Don’t Do This to Your Virginia Basment

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

wet-basementThe goal of almost any home owner that has an unfinished Virginia basement is to eventually finish it off. An unfinished basement is after all almost a whole extra floor underground, which can be turned into anything you or your family might need.

Basement finishing projects are far from cheap. There is no real comparison to any other single room in the house; there are challenges that only occur in a basement remodeling project. The basement is usually filled with utilities such as the plumbing, heating, and electrical junctions. Moisture and water buildups are commonplace.

Attempting to Finish a Wet or Flood Prone Basement

The way that many basements were constructed creates a very conducive condition for water seepage. The basement is likely either poured concrete or cinderblocks, both of which are fairly porous materials. When the rain saturates the ground with water, it is forced with hydrostatic pressure against the outside of the basement walls. This pressure is great enough to force the water into the structure and through the wall; this infiltration is called capillary action. On the inside, plumbing leaks and accidents, shattered water tanks, and other mishaps can cause flooding indoors. A basement needs reliable drainage, a good sump pump system, and proper dehumidification in order to be dry enough to be finished.

Constructing with Wood Studs, Fiberglass Insulation and Drywall

These materials are excellent to use above ground, but in the basement they can spell disaster. The natural humidity that a basement tends to create a condition conducive to the growth of mold when combined with organic materials such as wood, paper, and in fiberglass as the urea based adhesive that holds the batch together.

Not only is the mold hazardous, but the fiberglass insulation loses all of its R-value when damp. Drywall is even worse; when it comes into contact with water it begins to slowly decompose and release toxic fumes. All materials used to construct basement walls should be inorganic and 100% waterproof if they are expected to survive a flood or water accident.

Improper Use of Vapor Barriers

Shady contractors will try to convince you that you can use any kind of finish you want as long as you staple poly sheets all over the walls and to the floor of the basement. There is a worse suggestion, placing the vapor barrier over the studs and fiberglass, and putting the drywall on top. The US Department of Energy’s Building America Best Practices recommends that any moisture from basement walls and floors should be allowed to evaporate and dry to the interior. An Improper vapor barrier will only serve to do one thing: trap condensation between the concrete and the barrier, creating another ideal situation for mold to grow, which you definitely don’t want in your Virginia basement.

The Pride and the All-in-One Vanity

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

modern-bathroom-vanitiesSome may think that they can save themselves a few bucks by doing the grunt work themselves, but that may not always be the case. A person may decide to replace or upgrade their bathroom counters, not realizing that they would have to install a sink as well. There are bathroom vanity combinations available, that include the sinks and all of the hardware that goes with them, usually in very elegant designs that are eye catching, but blend well into most Virginia bathrooms.

Versatile Beauty

These all-in-one units are manufactured to suit any installation. The choices of wood color are quite broad, as well as the available looks of all of the other fixtures. There are extremely large vanity combos for luxurious oversized bathrooms, as well as scaled down units that are better suited to smaller rooms. Materials available include marble, granite, or tile for the counter tops, and glass, porcelain, or china for the basin. Together, the combination of beauty and versatility can match what any person desires for their home improvement project.

Just because the bathroom space is smaller than many other rooms, doesn’t mean that it is going to be less expensive to remodel. On the contrary the cost per square foot can be much higher than other rooms, like a bedroom. This can be offset slightly by purchasing a wall mounted vanity to conserve money and space. The units are designed to be extremely easy to install and plumb all in one step. The bowl comes already attached to the vanity. The main advantage is that there is more floor space under the sink, creating the illusion of more room in an otherwise tight area.

A Better Option Today

Expense used to be a big concern for people who bought bathroom vanity combos, but competition from overseas has really done a lot to change all of that. The American standard of high quality workmanship and materials is now available at affordable prices. The more high-end your bathroom vanity combo, the more likely that it is going to bolster your future asking price, if you ever decide to sell the house. Think of it as an investment.

It doesn’t matter if you are brave, foolhardy, or handy enough to successfully complete the project if you don’t take proper measurements of your space. Never neglect to measure the distance of the plumbing and electrical outlets from the floor and ceiling, as well as the height and width of the door that your vanity must fit through. Too many people try to “eyeball” a size in the store where the gigantically high ceiling and bright fluorescent lights will make it look a lot smaller than it is. Having to return your vanity to the store because it wouldn’t fit through your door is embarrassing and discouraging.

The proper measurements in hand, a good place to look for a good vanity is the internet. The competition online is very fierce, and the lack of overhead gives the savvy customer a wide selection at practically wholesale prices. Of course, a qualified general contractor is also quite capable of installing the vanities as well, and will likely get it right on the first try. When it comes to the look of your Virginia bathroom, the ball is in your court.

5 Reasons to Construct a Virginia Sunroom

Filed Under: Sunroom    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-sunroom-2If you own a home in Virginia, a sunroom should be one of the featured rooms in your house. If your house doesn’t have one, why not build an addition? The sunroom is practically a southern tradition, and nothing beats a warm summer evening sitting in your sunroom, feeing the gentle breeze glide through open windows. It can be like having a little slice of heaven on earth.

Convenient Relaxation

Where else in your home can you go to relax in a quiet soothing atmosphere? With the ability to shut out the rest of the house and create a completely separate space, either for reading or meditation, or whatever it is that you like to do in your quiet time.

Natural Beauty

Many sunrooms are accented by lots of plant life that not only adds to the relaxing atmosphere, but also provides a piece of living art to enjoy throughout the year. A little research into when the plants blossom during the year is a good idea so that different plants are going off all year long. Additionally, placing some plants directly outside of the sunroom attracts some of the prettier wildlife, like birds and butterflies.

Entertainment Room

Such a beautiful and relaxing space deserves to be shared with your family and firnds don’t you think? A sunroom makes a fantastic place to hold quiet tea parties, and yet equally suitable for more formal affairs. Practically any occasion worth celebrating can take place in the natural beauty of your sunroom.

Extra Living Space

If you live in a home full of people, wouldn’t an extra room to get away from it all be a really good idea? Even if there aren’t many others around, you probably have several extra chairs and maybe a little table that all deserve a good home in a brand new sunroom.

Value of Equity

The use you get out of your Virginia sunroom could be bonus enough, but home improvements are their own bonus because of home equity. The value of the home itself increases with an addition, so building one can really pay for itself. One day, probably a faraway date, you will thank yourself for having the wisdom and forethought to hire a general contractor to complete your wonderful new sunroom.

With your sunroom addition you are not only investing in the future, but you are also getting a room that can add all kinds of possibilities. Your Virginia sunroom can be both a functional practical component of your home, and a fun place to be all at the same time.

Metal Roofs in Virginia Save Money, Energy

Filed Under: Roofing    by: Steve Kayhill

metal-roofing-1Whether you live in a residential Home or own a commercial building in Virginia, roofing advice is pretty much the same: the roof can be a big weakness if it is neglected. The roof takes the most beating from the elements, whether it is rain, snow, sun, or wind. If a roof is able to stand up to them, the other parts of your house will suffer less decay in the long run, saving you money in maintenance costs. Once the roof starts to go, however, the other parts of the structure aren’t far behind.

Today’s Modern Roof

The Green movement has really put a focus on the home’s energy efficiency, and that includes the roof. The goal with modern roofs seems to be creating a system that will help keep the home cool in the summer. The United States Secretary of Energy has urged all new “cool” roofing systems, and there is even a federal tax credit encouraging the use of cool roof technologies, and in some states there are utility company incentives as well.

The roof of a home does more than keep the weather out and cool the house, it also collects more of the sun’s rays that any other part of the house. The best quality roofing systems on the market today provide for the installation of solar panels to augment the energy used by the home, and in some cases, the very roof tiles themselves are little solar panels.

Advantages of Roofing with Metal

These advancements have brought back to the forefront a roofing material that some considered to be a thing of the past: metal. Ten years ago, metal roofing only held about 2% of the market share, today that has jumped to 10% and may still continue to climb. This is good news for our economy because most metal roofs used in the U.S. are also produced here from raw materials in our soil.

Everyone knows that a metal roof is just plain more durable than most other types of roofs. Other materials begin to deteriorate from the very moment they are installed, beginning a process that leads to brittle spots, soft spots, curled up edges, cracks, and wind damage. This is not the case when it comes to a metal roof. Metal roofs hold on to that “like new” quality that can add great curb appeal to a home.

Moreover, new metal roofs installed are often coated with reflective materials that add to the cooling capabilities of the roof. They send the sun’s rays right back into space, which has remarkable results in the upper floors and attic space. New roofing systems are also made to work with high efficiency ventilation systems for enhanced temperature control and energy savings. If you live in Virginia, roofing systems like these may actually save you money in the long run.