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.

5 Ways To Brighten Up Your Home With Daylighting

(BPT) – Looking for relatively quick, doable home improvement projects that won’t break the bank? You can create a bright, cheerful home just by changing the lighting. A well-lit space can make rooms appear more spacious, as well as brighten the colors of your new decor or accessories. As you begin to plan your lighting, consider a daylighting system that brings natural brightness to all the areas in your home.

These daylighting basics will help you find the best system for your space.

1. Daylighting systems bring true natural light into your home

First, let’s talk about what daylighting systems are, because there are many lighting options available today that claim to provide natural daylight. These lightbulbs that are labeled as “daylight” are designed to mimic natural light as closely as they can, but these bulbs are not true sources of natural light.

Solatube Daylighting Systems, on the other hand, are designed to capture the sun’s perfect natural brightness and deliver it into indoor spaces, like traditional skylights. Unlike traditional skylights, however, daylighting systems are much more versatile to work in any room in your home. They are also leak-proof, plus more cost-effective and time-effective than traditional skylights that are built into the home’s architecture.

2. Natural light reduces energy use

Daylighting systems harness the sun’s light, which means you’re using less energy to light up your home. If you’re environmentally conscious and trying to incorporate more sustainable living practices into your day-to-day routine, adding daylight into your home is an easy and long-term solution. Because they use less energy, daylighting systems also cut down on utility costs. You’ll save money even taking installation costs into consideration in the long run.

3. Daylighting systems are designed to maintain brightness even in corners

Traditional skylights can provide natural lighting, but these structures are limited and not possible for all rooms in the home. New daylighting systems can be installed for any interior. Plus, the Spectralight Infinity Tubing is designed using the most reflective materials and in configurations that allow all areas of the room to be bright, including hard-to-reach corners.

4. Accessories are available to help your daylighting system meet your needs exactly

Every interior is different, and that’s why daylighting systems can be modified with accessories to fit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a solar-powered nightlight solution, a dimmer add-on or a ventilation component for rooms like the bathroom, there’s an accessory to help your daylighting system work for your space.

5. Installing a daylighting system in your home is easy

The technology for daylighting systems might be complex, but installing one in your home is not. Transforming your space with a daylighting system only takes two hours and requires minimal structural changes to your home. Ready to bring true natural light into your home? Learn more about daylighting systems and how you can use them to improve your home by visiting https://www.solatube.com.