Archive for the ‘weatherizing’ Category

When to Replace My Roof

Roof Sagging

Sagging Roof

This is a question every home owner will ask themselves at least once in their lifetime.  Sometimes more depending how many houses you have owned.  Don’t wait until you see water spots or stains in your house to consider that it may be time to replace your roof.  If you wait that long, your costs of repairs will increased.  Be pro-active and keep an eye on your roof at regular intervals.  One easy way is to pick a holiday(s) during the year and ear mark that time to do a visual inspection.  This is an easy way to keep a regular schedule.  If you find a leak, don’t immediately decide that you need a new roof.  Put on your inspectors hat and start looking for compromised area.  Finding water leaks can be very difficult because water “travels”.  This means that water rolls on the surface below it.  You need to follow the trail backwards until you find the point of origin.  This is often frustrating and sometimes impossible for the DIYer because there are areas where you do not have access to the roof from the inside. Continue reading

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Window Replacements and Privacy

Glass Block Window and Privacy

Glass Block Windows

Having a window in your bathroom is a plus.  You don’t always have that option if your bathroom is not located on an exterior wall.  When you can incorporate natural light into your bathroom design, there are many styles of windows and window treatments to protect your privacy and still let the sunshine through.   You must consider the design, cost, look, and function when making a replacement selection.  So when you are remodeling your bathroom (or just updating) keep the following types of windows in mind. Continue reading

Tips for Remodeling a Historic Home

Roofing a historical home

Historical Home’s Slate Roof

To remodel a historic home, you have to be extremely dedicated to this project and be interested in the history behind the home and the time era it was built and maintained.  Research other homes of that era.  This will take research on the internet or by talking to historians.  It’s not like you can take a drive and look at homes built within the past 20 years.  If your house is historic, chances are there are other ones in the neighborhood that are very close to yours.  After all, the people that bought the other historic home have the same goal as you do………to preserve and restore.  That being said, talk to your neighbors and share ideas. 

Home Interior

 Get to know what makes the home unique in terms of architecture, materials used, and design of construction. Be realistic about the costs you will incur.  If it truly is historic, chances are that many of the crucial necessities to live in it may be damaged or not work at all.  Assess heating, plumbing and electrical first, since these are likely to be outdated and costly to replace.  Updating the electrical wiring and HVAC are 2 items that will certainly require attention to your budget.  You will need to install wiring that meets current building code.  Best to get a license electrician in Atlanta to perform this job.  To get to your wiring you will have to take down the walls to the studs or lath.  Be mindful of the walls you are taking down as you want to make them look as close to what they originally looked like. Do your best not to use drywall.  If you must, use wall board and consider adding a texture to it simulating the old surface.

One of the most unique characteristics of a historic home is its woodwork.  The moldings and staircases were beautiful pieces of art in the older homes.  This is truly the signature of a skilled carpenter.  Try to find a cost effective way to get the woodwork looking as close as possible to the original design.  It will be very costly to have a woodworker create an exact replica of the wood designs used during that time period so use current wood moldings in a way that are reflective of the ones used at that time. 

Home Exterior

When new homes are built, it’s planned by an architect and a builder at the same time.  That part hasn’t changed whether it is new or ones from 100 years ago.  When restoring your old home, everything should remain to scale the way it was originally built.

When looking to replace a slate roof, do some research on the expected longevity of the tile used on the roof?   Do regular maintenance.  Maintenance in this case would be close visual inspections.  Since you DO NOT want to climb on the roof, you may want to use a pair of binoculars to get that close up look.  If you see signs of deterioration or broken slates, get in touch with a roofer who specializes in slate roofs.  Get multiple quotes and inspections.  Shop around for a slate restorer.  Some will be cheaper than others.  Ask your neighbors how they restored theirs and who they used. 

Try to re-use the old wooden windows.  You will probably have to replace the glass (which is an easy fix and not extremely expensive) but will not be able to find a new frame built with the same style as the wooden one.  Use the wooden frame as long as possible.  Only you can be the judge on when to replace them with ones built with new material.  If you have a window with leaded glass, check to make sure all the mosaic pieces are solid and held in place.  If one piece of glass comes loose the rest of the pieces may also shift making the window irreplaceable.

New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office, located within the Department of Environmental Protection, brings expertise in a variety of fields essential to preserving historic resources.  You can contact them for rules and guidelines to follow in your preservation.

Replacing Broken Windows

windows from Kelemer Brothers

Windows

Up until a few years ago there were very few choices for those building or remodeling a home. But today there are many different types and styles of windows for homeowners to choose from. In general older windows were not expected to provide high levels of insulation as they allowed for heat transfer. This is quite possibly why so much research was expended in developing better window materials. Modern windows are energy efficient which is great, but they can be more difficult to deal with when it comes to having to replace one that is broken. It is imperative that broken windows be replaced as soon as it is feasible. Failing to replace a broken window can end up costing you in energy bills as well as take away from the aesthetic appeal of the home.

Replacing Single Window Panes

It is time consuming but it should not require a background in construction or carpentry to replace a single paned window. Years ago, window frames were made solely of wood, but today’s frames are made from many different types of materials. Most of the time when home renovations are done which include replacement windows, wooden frames are also replaced with more durable options such as aluminum or vinyl. These materials also require a lot less maintenance. However, if a window pane is cracked or broken it will not matter what the frame is made out of, it will need to be replaced. The frame’s material can make replacing broken windows more difficult. Wooden frames are generally the easiest type to work with but it is important to obtain instructions from the manufacturer before beginning. In most cases it is best to hire an experienced window replacement professional in Baltimore to replace broken windows or frames. Continue reading

How to Reduce Utility Bills

Weather proofing

Weather Stripping

Whether it is extremely hot or cold, homeowners and renters alike can face very large utility bills. As energy costs continue to increase we can anticipate that our costs are likely to continue in an upward trend. With utility costs increasing and the troubled economy everyone is looking for ways to save money. There are a few ways that may be effective at reducing home utility costs. Here are a few ideas on ways to save on utility bills without making huge investments of time or money.

Adding Insulation and Weather-stripping

Whether it is summer or winter the home can be more comfortable for less money if it is well insulated. Energy Star has estimated that about 20% of your heating and cooling costs can be saved by adequately insulating the home. Adding insulation is a relatively easy task which you can do yourself and almost immediately start realizing savings. Don’t forget that you can also insulate your water heater and help save some on water heating costs. Light switches and electrical outlets can also be insulated to prevent leakage of air. This is especially useful if they are on an outside wall. Weather-stripping is also an easy do-it-yourself project that will not require a lot of time or expense. Weather-stripping around doors can help keep indoor air inside and outdoor air out which means your heater or air conditioner will not have to work as hard to keep you comfortable. Continue reading

Reduce the Risk of Mold

Bathroom Mold

Bathroom Window Mildew

When mold grows in a home it can be very damaging to the property as well as cause a wide variety of health related problems. Exposure to mold can cause respiratory problems as well as allergic reactions and skin irritation. For the home it can mean unsightly stains and in many cases irreparable damage. The best option for homeowners is to prevent incidents of mold growth altogether so that there is no threat of health related problems or damage to the home. By being proactive a homeowner can many times prevent the growth of mold altogether. The primary contributors to mold growth are water leaks, condensation and high humidity. Here are some tips on how to reduce the risk of mold growth. Continue reading

How to Insulate Your Home for Summer

Window repair

Window instillation

Homeowners are quick to prepare for the winter months by adding insulation and weatherproofing their homes. However, the same home that needs insulation to stay warm in the winter also needs to be properly insulated in the summer months as well. Without proper insulation summer utility bills can soar. Summer insulation projects can help a homeowner save a substantial amount on cooling bills. With utility bills going up with the increased cost of energy, it just makes sense to find effective methods of keeping them down at a reasonable rate. Insulating in the summer is just another way to help protect your pocketbook. Adding insulation in the summer months can also help keep the home at a comfortable temperature. Continue reading