Cedar Shake Siding

Using cedar shake siding for your exterior walls can create a good looking and impressive appearance to your home. Many homeowners (and builders) choose this material because it can look both rustic and elegant. But like most things, there are pros and cons to selecting cedar shake siding.

The first thing we should do is understand the difference between shakes and shingles. Shakes are split, while shingles are sawn.

This means that the shakes are thicker and rougher looking. Although shingles are smoother, they are not dressed. Therefore, they retain a rustic look that many homeowners like.

There is very little maintenance involved in either. They both turn grayish as they weather, again adding to the rustic appearance. Many believe this weathering adds to curb appeal.Disadvantage

The downside of the cedar shingles is cost. The material is about 25% higher than shakes, and they take longer to install. Although cedar siding will last many years, cement board siding is more durable.

In both cases, your installation costs will be considerably higher than other types of wood siding. The installer has to nail each piece individually. There is a lot of measuring, and a lot of cutting around windows, doors, eaves, and trim.

Typically, there are thousands of pieces needed for the average-size house. If you do it yourself, prepare for many days of tedious work.

In the event that you prefer to have your cedar shake siding painted or stained instead of natural, use spraying equipment. And if you want to be sure that you cover those tiny spaces behind and between the shakes, paint them before you install them. It’ll take longer, but you will have complete coverage.

Any questions or comments about this page, contact me about cedar shake siding here. OR Feel free to ask about any remodeling issue that might be troubling you.

Canvas Awnings: Fixed or Retractable – Which is Best?

Canvas awnings have become popular with homeowners for not only helping to reduce cooling costs in summer, but also for extending the usability of the area under the awning. Summer heat can make enjoying a deck or patio unbearable in some areas of the country.

Professionally installed awnings can add value to the home and make those peak summer days more enjoyable. Installing a home awning can prove to be a terrific investment. Before you decide and install your canvas awning, there are a few things you should know.

Fixed or Retractable?

Awnings generally come in two varieties: fixed or retractable. A fixed frame awning functions as a more permanent structure. It will provide continual weather protection and is always present for uninterrupted shade and cover.

A retractable awning offers movement due to spring-loaded arms that support the awning and provides the option of sun or shade. If full weather protection is desired, a fixed awning may be the way to go.

Fixed canvas awnings are out in the weather 24/7. This results in fading of the awning covers, and these covers need to be replaced after a few years, or they rot and tear in the wind.

They also look faded, not a good look for a nice house. And a fixed awning will usually be supported by some form of fixed rigid arms or poles. These are often a hazard to those moving around them if they are fixed to the ground, like upright poles.

Businesses and retail locations often use fixed canvas awnings for signage and for protection from the elements over entrances and exits. For the home, a retractable one is a perfect choice because it allows for the homeowner to extend and retract the awning as needed.

It can be retracted either manually or automatically using a remote control or on/off switch. Retractable devices are very convenient and provide a considerable amount of control for the homeowner.

Choosing Colors and Fabrics

Awning manufacturers now offer a wide variety of fabrics and colors for their products. It is best to choose a high quality grade of fabric.

The difference in price between high and low quality fabrics does not justify investing in a cheaper fabric. As with most consumer items, the old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true here as well.

Heavy fabrics will resist fading easier than cheaper grades. Fabrics manufacturer’s warranties should span at least five years, and with good maintenance and care, their lifespan should prove to be much longer. Metal frames should come with lifetime warranties. Be sure to choose a color for your canvas awnings that will suitably match the exterior of your home.

One of the best investments you can make for your home is a retractable awning. A good awning over the right windows and doors adds value and functionality to your home unlike most other home additions you can make for around the same price.

It is getting more and more important to provide good shade and protection for the glass areas of your house. Energy consumption for heating and cooling is becoming more and more expensive. It costs and arm and a leg to air condition a house now, and it is fast becoming important to find ways to conserve energy.

You cannot remove a fixed awning easily, so they are normally left in place during weather events like storms and this often results in damage to both the awning and the house, and sometimes other properties in extreme weather if the awning becomes detached from the house.

A retractable awning, on the other hand, is a better option. Sure it is more expensive than their fixed cousins, but they offer more options, they last longer, and they’re safer.

Eco-Friendly Ways To Improve Your Home

One of the biggest trends that we see these days is the desire of many homeowners  to “go green.” Of course, as well as saving the planet, which is something we all want to do – going ‘eco-friendly’ when remodeling your home also has some serious cost benefits as well – so you really should check it out!. The following article will provide you with some excellent eco-friendly ways to improve your home – and save some money in the process.

Low Energy Lighting

First, considering switching your standard bulbs to CFLs. CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamp, and this type of light can use as little as one-fifth of the electricity of your old light bulbs – they can also last up to a whopping fifteen times longer! Although CFLs are more costly to buy, they can save more than five times their purchase price over the lifetime of the bulb in energy costs. That’s why, these light bulbs can be an incredible way to save money and go green at the same time.
Check For Leaks

Be sure you are regularly checking your pipes for any potential water leaks. Even if you don’t notice any change in your water pressure, there could still be a small leak. Most of us believe that a small leak doesn’t matter, but, in fact, a leak that is not resolved can lead to larger (and most expensive)  issues down the road. Additionally, this small leak can quickly increase your water bill. Don’t assume that just because your water bill has not increased means you do not have a leak. Sometimes, water companies delay checking your meter, and the costs of a leak can accumulate to an incredibly large bill several months in the future. I,personally know of 2 instances when this has happened recently. Prevent this from happening to you by being diligent and inspecting your property regularly for leaks. If you notice your land is unusually damp, be very cautious.

Beware The ‘Standby Syndrome’

Did you know that all of your plugged appliances use electricity, even when they are not connected to anything? This includes your television, phone chargers, microwaves, lamps, fans, etc. Thats why its vital, if possible, to go around your home and unplug any appliances you are not current using in order to reduce your electrical bill. You could also go the extra step and install a power strip. High-quality power strips provide vital power surge protection which will protect all of your expensive and delicate electronic items and will automatically turn off your outlets whenever they are not being used; therefore, that’s great if you are,like me, to lazy unplug anything!!

Upgrade Your Insulation

If you have old insulation, it may be time to upgrade it. Although insulation does not add beauty and decor to your home, it is, nevertheless, a vital part of the fabric of your home. First of all, upgraded insulation is mold resistant. Second, it will not settle. Third, it will absorb sound better. Fourth, your indoor air quality will dramatically improve, allowing you to breathe better. Finally, it will help reduce your electricity bills because better insulation will keep your home warmer in the winter months and cooler in the summer months. Although installing upgraded insulation can cost about $1500, you should earn this money back in about two to three years.

Look To Solar Power

Finally, consider using solar power in your home. Solar energy can be used to power many aspects of your home, such as heating up your water, providing electricity and even providing nice outdoor lighting. Because solar power comes directly from the sun, it is free and does not harm the environment. However, it can be tricky and expensive to install so its always worth talking to an expert before considering using this form of energy.

These simple eco-firendly ways to improve your home can help you to improve your home, save money, and go green at the same time. This is an incredible combination of benefits, so make use of this advice today.