A supplement to the Kent and Auburn Reporter
May 29, 2015
How to determine the true value of home improvements (BPT) - As the U.S. housing industry continues to emerge from the Great Recession, signs are pointing toward positive recovery. In fact, a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University states that the home improvement industry could see record spending in 2015. It’s news like this that may have you contemplating an update to your house. Even if you plan to stay in your home for years to come, it’s important to consider which home remodeling projects offer the potential for a positive return on investment. “Research shows that more homeowners intend to remain in their homes after remodeling, however, resale value is still a major factor when planning renovations,” says Susan Selle, chief marketing officer of exterior building products manufacturer Ply Gem Industries. Before spending a significant amount of time and money on your next home improvement project, consider these tips. Five home improvements with the highest ROI The 2015 Remodeling Magazine Cost vs.Value report identifies these top five midrange exterior home renovations as beneficial investments that allow homeowners to recoup a substantial percentage of their investment when they resell their homes: • Replacing the front door (steel 101.8 percent)
and requires less maintenance both in the short and long term, allowing homeowners to complete their renovation and enjoy it, hasslefree, for years. In addition, vinyl siding provides the styles, textures and stylish colors With vinyl siding homeowners can choose from multiple textures and homeowners colors to create beautiful, low-maintenance curb appeal, with overall want to create better performance than wood, engineered wood and fiber cement beautiful curb and a high return on investment. appeal.” Budgeting for success • Adding manufactured stone Once you’ve decided which veneer (92.2 percent) replacement and remodeling • Replacing the garage door projects will offer the best ROI, (88.4 percent) develop a schedule and a budget • Replacing the siding (vinyl to ensure the home makeover 80.7 percent) remains financially sound. The • Adding a deck (wood 80.5 budget defines the project’s scope, percent) estimates overall costs, and helps The cost-value ratio compares to establish priorities. Generally, resale value to construction cost. renovation costs should not The higher the percentage, the more of the job costs you are likely exceed 30 percent of your home’s to recoup when selling your home. value and should be consistent “Homeowners want lasting value with housing trends in your neighborhood. from their exterior renovation What should the budget include? projects, so it’s important to select Websites like www.plygem.com the best materials for the job offer comprehensive advice for upfront,” says Jerry Blais, senior creating a renovation budget and vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Industries. “For example, sticking to it. To start, consider these likely-to-occur expenses: when choosing siding for the • Contractor costs. These home, vinyl siding provides overall include labor and may incorporate better performance than wood, engineered wood and fiber cement employee benefits, professional fees,
permit and inspection charges and, of course, profit. Get at least three contractor estimates to ensure your contractor is cost-effective and reputable. • DIY costs. Should you forgo a contractor? Keep in mind you will need to rent or buy power tools and equipment and potentially learn new skills. • Hidden costs. For example, bringing outdated electrical or plumbing installations to code, or removing lead paint. • Site preparation costs. For exterior renovations, this may include tree trimming, clearing land, and renting a haul-away container. • Interim housing costs. If you plan to relocate, you will need living expenses for the project’s duration. • Material cost. These include large expenses and small ones (ex. nails, trim) and could account for as much as half to 75 percent of the total cost. Factor in an extra 6-to-10 percent for waste for materials that are cut and fitted. Bringing it home If you’re interested in near-term resale value, it’s important to make sure that selling your home will at least recoup the cost of any completed projects. If you plan to stay in your home for many years, however, you’ll not only benefit from an improved resale value down the road, but you’re also more likely to appreciate the improved comfort and curb appeal in the meantime.
«2 May 29, 2015
Is it Time to Start Thinking About a Ductless System for Your Home? cost of utilities ever increasing, a ductless heat pump can help cut heating and cooling bills dramatically. And a ductless system doesn’t only cool your home, but it 2014 was one of Seattle’s warmest can also heat your home as well. summers on record, and 2015 is Other things to consider when shaping up to be even hotter. Are purchasing a ductless system versus you thinking that it might finally a traditional AC is that these units be time to start considering adding are much quieter in the homes, an air conditioning unit to your installation is much quicker, home? Maybe you should consider indoor air circulation will have less a ductless mini-split heat pump dust, and there are a number of system instead? incentives and rebates. Incentives Most home owners are aware that from organizations such as www. traditional AC systems need to have goingductless.com can be up to proper duct work installed to run $1,500. efficiently. In older homes this can “We install Ductless systems to become very costly, very quickly. customers across the Puget Sound, and However, a ductless system is able everyone I’ve spoken with has told me to overcome this concern because how these units have greatly improved there is no ductwork to be installed. the comfort of their home and their A ductless system provides a home lives.” owner with one outdoor unit that Bobby M., Heating and Cooling can regulate areas of a home easily Manager at Fox Plumbing & and seamlessly. These units provide Heating comfort and save the home owner Ductless Systems Can Heat and money in the process. With the Cool Multiple Areas
Written by David N. Brown Owner and President of Fox Plumbing & Heating
Another advantage of a ductless mini-split air conditioner is their small size and flexibility for zoning, heating, or cooling to individual rooms. Home owners can even have dual zone ductless systems with multiple indoor units connected to one outdoor unit. Because each indoor unit has individual thermostats, only the area where someone is present needs to be conditioned, saving additional energy and money. Why Ductless Systems Provide Better Home Security than Window Units Even though window air conditioners can be Energy Star Rated and efficient in their own right, they are only a short term solution to the summer heat. While they are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install, window air conditioners mostly only serve a single room. Depending on how and when a home was built, running one unit doesn’t offer realistic
solutions. More often than not, one household will need several window units to keep all members of the family happy and the home temperate. To the professionals, this signals red flags, and the professionals also know that a ductless system is a better and safer way to cool a home. Window units usually have sliding accordion-like wings that help block out outside air and ensure the unit stays in place. That’s why thieves love window units! All it takes to break into a home is pushing the window unit into the home and thieves have a wide open, free admission ticket. A ductless system runs a line set from the outdoor unit to the inside of the home. This line set cannot be kicked-in or used by thieves to access the home. If you’re thinking that your home is getting unseasonably uncomfortable this summer, then consider adding a ductless system and turning a home into a comfortable castle. Remember to think out of the box and talk to the heating and cooling professionals at Fox Plumbing & Heating to see how they can give you the home comfort you deserve!
May 29, 2015
Three Steps to How style and function blend Get Your Home’s for ideal bathroom visibility Whether you have a petite powder room or a grand master bath, there are four main types of Outdoor Spaces lighting you should consider: ambient, task, accent and natural. AMBIENT LIGHTING: Ambient lighting is the main source of illumination and is fundamental to a solid bathroom lighting plan. Also known as general lighting, ambient lights are typically installed Summer-Ready overhead and provide lighting for safety and overall comfort. (StatePoint) You may not think a lot about your home’s outdoor spaces during the off-season, but in warm weather, your porch, deck, yard and patio are extensions of your living space -- and it’s important to maintain these areas to be in tip-top shape. Here are some helpful tips to get these spaces summer-ready. ORGANIZE Set yourself up for a season of better gardening, yardwork, tinkering and auto repair by organizing your shed or garage.You’ll be more inclined to do these necessary tasks when you know exactly where your tools are and you don’t have to search around in order to get started. Do an inventory of your tools. Throw out rusty or broken items that are irreparable. Perform routine maintenance on equipment and tools. Then organize your equipment in a systematic way that makes the most sense for you, making use of vertical storage systems that take the best advantage of the space you have. DEEP CLEAN It’s a tough world out there. Things get dirty, messy and stained, and sometimes a garden hose, soap and elbow grease just aren’t enough -- especially after months of neglect. Enter the pressure washer, which can aggressively blast things clean with water jets pressurized up to75 times that of a garden hose; or gently spray with lower pressures for delicate cleaning. Step up your cleaning of patio furniture, sidewalks and fencing with a light-duty pressure washer. For decks, patios, garage floors, siding and driveways, a medium-duty pressure washer can help save you time and energy on clean-up jobs. Just be sure to wear googles and closed-toed shoes when using a pressure washer, and never operate the machine in an enclosed area. If you don’t already own a pressure washer and you’re looking to purchase one, be sure to get the right machine for your needs. Factors like how often you plan to use it and the type of projects you will use it for are key elements in the decision making process. Briggs & Stratton, a pressure washer manufacturer known for machines that start easily, run quietly and offer fuel efficiency, makes the selection process easy with a buying guide selector tool available online at www.briggsandstratton.com. FRIENDLY SPACES Reduce mosquitos by eliminating standing water from the yard. For more comfortable cookouts, you may also want to add plants to your yard that repel these pests, such as citronella and marigolds. Plant trees so you can look forward to shady spaces for future seasons. However, for the current season, use awnings or shade arbors to create a place where you can safely and happily spend the sunniest portion of your afternoons. By performing a few key tasks, you can prime home’s outdoor spaces for a season of gardening, entertaining, relaxing and summer living.
TASK LIGHTING: Task lighting is absolutely necessary for daily grooming activities like putting on makeup and shaving. High-end mirrors like the Reception mirror from Robern feature built-in premium task lighting. With a sleek design and open storage, the mirror features fluorescent vertical task lighting at an ideal light value that simplifies grooming tasks. ACCENT LIGHTING: These types of lights artistically highlight special objects, like paintings, plants, sculptures or architectural detailing. Accent lights are typically smaller and include a shield that allows you to direct the light on the desired object. Natural lighting: Skylights allow sunlight in during daylight hours without jeopardizing any privacy, plus they can be installed with shades for optional closure if desired. Natural light from sources like skylights can be particularly inviting near the bathtub.
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ÂŤ4 May 29, 2015
Your Painting Questions Answered
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their warranty, which may also be difficult to achieve with one coat.
Q. Should I wash my house before I paint? A. Absolutely. This is one of the most important steps. Even a house that appears clean, has a layer of dirt that needs to be washed off prior to painting.
Q. What are the hot colors these days? A. Of course youâ€™ll see a variety of colors and since each home tends to be a reflection of the owner and such an individual choice. If you like it, then itâ€™s probably the hot color.
Q. What is the best paint to use? A. Like many things, it depends. Most brands offer price based paint and quality paints. Dark colors fade faster with inexpensive paints and have much shorter warranty periods. Quality paints cover in fewer coats, last longer, splatter less and protect longer; and theyâ€™re color looks better longer. Q. Should I use a sprayer or paint by hand? A. Spraying can be faster, though it can also cause a mess much faster if youâ€™re unfamiliar with itâ€™s use. It also requires quite a bit more masking to protect areas not being painted. If you spray, back-rolling while the paint is still wet helps achieve a uniform finish. Painting by hand is often more manageable for home owners doing theyâ€™re own painting. Q. Do you recommend two coats or can I paint just one? A. Good question. We almost always paint two, unless the owner specifically requests one. Itâ€™s difficult to achieve full coverage in one coat. And the manufacturer may recommend a particular millage, or thickness of paint, for
Q. Do you have any suggestions for picking colors? A. Certainly. Many people find the perfect color by driving through neighborhoods looking at other houses. The paint store is a good place to start, as well. There are designers who provide color consults and are more affordable than you might think. Since painting is quite an investment of both time and money, take as much time as you need to get it right. Once youâ€™ve narrowed your choice(s), it can be quite helpful to try samples. Q. Any other suggestions before I begin painting my own house this summer? A. Be safe! Being up on ladders, roofs, chimneys, etc. is dangerous and people get hurt every year. Invest in proper ladders, making sure theyâ€™re properly rated for your weight, plus the weight of your equipment, that theyâ€™re on even ground and firmly placed against the house before climbing.You may even want to invest in a safety harness when up on the roof. Good luck and happy painting.
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May 29, 2015
Upgrades that Boost Curb Appeal and Home Value in One Shot (StatePoint) Giving your homeâ€™s exterior a fresh new look could also increase its value, if you choose your upgrades wisely. To get a great return on your investment, itâ€™s all about picking the right projects. Here are three ideas to boost your homeâ€™s curb appeal while investing wisely in what is likely your largest asset. SIDING Siding replacement offers a great return on investment. In fact, you could recover over 80 percent of the cost, according to 2015 figures from Remodeling.com, which compares the cost of common home improvement projects with the value those projects retain at resale. America`s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, Window World, hasÂ many vinyl siding options that offer color retention and resistance to moisture, keeping your siding looking great and lasting longer -- perfect for boosting curb appeal. Additionally, Window Worldâ€™s insulated siding packages can improve your homeâ€™s energy efficiency and comfort, which can help in its future resale. WINDOW REPLACEMENT Want to add architectural interest to the outside of your home? Consider replacing your windows with stylish, well-crafted options that complement the style of your house.
Replacing your homeâ€™s windows is also a good financial expenditure -- recouping nearly 75 percent of the cost, according to the same Remodeling.com study. And itâ€™s no wonder; new window designs provide innovative features, such as low maintenance, durability, simple operation and resistance to peeling, cracking and warping. In addition to improving the look of your exterior, replacement windows help save money on your utility bills. For example, Window World offers windows backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal for seven consecutive years, and glass packages that are ENERGY STAR qualified with features like Low-E Glass. This element intelligently blocks heat gain from the sunâ€™s rays in warm months, but allows for shorter solar rays into the house during the cold months -- a component future buyers will likely appreciate! For more information about window and siding products, visit www.WindowWorld.com. LANDSCAPING Donâ€™t let a beautiful home be overshadowed by a dreary yard. Smart landscaping makes a great first impression, adding beauty and value to your home. Take into consideration the size, shape and color of your house. For yearround appeal, also think about the local climate. If you donâ€™t have a green thumb or an eye for design, a landscaping contractor can help
you plan and execute this worthwhile project. Make upgrades to your homeâ€™s exterior wisely. Investigate op-
tions that will boost curb appeal, improve your lifestyle and offer a return on investment down the line.
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«6 May 29, 2015
Call 811 before digging for landscaping and home improvement projects (BPT) - With the snow melted and the ground thawed, many eager homeowners and landscape professionals across the country will roll up their sleeves and reach for their garden shovels to start projects that require digging this spring. During the transition into “digging season,” Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the association dedicated to protecting underground utilities and the people who dig near them, reminds homeowners and professional diggers that calling 811 is the first step toward protecting you and your community from the risk of unintentionally damaging an underground line. Every digging project, no matter
how large or small, warrants a free call to 811. Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck and landscaping are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811. Calling this number connects you to your local one-call utility notification center. Nearly half of American homeowners say they do not plan to make a free call to 811 before digging, according to data collected by CGA in late February. Extrapolated to the full population of U.S. homeowners, approximately 38.6 million people will dig this year without first calling 811. A utility line is damaged every six minutes in America because someone decided to dig without making a
Know what’s below!
call to 811 to learn the approximate location of buried utilities in their area. Unintentionally striking one of these lines can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods, harm to yourself or your neighbors and repair costs. As a result, CGA offers the following tips to make sure you complete your project safely and without any utility service interruptions, so you don’t become a statistic. Here’s how the 811 process works: 1. One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for your local one-call center to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Call a few days prior to digging to ensure enough time for the approximate location of utility lines to be marked with flags or paint.
2. When you call 811, a representative from your local one-call center will ask for the location and description of your digging project. 3.Your local one-call center will notify affected utility companies, which will then send professional locators to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines. 4. Only once all lines have been accurately marked, roll up those sleeves and carefully dig around the marked areas. There are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States that your family depends on for everyday needs including electric, gas, water and sewer, cable TV, high-speed Internet and landline telephone, which equals more than a football field’s length of utilities for every person in the United States. With that much critical infrastructure underground, it’s important to know what’s below and call 811 before digging. To find out more information about 811 or the one-call utility notification center in your area, visit www.call811. com.
How to Pick a New Door for Your Home (StatePoint) With so many choices abounding in home improvement stores and online, how do you know which is the right choice for you when selecting a new entry door for your home? These days, homeowners will likely be steered toward fiberglass or steel.While traditional wood is beautiful, newer materials are lower maintenance, and provide more durability, security and energy efficiency. When various factors are considered, here’s how each stacks up: BEAUTY Fiberglass most closely mimics the defined grain of authentic wood doors and comes in a number of textures like oak, cherry, mahogany and fir, as well as a variety of stain and paint colors. Options include decorative door glass and sidelites to improve curb appeal. Steel entry doors are available in smooth or wood grain textures in multiple stains and paint finishes, and come in a variety of styles, including some with glass. DURABILITY Unlike wood doors, fiberglass doors do not shrink, warp, split, crack or delaminate, making them ideal for harsh or humid climates. Because they last so long,
many come with long warranties. For instance, ProVia doors come with a Lifetime Limited Warranty that guarantees doors through the entirety of the ownership of the home by the door purchaser, plus one subsequent homeowner. Steel doors, particularly those made of 20-gauge steel like ProVia’s Legacy Steel line, won’t crack or warp and are the most durable on the market. MAINTENANCE Fiberglass offers the lowest maintenance, resisting denting and scratching, and can be cleaned with mild soap and water. Although generally low maintenance, if scratched through the galvanization layer, steel doors can rust if not properly primed and painted. Dents and dings can be pulled and puttied with an auto-body repair kit. SECURITY The solid construction of fiberglass entry doors provides significant security over wood doors. However, if you’re particularly concerned with home security, the strength of steel entry doors offer the best solution. ENERGY EFFICIENCY Both fiberglass and steel door systems are engi-
neered to be highly energy efficient. For example, the polyurethane core, Q-Lon weatherstripping and ComforTech Warm Edge Glazing System in ProVia entry door systems work together to keep cold out in winter and heat out in summer. Most of their doors are ENERGY STAR certified. In fact, the company is the only door manufacturer to have ever received any ENERGY STAR award for door manufacturing, winning the prestigious ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award for Door Manufacturing four times and the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence award four times. COST Fiberglass doors can be comparable in cost to wood doors, depending on the model, glass options and hardware selected. However, fiberglass is a better financial bet in the long-term, offering longer durability and less maintenance. While total cost can vary widely depending on style and options chosen, steel entry doors typically cost less than fiberglass, offering significant long-term value. Before buying, consider your priorities -- whether its beauty, endurance or energy efficiency, opt for a door that best fits your needs. YOUR LOCAL AREA
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«8 May 29, 2015
V.I.C.E (Veterans In Construction Electrical) is a 560 hour classroom-based training program. Students spend the first two weeks of class honing their 21st Century essential skills, stress management and study skills, and later earn First Aid/CPR, Forklift, Scissor Lift and OSHA 30 certifications. In just 14 weeks students complete their first year of related supplemental instruction for the IBEW/NECA registered apprenticeship for Inside Wiremen. Most are dispatched to their first jobs within a couple of weeks after completing the V.I.C.E classroom program. Veterans who complete the V.I.C.E program don’t have to fight so hard for a job because the training prepares them well and is in demand by employers. V.I.C.E is an accelerated version of the first year of the registered apprenticeship training program operated by the Puget Sound Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (PSEJATC). Together, the JATC partners: the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 46, designed the V.I.C.E. program to give Veterans a jump-start in the electrical industry. To be eligible for V.I.C.E, applicants must be 18 years old or older, have a valid driver’s license, high school diploma or GED, sealed high school transcript, honorable discharge within 7 years from application date, and proof of honorable discharge. The Puget Sound Electrical JATC is an apprenticeship training program that is jointly sponsored by the Puget Sound Chapter, NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) and IBEW Local 46 (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). For more information about them, please see: www.psejatc.org
Published on May 27, 2015