3 Tips for Finding The Most Cost-Effective Home Upgrades

As the population in Virginia continues to grow, so does the demand for homes, and this demand is prompting many homeowners to start remodeling, looking for top dollar. One of the main secrets to home renovations is to find upgrades that are not merely cosmetic but functional as well. Such renovations will increase curb appeal and extend the life of the home.

1. Since many of Virginia’s homes are a bit older, many of them do not meet the higher standards of energy efficiency that are becoming the industry standard. Because of this, residents looking to find the most cost-effective ways to remodel their home should consider projects that add energy efficiency to the home. While this may sound like a difficult project, sometimes increasing a home’s energy rating can be as simple as adding more insulation to an attic. Well-insulated attics can cut a home’s energy cost by as much as 50 percent, so this is perhaps the most cost-effective upgrade anyone can make.

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Five Most Important Facts About Attic Insulation

In recent years, the population growth in Virginia has been quite rapid, particularly in metropolitan areas; so rapid in fact that the state is growing faster than the nation. Despite the recent construction of many newer homes, the average age of home in Virginia is still quite old, particularly in Virginia’s northern counties. While many of these homes have been upgraded or remodeled, many of them have not, and one of the most significant upgrades homeowners will want to make to older homes is to increase the quality and/or quantity of the attic insulation. Many older homes were built almost entirely without insulation, making the energy cost in these homes quite high. Here are a few key facts you should know about attic insulation.

If you are buying an older home, make sure to check the quality of the attic insulation and factor any necessary changes into the sale price of the home. Effective insulation is one of the keys to having a quality living experience.

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The Three Most Popular Front Porch Options for Your Home

Once you have decided to either replace or add a front porch, you will face numerous choices of style and various other options. The three most popular styles are popular because they fit many types of houses, they are cost effective and they are highly functional.

No matter which style you choose, be sure that you are using the best building materials and be sure to closely follow building directions. Make sure you have the proper permits and that you understand how to deal with drainage and foundation issues. With a little work, you can create a beautiful addition to your home.

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The Best Time of Year to Replace Your Gutters

Properly maintained and cleaned gutters should last for the lifetime of the home. But if you have damage to your gutters and downspouts due to harsh weather or lack of maintenance, you may want to consider replacing them. The major purpose of gutters and downspouts are to capture water runoff from the roof and to direct the flow of the runoff away from the shingles, siding and foundation of the house. If gutters and downspouts are not intact, there can be severe water damage to the house over time. Gutters and downspouts, of course, are the most useful when it rains or during a thaw.

How can you determine if your gutters need to be replaced? Just as a periodic check is needed for all areas of the house such as the roof and siding, you should also periodically check your gutters. When you clean out your gutters after the leaves fall, you should also check the integrity of each section, making sure that the sections are loose. You should check that gutters aren’t rusted or cracked. If gutters or downspouts are bent or floppy, this is another indication that they are worn past their usefulness. Mold can also form on the outside of your home where gutters leak, even slowly.

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The Best Way to Select Vinyl Replacement Shutters

While exterior shutters on a home often have little to no functional value anymore, shutters do add style and beauty to your home. Some shutters do act in lieu of curtains or other window treatments by controlling the amount of light allowed into the home. The main problem is that replacement shutters tend to be very expensive if they are made of wood. Wooden shutters can deteriorate, especially if they are exposed to the elements without being maintained. If your home is in an area with high humidity and a great deal of sun, it will be to your advantage to replace your old wooden shutters with durable vinyl shutters.

Vinyl shutters are less expensive than wood and, from even a short distance away, look no different than wooden. In areas with high humidity, vinyl shutters will not swell and shrink and will not warp. Vinyl shutters come in a variety of sizes, styles and colors. Some of the most common styles are:

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Three Ways Replacement Windows Will Save You Money on Your Monthly Bills

If you find that your windows are drafty in the winter and feel hot to the touch in the summer, your house may be the perfect candidate for replacement windows. While you can seal your drafty windows with caulking or by redoing the window frames, you can benefit in many ways by replacing old single-paned, non-coated windows with more energy efficient, newer grades of glass. What are the major ways that you can decrease your bills by replacing some or all of your windows?

While replacing all the windows in your home may be quite expensive, it might be wise to choose particular key windows to replace that are particularly bad insulators and are exposed to the elements more than your other windows. By doing this you can save a great deal of money not only on your energy bills, but on other maintenance bills as well.

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The Top Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Insulation in Your Home

There are many reasons why you might want or need to install insulation in various parts of your house. Your house may be old and the insulation is the original insulation. Your insulation may not be up to code. Your insulation may not be thick enough to insulate well. When you decide to install insulation, there are some pitfalls that you should avoid:

Although it is best to call a professional to install insulation in your home, you can do this yourself if you do your homework, read directions and follow directions carefully. With the proper insulation your home will be extremely energy efficient.

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The Most Popular Home Improvement Projects To Do In the Summer

Summertime is not only a time of vacations, it is also the time to tackle projects that require your presence outside or require parts of your home to be open. Some people actually dedicate a portion of their vacation to improving their homes. Whether it is a weekend project or a week-long renovation, the key is to plan ahead. Nothing is more irksome than a project left unfinished for long periods of time.

Some of the most popular large projects during the summer include:

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How to Install a Front Porch

The front porch is not only a useful area, but it is an expected part of the architecture of any home. You may have an old front porch that is falling apart and dangerous or you may not have a front porch, but would like one. If you have a few extra dollars, finding a professional to help you install a front porch would be ideal. A front porch is very similar to a deck in many ways. However, it is also a bit easier to build a front porch yourself than it is to build your own deck.

The first thing to do is to plan the style and size of your deck. You will need to measure your designated area in order to know how much material you need. Make sure you have the proper permits for your porch project. Then you will need to follow these steps:

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How to Select the Right Deck Builder

If you are not one of those people who love to build and do everything themselves, building a deck may not be your cup of tea. You must then find the right contractor to build your deck. But what exactly is the ‘right’ contractor? How do you know they will do the job you envision?

As in any large job or purchase that will cost a significant amount of money, you should start by doing your homework. If you have friends who have decks that you like, get the names of their contractors. Then, you should look up the available contractors in your area who build decks. Some may even have websites where you can look at examples of their work. If not, a quick phone call can ascertain locations where each contractor has done work. When you survey the various decks, make a note about how the contractors do their work. How do they connect each piece? What is the quality of the construction? Do they use the highest quality materials?

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