Remodeling Ideas, Notes, and Tips
According to the manufacturer, Stikwood is a new approach to modern wood wall decor—the world's first peel and stick solid wood planking.
We like it as a striking alternative to other surfaces and treatments in terms of impact. Stikwood is designed to be a cost effective way to dramatically improve any space. It requires only minimal effort and comes in a variety of looks from contemporary to rustic. Stikwood will adhere to any interior surface, however the surface needs to be clean, smooth and previously painted or primed.
It's economical, environmentally responsible and offers endless creative design solutions in terms of pattern, colors, mood and application. We think it's a fresh, unexpected alternative for use in residential or commercial spaces. (Of course, if you're not the "do-it-yourself" type, we'd be happy to assist you with the design and installation process.) Contact us for an estimate.You can see assorted samples and review more ideas on the manufacturer's website here.
Inadequate or improper ventilation will cause moisture damage.
Aside from leaks or not enough insulation, a more common cause of moisture damage is inadequate ventilation. So how do you know if you have enough ventilation? To determine this, you must first know the square footage (area) of your attic.
Say your house (excluding garage if attached) measures 30 feet by 40 feet. 30 feet x 40 feet = 1,200 square feet. Most building codes require one square foot of ventilation for each 150 square feet of attic floor space—assuming there is a vapor barrier or the proper ratio of exhaust to intake vents (50% upper exhaust vents / 50% intake vents).
Using our example above with an average attic and average pitch, you simply
divide 1,200 by 150. 1,200 square feet divided by 150 = 8 square feet. This
means you need a total ventilation area of 8 square feet. Remember though, the
ideal ventilation ratio is 50% exhaust and 50% intake, so divide 8 by 2 to
achieve the ratio of exhaust to intake. 8 square feet divided by 2 = 4 square
feet. (Note: If your roof pitch is 7/12 to 10/12, add about 20% to your
calculation; add 30% for pitches greater than 11/12).
We now know you need 4 square feet of attic ventilation for intake, and 4 square feet of attic ventilation for exhaust. But before you assume you’re ventilation is fine as is, or you run out and install an extra roof vent, it is important to determine how your current set up works. Remember, the goal is to keep your attic as consistently cool as possible—out with the hot air, in with the cool. The wrong placement, combination or amount of vents will short-circuit the ideal airflow. Also, a guarantee on shingles will likely not be honored by the manufacturer without sufficient ventilation. Most experts agree that a good configuration is 50% intake in the soffit area and 50% exhaust at the ridge of the roof.
The last calculation requires us to convert square feet to square inches. For this, we simply multiply the required 4 square feet by 144. 4 x 144 = 576 square inches, so we need 576 square inches of intake and 576 square inches of exhaust.
Exhaust: Nothing beats a ridge vent in our opinion. An average ridge vent produces 18 square inches of ventilating area per linear foot. Since our example roof is 40 feet long, we would get 720 square inches of exhaust space. (18 x 40 = 720). Divide 720 by 144 and we see that 720 square inches equals 5 square feet. So our ridge ventilation has exceeded the minimum requirement of 576, which is perfect!
Intake: An average soffit vent measures 16 inches by 4 inches creating an intake an area of 64 square inches. We know we want 576 square inches of intake, so we can divide 576 by 64. 576 divided by 64 tells us that 9 soffit vents are required; but let’s round up to 10.
There you have it. Of course the figures provided are for example only, and you should always consult with an expert, but now you have a good idea whether you roof and attic are ready for winter!
If you’re a homeowner with an unfinished basement, you may have hidden treasure directly underfoot.
Did you know that according to realtor studies, finishing a basement ranks just behind kitchen and bathroom renovations in terms of R.O.I? In some cases, the payback could even exceed the remodeling expenditure!
What many homeowners seem to forget when they are looking to increase their available living space is that they’ve already built and paid for usable space directly below them—their basement. What most basements lack as far as making them comfortable and valuable is simply professional finishing. Yes we said it and we meant it — professional. To get the most out of your investment we recommend that you only hire licensed contractors.
So here’s our “like” of the month:
We love the idea of a professionally stained concrete floor in the basement. This unusual but extremely practical (and affordable) solution is becoming more and more popular as homeowners seek to improve or add to their living space, but still need to watch their pennies. Of course cost is only one reason to consider a stained concrete floor.
Top ten benefits of a professionally stained concrete floor:
- Economical alternative to carpet and other floor coverings
- Not vulnerable to moisture, mold and mildew
- Color possibilities and treatments are nearly endless
- Instead of hiding cracks and other irregular characteristics of the floor, staining can actually turn them into a chic’ design feature
- Low maintenance and easy cleanup
- Ability to add additional architectural interest with saw-cut patterns and stencils
- Durable long-lasting solution (longevity)
- Handcrafted artisan surface
- Ability to simulate a wide variety of natural materials and textures
- Great alternative to carpet to reduce allergens
So what can you expect to pay for a stained concrete floor in your basement?
Naturally, the degree of preparation required, square footage, and design complexity will affect cost, but here are some averages:
- Simple projects that involve minimal slab preparation, include cleanup and a sealer coat can average $2 to $4 per square foot
- Add saw-cut patterning and different colors between sawed lines and costs can average $4 to $10 per square foot
- Designs with saw-cut patterns and multiple color buildups are priced at about $8 to $15 per square foot
- Detailed stencil work, including stain, cleanup, and sealer can average $12 to $25 per square foot
The good news: Federal tax credits for have been extended through 2011.
The bad news: (OK, it's not really bad), but the tax credits for 2011 are at a lower rate than in 2010. The credits are also subject to a new "Lifetime Limitation" (total cumulative credits within category) that a homeowner can claim from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2011. This means that if you've previously taken advantage of the Energy Tax Credit, whatever you claimed in the past counts against the reduced 2011 maximums. Be sure to check with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.
For new items installed between January 1, and December 31, 2011, you may be eligible to receive tax credits as follows:
Energy Star window: up to $200
Water heater (includes electric, natural gas, propane, or oil): up to $300
Air conditioner: up to $300
Insulation, doors, and roof: up to $500
Furnace tax credit (includes natural gas, propane, oil, or hot water): $150 maximum. Efficiency must be 95% (up from 90% before the extension)
To qualify for the tax credit, items must:
Meet the Energy Star criteria in your region
Be used to improve an existing home. (Tax credit does not apply to new homes)
Be "placed in service" between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Placed in service is defined as when the property is ready and available for use.
Be installed in the taxpayer's primary residence
How to receive your tax credit:
Step 1: Purchase qualifying items. Look for the NFRC label on your product and make sure the ratings comply with the Energy Star requirements for your region.
Step 2: Keep the receipts that show the cost of the qualifying products, excluding installation charges. Save the NFRC label from each item as well as your manufacturer's certificate statement in case of an audit.
Step 3: Consult your tax advisor. The extension of the tax credit for energy efficient items has a few new rules that may restrict eligibility depending on previous tax credits claimed for windows and doors.
Step 4: Submit the claim with your taxes for the year the windows and/or doors were installed.
You can also visit the Energy Star website for more information.
Looking for something unique to add warmth and interest to your remodeling project? Consider the classic arts and crafts beauty of Pewabic tile.
Pewabic Pottery is an American Art Pottery proudly making handcrafted tile in Detroit, Michigan since it was founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry (Stratton) and her partner, Horace Caulkins. Pewabic tiles can be found all over the country; from public buildings to private residences, these artisan ceramic tiles are a leading choice for design professionals and homeowners alike.
Recognized for their iridescent glazes (some of which are on display at notable galleries such as the Louvre), the studio was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991.
Pewabic's century-old expertise enables them to create both modern and traditional tile designs. They offer a variety of tile options and collections including a complete line of decorative accent tiles, custom-designed tile murals, and commemorative and donor recognition tiles. With over 160 unique glaze colors, including their signature iridescents, and a multitude of shapes and sizes to choose from, the possibilities are truly endless.
Hint: Think kitchen backsplash, fireplace, bathroom or entryway for starters. The tiles are good for both indoor and outdoor applications.
Read more here.
Here's a helpful online tool from Shaw Floors to help you visualize the possibilities for your next remodeling project:
Try it here:
The site's primary focus is on flooring, but you can customize a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom and more. From carpet to hardwood, wall color to area rugs, this tool will show you a range of options in an actual room. You can even upload and customize a picture of your own room if you register on the site.
Here's a remodeling accent we consider, well... brilliant.
Old traffic signals shine when they're transformed into modern lamps by San Francisco-based designers Daniel Krivens and Nicholas Lee. Each lamp, available in red, green and yellow (of course), is a unique work of art.
The raw material is hardly in short supply since many cities are upgrading and replacing their red, green, and amber stoplight lenses with energy-efficient LED models. It's a brilliant use of materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill as the specialized glass is difficult to recycle.
Hint: We see these as the perfect design accent for a commercial conference room or home remodeling project like a kitchen or basement.
See more here.
December 31st is the last day to earn the 2010 tax credit of up to $ 1,500 for installing windows, insulation or an energy saving water heater in your home.
Tax Credit: 30% of cost of the home improvement, up to $1,500
Expires: December 31, 2010
Provisions: Must be on an existing home and your principal residence. To claim the credit in 2010, the product will have to be placed in service in 2010. The same goes for 2009 credits.
Extras: Remember to check for state and local programs too.
A variety of products are eligible for the tax credit, however, be careful to check that your specific product is eligible. Eligible products include:
- Energy efficient doors and windows: Installation costs are not eligible for the credit. Other restrictions apply.
- Water Heaters: Credit includes installation costs; some restrictions for energy efficiency apply.
- Insulation: Spray foam, fiberglass, or blow-in cellulose, are all covered as long as they meet IECC requirements. Installation cost is NOT covered.
- HVAC components: Includes advanced air handlers, air force heat pumps, central A/C units, boilers, propane, and gas furnaces. Tax credits include installation costs.
- Metal and asphalt roofs: Credit doesn't include installation costs.
Trying to find just the right paint color for your next renovation or remodeling project? Not satisfied with the usual color swatches?
Update: Since we first wrote about Pantone Paint in 2010, it appears that things have changed. Pantone Paint (Pantone Universe) is now a collection of 100 select colors available at Lowes (search the site for Pantone).
Much of the original content on the Pantone website no longer exists, but it is still a great resource for researching color trends and learning about all things color.
Use the resources of the color authority that graphic designers have known about for decades. Pantone is the world-renowned authority on color. For more than 45 years, Pantone has been inspiring design professionals with products, services and leading technology for the colorful exploration and expression of creativity.
You'll find great inspiration, advice, tips and trends here:
And, information on Pantone Paints here:
(You can order online if a retailer is not available near you)