Improvement

All About Windows: A Guide for Homeowners

All about windows

 

Are you a new homeowner or even a seasoned veteran looking for tips about the windows in your home? Want to take steps to improve your energy efficiency or curb appeal? Maybe you’re looking at replacing your windows soon, and you need to know what your options are? No matter what, this post’s for you. Today we’re taking a comprehensive look at residential windows. Here we go!

 

Energy Efficient Replacement Options – If you’re considering a replacement, check out this page on EnergyStar.gov – https://www.energystar.gov/products/most_efficient/vertical_slider_windows

It lists different manufacturers and gives you information on which climate zones they are appropriate for. This post by The House Designers also gives you a few recommendations based on manufacturer. But you should also do your own homework and look at the U factor rating of your windows.

Choosing the right U Factor – You’ve probably heard of the R-value assigned to different insulation types. The U Factor is a similar metric used to determine the rate of heat transfer so you know how well your windows insulate. These values are usually in a range from .25 to 1.25 and are going to be listed by the manufacturer. Just keep in mind that a lower number means you have better heat insulation.

Find the right Replacement Windows – Another thing you’ll want to be aware of if you’re replacing your windows is the Low-E coating applied to some modern windows. This allows you to save a ton on cooling bills in the summer by reducing the solar heat gain that is allowed to pass through the glass. In come cases, this coating can reduce solar heat by as much as 58%.

WINTER IS COMING – Sorry, not sorry about the cheesy Game of Thrones reference here. Winter heat loss can be a big drain on your finances. It’s important to take some common sense steps to get your windows ready for winter. Here’s a great post that should get your home ready for cold temps and a fictitious medieval zombie apocalypse: http://www.onehouraircovingtonla.com/not-early-get-windows-ready-winter/ 

Failed Seals? – Just because your home already has double or even triple pane windows, it doesn’t mean you’re operating at peak efficiency. The fact is, seals can fail leaving you with air between your panes instead of the gasses normally used to improve efficiency. Check for condensation between the panes or cracking which might indicate a failed seal. Keep your window warranty information handy just in case.

Cleaning Your Windows – Cleaning your windows may seem like common sense, but what if you’re dealing with tree sap on the outside or splattered paint on the inside? Check out these 10 window cleaning tips to make your next weekend chore a little easier.

 

Now you’re all set to maintain your home’s windows to the world. Keep an eye out for zombies though. WINTER IS COMING!

Home Improvements that make Financial Sense

investing in home repairs

 

Been in your home a while? You’re probably starting to notice a few signs of wear and tear. And you’ve probably also picked out a few things that just need improving. Maybe you want to add another bedroom or convert an outdoor patio into a climate controlled sunroom. But what if you’re planning to sell soon? Even if you’re not thinking about that right now, this is life! The unexpected is about the only thing you can truly expect. So, you might want to consider the financial impact of your home repairs.

 

Safety First!

 

It might be tempting to do the improvements you want to do first, but disciplined homeowners understand the value of treating their abode like an investment. After all, a home is almost always the largest investment you own. That’s why it makes sense to look at your improvements from a financial standpoint.

 

And probably the first thing to consider is any repairs that are required from a safety standpoint. Even if you’re paying for liability insurance, there could be financial risks associated with any hazardous conditions like damaged deck railings or an out of code electrical system. What if you or a loved one gets injured and misses work? What about the medical bills? Your ability to work and bring home income must be protected, so be sure to address any safety issues around the home first.

 

Improvements that PAY!

 

So after your home is safe, what’s next? Do any improvements actually make you money on average? Or are they at best going to return a portion of your investment in the form of equity?

It turns out, you’re probably never going to get a financial gain out of home improvements. Just check out this post about investing in your home. They only found a few repairs that were even close to break even. Most major repairs like bathroom remodels and window replacements only yielded an average 80% return on investment in the form of equity. Probably the best way to increase your equity is to focus on curb appeal. Simple things like landscaping or adding a nice wooden deck can really attract more buyers.

But what about numbers? Let’s take a quick look at a few projects based on their return percentages. You might be surprised at the different results:

 

Backyard Patio – 47.6%
Bathroom Addition – 59.9%
Midrance Bathroom Remodel – 70.1%
Upscale Bathroom Remodel – 56.2%
Midrange Deck Addition (Composite) – 63.6%
Midrange Deck Addition (Wood) – 82.8%
Midrange Entry Door Replacement (Steel) – 91.3%
Midrange Kitchen Remodel – 59.0%
Upscale Window Replacement (Vinyl) – 74.3%
Upscale Window Replacement (Wood) – 69.5%

 

More percentages available here: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/

 

Notice how the value changes depending on the materials you use? It seems like homeowners favor the traditional look of a wooden deck while viewing wooden windows less favorably. In both cases, the manmade material is going to be much more durable though. As I stated before, it sometimes has everything to curb appeal and less to do with reason.

 

The Bottom Line:

 

At the end of the day, you can’t really view home improvements as something that will provide a financial return on investment. You’re more or less spending that money to improve your own quality of life while you’re in the home. Sure, most upgrades and repairs will have a positive impact on home equity. But you can’t expect even a dollar for dollar return. So, keep that in mind and focus on the most important repairs and improvements first.

Things To Know About Finishing A Basement

Finishing a basement not only creates a great addition to your house, but it also becomes vital if you are looking to increase the recent value of the property. However, there are certain things for you to more before you can consider your basement to be finished.

  1. Water issues: When you are considering finishing your basement, it is important for you to check out if there are any kind of water issues in the basement before you can take on the planning process. This can be made obvious by the fact that there would be pools of water or even drips of water flowing down the walls. Always make sure that the ground of the basement is graded far away from the foundation. It would also do you a whole world of good to check if there are any cracks in the foundation walls and if there are any kind of repair work that needs to be done to it.
  2. Building codes: When taking on any kind of repair or addition work in your house, is always important for you to come up with a plan and check in with the local municipality if you would require any kind of performance to do so. This is very important, particularly if there is going to be extensive plumbing as well as electrical work which will be done in your basement, for which your basement would be required to be inspected.
  3. Vapor barrier: It is always important for you to add a vapor barrier just so that your basement does not become damp. In order for you to do so, vapor barrier to both the sides of the walls as well as the floor prior to the framing and the finishing of the surfaces is necessary. It is always a good idea for you to lay down a vapor barrier for at least a couple of days and then try again check under need to see if there are any kind of vapor formations before you can continue on finishing the basement.
  4. Insulation: The installation of insulation in the basement is very important so that you will be able to maintain the temperature and also create an extra an additional layer of barrier for the moisture. Having the insulation is also a necessity during the winter season, while at the same time you also need to get it checked by the municipal inspectors for its compliance with the building codes.
  5. Lighting: The lighting to the basement is always a very good option and it should be done by having ample light fixtures in various parts of the basement. It would be extremely easy if you make use of a drop ceiling to install the lighting as it would provide proper illumination, while at the same time ensure that you face no problems when you’re down in the basement.
Finished Basement

With these tips, finishing the basement in the proper manner should not be a problem for you.