What to look for when buying a garage door for your home

August 23rd, 2016 by Emil No comments »

(BPT) – The most important factor that garage door buyers consider is not the price! 

That was the surprising result of a 2016 national survey completed in February. According to that study, the buyers’ most important consideration is appearance/curb appeal, followed by price, durability, low maintenance, warranty, and five other factors.

“This survey underscores the key role that garage doors play in the appearance of today’s homes,” says Todd Thomas, managing director of the International Door Association.

“Since garage doors command such a large area of the front of the typical home, homeowners are increasingly recognizing the powerful impact of an attractive garage door.”

Latest census statistics

The large area occupied by garage doors is getting even larger. In June, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 24 percent of new single-family houses completed in 2015 had a three-car (or more) garage, the highest percentage ever.

The Midwest region leads the country with 42 percent of new homes having at least a three-car garage. The larger the area, the larger the aesthetic impact.

“Can you imagine how much it would cost to renovate 150 square feet of the front of your home?” Thomas asks. “With a new upscale garage door, you can get the project done professionally for less than $3,000.”

The top upscale project

The new 2016 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine also echoes the cost-effectiveness of a new garage door. For the first time in the report’s history, an upscale garage door replacement earned the top spot in the rankings of all upscale projects studied.

The report said that the purchase of an upscale garage door recoups 90 percent of its cost at resale, far above the second place project, which was a siding replacement at 78 percent. The average cost recouped for all 30 projects in the study was 64 percent.

“More people are migrating to the quality doors,” says Wayne Pawlowski at Garage Door Guy in Barnegat, New Jersey. “No longer is it ‘What’s the cheapest you got?’ They would rather spend a few extra dollars and get a better door.”

New designs, more choices

Fortunately for the consumer, garage door manufacturers are now producing hundreds of stunning designs in steel, wood, aluminum and fiber-composite material. When combined with new colors, windows, insulation and decorative hardware options, the potential designs are almost limitless.

“We have so many more attractive designs today than we had 20 years ago,” says Randy Oliver of Hollywood-Crawford Door, a long-time garage door dealer in San Antonio. “An upgraded door that takes advantage of all these optional features is surprisingly affordable.”

Best buyer’s resource

The key is to learn more about a garage door’s features and the design possibilities. To help homeowners with the task, garage door manufacturers have joined together to create a free consumer website (www.garagewownow.com) that contains dozens of photos of the latest garage doors from many manufacturers.

The GarageWowNow site includes design tips, photos of many openers and accessories, and several before-and-after garage door images that demonstrate how a door upgrade improves the appearance of the home. A dealer finder on the site leads you to a nearby qualified door dealer who can handle the project quickly, properly, and safely.

“I tell my customers that price should be a factor, but not the only factor,” says Oliver. “When customers realize the overall value of a better-made and better-looking garage door, they buy the better door almost every time.”


10 packing hacks to streamline your move

August 21st, 2016 by Emil No comments »

(BPT) – Moving brings a mix of emotions. Excitement about living in a new home is paired with angst and anxiety about the actual moving process. The most dreaded task is the one that takes the most time: packing.

The boxes, the bubble wrap, the labels — oh my! Packing can be chaotic and overwhelming. Fortunately the experts at Penske Truck Rental have some time-tested tips to help anyone make packing for a move fast, easy and efficient.

Creative packing supplies: Boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap are essential, but by creatively using what you already have, you’ll cut costs and waste. Try blankets and bedding instead of bubble wrap. Socks wrapped around glasses and stemware provide excellent protection. Decorative baskets can be used as a substitute for boxes when it comes to light goods.

Label wisely: Mark each box with your name, information about its contents and the room it comes from. Numbering boxes and adding color coding helps keep everything organized. When you arrive at your new home, sort boxes by putting them directly into the rooms where they belong.

Pack strategically: Start with the rooms you use the least before packing the most frequented rooms. What’s more, use a clear container for supplies you’ll need immediately upon arrival. You can quickly see the contents, plus this container is easy to pull among a sea of brown boxes.

Avoid bathroom-box blunders: Toiletries can easily break or spill. For powder cosmetics, place a cotton ball inside the container to prevent cracking. For bottles, remove caps, add plastic wrap and replace caps for a more protective seal.

Move appliances with care: Plan ahead when moving appliances. Check the owner’s manuals for special moving instructions. For refrigerators, defrost at least one day before a move and wipe liquid to avoid a wet, smelly mess.

Plan ahead: Reserve a rental truck at least two weeks in advance. A 12- or 16-foot truck is ideal for moving a few large items or the contents of a small apartment. Moving a larger home will require a bigger truck. For guidance with truck selection, visit www.PenskeTruckRental.com.

Pack moving trucks efficiently: Start with heavy items first and strive to distribute weight evenly to prevent shifting. If possible, place couches on their ends rather than horizontally to save space. When stacking boxes, create walls and tie down to secure.

Pack snacks: After spending days packing you’ll want to hit the road and get to your new house without unnecessary breaks. By packing drinks and snacks, you won’t need to stop when hunger strikes.

Keep important documents close: Keep important documents, credit cards and your driver’s license in a bag inside the truck. When you stop for a break, make sure to lock this bag in the center console or glove box.

Consolidate: Finally, remember the less you have to pack, the less time it will take so condense by getting rid of unused items. The general rule is if you haven’t used it within a year, it’s time for it to go. Have a yard sale, donate goods or give to friends (give first dibs to those pals helping you on move day).


Top 5 secrets from professionals on home renovation

August 8th, 2016 by Emil No comments »

(BPT) – When asked what kind of upgrades homeowners would like to make in their home, most have a similar wish list that includes features like marble or granite counter tops, an open concept kitchen, a remodeled bathroom and a deck.

There are plenty of good reasons why people opt for these features. They’re beautiful, create a certain atmosphere, and who doesn’t want to come home to a stylish kitchen and relax on their deck? But experienced homeowners will tell you, it’s not just these big showy upgrades that are important. Often, it’s the unseen upgrades you might not be immediately aware of that really make a difference and impact the quality of life in your home. It’s especially important to remind first-time homeowners of these five considerations to keep in mind when building or renovating.

Privacy is key. With televisions, computers, music and lively conversation, even a small family can make a lot of noise. Bring quiet to the home with the right kind of drywall. SilentFX QuickCut by CertainTeed Gypsum is a revolutionary type of drywall specifically designed to dampen noise and prevent sound from carrying from room to room.  

Upgrade the roof. It might cost more, but investing in a high quality roof has two main advantages. One being, it will last longer, so you won’t have to face the expense of re-roofing in another 15 or 20 years. The second is that if you go to sell, having a high quality roof that will last years — even decades — will equate to a better resale value.

Improve indoor air quality. Adding plants and opening windows are two of the easiest ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home. However, there are things you can do in the building process as well. One of these is to install a drywall, such as AirRenew, which is a specialty drywall product designed to actively clean formaldehyde and other volatile chemicals from the air.

Invest in a new furnace. If you find yourself taking too many days off work to meet the furnace repairman, it might be time to have a new furnace installed. Not only do the modern, energy efficient furnaces save as much as $200 a year, but they’re quieter, require less maintenance and, should you go to sell, are a huge perk to potential home buyers.

Fill the cavities between the walls. No matter what climate zone you live in, insulation is incredibly important. There are many types of insulation out there, so be sure to talk to your contractor or builder about what kind is best for the area where you live. The right kind and thickness will save you money on both heating and cooling bills.

These upgrades may not wow your guests or be the envy of your neighbors, but they will certainly make an enormous difference in your day-to-day living and contribute to the overall comfort of your house. For more information about what innovative drywall solutions are available today, visit certainteed.com/drywall/residential


Practical remodeling tips for modern multi-generational families

August 8th, 2016 by Emil No comments »

(BPT) – Parents, grandparents and children all living happily together under one roof — it’s an iconic American image you may associate with “the good old days.” In reality, more Americans are now living in multi-generational households than at any time in the past 75 years, according to Pew Research Center. The growing number of multi-generational households means homeowners, remodelers and builders are rethinking what it takes to make a home livable for multiple generations.

While some home builders have begun offering models designed specifically to facilitate multi-generational living, the reality is most people who decide to share a living space with extended family members will need to stay put and remodel their current homes. But it’s no longer good enough to simply convert an attic room, garage or basement into an extra bedroom to accommodate the extra occupants.

Modern multi-generational dwellers want privacy when they need it, the ability to be together in shared living spaces, and the cost-savings of sharing expenses among multiple generations of adults. Families may find it difficult to achieve those objectives with a traditional mother-in-law suite, or by putting grandma in the guest bedroom or adult children in a converted garage or basement.

Instead, homeowners and remodelers are seeking to redefine existing spaces within homes. If you plan to renovate with an eye toward accommodating your modern multi-generational family, keep these key points in mind:

Create privacy and separation

What happens when the 20-something kids want to watch a reality show and Dad wants to watch the news? What will you do when you’re in the middle of dinner prep, and Grandpa wanders into the kitchen to fix himself a snack? The more people living under one roof, the more important it becomes to create privacy and separation.

If you’re converting an existing space such as a basement, garage or guest suite into living space for one generation, think about how you’ll facilitate privacy. Is it possible to create two entrances to the space — one that provides access to common areas and another that allows occupants to enter and exit directly outdoors?

Comprehensive compartmentalization

In order to create effective separation, you need to ensure each generation’s private “compartment” is equipped with everything the occupants need for independence — such as cooking facilities, a bathroom, sleeping and living spaces. You may find you need to create a bathroom or kitchen in a space where installing traditional plumbing might be problematic. Above-floor plumbing can be a cost-effective solution for virtually anywhere in a house.

Traditional plumbing may require you to open walls, add costly and extensive new piping, or even cut through concrete if the area you need to plumb sits on a slab. Rather than taking on the expense and time of traditionally plumbing a new kitchen or bathroom, above-floor plumbing allows homeowners to quickly, easily and cost effectively install sinks, showers and toilets.

Above-floor plumbing features such as a macerating toilet and drain pumps, like those from Saniflo, allow you to easily add a complete bathroom or kitchen where no drainage existed before. For bathrooms, the compact systems can fit into a closet or area beneath a stairway, and new vitreous china, floor-mounted bowls feature contemporary styling that complements modern bathroom designs.

When creating a new kitchen, choosing above-floor plumbing for sinks means you don’t have to be limited to areas where in-wall pipes already exist, or where space is available to add them. Products like the compact Saniswift graywater pump make it possible to use above-floor plumbing where no below-floor drainage exists, transporting wastewater away from a kitchen, laundry, bar sink, shower or bathroom sink. Learn more at www.saniflo.com.

Establish communal areas

Successful compartmentalization means plenty of privacy, and privacy ensures your family shares time together because they want to — not because they’re elbow-to-elbow in one space. Communal areas allow you to fully enjoy time spent together, so when planning the space, think about the activities you’ll want to do together.

Will you share daily dinner or a big breakfast every Sunday? Will you have a family movie night? Does Grandma need a comfortable space where she can pass on to the grandchildren the finer points of her favorite craft activities? Shared space should be easily accessible to each generation’s compartment, and incorporate features that are universally useful and appealing.

As more baby boomers enter their golden years, and millennials strive to establish their own households in the wake of the Great Recession, experts predict the number of multi-generational households will continue to grow. Multi-gen living is already at an all-time high; Pew says there were 57 million multi-generational households in the U.S. in 2012, representing more than 18 percent of the total population. In the bygone era of the 1940s, there were only 32 million multi-generational homes, Pew says.



Fast fixes to boost curb appeal for a quick home sale

August 4th, 2016 by Emil No comments »

(BPT) – It takes just seven seconds to form a first impression after meeting someone new. The same psychology applies to the first impression people get when shopping for a new home. Within seconds of arrival, home buyers are forming positive and negative opinions about the property.

This is invaluable to home sellers. If you want to sell your home fast and for a premium price, you can’t afford botching the first impression. Fortunately, revamping the facade doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. In just one weekend you can boost your curb appeal with a few simple updates.

Enhance the garage door

A garage door accounts for up to 40 percent of a house’s facade. Often ignored, a bland or ugly garage door is a turnoff to home buyers. However, there’s no need to buy a costly new one. Instead, upgrade your current door with simulated window overlays and decorative handles and hinges from Coach House Accents for upscale appeal at a fraction of the cost.

Start by adding a fresh coat of paint to the garage door. Then to get a custom carriage house appearance, add the window panels made from lightweight, durable automotive-grade plastic resin. Finish with hinges and handles that mimic high-end forged metal. Coach House Accents can be purchased online at www.coachhouseaccents.com, www.amazon.com and at select Lowe’s stores nationwide.

Update the entryway

The entryway is the focal point of the front of the home. Start by clearing clutter and cleaning stairways. A new coat of paint on the stairs and door is essential. You might also consider investing in a new door handle and other hardware to modernize the space.

In addition to keeping the area clean, add attractive elements to the entryway. A potted plant or two offers a welcoming touch that reflects seasonal style. Toss worn welcome mats for fresh, new options. If you have space, a comfortable chair paints an inviting picture for potential home buyers.

Liven up the landscape

Sprucing up the yard goes beyond pulling weeds. Start by trimming hedges and trees to create a tidy appearance. If you don’t have much greenery, adding flowers and other plants can have a dramatic visual impact. Finally, a new layer of mulch will help your landscape features pop and makes any property look instantly fresh again.

In addition to clearing brush and updating plants, enhance outdoor spaces with thoughtful use of landscape lighting. Pathway lights on walkways, accent lights in planters, and garden lights around the porch make a space more stylish and useful. Plus, when home buyers view the property in the evening, beautiful lighting will impress them the moment they pull in the driveway.

Impressive curb appeal doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. From garage door enhancements to landscape lighting, these quick fixes can capture the attention of buyers and hopefully even start a bidding war.