Choosing the Right Siding for Your Home

 

Thinking of replacing the siding on your house, but uncertain what material to use? Here’s the pros and cons to consider.  

 

Vinyl- Vinyl siding is cheap and durable and most commonly chosen for those reasons. It resists hail and denting but can warp in intense heat. Vinyl needs replaced about every twenty years.  

 

Brick- Durable and classic, brick is still a beautiful choice for a home. Installation can be expensive, depending on how much square footage you have to cover. But brick is sturdy and will last about the lifetime of the home.  

 

Aluminum- Also cheap and durable, aluminum siding is similar to vinyl with a few key differences. It dents more than vinyl but can be repainted and doesn’t warp. With proper care it can last over thirty years.  

 

Wood—Wood siding offers endless creativity and natural beauty, especially as it is unique to each house. But wood also requires a lot of maintenance. Every two years it will need scraped, sanded and repainted. Traditional siding looks classic and beautiful. With proper care, wood siding can last over a hundred years.  

 

Stone veneer- Similar to brick, stone veneer is perfect for a luxury home. While extremely durable, it can be very expensive, both in materials and to install.  

 

Stucco- Made of cement, sand, lime and water, this is solid and seamless. Stucco exteriors are a great insulator and as such is most commonly chosen in areas of extreme heat. Can last up to fifty years.  

 

Hardie Board- A cement fiber board that combines the durability of a stucco and the look of shingles or siding.  

 

Should You Hire Someone? While it’s possible to do it yourself, it might not be worth the hassle if you’ve never done it before. Siding is finnicky, and any mistakes will be noticeable and/or costly. It won’t matter how nice the siding product you’ve chosen will be, if it’s incorrectly installed, it will look cheap and could leak and cause costly repairs. Plus, with a professional contractor, you’re siding product will retain its warranty if anything happens.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

Troubleshooting Your Water Heater

 

Is home ownership easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Here are some common problems that come up with water heaters.

 

“My water is rusty.” If the water only turns rusty when you are running hot water, your water heater may be rusting inside the tank. If your water is rusty whether you are running hot or cold water, the problem is likely in galvanized pipes that are rusting. Commonly the tank itself hasn’t begun rusting, but the anode rod is going bad and will sacrifice itself before corroding through the tank. You can have a professional replace the anode, screwed into the top of the tank. But for a temporary solution to rusty hot water, you can clean out your water heater. Drain some of the water, add hydrogen peroxide to the tank and allow the water and peroxide to sit. Then flush the water heater until the water runs clear. The peroxide chemically reacts with the rust to loosen the corrosion and allow it to be rinsed out, prolonging the life of your water heater. But I recommend allowing a licensed plumber to do this for you. Feel free to contact me for a recommendation.

 

“My water heater is making weird noises.” If your water heater is starting to sound like a scary monster in your basement, a la Home Alone, you may rightly begin side-eyeing it. As water heats up the sediment on the bottom is hardened after a long time of heating and reheating. It’s this hard sediment layer expanding from reheating that makes a noise. This may mean leaks are soon to follow as the sediment leads to more brittle metal.  

 

“There’s no visible leak, but it’s damp around the water heater.” First, double check your fittings and connections. Are they damp or do they show signs of a possible leak? Make sure the pressure overflow pipe isn’t leaking as well. But if those are all dry, it means the water heater is leaking. The leak may be so small as to avoid obvious detection. As the metal heats and expands, it can create tiny holes in brittle metal that are only open when it’s expanded from heat. As it cools, the holes will close.  

 

“My water heater just looks old, when should I replace it?” Water heaters older than ten years should be watched closely (or you should start saving for the replacement, if your tank is in a place where it won’t cause any damage). You can determine the age of your water heater by looking at the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker. The first letter indicates the month (A-Jan, B-Feb, C-Mar, D-April, E-May, F-June, H-July, I-August, J-September, K-October, L-November, M- December). The next two digits represent the year. If in doubt, check the manufacturer’s website.

 

Feel free to reach out if you have any other concerns with your water heater that weren’t mentioned above. I’d love to help!

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

How to Pick the Right Flooring

 

Go to any flooring store and it’s easy to be overwhelmed with options for your home. What might be worse is having a specific idea of what you want and finding it might be the wrong fit for the area of your home you’d like to put it in. Read on for a rundown of the types of flooring and where they are best suited in your home.   

 

Hardwood—Hardwood is the most popular choice these days, with nearly endless options, and a classic choice that is nearly always in style. In high traffic areas such as kitchens or entry’s it’s best to go with a durable hardwood such as oak. But if you’re looking at covering something like the bedrooms, you could consider a cheaper, softer alternative such as pine. Whatever you chose, you will need to be mindful of dents and scratches and expect to refinish the floors every ten years or so to keep them looking fresh.  

 

Carpet—Classic and comfortable, carpet is still a great inexpensive choice for places like bedrooms where comfort is valued over everything. Just whatever you do, don’t put carpet in the bathroom (this was a trend back in the day!).  

 

Concrete—Concrete can actually be a great option for homes, especially in high traffic wet areas such as laundry rooms, entries, basements, or large rooms off a pool area. Glazed concrete has a beautiful, rich sheen and can be installed with tile scores to resemble large tile or left as a solid, unbroken piece. It’s a modern, relatively inexpensive, and long-lasting choice.  

 

Laminate—These days laminate is not the roll of yellowing vinyl you remember from your grandmother’s kitchen. This solid, cheap workhorse, has been reborn. Laminate now comes in wood-like and tile options and can be a cheap, nice looking alternative to wood, especially in high traffic or water prone areas such as bathrooms and mudrooms.  

 

Tile—Another versatile option for your floors. Tile comes in a wide range of options, from economical choices like ceramic to luxury options like granite, and everything in between. Tile is easy to clean and maintain and provides a durable, long lasting floor. It can potentially be a DIY project, but if you have any doubt or a large project it’s best to hire an experience professional.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

7 Things To Do Before Listing Your House

 

As soon as you know you’re moving, it’s hard to look around your current home and want to do anything but future house search with a bag of chips. But paying attention to your current home can pay dividends when it comes to getting the price you want. These are seven suggestions for improving the value of your home.

 

1. Change the lighting—Each room should be well lit. A good rule of thumb is three points of light per room. For example: an overhead light, a table lamp and a task light. For inexpensive lighting options, try Target and Ikea.
2. Clear Clutter—If there’s only one thing you can do to improve the look of your home, it’s this. Now is the time to clear everything from your surfaces including books, clothes from packed closets, and everything personal from your bathroom.
3. Deep Clean—hire a company or do it yourself, but a deep clean of your home will go a long way for showing it at it’s best.
4. Speaking of the Bathroom—Replace any missing tiles, fix the caulk on the tub and sink, consider swapping out fixtures if they are dated and bringing an otherwise neutral bathroom down. Add new towels and a neutral shower curtain for finishing touches.
5. Address the Floors—No, not refinishing—but a simple clean and buff can do wonders for hardwood. If you have carpet, get them professionally steam cleaned.
6. Paint—Nothing beats the freshness of a fresh coat of soft white paint and it’s an easy way to make a house feel new.
7. Upgrade the Kitchen—Don’t worry, you can make kitchen upgrades without remolding. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and peel and stick wall tiles can all transform a space without costing a fortune in time or money. If you’re feeling more ambitious, there are options for resurfacing your countertops or upgrading your appliances.

 

Whatever you do, start with an honest talk with a real estate agent—who can help you focus your priorities for selling a home in your area.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

Hidden Costs of Home Buying

 

Buying a house can feel a bit like a game of whack-a-mole—hit one thing down and another pops up. Here are four costs you might not anticipate in the home buying process.

 

1. The Inspection: It’s easy to remember the inspection is a hurdle to buying a home, but we often forget it’s also a financial hurdle. An inspection can cost a few hundred dollars, and doesn’t guarantee the house will pass inspection, so keep that in mind and be prepared.

2. Bringing cash to the table: Closing costs are expected, but what isn’t anticipated is how much extra cash you might need to bring to the closing table. Some lenders require you to pay a year’s taxes and mortgage upfront. And if the seller paid any expenses, you’ll be required to pay back a pro-rated amount.

3. The move: Whether you plan to move yourself or hire someone, moving can carry loads of additional costs. If hiring movers, make sure you get quotes from a few companies and ask for referrals from friends.

4. Immediate costs: It’s important to budget for the immediate costs of home ownership like changing locks, utility fees, as well as the unanticipated expenses in the first year of owning your home.

 

Set aside some savings now and you won’t have to rely on your credit card through these unanticipated expenses. The same does not apply to your next game of whack-a-mole.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21