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Remodel Or Build Your Home “Green” and Save Money!

In these days many people are struggling just to keep their homes and fewer people are buying and selling. If you are in a position of deciding to keep your home and remodel and/or enlarge or sell and move-up or even downsize, then here are some options to consider.

Let me just say first, hate to admit it but I am not an environmentalist, I don’t drive a hybrid and I’m not even good at recycling my own trash. I approach this as a real estate expert that has learned a thing or two and have been drawn to the green-side. If I could wave a wand right now, I would replace my cars with hybrids and have solar panels on my roof and cut my energy costs to zero. But I’ll have to take baby steps for now.

Going green when you purchase a home or remodel refers to buying or installing more energy efficient appliances, windows, lighting and generally saving resources, both yours and the planets. In the best case, installing solar panels or recapturing resources allows you to live cheaper and in some cases healthier. Many of these improvements can directly increase your homes market value or could be the difference in getting your home sold. A qualified appraiser can tell you in advance what improvements will add most value.

Here are some ideas that can save you money on energy costs and may add value…

Energy efficient appliances can lower your electric and water bills and can add real value if you sell or refinance. The monthly energy saving can even help recoup the cost of the appliance over time. Also, some energy companies offer cash rebates to further increase your savings.

Energy efficient furnace and air condition units. In some climates an air conditioner compressor can be running year round and having a new energy efficient unit with programmable thermostat can save big money and properly sealed ducts can make sure the air is going where it’s needed and most efficient. A balanced system will be airtight but allow for proper ventilation and allow unhealthy air out.

Dual pane e-rated windows save money, look and operate better and as an added bonus shut out unwanted noise from your neighbors or street noise. A good e-rated window will be cool to the touch even when it’s over 100 degrees outside. Some neighborhoods near airports have offered grants to help homeowners cope with noise.

Replacing conventional lights with fluorescent bulbs and exterior lights with solar powered can cut lighting costs by over 60%. Most conventional lights can be readily replaced with compact fluorescent lights aka CFL right away and many energy companies will offer full rebates to offset the cost. Also, there is less heat from fluorescent and thus less cooling costs.

Solar panels can be installed on the roof in sunny climates and actually make your electric meter stop or reverse during the day and then the stored power is used at night with a net zero cost. In homes I have appraised, owners have told me their electricity cost is between zero and $30 from a peak of nearly $300. There are government rebate programs, state programs and local power rebates bringing the cost down considerably and paying for itself. I will be installing these panels on my next house.

These next few ideas are becoming more popular. Concrete counter tops in the kitchen. They can look like granite and are poured & crafted on site with no quarry, no trucking, no factory and the raw costs are in the $30 range. My brother in-law did his kitchen with a beveled edge for $28 and it looked beautiful, he then did both bath’s with a 2″squared edge. I have seen many luxury homes and hotel lobbies with colored or stained concrete floors, looks good and is durable. Also, using renewable natural products reduces toxic formaldehyde used in many adhesives.

There are several outdoor projects as well. Wood decks can now be built with recycled plastics that last longer and are bug and weather resistant and is a renewable resource. I have seen them and think they look better than redwood decks because they are always in perfect condition, never weathered, twisted or rotted.

Drip irrigation vs. sprinklers helps drastically reduce water waste. In Las Vegas new homes are required to use drip irrigation and in fact, grass in front yards has been eliminated on virtually all new construction. Not the most pleasant looking to me but I get the point – there is only so much water in the middle of the desert and yard water typically uses more than all the total water used inside.

So, there you go. Just doing the research has won me over to be just a little more “green” in my thinking. You can improve your home, save money, live healthier and help the planet as a bonus.

Please call me if I can be of any appraisal service to you or your clients.

Clifford Diamond, CREA

Contemporary Flat Roofing Blends Style and Functionality

The exterior of your home can reflect not only you as an individual but it has to be functional also. The roofing system needs to be robust to withstand the environmental pressures and weather changes and also look eye-grabbing. It is the crown of your home, or the “icing on the cake” that got to be attractive. When you are looking for premium flat roofing solutions, conventional roofing, repairing or changing the pattern of the shingles you need to make sure you hire the services of a professional company.

Revamping your rooftop

Whether you want to install a completely new roofing system with felt flat roofing, fibreglass roofs, rubber ones and the like, it is the professional installers that you need. The pool of designers, architectures can just add that perfect touch to the rooftops in sync with your needs, preference and budget. The home improvement projects are carried out in style where exclusive design meets functionality. Do you want your rooftop to give a contemporary look with different thin roof lines, metal cap fascia or a superb effect of greenery? Even a garden can be included to the rooftop reflecting that lush green feel. It can also cool your home in summer and warm it, in the winter.

Professional Workmanship

It is the expertise and the experience of the designers working on the home improvement project who can work in tune with the brief offered by the client. Whether it is about a bespoke roof installation that you are looking for or repairing a leakage- proficient and emergency services 24 x 7 is what you require. The crown of your home needs to blend with the structure of the house. It must be sturdily built. The chosen contractor of repute needs to carry out the home designing project with precision.

Online Quotes

When you are putting in your money in the face of this dim global economic climate, verify the services that you are going to get. You need to ensure that you get only premium roofing solution. Shop around and scan the market before committing to a roof contractor. It is wise to get a minimum of three quotes from a roofing company. You need to make sure that your brief tallies with your actual requirement, so that there is no unresolved fee issue after the project completion.

Whether you want to complement the roof with seamless guttering, it can be settled on, during the briefing session. You can choose from a wide range of materials and colours – the choice is yours. When you want your personal haven to have that chic look, then do not step back while upping your budget. Get this very clear on your mind that flat roofs are going to be a bit heavier on your pocket. However, once the intricate design and planning is executed to perfection, the look of your rooftop will make your neighbours envy you.

What Is Commercial Roofing?

Commercial roofing is a specific type that is installed on business buildings or industrial-sized buildings. Commercial roofing projects require more time, higher costs, and a larger crew of workers. Any business needing to replace their roof should always contact a professional roofing contractor who is capable of performing larger roofing projects such as these.

Commercial roofing should be left to the professionals who have the experience and skills to perform the work and should never be left in the hands of amateurs who are not used to working on tall buildings. If a mistake is made during a commercial roofing job, it may mean that the company will endure premature leaks so there is no room for even the smallest of errors when the roof is being installed.

Once a leak begins, even if it is tiny at first, it can create additional weaknesses in the roof. Every time it rains or there is a storm, the roof will continue to weaken until damage occurs to the offices inside the building from the wetness created by these heavy rains. Due to constant exposure to moisture, the smallest of leaks become larger and larger until you can no longer do any patching of these leaks.

When commercial roofing is due to be installed, it should be done on a day when there is no chance of rain so the work is completed as soon as the rains begin. There are different types of materials that can be used when installing a commercial roof. If you want roofing that is made from “green” or recycled material, then you should express this to the roofing contractor performing the work. You may prefer using rubber roofing or some other type instead of the standard shingle type of roof. If a commercial roof is flat, then you may need to use different materials in order to cover a larger area.

Commercial roofing can be extremely expensive so is very important to explore all of your options when considering your roofing needs. You can get the best value if you deal with a more reputable roofing contractor. Once you find the right contractor to do the work, he or she will be able to search for the best pricing on roofing materials and take the labor necessary to complete the job into consideration.

They will be able to tell you if there are weak boards or other structural items that can be placed once the roofing has been replaced. If the structure was weakened during long periods of exposure, it can result in moderate structural damage which weakens the roof and makes it more vulnerable to storms and other inclement weather conditions.

Commercial roofing is also an excellent tax deduction for businesses because it improves the structure of the building and increases the durability of the building as well. If you have any questions you can consult with an experienced roofing contractor to help you decide what you should and shouldn’t use on your roof.