Blog :: 06-2016

Elegant Landscape Designs Can Greatly Enhance Property Value

This article by Lee Flynn highlights the importance of landscaping to enhance curb appeal. This can be tricky when living in Vermont, where the weather is so unpredictable. It's important to know that it's worth the effort to make your home more inviting. 

Elegantly designed exterior landscapes can greatly enhance the appearance, curb appeal and market value of almost any home or property. Even large-scale landscaping projects can often be completed with relatively little cost and may add several thousands of dollars to the market price of a home or other property. Advanced options, such as hardscaping installations, xeriscaping or more ambitious layouts and designs are more than able to pay for themselves should homeowners ever decide to sell their home or investment property.
The Importance of Curb Appeal
Even the most attractive homes may still lack curb appeal. Professional landscaping designs and exterior renovations often provide the single most effective way for homeowners to create and maintain the level of curb appeal needed to enhance the market value of a property. Landscaping maintenance and installation services can be a valuable resource for homeowners seeking to protect their investment.
Landscaping Projects Are Among the Most Cost-Effective Home Renovation Projects
Curb appeal projects can provide a significant return on investment for home and property owners. In addition to costing far more, interior renovations and home upgrades may do little to improve the overall impression a property is able to make on prospective buyers. While interior renovation projects can be beneficial for creating a more comfortable home or optimizing the market value of an investment property, interior upgrades often fail to provide the level of results that professional landscaping designs may be able to offer.
Restoring and Maintaining Existing Hardscape Installations
While often less costly than interior renovations, landscaping upgrades may still come with a hefty price tag. Restoring existing stone work, professional surface and grout cleaning and other maintenance services that may improve the appearance of existing hardscape materials can significantly reduce overall costs. Professional maintenance services can provide property owners with a more affordable way to improve curb appeal by restoring a faded or neglected landscape to its former glory. Professional maintenance services can even be of benefit for those undertaking a radical redesign of their landscape. Incorporating existing installations into a new design or restoring and reusing landscaping materials can provide a level of savings that few property owners can afford to overlook.
Working With the Right Professional
From basic upgrades and maintenance solutions to more ambitious landscaping designs and complex renovations, the services and assistance of a qualified and experienced professional can be a key asset. Property owners often lack the tools, expertise and resources needed to tackle large-scale landscaping renovation projects on their own. Working alongside the right professional can provide superior results and ensure that homeowners are not forced to make due with a limited range of designs, options or solutions. Dealing with the wrong landscaper or overlooking the service providers that may have more to offer can be a very costly mistake.
Creating the Best Exterior Landscapes
Elegant landscaping design, hardscaping installation or restoration services that make the home more attractive can all make a huge difference. Property owners who overlook the importance of curb appeal may find themselves hard pressed to enhance the overall value of their investment. Landscaping projects that may be completed for a fraction of the cost of a room addition or other interior renovation provide a proven and effective way to add thousands of dollars to the market value of a home. The addition of hardscaped walkways, terraced landscaping or stone borders can do much to improve the overall appearance of a home.

To see the original article click here.

Welcome Home: 3 Entry Door Options

We found this article by Joseph Truini that addresses the importance of having the right front door for your home. Vermont, as we all know, has very intense seasons and it’s important to have a door that not only looks good but will last through extended exposure, especially through the winter months.

Installing a new entry door is a great way to improve the curb appeal of your home and create a warm, welcoming first impression for visitors. And while entry doors should certainly be attractive and architecturally interesting, they must also be resilient, weathertight and able to withstand exposure to the elements all year round.

If you’re interested in replacing your entryway door, you’ll first have to decide which type of door to purchase. Entry doors are readily available at home improvement centers in three different types: wood, steel and fiberglass.

All three types come in a wide range of sizes, styles and prices, so you won’t have any problem finding a door to fit into your budget and existing doorway. The more difficult decision is choosing which door type best suits your home, personal taste and lifestyle. To make that decision a bit easier, below you’ll find detailed descriptions of each door type, including benefits, drawbacks and important features to consider. 

Wood Doors

The natural beauty and warmth of wood is captured in this pre-finished mahogany door.

Wood doors are commonly available in a variety softwood and hardwood species, including fir, pine, hemlock, mahogany, oak, cherry and walnut. Most wood doors feature frame-and-panel construction, and can be ordered with or without “lites,” or windows.

Solid wood doors are constructed entirely out of solid pieces of wood. Veneered doors have a solid wood frame that’s covered with a wood veneer. Solid wood doors are often heavier and more expensive than a wood veneer door, but they’re also stronger and more durable.

Homeowners love wood doors because it’s hard to beat the natural beauty and warmth of real wood. Plus, they can be painted, stained or finished with a clear topcoat. However, wood requires a certain amount of maintenance to keep a fresh, like-new appearance.

When exposed to the elements, wood can swell, shrink, crack and warp. Paint and clear topcoats will eventually blister and peel. That’s why wood doors are best suited for recessed doorway openings, where the door is protected from the weather by a large overhang or deep alcove.

If you’re planning on painting your new wood door, order it with a factory-primed finish. That’ll save you the time and trouble of priming the door before painting. Also, it’s very important that you paint the entire door: top and bottom ends, left and right edges, and front and back surfaces. That’s the very best way to seal out moisture and deter warping.

Steel Doors

This steel entry door has a decorative glass panel and is available pre-finished in six paint colors.

Steel doors are popular with homebuilders and homeowners alike, and it’s easy to see why: They are extremely strong and secure. They’re durable and weather-tight, especially when fitted with magnetic weather stripping. Generally speaking, steel doors are also the most affordable type of entry door.

Steel doors come primed ready for paint, but many home improvement centers now offer pre-finished steel doors in a wide choice of factory-applied paint colors. And while most steel doors have a smooth surface, some models feature an embossed wood-grain finish.

The two main drawbacks to steel are that it dents and rusts. You can fill dents with auto-body putty, but rust must be completely removed to prevent the corrosion from spreading. Scrape or sand away all the rust to expose bare steel. Then, apply a primer coat followed by two coats of paint.   

Fiberglass-Composite Doors

Don’t be fooled by its rich cherry wood finish. This resilient door is made of fiberglass.

There’s no such thing as a maintenance-free door, but a fiberglass door comes pretty darn close. Fiberglass is extremely tough and resilient, and particularly well suited for harsh, humid climates. It’s also highly resistant to warping, splitting and cracking. Fiberglass doors won’t dent or rot.

Most fiberglass doors have a realistic wood grain texture that can be stained to resemble a wooden door. In fact, if you like the rich look of a solid mahogany door but not the price tag, buy a fiberglass door and apply a mahogany stain. If you’d rather paint your entry door, that’s fine, too: fiberglass accepts paint beautifully.

The main drawback to fiberglass doors is that they’re relatively expensive. Only high-end solid-hardwood doors cost more.

Door-Buying Tip: Sizing Matters

It’s easy to make mistakes when ordering new doors because of the somewhat confusing way that manufacturers specify door sizes. For example, a 36-inch door is sold as a 3-0 unit (pronounced three-oh), meaning that it’s 3 feet, 0 in. wide. A 2-8 door isn’t 28 in. wide; it’s 32 in. wide.

If you’re not paying close attention, it’s easy to order a 3-0 door for a 30-inch-wide opening, and then discover that the door is six inches too wide. Avoid these costly, time-consuming mistakes by double-checking the dimensions before ordering the door.

When shopping for entry doors, keep in mind that price is a good indicator of quality. A high-quality door will cost more, but it’ll last longer, perform better and be much more energy efficient.

No matter which door you choose, make sure it suits your home’s climate. It’s also important to practice regular maintenance in order to keep your new door looking its best.

To see the original article click here.

Waterbury Arts Fest 2016

July 8th brings us the Waterbury Block Party followed by the Arts Fest the next day. Both of these events are free to attend and showcase local artists and performers while raising money for Revitalizing Waterbury. 

On Friday, the Block Party starts at 5:30pm and ends around 10pm. The opening set features Sadie Bloger followed by The Grift aka "Vermont's premier good-time party band" as well as Dojo. Get ready to dance in the middle of the shut-down-streets, because that's what always happens.

Saturday starts up again starting at 10am and goes until 4pm. It is so much fun to stroll around exploring booths with handcrafted jewelry, pottery, woodwork, clothes, people watching, eating great food, and so much more. Learn more here.

5 Energy-Efficient Home Upgrades

5 Energy-Efficient Home Upgrades

Now, more than ever, people are looking for energy efficient homes and buildings when making a new real estate decision. Living in Vermont, we all know the high cost of heating during our volatile winters. While solar panels are an excellent way to help the environment and save on your heating and energy bills it can be a big, and costly commitment. We found an article by Gold Metal Service that highlights some different ways to upgrade your home or building that won't break the bank. 

Did you know that the energy used by homes in the U.S. accounts for almost one-quarter of the country's overall energy consumption? Or that the average household spends upwards of $2,200 a month on utilities?

Improving your home's energy efficiency can be accomplished in several ways, ranging from inexpensive upgrades to out-of-bounds costly overhauls.

"From whole-home energy audits to simply swapping out a water-guzzling toilet, there are dozens of ways homeowners can make their homes more energy-efficient," says Mike Agugliaro, co-owner of New Jersey-based Gold Medal Service. "Even a few small changes can have a big impact on energy consumption, helping the Earth and helping to lower energy bills at the same time."

Agugliaro recommends homeowners start with these five upgrades:

1. Ceiling Fans

Installing ceiling fans in your home is a low-cost way to reduce energy consumption. On hot days, ceiling fans can cut cooling costs by up to 40 percent, and on colder days, they help circulate air, saving you up to 10 percent on heating costs.

2. LED Lights

Swap out incandescent light bulbs for ENERGY STAR®-qualified LED lights--you'll consume a whopping 75 percent less energy! LED lights also last up to 50 times longer than incandescent ones, and up to five times longer than fluorescent ones, saving you the expense of replacement.

3. Smart Thermostat

Programmable thermostats can instantly make your heating and cooling system more efficient. The latest models allow you to set temperatures for different times of day, so you aren't paying to heat or cool your home when no one is there.

4. Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters--sometimes called "on-demand"--heat water as needed. ENERGY STAR® tankless water heaters can reduce your annual water costs by up to 30 percent. They last nearly 20 years--double the lifespan of a traditional hot water heater.

5. Whole-Home Energy System

The average home is hit with over 20 energy spikes each day. These can wreak havoc on your energy bills. Prevent them from occurring with a home energy management system with surge protection.

For those who want a hand improving the energy efficiency of their homes, an HVAC, plumbing and electrical professional can assess current energy usage and recommend ways to make the home more efficient.

To read the original article click here