How To Add a Bathroom In the Basement Or Garage

(BPT) – It’s home improvement season, which means you’re probably dreaming of enhancements to make your space more livable and to enhance property value. Adding a bathroom is a great way to do both, but for many people, concrete poses a potential problem.

Want to add a bathroom to your garage? How about in the basement? A bathroom addition means you need proper plumbing, and often in these types of spaces none exists. You have a cold concrete slab and a bit of a dilemma: Do you give up on your bathroom dreams or cut through the concrete to put in the conventional below-floor drainage and piping necessary for a bathroom?

Cutting through concrete is not to be taken lightly. Before you hire a contractor or rent a jackhammer and concrete saw, remember these red flags.

5 reasons to avoid cutting concrete

Cutting concrete undermines structural integrity.

When you cut a slab you compromise the foundational integrity of the building. You may be able to patch the hole so it’s aesthetically appealing, but the floor will not be as solid as it was to begin with. Plus, if your home sits on ground that’s less than solid, such as sand, it may settle differently after the cut.

Cutting concrete is never perfect.

You may need to cut a circle, square or rectangle into a floor for burying a sewage ejector and its waste-storage basin, but that perfect shape will inevitably crack on the edges and fray outward in unintended directions. Once a stress crack is created, it can extend into the footing or into the walls.

Cutting concrete is unpredictable.

It is difficult to know the depth of the concrete and whether it sits on rocks or a ledge, as well as if it contains rebar or tension cables. You can cause major damage if you accidentally cut one of those cables, so many professional contractors use an X-ray machine to determine the positioning of the cables, which is an additional cost.

Cutting concrete creates leaks and seepage.

Once a stress crack is generated, radon and ground-water penetration are major issues, with the latter bringing unwanted moisture and mold problems as well. You don’t need a major flood to trigger these hazards. A higher-than-usual water table, because of extended wet weather, could be the culprit.

Large amounts of dust.

Breaking through concrete generates a large amount of noise and dust. The noise stops when the jackhammers and saws shut down, but the dust doesn’t fade as quickly. That’s because it is not conventional household dust, but a thick particulate that gets into the central air system, which means it can be around for a long time if not properly handled.

Consider smart alternatives

Beyond these red flag reasons, cutting concrete can be time-consuming and expensive. The actual expense of cutting concrete depends on the size and complexity of the job, as well as local labor availability and rates. In some parts of the nation, the per-foot rate may be a few hundred dollars; in others, $1,000 or more.

To add a bathroom but avoid cutting concrete and the associated cost, consider Saniflo above-floor plumbing technology. Macerating (also called up-flush) plumbing systems can be installed right on top of the existing floor virtually anywhere in your home.

How do macerating systems work? Waste and water from a toilet, tub or sink are pumped through small-diameter piping, rather than flowing down like conventional plumbing. The up-flush system doesn’t store waste like a sewage ejector system; waste and water move out of the house to the septic or sewer system with every flush.

Macerating toilet and plumbing technology can be installed on top of concrete slabs, which means no costly cuts or messy, time-consuming extra steps. If space is a problem, these bathrooms can also be installed in a closet or the area beneath a stairway. Learn more at http://go.saniflo.com.

4 Home Upgrades, Suitable For the Whole Family

(BPT) – With a bustling household and busy family schedules, updates to the home are often a low priority compared to time spent with loved ones. Consider four home improvement ideas fit for the entire family, which require little time commitment and deliver long-lasting benefits.

Pick paint colors that age well.

Paint can dramatically transform a space, so when you choose a color, pay attention to tones that age well. While kids are drawn to bright hues, reach for colors that are soft on the eyes. Choose colors that work in harmony, like whites and blushes; charcoals and blues; and sages and taupes. To maximize wall space, consider chalkboard paint for calendars, to-do lists and a creative outlet for kids to draw. With the proper equipment – plenty of painters’ tape, goggles and mask filters – painting can involve the whole family.

Choose multipurpose shower fixtures.

Whether you are a parent, caregiver or pet lover, the bathtub and shower are multi-functional spaces. To accomplish daily household tasks such as bathing kids, washing furry friends or cleaning the shower, choose the Delta In2ition Two-in-One Shower. The fixture has a combination shower head with a detachable hand shower with five spray settings, which provides all family members with flexibility and a drenching shower experience. H2Okinetic Technology offers three times the coverage of a standard shower head. Plus, with a sleek transitional design, this upgrade adds an element of style to the bathroom.

Stay safe with smart features.

Beyond the appeal of high-tech gadgets, smart home devices encourage eco-friendly choices and safety for the entire family. Start simple with voice-enabled light bulbs, customized to control each room of the house. The kids can prompt the speaker to turn off lights in their rooms when not being used. As an added layer of home security, install a video doorbell to teach the family to practice awareness when the doorbell rings. Consider smart locks to lock and unlock doors, receiving notifications when a family member comes and goes – all from the convenience of your mobile device.

Contain your cupboards.

Consolidate food storage bins with collapsible containers to provide easy organization when packing lunches, storing leftovers and meal prepping, without having to search for a lid that fits. In the pantry, store tiny boxes of food, such as baking mixes and bags of spices, in clear boxes as a way to spot your supply and avoid scattered or spilled ingredients. In cupboard areas that are most visited, consider a rotating tray so nothing hides in the back to spoil, freeze or be forgotten, while also maintaining order when hungry little hands are searching for snacks. Spice cabinets, beverages in the refrigerator and snack drawers are the perfect starting point.

These upgrades will have your family functioning in a design-forward, eco-friendly and highly organized fashion in no time.

DIY Nation: Jump-Start Your Next Project With These 5 Tips

(BPT) – If you prefer to take on your own home improvement projects instead of hiring professional craftsmen, you’re part of a growing trend.

Americans are increasingly aware of the money they can save by completing their own renovations rather than paying premium prices for the work of others. And that’s reflected in sales figures; not surprisingly, the value of the DIY market rose a full 45 percent between 2012 and 2018, from $30.2 billion to $43.7 billion.

With careful planning and budgeting, DIY projects can be fun, efficient and creatively satisfying while allowing you to customize your finished product to your own tastes.

Is there a new DIY project in your future? If so, consider these tips for forming a workable strategy that ensures you’re prepared for every step of the process.

Create a wish list.

If you’re like most people, you have a list a mile long of the updates or fixes you’d like to make to your home. That ever-evolving wish list is one of the joys (and one of the challenges) of homeownership. Create your own list, then determine which projects you can do on your own and which ones will require professional help. This will give you a starting point.

Prioritize the projects.

Once you have your list, you’ll need to prioritize and decide which projects come first. Take an objective look and assess “need” versus “want” to help you rank order. Improvements may be driven by plans to sell your home, host an upcoming social event or welcome a new family member. Consider all the variables. In a recent Coinstar survey, nearly 40 percent of homeowners’ DIY projects were initiated to increase the value of their home.

Set budgets.

Evaluate your top projects and estimate how much each one will cost. Some may be beyond your budget, some will be surprisingly affordable, and others may be achievable after you save a little money. One funding source you may not have considered is the spare change laying around your house or car. Round it up and you may be surprised how far it goes in financing your project. About half of U.S. homeowners surveyed already use spare change for DIY projects or like the idea of doing so, reports Coinstar.

Plan time and resources.

Before scheduling your DIY project, think about your free time and if your project has a deadline. To what extent are your nights and weekends open? Do you have the skills to get started on your own? Watching a YouTube video may give you that needed knowledge, or you may need the help of family or friends who can complement your skills or assist you in meeting a deadline.

Get supplies, then jump in.

Now that you’ve zeroed in on your project, identified financing and recruited helpers, you’re nearly ready to go. Next, create a supply list of the tools and materials you’ll need. To save money, check with those you know who may be willing to loan you tools or other supplies. Community groups like Nextdoor are also a great resource. When buying new, save receipts in case you purchase the wrong item, don’t like something when you get it home or buy too much.

With a little planning, DIY projects can be cost-effective, fun and truly rewarding to complete. When it comes to financing, don’t forget to cash in spare change at your neighborhood Coinstar kiosk. It’s easy to use and you’ll have the option of getting cash or putting funds onto a no-fee e-gift card for retailers like Amazon.com or Home Depot.

Dispelling Myths About Home Warranty Plans

(BPT) – If you’re considering a home warranty plan, you are probably doing your due diligence – as you should – on how they work, who the different providers are and what to expect from the experience. This article is meant to help you understand home warranty plans, as well as separate fact from fiction.

Go the extra mile to protect your home

Myth: “I don’t need a home warranty plan because I have home insurance.”

Investing money, time and love into a place to call home can be scary, especially knowing that things don’t always go as planned. You may have homeowners insurance to protect your home against unexpected disasters, but these plans typically don’t cover the issues that come with the everyday wear-and-tear your home systems and appliances go through. The reality is that unexpected breakdowns will happen, and they can be costly.

Trusted connections and expert service

Myth: “It’s hard to know who you can trust these days, and I need someone who knows what they’re doing and is looking out for me.”

When an appliance or home system needs repairing, choosing the right person to bring into your home can be a daunting task. If American Home Shield is your home warranty provider and you need service, it’s like getting a recommendation from a trusted neighbor (if that neighbor had facilitated over 65 million in-home service requests in their lifetime).

Contractors for American Home Shield must meet certain criteria, including background checks, company training and living up to high customer-service standards.

“Our network of over 16,000 local professionals are in homes making quality repairs for our customers over four million times a year,” said Dave Quandt, vice president of field services with American Home Shield. “Along with convenient access to qualified service contractors, we also provide our customers with valuable protection against costly repairs when major home systems and appliances break down.”

Smart budget protection

Myth: “I’m already saving for unexpected breakdowns, so I don’t need extra coverage.”

Many home warranty plans offer varying coverage levels so that homeowners can choose the level of protection that’s right for their individual home and budget needs. Considering that 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, an unexpected repair cost could cause serious financial strain. American Home Shield plans cover components of up to 21 major home systems and appliances that are most likely to break down over time due to normal wear-and-tear.

“Every homeowner knows that it’s just a matter of time before something breaks down, and no one likes unexpected repair costs. That’s part of what makes home warranties a smart choice for so many consumers,” said Tim Meenan, executive director of the Service Contract Industry Council. “However, coverage varies by plan and provider, so it’s important to do your homework and ask questions.”

Meenan says with most plans, customers pay a predetermined service fee to diagnose and repair a covered item, but there can be non-covered expenses such as permit and disposal costs, refrigerant, necessary code upgrades and more.

If you’re in the market for a home warranty, keep in mind that some companies offer additional home-related services and discounts to their customers. Those with American Home Shield, the largest provider in the nation, can also take advantage of services such as seasonal HVAC tune-ups and upgrades, lock re-key services (real estate customers only), appliance discounts and more.

Home warranties can help save homeowners from many of the headaches that come with owning a home. The plans are growing in popularity as more and more consumers take advantage of the convenient access to professional service contractors, valuable budget protection, and now, the additional services that providers like American Home Shield offer.

The Building Blocks To a More Beautiful Outdoor-Living Space

(BPT) – Segmental retaining wall units are one of the most versatile landscaping tools in the homeowner’s and professional landscaper’s toolbox. Retaining wall units have evolved from just retaining soil, transitioning slopes and preventing erosion. Today’s SRWs can do all that plus serve as multipurpose building blocks for outdoor-living features, including stairs, columns, freestanding walls, tiered walls, curved walls, seating and more.

Creative designs

While these walls still accomplish their original intent, professionals and homeowners can easily create hardscape features that make outdoor-living spaces more useful and enjoyable. “Our landscape designers are very inventive in their use of segmental retaining wall units, and our customers really appreciate all the features that can be created with SRWs,” says Scott Arnold, manager of Villa Landscapes in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Products such as the Versa-Lok retaining wall system can be creatively adapted by homeowners and professionals to accommodate curves, corners, columns and tiers – without any special pieces. For example, one popular application is a retaining wall that employs a convex curve set into a small slope. Additional courses can be stacked against the lower courses of the wall to create a “couch” or seating area to surround a circular paver patio and fire pit installed at ground level.

Freestanding walls

Freestanding walls are common applications for retaining wall units. Sometimes called garden or seat walls, freestanding walls are designed to surround the perimeter of a patio and can serve as space for seating or potted plants. They also add a measure of privacy around an outdoor-living space, and when designed with inset columns, can be a support for fencing.

Tiered walls

Tiered walls are a common solution for grade changes and erosion control. The benefit of tiered walls is that they look great, and the space in between the walls can be used for a patio or for perennials, shrubs, vegetables or herbs. Tiered walls add visual depth and texture to a hardscape design and can be more aesthetically pleasing than a single wall. Stairs incorporated into a tiered wall design give safe access to a home on a slope or hill. A tiered design also creates a low-maintenance landscape, eliminating the need to mow a difficult slope.

Stepping up

Retaining wall units can serve as risers for steps. Stair treads can be finished with special precast stair tread units or bullnose (round-edged) paving stones. When installed in a contrasting shade or color, stair treads add interest to a hardscape design. Stairs created from retaining wall units can be placed within a tiered wall design, in a single wall or with wing walls on each side. Raised patios, built with a foundation created by SRWs, are often used to replace high-maintenance decks.

Can-do columns

Columns created with SRWs are a versatile, beautiful and functional feature within a hardscape design. They can support a pergola, lighting or other landscape features such as statuary, and are used to finish off the ends of a freestanding or seat wall. They can also be installed at intervals within a wall design, and columns create an attractive way to frame and support fencing.

The use of SRWs is limited only by the imagination for outdoor-living features. With a variety of colors, textures and configurations, they can do it all – from landscape walls designed with curves, columns, corners and steps to professionally engineered, soil-reinforced retaining walls.

“Versa-Lok is the one block I do 90 percent of my projects with; it can do it all,” says Stan Genadek, owner of Genadek Excavating and Landscaping in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, and the creator and host of a popular YouTube channel on landscaping, “Stanley ‘Dirt Monkey’ Genadek.”

6 Features Luxury Home Buyers Desire

(BPT) – Modern trends in luxury homes are not just about location, size or specific decor, but reflecting the sophistication of their buyers. Buyers in today’s luxury home market desire innovative features that enhance their quality of life, provide extra touches of relaxation and use smart technology to increase safety and security.

Junaid Siddiqi, CFO for the developer of the exclusive Four Seasons Private Residences in Baltimore, offers some of the latest trends seen in today’s luxury home designs.

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Luxurious outdoor spaces

Today’s luxury home buyers want more than just a patio and pool. Outdoor spaces with unique, extensive seating areas for homeowners to relax and entertain are a must. This might also mean specially designed water features like ponds or fountains to create a zen-like experience, plus a fire pit or even a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, for people to gather and socialize outdoors.

Bathrooms that rival a spa

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The finest luxury home bathrooms now resemble five-star resort spas. Desired elements might include a large standalone or sunken tub, walk-in showers – with enough space for two – complete with seating, radiated heated floors, towel warmers and even heated toilet seats. Bathrooms with a view are a recent trend, appealing to homebuyers in terms of their natural lighting and enhanced ambiance. Natural stone and wood elements create a beautiful effect seldom seen in bathrooms in the past.

Kitchens fit for a chef

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While top-notch kitchens have always been a must-have in the finest homes, modern state-of-the-art kitchens for the gourmet and gourmand alike require the most high-tech, commercial quality appliances. Would-be sommeliers look for a climate-controlled wine fridge or cellar, and java lovers want the highest quality coffee brewers or espresso machines. And the kitchens should look as great as they perform.

“The Four Seasons Private Residences Baltimore, for example, are outfitted with designer chef kitchens, equipped with professional-grade Miele appliances,” says Siddiqi. “Gorgeous waterfall marble countertops and the finest quality Eggersmann cabinetry complete the extraordinary kitchen experience.”

Enhanced privacy, security and technology

Luxury homeowners expect the best use of modern technology to ensure their safety and peace of mind, including everything from outdoor surveillance cameras with night vision, safe rooms, back-up generators and automated security systems. Smart home features that connect homeowners easily to their appliances, security and entertainment systems are also increasingly expected in luxury homes.

State-of-the-art gyms

Fitness facilities in modern luxury homes are not just about the latest workout equipment. Today’s fitness fanatic wants a flat screen TV for workout videos, built-in speakers for music plus a spa or indoor lap pool.

“The recently completed club level at the Four Seasons Private Residences Baltimore includes a private fitness and health center,” Siddiqi notes, “plus a sauna with windows overlooking the sky-high panoramic view of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and a heated indoor infinity pool designed by Counsilman-Hunsaker.”

Unique design elements

Today’s luxury homebuyers are attracted by special design finishes such as textured accent walls using reclaimed wood, shiplap, stone, tile or brick. Even unique wallpaper with a European flare is showing up on the walls of modern luxury homes. “Open concept designs with high ceilings or skylights, large windows and a light, airy ambiance are on the top of homebuyers’ wish lists,” shares Siddiqi.

Luxury home design has reached new levels of innovation and sophistication. The Four Seasons Private Residences Baltimore was developed for those looking to experience a ground-breaking lifestyle in the heart of Baltimore. The luxury condominiums range from 900 to 7,000 square feet, each with unique finishes such as herringbone-walnut floors.

“Every detail of the design, from the size of the outdoor balcony, the materials used in the kitchen, to the various offerings included on the club level were carefully researched, planned and executed by our team, and we are thrilled with the ultimate result,” says Siddiqi. “I have traveled the world, and I can proudly say that this property shines for its sophisticated design and sleek aesthetic.”

Are You Looking for a Luxury Home Plan?

The COOL House Plans luxury house plans collection contains homes of every style. Homes with luxury floor plans such as large estates or mansions may contain separate guest suites, servants’ quarters, home entertainment rooms, pool houses, detached garages and more. “Luxury” itself is not a style but a lifestyle.  Click here if you are shopping for a luxury home plan.

3 Tips To Make Your Bathroom More Inviting and Functional

(BPT) – We tend to think of the bathroom strictly as a utilitarian space, and therefore not worthy of the same energy and expense put into designing spaces like the living room or kitchen. We spend a lot of time in the bathroom, however. It’s the room where we start and set intentions for our day. In the evening, the bathroom is where we go to unwind – some people prefer soaking in a bubble bath while others take a hot shower to relax after a long day.

How a bathroom is designed can dramatically affect your experience. Consider improving your daily ritual with these three upgrading tips.

Design with ergonomics in mind

Ergonomics is the process of designing and arranging spaces so that they fit with the people who use them. When making upgrades to your bathroom, it’s important to think through how you use the space each day. What a functional design might look like to someone else could be inconvenient for you.

Bathroom storage tends to be treated as one-size-fits-all. Many bathrooms have a vanity that contains deep cabinets. People with this basic storage solution are forced to use small containers to organize their products and often have to rummage through belongings to get what they need.

An ergonomic bathroom considers what items you use most frequently, and is designed to keep those items accessible. Consider adding a medicine cabinet to your bathroom to keep smaller products that get easily misplaced on hand. A vanity that offers a top drawer allows you to store everyday items, like a hair brush or toothpaste, up higher than a storage cabinet would, meaning you wouldn’t have to bend down as often.

Find the best solutions through personalized designs

The way that your bathroom is set up and how you use your bathroom are unique. It’s often difficult to find an off-the-shelf solution that gives you exactly what you want from this space. Consider a solution instead that is customizable to your needs. Whether you’re working with a difficult bathroom layout or you feel limited by space constraints, modular designs help ensure you are able to meet your storage needs.

Bring technology into the bathroom

Technology plays a big role in most people’s lives, so it’s no surprise that it has started to pop up in bathroom designs too. Consider how technology can simplify your daily routine. For example, defogging technology can be built into the vanity mirror to allow one person to shower while another is using the mirror. If you have products that need to be charged, like an electric toothbrush or razor, consider installing USB ports inside the medicine cabinet to ensure your go-to items are always ready to use.

Technology can bring entertainment into the bathroom as well. If you like to start off the day with some energetic music or unwind in the bath listening to your favorite podcast, Bluetooth technology can be the perfect way to add entertainment without sacrificing counter space.

The bathroom plays an important role in your day-to-day life. Use these tips to design a functional space that best fits your needs and find more ideas for bathroom upgrades at www.robern.com.

4 Smart Home Improvements That Pay Off

(BPT) – These days, home upgrades are increasingly focused on one key feature: connectivity. In 2019, buyers want smart homes they can easily control from anywhere. From smart HVAC and sprinkler systems to connected garage door openers, it’s all about creating convenience and comfort.

Here are four examples of smart home improvements that add value:

1) Fully connected security systems

Security systems are nothing new, but the technology used to arm those systems is changing rapidly. Home security companies now offer fully connected systems that allow users to protect and monitor their homes from any smart device. Whether it’s a live video feed, the ability to lock and unlock doors remotely or just checking that all sensors are working properly, integrated security systems offer peace of mind. Having the infrastructure in place can be a selling point for buyers who want to make sure their new home is as safe as possible, given they’ll only have to set up the monitoring subscription upon move-in.

2) Smart garages for convenience and safety

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value survey, a garage door replacement is the number one home improvement project in terms of return on investment. But homeowners are taking it a step further and installing new technology to make the garage more user friendly. For example, the SilentMax Connect garage door opener from The Genie Company comes with Aladdin Connect technology built in to improve convenience and functionality. Not only is the opener quiet – ideal for attached garages – but the connectivity features allow you to check whether your garage door is open or closed, grant individual access with virtual keys, instantly know when someone is operating your garage door (authorized or not), and provide a log of when each opener was used – all from your phone or smart device. You can open the garage door remotely for delivery people, a housekeeper or for your child coming home from school. Considering your garage is one of the most accessed points in your home, this is a useful security feature and proves that garages offer more than just storage space. With the right connectivity tools and features, they can provide convenience that will be attractive to future owners.

3) Smart thermostats save energy, increase comfort

As home improvement trends go, increased connectivity is rivaled only by the desire for more energy-efficient homes. Smart thermostats accomplish both these aims and can increase the value of your home in the process. Smart thermostats let you easily control the temperature in your home from any connected device. You can set a daily schedule for your heater, adjust the temperature in individual rooms or let the system program itself based on your usage history. For energy-conscious buyers, this kind of technology provides a way of living that’s as aspirational as it is attainable.

4) Programmable lighting is a must-have

Smart lighting has turned from a novelty to a practical tool as products have gotten more advanced. Programmable lighting allows you to schedule when your lights will come on, turn lights on and off remotely, or change the lighting to improve aesthetics. With a smart lighting system, you’ll never have to get out of bed to turn the lights off downstairs, and you can always come home to a fully lit house, boosting your sense of security. With these kinds of applications, your home’s lighting can go from a ‘given’ to a must-have, attracting buyers like a moth to a flame.

New, smart products are hitting the market every day. For homeowners savvy enough to incorporate this technology into their homes, they’ll not only be more connected, but they’ll likely see more offers rolling in when it comes time to sell.

5 Facts To Know When Choosing New Roofing

(BPT) – When choosing products and materials for a new roof, many homeowners focus mainly on color and what their shingles will look like next to their existing siding or brick.

Naturally, aesthetics and curb appeal are important. But an even more crucial element of your new roof is the attic ventilation system.

If your roofer doesn’t install a well-designed ventilation system through your attic, your home could be subject to problems ranging from moisture damage to irreversibly warped shingles to hazardous mold on your walls and insulation.

Not only can smart choices in ventilation have a positive effect on your wallet (a well-conceived roof replacement can produce an ROI of some 68% when you go to sell), but they can significantly impact the beauty of your home and help you avoid costly repairs.

Here are five key facts you should know about residential attic ventilation systems before installing a new roof.

  1. All homes accumulate moisture. The USDA reports a standard U.S. household produces up to six gallons of incidental moisture each day, thanks to sources like showers, dishwashers, washing machines, weather and potted plants. For reasons of health, however, the CDC recommends keeping interior humidity below a standard 50%. If excess dampness isn’t released outdoors through effective attic ventilation, it can promote mold and mildew growth on walls and insulation and/or rise to linger in your attic. In cold weather the excess heat and moisture in your attic can melt the snow on your roof, creating ice dams that can cause damage to the shingles and roof deck.
  2. Today’s homes are more airtight. In the past, less-sophisticated residential construction meant interior moisture was able to escape more easily through walls, seams, chimneys, etc. That’s less likely to happen in today’s more energy-efficient homes that are sealed up tight, which means that proper ventilation is more important than ever to help eliminate any trapped moisture.
  3. Many of today’s ventilation systems are ineffective. Boxed, slant-back and turbine vents are intermittently installed and often fail to create the necessary 50/50 balance of intake and exhaust. This means less air movement in the attic and ventilation that only happens where those vents are installed. Ridge vents are the only vent type that can be installed in a continuous line along your rooftops to evenly vent across the entire roof and eliminate trapped air. Handy ventilation calculators are available online and can help you determine the ventilation needed for that optimal balance; if your roofer seems unfamiliar with the 50/50 concept, you may wish to seek a more experienced roofer.
  4. Ridge vents don’t look like old-fashioned vents. While older vent styles tend to jut out of your rooftop and stand out against shingles or tiles, today’s more modern ridge vents are nearly invisible. That roof accessory choice is one area homeowners seem to overlook the most, and it can make or break the overall beauty of your roof. Today’s ridge vents are a safe choice because they fit with any architectural style and work with a variety of roofing materials including asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, flat tiles, metal and stone-coated steel.
  5. Certain vents can be high-maintenance. Static varieties can get clogged by snow, leaves, brush, insects, birds, rodents or other debris, and if they’re mechanically powered they may be prone to electric shortages or wiring issues. Ridge vents, conversely, are self-powered and built with a membrane that prevents rain, snow or debris from sneaking in.

For more tips on making smart choices in roofing, visit the Quarrix website to download the “Homeowner’s Guide to Ventilation.”

Money-Saving Roofing Secrets Every Homeowner Should Know

(BPT) – Replacing an aging or damaged roof is an important step in providing crucial protection from the damage the elements can dish out – from heat, wind and rain, to snow, sleet and hail. But homeowners may not realize that the type of roof shingle they choose can make a big difference, not only in the protection it offers to the home, but also in the cost of their homeowners’ insurance.

Here are a few things homeowners should keep in mind when looking to save money with a new roof.

Roof replacement can save money

Even though it’s initially costly, homeowners in large parts of the country can actually save money by installing a new roof, as long as they choose the right shingle.

For years, insurance carriers have been incentivizing homeowners to install shingles that are rated for impact resistance in an effort to reduce the number of roof claims. As a result, using qualifying impact-resistant roofing products may qualify for significant premium discounts on homeowners’ insurance in some states.

“Insurance companies are spending so much each year replacing roofs that we’ve started to see some companies change their straight deductible to a percentage of the home’s total value,” said Curt Boyd, owner of Academy Roofing in Aurora, Colorado. “Homeowners see a $4,000 deductible and they don’t want to spend that to replace their roof every two years. They start looking for ways to buy value.”

The nudge toward impact-rated shingles (sometimes called “IR” shingles) is increasing. Recently, some municipalities in Colorado went as far as mandating UL 2218 Class 4 Impact Resistance classification for all new roofs, a trend that’s anticipated to continue growing into other severe weather-prone areas.

The type of shingles you use matters

Most major shingle brands now have a UL 2218 Class 4 Impact Resistance classified shingle available, but the way the shingles are reinforced differs widely. The newest IR asphalt shingle on the market, the Heritage IR shingle from TAMKO Building Products, Inc. reinforces the entire back of the shingle with a strong polyester fabric. Other methods used to reinforce IR shingles include using fabric over just portions of the shingle or coating the shingle with another substance.

While they are distinctly different than traditional shingles because of their reinforcement, these UL 2218 classified options still offer the pleasing aesthetics homeowners have come to expect from modern asphalt shingles. Heritage IR features the same naturally-deep shadow lines that portray the look of wood shakes, and they are available in some of the company’s most popular color choices.

Check with your insurance carrier

Many major insurance providers offer premium discounts for UL 2218 Class 4 classified shingles, but the percentage of savings and the areas of the country where the discount applies vary by insurance carrier. Homeowners should check with their insurance carrier online to see a list of pre-approved shingles and regions, and check with their local agent for a quote of the premium discount for their specific home. Boyd with Academy Roofing said that he’s seen premium discounts close to 30 percent in Colorado for Class 4-rated products.

Learning about the newest and most effective shingles on the market can help save money and worry, both by protecting the home from the top down and potentially reducing insurance costs. Homeowners contacting their insurance carrier and getting educated about roofing options can help them make a smart choice for both their homes and their wallets.