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Storm Response for Homeowners

With the recent bad weather in the area, SSHBA Member GAF would like to provide you with some tips for your roof.

 

Detailed Roof Inspection Checklist

Here are a few tips to follow when assessing storm-related damage. If you do find damage, be sure to call a local, reputable roofing contractor right away. After storms, you may receive solicitations from unfamiliar contractors looking for work. To find reputable, factory-certified contractors in your area, visit the GAF contractor locator at: www.gaf.com/roofing/contractors.

INSIDE: Begin in the attic, if it’s accessible, during the daytime.

OUTSIDE: You may be able to see most, if not all, of your roof from ground level. Walk around your house, examining the roof for these signs of damage.

UP THE LADDER: If you are comfortable climbing a ladder and the weather conditions allow you to do so safely, you can get a better look at your roof up close.

Insider Tips For Getting Your Contractor’s Best Work

Get local referrals. There is less chance of disappointments when you choose a contractor from your community.

Look for manufacturer designations. The contractor must pass certain minimum requirements to be factory certified. Only 2% of roofing contractors are recognized as GAF Master Elite® Contractors.

Research Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings. GAF Master Elite® Contractors are required to maintain satisfactory ratings with the BBB in order to retain their certification.

Dealing With Your Insurance Company

Once you choose a contractor, it is likely that they will recommend you call your insurance company and file a claim. In most cases, your insurance company will send out an insurance adjuster to evaluate the damage and work with you to resolve the claim. Most insurance adjusters are experienced with many elements of a home’s construction, but may not be roofing experts or have the ability to climb on your roof, so it may be a good idea to have your GAF factory-certified contractor meet your adjuster at your home.

Defend Against the Next Storm with a GAF Roof. Find a Local GAF Representative here… www.gaf.com

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Summer Living on a New Front Porch

Outdoor living spaces are an “essential design trend” for homes nationwide, according to judges for the Best in American Living Awards, an annual National Association of Home Builders competition, and continue to be on many home buyer and renters’ must-have lists in 2014. Adding a front porch to your home has become increasingly important, whether you are remodeling or selling your home.

The front porch was described as a “transitional space between the private world of the family and the public realm of the street,” by Andrew Jackson Downing, a well known 19th century landscaper. While the purpose of a porch may have evolved from a place to drink sweet tea and gossip to a place where families sit to enjoy a meal or the sunset together, the fact still remains that a porch is an essential and desired feature for many home owners.

Here are some things to think about when planning the construction of your new porch.

Size

The porch is an accessory, so it shouldn’t overwhelm the main structure of the house. It should, however, be large enough to look like part of your home instead of an afterthought. Think about what you want to use your porch for. If you envision dining al fresco with your family during warm-weather months, you will want a porch that is at least 8-10 feet deep to accommodate a good-sized table and chairs. However, if you just want to place a loveseat or a couple of chairs on your porch, somewhere around 6 feet deep should be sufficient.

Location

If your home has the flexibility, the side of your home your porch is on is important. A south-facing porch will take advantage of the sun’s heat, but could also get uncomfortable during the summer. If the idea of cocktails at sunset is appealing, place your porch facing west. Early risers may want maximum light to read the paper and sip coffee with an porch facing east.

Don’t forget about accessing the porch from the home, and what design impact that may have on the interior rooms. For example, you may want to install French or sliding glass doors from the living room or kitchen to create an entrance to the porch.

Features

To ensure aesthetic continuity, try to use the same materials to build your porch as are used in the home, especially the exterior surfaces. This includes coordinating millwork and other design motifs so that your new porch looks like a continuation of the rest of your home.

You should also take into account any other factors that could affect the enjoyment of your new porch. Consider installing screens if you live where there are lots of flying insects, or glass windows so you can extend the use of your porch into cooler months. If you plan to use the porch during the night hours, make sure you install either sufficient lighting or outlets for lamps. A ceiling fan is a good idea to make the space more comfortable in warm temperatures.

Use social media for some inspiration. Pinterest will have some great ideas of ways you can decorate your porch, and of how to make it look more inviting. If you aren’t ready to decorate your porch right away, pin the pictures to your board and come back to them later. Instagram is also another resource you can use to get ideas of how to stylize your new porch.

Before you know it, you and your family can begin to relax and enjoy the summer season from the comfort of your new porch—or have an attractive feature to offer to buyers.

Magnolia Place - Plan 2 Gold Award for Detached Home 2001-3000 sq ft, Home Built for Sale

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Finding Design Ideas for Your Remodeling Project

You want to change the look and feel of your house, but you also want your remodeling job to look fresh for a number of years and complement the existing features of your home. How do you choose the right project and design for you and your family?

Woman looking at design samples

First, take your family’s lifestyle into account when selecting an area of your home to remodel. For example, if you get a lot of traffic through the house, consider hardwood floors. Families who frequently entertain in the kitchen may want to expand the room and add an island or some comfortable chairs. If your bathroom is the place where you escape the world, add a whirlpool tub or a deluxe shower.

After you’ve chosen an area of your home to remodel, the wide array of project options can be both dazzling and intimidating. To get started, consult the resources below, which can give you specific ideas on how to turn your house into the dream home you’ve always wanted.

TV Shows: There are an increasing number of shows and channels focused on decorating and simple home improvement projects to more complex remodels or home makeovers. For example, HGTV features projects that evolve from start to finish on shows like “Buying and Selling” and “Curb Appeal”; check your local television guide for listings.

paint samples

Magazines: Magazines that cater to home improvement, lifestyle and remodeling can be an excellent source of ideas. Page through publications such as Dwell, Home, House Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Food and Wine, Country Living, Ladies’ Home Journal and Good Housekeeping to identify projects and materials that might work in your home. Additionally, you can request a wide range of free or inexpensive literature by completing the mail-in coupons inserted in such publications.

Websites/Blogs: Surfing the Web is a great way to find fresh ideas and to research projects. Many remodelers, manufacturers and magazines host websites that feature project photos, buying guides and product information. Web directories such as the NAHB Remodelers Directory can help you find professional remodelers in your area. Other sites such as Pinterest and Houzz have extensive photo collections for inspiration. And, an increasing number of DIY and design blogs created by homeowners themselves can also provide inspiration for simple projects you can do around the house.

Couple Looking at Blueprints

Sketches and Floor Plans: No two remodeling projects are the same, but you can gain some insight into how another homeowner solved a space problem by carefully studying sketches and floor plans. If, like most people, you are easily confused by plans and drawings, imagine yourself in the middle of the room or space on the plan.

Books: Browse a bookstore with a well-stocked home improvement section, but beware of books telling you to be your own remodeling contractor. Most remodeling projects call for a level of skill and work hours beyond those stated in these books. The job of a professional remodeler requires experience and competence in a wide range of disciplines, and unless you are highly skilled and licensed in all the trades, you can quickly get in over your head.

Newspapers: Most newspapers publish regular sections devoted to real estate, home design and remodeling. Also, twice a year — usually in the spring and fall — many papers print special home improvement supplements. Each of these sections contains timely articles and useful advertisements on remodeling, home improvement, repair and maintenance.

Installing Window

Friends, Family and Neighbors: Do you know someone who has recently remodeled their home in a style you admire? He or she may still have product manuals, magazines and other helpful information you can borrow, as well as practical advice drawn from his or her own experience.

Remodeling Professionals: One of the advantages of choosing a remodeler early is gaining access to an extensive library of resources prior to starting a project. Once you’ve chosen a contractor, he or she usually can offer you a wide variety of materials, including product manuals, magazines, brochures and blueprints.

Manufacturers and Suppliers: The most obvious place to find information about new products and how to use them is on manufacturers’ Web sites and in magazine ads. Lumberyards, hardware stores and other suppliers also can be valuable sources of information. Many suppliers now offer home planning centers, where you can browse comfortably among the following:

  • Plan books
  • Product manuals
  • Sourcebooks
  • Building tips
  • Magazines
  • Brochures
  • Directories of local remodelers and builders

Find more information on planning your remodeling project or to find a professional remodeler in our Remodeling section.

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How to Live with Your Remodeling Project

Remodeling your home is uniquely different from building a new one. With remodeling, your home becomes the worksite. You live side by side with the project from start to finish. Once construction begins, you’ll probably long for simple pleasures like a dust-free home or a fully functioning kitchen or bath. But the end result will be well worth these inconveniences.

home remodeler sawing wood

Here are some tips to help minimize the stress involved with a remodeling project.

 

Open the Lines of Communication

Consistent and open communication between you and your remodeler will enhance your understanding of the project, provide an opportunity to exchange ideas, and ultimately help to make the experience a positive one for everyone involved. To facilitate this process, you need to:

  • Determine who you and your remodeler should contact for daily decisions or an after-hours emergency. For example, your contact may be the lead carpenter for the job, while the remodeler’s contact could be your spouse.
  • Designate a backup for each contact person to assure continuity in anyone’s absence.
  • Create a place in your house where the contact persons can leave messages for each other (a securely anchored notebook is a good idea since it is less likely to disappear).
  • Speak up. If you are uncertain about any aspect of the project, be sure to let the contact person know.

 

Prepare for the Pre-Construction Meeting

One way to ensure the success of your project is to plan for and actively participate in a pre-construction meeting. This allows your remodeler to clarify procedures and explain how the job will progress. It also offers both you and your remodeler an opportunity to prepare for those issues that may arise later. You should think of this meeting as a forum for all participants to define their expectations and agree on the anticipated outcome.

Some of the issues you may wish to cover at this meeting include:

  • Will you allow your remodeler to place a company sign on your property? Remember that in addition to being a marketing tool, signs help contractors and suppliers locate your home.
  • What areas of your home will be off limits to workers?
  • Does your house have an alarm system? Will workers need a key or will someone always be there?
  • How will you ensure that your children and pets stay out of the work space?
  • How will trash removal be handled? Where will the remodeler locate the dumpster on your property?
  • Does the remodeler anticipate any interruptions of utilities during the project? If so, when and for how long? At certain stages of construction, the project may affect basic household necessities like water and electricity. Will you need to vacate the house at any time?
  • What are your expectations regarding clean up? Will sweeping be sufficient for a daily cleaning, or will you need a more thorough cleaning in order to use the space?
  • You should also use the pre-construction meeting to establish guidelines for the remodeling crew working on the project.
  • What times will workers begin and end work at your home? Be sure to consider the neighbors as well as household members.
  • Where can workers park near the jobsite?
  • Will you allow workers to use your phone for local business calls?
  • Will bathroom facilities in your home be available to workers?
  • What is the remodeler’s policy on smoking on the jobsite?
  • What is the remodeler’s policy on the use of profanity? If you are especially sensitive to this issue, you should let your remodeler know.
  • Will you allow workers to play music at a reasonable volume? Is there any type of music that you do not want played?

 

Prevent Remodeling Fever

The train-station atmosphere of a remodeling project can lead to remodeling fever. The main symptom of this temporary affliction is feeling a loss of control that results from disrupted routines and the impact on your personal space. The best way to prevent this fever is to prepare well, remember that “this too shall pass,” and focus on the progress being made. A few other suggestions from remodeling pros:

Prepare for inconvenience. A remodeling project can turn your home and — on some days — your life upside down. A kitchen remodel will, of course, affect meal planning. But a little ingenuity and some culinary shortcuts can lessen the impact. Set up a temporary cooking quarters by moving the refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave to another room. Arrange a dishwashing station in your laundry room. If the weather is warm, fire up the grill and dine alfresco.

Designate a safe haven. Find at least one place in your home where you can escape from the chaos and commotion.

Guard against dust. During a remodeling project, dust has the unfortunate tendency to appear everywhere from lampshades to plates stacked inside your kitchen cabinets. To keep out as much dust as possible:

  1. Seal off doorways and stairs;
  2. Turn off central air or heat when workers are sanding and stock up on extra filters so that you can change them often;
  3. Have deliveries made though a designated entrance;
  4. Use doormats and temporary floor coverings where appropriate;
  5. Remove anything that might get damaged by the dust or at least cover it with plastic drop cloths that are taped shut.

Maintain a sense of humor. Remember that certain things are out of your control and it’s best to laugh rather than upset yourself about things like the weather or delayed delivery of materials.

See the remodeling process as an adventure. Tell the kids that you are “camping in” and transform inconvenience into fun. Along the way, celebrate as different stages of the project are completed.

For more information on choosing a professional remodeler and managing every phase of your remodeling project, be sure to visit our homeownership section.