Spring’s arrival means time for spring cleaning, however it’s not limited to the interior of your dream home. Protect your investment, and your family, by performing some routine exterior maintenance.
Here is part one of our spring home maintenance checklist.
1. Clean gutters and downspouts. After the last Southeast Michigan frost, it’s time to clean your gutters and downspouts. Failing to clean gutters can result in major damage such as causing a flood in your basement. Also, when gutters and downspouts are clogged, the wood trim surrounding the eaves may rot which welcomes a variety of critters into your attic. Gutters and downspouts that flow properly ensure that water will be diverted away from your house instead of accumulating around its foundation. Fortunately, cleaning gutters won’t take more than hour. Wear heavy-duty gloves, climb a ladder and pull all of the leaves and debris out. Short on time? You can usually hire someone to perform this task for approximately $40.
Looks can be deceiving. You may enter a beautiful model home and assume it is energy code compliant, but is it?
At Echelon Home Builders, we take into account the energy efficiency and eco-friendliness of materials and systems we use at each step of the construction process. When you walk through one of our model homes, you can rest assured that it has been built to comply with energy efficiency standards, including minimizing air leakage.
What is air leakage and why is it important?
Air leakage is caused when outside air enters a home and conditioned air escapes through cracks and openings. Air leakage can cause moisture issues that may adversely affect the health of the home’s occupants, and the durability of the structure itself. Openings can cause pipes to freeze and create uncomfortable drafts. Minimizing the amount of air leakage in and out of homes is a cost-effective way to decrease heating and cooling costs. Additionally, it helps sustain the overall structure and create a healthier indoor environment.
The most recent Annual Builder Practices Survey, conducted by Home Innovation, offers insights on which building materials are trending in the new-home construction market. Home Innovation’s annual survey and reports have tracked market shares of building material categories for over three decades.
Here are five findings from the latest survey worth considering if you are planning to build your dream home.
1. Appliances– The heat is on cooktop and wall oven combinations as their popularity grows. These combos account for 24% of the market compared to traditional freestanding ovens at 45%. As foodies demand more high-temperature cooking options, there has been a growing demand for induction cooking. This form of heating uses strong magnets to heat pots in a matter of seconds. Author and chef, Jan D’Atri, commented regarding induction stoves, “I don’t think the technology was there before. Now it is, and it’s a great option.” She also anticipates that more high-end consumers will demand combi ovens which roll steam and convection into one, instead of the common, second oven.
Side-by-side refrigerators that experienced immense growth in recent years have fallen to 28% of the market share. This is due to the growing popularity of freezer-on-bottom refrigerators which had 19% of the market share when the survey was conducted. Traditional freezer-on-top models bottomed out at 13%.
Last week, we shared two major flooring trends for 2016—the use of wider, larger planks and the two extremes of hard wood floor finishes as either very dark or light. This week, we reveal three additional trends.
3. More homeowners embrace eco-friendly flooring. First, design experts expect demand for eco-friendly cork to continue to grow because it is affordable, joint-friendly and resilient. Cork is 100% natural and obtained through an environmentally friendly process in which the bark of cork trees is harvested by hand every nine years, without cutting down the trees which can live as long as 300 years. Its high-insulation properties, elasticity, buoyancy and near impermeability make it perfect for use in homes. Like wood, cork is natural, so each piece is unique offering a plethora of grain, color and texture choices. People with allergies prefer cork because its antistatic surface makes it resistant to dust and toxin absorption. Like natural stone, cork does need to be resealed every few years because while it is water resistant, it is not waterproof.
Secondly, the popularity of bamboo continues to grow because it is one of the strongest floors available today and like hard wood and cork, offers unique colors and grains. If you prefer eco-friendly materials, bamboo is far superior to hard wood because bamboo plants grow to maturity in three to five years compared to up to two decades or more for hard woods. Bamboo is also slightly more resistant to water stains and damage than hard wood materials, and its cost is on par with hard woods.
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