Make a Grand Entrance: Simple Ideas to Refresh Your Entryway

door(BPT) – Most people enter their home through the garage or backdoor, forgetting how the front entrance looks to neighbors and guests. Your front door is often the first thing others notice about your home. That’s why it’s key for┬ámaking a positive first impression.

How to create an inviting entrance:

Transform your home’s curb appeal with a new front door. With so many new entry door systems to choose from, ranging from single doors, to double-door options, to those accented with decorative glass, or transoms and sidelights, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget and your style. Pella offers stylish wood, fiberglass or steel options. Choose from ENERGY STAR-qualified design options to create a distinctive look, whether you’re building a new home, remodeling, or simply replacing an old door.

Pick a standout color for your front door

Sticking with your door? A fresh coat of paint will do wonders. Try a bold color to brighten a neutral color scheme. Pick a color that coordinates with your home’s exterior, but dare to be bold with color contrast to add eye appeal.

Update your hardware

Why stop with a fresh coat of paint? Refresh old doors with new hardware. Choose handles and door knockers that complement your home’s exterior design. Pella offers hardware in a variety of finishes, to instantly upgrade exterior doors.

Replace broken or damaged items

Replace broken light fixtures, burned out bulbs and worn-out weather stripping on exterior doors. Pitch that faded wreath, worn out mat and dead plants, and instead, add a bright new welcome mat and eye-catching seasonal decorations.

Clean up, accent with contrast

Use a little elbow grease and ammonia-free, vinegar-based glass cleaner to wash the windows. Wipe down window and door frames and sweep sills with a dry paint brush or vacuum to remove dirt. See pella.com/news for tips on cleaning windows and doors.

Fill flower boxes or containers with boldly-colored plants to accent your front door. If you’ve painted your door red, plant red and white or red and purple flowers to create a designer look. Or if you’re keen on green doors, try purple or orange flowers for contrast.

Illuminate your walkway

Make it easy for others to see the way to your front door at night. Transform and illuminate walkways with easy-to-install solar lights. Stake them in the ground positioned so solar cells get enough southern exposure for sunlight to recharge nightlights during the day.

Trim bushes, create great container gardens

Landscaping should accent your home, not dominate it. Keep bushes below the bottom sill of your windows to improve your view. Trim or replace overgrown shrubs and trees. Keep plant material trimmed several feet away from your home to minimize damage from wind or insects, and help eliminate a place for prowlers to lurk. Keep your porch and steps clear of clutter and create container gardens to accent your entry. Fill decorative containers with plants that accent your home’s color scheme, front door and landscape design.

Visit Pella Windows and Doors on Pinterest and Houzz for more design inspiration and Pella.com/news to connect with your local Pella representative for ideas on how to transform the look and comfort of your home inside and out.

Keep Your Family Secure at Home with These Tips

pool 1(BPT) – When it comes to protecting your family, your home is your fortress. It’s the place where your children fall asleep at night, tucked safely in their beds. It has the backyard where your pets roam freely without any danger of running into traffic. And it’s the place where you can relax, knowing your family is secure.

There are some actions you’ll need to take to secure your fortress, but with a few adjustments to your landscaping, you can help keep your family and pets protected at home.

* Shrubbery – Landscaping directly next to the house can provide a hiding place for potential intruders of the human, insect and animal varieties. To discourage intruders of any kind, keep bushes smaller, spaced out and neatly trimmed if they are directly next to the house. This is a project to do both in the beginning of the summer and again in the fall before the frost hits.

* Lighting – In addition to keeping your trees and bushes trimmed, install lights – both on the house and around the landscaping of the yard. These lights will help illuminate any shadows that could hide potential intruders. Also, remember to keep the lights you shine inside your house to yourself. Prevent people outside the home from seeing what you have inside by closing the drapes at night.

* Fencing – Fences are great for keeping your children and pets away from traffic and other possible danger. If you have a pool, it will also keep them safe around the water. Fences require premium-grade, adjustable hinges and latches to ensure your gate closes properly, stays latched, and doesn’t sag or drag over time. MagnaLatch magnetic pool latches are specifically designed for child and pool safety. They have a patented latching system that prevents mechanical jamming that could cause gate failure. Combined with TruClose self-closing hinges, your gate will close smoothly and securely every time. If you prefer a standard gate lock, LokkLatch latches are designed with stainless steel components that won’t rust or stain.gate

These gate hardware options from D&D feature a lifetime limited warranty, are easy to install and are available through fencing contractors and numerous retail outlets, including Lowe’s, Home Depot and Amazon. Visit www.ddtechglobal.com for a full range of gate hardware products and to find a retailer near you.

* Security systems – As a final touch to keep an eye on your house at all times, install a security system. You can find models that range from contacting a security company when the alarm is triggered to having video cameras that allow online monitoring from a smartphone.

With these home and yard safety tips, your fortress will be as secure as you can make it. So enjoy your home and relax knowing you’ve kept your family safe.

Prevent Frozen Water Pipes From Flooding Your Home This Winter

overflow(BPT) – If you think water damage isn’t a real threat for millions of Americans, consider this: water damage caused $9.1 billion in annual homeowner property losses over a three-year period, according to a 2011 ACE Insurance Underwriters study. Despite that, many people don’t worry about protecting their home against water damage because they believe their home is safe so long as it isn’t located on a flood plain.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, flooding grabs the headlines, but the majority of water damage home insurance claims actually come from leaky or burst pipes.

The primary cause for concern is your water heater. Approximately 10 million water heaters were sold in 2009 according to The US Department of Energy. Appliance Magazine estimates that 69 percent of those will develop a slow water leak or a sudden water burst when they reach their life expectancy – anywhere from five to 25 years, depending on the model. An estimated 5 to 7 million water heaters fail ever year, and all failures carry with them the possibility of causing water damage. Experts estimate the average cost for repairs after a water heater fails can exceed $20,000 according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Another common household appliance that has the potential to create significant water damage when it fails is the washing machine. A washing machine’s potential for water spillage does not always come from the machine itself but from the hot and cold-water hoses connected to it. As the machine ages, so too does the risk that a rupture of one of the hoses will cause a major flooding event.

The average cost to repair water damage related to a washing-machine hose rupture is $5,308, according the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Finally, homeowners face threats from winter temperatures that can cause water lines to freeze and rupture, spilling water. In fact, frozen and broken water pipes rank No. 2 behind hurricanes in terms of both the number of homes damaged and the amount of claim costs. According to the Insurance Information Network of California, repair costs of around $50,000 due to flooding from frozen and broken water pipes are common.

So what you can do to minimize these potential risks and avoid these catastrophes?

Early detection of flooding or leakage can mean the difference between a simple do-it-yourself clean-up project and an insurance claim amounting to thousands of dollars. Uncontrolled flooding can cause catastrophic damage within minutes or hours; in just the time that you’re away at work an undetected flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage to the interior of a dwelling.

Modern technology, like the ValveSentry Device, can interrupt the source of flooding or water when a rupture occurs. Inexpensive water sensors placed near the water heater, washing machine or other appliances – like a sink and toilet – alert the system when they sense water. The system then shuts off the water at its source, mitigating any damage.

The ValveSentry Device can be installed in minutes by simply bolting it in place, which makes it much simpler to use than other devices that require the services of a licensed plumber or electrician. To learn more about the ValveSentry Device, visit Batticdoor.com.