Typical Considerations for Virginia Window Replacement Projects

Filed Under: Windows    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_window_replacementInstalling new windows in your home is a wise investment. Not only will you add to the energy efficiency of your living space, but Virginia window replacement projects brighten up your home and increase the value. There are certain considerations every homeowner should keep in mind when planning for this home improvement, which will make for a smoother experience all around.

Design Considerations

There are a wide variety of window designs to choose from in today’s market. You could simply replace the windows in the size and shape they are. Or you could choose a few strategic locations and opt for an expansion. Sliding patio doors in place of windows on the rear wall of your home will transform your living space, while tall thin windows in the stairway can brighten up those dark corners.

Think about the window operation as well. If you have casement windows and would prefer double hung, now is the time to switch over. Transform a fixed window to an operable style or vice versa. Tackling a Virginia window replacement project gives you the chance to install windows with the design that suits your lifestyle.

Construction Considerations

The materials used in the construction of your window will make an enormous difference to the efficiency and fit of the window. Vinyl or composite products deliver the highest levels of efficiency, with aluminum window frames offering a decent level as well. Solid wood window frames are very attractive and traditional. The timber also creates an effective heat loss barrier, although it does require more maintenance over time.

One of the most popular replacement windows on the market today is the composite window frame. These combine the strength and advantages of wood and vinyl to deliver an attractive frame that fits exceptionally well and creates a low maintenance, efficient replacement. With wood on the interior of the window frame this style is appealing to many, while the vinyl clad exterior presents a virtually maintenance free finish that will last for decades.

Shop around for the construction and materials that suit your tastes and home best. Often period or colonial homes look strange with modern window replacements, but with a little planning and the help of a professional window installation contractor every home can be fit with authentic, attractive windows.

Budget Considerations

As with all home improvement projects, budget drives choice. No matter what amount you have to invest in this job, be sure to purchase the best quality you can afford. The windows themselves should be double glazed and include a low E coating for maximum efficiency. Gases such as argon may also come in between the panes to improve the efficiency even more, although this option may bump the budget up too high.

Weigh your priorities and understand which style, design and materials will deliver the greatest value for your home, family and climate. When it comes to Virginia window replacement projects, it pays to take your time, research carefully and choose an experienced contractor that will be able to offer you the advice and skills this type of project requires.

Experienced Virginia General Contractors Have the Connections You Need

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractorsAs is true in nearly every industry, contractors and construction firms often work together to make projects happen. Homeowners can cash in on the benefits of this network by hiring experienced Virginia general contractors that have the connections you need. Are you wondering how these relationships can help in a home addition or construction job? Think about these advantages and consider the value of a well-connected firm.

General Contractors Need to Manage Multiple Disciplines Well

Your Virginia general contractor will be in charge of making your project run smoothly. They will need to coordinate the schedule, order and arrange for the delivery of materials and hire, manage and supervise the various crews working at your home. Starting with a contractor that has a wide range of connections within the assorted areas of expertise needed is a smart idea.

For instance, if your general contractor has worked with a certain plumbing firm on many jobs and is familiar with their style of work, trusts their level of quality and has a decent level of communication with their staff, your project will surely reap the benefits of that connection.

On the other hand, if a general contractor hires a plumber they have not worked with in the past your project may be the testing ground and will suffer from any mistakes and lack of expertise. A general contracting firm without sufficient connections will be flying blind when hiring and managing the subtrades. And the quality of your home improvement project will feel the effects of this state of affairs.

General Contractors Need to Have Skilled Staff

Well established general contractors have connections within the subtrades, which also provides an advantage when hiring their own staff. General contracting firms often employ skilled labor, those who have spent time in various industries and are now using that knowledge to help in the management stage. Most times a connected business will be able to hire staff with good references and the skills required.

Again contracting firms that are new in town do not have this advantage. They may have a select amount of experienced staff, but their lack of connections will show. Be sure to ask the contractors about the level of experience their staff has and hire a firm that will offer proven expertise at every stage.

General Contractors Need to Deal With Government Agencies

Most projects require a certain amount of dealings with government agencies. From the building department to city planning and zoning, the connections your general contracting firm has will help as your project goes through various levels of government. It may not be well advertised, but firms that have done plenty of work in your area will know how to move through the system efficiently.

They will be well versed in how to fill out the applicable forms and apply for the proper variances and permits. Certain Virginia general contractors will have established relationships with the building inspectors and government staff that need to be involved in your project. These relationships will prove helpful, along with their connections in the industry and their experienced staff. It pays in more ways than one to hire a general contractor firm that has proven itself and will serve you well.

Is Vinyl a Good Choice For Your Northern Virginia Siding?

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

northern-virginia-sidingThe exterior finish on your home is an essential element that provides protection, and beauty, as well as adding to the level of efficiency in your home. You need to assess each type of cladding before deciding which is best for your climate, design and tastes. Vinyl is a popular option for Northern Virginia siding, but is it the best choice for you?

Disadvantages of Vinyl Siding

While vinyl is very resistant to moisture, it is more vulnerable to damage than bricks or stone would be. The natural strength of bricks makes them less susceptible to dents and scratches, whereas vinyl siding can be damaged during a strong storm. The PVC is fairly thin when compared to bricks as well as fiber cement siding. And although it is flexible and much easier to handle than stone, vinyl siding cannot take the same level of abuse that these other types of cladding can.

If it is not installed properly vinyl siding can be very noisy in the wind. This is one reason why it’s so important to hire a professional when installing your Northern Virginia siding. They will know how to put the panels together, accounting for the expansion and contraction that naturally occurs when PVC is exposed to the elements. Loose siding is not only less efficient, but moves in the wind and makes a decent amount of noise.

Advantages of Vinyl Siding

Despite the potential for damage, vinyl siding is actually a very durable selection for any climate. It provides a solid layer of protection against wind and when combined with insulation, will help to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere in your home. Vinyl siding stays cool in the summer and will help to repel cold in the winter. It requires very little maintenance, even over years of dependable use.

The vinyl cladding industry offers a wide selection of profiles, colors and styles available. You can even find vinyl siding that coordinates well with period homes, allowing you to install a low maintenance solution with a faithful appearance. Whether you want to change the exterior look of your house or match what is currently there, it’s easy to find the perfect product. You can even add matching and complimentary trim and moldings, helping you to finish the exterior with detail and distinct beauty.

Vinyl is one of the most affordable options available for exterior cladding. Even the most innovative brands are reasonably priced, when compared to the other options on the market. Materials are less expensive and because installation is often less labor intensive, the overall cost can be significantly lower. If you prefer the look of natural stone or brick yet don’t quite have the budget for it, vinyl siding can be used on the sides and rear walls with brick or stone applied to the front-facing walls. This combination is good for the budget and will create the attractive appearance you want.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using vinyl cladding. With this option your Northern Virginia siding will be attractive and affordable, although it may not hold up against harsh weather conditions like heavier cladding will. Depending on your tastes and priorities vinyl may be the best choice. Using it on its own or in combination with other types of siding is a wise option that will deliver a variety of benefits.

Tips on Shopping for Northern Virginia Real Estate

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_real_estateWhether you are looking for your first home, upgrading to a larger home or downsizing, shopping for Northern Virginia real estate is an exciting and, at times, stressful process. By heading into the fray with a strategy and the proper tools you will have much more success and enjoyment.

Assess Your Needs

The very first step in shopping for real estate is to figure out what you need. Remember that you are not likely to find a property that fits all of your wants, however you shouldn’t settle for something less than what your family needs.

Make a list of the features you are looking for in a home, starting with the number one priority and working your way downward. Location, size and price range are likely to be the top three features, followed by layout, age and the yard size (not necessarily in that order). Talk through this list with your family and come to an agreement about just what is important in a home.

Assess the Market

Most people require the help of a Northern Virginia real estate professional at this stage. They may be able to browse the properties for sale online or in print publications, but they are better to have the insider information and expertise of a realtor.

Your realtor will have access to details on brand new and exclusive property listings, often well before they are available to the general public. Many of the best deals on desirable properties are made between realtors well before the online and print listings have them included. Think of how much broader your search will be with the help of this information and these professionals.

Consider the Finances

It’s very important to get your financing in order before you seriously shop for real estate. When the market is ripe or the perfect property has been found you must have the ability to put in an offer right away. Setting up financing takes time. If you are not prepared that dream home could very well be snatched up by another buyer while you are at the bank.

Get as much of the process completed with the approvals in place ahead of time. This will give you the flexibility of knowing what you can afford, as well as the ability to put in offers with fewer conditions.

Think About Your Current Property

If you currently own a home now is also the time to assess how much it can be sold for. You will also need to tackle any home improvement projects that will allow your home to sell quicker and for a higher value. Consult your real estate professional about this as well and invest your money into projects that will attract buyers. A fresh coat of paint, landscaping touch ups and obvious repairs that need to be done are among the most important projects to be completed at this stage.

These stages are essential while shopping for Northern Virginia real estate. Considering what you need and what is available, as well as how much you could sell your existing property for will help to narrow down the search. Setting up your financing is a wise move that will make the entire process smoother when you do locate the perfect home. Start the whole thing off by finding an experienced realtor who knows the area and then get moving.