Expert Curb Appeal Tips For Increased Value

Your Rochester, New York home inspection company, HomePro Inspections, is pleased to share with you how from driveways to mailboxes, these oft-overlooked items help drive curb appeal.

rochester, new york home boosted with curb appeal featuresSelling or staying, it makes no difference – everyone wants a home that looks great from the curb. Curb appeal comes together when all the elements of a home’s facade are in good shape and working together. Driveways that are cracked or pitted with potholes, dingy front doors and other seemingly minor complaints like a shabby, scuffed mailbox, can all significantly detract from a home’s overall curb appeal.

Here is a handful of projects – many of them quick fixes – that can greatly enhance a home’s appearance.

* Repair or resurface your driveway.

For many homes, the driveway is one of the largest visual elements of the home’s overall curb appeal, ranking right up there with siding, the roof and the lawn. If winter was rough on your driveway, it’s time to think of making repairs. Concrete can crack and crumble, and asphalt develops potholes. Both can be repaired quickly and easily.

For any driveway repair, make sure the area to be repaired has been cleaned of debris and loose materials.  Cleaning with a hose or pressuring washing can improve the entire surface. For asphalt driveways, Sakrete U.S. Cold Patch is a ready-to-use recycled asphalt product that permanently patches potholes, cracks and other defects without the oily mess or bad smell of a conventional blacktop patch. Simply pour the product into the pothole and tamp it down. It is not oily or sticky, so you can even use your car to do the job – just drive tires over the patch to compress it.

Concrete driveways can develop different types of cracks:  very small and shallow resembling a dry river bed; cracks between 1/8 and 1/4 inch wide; and cracks wider and deeper than 1/4 inch. Your choice of repair method will depend on how you want the finished product to look and how much time you have to make the repair.

Portland cement-based Sakete Top n Bond can be used to repair all three types of cracks, and will provide a finished look that most closely resembles the existing concrete driveway. For tiny cracks, simple coat the entire area with a thin layer of the patching material. Top n Bond easily fills cracks wider an deeper than 1/4 inch. You can also use it to repair areas where one slab of the driveway has sunk lower than the slab next to it. If appearance is less important, an even easier option for repairing cracks 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide is to use a tube product, like Sakrete Concrete & Mortar Repair, and apply it with a caulk gun.

Repairing damaged asphalt or concrete driveways not only improves its appearance, it can help extend its life, too.

* Put the shine on your mailbox

It sits at the end of your driveway and often plays a key role in helping guests find your house. But do you give your mailbox the attention – and the credit – it’s due? Little things can mean a lot when it comes to creating curb appeal. While a mailbox that looks good might not get much attention, one that’s ugly or shabby is sure to draw the kind of attention you don’t want.

If you live in a community that restricts what type of mailbox you can have, simply give your rusted, stained mailbox and the post it sits on a fresh coat of paint in its original color. If your community has no standards for mailboxes, you can swap out an ordinary looking box with something that compliments your exterior design. Does your home have a brick facade? Consider a mailbox set in or on a brick pillar. If your house features fieldstone accents, consider carrying that over to the mailbox with a small, stone-trimmed planting bed at its base.

* Lavish your front door with some TLC

The door is the point where your exterior design meets your interior décor. It’s also an element that significantly impacts how visitors view your home. Give yours a fresh coat of paint or stain, and don’t forget the trim around the door.

Next, consider lighting. Is the area around the door well lit? Good lighting is key not only for safety at night but also to enhance the appeal of the area. Consider sconces beside the door or an attractive overhead fixture if your door has an awning, porch or overhang. Ground lights can accent the effect, either illuminating the pathway that leads to the door or lighting up the door itself.

Finally, take a look at the door hardware. Is the handle or knob looking rusted and shabby? Replacing worn or dated door hardware is an easy, cost-effective way to improve the overall look of your entryway.

Anyone hoping to sell their home during warmer months can greatly enhance curb appeal by investing in these seemingly minor design elements. If you plan to stay in your house, boosting the curb appeal will make you feel even better about coming home every day to a fresh, appealing house.

george cline rochester, new york home inspector and owner of homepro inspectionsGeorge Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection Online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Home Improvement Tips To Make A Better Home

Your Rochester, New York home inspection company, HomePro Inspections, is pleased to share with you home improvement tips to make a better home.

rochester, new yok kitchen displaying improvements of modern designHome improvement is a good way to return a home to its purchase glory. Making little fixes to a property can make a home look as if it were brand new. The home improvement tips in the following article will help you get started on your own home improvement projects.

To save money on home maintenance, check all of your faucets and pipes for leaks and have them repaired quickly. Leaking faucets can waste quite a bit of water, costing you in higher bills. Also, pipes that are leaking within your walls or under your house can lead to serious water damage.

When it’s finally crunch time and you need to replace the shingles, find a good, light color to prevent high levels of heat. The lighter color will reflect the suns rays instead of absorbing them, reducing the heat build up in your attic. A massive bill may be prevented through these simple energy-saving tricks.

Paint your floor in sections corresponding with the direction of the planking. When you paint the floor of a large room it is easy to paint yourself into a corner or to unintentionally block access to the rest of the house until the paint dries. If you paint in sections you can leave paths that run along specific boards. When you paint the adjoining section everything will match perfectly.

If you are a handy person and can understand plans, consider doing some home improvement jobs yourself. Small and simple projects can improve the overall look of your home. By doing it yourself, you save money and avoid the aggravation of researching a contractor for minor jobs. You will feel more confident and much prouder of your home.

Take special care when choosing a clog remover. Some of them are very harsh. Avoid anything that comes in a crystallized form as the crystals can stick to pipes, causing corrosion and damage. Be sure to use drain cleaning products intended for use with the septic tank you have.

Exterior lighting will give you peace of mind at night, and add beauty to your landscaping. Consider motion sensor lighting, as this will reduce the amount of energy used when the outdoors are not occupied, and can also frighten away unwanted animals or even prowlers. Install the lights in strategic places, such as the exact area visible to you from a window, and the path from your vehicle to the front door.

In conclusion, by doing home improvements, you can make your home look the way it did upon the first purchase. Small tweaks and large repairs can do a world of difference for any home. If you remember the tips in this article on home improvement, you can make your home look like a brand new showcase home.

george cline rochester, new york home inspector and owner of homepro inspectionsGeorge Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester, New York Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection Online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Bathroom Organization Tips For Anyone

Your Rochester, New York home inspection company, HomePro Inspections, is pleased to share with your bathroom organization tips.

rochester, new york bathroom organizational displayHairdryers, toothbrushes, combs, hair brushes and picks. Shaving utensils, makeup, styling products and perfumes. The collection of grooming and beauty tools cluttering the bathroom vanity can quickly overwhelm everything, making the space unusable for guests and creating difficulty in finding the tools you need.

The bathroom should be a functional room that works for you. It’s where you start and end your day, so you want the space to give you energy and focus, not throw you off your routine because you can’t find what you need.

This is the perfect time of year to get organized, so why not start in the bathroom? The first step is to consider the entire room space. Does the vanity, mirror or shelving unit provide the storage space and accessibility you need for all your grooming items? If not, it may be time to personalize your bathroom space to accommodate everyone who uses the room. Here are some ways to create a personalized and stylish bathroom:

  • Separate grooming areas – If you share a bathroom with someone who rises at the same time as you in the morning, it can quickly get congested in the room. Choosing a vanity with two sinks and related storage space is one solution to create better space and prevent grooming tools from getting mixed up or lost.
  • The right fit – When incorporating a new vanity into your bath, it’s often difficult to find the right fit in size, style and functionality. You want a vanity that holds all the extra supplies needed in the bathroom – extra shampoo, clean towels, toilet paper and tissues – so they’re available for residents and guests alike. Plus you want something that matches the decor you already have in the room. Kohler’s Tailored Vanity Collection provides several size options, configurations and wood finishes as well as top materials in a variety of shapes and colors to perfectly blend into your bathroom style.
  • Smart storage – Drawers and shelves in the vanity provide a great way to keep all your grooming tools within reach, and they can still be hidden away so guests can use the bathroom without seeing all of your clutter. Kohler’s Tailored Vanity Collection allows you to customize the look and use of your vanity, making it fit with your unique style. You can design the storage space with trays and dividers to best work for you. This also applies to the adjustable shelves, roll-out drawers and optional built-in electric outlets for the interior.

Organization can be the key to a successful day. With all of these storage options in your bathroom, you’ll be able to find the grooming tool you need when you need it, so you can start the day off right.

George Cline Rochester, New York Home Inspector posing for a professional photo in a shootGeorge Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester, New York Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Progressing Technology Makes Household Chores Easier Than Ever

Your Rochester, New York home inspection company, HomePro Inspections, is happy to share with you how progressing technology is making yard work and other household chores easier than ever.

rochester, new york yard being mowed by new cordless electric lawnmower defying the expectations of peopleEach week, the average person spends between 10 and 20 hours doing yard work and other tasks around the home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While necessary, these routine tasks don’t exactly fit neatly into today’s busy, on-the-go lifestyles, which is why technology is stepping in.

Here are three high-tech features to look for when shopping for a way to make household chores faster, easier, and even labor-free.

1. Cordless without compromise

Lithium ion has changed the way we communicate, entertain and work and now it’s changing the way we maintain our yards. To give homeowners what they want – the power of gas mowers without the noise, fuss and fumes – the engineers at EGO spent 10 years developing a way to pack more power into a single battery. The result is the new EGO POWER+ Mower, the industry’s first 56-volt cordless mower. EGO’s proprietary power management system and Keep-Cool technology make it 40 percent more powerful than other cordless alternatives. The revolutionary battery also offers the industry’s fastest charging at just 30 minutes. On the convenience side, the mower features telescoping handles that fold in for easy, vertical storage and headlights that combine with quiet operation for anytime mowing. Visit www.egopowerplus.com to learn more.

2. Do-it-itself

What started with the self-cleaning oven more than 50 years ago is now a whole-home concept. Today’s do-it-itself solutions comprise everything from self-cleaning toilets and dustless ceiling fan blades to robotic gadgets that automatically clean windows and floors. New multi-surface floor cleaning solutions know exactly where to go and when to switch from vacuum to mop. Taking this concept vertical, the ECOVACS Winbot does the same thing but on windows.

3. Smart

There’s technology that makes household chores easier and automatic, and then there’s the kind that does the thinking and organizing for you. That’s the idea behind new smart and connected appliances that not only cook food or keep it cold, but tell you by phone what’s in the fridge and when a roast is almost done. The latest iceboxes from LG and Samsung even tell you how much time you have until the eggs go bad and how much milk is left in the container. The digital display serves as a grocery list, calendar and recipe organizer, not to mention a place to watch the morning news while making breakfast.

Technology is helping to make nearly every facet of our lives easier, and thankfully, the latest advancements are delivering a new level of ease where we can really appreciate it – household chores.

George Cline Rochester, New York Home Inspector posing for a professional photo in a shootGeorge Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online athttp://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Easy-To-Update Items To Make Your New Home Yours

18842701This year more than 5.4 million homes were sold by the end of August, according to the National Association of Realtors. Are you one of these millions of new homeowners? If so, you’ve most likely felt the urge to settle in immediately. However, before making any major renovations, it’s a good idea to live in a new home a while to see how the space is meeting your needs. Here are a few swift swaps that will have a big impact in making that new house feel like home sweet home.

Personalize with paint
It may be the most obvious update but painting is an easy solution to change the look of a room in an instant. Whether you paint an entire room,-create a bold accent wall or incorporate glossy white trim, paint is an affordable fix for any home.

You can easily and quickly bring your design ideas to life with Shape Tape from FrogTape. Available in three on-trend patterns: Wave, Chevron and Scallop, Shape Tape makes it simple to achieve unique, repetitive decorative painting styles. Each roll of tape features a pre-cut repeating pattern, so all you need to do is simply unroll, apply and get painting to create your desired look. From delicate, narrow waves throughout a bathroom or nursery, to bold, wide chevron patterns in the living area or bedroom, this tape can be used in any room of the house.

Fabulous frames
When moving into a new space, the things you love should take center stage. Once your home reflects who you are, the rest will slowly fall into place. Photo frames are the ideal choice to add a decorative and personalized touch to any room. Bring this common decor pick into the modern age by creating a personal gallery and displaying frames of varying shapes and sizes. To do this, plan the layout of the frames before hanging, either with paper on the wall or by arranging them on the floor. Or, you can simply purchase pre-arranged frame galleries at home decor retailers.

Faucet focus
Kitchen and bath makeovers tend to have the biggest impact on a home and its resale value. However, new homeowners who are strapped for cash may not have a large budget for a full-scale bathroom remodel. Fortunately, there are several basic swaps that can quickly change the look and feel of a bath.

The easiest way to remodel your bathroom is to replace its hardest-working fixture – the faucet. This is a project new homeowners can tackle themselves at a reasonable price. Moen offers a wide variety of faucet options like the new single-handle Boardwalk bathroom faucet, to add a fresh, elegant look to the sink. Available at Lowe’s, Boardwalk fits almost any decor and comes in Moen’s Spot Resist Brushed Nickel finish, which resists fingerprints and water spots, so the faucet will stay looking clean as you show it off to family and friends. For a polished look, swap out old hardware with affordable, coordinated accessories including robe hooks, towel rings and towel bars.

Energy-saving essentials
Wasting energy means wasting money. When you go from a renter to a home owner, it’s important to recognize and fix energy-draining areas before bills pile up. Caulking around windows and spaces between the floor and baseboards in attics and sun rooms will help prevent drafts. Consider purchasing a draft stopper for the bottoms of doors so wind or heat doesn’t slip through. Additionally, service your furnace annually, so it produces more heat while using less energy.

Let there be light
Lighting is a great way to add warmth to a sparse space. If you’re looking to create an intimate atmosphere, place several table lamps throughout the room. -You can also amp up energy savings by switching to LED bulbs – these bulbs don’t cause heat buildup and last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents and 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

It’s very easy for decorating to become overwhelming for new homeowners. By starting with these few swift home decor swaps, your new home will be a comfortable and welcoming environment in no time.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Garage Space Isn’t Just For Cars Anymore

1854839The word garage, when looked up in the dictionary, has a simple meaning: a building or indoor area for parking or storing motor vehicles. By and large, this definition sums up exactly what comes to mind for most folks when they hear the word. But for some folks, garages are so much more than a space to park the family minivan and store the cumbersome and unattractive trash and recycling bins. Instead, they are functioning spaces of the home that, in the eye of the homeowner, serve just as much purpose as a kitchen or a bathroom and deserve just as much attention to detail.

More and more, people are using garages as space to actually live in. It isn’t just extra room anymore. Since the 1950s, most garages in North America are of the “attached” variety, meaning that they are part of the actual main home and not a separate building on the property. From music studios to man caves, art spaces to playrooms, garages are quickly becoming more integral parts of the family home. They are heated and cooled. They are equipped with cable and Internet capabilities. They are accessorized with attractive lighting and flooring choices.

While wall cabinetry units may still house things like a yard rake and a collection of tennis racquets and lacrosse sticks, they are also being chosen to integrate in such a fashion that the garage is truly seen as another room in the home, no matter what the intended end use of the square footage.

The gateway to the garage, of course, is the garage door. Garage doors, even though they impact the exterior look of the home, have not always been given as much careful consideration, as a design element, as the rest of the house. But now, more than ever, garage doors are getting special treatment in the design arena – both from the exterior and interior perspectives. A consumer using garage space as an art studio may choose a door with more window panels, as to increase and enhance the natural light that comes into the space. The parents of a budding rock band musician who uses the space as a performing and recording area might need to take into account the ability of the door to reduce the noise carrying to other parts of the house. Garage spaces can even be beautifully appointed to serve as living rooms, sunrooms, and a variety of other entertaining spaces that integrate seamlessly with the design and decor of the rest of the home.

A ground-breaking addition to the garage world is the new Trento Collection, distributed by Amarr, a company that has been a leader in the garage door industry with decades of innovation and design. Available in an almost unlimited number of looks, doors in the Trento Collection can be customized to fit the architecture of any home. Unlike traditional garage doors that operate via a series of springs, rails and tracks along the ceiling, Trento Collection garage doors showcase revolutionary technology and Italian design, featuring a patented overlap design that allows the door to open by folding neatly in half without any ceiling hardware to clutter the overhead space in the garage. This allows for a Trento door to take up far less space and appear significantly sleeker on the inside and outside than the traditional garage door.

So give your garage another look. It is a fine space for doing the things that traditionally make us think of garages, of course, but take a look at your garage space with a fresh eye. The space can be so much more. Entertaining space, work space, a space for a personal hobby that you’ve always wanted in your home but could never figure out how to have. The possibilities are endless.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Buying A Garage Door? Think Insulation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are seemingly endless options through which homeowners must navigate when buying a new garage door: the style, materials and accessories, just to name a few. But perhaps the most important feature that should top the garage door consumer’s list is energy efficiency.

Why? Because the garage door is generally the largest moving object in your home and offers the greatest exposure to the elements. An insulated garage door will maintain the temperature in your garage in the winter and in the summer and likely decrease your heating and cooling costs. Insulated garage doors not only make the garage itself more comfortable to be in, but also the rooms adjacent to or above the garage. A well-insulated garage also helps keep moisture out, and its sturdy construction offers a greater noise-reducing sound barrier.

What should consumers look for in an energy efficient garage door? For starters, check out the R-value. R-value is a measure of thermal resistance to heat flow and is how most manufacturers show the energy efficiency of their product. The higher the R-value of a door, the more insulation you’ll get. Second, look at the door’s construction. Well-insulated doors will have a “triple-layer” construction, consisting of environmentally safe polystyrene or polyurethane thermal insulation between two layers of heavy-duty steel. Some insulated garage doors also include a thermal break which is a nonconductive material within the door that keeps thermal energy from passing through, resulting in improved energy efficiency for the home.

Well-insulated garage doors should be able to stand up to the most extreme of conditions while simultaneously protecting your garage and the rest of your home. For example, the Heritage 3000 door by Amarr was installed at Mawson Station, a science facility in Antarctica, in 2007. The garage door continues to withstand years of exposure to 100 mph blasts of wind and snow. With protection like that, imagine what an energy efficient door like the Amarr Heritage 3000 can do for your home.

Whether your garage door withstands heat, wind, snow, rain, or all of the above, it’s the largest line of defense for your home. Make sure that it’s working hard for you by reducing your home’s energy consumption and providing strong, durable protection from the outside. Your utility bills – and the rest of your (climate-controlled) house will thank you.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Curb Appeal Tips To Transform Your Home

17867390Sprucing up your home’s curb appeal brings new energy and life, not only to your property, but also to the entire neighborhood. It creates a welcoming and appealing environment, while also making it a better candidate for resale, if that’s in your near future.

Curb appeal improvements can range from giving your home a facelift with a new paint color to changing out the landscaping for a fresh look. Here are some curb appeal projects you can take on this summer to highlight the wonderful qualities of your home:

* Enticing lighting – Lantern-lit walkways, under-shrub lighting and even soft twinkle lights illuminating a front porch all provide a welcoming atmosphere that invites visitors to your front door. Lighting can also help increase safety outside a home, as it brightens dark corners of your yard and reduces tripping hazards along walkways. Evaluate your home from the street at night and look for ways you can improve the lighting.

* A fresh new color – Everyone loves the look of a new coat of paint and whether used on your front door, shutters, trim or siding, it can really impact the look and feel of your home’s exterior. “When homeowners are planning to paint the exterior of their home, they want to make sure to use the very best paint to achieve a beautiful color that lasts,” says Scott Richards, senior vice president of marketing for Behr Paints. “We harnessed the most advanced technology to create BEHR MARQUEE Exterior Paint & Primer, our top-of-the-line exterior paint designed to achieve a freshly painted look that lasts a long time. It not only repels dirt, which can make your paint finish look dull, but it also provides early rain resistance, so it repels rain showers as early as 60 minutes after application.” BEHR MARQUEE Exterior Paint & Primer is available exclusively at The Home Depot and comes in 64 unique new colors and can be tinted to any color in Behr’s existing palette of 2,000 hues or custom color-matched. Visit colorfullybehr.com to read about everything color – from contrasts to the latest coloring techniques.

* Green and growing beauty – For green thumb gardeners, incorporating beautiful flowerbeds in strategic areas like around the mailbox, next to the driveway, along the sidewalk to the front door and around the front of the home, is a great way to add beautiful curb appeal. Continue to rotate new flowers into the flowerbeds as the seasons change, allowing you to vary the accent colors in your yard frequently.

If you don’t have the time or interest in flower gardening, however, you can create more perennial landscaping beds using hardy plants that require little maintenance. Check with your local garden shop for information about low-maintenance perennial plants, trees and shrubs to incorporate into your landscaping.

With these changes, your home’s curb appeal will invite visitors – or potential buyers – to stop and admire your house from the street. Whether you decide to DIY or hire a professional, you’ll be able to enjoy the transformation for many years to come.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Three Home Improvement Tips To Help You Breathe Easier

18050867One in five Americans suffer from allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). As the 2013 allergy season begins, experts warn that it may be one of the worst in recent years, with people experiencing an unusually strong reaction due to increased tree pollen.

But little attention is paid to the impact of indoor air on allergies, asthma and general health. We spend an average of approximately 90 percent or more of our time indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA reports that “indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher, and occasionally more than 100 times higher, than outdoor levels.”

How does this impact your next home improvement project? A survey by Angie’s List revealed Americans spend more than $300 billion annually on remodeling projects. Yet these endeavors typically focus solely on a home’s aesthetics while ignoring one important consideration: Is your home healthy?

Start at the bottom

We all want beautiful floors in our homes. Many people, however, don’t realize that some new flooring can threaten your indoor air quality. When flooring is installed, you may notice an odor for a few days or even weeks. The odor might mean noxious gases are emitting from the materials used during installation. And these emissions, particularly those resulting from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), could potentially have serious, long-term effects on your health – as well as an immediate impact on the health of family members with asthma or allergies.

The good news is gorgeous flooring options are now available that are certified “asthma and allergy friendly” by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In 2010, Tarkett Flooring committed resources toward developing flooring solutions which help people breathe easier. The company’s FiberFloor is the industry’s only residential flooring currently certified by the AAFA. To earn this certification, the flooring underwent rigorous testing by the AAFA and successfully met the following criteria:

* Installation of the flooring does not result in elevated levels of chemicals.

* The flooring has a low capacity for retaining allergens.

* The recommended cleaning of the flooring will not result in exposure to airborne allergens.

Additionally, other flooring options offered by Tarkett, such as its luxury vinyl tiles and planks and laminates, are FloorScore-certified by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) together with Scientific Certification Systems for better indoor air quality.

Tarkett’s “iSelect” program simplifies flooring options and introduces customers to an interactive, multi-faceted shopping experience.- The system begins with six inspirational color families: Champagne Celebrations, Hushed Conversations, Earthy Connections, Evening Receptions, Fireside Chats, and Warm Gatherings – each offering its own feel and color space to help you find the perfect floor to meet your design, durability and health needs while also coordinating with your existing furnishings and adjoining floors.

Spring for PVC-free accessories

Did you know that your shower curtain can be one of the greatest sources of noxious gas in your home? Many homeowners purchase PVC shower curtains and liners because of their functionality and ease of cleaning. However, according to “Practically Green,” a website for people interested in green living, a recent study “found that 108 different volatile organic compounds, including those known to cause developmental, liver, nervous system, respiratory and reproductive damage, were released into indoor air by PVC shower curtains.” Replacing current shower curtains and liners with PVC-free products are quick and inexpensive fixes that will make your bathrooms healthier for the whole family.

Manage mold and mildew

If you’re noticing moisture or mold building up on your windows, have your home checked by an energy rater or a building analyst. To prevent moisture from getting in your windows, select windows made with double pane, insulated glass to create an insulating barrier and keep moisture, mildew or mold from developing. For added energy savings, you can opt for a Low Emissivity or “Lo-E” coating to keep heat from radiating beyond the side of the window where it originated. You’ll save on your heating and air conditioning bills while also minding your health.

Home improvements should be a proud reminder that your home is your castle and you treat it well. This year, consider investing in simple projects that can also improve the health of the castle’s residents.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Tips To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

17643784You pride yourself on keeping a clean home. The laundry is washed, the dishes are dry and the den where the children built their pillow fort has been restored to sanity. You’ve been vigilant about cleaning up the messes you can see, but what about the messes you can’t? What are you doing to improve the air quality in your home?

You may not think about the air quality in your home because the problem isn’t visible, but that doesn’t stop dust, dander or chemicals from polluting your air. Everyday living generates up to 40 pounds of dust in a six-room house every year, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Association.

Taking steps to clean the air in your home will do more than just improve air quality; it will also save you money. Twenty-five to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted because contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work inefficiently, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

If you’re interested in improving the air quality in your home and saving money while you do it, here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction.

Hire a professional to clean your most important asset

Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system literally takes air in and breathes air out. Because of this, keeping your HVAC system and your ducts clean is the most important thing you can do to improve your home’s air quality. “If your ducts look dirty, they probably are,” is NADCA’s advice to consumers.

Have your system serviced by a certified technician. This will not only improve the quality of the air in your home, it will allow your heating and cooling system to run more efficiently, saving you money on energy bills.

Make sure to hire a NADCA-certified technician. All members have certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialists (ASCS) on staff and they are required to further their education by attending seminars and to adhere to the NADCA code of ethics.

Encourage ventilation

Today’s newer homes are built air tight, making ventilation difficult. The simplest way to encourage ventilation is to simply open windows. In the bathroom, turn on the exhaust fan to stop steam from collecting dirt and keeping it in the bathroom. In the kitchen, place any appliance that creates steam or oily vapor under the stove hood. Finally, make sure vents on the outside of your home are not blocked by leaves or snow as season dictates.

Prevent mold

Mold can be one of the most harmful contaminators of air quality. You’ll find mold in areas where moisture and poor ventilation come together. Vacuum rear grills on appliances like your fridge and freezer to improve ventilation and empty and clean any drip trays to eliminate mold. If you have a leaky pipe in your home make sure it is addressed. Take a tour outside and trim any bushes or shrubs that have grown too close as that proximity can lead to mold and algae.

Replace filters and screens

In the warmer months, clean the area around your air conditioner and repair any vermin screens on your chimney flues that may be damaged. During the cooler months, remove screens from any window that may trap condensation and make sure to change your furnace filter monthly.

Keeping the air in your home clean is just as important as washing the dishes or cleaning the clothes. The first step is to have your heating and cooling systems serviced by a NADCA technician. Once that is complete, follow these tips to maintain your air quality. To learn more about NADCA and how you can benefit from an HVAC cleaning, visit nadca.com/en/faq.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/