LANDSCAPE DESIGN TIPS BEFORE YOU SELL YOUR HOME 

MD Real Estate Blog

When selling your home, you have one chance to make an impression on prospective buyers, and your property’s exterior always comes first. It is the first part of your property that buyers first see whenever they come to view your house, and they can jump to a conclusion based on what they see on the outside. Furthermore, the landscape is as important as the interiors since more buyers now value the enriching experience the outdoors brings. Here are some trendy solutions to help you boost your landscape before you sell your home.

Spruce up what already exists

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your exteriors to attract prospective homebuyers. The most important thing is to spruce up your landscape to look fresh and appealing. Start by removing clutter in your garden and the blown-in winds trapped in the corners. Clean the garden, concrete coatings, and trim the bushes and plants to ensure it looks clean. An immaculate garden is more open, spacious, and feels good to be in.

Upgrade your fence

The fence is part of your landscape, one of the notable things. If you have an old fence, try to spruce it up before putting your home on the market. It is as simple as applying a new coat of paint or brushing it out. If there is dirt clinging onto the fence, you can pressure wash it to cover the small details. Alternatively, you can add some climbing plants to conceal some unsightly marks.

Ensure your lawn is in good shape

According to real estate agents in Denver, CO, your lawn can turn off a potential home buyer the first time they set foot at the gate. Some even decide not to view the interiors because of a nasty-looking lawn. Therefore ensuring your lawn is in good shape goes a long way in attracting buyers. Mow your lawn regularly and take care of the weeds. When prospective homebuyers see a yard in pristine condition, they will be motivated because they know it is easier to maintain it.

Plant some flowers

A landscape in full bloom is a surefire way to impress any prospective homebuyer taking a tour around your property. Therefore introducing a few flowers here and there should be on your list. Luckily you don’t have to grow the flowers from scratch. You can buy some ready-made pots and hanging baskets of flowers that you can place on strategic spots in your garden. There are easy-to-grow plants like succulents if you are not green-fingered.

Add an outdoor structure.

An outdoor structure is such a huge selling point for a property, and it provides extra space for storage, entertainment, or living space, depending on the nature of the structure. There are many options for introducing an outdoor structure to your property, from an outdoor patio to log cabins.

Final words

A house sale can be a time-consuming affair, and you may receive many house viewers before you get a buyer. Therefore try as much as you can to maintain an appealing landscape, and you shouldn’t have much of a problem attracting the right buyers.

HOW WILL HIGHER INTEREST RATES IMPACT HOME SALES? 

In the real estate industry, mortgage lenders, both government-backed and privatized, compete for homebuyers which impacts the monthly interest rates on a mortgage. According to history and research, the average interest rates on 30year fixed mortgages remained low from 2013 to 2021 but have started to increase in 2022. As the mortgage rates remained bottomed up over the last few years, the housing market has been competitive, and home prices have skyrocketed.

Rising mortgage rates shouldn’t be a cause for worry, and understanding the concept can ease the worry of all housing market participants, from accounting CPAs, real estate agents to home buyers. Let’s look at how higher interest rates impact home sales and different market participants.

How rising interest rates affect the homebuyer

In the housing market, the concept is that rising interest rates make buying and selling a home challenging and vice versa. From a home buyer’s perspective, homes become more expensive when the interest rates increase, especially for first-timers.

Suppose you wanted a 4% interest rate on a 30year fixed mortgage for a property worth $400,000. In that case, your monthly mortgage payment would be $1900. However, it would increase to $2138 if the mortgage interest rate is at 5%. Therefore a slight 1% mortgage interest reduces your purchasing power by a whopping $45,000, making homes less affordable for you.

How rising interest rates affect the home seller

Increasing mortgage rates is a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. Since it makes homes less affordable, that leads to fewer buyers in the market affecting home sellers.

Suppose the real estate agents Richmond, VA want to sell a property at $400,000; they can list the home. However, due to increasing interest rates, the few potential buyers in the market can only afford the property at $335,000. In that case, they would have to sell the property for a lower price than expected. Although they would still make profits on the sale, it depends on how well they play in the market because the 1% mortgage increase diminishes the property value by $45000.

High mortgage rates cut both ways.

The increasing mortgage rates affect both home buyers and sellers, and with lower housing demand, there is less upward pressure on prices. According to research, property value and mortgage interests are highly correlated, but the economy’s health is a large determinant.

If the economy proliferates, then high mortgage rates will not impact property value and prices. This is because a strong economy also allows employers to increase salaries helping homebuyers to compensate for the increased mortgage rates. Therefore as long as the economy grows and wages rise, high mortgage rates will not paralyze the market.

On the other hand, there will be fewer real estate transactions because of tighter lending standards. That means rental properties will rise in demand because more people who cannot afford homes with higher interest rates need them.

The botton line

When mortgage rates increase, it is more costly for consumers to buy homes. Consequently, there is less demand in the housing market, which results in a slump in the industry, and sellers have to reduce their prices to attract customers.

Party Buses and When You Should Use Them

What better way to meet your new neighbors or bond with exisitng ones than scheduling an all day event with them. If you do, getting a party bus can help make the party experience even better. According to Bradon Gaille, there are over 108,000 chauffeured vehicle services in the U.S. Here are some events that party buses work out best at.

What Is a Party Bus?

If you’ve never been on a party bus before, you may be wondering what all the hype is about. When it comes to party buses, they give you the experience of a party all while not having to worry about driving to your destination. A typical party bus is equipped with everything you need to have a great time. This ranges from iced drinks to a full sound system. This means that while you may have a destination in mind, there are tons of options in terms of where your night ends up going. While getting to your destination may be the goal, you can change your course at any time. This means you can party all night while on the move or go somewhere you didn’t expect at all. Here are some events where a party bus makes perfect sense.

Wedding

The first choice is one where the best of times can be had on a party bus. For anyone getting married, this is the day that you want to remember forever. While getting to your venue can be a boring trip, make it exciting with party buses. You and your guests can enjoy a nice relaxing ride to the venue all while not having to worry about how they’ll be getting home at the end of the night. This means being able to take full advantage of catering and the open bar all night. While party buses are centered around the party, this is also a way to responsibly make sure that the people you love and care for get home safely. Weddings are something no one wants to forget, so make it an easy night to remember by renting a party bus.

Bachelor Party or Bridesmaid Party

While a wedding has a set amount of time when you need to be at a certain location, a bachelor party is a bit more open to interpretation. This type of party for many people getting married is their last night of freedom. This is a night where you’re supposed to let loose and have a good time. When party buses are involved, the possibilities are endless. One of the best things about a party is spontaneity. With a party bus, your night can go in many different directions no matter what you’re trying to get into.

Wine Tours

Another amazing event that party buses are useful for is a wine tour. Wine tours can be taken with a variety of different people, including family and friends, coworkers, or even total strangers. Once you set out on this adventure, the goal is to stop at certain points to try out different types of wines. A party bus does a great job of keeping things lively between each winery. This also makes it so that every person on the tour can enjoy all the wine they want without having to worry about how they’ll drive home.

Birthday Party

Every birthday you have should be a special one, so why not make it even more specials with a party bus? When it comes to party buses, they’ll have everything you’ll need for a night out. You can also have a cake ready on the bus for when it’s time to blow out the candles. Of course, it’s not a good idea to have a flame in a moving vehicle, but once you’re pulled over at a beautiful spot, all of your loved ones can sing happy birthday! Party buses are great surprises to plan for other people’s birthdays, as well.

Corporate Events

While the idea of a party bus might seem wild and crazy, it can also have its calm moments. While it may seem out of the ordinary, party buses can be excellent for corporate events. Usually, employees at a company live in different places. This can require them to travel a far distance for something like a holiday party. Instead of making your carpool commute boring, why not have some fun in a party bus. The bus will serve the purpose of getting you from point A to point B while giving you time to get to know your coworkers a little better. Some of your greatest relationships can be formed while at work, and a party bus is a perfect place to get to know people. A party bus can also accommodate a lot of people so even if you’re a bigger company, a party bus is a great transport option.

Concerts

For some people, a concert is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch your idols. Some people also travel a long distance just to see their favorite artist. No matter where you’re coming from, a party bus can be utilized to get you from where you’re staying to the actual venue. This has many pros that go along with it. First of all, the concert won’t open its doors until close to an hour before the actual performance. If you’re in a city you know nothing about, you could be waiting a long time for something to happen. If you hire a party bus, you can stay in the parking lot of the venue until it’s time to get in. This ensures that you’ll be the first one in while being in a comfortable place. Another benefit of going with a party bus is that you can utilize the party buses speaker system to blast your favorite music before seeing it played live. This is a great way to get ready for a show you’ve waited a long time to see. The last really great thing about party buses when it comes to concerts is that if you’re hungry after the show, a party bus driver will know just the right places to go to after the show.

DJ Set

If you’re a DJ trying to get your music out there, a great way to display your music to interested parties is to do it on party buses. While most people dread having to sit in a room and listen to the entirety of your album, a party bus is a great way to ease the tension in the room. While drinks are flowing, you can have your music playing in the background. This allows you to chat with some of the important people around you while displaying your talents.

Prom

For many people, prom is an unforgettable event. It represents a transition from ending your teens to becoming an adult. Every teen wants to remember their prom night as something magical and spectacular, so why not utilize a limo service? While there is a difference between party buses and a limo, the idea is the same. You want to travel to your special event in style, so make it amazing with a party bus. You can have all your friends in the party bus blasting your favorite music. Doing this can be enough to stand out to some of your classmates and make the most of a night you’ll never forget.

Conventions

While every event you go to may not be a party, a party bus is still a great way to unite people who have a similar passion. When you go to a convention, the idea is that you’re hanging out with people who all like the same thing you do. You can bring some things to the party bus to accommodate what you’re trying to do. For instance, if you’re going to a dungeons and dragons convention, you may want to set up a small board in the bus to play a short campaign in anticipation of the event. You can also utilize the speaker system to play some epic music that’s on theme.

Karaoke Night

Sometimes you can get sick of singing in your basement. While some people may know that you have a great voice, you may want to share it with the world. One interesting party idea that you and your friends can have is a mobile karaoke night. This means that you’re going to be putting on a show on wheels. As you’re singing your favorite songs, you can invite people to join you on the party bus. This is a great way to meet new people. This can also help you get out of your shell for one night. As you’re singing your way through the city, you and your friends will have a blast.

Kid’s Day

While a party bus may seem like it’s only for adults, kids can enjoy some of the fun, too. If you and other parents are looking for a way to take all of your kids out to a fun event, do it with a party bus. It’s a great way to keep your children entertained while they’re on the way to whatever event you’ve scheduled. This can be a trip to the museum or even a trip to a park you’ve never gone to before. Either way, party buses have the capacity to be able to handle a good amount of kids and their parents.

While in your party bus, there are a ton of different things you can do to keep yourself entertained. Here are some fun things you can do on party buses to keep the party going with you and your guests.

A Themed Party

The first thing you can do is have a theme for your party. No matter what the theme is, this is a way to keep things surprising. If you’re doing a murder mystery theme, it can be fun to try to guess who “murdered” who on the bus. You can also go with the old standards, such as toga parties and decade themes. This keeps the party light.

Truth or Dare

Nearly everyone took part in truth or dare while growing up. The game was usually played in a circle in the middle of a room. On a party bus, the game completely evolves. Instead of being stuck in a room, the dares can go as far as you can travel. You can go running through a random restaurant or scream at the top of your lungs for the whole city to hear. While party buses do bring the party to wherever you’re going, it’s up to you and your friends to make the most of the experience.

Now that you know you want a party bus, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when actually renting the bus. The first thing to remember is that you want to stay within your budget. Party buses come in many different shapes and sizes and most companies can accommodate your needs. When utilizing limo services, you also want to have a good idea of how many people you’re going to have at your party. You don’t want to overwhelm the party bus with people, so it’s good to cap off your party at a manageable amount of guests. The other thing to keep in mind is if there are any rules to drinking on the bus. Some bus companies may put a cap on how much you can drink on the bus, so it’s important to know if you can bring your own alcohol and if there are any types of alcohol that are prohibited.

If you’d like to rent a party bus for your special event, why not give us a call? Here at RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, we take pride in being able to offer our guests a fully catered experience, no matter what the party is. We have a wide array of vehicles for you to choose from and party buses are only a small portion of the field we work in. We offer rates by the day and by the hour, so we can be flexible with whatever you need. Give us a call today to see how we can help you with your party or events transportation.

3 Reasons to Hire a Concrete Floor Coating Company

Concrete floor coating is a growing market. Not only has the industry evolved in the last few decades, but it has also become more and more popular as products show how well they hold up to wear and tear. Although there are a number of do-it-yourself products on the market today, hiring a professional concrete floor coating company will get you the best results.

It is worth addressing the difference between a specialized concrete coating company and a general construction contractor. As their titles suggest, a general contractor has the skills and experience to complete many different projects. However, a concrete coating company will have the best understanding and comprehensive knowledge of this specialized process.

If you are considering floor coating for a commercial space, going with a company that performs this work regularly is going to guarantee the work is done correctly. Here are a few of the key reasons you should contract a floor coating company for your space.

1. Professional Opinions

Choosing a company that specializes in coating concrete floors means that you are not only hiring skilled labor, but you are also accessing industry insiders. Because floor coating professionals work with coating mediums every day, they will know what products you need to guarantee your space will reach its full potential.

Professional Perspective

Different industries have different needs. The same goes for the space you are having coated. Depending on your needs and the square footage of your commercial space, the recommendations of your contractor may vary. There are so many different products on the market at all levels of the floor coating process. Trying to tackle this task on your own will not only be overwhelming, but the margin for error can be huge.

Unlike a retail store that is trying to make a sale on an expensive product, a concrete floor coating company is going to have the intention of providing you with a superior finished job. Professionals in the flooring industry generate new leads for themselves by performing their best and displaying superior craftsmanship.

Industry Insight

There are a number of environments that utilize coated concrete floors. They include veterinary offices, healthcare facilities, automotive garages, schools, manufacturing facilities, aviation hangars, athletic facilities, retail spaces, and even, more recently, cannabis cultivation and grow rooms. Depending on what type of area you need to have coated, there might be a number of possibilities for your project.

A concrete floor coating company with experience will be able to offer you insight on what has — and maybe even has not — worked in your field. For instance, if you are renovating a space for a new kennel operation, a contractor will be able to give you the best rundown of the materials being used and guarantee the safety of your furry clientele. Moreover, you want to make sure that the coating will hold up against a lot of human foot traffic, as well as the abrasion that comes with animal claws.

A professional coating company will be able to grant you peace of mind. They may even be able to offer you examples of wear-tested facilities in your industry.

2. Professional Tools

To put it plainly, professionals do it better. A concrete coating company has already invested in the materials necessary to perfect its craft. Their staff members have also had ample practice using said materials and tools. Instead of attempting trial and error as a novice, trust an expert to do the job well.

Floor Coating Equipment

Floor coating equipment does not come cheap. This is especially true if you only intend to do the job once. A professional company has already tried different tools and equipment and has been able to determine which ones work the best for the products and processes used by its contractors. Instead of pouring your money into expensive equipment, you do not really need, hire a professional.

Moreover, some equipment can require a team of experts in order for it to be used correctly. Save yourself the stress of trying to figure out the best way to use floor coating tools and hire a coating company to do the work for you. You will get peace of mind and a professional finish.

Many people believe that concrete coating is done with epoxy, but this is really not the best product for the job. Most wear tests show that epoxy coatings can become brittle in as few as 12 months. This means more work in the long run and it calls into question whether or not this type of coating is safe for your commercial space. In truth, most concrete contractors will utilize a polyaspartic coating, which offers better concrete adhesion and has a much longer lifespan than basic epoxy.

Make sure that, regardless of who coats your floors, you are asking appropriate questions to ensure that you can care for and properly maintain the finished product. For example, a leading product in the coating industry is SPARTICOAT brand coatings, which offer superior results. Their product range is also wide enough to fulfill the needs of both commercial and residential spaces.

Expert Finish

Similar to their skill with the requisite equipment, a concrete floor coating company has had enough experience completing work to finish their jobs with a seamless and stunning look. Just like any other skill, floor coating can be complex despite how easy it may appear. Not only is can it be challenging to get great results, but it can also be complicated to understand how the different steps contribute to the finished product and how different materials should be utilized.

An expert finish on your concrete floors is even more important if your space is going to be used for processes that involve chemicals or a large crew. If done incorrectly, a spill or too much traffic can cause imperfections in the coating’s surface. Furthermore, it is possible that, if improperly sealed, the chemical makeup of the floor coating could have an adverse effect when combined with chemicals or other liquids used in your business.

3. Floor Longevity

The best way to ensure that your concrete floors are coated properly and efficiently is to hire a company that specializes in this type of work. Not only will you get a professional opinion and a professional finish, but you are also investing in a long-term flooring solution. When completed correctly, concrete coatings can last for decades.

Warranties

In the event that your floor starts to show premature wear and tear, there is a greater likelihood for an efficient solution when you have an established relationship with a professional. Even the biggest experts in concrete coatings have experienced situations where a floor does not hold up as it should. Many companies offer warranties on their work. What’s more, they may even work with products that have their own warranties, too.

Before hiring a company, make sure you understand their policies about repairs and what their warranty policy is. There is certainly no warranty when you have completed the job yourself. Having the work contracted out means that you are giving your space the best chance at holding up long-term, and guaranteeing the safest possible environment for your staff and clients.

Safety

Perhaps the most important reason to hire a concrete coating company instead of trying to do the work yourself — or even just using a contractor who does not specialize in floor coatings — is the safety of yourself, your employees, and anyone else who makes use of your newly coated space. Although there are sure to be plenty of safety measures put in place for your unique purposes, there is no substitute for structural soundness and material safety.

As we have mentioned before, there are a number of industries where the actual makeup of the flooring can have an impact on whether or not the floor is safe for your work. When you are working with animals, chemicals, or heavy machinery, there are different materials and techniques that need to be employed in order to meet the safety standards of that particular industry. A professional coating contractor should be well-versed in all of these areas and will know what they need and how to accomplish the results you require.

Safety is no joking matter. The National Floor Safety Institute reports that slips on slick floors are the cause of 85% of workers’ compensation claims. A concrete coating contractor will know the ins and outs of how to guarantee the safety and longevity of your floors. Do not take any risks when it comes to safety, especially when working on an already slick surface like finished concrete.

Not only will a professional be able to utilize the best tool, techniques, and equipment for your flooring, they will also be able to advise you on other matters. This includes flooring upkeep — such as cleaning methods, cleaning solutions, and even cleaning schedules — that is compatible with the materials used on your floor. It also means that they will be able to suggest furnishings and solutions for slippage and comfort. Think of compatible rubber mats and floor-based equipment support. Having this advice, in addition to having properly coated floors, can mean all the difference for your employees’ safety and the overall safety compliance of your facility.

Repairing or replacing flooring can be a major hassle when you have already set up equipment, established a work schedule, and have actively been in business. When you have to schedule work to be done on your floors themselves, that means that everything will need to be moved and your staff will need to stay off of the surface. Avoid having to make plans for this kind of work by making sure your concrete floors are coated correctly the first time.

Certainly, upkeep and recoating will be necessary at some point down the line, but by hiring a concrete floor coating company, you can guarantee that this accommodation will only happen when it is absolutely necessary. With a professional opinion, these regular checks and repairs are something that you can anticipate and plan for well in advance. Furthermore, specialty products and expertise can afford you greater flexibility in the way you are able to utilize your newly coated floor space.

Considering all of the benefits you get from choosing to work with a professional, it seems irresponsible and unnecessary to attempt doing concrete coating work on your own. An established company will have the best knowledge, perspective, equipment, and skill to ensure that you are satisfied and your employees are safe. There really is no other advisable option than to hire someone who you can trust.

Trust Collins Concrete Coatings With All of Your Flooring Needs

If you are in the Ashburn, VA area, consider Collins Concrete Coatings for your floor coating project. Collins was established as a family business in 2015 and has quickly grown into a nationally competitive expert in the concrete coating industry. Don’t trust your flooring work to be completed by just anyone. Collins will have your back.

Due to our experience and expertise, Collins works almost exclusively with SPARTICOTE brand materials, offering a high-performance finish that’s suitable for a number of commercial facilities. Not only does our team at Collins ensure the health and safety of the crew while designing and installing your flooring solution, but our methods will also ensure that your staff is healthy and safe for as long as you are working on their expertly finished surface.

If you are on the fence about hiring a concrete floor coating company, Collins can answer many of your questions and address any of your concerns. Furthermore, we have our own showroom where you can wear-test and visually examine our finished work. After hundreds of jobs, there really is no better choice than Collins Concrete Coatings if you are in our service area. If you want to learn more or would like to set up an estimate, call us today! We look forward to working with you.

The Complete Guide to Roof Replacement

As a homeowner, there are a handful of major projects you may have to tackle during the time you own your home. Some of them, like roof replacement, may feel overwhelming. Our complete guide will explain the process and help make the project feel more manageable.

Every day people come to the realization that they need roof repairs or replacement. One of the biggest challenges is that many roofing companies do not want to service repairs. They would prefer to replace the entire roof. It will be up to you to determine when an easy repair is warranted and when it’s time to go for the entire replacement. That’s where a company like St. Joseph’s Roofing comes into play. Whether you need just a bit of flashing repaired, or a full replacement, our experts will give you the confidence you need to make a good decision.

The following guide will help you on your journey in maintaining your most important asset.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

There are a few factors that impact a roof’s longevity, but the biggest variable in a roof’s life is the composition of the material being used.

The average roof, a 3-tab (builders grade) shingle, will typically last 10-20 years, depending on the environment and slope of the roof. If you have an architectural style shingle, you can expect the shingles to last ~30 years before you begin to breakdown to the point where you’ll experience some issues.

Because they are usually less expensive in comparison to other materials, asphalt shingles tend to be the most common roofing choice.

Wood shingles, such as cedar shake, are designed to last 25-30 years on average.

These shingles can be made of pressure treated cedar and perform best in colder climates. A wood shingle roof will not last as long in a hot, arid area. To get the most life out of a wood shingle or shake roof, you’ll need to perform some routine maintenance every five years or so to protect against mold, mildew, and other environmental factors that might affect the integrity of the wood. Keep in mind that cedar shake shingle color will fade within the first few years to a dull, pale grayish color.

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Synthetic or composite shingles (slate, shake) have a lifespan of 50-100 years according to the shingle manufacturers. Materials used to produce the tiles are combined with ultraviolet inhibitors to reduce sun damage which will determine the extent of its longevity.

Standing seam metal (aluminum) roofs typically last anywhere from 30-50 years depending on the gauge (or thickness) of the metal. Premium metals, such as steel, can have a life expectancy of 50-100 years.

Other types of roofing, such as metal, clay tile, or slate tile, have much longer lifespans. Slate tile can last up to 200 years with the proper care. While these options are more costly, they all hold up well to extreme temperatures and high winds and are less likely to incur weather-related damage.

Regardless of the material type, if you start to notice damaged or missing shingles or tiles, surface mold or mildew, or inside water damage from leaks, it could be time to replace your roof. Having a professional inspect your roof at the first sign of these issues is the best course of action to determine if your roof needs to be replaced or can be repaired.

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How Much Will a Roof Replacement Cost?

Like roof lifespan, the cost to replace a roof differs based on the type of material you choose to resurface your roof. Asphalt shingles are the most cost-effective option. For a typical 2000-square foot home, an average replacement cost is $500 per square. (Each square is based on a 10’ x 10’ surface area)

The cost to replace a metal roof can vary because there are several types of metal used to make roofing. Steel is the most common material for metal roofing and carries a national average cost of about $1,025 per square, however it is considerably higher in our region vs the national average. Metals like tin can cost as low as $800 per square, while copper is on the highest end of the price range and costs begin at $2,000 per square.

Standing seam metal (aluminum) is very popular in our region and the cost for a roof replacement begins around $1250 per square. The cost is also determined by the gauge of the metal; the thicker the gauge, the better the grade of metal, therefore the cost will be more expensive.

In addition, standing seam metal roofs can sometimes cost 20% to 30% more to install than metal shingles on more complex roofs. This is largely attributed to a more tedious labor necessary to install standing seam panels on a more complex roof with multiple dormers and valleys.

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Tile roofs tend to be the most expensive option for roof replacement, especially if additional framing work must be done to support the weight of the tile. The cost for a clay, concrete, or Spanish tile roof will begin at $1500 per square.

Slate tiles, which can last up to 100-200 years, cost anywhere from $2500 – $4300 per square depending on the type, style & location of the tile.

Slate tiles, which can last up anywhere from 100-200 years and can cost between $2500 – $4300 per square depending on the type, style & location of the tile.

Compared to other conventional roofing materials, synthetic slate roofing falls in the middle, being less expensive than real slate and clay tiles but more expensive than asphalt and architectural shingles.

In addition to the materials you select for your roof replacement, the pitch and size of the roof can alter the cost. Features like chimneys, skylights, and ventilation can change the amount of materials and labor needed in those areas. Your home’s location also contributes to replacement cost because the price of materials and labor can vary by geographical location, and local building codes may require permits or filing fees.

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When Should I Replace vs. Repair My Roof?

If discovered early enough, it may be possible to repair a roof issue rather than undertake a full replacement. A repair is a more cost effective and quicker option and when done correctly, can help extend the lifespan of your entire roof. However, if a roof repair is done poorly, it can speed up the deterioration of the roof and cost more in the long run. Repairing may also mask an underlying issue that is contributing to roof damage or leaking

When assessing whether to repair or replace, a roofing professional will consider the age of your roof. If your roof is newer and the damage is contained to one area, a repair may be the best option. If your roof is older or the damage is occurring over a widespread area, it may be in your best interest to opt for a full replacement.

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Will Homeowners Insurance Cover My Roof Replacement?

A typical homeowners insurance policy will cover repair or replacement of your roof if the damage is caused by a covered peril. Usually, this means the damage must be incidental or related to severe weather damage. Roof repair or replacement will not be covered by homeowners insurance if the damage is caused by normal wear-and-tear or neglect.

If the damage to your roof is covered under your policy, an insurance adjuster will come to your home to assess the damage and determine the coverage that is available. The adjuster will also consider the age and condition of the roof before the damage occurred.

If your roof is found to have been in disrepair prior to the damage, your insurance policy may not cover the repair, or the amount you receive may be drastically reduced. Roofs that are 20 or more years old typically have very little coverage, if any, available. If there is only a small amount of damage, such as a few loose or missing shingles, your claim could be denied on the basis that the damage is cosmetic.

Once the adjuster inspects the damage and approves the coverage, you may be asked to arrange estimates for the repair if you haven’t already done so. Some insurance companies may require you to choose a contractor from a pre-approved list. Other companies may ask you to get two or three estimates from contractors of your choosing.

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Once the contractor is selected and the work is underway, the repairs or replacement may be paid for in a few different ways. If you have not already paid the total bill directly, the insurance adjuster may write a check to the contractor for the amount they’ve agreed to cover. If you have already paid, the insurance company will write a check to reimburse you. In either instance, you will likely be responsible for the deductible on your policy, meaning you will need to pay usually $500 or $1,000 of the cost out of pocket.

Insurance will only cover roof repair or replacement with the same materials on the existing roof. If your roof is currently surfaced with asphalt shingles, your policy will only pay to replace the roof with similar materials. You will not be able to ask your insurance company to pay for a more expensive replacement material like metal or tile. In some instances, you may be able to work with your insurer and pay the difference out of pocket for a more expensive material replacement.

It is important to understand the coverages afforded by your policy. Be sure to review your coverage regularly and contact your insurance agent with any questions.

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How to Get a Roof Replacement Quote

Regardless of the material you ultimately choose for your roof replacement, getting an estimate from a reputable roofing contractor is the first step in the process. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends or family is a good place to start. If you can’t find personal any recommendations, a quick online search for “free roofing estimates” should provide you with the names of a few contractors in your area.

Once you have some contractor names, it is good to look for ratings and reviews. National sites like the Better Business Bureau can help you find ratings for business in your area. Similarly, sites like Home Advisor and Angi may have reviews from customers who have used contractors local to you.

Ask the Right Questions

When you’ve selected a contractor to call, there are some important questions to ask during your initial phone call. First, ask how long the contractor has been in business. Choosing a company that has been in business for several years may ease any concerns you may have about the quality of work. However, an older company isn’t necessarily better than a newer one.

Larger, more established contractors may subcontract out smaller jobs like residential roofs. Small, newer companies may have great references for their work and have lower pricing as they try to work into the market. Asking up front and having this information may help you make your final decision.

Next, ask the contractor if they are licensed and insured, and write down their license numbers. If a company is not licensed and insured, do not ask them to provide an estimate. Contractors who do not obtain the proper insurance and licensure are less likely to provide high-quality work. They do not typically stay in business long, which can cause problems for you if there are issues with the work in the future and you’re unable to contact them.

Finally, ask the contractor for two or three references from jobs they’ve recently completed in your area. Talking to other customers who have used the same contractor can give you a sense of the workmanship and service you can expect.

Get a Detailed, Written Estimate

When you’ve selected a contractor to call, there are some important questions to ask during your initial phone call. First, ask how long the contractor has been in business. Choosing a company that has been in business for several years may ease any concerns you may have about the quality of work. However, an older company isn’t necessarily better than a newer one.

Larger, more established contractors may subcontract out smaller jobs like residential roofs. Small, newer companies may have great references for their work and have lower pricing as they try to work into the market. Asking up front and having this information may help you make your final decision

Next, ask the contractor if they are licensed and insured, and write down their license numbers. If a company is not licensed and insured, do not ask them to provide an estimate. Contractors who do not obtain the proper insurance and licensure are less likely to provide high-quality work. They do not typically stay in business long, which can cause problems for you if there are issues with the work in the future and you’re unable to contact them.

Finally, ask the contractor for two or three references from jobs they’ve recently completed in your area. Talking to other customers who have used the same contractor can give you a sense of the workmanship and service you can expect.

Avoid Cash Deals and Storm Chasers

It is a huge red flag when a roofing contractor offers a discount for paying in cash. Contractors operating in cash could be trying to avoid paying taxes or carrying proper insurance for their employees. Also, paying in cash doesn’t leave a proper paper trail if there is a future dispute over the work.

If your roof needs replacing as a result of widespread weather damage from a hurricane or hailstorm, be on the lookout for storm chasing companies. These roofers usually show up in areas affected by catastrophic weather and offer unusually low prices. Often, the roofers will leave town without completing the job or will provide poor quality work.

Once most of the work is done in the local area, the roofer will move on to another area. If there is a problem with your roof in the future, these roofers are virtually impossible to track down. You are much better off using a local contractor who will be able to return if problems arise.

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How Long Will It Take for My New Roof to Be Installed?

Once you’ve entered a contract with a roofer, the process of replacing your roof can begin. Before the work starts, your contractor may have equipment and material delivered to your home. Talk with your contractor and agree on a location for materials and equipment to be placed to avoid any inconvenience or disagreement when they arrive.

The first step of the roof replacement is removing the existing roofing material. The roofers will strip off the shingles and other materials down to the wood boards. This allows them to check for any damage to the boards or other structures on the roof. Roof boards and flashing may be cracked or rotting, and covering over that damage will compromise the lifespan of your roof.

If any structural damage is discovered, they will replace the boards or flashing before moving to the next step. Before the main roofing material goes down, your roofers will install at least one layer of material known as decking. Decking is usually made of roofing felt, which is a natural or synthetic fibrous material with a thin coating of asphalt.

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Roofing felt helps reduce moisture buildup under shingles while allowing air flow to the wood materials below. In more leak-prone areas of your roof, the roofer may use an additional layer of underlayment for increased protection.

Once the decking and leak barrier are down, the roofers will begin installing the new shingles. This is the most time-consuming step in the process. During the shingle installation, the roofer will need to be very precise to ensure the shingle rows are laid completely straight and level. While a slight variance may be unnoticeable to the eye, misaligned shingles could lead to leakage issues.

After all the shingles are installed, the final step is the clean up. Roof replacement can be messy, so you will need to be patient with seeing materials in your yard throughout the process. Most contractors will clean up and remove any debris and excess materials, though it doesn’t hurt to confirm with them or ask for clean up as a line item in the estimate

The duration of the roof replacement will depend on a few factors like the size of the roof and amount of structural damage. As with determining the amount of materials needed, the size and pitch of your roof will determine how long it takes to replace. A simple roof on an average-size home can be replaced in as little as one or two days. A larger home with a more detailed pitch or roof structures may take as long as three to five days. If underlying structures need to be replaced, it could add an additional day to the job.

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How Do I Maintain My New Roof?

Once your new roof is installed, there are some steps you can take to prolong its lifespan. Most importantly, regularly check your roof for anything that might cause problems. Keeping the shingles clean and free of debris can help prevent algae and moss from forming on the surface and compromising the roof’s integrity. Regularly cleaning your gutters and trimming any overhanging
branches can help prevent future damage.

If you’ve used metal roofing, keep an eye out for signs of rust. If left untreated, rust spots can spread and lead to larger areas of damage. If caught early, rust damage can usually be removed, and the metal can be restored

Before your contractor leaves, be sure to get any additional instructions on recommended maintenance for your roofing materials, such as sealants. Also, be sure to understand what maintenance you’ll need to do for the specifications of your roof warranty. Ask for warranty in writing, and make sure you have all necessary contact information.

Get a Quote Today

With the right contractor, a roof replacement doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. St. Joseph’s Roofing is that right contractor. Contact us today to get your free estimate

Why Should I Have My Air Ducts Cleaned?

Let’s face it: People are dirty, dusty creatures. And while we love our dogs and other fury pet friends, pet hair and dander can up quickly. A typical six-room home can gather up to 40 pounds of dust each year. Forty pounds. And of that forty pounds of dust, imagine how much of it ends up in your lungs? I don’t know about you, but that’s something I’d rather not think about.

Instead, let’s consider a thorough air duct cleaning, its importance, and its benefits.

What is air duct cleaning?

Air duct cleaning refers to the cleaning of HVAC system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans, fan motor, and the air handling unit housing.

Air duct cleaning uses an advanced roto-bristol brush machine with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter and vacuum. A certified HVAC technician moves the machine through the duct area multiple times to remove dirt and debris. It is then best to perform a complete furnace and indoor coil cleaning to ensure all particulates have been removed.

Why should I have my air ducts cleaned?

Forty pounds of dust, that’s why.

In addition to dust, air ducts frequently contain harmful contaminants and micro-organisms. These include pet dander, bacteria, pollen, mildew, mold spores, and other toxins. Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system circulates the same air through your home a half-dozen times daily — air that has been shown to be as much as five times more polluted than the air outside.

“That’s what filters are for.” Right? Right, but only to an extent.

Filters rid the air of only ten percent of the most common air pollutants, leaving 90 percent to settle on surfaces, in lungs, and yes, in air ducts, too. Such pollutants include dust, pollen, pet dander, and even mold. We’re talking about mold. Mold that loves dark, moist environments; mold that can release spores and dangerous toxins into the air.

How does mold grow, and what problems can it cause?

If I were mold, an air duct would seem like a cozy incubator. Mold needs stable temperatures in which to grow; that’s the purpose of a furnace: Check. Mold needs a food source; ninety percent of dust and dirt sail through air filters, and make for a yummy dinner: Check. Mold needs moisture; it’ll find plenty of condensation in air ducts: Check, check, and triple check.

Live mold releases spores, and live mold spores are known to cause sometimes-severe allergy or asthma-related attacks. And worse, long-term exposure to mold can result in long-term chemical sensitivity and health issues.

Can dirty air ducts result in higher energy bills?

Yes. According to the US Department of Energy, 25% to 40% of that used to heat the average American home is wasted. Dust, pet dander, and mold find their way into your heating system, and thus cause it to work harder (and less efficiently) than it should.

How often should I have my air ducts cleaned?

Your heating system should be inspected by a certified HVAC technician (from Air Handlers OBX, of course) annually; your air ducts should be cleaned once every three to five years — or more often as needed.

About AirHandlers OBX

AirHandlers OBX are Outer Banks specialists in HVAC installation, service, and repair. Our technicians and support staff are residents of Dare County or Currituck County so they understand the unique challenges that homeowners and business owners face on the Outer Banks. We service residents from Hatteras Island to the Currituck mainland. We are the Outer Banks heating and cooling specialist. All AirHandlers OBX employees must past pre-employment screening including; drug test and criminal background check.

Reynolds Team Realty Spotlight

Ranked as one of the top teams in the DC Metro Area by the Wall Street Journal, Debbie, Sarah, and the entire Reynolds Team attribute their success to always putting their client’s needs first, above all else. This is something that many agents say, but Debbie and Sarah are on a mission to actually DO it by providing their clients several GUARANTEE programs that take the risk out of selling or buying a home.  They have become passionate about providing these guarantees, and at the same time making each client feel as though they are their only client. Debbie started the business in 1988 to provide extra income for the family.What started as extra income turned into a passion. Sarah joined her mom with this passion in 2006, and not only did the mother-daughter aspect bring them together, but so did the passion for their clients. They are a true family owned business! It’s been said that buying or selling a home is one of the most stressful things that anyone will go through in their lifetime. Debbie and Sarah understand this, and are passionate about providing an experience for their clients where we take ALL the stress away! They have always hired partners to join the team that share their core values! It hasn’t always been easy to find them, but they have found that it is worth the wait to find agents and team members that have the same care and passion that they do! It’s an amazing team! Conversion Pipeline is proud to provide a full suite of search engine optimization and online advertising solutions for The Reynolds Team. Contact The Reynolds Team for easy home buying solutions! The Reynolds Team also provides a full suite of Real Estate Services in the following markets: Atlanta GA Everyone loves Atlanta for different reasons—whether it’s for our enthusiasm over sports, our soul food, or the great outdoors, one thing we can agree on is that this is the place to be! If our recreational opportunities weren’t enough to convince you, unlike other cities, our endless real estate opportunities in the sprawling suburbs are known for being inexpensive. What’s not to love? Linde Moore of Linde & Associates has officially merged with The Reynolds Team and have taken on the new Team Name “The Linde& Sarah Group Atlanta GA,” powered by The Reynolds Team, and are ready to help you find the home of your dreams in Atlanta, Georgia! You may have seen or heard our famous taglines “Debbie Has The Buyers,” or “Your Home Sold Guaranteed Or Debbie And Sarah Will Buy It” on 1140 WRVA News Radio, Zillow.com, Realtor.com, or even, The Wall Street Journal! Our reputation spans far and wide, with many of our friends on these various platforms personally voguing for our services. By popular demand, we expanded our network into Richmond, Virginia, and have brought our commitment to top notch service with us. Those Guarantees we mentioned aren’t just taglines, though; they are REAL promises we have put into place to stand behind the service we promise, and thus, take away the risk of buying or selling a home. Richmond VA Our Expansion into Richmond, Virginia, was our first BIG leap into taking our network nationwide! That is to say, serving the Richmond, Virginia area paved the way for our West Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia expansions, as we learned how to successfully grow and manage a team from afar. We are now the fastest growing and most successful Keller Williams Team in Richmond! It’s safe to say that we have mastered the ins and outs of the diverse real estate opportunities in Richmond, VA, and are experts at navigating through the market. Our Team in Richmond LOVES the widespread art communities and historical ties the city has to the Civil War. Those that live here enjoy the street art (including over 100 mural installations), museums, and historical landmarks! VA Beach | Hampton Roads As seen or heard on WNIS 790 AM, 106.7 The Fan, 97.1 WASH-FM, 630 AM ESPN, Zillow.com, Realtor.com, and The Wall Street Journal, Sarah, Debbie, and The Reynolds Team in VA Beach | Hampton Roads live up to our reputation as specialists in the area. Many of our friends on these various platforms personally vouch for our services! With that being said, we attribute our success in VA Beach | Hampton Roads to our in-depth knowledge of the market. Our Team knows how highly-sought-after the real estate is in VA Beach | Hampton Roads. The Reynolds Team is dedicated to a level of service that goes above and beyond, which is why we provide various Guarantee Programs that take away the risk of buying or selling a home. We can help you take advantage of this market by selling your home for TOP DOLLAR and buying a new one for the right price! For a long time, we have wanted to serve the Virginia Beach area. To do so, we needed to partner with some fantastic people that aligned with our mission! And by popular demand, we are officially expanding our network into Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Sandbridge, and Williamsburg thanks to our partnership with Cristen Treu. We have brought our top-notch service, Guarantees, and compassion for our clients with us and are so excited to share this market with you! Denver, CO Gaye Ribble and The Ribble Group in Denver, Colorado, have officially joined forces with The Reynolds Team Network to bring the entire Front Range the incredible signature service and Guarantees we are known for! We love The Mile High City’s architecture and ambiance—it’s a unique place where urban sophistication meets outdoor adventures. We’re famous for our world-class cultural attractions, chef-driven dining, and red-hot music scene, all comfortably situated in the brimming Rocky Mountains. Our passionate and enthusiastic Denver, CO Realtor Partners are so excited to share this amazing community with you,and are ready to help you achieve your real estate dreams in Denver & The Entire Front Range!

The History of Glass Windows

Many of us are interested in restoring old windows. But how many of us know the fascinating journey of glass windows through time? Although most people don’t give it much thought, glass windows are one of the most essential parts of a home. They allow us to connect with the outside world visually. They brighten living and working spaces and enhance the beauty of not only the exterior of a building but also the inner space. Perhaps the greatest benefit of glass windows is their ability to improve the mood and well-being of their building occupants.

Glass is inorganic and can be molded into many shapes. It is usually transparent or opaque. Glass is created by applying high heat to sand or quartz until it is molten.  It makes an excellent medium for opening up spaces with light when used for partitions, doors or windows. As opposed to very early windows made of paper, glass windows repel water and protect a building’s interior during inclement weather.

In order to fully appreciate glass windows, you need to understand their history and how they came to be one of the most common elements of homes and buildings today.

The Invention of Glass Windows

Although glass was used in beads and vessels in the Late Bronze Age (around 1200 BC) in Egypt, it was not used for windows until the Roman Empire. These windows looked nothing like the flat, transparent windows we know today. The earliest kinds of windows were panes of shiny and glassy pebbles fitted into wooden frames. Very little light passed through these windows.

During the 1st century, glass blowing was invented. Air was blown into globs of molten glass to create a bubble, then a long cylinder. The cylinder end was cut off, one side was opened, and heated again to flattened it out. This glass had a very rough appearance and was not always transparent.

Glass Windows during the Dark Ages (5th – 15th centuries)

During the Dark Ages, most glass windows in buildings were replaced by wooden panels to keep out the cold. Despite the decline of window glass for architectural purposes, it began being used in European Catholic churches.  Metal oxides were added to molten glass and small pieces of colored glass were created. These small pieces were combined to make large windows. Often these colored panes included gorgeous illustrations.

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The first mouth-blown cylinder technique of making sheet glass for windows was developed in Germany during the 11th century. In 1226 this technique was brought to England. This new type of glass was called broad glass. In this process, molten glass was gathered on a blowpipe and blown to an elongated, balloon shape. The ends were then cut off, the cylinder split with shears while the glass was still hot, and then the cylinder flattened on an iron plate.

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Among the Glass-Workers, an 1871 engraving by Harry Fenn

Fortunately, as more people learned how to make thin, smooth panes of glass, windows became more common and affordable. The quality of the glass was poor, had many imperfections, and was fairly opaque. Manufacture of this type of window glass slowly decreased and ceased by the early 16th century.

Crown Glass Windows

During the Middle Ages, new methods allowed for the creation of flatter, smoother glass window panes. During the 14th century, French glassmakers perfected the process and further enhanced their techniques to create what is known as “crown glass”.

The creation of this historic type of glass window involved the following process:

  1. Blowing molten glass into a hollow globe
  2. Transferring the soft glass from the blowpipe onto a solid metal rod.
  3. Reheating and rapidly spinning a bowl-shaped glob of glass into a large, flat disk – “a crown”
  4. Cutting the large disk of glass into smaller pieces.
history of glass windows

Blowing and flattening the disk in the process of making crown glass (1)

Crown glass was more transparent and better quality than broad glass. However, this process created uneven thicknesses of glass, with the edges being much thinner than the center of the disk. Glassmakers set aside the thicker, center glass (called the bullseye) for less expensive windows. For projects that required a large quantity of high-quality glass, only small shapes could be cut from the outer edges to keep the glass of relatively consistent thicknesses.

From the Corning Museum of Glass (2)

Bullseye panes in a renovation project- Robert Silverwood (3)

This discovery of higher quality glass increased the popularity of glass windows in the mid-16th century. However, the intricate process of constructing flat, smooth glass was not widely known. This kept glass windows a luxury even for the very wealthy.

Cylinder Glass Windows in Late 1700’s and early 1800’s

Eventually, another method was developed in the late 1700s or early 1800s from which much larger panes could be made. That type of window glass was called “cylinder glass”. As more people learned how to make thin, smooth panes of glass from cylinders, windows became more common and affordable.

Cylinder glass begins in the same way as crown glass – by blowing glass into a hollow globe. The difference is that the glass is blown into a shape like a large, long bottle. Glassmakers then stood on a high, vertical platform and further blew the glass into a deep trench. That allowed them to create long cylinders of about one foot in diameter and five feet long. These cylinders were then cut along their length and reheated to flatten the glass.

From Corning Museum of Glass (2)

Man standing over trench blowing cylinder (1)

While some cylinder glass window panes were made in the U.S. after 1608, most glass windows in early America were shipped from England. 

Plate glass in the 17th century

Plate glass was invented in France in the 17th century.  It was the first method that did not involve hand blowing molten glass. Instead, it was pouring molten glass into an inclined plane, passing it through rollers, allowing it to cool slowly, and then grinding and polishing both sides.

Following the Industrial Revolution, glass windows became much more common in homes and other structures in America. In 1903, U.S. glassmakers developed the first mechanical method for drawing cylinders of window glass. The Machine Drawn Cylinder glass was the first mechanical method for doing this. 40 ft high cylinders of glass were drawn vertically from a circular tank, cooled slowly or annealed, and cut into 7-10 ft cylinders. These were then cut lengthways, reheated and flattened.

In 1913 Belgium produced the first Machine Flat Drawn Sheet glass. In this method the glass was drawn vertically in a flat sheet until it cooled sufficiently to allow the glass to be cut without breaking.

Float Glass

In the late 1950`s Sir Alastair Pilkington introduced the Float Glass Production Method by which 90% of flat glass is still manufactured today. In this method, a layer of molten glass is “floated” on to a bath of molten tin and produces fine quality glass with a mirror-like reflection and no wave or distortion. This was a major scientific and manufacturing achievement. It allowed for the mass production of glass window panes for doors, windows and partitions without the labor-intensive final processing previously required.

Why Bother to Save Antique Glass Windows?

Window glass prior to the 1950’s is considered historical or antique glass. Each type of this glass has a unique look and feel. Wavy glass and bullseye glass are the most common historical glass in the 19th and 20th centuries. These windows tell the history of a building. Restoring not replacing them maintains the historical look and integrity of an older building.

Eco-Strip recommends restoring antique windows as opposed to replacing them. Properly restored and weatherized old windows are proven in the field (not just in laboratories) to be as energy-efficient as modern, replacement windows. Replacement windows rarely are warrantied for more than 20 years; then they must be replaced again. For this reason, some window purists call them “disposable” windows. Stripped, repainted, reglazed/resealed, and weatherized windows need some maintenance over their lifetime. However, the total cost of restoration and maintenance for their 50+ year lifetime is a much smaller investment than multiple, full-window replacements over the same time period.

Eco-Strip’s Speedheater™ products enable quick and efficient paint and putty removal on old windows. Our Window Tool Kit comes equipped with 3 unique tools. In combination with either Speedheater™ 1100 Infrared Paint Remover or the Speedheater™ Cobra, window restoration can be done without damaging the window glass or delicate wood. Our Window Tools Kit includes:

  • Boomerang Scraper to strip the heated paint off the flat surfaces, narrow grooves and tight corners.
  • Chisel with Roller to smoothly and evenly remove large pieces of softened putty from fragile wood
  • Putty Scraper to loosen putty from the glass and from the wooden bed holding the glass pane

Eco-Strip Window Tools Kit

Please contact us for information about our products.

Sources:

https://eco-strip.com/why-restore-not-replace-your-old-windows-2/  Eco-Strip Blog

https://mikegigi.com/periodgl.htm Illustrations of historic glass creation; types of historic glass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXQMc0jsl2E 5 min. video of making contemporary, mouth-blown sheet glass

http://www.historyofglass.com/glass-history/ Ancient history of glass

http://londoncrownglass.com/Manufacturing.html History of types of glass replicated by a specialty company started in the early 19th century in UK

https://study.com/academy/lesson/types-of-glass-production-cylinder-crown.html

Footnotes:

  1. https://study.com/academy/lesson/types-of-glass-production-cylinder-crown.html
  2. https://home.cmog.org/
  3. https://www.peachridgeglass.com/2012/04/the-bulls-eye-glass-pane/

Easy Tips to Get Your Landscape Ready For Summer

Summer is right around the corner, which means now is the best possible time to get your yard ready for the warmest time of the year. Direct sunlight and scorching heat can take a toll on your home’s landscaping if your yard isn’t prepared. To help keep your yard in great shape all summer long, here are a few key tips you can use to get your landscaping ready.

Remove any dead plant material

If you haven’t yet removed the dead plant material around your lawn and garden that built up during the winter months, now is the time to do it. Dead or dying plants can block sunlight from your other flowers and grass, which can leave your landscaping look more tan than green once summer officially arrives. Rake up any dead plant matter in your yard and then use gardening gloves to pick away any other dead material that’s closer to your flowers. Don’t rake too close to your plants or too hard or you’ll risk damaging your lawn. Update your landscaping supplies such as rocks or gravel that may have been damaged during the winter months as well.

Mow your lawn (at the right height)

Many homeowners wait to cut their lawn until their grass has had enough time to recover from the winter season. Be sure that when the time comes to mow your lawn that you do it at the right height. It’s not recommended to cut your grass below 3 inches high during the summer months. The reason for this is because the longer your grass is the more water it retains. This is important because the summer sun can suck the water right out of your plants. Cutting your grass too short could leave you with splotchy grass and browning.

Water your lawn and garden during dry periods

Not all homeowners have sprinkler systems and that’s okay. However, if you rely too much on the summer rain to give your lawn and garden some water, you could end up with a yard that looks more like a matchstick. Be sure to keep your soil moist by watering your lawn during dry spells. Avoid using sprinkler systems and hoses too often and don’t place them near the trunks of your trees.

Don’t plant shrubs too close

If you’re looking to take your garden to the next level this season and add some more plants and shrubbery for extra definition, be sure not to plant your shrubs too close to each other. This goes for planting your shrubs too close to trees as well. Trees and shrubs need to be at least four to six feet apart from each other (kind of like social distancing for plants!). The reason for this is because these plants can end up fighting each other for nutrients in the soil, root space, and sunlight. If you plan to plant rows of shrubs and trees, give each plant 10 to 12 feet of space to ensure proper healthy growth. Strategically placed shrubs and trees will not only make your yard look great but they’ll also save you up to 25% on your energy bills.

Plant seasonal flowers

One of the best things about summer is seeing happy blooming flowers in your garden. A good mix of annuals and perennials can help to keep your garden looking great all the way up until the winter months. If you planted mums during the fall last year, now may be the time when you start to spot them blooming. For more summertime flowers, consider planting asters, black-eyed Susans, verbena, zinnia, hibiscus, lantana, and the class marigold. Marigolds, in particular, are a great summer plant because they’re incredibly cheerful and their blooms last anywhere from 45 to 50 days. Like mums, marigolds can be annuals or perennials and can add some fun vibrancy to your garden.

Looking for landscaping supplies this summer?

The summer season is the best time to get outdoors and soak up the sun. But if your yard isn’t in the best condition, it might damper the mood. Get the right landscaping supplies this season to keep your yard looking great! Gateway Home and Garden Center has a wide array of landscaping supplies you can use to take your yard to the next level including stone aggregates, annuals and perennials, and landscaping rocks. For more information about our different types of landscaping materials and supplies, contact us today.

Millennial market madness: How buyers in this generation are shaking up local housing trends

Millennial market madness: How buyers in this generation are shaking up local housing trends

April 6, 2021

Charlotte Business Journal, Laura Williams-Tracy

Millennials famously put off buying homes longer than previous generations and are now getting a rude welcome to the real estate market. Trading that trendy urban rental for a first home is bringing new buyers face to face with high prices and fierce competition.

Buyers between the ages of 25 and 40 are now the fastest-growing segment of homebuyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials now make up 38% of the home-buying population.

Sarah Airing and her fiancé, Garrett Ford, began looking at homes in October ahead of their May wedding. They encountered canceled home tours as sellers entertained multiple offers. Airing and Ford made offers on two houses only to lose out to higher bids.

On the third try, they landed a three-bedroom house with a renovated kitchen in east Charlotte.

“The third time, we were more aggressive,” Airing says. “We really loved this house we ended up with. We are saving money, and we have an investment now.”

In 2018, millennial homeownership was at a record low. The generation has waited longer than previous generations to set up households after graduating from college in the last recession and carrying $1.5 trillion in student debt.

Three years later, millennials still face financial challenges, but other factors weigh on their purchase decisions and are pushing them into the market, says Faith Triggs, an agent with Keller Williams SouthPark.

Covid-19 sent many home to work, creating the necessity for more space or the desire for less communal living. Young couples can trade two rents for one mortgage. In many cases, friends are becoming roommates with one paying rent to help make the mortgage.

Triggs says buyers are motivated by low interest rates and because they are already paying high rent.

“If you are paying $1,500 in rent for a small two-bedroom, and you can get a mortgage for $1,000 — you do the math. Why wouldn’t you do it?”

Other first-time buyers are relocating from larger markets, says Nick Hill, a Realtor with Allen Tate’s SouthPark office.

“I have had several clients and friends find out that their jobs are forever remote so they figure, why should I pay $4,000 in rent in New York City when I could have a three- or four-bedroom house here with a mortgage payment that’s half that,” Hill says.

Those with lower budgets are finding only fixer-uppers for less than $300,000. The average price point is $345,000.

“I have to help some understand that this is your first house, not your forever house,” Triggs says. “Let’s get you in your first house with 85% of what you want and then you leverage that to move up. We have to manage expectations so they see the long game.”

Hill says about a quarter of his millennial clients are not willing to compromise on location or reseidental construction amenities to get a new home and are choosing townhouses to stay closer to town.

About 70% of sales by Brookline Homes are to millennials, a growing percentage in the past year, says Andi Dirkschneider, Brookline Homes vice president.

Brookline has targeted Gaston County for construction as a way to keep its homes priced under $350,000. Dirkschneider says the builder has found affordable land there, and the commute into center city is shorter than from parts of Ballantyne.

Brookline is building in Belmont, Mount Holly and Cramerton and soon will begin in Gastonia with a 108-townhouse project called Beatty Woods. Homes will be priced in the low to mid-$200,000s. Brookline opened a model home in July and has already sold the first 70 homes. Other Brookline projects are in Huntersville and Concord.

About 85% of Brookline Homes are townhouses, though it has two projects coming up with single-family homes.

Dirkschneider, herself a millennial, says her conversations with her friend group helped Brookline determine what millennials want in their first homes.

Andi Dirkschneider, vice president of land acquisition and development at Brookline Homes, is pictured with townhomes at Beatty Woods in Belmont.
A look inside a model townhome by Brookline Homes at Beatty Woods in Belmont.

“We heard they were not finding what they wanted where they wanted to live,” Dirkschneider says. Luxury modern apartments set a high bar for amenities in new houses, Dirkschneider says, and Brookline aims to keep some of those amenities, such as dog parks, ample USB ports and smart locks that do not require a key in the door.

Dirkschneider says millennial buyers would quickly turn up their nose to laminate floors and carpet in the living room, so all Brookline homes have hardwood floors or engineered vinyl plank flooring.

Those features are part of the base package price, so buyers do not have to wonder how much the upgrades they want will cost.

“Buying a house is scary and a mortgage is intimidating,” Dirkschneider says. “We include features in the base price so there’s no sticker shock. The younger generation is so used to being able to price check anything.”

Bart Hopper, founder of Hopper Communities, develops townhouses at in-town locations such as lower South End, Wesley Heights and FreeMoreWest. Hopper says his buyers are generally younger people, singles or couples without children who want to stop renting but do not want to leave Charlotte’s amenities.

 “We are selling primarily to millennials. They want to be near all the action, the restaurants, the shopping, the workouts,” Hopper says. “Millennials who have kids are going out to the suburbs, going further to get more house.”

Hopper Communities townhouses are priced from the high $300,000s up to the mid-$600,000s. A popular seller among younger buyers are four-level townhouses that include a rooftop terrace at its Bryant Park Terraces development. Every community includes a dog park to satisfy millennial pet owners.

Hopper says he believes the Covid-19 pandemic pushed millennials to want to leave apartment living with shared elevators and common spaces and move to their own home with their own HVAC system.

“It makes them feel safe,” Hopper says. “We see a lot of single young women buying and getting out of apartments.”

Hopper says low interest rates and strong demand means he presells units well before construction begins. Bryant Park Terraces on West Morehead Street just went vertical, and 13 of the 52 units have sold.

The same demand exists for single-family homes. Hopper Communities recently rezoned and engineered 300 residential lots in Mooresville for major production builders.

“If you can get land under contract, rezoned and engineered and ready to go for the site work, there’s a feeding frenzy of builders interested,” Hopper says.

This article was originally posted in Charlotte Business Journal