Creative Hardwood Flooring

17322840The recovering U.S. housing market has led to increased demand for certain luxury items, including hardwood flooring. Exciting trends are influencing the marketplace and for today’s consumers, there are more hardwood flooring options than ever before.

“Savvy consumers want variety and flexibility in their flooring choices,” says Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “With American hardwood species running the gamut of color and because hardwood is a product that can adapt to many different decorating styles and decors, hardwood provides a degree of diversity, as well as long-term value, that cannot be matched by other flooring materials.”

From the trend-watchers at independent market research firm, Market Insights Torcivia, and the National Wood Flooring Association, look at what’s trending now.

A touch of the creative

* Using multiple wood species is very popular, typically using one species in the main field of the room, then introducing other contrasting species incorporated as a border or other subtle design elements in the room.

* Mixed media incorporates hardwood with other flooring options like stone, tile, carpet or even metal. This approach often helps to define different seating or functional areas within a large, open space.

* Installing wood floors, in a non-linear format, is increasingly popular as well. Custom parquet patterns can achieve this look but even traditional linear floors can accomplish the same goal by installing the linear pattern on a curve.

* Consumer preferences are gravitating toward darker species, like walnut, over the more traditional, medium-colored white and red oak. In many cases, however, existing oak floors are being refinished and stained to achieve this look without replacing the floor.

* Buyers are moving away from the traditional 2 1/4 inches strip floor to wider plank flooring, 3 inches and wider. Random width planks are also popular. This creates a very casual look, while utilizing more of the raw materials during the manufacturing process.

* Distressed flooring – hand-scraping the boards will achieve an antiqued look while, at the same time, hiding small imperfections that can appear in flooring over time, like small scratches or dents.-This distressed effect can also be achieved in the factory.

Stains and finishes

The National Wood Flooring Association also reports that flooring manufacturers are introducing new lines geared to satisfy the emerging trends toward gray stains and finishes – ranging from very subtle to very dark – and metallic finishes.

Metallic finishes incorporate softly shimmering metallic accents by embedding the metallic materials into the hardwood. The result is a pronounced grain that shimmers softly in contrast to the rest of the wood. It is difficult to predict if this trend will catch on long-term but it has become increasingly popular, particularly on the West Coast.

Get inspired

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, more and more consumers will enhance their living spaces with flooring, cabinetry and other luxury items made from American Hardwoods, the ultimate in value, versatility and style. Browse the photo gallery of the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com for inspiration.

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/

Create A Traditional Kitchen Full Of Personality And Style

19529758The kitchen is the heart of the home … the place where memories are made while cooking, eating and sharing stories around the table. Since so much time is spent in this room, it’s important to have a kitchen that fits your personality. There are many styles to choose; but traditional remains one of the most popular because of its timeless, classic look. If you’re updating your kitchen, here are some tips to create a space that reflects your personal style.

Color matters. The right paint colors are integral to achieving the traditional look. Select paint colors that are warm and inviting like cream, taupe and gold. Light colors are popular in the kitchen because they provide a feeling of cleanliness and make the space feel larger. Infuse your room with a few stylish touches by incorporating accents in darker or richer shades, especially in the furniture, wood trim or flooring. —

Quality fixtures. When designing your new kitchen, don’t overlook the faucets. They get used many times during the day – needing to withstand heavy usage and tie into the overall design of the kitchen. Growing in popularity are motion-activated faucets, like Moen’s easy-to-use MotionSense technology. The Brantford pulldown faucet adds timeless appeal as the spout enhances the curvature of the faucet body and handle, giving any kitchen a beautiful look with the ultimate convenience of hands-free technology.

For an even more elaborate style, the new Weymouth collection offers an enduring, Victorian design with functional details, such as its high-arc spout. Signature styling elements include a decorative top finial and a refined shepherd’s spout. The detailed design of both faucets will provide extra luxury and serve as the perfect focal point at the sink.

Storage with flair. Replacing cabinets is usually the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel, so take your time and choose carefully. First, think about the color and the type of wood. White painted cabinets with intricate details and raised-panel doors are a popular choice for traditionally styled kitchens. Adding eye-catching details also goes a long way. Be sure to finish the top of the cabinets with decorative molding or swap wood-fronts with glass panels. And, since it’s all about the details, choose decorative knobs and pulls, as well as a towel bar or towel ring that match both the style and finish of your faucet to add fashion and function.

Luxury countertops. Granite and butcher block are great choices for countertops. According to the National Association of Home Builders, granite is the most desirable, must-have kitchen feature. This is likely because it’s scratch- and chip-resistant, not to mention this material is a classic design choice that withstands the test of time.

Butcher block not only adds a warm look to your kitchen, it’s also functional as it provides an ideal area for chopping food. Plus, these countertops are easy to clean – just use soap and water. For added appeal, use two types of materials, one on the main countertop area and another on the kitchen island.

Decorative lighting. Since the kitchen is the place you chop and dice, not to mention socialize with loved ones, you need both ambient and task lighting. For ambient lighting, consider a chandelier. Hang it over the kitchen island or the dining space to add a sophisticated touch. Task lighting should be brighter: use pendants and recessed lights over workplaces like countertops, the sink and stove.

With these few key tips, you’ll soon have the elegant, traditional kitchen you’ve always desired. For more information about Moen products, visit moen.com or call 800-BUY-MOEN (800-289-6636).

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/

Choose Quality Over Quantity To Create The Bathroom Of Your Dreams

18943244While your dream bath may be a sprawling space, the reality is that the typical bathroom is 100 square feet or less. According to recent home builder statistics, the average home size has seen a 6 percent decline in recent years. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dream bath. A large bathroom footprint isn’t always the answer to a better bath. Focusing on quality products can create a luxurious look, even in a small space.

Free up floor and counter space

You may not be able to create more space but there are many ways to create the illusion of more space. Adding a pedestal sink or a furniture-style vanity with legs gives an increased line of sight, making the space appear larger. Similarly, clutter takes up valuable space. One way to free up extra room on the countertop is with a single-handle or wall-mount faucet. Doors can also make a room feel constrained. Rather than a traditional swing or hinged door, opt for pocket doors; which frees up approximately 10 square feet of floor space.

Focus on fabulous fixtures

We all need storage in the bath, but don’t limit yourself to the horizontal surfaces. Make the most of your vertical space by adding bath accessories, as well.

“When updating the bathroom, many homeowners take inspiration from upscale hotels,” says Tim Bitterman, director of marketing and new product development, Moen Accessories. “Moen offers a variety of unique ‘hotel-style’ accessories to add functionality and enhance the style of your bath.”

Adding a hotel shelf, which combines a towel bar with a shelf, offers an excellent storage spot for towels. A wall-mount hair dryer holder, a pivoting wall-mount makeup mirror, a curved shower rod and robe hooks are all excellent hotel-inspired accessory options.

Dominate with dual-function

Dual-function products are perfect for smaller baths because they offer added benefits without taking up more space. Update your toilet paper holder, towel bar and in-shower shelves with newer versions that integrate a grab bar. Moen Home Care offers stylish grab bar designs featuring a paper holder, a towel bar and two shelf designs; all in a variety of finishes to help you update these bathroom basics while adding storage, safety and style.

Swap soaking for a sensational shower

Sixty-three percent of Americans shower at least once a day. Since we tend to shower more than soak, creating one sensational showering space and possibly eliminating the tub, is a wise use of surface area. For an easy upgrade, swap your showerhead with a new, high-quality model. Or, for a more luxurious remodel, install a vertical spa complete with components like body sprays and a hand shower on a single wall.

And, no matter how large or small your shower, there’s always room to add seating, which increases safety and ease while shaving and washing. The fold-down teak seat from Moen Home Care is a great option since it features a unique wall-mount design that folds down for a comfortable and secure shower seat to avoid slips and falls. When not in use, it folds up to a thin, compact profile.

It’s all smoke (and light) and mirrors

There are more benefits to mirrors in a bathroom other than a place to check your hair and make-up. They can actually make a room appear twice as large as the actual size. In addition to your vanity mirror, consider hanging a full-length mirror on a door. Similarly, bringing in more light will open up the space and make your bathroom come to life. A skylight is a unique addition, since it utilizes the often unused ceiling space. Lighting fixtures are also an ideal way to brighten the space, but don’t settle for boring basics. Try more stylish options, like sconces, which can add a more designer, upscale feel.

Remember to shop for quality over quantity when updating your bath and soon you’ll enjoy the serenity of a stylish and organized space. For more information, visit moen.com or call 800-BUY-MOEN (800-289-6636).

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/

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/

Paint Like A Professional With DIY Simplicity

18657210Think your favorite room is due for a new paint color? To get a result that looks like it was plucked straight from a home improvement magazine, you don’t have to hire an interior designer or professional painter. You can do-it-yourself with a few tricks of the trade.

Choose the right color

Even a perfectly painted room is a failure if you are unhappy with the color. With thousands of designer-inspired palettes on the market, it’s easy for homeowners to get confused when it comes to selecting the right hue. Some homeowners try taping color chips together to view their colors while others will paint a sample directly on the wall. While putting actual paint on the wall is considered the truest representation of color, no one wants to live with a wall marred with a patchwork of several different paint samples for very long.

Make selecting the right color uncomplicated by using SureSwatch, a removable peel and stick DIY paint swatch. Simply paint the 9-by-12 inch clear SureSwatch film and place on any wall (or even the ceiling) to get a better idea of what the color will look like. To avoid color regret, the paint swatch should be viewed multiple times during the day, in the daytime as well as at night.-A clear film provides color accuracy and allows you to see how your new color choice will appear when it’s painted out over your current wall color. For less than $1, it’s an easy and affordable way to feel confident about your color selection. Visit the paint counter at your local Home Depot or www.sureswatch.com for more information.

Use high-quality paint tools and supplies

Start with a premium paint which can save you money in the long run. High-quality paint covers better, provides a richer hue and tends to be more durable.

Next, select a quality applicator.- There’s a reason you don’t find professional painters using a dollar brush or roller – they don’t provide the best results and can sometimes make the job more difficult. To ease your DIY task and ensure a professional outcome, choose premium tools that allow you to paint spaces much quicker and for even coverage. It is well worth the investment.

If you currently have a dark-colored room or a pattern on your walls, priming is a good idea. A good primer will transform your walls into a blank canvas so the new paint color can adhere properly and the true hue will be represented once it dries.

Prepare properly

Every expert painter knows that preparation is just as important as paint application. Start by scraping any chipping paint and fill nail holes. To ensure paint adheres well, clean walls with a sponge and mild soap. Dust and grime may be present and could affect the paint’s ability to adhere properly.

Next, remove all wall plates and tape off edges and electrical outlets with a good quality painter’s tape made specifically for getting sharp edges and easy removal This extra step may take some time, but it is one of the best ways to get a paint job that looks professional rather than amateur. Remember to cover flooring to protect it from any drips.

Apply paint like a pro

To ensure you get flawless coverage, start applying the paint with uniform pressure in a “W” or “N” pattern. Continue spreading with up and down strokes making sure to finish with strokes in one direction. This helps achieve the most even coverage. Paint typically dries unevenly, which gives the illusion of spots and streaks. Avoid going back immediately to touch up sparse spots. Painting too soon will result in unevenness. Wait until it’s fully dry to apply another coat. For sharp, crisp edges, remove tape after the paint is dry and you are completely satisfied with the results.

Paint can completely transform a space in a matter of a few days. By keeping a few expert tips in mind and choosing the right color, you’ll enjoy beautiful results without the stress, and guests will never know you didn’t hire a professional.

 

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 Astoundingly Simple Solutions For Big Renovation Challenges

17086620Americans are renovating again. In fact, the remodeling market hasn’t been this robust since 2004, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index. Yet even the most enthusiastic homeowners-turned-renovators may hesitate when faced with certain common challenges – be it adding a bathroom in a problematic location or figuring out how to bring natural light into an interior room.

But virtually every renovation challenge is solvable, and sometimes the answers are surprisingly simple and cost-effective. Here are three common issues you may encounter while renovating, and the astoundingly simple ways to overcome the obstacles:

The challenge: Adding a bathroom over concrete flooring or in a tight spot where traditional plumbing doesn’t work well.

The simple solution: Up-flush plumbing. Bathroom renovations or additions offer a high return on investment – as much as 56 percent of the initial investment when you resell, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. But conventional plumbing can be costly and time-consuming, even in the best circumstances. If you want to add a bathroom in a basement where the floor is concrete or in a smaller space with no room for traditional piping, an up-flush, or macerating, toilet is a simple, cost-effective solution.

Systems like Saniflo’s macerating toilet and plumbing technology eliminate the need to cut through a floor to install new drainage. And the systems fit easily into areas as small as a closet or dead space beneath a stairway. A macerating pump reduces waste and paper from the toilet and sends it under high pressure through piping directly into the septic or sewer system. No waste is stored, and the systems are comparatively low-cost compared to traditional plumbing. Visit www.saniflo.com to learn more.

The challenge: Introducing natural light in a room with no space for windows.

The simple solution: Skylights. The benefits of natural light are well-documented, from improving mood to reducing dependence on artificial lights. Yet some spaces, such as interior powder rooms or walk-in closets, don’t lend themselves to windows. When you want natural light in a room where a lack of wall space precludes a window, or in which privacy is an issue, a skylight can be a great solution. Tubular skylights even allow you to bring natural light into ground floor rooms.

The cost of installing a skylight is comparable to adding quality windows in a room. Choose energy-efficient skylights and you may also reduce home cooling costs in spring and summer, and lighting costs in winter, too.

The challenge: Privacy in a doorway where a swinging door doesn’t make sense.

The simple solution: Pocket doors. A swinging door may not be right for a space for many reasons. Perhaps you need to close a door in a spot so infrequently that a swinging door isn’t needed. Or, maybe the space around the doorway is too tight to accommodate a swinging door, such as in a laundry space tucked into a hallway. Or, perhaps a traditional door will ruin the aesthetic of a space. In all those situations, a pocket door is a great way to achieve privacy without compromise. Because pocket doors tuck away inside the wall, you don’t need to worry about having enough space to open or close a traditional door. Plus, when left open, pocket doors are hidden inside the wall so their visual impact on decor is minimal.

While these solutions may be beyond the abilities of most do-it-yourselfers, reputable contractors can accomplish them easily – and help you decide if one of these options is right for your renovation project.

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/

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/