Author Archives: Lance Dunahoe

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Turn Your Empty Attic Into New Living Space with 3 Smart Moves

Dallas Home Inspection, Texas Home Inspection, Attic into Living SpaceWhen your family outgrows your home’s available space, moving to bigger digs isn’t always the best option. Maybe you really love your current home. Perhaps you can’t find a bigger home in your price range in the area of your choice. Whatever your reason for staying in place, expanding the home you already have can be a cost-effective option when your family needs more room.

Converting an unused attic into usable living area is a reliable, cost-effective way to gain more space in a home. It’s also a good investment; when you add an attic bedroom, you can expect to recoup about 77 percent of the construction cost when you resell the house, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.

Three time-tested techniques can help you turn an empty attic into the extra space you dream of:

1. Rely on natural light for beauty, visibility and cost savings.

Attics don’t usually have many windows, and adding them can be difficult if the ceiling is sloped. Adding dormers – a typical solution – can be costly and time-consuming, and eat up wall space that is often at a premium in attics.

Skylights or roof windows can be a better, more cost-effective way to bring natural light and fresh air into an attic. Installation is faster and cheaper than adding dormers, and they work well on slanted ceilings. Energy Star-qualified, solar-powered, fresh-air skylights like those from Velux America make it easy and affordable to bring natural light and fresh air into an attic space.

Add solar-powered blinds in designer colors and patterns, and the skylight becomes an even more valuable piece of the room’s overall decor. Solar-powered skylights close automatically in case of rain. They, and the blinds, are operated by programmable remote control, making it easy to adjust the amount of sunlight that enters the space. Both products, plus the installation costs, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit to the homeowner. Learn more at www.whyskylights.com.

2. Pay close attention to insulation.

In any home, the attic is often the hottest spot in the summer and the coldest in the winter. The amount and quality of insulation in the attic directly affects the comfort level in the space – and the overall energy efficiency of your home.

Have an insulation pro evaluate the insulation in your home’s attic before you begin planning your conversion. You may need to add insulation or even replace older, inefficient types – a move well worth the investment since insulation is so important to your home’s overall comfort and energy efficiency. Many insulation pros will recommend spray insulation for attics because it goes easily between existing joists. Plus, it can create a tight air barrier without losing the inches of space required for thick fiberglass batt insulation.

3. Get smart about plumbing.

If your attic conversion will incorporate a bathroom, good for you! Bathroom additions return more than 56 percent of your initial investment when you resell, according to the Cost vs. Value Report.

If pipes are already present in your attic, adding a bathroom can be simple. If no plumbing exists, consider cost-effective alternatives that will have less impact on the space, like up-flush plumbing. Because it fits into the kind of tight spaces that often occur in attics, up-flush plumbing can be an easy, cheaper way to plumb a sink, toilet or shower stall in an attic space.

Converting an unused attic into living area can be a great way to expand your space without moving. Plus, when you finally are ready to move one day, that attic renovation may end up paying for itself by boosting the sale price of your home.

Untitled-1 Your Premier Texas Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Inspect 360 will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Texas City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Inspect 360, Lance Dunahoe prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers .

Call (972) 652-0360 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!


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Helping first-time home buyers get from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’

Dallas Home Inspection, Texas Home InspectionFinally! The economy is improving, interest rates are low and many consumers now find themselves in a great position financially to become a first-time homeowner. There’s a small problem though for some locations around the country – the booming real estate market is resulting in rising home prices and increased competition for the most desirable properties.

The S&P/Case-Shiller national home-price index recently estimated that 2016 prices are within four percent of the peak in 2006. In some areas, low inventories around the country are making the situation even more challenging.

These conditions are introducing first-time buyers to common challenges and frustrations while searching for their dream home. “Don’t get discouraged,” says Travis Peace, executive director of mortgage at USAA Bank. “Buying a home requires some fortitude and the process intimidates many -not just those doing it for the first time.” As a result, Peace says it’s easy to concentrate too much on home buying “can’ts” rather than “can-dos,” and he offers this advice on how to overcome some common barriers.

“I Can’t” No. 1: I can’t figure out the home-buying process.

Peace notes that it’s essential to do research and to be equipped with basic information, but also be willing to ask for help when needed. For example, an experienced real estate agent can keep a buyer apprised of everything from area sales trends to the latest changes in state and federal laws that could impact a mortgage application.

“This is where experienced, licensed professionals can help,” Peace says. “Real estate agents can be an advocate for the buyer throughout the entire process.”

In addition, free tools like USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network can connect buyers with an agent and even provide rewards based on the sale price of the home.

“I Can’t” No. 2: I can’t find the perfect home for my family.

Finding the perfect home may not be realistic, but shoppers can find the right home. Personal situations will dictate buyers’ ability to wait for a home in a particular neighborhood or design style to come on the market, but not everything has to be left to chance.

Peace says the key is to set realistic expectations and not fixate on negatives that can be changed. “Whether it’s the number of bedrooms or distance to work or school, it’s alright to have some non-negotiables. However, buyers should be willing to be flexible on things that can be relatively easy to change, like paint colors or landscaping.”

“I Can’t” No. 3: I can’t afford a 20 percent down payment.

Putting 20 percent down on a home has become more of a guideline than a rule. Today, not being able to put 20 percent down does not mean buying a home is out of reach. Peace notes that depending on a buyer’s financial situation, there may be a responsible way to get into your new home without putting 20 percent down.

Government-sponsored loan programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide loan options that require down payments as low as three percent. Veterans Affairs (VA) loans don’t require any down payment. While those programs are often great options for consumers who qualify, Peace notes that buyers should keep an eye on their potential total monthly payment.

“Some of these loans include fees and private mortgage insurance (PMI) that could significantly impact your overall cost,” Peace says.

Even private lenders are offering more competitive loan options. For example, USAA Bank’s Conventional 97 loan allows borrowers to acquire a mortgage with only three percent down and the bank pays the PMI costs.

Scott McEniry, a USAA member, recently moved into his new home with the help of the Conventional 97 loan. “It felt like a lifeline had been thrown to me as suddenly a house purchase was within reach again,” McEniry says.

Whether a house-hunting novice or seasoned expert, Peace underscores that being informed, getting the right help and having a healthy dose of determination are the best ways to turn a dream home into a reality.

Untitled-1Your Premier Texas Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Inspect 360 will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Texas City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Inspect 360, Lance Dunahoe prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers .

Call (972) 652-0360 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!


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Top Energy-efficient Housing Features Every Homebuyer Should Know

Dallas Home Inspection, Texas Home Inspection, Energy-efficient Housing FeaturesMost Americans want an energy-efficient home, and they’re willing to make the necessary changes to help improve efficiency, whether it’s changing their habits or buying more energy-efficient appliances. But reducing energy bills and making your home more efficient doesn’t just begin with remembering to switch off lights in empty rooms or paying top-dollar for newer appliances.

“Energy efficiency has to start when a home is being built,” says Kevin Clayton, CEO of manufactured home builder Clayton Homes. “If you’re buying new construction, it’s important to look for a home that’s built with energy-efficiency in mind during the home design stage. Those additional features will have a great impact on a home’s overall efficiency.”

As demand for greater energy efficiency has grown, the concept of more resourceful design has moved from the realm of luxury homes into the mainstream, Clayton notes. “You no longer have to buy a mansion to get an energy-smart, sustainable home. Manufactured homes are very energy-efficient and it’s easier to add energy saving features when the home is being constructed in a climate controlled environment.”

If you’re in the market for a new home, here are energy-efficient design features to look for:

Superior insulation

Insulation doesn’t just keep a home warm in the winter. It should also help keep it cooler in the summer, and help central air-conditioning units operate more efficiently. The R-Value of insulation tells you how well it will be able to resist heat transfer, and a higher R-Value means better heat resistance. To properly protect a home, builders may use a combination of insulation types, such as batt and blown insulations packed into ceiling, wall and floor cavities.

Low-E windows

Windows can be a significant source of heat transfer in a home, allowing heat to enter rooms in the summer and escape in winter. Low-emissive (Low-E) windows hinder heat transfer while still allowing daylight to pass through. Not only can Low-E windows help A/C units operate more efficiently, they can also prevent fading of fabrics, floor coverings and furniture from sunlight entering a home.

Air management

Air leaks can increase heating and cooling costs for a typical existing home in the United States by an average of 15 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A newly constructed home with properly sealed ductwork inside and tight airway leading outside can help reduce your energy bills.

Minimizing air leaks begins with tight construction in which all the joints where walls, floors and roofs come together are properly sealed. Weather stripping around doors and windows reduces air flow and prevents dust from entering. Inside, duct work should be properly sealed to prevent air leaks and condensation, and tested to ensure no leaks occur.

Water heating

The U.S. Energy Information Administration indicates that according to a 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, water heating can account for nearly 20 percent of a home’s total energy use. Modern, energy-efficient water heaters can heat the same amount of water as older models, while using less energy. If you’re having a home built for you, ask the builder about installing an energy-efficient water heater. Clayton Homes use water heaters with thicker side walls that have higher insulation values and are better at retaining heat.

Small, yet significant steps

Some steps that seem minor can actually add up to much greater energy efficiency long-term. For example, installing CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs rather than traditional incandescent bulbs wherever possible can help reduce electric bills. CFLs use less energy to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs, and can last much longer.

Programmable thermostats, like the ones Clayton includes standard in many of its manufactured homes, deliver improved comfort and can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs. Reducing temperature settings just seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can trim up to 10 percent off your utility bills, according to the Department of Energy. Programmable thermostats automate the process, so you can maintain a more comfortable temperature when needed and automatically change the setting when you’re asleep or away from home.

To learn about energy-efficient manufactured homes, visit www.claytonhomes.com.

Untitled-1Your Premier Texas Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Inspect 360 will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Texas City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Inspect 360, Lance Dunahoe prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers .

Call (972) 652-0360 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!


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The Value of a Good Home Inspector

The value of a good home inspector is far more important than what people actually think, most especially if you are out in the market to buy or sell a house.

The primary task of home inspectors is the assessment of the present condition of a house or real estate property, which is intended to make sure that a client is satisfied with a property for sale or one that is planned to be sold.

home inspector

Basically this process is conducted to ensure the protection and reliability of a house or property being bought or sold in the market, which ultimately redounds to the assurance of protection and safety to the client or customer.

The home inspection process is usually a thorough examination or assessment on the current condition of a house, which can be done to give either the home seller or prospective buyer whether there is a need to repair or upgrade a house.

The home inspection process can also be beneficial in determining if proper construction or repair standards have been observed.

Professional home inspectors are mostly and carefully trained, and in the case of most regions or states in the United States, most home inspectors need to have a license in order for them to carry out their tasks.

Ideally and a common practice in many states, a home inspection report is required as a pre-requisite before a home can either be bought or sold. A home inspector also has equipment used to assess structural integrity and longevity of most materials a house is made of, which is a key indicator whether the property being examined is indeed safe or livable.

After the examination, which usually takes several hours, even up to a number of days, depending on the size of the house, the home inspector then issues a report released to the client and regulating bodies, sometimes a local housing authority, for consumer protection and welfare.

In most cases, the inspection procedure involves the inspection of the home’s interior structure, water heating system, roof,basement, heating or cooling system, plumbing, exterior structure, electrical system and other aspects of the house.

This is where a home inspector can determine whether the building has faulty installation processes or fixtures that were undertaken, most especially improper or substandard building practices. This is also true with homes that require extensive repairs or remodeling, including general maintenance issues, including but not limited to fire and safety concerns.

Home owners or buyers usually hire a home inspection service prior to selling or buying their homes. A home inspector is then sent over to the property being considered and conducts a thorough examination of a home to inspect and examine for potential systems or components requiring attention, most especially when it deals with structural integrity or standard installation or fixture set-up.

After the examination process, the home owner receives a detailed report of the condition of the house the owner can then plan for needed repairs and upgrades.

There is no pass or fail rating during a home inspection process and it is also not a municipal or regulatory home inspection, that determines whether the local building code of a certain state or territory is complied with.

So by now you know the value of a good home inspector and how his professional services is not only focused on regulatory compliance, but is also a process to protect the buyer or seller from substandard or faulty construction practices.

Click the following link to learn about things to prepare for the home inspector.

Untitled-1Your Premier Texas Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Inspect 360 will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Texas City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Inspect 360, Lance Dunahoe prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers .

Call (972) 652-0360 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!


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Things to Prepare for the Home Inspector

home inspectorMany homeowners may not initially like the idea, but in truth and in fact it would be best to get to know the basic things to consider to prepare for home inspectors.

While some people consider home inspectors as portents of doom, realistically, they are actually your next best friends in ensuring you get the value for your money when investing in a home.

Many states in America observe federal legislation requiring house properties up for sale to go through a home inspection process conducted by a licensed professional home inspector or home inspection service.

It’s the state that usually requires the home seller to prepare a standard home owner’s property disclosure report on the current condition of the house.

So the best advise would be to not hide any perceived problem that you think may reveal some problems with the home set-up, fixture or need for repair.

Do take note that home inspectors are experts in their field of endeavor and they are the ones who could provide the best advise when it comes to solutions and alternatives to what they find could be a cause for concern. If a home inspector should advise to have your real estate agent represent you at the inspection always make sure to be as transparent and truthful as possible or if you must be present at the inspection, always make it a point answer questions that the inspector may ask honestly and truthfully.

This is primarily so that the home inspector will not become suspicious with the actual status or condition of the home that is being inspected. Never ever attempt to conceal or hide any defects that you are aware about and allow the inspector to take his or her time in inspecting the house. Avoid from asking too many questions regarding the condition of the home while in the process of the examination or arguing with the debating the inspector about comments or remarks you only get to overhear.

Allow the inspector to take the time to do the inspection and never prevent the inspector from asking to look at any area of the home as deemed necessary.

On average, a standard sized home usually takes about two hours for the home inspection. The bigger and more complex the home, the longer time it takes to go through the home inspection process.

Prior to the inspection process, make sure that all exterior doors are easily accessible, as well as all door locks are operable.

Another important area the inspector will want to make sure to go through would be the house’s electrical system and the inspector may need to remove the cover on the electric service panel to examine the electrical system, so be sure that the panel is accessible and that the cover easily removed. Every other area of the home must be made accessible, particularly the utility room areas. This is also not limited to access basement crawl spaces and attic crawl spaces.

If access to the attic crawl space is through a walk-in closet, the inspector will request for the closet door to be opened. Every home inspector understands that the examination process is an intrusion into the privacy of your home and will always conduct himself in the most professional and courteous decorum to make the experience as civil, decent and professional as possible.

So make sure to be aware of the things to consider to prepare for home inspectors to make the process a pleasant, rather than a troubling experience.

Click the following link to learn how to make your home inspector’s job easier.


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How to make your home inspector’s job easier

Buying PropertyIf you plan to have a home inspection for your home, whether for your personal satisfaction or if you are planning to offer your house in the market try to ponder on the things you can do to help out the home inspector.

The value of a good home inspector is far more important than what people actually think, our enemies who are out to get at you. Rather, home inspectors may turn out to your partner in ensuring you have a safe and secured home in tip top condition. The primary task of home inspectors is to determine the present condition of a house or real estate property, which is intended to make sure that a client is satisfied with a property for sale or one that is planned to be sold.

Basically this process is conducted to ensure the protection and reliability of a house or property prior to being bought or sold in the market.

The home inspection process is a thorough examination or assessment on the current condition of a house, which can be done to give the current status of a house either to the home seller or prospective buyer if there is a need to repair or upgrade a house or none at all.

The home inspection process can also be beneficial in determining if proper construction or repair standards have been observed.

Here are some pre-inspection preparations you can do to also help cut cost in terms of maintenance, as well as to allow the home inspector to have a good glimpse of the house for the examination process.

Firstly, you may begin by trimming trees and removing brush or other plant growth appearing from the house’s foundation, siding, roof and chimney. You can also clean out dirty gutters or debris from the roof, which will make the gutter structures more visible to the home inspector for scrutiny.

Also remove rotting wood that comes in contact with the house, since it can exacerbate stress areas in the house making the structure more vulnerable. Try to place caulk around exterior windows and wall penetrations, to prevent water from seeping in and absorb water, especially those made of wood, which could start causing decay for wooden materials in the house.

Also try to ensure that all plumbing fixtures are in proper working order and to also make sure that waterlines and plumbing system is in good condition.

Another simple thing that one can do, even women can do on their own, is to fix any falling mortar joints in brick or block. Test all smoke detectors to ensure they are in safe working condition and seal masonry walls in the basement.

Have clear access to the attic, crawl spaces, heating system, garage, and any other area that needs to be inspected as well as ensure that all doors and windows are in proper working condition, including repairing or replacing any missing or cracked window panes.

If the house is vacant, make sure the utilities are turned on and ready for inspection by the home inspector. There is indeed no fail or pass grade for the home inspection, but it will definitely give the owner an idea of the actual condition of the house.

Indeed, if one is just aware of how important a home inspection is one may need to know things you can do to help out the home inspector.

Click the following link to learn about home inspections 101.


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Design The Perfect Deck

Design The Perfect Deck: 5 Must-Ask Questions Before You Start

 

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A backyard should be enjoyed to its fullest extent. But all too often, homes lack enticing outdoor living areas. One way to give your outdoor space a retreat is to add a new deck. A well-designed deck can extend your living space, make your yard more functional and, best of all, provide a comfortable space for family and friends to enjoy the great outdoors.

If you’re ready to build a new deck and turn your backyard into your favorite “room” in the house, here are five must-ask questions to help you design the perfect addition.

  1. What do you want your deck to do?

A deck can boost the value of your yard, but only if it fits the way you live. So, before tackling a deck project, set aside time to think about how you plan to use your new space. Whether you’re designing a multi-level deck for entertaining or a small, peaceful getaway, a little forethought can go a long way to ensuring your deck suits your family’s lifestyle.

For example, if outdoor entertaining is what your deck is all about, an expansive deck with multiple level changes, handrails and furniture can streamline traffic flow and define areas for eating, socializing and relaxing. If a peaceful deck-escape is more your style, a free-standing deck tucked into some foliage in your backyard with a screening trellis and a water feature can create a perfectly restful retreat.

  1. How will you access your deck?

As you evaluate your deck’s function, keep transitions in mind. The easier your deck is to access, the more you’ll get out of it. Decks positioned near frequently used openings, such as the kitchen door, make it simple to travel from one area to the other and are perfect for entertaining. Additional pathway features, like decorative stones and ground lighting, can help guests transition smoothly between your deck and yard.

If you have a raised or multi-level deck, be sure to think about stairs and railings. While these features make it safe to move between your house and backyard, they can also add visual distinction to your deck. Curved stairs, decked out walkways, backlit risers and decorative glass panels can all showcase your creativity while guiding visitors through outdoor living spaces.

  1. Is your deck near water?

If you envision lounging waterside, now is the time to think about moisture-resistant decking. Decks near pools, hot tubs and lakes need to withstand frequent exposure to waves, splashing and, in some instances, full water submersion to stay beautiful for years to come.

While there are many decking materials from which to select, advanced products like ChoiceDek composite decking are a great choice for decks with water contact as they protect against moisture intrusion all the way to each board’s core. “The boards are so durable they can be installed on the ground, in the ground or underwater without voiding their 25-year warranty. They keep moisture at bay so homeowners don’t have to worry about their deck’s long-term beauty,” says Randy Gottleib, president of ChoiceDek composite decking.

  1. How do you want your deck to look?

To make sure your new addition is as big on looks as it is on function, spend time dreaming about how you want your deck to look. Whether you favor sleek, clean lines or more adventurous deck patterns, the secret to a beautiful backyard deck is to make sure it ties-in with your home’s architecture.

You can select from a wide array of decking color combinations that complement indoor flooring options, including popular greys and rich dark browns. Or, use contrasting colors to balance your home’s exterior color scheme. If you love the look of wood but don’t want to deal with all the upkeep, look for modern composites that mimic the appearance of traditional wood decking. Their realistic wood grains blend beautifully into the landscape, and complement many of today’s exterior siding options.

  1. Are you designing a curved deck?

If you’re still looking for a way to set your yard apart, consider incorporating curves into your deck design. Curves can add architectural interest by following the contours of your landscape, encircling hot tubs and pools, or contrasting the straight lines of your house.

Get creative, but don’t let materials limit your design. By following manufacturer instructions, you can shape contemporary materials like composite decking into stunning curves that will have neighbors commenting on your deck for years to come.

 

To Get The Most Comprehensive Home Inspection In the Dallas Area, Give Us A Call Today (972) 652-0360 or Click Here To Schedule Online Now!

 


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Planning To Age In Place?

 

Planning To Age In Place? Don’t Overlook The Need For Balanced Natural Light

 

Planning To Age In Place?

 

When homeowners think about improvements that can allow them to stay in their homes longer as they grow older, they may focus on things like grab bars in the bathroom or wider doorways to boost accessibility and safety. Yet they often overlook another critical type of improvement that addresses both those concerns, and directly affects seniors’ health – access to glare-free, balanced natural light.

Age-related changes in vision like cataracts or macular degeneration can mean you’ll require more quality light to see well. Yet artificial light can create glare or affect visual acuity. What’s more, simply adding more artificial lights could increase your electricity bill – at a point in your life where controlling expenses is more important than ever. Natural light can be the answer.

The benefits of natural light are well-documented. It allows people to see better in order to perform tasks, affects the body’s sleep rhythms, influences mood and perception, and facilitates important bodily processes, according to a report by the Center for Health Design. Bringing more natural light into the home can be especially beneficial for seniors who may not get out as much, have vision issues, have trouble regulating their sleep cycles or experience feelings of isolation and depression.

If you’re considering making home improvements to help you age in place more enjoyably, here are three ways to incorporate more natural light into your home redesign:

* Ditch the heavy drapes If your windows currently have thick, heavy drapes for privacy and insulation, consider replacing them with cordless blinds or even remote operated blinds – two styles that are friendly for people with dexterity issues. These easier-to-open blinds will allow you to maximize the amount of natural light that enters your home through windows, and removing heavy-looking drapes will brighten up the interior decor.

* Install skylightsNatural light from above can be a great way to enhance your ability to see well, improve your mood, and encourage your body to produce more vitamin D. Installing Energy Star-qualified solar-powered fresh-air skylights allows you to provide balanced natural light and passive ventilation to any space, including bathrooms (where privacy is a concern) and kitchens (where visual acuity is critical for everyday tasks). Skylight manufacturer Velux America makes their products especially friendly for seniors by providing programmable remote-controls to open and close their fresh-air skylights, as well as their light-controlling solar-powered blinds, which are available in designer colors and patterns to brighten your decor while increasing skylight energy efficiency.

And when downsizing, seniors can use skylights to make a smaller room feel larger. Sara and Frank Mansbach, homeowners in Greenville, South Carolina, downsized when they approached retirement age and utilized skylights in their new home. “I read a lot and am on the computer a lot,” Mrs. Mansbach says, “and it isn’t until eight at night that we ever turn on any lights because the light is just there for us to use. And on those winter days when it’s cold outside, it’s cheerful in here. The light comes in and the warmth comes in and it brightens your spirits.”.

What’s more, whether you are installing new skylights or replacing older glass or plastic bubble skylights, the latest solar powered models, and solar powered blinds, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit as are installation costs. Visit www.whyskylights.com to learn more.

* Enhance light with color Paint is always one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to improve a home’s interior – and repainting in lighter, more vision-friendly colors and textures can help maximize the value of the natural light that enters a room. Choose bright, pleasing colors in paint textures that minimize glare, which can make it difficult for aging eyes to see well. Pay attention to the Light Reflectance Value (LVR) of the paint you’re considering – this number provided by paint manufacturers on sample chips and labels tells you how much light the color reflects vs. absorbs. Seniors should aim for paints in the LVR mid-range of 40-60.

Many home improvements can make it possible to age in place while enjoying your home well into retirement. Increasing balanced natural lighting is an important improvement that not only affects the livability of your home, but your physical and mental wellbeing, too.

To Get The Most Comprehensive Home Inspection In the Dallas Area, Give Us A Call Today (972) 652-0360 or Click Here To Schedule Online Now!

Untitled-1 Your Premier Texas Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Inspect 360 will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Texas City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Inspect 360, Lance Dunahoe prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers .

Call (972) 652-0360 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!


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Retaining Walls

 

 

5 Ways To Improve Your Outdoor Space With Retaining Walls

 

Retaining Walls

When you picture a retaining wall, do you imagine it holding back dirt? That’s the most common use for retaining walls – to address elevation changes and prevent erosion. But concrete segmental retaining wall (SRW) units are multi-purpose landscaping tools with many more uses.

Site planners, engineers, landscape architects, designers, developers and builders have long relied on SRWs to manage sloping properties, provide more usable space, or create stadium seating. Homeowners, too, have discovered retaining walls can be used to create functional outdoor features, says Scott Arnold, manager of Villa Landscapes in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Because segmental retaining walls are both durable and beautiful, landscapers and homeowners can use them to create outdoor seating, raised patios and other features,” says Arnold. “They are the perfect building block to create grill islands, outdoor kitchens and so much more.”.

Most SRWs are easy to install, which is an important consideration for both landscape professionals and do-it-yourselfers, Arnold said. With retaining wall systems, homeowners and landscapers can create freestanding walls, seat walls, columns, stairs, planters and other features without the need for special units.

Stunning seating.

While commercial installers often use SRW units for amphitheater and stadium seating, retaining walls can also be used to create beautiful and durable outdoor seating on a smaller scale, from freestanding walls that double as seating, to two-tiered seat walls. VERSA-LOK SRWs can be used to easily create a curved “couch” seating area that works well as a solution around a patio and fire pit for fall evenings.

Ditch the deck.

Raised patios built with retaining wall units are a low maintenance option to replace aging wooden decks that require continual maintenance. Villa Landscapes designed a raised deck replacement in Minnesota with SRWs from ground level to 42-inches tall to support a paving stone patio. Stairs also built with SRWs connect the patio to the home and yard.

The result was a beautiful, spacious and low-maintenance patio with the added advantage of a clear view of the backyard. Willow Creek Paving Stones pavers were used for the patio, surrounded with a contrasting course of river rock that serves as a visual and physical boundary as well as a space for potted plants.

Create curb appeal.

Where the yard meets the driveway, retaining walls can be installed as a barrier to protect the lawn from damage caused by tire tracks, plowing or deicing. A tiered arrangement that addresses a slope in the yard adds space for plants and shrubs. Freestanding walls are often built along property lines on corner lots to prevent unwanted traffic from cutting across the yard.

Columns created using retaining wall units can be paired with any style home, from classic to contemporary, to add curb appeal. When the front entryway is freshened up with seat walls and other features, the space functions like an old-fashioned porch for visiting and other outdoor activities.

A place for plants.

Tree rings and planters built with retaining wall units create a tidy solution around hard-to-maintain areas, such as shallow-rooted trees and other problem spots. Planters and tree rings can function as usable space for perennials, annuals, vegetables and herbs. SRWs such as VERSA-LOK can be used to create planter walls up to 4-feet tall without the need for geogrid reinforcement. VERSA-Green, a plantable wall system that mimics a hanging garden, provides a stunning living wall solution.

Build a backyard.

A homeowner in Apple Valley, Minnesota, nicknamed her unmowable back yard “Billy Goat Hill” because there was no yard space and no safe way to access her garden and fire pit at the top. Plus, erosion was a continual problem.

Devine Design Landscapes of Rosemount, Minnesota, solved the problem by excavating for a small back yard and creating tiers of retaining walls with offset stairs, patio landings and seat walls. The result was a small, usable backyard space with safe access to the hilltop and ample planting space for perennials.

“With VERSA-LOK, I could use the same block to build the retaining walls, steps and seat walls,” says Paul Devine, owner of Devine Design Landscapes. “The pinned system provides a high ratio of weight per square foot of wall face plus extreme flexibility in design. Back-locking lip walls are not as structurally sound as a pinned system, and hollow blocks do not provide the stability required for large tiered walls.”.

To Get The Most Comprehensive Home Inspection In the Dallas Area, Give Us A Call Today (972) 652-0360 or Click Here To Schedule Online Now!

Untitled-1 Your Premier Texas Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Inspect 360 will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Texas City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Inspect 360, Lance Dunahoe prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers .

Call (972) 652-0360 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!


  • -

Home Entertainment Space

 

From Modest To Magnificent: Create An Entertainment Space For Any Home

Home Entertainment SpaceEntertaining at home? Whatever you’re planning – big bash or intimate soirée, cheery beer fest or elegant wine tasting – an inviting and accessible built-in bar featuring handsome hardwood cabinetry can help transform mundane household space into the life of the party. And once the festivities are over, all the accouterments such as glasses and silverware, not to mention wine, liquor and mixers, can be stored in those cabinets, either displayed behind glass or hidden by solid wood doors.

“Today, the term ‘built-in bar’ covers a variety of possible set ups,” says Linda Jovanovich, of the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com.

At its simplest, a bar may occupy the end of a kitchen island – nothing more than a short length of dedicated countertop above a neat grid of cubbyholes to store wine and a small fridge to cool it when necessary. Slightly more ambitious bars comprise a niche or doorless closet fitted with wood shelves and cabinets, a countertop and perhaps a faucet and sink. Then there are more imposing affairs, the modern equivalent of a traditional butler’s pantry, fully plumbed stations where not only drinks, but also finger foods and hors d’oeuvres can be prepared and served. Finally, there are dedicated sit-down bars. Complete with stools, behind-counter serving space, and semi-professional equipment, these pull-up-a-chair facilities have special requirements that take them beyond our present consideration.

“Many houses and apartments have a closet or unused space that can easily be converted into an attractive and useful built-in bar,” says Laura Bohn, a New York-based interior designer who has done this for several clients over the years. “If you live in a house with stairs, the space beneath them is often an ideal place to install a small, modestly equipped drinks center. It should be able to accommodate enough countertop to prepare cocktails, enough storage for a liquor cabinet, and maybe enough room for a fridge or wine cooler.” A sink is not an absolute necessity, but if the small space you requisition is near a kitchen, powder room, laundry or bathroom, you may be able to make use of the existing plumbing and create a true wet bar.

As Bohn notes, one advantage of using such confined spaces for built-in bars is that they can be closed off when not in use, so that a commandeered closet looks just like a closet, an appropriated staircase just like a staircase. “But a well-designed, well-crafted hardwood mini-bar needn’t be hidden,” she adds. “Made of walnut, cherry or some other distinctive wood – my favorite is maple – it can be an integral and pleasing a part of the décor.”

Of course, larger butler’s pantry-style built-in bars cannot be hidden. Ideally, they are located discreetly in transitional spaces between kitchens and adjacent dining or living rooms. But in today’s more open-plan houses, such built-in bars, often dubbed buffets, are likely to be in either the kitchen or living area itself – wall-spanning installations that are on full public view and should therefore look as elegant as pieces of fine hardwood furniture.

“Walnut is very popular right now for this type of bar,” says Christine Donner, a kitchen designer in New Canaan, Connecticut. “It is an elegant wood and its cool tones complement the white-and-silver palette that my clients currently favor. It can be bleached to a lighter tone, left natural, or stained much darker, almost all the way to black. Limed oak, bleached to a lovely honey-blonde color, has a marvelous midcentury-modern feel that is slowly catching on, too.”

For Donner, functionality is as important as aesthetics. “Wine connoisseurs often have an extensive collection of varietal-specific glasses that they want displayed, so I get asked a lot for glass-fronted cabinets with interior lighting,” she says. “Much of this stemware is oversize or extra tall, so I make sure the shelves can accommodate their height. And I always include solid-door cabinets to stow motley collections of assorted liquor bottles.” Fine hardwood cabinetry can also be used to conceal icemakers, refrigerators, bottle-cooling drawers, dishwashers and other unsightly appliances and equipment.

“A small bar sink is also very useful,” Donner continues. “Less for the water coming out of the spout than as a place to dump out old drinks or melted ice.” Loading up your built-in bar with such practical, laborsaving features will free you up to enjoy your own party to the fullest. And that, surely, is the point of the exercise. Visit www.HardwoodInfo.com to learn more about cabinetry for built-in bars and other products made from American hardwoods.

To Get The Most Comprehensive Home Inspection In the Dallas Area, Give Us A Call Today (972) 652-0360 or Click Here To Schedule Online Now!

Untitled-1 Your Premier Texas Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Inspect 360 will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Texas City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Inspect 360, Lance Dunahoe prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers .

Call (972) 652-0360 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!


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