Top Five Tips on Budgeting For Your Northern Virginia Deck

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_deckOutdoor living space will add to your quality of life and create countless opportunities for family fun and relaxation. But saving the money for your Northern Virginia deck project can be challenging. Follow these top five budgeting tips and you’ll have the deck of your dreams before you know it.

Tip 1 – Design the Most Functional Deck Possible

Many people rush through the design process and end up with a space that doesn’t meet their needs as well as it could have. Decks are permanent fixtures in your landscape and are difficult (and expensive) to change or adapt once they have been installed. Work through all of your needs and concerns before finalizing a deck design that is ideal for your family.

Keep the overall budget in mind throughout the process, but be sure you do not compromise on features and size. Building a small deck or leaving out important features will be cause for regret and diminish the value of this investment.

Tip 2 – Consider the Time of Year

You will get the most enjoyment out of your deck when it’s installed in the spring. But that only applies to the current season. You’ll have years to appreciate the deck space, and waiting until the off-season to install your Northern Virginia deck can mean big savings.

Many contractors slow down in the fall and early winter months. This could be the ideal time to get more for your money. It doesn’t hurt to ask, although the prices of material and working conditions have the most effect on the overall project price.

Tip 3 – Obtain a Home Equity Loan

Since a deck will add to the value of your home, many financial institutions will consider extending a home equity loan to cover the cost. These types of loans often come with a lower interest rate than your credit cards and allow for flexible payments. Talk to your financial institution about the most affordable plan for financing this particular project.

Tip 4 – Research Government Programs

Various tax rebates and government incentives have been in place for homeowners in the past. From upgrading your heating appliances to installing alternative energy solutions, these offers were designed to help you save money directly from the government. Do your research and find out if the design or type of materials chosen for your deck fits into any rebate programs.

Tip 5 – Consider the DIY Option

It may not be feasible for every homeowner, but those with the skill and inclination to build a deck can save money going the DIY route. This project can get complicated though, so don’t attempt the installation process without the know how to see it through. Instead it may be worthwhile to consider other expenses and costs that can be shaved by doing certain task yourself.

Spending lots of cash on car washes? Shining up the car or truck yourself is much cheaper and lots of fun. Have you hired a landscaper to plant the gardens or brought in a painter to redecorate the house? Think about whether you can tackle other projects with DIY, leaving that cash free to invest in a new deck. Use the skills you have to save money and invest that money into a professionally built outdoor living space.

The atmosphere and space that a new Northern Virginia deck offers is priceless. Follow these budget tips to move faster towards the completion of this project with wisdom and practicality.

How to Choose Top Quality Virginia Replacement Windows

Filed Under: Windows    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-replacement-windowsHome improvement projects are an investment in your lifestyle and comfort. Upgrades can also help you to save money on heating bills, but only high quality Virginia replacement windows will provide true value for your money. What can consumers look for in quality windows? Is there a premium design or style that offers durability and beauty you can count on? Browse the selection of windows to find out which is best for your home.

Three Components of a Window

There are three basic parts of a window that will affect the overall quality:

  • Frame construction and design – Window frames are available in various materials, including wood, vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass. Combinations are also on the market, offering the benefits of both materials. The very best replacement windows have frames built for durability – thick, strong components that fit together seamlessly – and efficiency. If a significant amount of heat is lost through the window frame, your investment will be wasted.
  • Glass panes – Double and tripled glazed windows that include low E coatings and gas fillings offer the best value in Virginia replacement windows. Energy efficient and attractive, these windows can add natural light to your home and brighten up any living space. Look for glass with security features for vulnerable areas such as exterior doors.
  • Hardware – Many experts look at the hardware of replacement windows first, since the quality evident in this smaller component is often indicative of overall quality. Flimsy or improperly installed hardware generally means the window has been poorly designed or offers lower quality materials. Solid hardware that will stand up to countless turns, cranks, pulls and yanks is what homeowners should be opting for. Strong hardware will keep your window operating well.

Where To Buy Quality Windows

You can do most of your research online, browsing the features and designs of various manufacturers on their websites. Be sure that your preferred window installation contractor handles the brands you are looking into. Ask which brands the contractor has access to or find out whether they are interested in installing other manufacturers.

Shop for sales in the off season. But remember that the sooner your replacement windows are installed, the sooner you will begin to save money on heating and cooling costs. You may find the window retailers put last year’s models on sale to make way for the new lines. These older products are often just as good as the newer models, unless a major industry advancement has occurred. Discuss the differences in price and design before making your final purchase.

Using an experienced installer is almost as important as buying a quality product. If expensive, highly advanced windows are improperly installed, all of those benefits you paid for will be thrown out the proverbial window. Energy efficiency depends on a tight fit, as well as the design and materials of the actual product.

Durability and operation are affected by installation as well. Have you ever tried to open or close a window that was in crooked or not shimmed well? Hire a contractor that will be sure to do a thorough job, with removal and replacement of your windows. Then you can be sure that your investment in Virginia replacement windows is money well spent, increasing your comfort and the value of your home.

How to Build a Greener Home With Your Virginia Contractor

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-contractor-greenGoing green is on everyone’s mind these days. There is a push to recycle more, waste less and generally take better care of the planet. Whether you are building a new home or planning a renovation, your Virginia contractor can help you design and build a greener home. Move forward into a cleaner future with green building materials and construction techniques.

Contractors Offer Expert Advice

General contractors are experts in their field. Because they deal with subtrades, material suppliers and manufacturers, these professionals have an insider’s view on industry evolutions. As the green building industry expands and new products and technologies are offered your Virginia general contractors will have premiere access.

They can also help you to decide which green projects will work in your home. In some cases, a certain type of recycled material or construction technique will not be advantageous on your property. It could be that exposure or climate conditions will wear down materials quickly. Or possibly the size of your home will push the cost of a certain project element out of reach. You can trust a professional contractor, relying on their extensive experience and industry knowledge.

Elements of a Green Home

When working from the ground up, homeowners and house designers have many more options for green building. Consider advanced wall framing techniques (this style of framing cuts down on the amount of wood used, as well as reducing heat loss with comparable amounts of insulation used), high efficiency lighting and the latest window and door designs.

Interior finishing materials can also be green. Products made from renewable resources like bamboo, cork and other wood species are considered excellent choices that deliver minimal environmental impact. Think about the paint and wall treatments used, and try to reduce the amount of toxins and VOCs used. Recycled materials are popular in the kitchen and bath. And high efficiency heating and cooling systems will also help to create a greener home.

Professional Installation

Choose a Virginia contractor with a solid reputation and you can look forward to professional installation. Your new energy efficient windows will be handled with care, bamboo flooring and recycled glass counters will fit perfectly and lighting and solar panel systems will be wired well.

If your project includes an element that the contractor does not normally handle – such as solar panels – they should have connections within the industry. You can expect a reliable recommendation, at the very least.

A Warranty to Count On

One of the best things about hiring a reputable contractor for your green home renovation is the warranty. Smaller firms or handyman services do not often offer comparable coverage, and an investment of this size should come with the security a warranty delivers.

There is often separate warranty coverage for the materials and installation. Your contractor may cover the labor and installation for a certain period of time, while the materials will be covered by the retailer or the manufacturer. Be sure to obtain all of the details before the project is completed, including any paperwork or registration information you will need. Be aware that manufacturers of some products (windows, doors, lighting , etc.) will keep your personal information on file in order to validate the warranty.

Talk about how to build a greener home with your Virginia contractor. They will offer informed suggestions and help you to design a home that is truly environmentally friendly.

Low Maintenance Replicas Are Ideal For Virginia Siding Replacements

Filed Under: Siding, Uncategorized    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-siding-shakesVinyl siding is a popular choice for homeowners across the United States. Offering a low maintenance solution for your home’s exterior, vinyl  is also available in a variety of styles designed to mimic traditional and maintenance-intensive types of Virginia siding. Have you considered these attractive and affordable alternatives to your preferred look?

Shakes and Shiplap

Wood siding adds charm to your home, but it will also add a fair amount of work to your schedule. Wood needs to be painted or stained in order to slow down the aging process. It also needs to be protected from pests and will rot quickly when moisture is consistently present.

There are various styles of vinyl siding that have been formed to look like wood – from replica cedar shakes to shiplap vinyl siding, these products offer all of the charm without any of the maintenance. You can even get these siding styles in natural wood colors, including golden cedar tones and traditional painted wood finishes like nautical blue or whitewashed pine.

Manufacturers also offer vertical vinyl siding that looks similar to tongue and groove cedar, a style often seen on sheds or pool cabanas. This gives your home a distinct look and comes in a wide range of colors and profiles.

Log Cabin Look

Besides the flat wood siding styles that are available, you will also find vinyl siding shaped to mimic log cabins. Rounded and textured to look similar to the rough hewn cedar logs used on rustic cabins, this style of vinyl siding is much less expensive than its counterpart and can be used for the whole home or as an accent.

Many people wonder whether vinyl can ever come close to the look and feel of genuine log cabins. Stop by your nearest building supply store or go online to browse through samples and pictures of this product. You may be pleasantly surprised at the realism this type of vinyl Virginia siding presents.

Stone and Brick Work

Are you looking for a stone accent on the facade of your home? Maybe you’ve always dreamed of a stone finish, but the design of your home cannot accommodate the weight and construction of that material. Check out the vinyl siding products that provide the look of stone or brick without the added weight and depth requirements. Less expensive and easier to install than even stone veneer is, formed vinyl siding is available in a variety of shapes.

Look for profiles made to resemble bricks, sandstone and a selection of other natural stones in varying shades. Often made from a polymer compound, these panels may be heavier than the standard vinyl siding pieces, but they are installed in a similar fashion and provide the same level of durability.

If you are considering what type of siding to install on your new home or home addition, take a close look at the many benefits vinyl offers. But you don’t need to settle for the standard appearance. Vinyl siding is available in profiles that mimic cedar shakes, wood shiplap siding, log cabins and even stone and brick. The possibilities for your Virginia siding project are wider than you may have thought.