Must-have Elements For Building A Sustainable New Home

man laying down in his couch holding a tabletBrought to you by Executive Home Inspections!

When someone builds a home for you, you have the opportunity to make it as sustainable, eco-friendly and energy-efficient as possible. Not only are sustainable homes more cost-effective over the long term, they have a smaller environmental impact and can be more appealing to home buyers when you’re ready to sell and move.

In fact, more than half of Realtor’s report consumers are interested in sustainability, according to the National Association of Realtors’ REALTORS and Sustainability report. What’s more, 70 percent say a home’s efficient use of energy is important to potential buyers.

If you’re having a home built for you, it’s the perfect time to think about sustainability and energy efficiency. The experts at Coleman(R) heating and cooling offer some points to consider as you’re planning your sustainable home:

  • Choose a builder who specializes in sustainable homes.

While virtually all home builders today will offer eco-friendly or energy-efficient features, sustainable home builders take a whole-house approach. Their plans should include more than just high-efficiency windows and appliances and lots of insulation. Sustainability planning should also incorporate elements like the position of the home on its lot, number and position of windows in the home, and shade and ventilation, among other considerations.

  • Heating and cooling typically represent the largest portion of a home’s energy consumption.

When choosing an HVAC system for your sustainable home, choose an option like Coleman(R) Echelon(TM) Variable Capacity Residential Systems, which use leading-edge technology to tune the system’s temperature settings and performance for optimum function give exterior conditions. The systems also self-monitor to ensure they operate at the highest level of efficiency while providing maximum heating and cooling comfort. Visit www.colemanac.com/comfort to learn more.

  • The orientation of your home can enhance heating and cooling efficiency.

For example, if you live in a colder region, placing your home with the maximum number of windows facing south can allow natural light to help heat your home in the winter. If you live in a warm climate, minimizing the number of windows on the west side of the home and planting shade trees on that side can help with cooling. Plant a tree that loses its leaves in the winter, and you can allow light to reach that side of the house when the weather is colder.

  • The more compact a home is, the more energy efficient it will be.

You don’t have to build a tiny home to achieve a more efficient design. A two-story home can be more compact and energy efficient than a sprawling single-story design.

  • Insulation and air sealing can greatly improve a home’s energy efficiency. 

Talk to your builder about the best kind of insulation for your needs, and learn about R value and how it affects the efficiency of insulation. Discuss how the builder seals potential air leaks in the home, paying close attention to windows, doors, and spots where pipes or wires enter the home.

  • Finally, a truly sustainable home is one that makes maximum use of recycled and recyclable materials. 

Talk to your builder about the construction materials they will use. Are they sustainably sourced? Will they be able to be recycled someday down the road when they are no longer usable in your home?

Demand for sustainable homes is likely to continue growing, according to the NAR report. Choosing to build your new home with sustainable materials, systems and practices can ensure you reap the rewards of a more environmentally friendly home now and in the future. – (BPT)

 

How To Design An Energy Efficient Home

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

5 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Outdoor Space

outdoor space ideaThe Article Courtesy of Executive Home Inspections!

A beautiful, sunny day is one of the best parts of the season and when you have one, you simply have to be outside. When you step outdoors, where do you go? To the park? The lake? A friend’s home?

How often do you stay home and enjoy a beautiful day in your own outdoor space?

If your answer is not often or never, it’s time to create your own home field advantage. With just a few simple improvements you can make even the smallest outdoor space feel comfortable and be welcoming to you and your guests. Start with these five projects and you’ll make your own yard the place to be when the weather turns beautiful.

  • Replace the cement with a raised deck. 

That old cement patio or walkway in your backyard may be unsightly and uninviting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make that space much more appealing by replacing it with a raised cedar deck. Easy to build and affordable as well, installing a raised cedar deck to your outdoor space makes the entire area more inviting without taking up any additional space. Cedar is also naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects, and it is cool underfoot, making it the perfect decking solution for your newly improved outdoor living space.

  • Light smart. 

Your current outdoor space may have only a single light or it may have no light at all, making it impossible to use at night. To make the space more welcoming, add string lights or uplighting to your outdoor area. These lights are available in a wide array of styles to match your personality and they take up very little space, allowing you to create the perfect — well lit — environment you’re looking for.

  • Focus on furniture. 

If finding the right furniture to fit your space has been difficult, consider making your own instead. Building a customized bench or sectional from Western Red Cedar is easier than you think and it allows you to build your furniture to meet the design requirements of your space. Plus, Western Red Cedar is pitch and resin free so it accepts and holds a wide range of finishes to match your style choice. You can even add built-in storage to your bench or furniture design for more space-saving solutions. To find building plans for this and other Western Red Cedar projects, visit www.realcedar.com.

  • Place a plant or two. 

The right plant could provide just the pop of color your outdoor space needs. Herb gardens, hostas, even a pot of flowers all up the scenic appeal of your outdoor area. If space is a concern and you have a pergola structure, hanging plant baskets is a great option, so you can enjoy their beauty from above.

  • Play a zone strategy. 

When space is at a premium, you need to utilize every inch. To do this, segment your outdoor space into defined zones such as cooking, relaxing and eating areas. You can then further define these zones by adding the perfect finishing touches to each like a barbecue enclosure for your cooking area and a pergola over your dining table. Each of these DIY projects is a worthy addition to your outdoor space and will make it the area you can’t wait to enjoy every time you step outside. – (BPT)

 

How To Design The Perfect Outdoor Space

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

How To Maximize Your Kitchen Renovation

man standing in his kitchenFrom your friends at Executive Home Inspections!

The Golden Rules Of Home Improvement:

Considering a kitchen renovation but not sure how to get the most out of your space and budget? Expert tips can help you focus your plans so you get the kitchen of your dreams for less money and less stress.

“Redesigning your kitchen is a big investment,” says A-list designer Nate Berkus, Artistic Advisor of LG STUDIO line. “It’s not just about the money; you’re also investing a lot of time and emotion. There are so many decisions to make, and you want them to be the right ones. You also want to create a space that reflects the people who live there. A well-designed kitchen needs to be functional and personalized.”

That’s a heavy order, but Berkus offers advice to cut through the confusion by providing seven tips for a smart kitchen renovation that any homeowner can follow.

Be Realistic And Research:

Berkus suggests that homeowners start with a realistic assessment of their budget and a wish list. After nailing those down, spend some time online looking for images that best reflect your personal style.

“There is so much design inspiration out there: Instagram, Pinterest, design blogs, and so many others,” says Berkus. “Find out what you are drawn to and what catches your eye. Ask yourself how you want to live in the space and what’s most important to you. The design needs to support that.”

Invest Where It Counts:

Appliances are expensive, but you want to buy the very best you can afford. Considering how much use they get and how long you want them to last, it’s a worthwhile investment. “The new LG STUDIO line that I helped design features pro-style design elements that instantly make a kitchen feel high-end,” says Berkus.

Stretch Your Renovation Dollars:

“It’s the old adage, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” says Berkus. “If your cabinets are in good condition, you can save a ton of money by painting them. When it comes to flooring, don’t rip it out if you can refinish. Save where you can and then you can spend more of your budget on things that you really love, and are more important, like the appliances.”

Add Personal Touches:

For dressing up your kitchen, shop your home and use things you already own. “Objects from your travels, framed photographs, ceramic bowls or hand woven baskets are all things that personalize a space and make it feel layered,” says Berkus.

Enhance Small Spaces:

To maximize small spaces, do something unexpected. “Could the cabinets be painted dark gray or black? Could you use some un-lacquered brass hardware for shine? Can you add a backsplash in antique or aged mirror?” Berkus says.

Divide Big Spaces Into Zones:

To get the most out of a larger kitchen, Berkus suggests using a zone approach. “For example, the island and its location will determine where the appliances sit,” he says. “In addition, a large open kitchen allows the opportunity to add an eat-in area. Why not add a built-in banquette upholstered in easy-to-clean materials like outdoor fabric or leather?”

Think Long-term:

For an investment that lasts, Berkus says to err on the side of classic elements and finishes like stone, nickel, brass, steel, painted shaker cabinets and subway tile. “One of my go-to’s is LG’s Black Stainless Steel finish. It’s both sophisticated, functional and will up the design ante in any kitchen. It is also fingerprint- and smudge-resistant, making it perfect for families.”

Need more renovation inspiration? Check out the LG STUDIO Virtual Designer Tool to experiment with different styles and appliance combinations to create your dream kitchen. – (BPT)

 

How To Budget For Your Dream Kitchen Renovation

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

3 Steps To A More Secure Home

examining home for safetyFrom your friends at Executive Home Inspections

More than 75 percent of Americans are concerned about the security of their home, yet few think about door hardware when it comes to added protection.

In fact, out of those who have ever purchased a new lockset or deadbolt, only 19 percent have done so with the safety of their home in mind, according to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA). However, when it comes to protecting your home, the right lockset or deadbolt can provide the best first line of defense.

When purchasing new locks, it isn’t simply “one size fits all.” Choosing the right lock or deadbolt for your specific needs can sometimes seem overwhelming. Two in five Americans polled don’t even know what factors to look for when purchasing one.

While many of today’s locks deliver improved security for your home, be sure to follow these easy steps to ensure you’re properly selecting and installing the product that best suits your needs.

1. Look For The BHMA Certified Secure Home Label.

The hardware industry has strict standards when it comes to the quality of locks and deadbolts, and BHMA is the only organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop and maintain these standards. Each lock or deadbolt that features the BHMA Certified Secure Home label on its packaging has been tested to these stringent standards — the highest performance standards for residential hardware. The label also indicates that the product has been certified in three different areas: security, durability, and finish. Products without the Secure Home label are not assured to have been tested and certified by a third-party laboratory.

2. Check The Rratings Combination.

Once a lock or deadbolt is tested to ANSI/BHMA standards for security, durability and finish, it is given a rating of Good (C), Better (B) or Best (A) in each area based on its performance during testing. The rating system is defined by progressive levels of performance requirements. Be sure to select the lock or deadbolt that is rated highly in the area(s) most important to you. For example, when looking for a new interior lock, you may not require the same rating for security or finish as you would for a lock being installed on your front door.

3. Follow The Manufacturer’s Instructions.

After purchasing the lock(s) best suited for your home needs, consult the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer for proper application. A BHMA Certified lock — or any lock, for that matter cannot function to its expectations if it isn’t installed correctly.

The added protection that locks and deadbolts can provide you and your family is not something to be overlooked. By fitting your doors — both interior and exterior — with certified hardware, using proper installation techniques and being diligent about using your locks when at home or away, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of unwanted company.

To learn more about BHMA Certified locksets and deadbolts, or the BHMA Certified Secure Home label, watch the short video at http://securehome.org/learning-the-label/ or visit www.securehome.org. – (BPT)

 

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your House

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Tricks To Customize A Kitchen On A Budget

small kitchen ideas and designHelpful information from Executive Home Inspections!

Who wouldn’t want a kitchen customized to meet their specific tastes and needs? A complete kitchen renovation can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but you don’t have to spend a bundle to achieve a custom effect. A few modest investments can help make your kitchen work well and look great.

Here are ways to affordably customize your kitchen:

Get Creative With Cabinets:

  • Completely replacing cabinets can be costly, but it’s possible to create a custom look with the cabinets you already have. Customization tricks to try:
  • Paint cabinets a trendy color, like dark blue. Or, paint one set of cabinets, such as those under an island, a different color.
  • Remove the doors from one cupboard to create an open effect where you can display prized showpieces. Further accent the look by painting the back of the cupboard a contrasting color.
  • Replace dated or dull hardware with drawer pulls and knobs that speak to your personal design tastes. For example, if you love a vintage look, replace metal hardware with glass or ceramic knobs.

Freshen Up The Faucet:

Cabinet hardware isn’t the only “jewelry” in the kitchen. The faucet can also be a design focal point that looks as good as it works. If yours is old, basic or just not to your taste, replacing the kitchen faucet with a newer model that speaks to your style can help affordably reinvent the entire room. Plus, a new faucet can provide functions and features that will make your kitchen more usable.

For example, the Tournant faucet by Kohler combines traditional design with modern industrial elements, so it works well with a variety of kitchen design themes. A three-function, pull-down spray head lets you put the water exactly where you need it, while a special BerrySoft setting is gentle enough for washing fruits and vegetables.

If a more vintage look appeals to you, Kohler has recently added a bridge model faucet to its popular Artifacts line. Reminiscent of turn-of-the-century kitchen and bar faucets, the deck-mounted bridge faucet works with either lever or six-prong handles for temperature controls and features a dual-function side spray. Visit www.us.kohler.com to learn more.

Enliven Your Lighting:

Good light is essential for a kitchen to function well, but it’s common for kitchens to have just one overhead light and maybe a pendant or two over a breakfast bar. Replacing dated fixtures with newer ones that suit your personal style is easy, but what can you do if you want more light without the expense of paying someone to install additional wiring?

  • Replace a standard ceiling light with track lights. They require no additional wiring and you can position lights along the track to put illumination where you want it.
  • Install under-cabinet lights that can easily plug into an existing counter-level electrical outlet.
  • Place a swing-arm task lamp over work areas, so you can aim light where you need it most while working. The lamp can easily plug into a wall outlet.

Accentuate Accessories:

Accessories are the finishing touch of personalization in any room, including the kitchen. However, since the kitchen needs to be high-functioning, look for ways to accessorize that also enhance your kitchen’s ability to work for you.

  • Every kitchen has small appliances that get regular use, such as toasters, food processors, blenders, etc. If your toaster sits out on the counter, why not turn it into part of the design theme by selecting an appliance in a bright color to match your decor?
  • A matching set of pot holders or dish towels hung from a hook beneath a cabinet or on the side of a cupboard not only puts a much-needed item close at hand, they can add decorative flare.
  • Place a bright, cheerful area rug in front of the sink or prep area. The rug will not only perk up space, it helps cushion your joints while you stand in one spot working.
  • A pot rack above an island provides much-needed storage space for large pots and pans while adding a homey touch to the kitchen.

Customizing a kitchen doesn’t have to be costly or require you to sacrifice any functionality. With a few smart updates, you can cost-effectively create the personalized kitchen of your dreams. – (BPT)

 

Small Budget Kitchen Makeover

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

How To Tackle A Dust-Free Renovation

two boys came home from a game befor picBrought to you by Executive Home Inspections!

Kristen Johnson* loved her home, her family, and their active lifestyle. She’d never want to change a thing — except for her foyer and adjoining dining room. When she and her husband first moved into their home, they had intended to refinish the hardwood floors in those areas in a darker stain to better fit their style, but life got in the way. Twelve years, two boys and countless birthday parties, pets and indoor soccer games later, their floors were covered in scuffs, scratches, and stains, and some of their walls needed repair. To complicate matters even further, they had a wraparound staircase with a wood-tone banister that would also need to be refinished if they decided to change their floor.

With their big family reunion and a house full of people just weeks away, Johnson and her husband knew it was time to make a change. However, they couldn’t afford to disrupt their busy schedules, and they didn’t want to deal with the hassle of renovation dust getting all over their ceiling fans, cupboards or worse — especially with their son’s dust allergies. They knew if they decided to take on this renovation project, they’d need it finished quickly, and they’d need the entire project to be as dust-free as possible.

What’s The Big Deal About Renovation Dust? 

Beyond creating a huge mess, renovation dust is also a health concern. As any homeowner who has embarked on an interior renovation project knows, the resultant dust gets everywhere — even inside closed cabinets and in adjacent rooms. However, as problematic as the mess is, dust-related health hazards are of even greater concern, particularly to allergy sufferers. Traditional methods of mitigating dust usually involve extensive prep work, like hanging plastic sheeting and taping off doors, or doing a thorough post-renovation top-to-bottom cleaning. Both options are extremely time-consuming.

Is There A Better Way To Handle Renovation Dust? 

There is a better way to handle renovation dust: by collecting it right at the source like the pros do. Professional contractors are used to dealing with renovation dust, and given the volume of work they do, they create dust far more frequently and in much greater volumes than the average homeowner or DIYer. Rather than spend valuable time on prep work or post-project clean up or suffer through the use of uncomfortable dust masks, they use dust collection tools that capture and contain dust immediately as it’s created, before it can become a mess or airborne health hazard.

How Johnson Tackled Her Dust-free Renovation?

design inside the house after lookBecause of their tight timeline, Johnson and her husband decided to take on some of their renovation themselves using supplies purchased at their local hardware store, but they let the professionals handle the tricky floor/banister redo.

To repair their drywall, they patched the damaged areas using joint compound and a drywall sander, which together cost about $130. To make the sanding process dust-free, they added a Dust Deputy, which they connected directly to the drywall sander and to their wet/dry vacuum. They found that this combination captured virtually all the dust generated by the sanding. They noticed no dust in the air, and the Dust Deputy prevented the fine drywall dust from clogging their vacuum filter.

Even though they had the flooring contractor tackle the floor and banister, they saved a few dollars by removing the varnish from the banister and other hard-to-reach areas themselves. To do this, they applied a gel varnish remover using a brush (together about $20), then scraped the wet varnish residue using a Viper Scraper attached to their Dust Deputy and wet/dry vacuum. The scraper captured the residue, and the Dust Deputy contained it for disposal, without it ever reaching, or damaging, their vacuum.

Their big splurge was on the floor refinishing, which they left to the pros to tackle (about $2,500). To keep that process dust-free, they selected a dust-free contractor in their area who used a cyclonic Oneida Vortex dust collection system with HEPA filtration. In the end, they finished the project virtually dust-free and just in time for their family reunion, and they were very pleased with the results!

*Kristen’s last name has been changed for privacy. – (BPT)

 

Housekeeping Tips: How to Clean Plaster Dust From the Home

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

5 Fabulous Deck Fix-ups

creative deck ideasThe Article Courtesy of Executive Home Inspections!

Are you tired of having a deck you’re no longer proud to show off? You’re not alone. According to the 2017 U.S. Houzz Landscape Trends Study, one of the top reasons motivating homeowners to tackle outdoor projects like deck upgrades is their open-air space is past its prime.

If you’re like surveyed respondents and ready to return your fixer-upper to its former glory, the process may seem daunting. Fortunately, a little inspiration is all you need to transform your deck into a backyard beauty. With these fabulous fix-ups, your deck will be re-energized in no time.

1. Refresh Your Color Palette:

One of the easiest ways to transform a ho-hum deck into a stylish oasis is an updated color palette. Refreshing the look of outdoor accessories and furnishings is a simple and cost-effective solution. MidwestLiving.com says, “Focusing on one or two colors adds a unifying feel to your décor. Punchy blue and green furnishings brighten the deck while not distracting from the view.” You can even swap out fabrics, accent pillows, and cushions as the seasons change to keep your outdoor room looking fresh all year long.

If you’re increasing the size of your deck, consider choosing decking in a color that complements your home. It will help ease the visual transition from indoors to out and create a beautiful base for planters and deck furnishings. If you are looking to make a statement, consider varying the color of deck boards, inserting feature strips or using contrasting railings to frame your outdoor room.

2. Landscape Your Deck-escape:

To create a deck-escape that draws guests in, integrate landscaping into your design. Start small by lining your deck with planters, curving flower beds and grasses. A punchy mix of seasonal annuals and perennials will help encourage visitors to explore your outdoor living space. Or, go a step further and use today’s versatile, moisture-resistant composite decking products to turn your deck into an extension of your garden. With proper installation, the boards can easily curve around trees or flower beds to blend your deck into its natural surroundings.

3. Provide Pretty Privacy:

There’s no reason to give up style and comfort on your deck just because you want privacy, especially if your neighbors are within close quarters. Trellises, lattices and vertical gardens can screen an exposed view and freshen up your outdoor room. Nature can also act as a beautiful barrier. Slender evergreens like arborvitae can establish a relaxed sense of privacy and create a soft, lush backdrop. You can even add different shade-providing trees near your deck, creating a secluded space with a more intimate feel.

4. Build A Beautiful Addition:

If your outdoor room is limiting the number of guests you can entertain, a new deck addition may be just the right fix. You’ll gain extra square feet and valuable space for themed outdoor areas. Try bumping your deck out on one side to make a basic square deck more interesting and gain room for an al fresco dining area or a spa-themed deck nook with a hot tub. With the right decking materials, you can even add a meandering garden path deck or curved getaway encircling a water feature.

“Composite decking with a plastic and wood blend throughout the board like ChoiceDek can be ripped, routed and bent to fit nearly any deck design,” says Randy Gottlieb, president of A.E.R.T. “The boards are easier to curve than capped composites and traditional wood planks. They give homeowners a lot more design flexibility at an affordable price point.”

5. Create On-deck Destinations:

To give your outdoor room a lasting edge, create on-deck destination areas that go beyond eating and socializing. Love gardening? Build a vertical garden or use extra deck boards to create planter boxes that allow you to pass on your “green thumb” to your children. If you’re a DIYer, use complementary decking to create a corn hole set for birthday parties and gatherings. With a spark of inspiration, the possibilities for reinventing your outdoor space are virtually endless.

 

How to Restore a Deck

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Plumbing The Possibilities: Kitchens, Showers And Baths Highlight Outdoor Living Spaces

a shower outdoorThe trend toward outdoor living spaces that mimic the look, comfort, convenience and functionality of indoor spaces doesn’t have to stop at the backyard grilling station. A growing number of homeowners are exploring new additions to their outdoor spaces, including outdoor showers and powder rooms, and even garage entertaining areas anchored by sinks and wetbars!

While traditional plumbing techniques might once have limited just how homey you could make outdoor versions of kitchens and bathrooms, modern up-flush plumbing cost-effectively solves many problems. Above-floor macerating plumbing systems, like those from SFA Saniflo, U.S.A., allow the easy addition of a sink, shower or toilet outside, regardless of where plumbing lines are located inside. They also eliminate the need to cut through concrete if you’ll be placing your project inside a garage or on a concrete patio. Finally, the compact systems fit perfectly into smaller spaces, such as inside cabinets in an outdoor kitchen or in an outdoor powder room.

Here are four water- and drainage-dependent, outdoor living features that are more possible and popular than ever, thanks to up-flush plumbing.

  • Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are in high demand, and have evolved to be true mirrors of their indoor counterparts. In addition to cooking facilities, such as a grill, cooktop, or pizza oven, today’s outdoor kitchen incorporates running water.

While a sink is an obvious necessity in outdoor kitchens, traditional plumbing can limit the location, configuration, size and capabilities of the space. Up-flush plumbing affords homeowners greater flexibility in designing an outdoor kitchen.

For example, using a Sanivite drain pump to remove wastewater more than 150 feet horizontally allows homeowners to install their outdoor kitchen where they desire, rather than having to rely on gravity and grading to move water. The pump is also capable of draining up to three separate fixtures, meaning you can have a sink and a dishwasher in your outdoor kitchen.

  • Showers

If you have a pool or are lucky enough to live near the beach, an outdoor shower can keep sand and other messes from getting tracked into the house. However, traditional plumbing practices can limit where you can locate your outdoor shower. Up-flush plumbing systems use pumps to move wastewater away from the drain, so you can locate an outdoor shower where it’s most convenient.

Products like the Sanishower fit into a small footprint and its low profile is easily concealed beneath the shower floor. Yet the system can handle drainage of up to 20 gallons per minute.

  • Wetbars

Whether you would like to add a wetbar to a patio or tucked into a corner of the garage, up-flush plumbing can make the process easy and cost-effective. Above-floor plumbing can handle wastewater removal in spots where no drain is present or possible. This means you can easily install a wetbar on a wooden deck, concrete patio or anywhere else where installing a traditional drain would be costly and inconvenient.

  • Powder rooms

When is an extra bathroom ever a bad idea? Imagine hosting a backyard barbecue or pool party without the need to make guests traipse through the house to reach the facilities, or wait in line inside the house while missing all the fun going on outdoors. Exterior bathrooms can solve those dilemmas, and up-flush plumbing can make it easy to add a toilet and sink outside the house.

While tying into existing traditional plumbing lines might require you to snuggle your outdoor powder room against the side of a house, above-floor plumbing allows you to position it virtually anywhere that’s convenient and appealing for your needs. The Sanicompact is a decorative one-piece system that combines a classic china toilet bowl with a built-in macerator/pump that can handle drainage from the toilet and a nearby sink. – (BPT)

 

Modern Outdoor Living Space Ideas

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Home Innovations That Protect Against Moisture

projects to do at home against moistureThere is an insidious enemy that every homeowner dreads: moisture and the damage and degradation it can cause if left unchecked. Luckily, home improvement manufacturers have discovered new ways to prevent moisture from penetrating the home in the first place. With new home product innovations, there is no reason to suffer the costly and damaging effects of rain, snow or ice.

Unique fasteners add longevity to decks:

Innovative fastening methods can extend the life of your deck and provide a beautiful fastener-free surface that also stands up better to weather and moisture. Although there are several kinds of deck fasteners that conceal the fastener, edge fastening is the latest method. “With edge fastening, which delivers real screws into the edge of the deck boards with a series of unique guides and drill bits, fastener-related splitting and cracking can be eliminated,” said Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing at National Nail’s CAMO Edge Fastening. “This can add to deck life because moisture is not seeping into those cracks and splits, causing accelerated degradation.” He adds that the company has also expanded its warranty to cover the deck boards, as well as the screws. “Edge fastening works great for composite, PVC and all types of wood decks and creates a safer, fastener-free surface.”

Exterior cladding that resists moisture:

When searching for alternative exterior products that have beauty and curb appeal, make sure they repel moisture, especially near the foundation or near the gutters at the roof line. It is now possible to have the look of rich wood cedar shake or a variety of stone looks to cover foundations or to upgrade the ugly space under decks. New technology enables polymers to actually be stained or finished to be indistinguishable from the real thing. “There are new levels of realism in shakes that resemble true cedar,” said Ralph Bruno, president, Tando Building Products. “Beach House Shake” by Tando is an example of this superb realism — it installs easily and is impervious to moisture with little to no upkeep.” He adds that homeowners can keep moisture at bay and have luxurious exteriors without sacrificing beauty.

Protect your home in every season:

As if heavy spring rains and winter’s melt-off didn’t threaten homeowners’ properties enough, the hurricane season is expected to be more erratic than in years past — with a predicted early start and activity right into late fall. Thankfully, there are new, affordable technologies to quickly remove standing water from homeowners’ properties, keeping it away from their foundations. “Having both dependable sump pumps and multi-use pumps are the first lines of defense against storm damage,” said Jeremy Cantor, VP of Marketing for WAYNE Pumps. “One example is the innovative WaterBUG Submersible Water Removal Pump, which can remove large volumes of standing water quickly and easily from flat grassy yards, basement floors, and even tight spaces like window wells because it has both top and side water flow.” He emphasizes that having reliable multi-use and sump pumps in your home can save thousands of dollars in property damage and basement repairs.

Seal it or patch it to keep water out:

Water damage doesn’t have to happen, and by having the right caulks, sealants and hand tools, homeowners can easily do the job themselves and save on contractor costs. And, if moisture gets ahead of you, there are ways to repair the damage and prevent it from happening in the future. After winter, check windows, under door frames, gutter lines, concrete and other vulnerable areas that need sealing or patching. Very often, the simple act of sealing these areas with the right type of caulk can make a big difference in keeping out moisture. “One of the most popular sealants on the market is LIFETIME Ultra, which is a perfect solution for outdoor fix-ups after winter’s damage,” said Alan Crupper, VP of Marketing, Red Devil, Inc. He added that premium acrylics like this work very well and are paintable, unlike silicones. “You need a caulk that has a tight seal, won’t sag or crack no matter the temperature and especially for outdoors, one that adheres well to any surface.”

No matter the season, moisture can put your home and valuables at risk, so don’t delay in taking preventative action or repairing damage where it starts. With innovative new technologies on the market, you can easily protect your home from nature’s wrath. – (BPT)

 

Controlling Moisture During Winter

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Smaller Metros Take Action To Draw Millennials Fleeing Bigger Urban Areas

bigger urban areasAre millennials getting ready to leave big cities in droves? Some experts in demographics, economics and real estate have predicted the millennial exodus from huge urban areas has already begun. If true, the question remains: where will they go?

Some may head to the suburbs, like their parents and grandparents did before them, but many will look for a different lifestyle, one that combines the advantages of suburban living with the best features of city life. Some smaller metro areas, like Wausau, Wisconsin, are banking they have the blend of economic opportunity, urban elements, affordability and lifestyle that will attract migrating millennials.

The draw:

“Economy has always been a factor in generational migrations, and while the nature of work has changed, economic opportunity is still key to where people want to live,” says Christian Schock, director of planning, community and economic development for the City of Wausau. “Everyone wants to find a place with the winning formula of urban activities, affordability and lifestyle. Businesses want to put down roots in that environment, too, knowing it will draw a bigger pool of skilled workers.”

In recent years, the City of Wausau has made concerted efforts to position itself with both big city amenities and small town assets. By many accounts, the efforts are paying off. In a 2016 Pew Research Trust analysis of income equality nationwide, Wausau ranked first in the nation, with the middle class constituting 67 percent of the city’s total population. Wausau also ranked highest in Wisconsin and eighth nationally on Area Development magazine’s list of hot spots for new and expanding businesses.

The formula:

Small to mid-size metro areas that want to attract millennials, as well as businesses and investors, need to address key areas, including:

  • Urbanity

In addition to the recreational and entertainment amenities often highlighted when discussing millennials, many mid-sized metros lack the diversity of housing types that can be found in a larger city which millennials might be accustomed to.

One strategy Wausau has focused on specifically is diversifying housing product. The City funded local architects to design an urban rowhouse — a housing style which did not previously exist. For over a decade, leaders proactively assembled parcels for new riverfront apartments, and continually worked with developers to seek tax credits which could be applied to renovating historic properties into unique multifamily offerings.

  • Affordability

Rising real estate costs are among the factors that kept many millennials living in cities longer than they might have liked, experts say. Mid-sized metros have an edge in making home buying more affordable for millennials — and homebuyers of all generations.

Recognized as a leader in economic development homesteading, Wausau’s Live It Up program is a partnership between local employers and the city to provide employees with a no-interest down payment assistance loan for the purchase of a home. In the last two years, the program has allocated more than $200,000 in no-interest loans to local employees.

  • Place

Millennials who came of age in urban environments have a strong affinity for multifunctional spaces, and are drawn to communities that are a walkable mix of business, retail, industry and residential. While the specific physical space needs may change, their own strong sense of identity makes them inclined to seek a region that has its own established sense of self.

Wausau has leveraged more than $100 million in new downtown development over the past decade and currently has another $100 million under construction, emphasizing the city’s identity as a vibrant, growing core. Wausau’s Riverlife Village project is reclaiming more than 16 acres of urban waterfront along the Wisconsin River to house a new park, river wharf, mixed-use office space, biking paths, apartments and a family entertainment center.

Perhaps the greatest testament to a mid-sized metro’s success is the recommitment of historic businesses to local growth. Wausau Insurance was an early innovator in workers’ compensation insurance, which evolved out of the necessity for local lumber mills to share the risk of worker rehabilitation. Now part of Liberty Mutual, the company recently announced a $50 million regional facility expansion. Wausau Window and Wall Systems and Linetec, both in the building materials industry, also trace their roots to the lumber industry, and have completed over $60 million worth of expansion and doubled the size of their workforce within the past five years, providing a strong foundation for continued economic development.

“Any resident, millennial or not, is looking for ways to connect with their community. Both businesses and residents are discovering that smaller cities can even be more responsive and creative than larger metros,” says Robert Mielke, mayor of Wausau.

To learn more about how the City of Wausau is attracting residents from big cities, visit www.wausome.org. – (BPT)

 

Top Cities To Live In After Graduating College

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.