Advantages of Installing a Solar Energy System

Posted on: February 3rd, 2017 by Lori Smith
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There is a big push globally for renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. Solar energy is a popular option as a clean and reliable source of energy. Here in Colorado, with 300 plus days of sunshine every year, it is growing in popularity as a way to save money and protect the environment.

There isn’t much maintenance involved with solar cells and they usually last for a long time. The initial cost is somewhat expensive, but once the system is in place, there aren’t many recurring expenses.

What type of criteria should you consider before installing a solar energy system? This post from Energy.gov provides the basic factors to examine:

Installing and Maintaining a Home Solar Electric System | Energy.gov

Making sure your home solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) system is sized, sited, installed, and maintained correctly is essential for solar panelmaximizing its energy performance. When installing a PV system, consider:

  • How much sun you have (solar resource)
  • How big the system needs to be to meet your electricity needs
  • Where the system will be located and how much room it needs (system siting)
  • Whether you want your system to be connected to the grid or not
  • What needs to be done to ensure that the system is safe.

Read the full post here:  Installing and Maintaining a Home Solar Electric System

The process for installing solar arrays isn’t something that most people would undertake on their own as there are a number of steps to completing the installation. Not only do you have to understand electrical components, but you are standing on the roof of home while doing the labor-intensive work.

I thought it was interesting that if all the solar panels are wired using a single inverter and something happens to one cell, then the full array is knocked out. Using micro-inverters for each panel prevents this from happening. The following video from This Old House explains the best installation method:

There are many advantages of installing a solar energy system, but as mentioned previously, it is a bit of an investment to get started. As of mid 2016, the average home in the U.S. consumed electricity at the rate of 1 kW per hour. Since there are approximately 730 hours in each month and the average price of a 1 KW of electricity at that time $0.10, then the typical cost would be approximately $73 for 730 kilowatts of electricity.

In early 2016, most people were paying $3 to $4 per watt to install solar panels, with the average being $3.57. How does that translate to overall cost of installation? This post from EnergySage.com gives more insight on how this amount relates to the size of the system:

What is the Average Cost of Solar Panels in the U.S.? | EnergySage.com

Average cost of solar panels based on system sizeSolar Panel Array

Knowing the average cost per watt is helpful, but what does $3.57/watt actually mean for you? The cost of installing solar on your home or business depends on how much electricity you want to generate – a bigger system will cost more, because you’ll need to buy more equipment and more labor will be needed to install it.

The average solar energy system size in the U.S is approximately 5 kilowatts (kW). Based on the average price of $3.57/watt, a 5kW system would cost $12,500 after tax credits. Below are some average 2015 quotes for other solar energy systems by size:

  • 6kW solar energy system cost: $15,000
  • 8kW solar energy system cost: $20,000
  • 10kW solar energy system cost: $25,000

Read the original post here:  What is the Average Cost of Solar Panels in the U.S.?

All in all, the benefits for adding a solar system to your home or business appear to be a win-win for the homeowner as well as the environment. Between wind and solar energy, the potential outlook is a substantial contribution to our country’s energy needs.

Safety Tips for Roofing That Everyone Should Follow

Posted on: January 20th, 2017 by Lori Smith
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Storm CloudsNo roofing material lasts forever. Every home or business owner has to deal with having their roof repaired at some point during their life. Many times it is minor issues that need to be tended to, but in the case of extreme weather like we occasionally have here in Colorado, you can potentially have your roof totaled. This is usually due to Mother Nature, such as a bad hail storm or strong winds that blow a tree onto your roof.

Roofs also need a regular inspection for signs of wear and tear. In all of these cases, it means someone is going to have to get up on your roof to examine the damages and do the repairs. With this type of elevation, there is always the risk you may get injured or even fall off. Therefore, it’s advisable to have a professional look at your roof.

No matter whether you are an amateur or an experienced roofer, or even if you are just hanging your Christmas lights, you need to follow these safety tips for roofing:

Wear Good Shoes

Clean your shoes of mud and dirt. Make sure your shoes are designed to grip roof surfaces. Rubber soled shoes are recommended, and clean shoes prevent you from slipping. You probably don’t want to see dirty footprints on your roof while you work on it, either.

You also need to clear the debris off of your roof, and this paragraph from DoItYourself.com stresses that point:

Clean It Up

Roof Safety

Image from Family Handyman

Before you get started on whatever job you’re undertaking on the roof, start by giving it a good sweep and cleaning it of any accumulated dirt and debris. While you’re working, you don’t want to have anything up there that could trip you, and you don’t want to inadvertently kneel on old nails or the like, either. In fact, the roof should regularly be swept clean.

Read more here:  Roof Safety: 6 Essential Safety Tips | DoItYourself.com

Utilize A Safety Harness and Toe Holds

If you are a roofing contractor, you know the importance of using safety harnesses. Even for a homeowner who wants to try their own repairs, a makeshift harness with ropes attached to something solid on the opposite side of the house could save your life.

Also, some sort of roof jack or toe hold can be a lifesaver. You can purchase them or make your own out of 2×4’s, but on a steep roof it gives your feet somewhere to grip and push against.

This video from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows a demonstration of how effective a harness can be:

Use the ladder carefully

To protect against electrocution due to contact with roof power lines, the ladder used for roofing houses should be made of fiberglass. A strong extension ladder that stretches at least 3 feet from the roof’s edge is also recommended.

Place the ladder on hard, flat ground, and make sure it doesn’t sway while you climb. Once you’re at the top, secure the ladder in place so that it’s easier for you to come down once you’re done with the job.

This post from Popular Mechanics tells it like it is as far as statistics with ladder safety:

Don’t Be an Idiot: How to Use Any Kind of Ladder Safely

You don’t need me to remind you that climbing ladders is potentially dangerous, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do: According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, about 250,000 Americans required medical treatment in 2012 for stool or ladder-related injuries. And a 16-year study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that 97 percent of ladder accidents happened at home.

How To Use Any Kind Of Ladder Safely | Popular Mechanics

Avoiding a wet or icy roof is another tip that seems obvious but is worth mentioning. It is wise to leave the more difficult repair jobs to professionals. For jobs that involve the repair and replacement of shingles or tiles, or the entire re-roof, it’s best to entrust the work to people experienced in roofing houses that have training and insurance.

Wood Shingles and Your Insurance

Posted on: January 14th, 2017 by Lori Smith
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There are many options when deciding on the type of roofing shingles you want for your home. Whether you are building a new home or need a re-roof job, you can opt for asphalt, wood, composite shingles as well as slate, concrete, and clay tiles. The main components to consider are:

  • Cost vs durability
  • The weight vs your existing roof frame
  • Your location
  • Slope of your roof
  • Style of your home
  • Local building codes and covenants

Some people fall in love with the look of cedar shake wood shingles, but there are drawbacks as well. This next post quotes the director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America:

Your Roof and Your Home Insurance | Bankrate.comWood Shingles

Because insurers have a vested interest in your roof, they price your home insurance accordingly, based on the soundness of its construction and what it will cost them to replace it. Note also that premium incentives and disincentives for roof types vary widely by company and location.

“If you live near a wildfire zone, you pay a lot if your roof is (made of) cedar shakes compared to asphalt shingles that are flame-retardant, or a metal roof that doesn’t burn,” says Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. “Some companies won’t even insure certain roof types, such as wood shakes, in high fire-risk areas.”

Read more: Your Roof and Your Home Insurance

Installing a cedar shingle roof is completely different from asphalt shingles. The following video provides step by step instructions and helpful tips for anyone who wants to roof their own home, or in this case a garden shed:

The other side of the story comes from a manufacturer of wood shingles that feels the option of cedar shake shingles is a premium choice with an upscale look that reflects its luxury product classification. Because of this, insurance companies tend to encourage alternate and less expensive options, limiting the selections for homeowners.

Watkins Sawmills provides the following advice when considering your roofing choices:

Watkins Sawmills Ltd: Shakes & ShinglesSawmill

Advice for Homeowners

Homeowners are advised to shop around for insurance quotes and pick one that is best suited for their long term needs. Keep in mind that one should be comfortable with the insurance agent handling the contract. Homeowners should ask for the appropriate impact resistance discount on their Certi-label cedar roofing products because the meet the same UL-2218 standards as other roofing product types. Homeowners needing assistance with understanding testing standards for specific product types should contact us directly.

The original post here:  Watkins Sawmills Ltd: Shakes & Shingles

I agree that the cedar roof shingles and siding provide an impressive exterior statement. There is some upkeep to manage such as regular staining or painting to keep the moisture away, power washing the shingles a couple times a year, and inspecting them for cracks and termites.

Whether To Rent or Own in Denver

Posted on: January 6th, 2017 by Lori Smith
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In the last few years, the housing market in Denver and all along the Front Range has been interesting, to say the least. The cost of buying and renting in Denver is included in the top 100 U.S. cities with highest median home values.  Deciding whether you want to invest in buying a home or rent a place depends on your family and job situation as well as your credit.

The following post from 7 News Denver with quotes from realtor Angela Smith sums up whether to rent or own in Denver:

In Denver’s tight housing market, does it make more sense to rent or buy?

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/money/consumer/in-denvers-tight-housing-market-does-it-make-more-sense-to-rent-or-buy

Image from The Denver Channel.com

With home ownership, you’re adding to your financial portfolio, Smith said, noting that the average homeowner has a net worth about 45 times greater than the average renter.

Not everyone can secure a mortgage on a home, however. Smith said renting might be a better option for people who don’t have credit or those who can’t get someone to cosign on a loan.

Renting can also be a better option for those who are new to the city and those who aren’t ready for a long-term investment.

Smith said now is a great time to buy, since interest rates are incredibly low – averaging between 3.5 and 4 percent on a 30-year mortgage.

In Denver’s tight housing market, does it make more sense to rent or buy? – 7NEWS Denver TheDenverChannel.com

If you do own a home in Denver and want to make some extra money, you can always consider offering it as a short term rental. This has become a fashionable trend with companies like Airbnb, a peer-to-peer online marketplace enabling people to list or rent short-term lodging in residential properties.

This practice has come under scrutiny by the City of Denver and other popular vacation destinations, where individuals providing this service are being required to become licensed and charge an excise tax. This video shows a condo that is being advertised for rent near Downtown Denver:

As of June 2016, the Denver City Council approved regulations for short term home renters, but many haven’t complied. So with the new year, they are threatening fines for vacation home owner who haven’t gotten their license and/or collected the required lodging tax.  Initially, a warning is issued, but there is potential for a $1000 fine.

How many have followed the rules? Only around 20%, but that is similar to other cities having the same issues. This article from The Denver Post explains more about the regulations:

Fines soon possible as Denver gears up to enforce short-term vacation rental rules – The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/2016/12/25/fines-denver-short-term-vacation-rental/

Image via The Denver Post

The new year will bring the first threat of fines under Denver’s new vacation rental rules, and there appear to be plenty of potential targets.

Six months into the city’s roll-out of short-term rental licensing, most people who rent rooms or homes on online services such as Airbnb and VRBO still have not gotten on board.

That’s not a surprise. San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and other cities similarly have struggled to get most hosts to start collecting lodging taxes and obtain a license or permit. Such lags often persist for years.

But next week, Denver licensing officials will begin holding out the threat of fines — topping out at $999 for repeated violations — though they say violations still will be met first with a warning.

The short-term rental regulations, approved by the City Council 9-2 in June, legalized the growing practice over some objections from neighborhood advocates who worried they could disrupt quiet blocks. The rules allow the rental of a primary residence for 30 days or less and require collection of the 10.75 percent lodger’s tax from guests.

Read the whole article here:  Fines soon possible as Denver gears up to enforce short-term vacation rental rules – The Denver Post

As a homeowner, I understand the idea that having a constant flow of different people staying in neighboring homes could be a problem. Non-residents wouldn’t feel the same about protecting their home turf as someone who is a permanent Denver resident. However, I think most people who have the money to travel aren’t normally going to raise havoc and disrupt the neighborhood.

 

Roofing Underlayment for Waterproofing

Posted on: December 30th, 2016 by Lori Smith
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An average roof lasts around 25 years depending on the type of roofing material you use. If you have an older home or live in an area with harsh weather, you are going to need to replace the shingles and underlayment at some point. It is a costly undertaking, so you want to be sure and call a reputable roofing contractor that uses proper materials to best manage your investment.

Everyone has to work within their own budget, but usually insurance will cover the majority of replacing your roof, especially if it is damaged by unpreventable reasons. You don’t want to have leaks that threaten the integrity of your structure, but you do have options for protecting your home.

After you have sheeted the roof deck, the next step is apply underlayment. This is a method for waterproofing your covering before you install shingles that traditionally came in rolls of what is referred to as felt or tar paper. There are also synthetic options that are more lightweight and stronger, but also more expensive.

This article provides a description of roofing underlayment for waterproofing:

Applying Underlayment – How to Install Shingles – Roofing. DIY Advice

http://www.diyadvice.com/diy/roofing/install-shingles/apply-underlayment/

Image from DIYadvice.com

Before applying roofing, cover the sheathing with roofing felt, also often called “tar paper.” Do not use felt as a temporary protection against rain: If it gets wet it will wrinkle, making it harder to shingle. If you need to temporarily protect a roof, cover it with plastic sheeting or a tarp.

Most local codes call for using 30-pound felt. Some roofers prefer to attach felt underlayment with 1-inch roofing nails or special nails with plastic washers, but most codes allow staples, which are easier to drive. For the lower portion of the roof — especially the part that overhangs the eaves and is susceptible to ice dams — it is a good idea to apply self-stick waterproof shingle underlayment (WSU), also called ice guard.

Original blog posted here:  Applying Underlayment – How to Install Shingles – Roofing. DIY Advice

Managing the moisture in your attic with ventilation is a big part controlling condensation which can lead to buckled or damaged roof sheathing. With synthetic breathable underlayment, there are some experts that feel it helps your attic breathe, but others feel it is unnecessary. This video boasts the benefits of breathable roofing underlayment:

What is the different in cost of synthetic vs felt underlayment? Synthetic is significantly higher in cost, but is said to hold up better as well as being easier to install. There are ways to check online reviews for felt vs synthetic, so do some research yourself before contacting a roofing contractor in your area. They will likely have a preference, but you are wise to educate yourself in case they are just trying to sell you higher priced materials.

This is a review from an online buying guide and review site to help make the decision easier:

REVIEW: Best Roof Underlayments – Roof Underlayment Reviews – Synthetic Underlayment vs Felt

http://www.galttech.com/research/household-DIY-tools/best-roof-underlayments.php

Image via galttech.com

The cost per square foot goes from $.10 up to about $.40. FelTex is the one that was recommended by my roofer, although we didn’t go with it. FelTex is a woven polypropylene fabric that features a waterproof backing. One roofer mentioned online that he couldn’t get the FelTex to take a chalk line.

Synthetic underlayments are good if you plan on leaving the roof with just roofing paper for a few months – not sure why you would do that. Also, they are perfect for homeowners who may not check their roofing shingles that often and need to know that the roofing paper can hold up when perhaps the shingles have failed.

The long term durability is not totally proven amongst roofers, eventhough the manufacturers assure us that they will last longer than the felt option. More videos and resources are here on our Roof Underlayment Resource Page.

Read the full post here:  REVIEW: Best Roof Underlayments – Roof Underlayment Reviews – Synthetic Underlayment vs Felt

 

Potential Problems with Heavy Rooftop Snow Loads

Posted on: December 24th, 2016 by Lori Smith
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Living in Colorado affords a wide array of issues for homeowners. In the summer, there are hail storms and extreme heat that can be tough on property. On the contrary, the winters can be intensely cold with the potential for blizzards and high winds. These factors combined can wreak havoc on the structure of your home or business, especially for the roof.

Since we just had the first official day of winter this week, I thought it would be fitting to discuss how to prevent the potential problems with heavy rooftop snow loads.  Depending on the type of roof, the weight of snow can induce a disaster, which is the last thing you need in really cold weather. For example, a metal or flat roof can’t sustain as much snow load but steeper pitched roof lets the snow slide off.

In this article from HeatTrak Homeowners Blog, they discuss some of the potential winter concerns for property owners:

5 Winter Roof Damage Issues Homeowners Need to Know

http://blogs.heattrak.com/residential/5-winter-roof-damage-issues-homeowners-need-to-know

Image from heattrak.com

4. Heavy Rooftop Snow Loads

Different roofs are designed to handle different weight loads, and if too much ice and snow accumulates on top of your house, the risk of roof collapse is very real. Wet snow is especially heavy, but large drifts of even lighter snow can exert significant pressures. Sometimes, poor roof drainage and/or poor construction can make the situation worse and lead to an over-stressed roof that begins to creak, leak, and cause ceiling sagging. This is a serious situation, so you should not delay in calling in the professionals when you see or hear the tell-tale signs.

5. Making Existing Problems Worse

Besides causing new problems, snow load and the freeze/thaw cycle can further loosen already unsecured roof flashing, dislodge shaky shingles, and pry open gutter seams where caulk has already broken. For this reason, it is a good idea to have a roof inspection and maintenance job done before the winter season begins.

Read more here:  5 Winter Roof Damage Issues Homeowners Need to Know

It is hard to estimate how much snow a roof can handle. It partly depends upon whether or not it is a newer home, as today’s codes are more stringent. Your best bet is to clear the snow with a snow rake before it builds up to the point where it stresses the structure of the building or before ice dams create cause water to back up and leak into the building.

This news clip provides an estimate of how deep the snow can get on your roof before causing problems. Keep in mind that the more moisture in the snow the heavier it is, so these depth measurements might not be as accurate:

If you really want to get an precise assessment for what your roof can handle, there are online snow load calculators. This snow load safety guide from FEMA is also good information to have. An architect engineer would be able to assist you in figuring out this information as well.

This article from had2know.com is somewhat technical, but it offers the method that snow load is calculated:

How to Compute Roof Snow Loads | Roof Snow Load Calculator

Roof snow loads are computed in pounds per square foot using the ground snow load as the basis for calculation. If you are building a roof on a residential or storage structure in a region that receives snowfall, then you must consider snow load when choosing the design and materials. If too much snow falls on a weak or poorly designed roof, the roof can collapse under the weight of the snow.

The steps below show how to estimate the snow load on a roof using the ground snow load, roof properties, and formulas based on national structural engineering codes.

Step 1: Finding the Ground Snow Load G
The ground snow load is measured in pounds per square foot (psf) over a typical patch of ground during a typical snow snow season. You can either measure it directly, or look it up in your state and local building codes.

Step 2: Finding the Exposure Factor E

Step 3: Finding the Thermal Factor TSanta Sleigh and Reindeer

Step 4: Finding the Roof Slope Factor R

Step 5: Putting It All Together
RSL = 0.7 * G * E * T * R

Read the full post here:  How to Compute Roof Snow Loads | Roof Snow Load Calculator

The real key is whether or not your roof can withstand snow along with reindeer pulling a sleigh loaded with toys. I’m not so sure it is included in the calculating method above, but you need to keep it in mind for the sake of Santa visiting your home tonight. Merry Christmas to all!

 

Pointers For Managing Your Own Shingle Repair

Posted on: December 16th, 2016 by Lori Smith
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Most people don’t want to tackle a complete shingling project on their own. However, if an asphalt shingle is just cracked or torn, you don’t necessarily have to replace it. This can be accomplished by applying a thick bead of roofing sealant under the crack and pressing it down until it seals.

If a small area of shingles blow off or are damaged, it is possible to manage the repairs yourself. A few things to consider are the pitch of the roof and if you are comfortable with ladders and heights. Also, having some tools of the trade will help to make a repair job go smoother, such as a pry bar made specifically for roofers.

There are some important tips to managing your own shingle repair that will make the job more successful and safe. One influential aspect is choosing a warmer day to do the repairs. The strip of tar on the top of the asphalt shingle is meant to help seal down overlapping shingles, but only works in warmer weather. More tips are provided in the following article from The Family Handyman:

Easy Shingle Repair | The Family Handyman

Shingle Repair

Image via The Family Handyman

Loosen the tabs under the broken shingle and the next two courses above it (Photo 1). Shingles are fastened with eight nails each—four at the center just above the tab slots and four through the shingle above it—and you have to lift up all the shingles that cover those nails to remove them.

After all the tabs are loose, push the flat bar up under the damaged shingle to each nail, centering the nail in the flat bar notch (Photo 2). To avoid ripping shingles, gently work the pry bar under both tabs as you push it up.

Pop out the nails by prying underneath the shingle instead of trying to dig the nail head out from the top of the shingle; that will wreck the shingle. Then push the shingle down from the nail head and pull out the nail. After removing the center row of nails on the damaged shingle, lift the undamaged shingles above it and remove the next row of nails. Then pull out the damaged shingle.

Slide the new shingle up into place. Nail the center row first, then the center row of the course above it, nailing 1/2 in. over from the old holes (Photo 3). Nail at the top of the slots between the tabs, just above the sealant strip.

Easy Shingle Repair | The Family Handyman

The professional roofer in this video goes through the complete process of how to replace a section of roof that has damaged shingles from high winds. He offers excellent tips all throughout the video and is very honest about how to avoid mistakes that many people make. The final part of the video shows how to manage the ridge cap, which can be somewhat tricky:

If you plan to get up on a roof for any reason, safety must come first. However, when you are undertaking a shingle repair project, there are some extra elements to consider. I personally know of someone who fell off a roof and is paralyzed, permanently in a wheelchair. Statistically, falls account for three-fourths of all fatalities in the roofing industry.

This article stresses ten imperative points for safety when doing roof maintenance and repairs:

10 DIY Roofing Repair Safety Tips | LGC Roofing Blog

http://lgcroofing.com/roofingblog/roof-maintenance/diy-roofing-safety-tips/

Image from lgcroofing.com

1. Select proper footwear.

2. Watch the weather.

3. Observe ladder safety.

4. Prepare supplies in advance.

5. Take your time, and work carefully.

6. Clean your work area before you begin a repair.

7. Install toe holds.

8. Always wear a safety harness and make certain it is tied to something sturdy.

9. Perhaps the most important roof safety guideline of all is to let someone know when you’ll be climbing on the roof.

10. Know when to call a professional.

10 DIY Roofing Repair Safety Tips | LGC Roofing Blog

The final tip is common sense. If you are uncomfortable in the situation, then you are going to be more apt to be nervous and make mistakes. When you are relaxed and calm, accidents are less likely to happen. Saving a little money isn’t worth the potential of a life-changing injury. If you can’t afford to hire the work done, see if your neighborhood has a organization that helps people with home repairs.

Ideas for Remodeling Your Bathroom

Posted on: December 9th, 2016 by Lori Smith
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When you want to upgrade your bathroom, there are a number of things you can do that won’t break the bank. However, if you are doing a major overhaul, it can cost quite a bit. Even though it is a small area, there are some big aspects that you have to consider. For example, changing the location of plumbing is not a simple task so you have to plan your layout around that.

Also, working in a small area is somewhat difficult because you have limited room to maneuver and it also makes design more interesting. Questions such as traffic flow and lighting are some of the elements to contemplate.

However, the first consideration is the cost, and this post from Houzz.com gives insight on how to get started:

15 Design Tips to Know Before Remodeling Your Bathroom

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/42379490/list/15-design-tips-to-know-before-remodeling-your-bathroom

Image from houzz.com

If you’re tackling a bathroom remodel project, having a working knowledge of what to expect and what to consider can make the difference between a months-long waking nightmare ending in a bathroom that you settle for or a near-pleasant experience resulting in the room of your dreams. Consider the following collection of tips from popular bathroom remodeling articles on Houzz your cheat sheet for finals week. You’ll be happy you prepared.

1. Know what a bathroom remodel costs. Before you begin any project, it’s important to put your expectations into perspective when it comes to how much money you’re willing to invest. The size of your bathroom, the quality of materials you want to include and whether you’re planning to do some of the labor yourself all can affect the cost of a remodel. Here’s a look at estimated costs for a basic, mid- to upper-range and deluxe bathroom remodel.

Read the rest of the tips here:  15 Design Tips to Know Before Remodeling Your Bathroom

If you want to do some ideas for remodeling your bathroom but can’t afford the expense, there are simple decorating concepts to change up your bathroom space. Depending on how creative you are, you might be surprised at how fun it can be to jazz up your decor. This video shows some great pointers that completely modify the look:

One idea to create better traffic flow in a small room is to install a corner sink. If you want something extremely simple, get a different shower curtain and rugs to accent some new wall hangings. This Pinterest board for bathroom remodeling ideas has tons of images to get your creative juices flowing.

This post from Forbes offers more tips for ways to make your bathroom more unique, especially if you are extremely limited on space:

12 Design Tips To Make A Small Bathroom Better

7. Skip the shower door. If your bathroom is about 5 feet wide, that’s just enough space to squeeze in a toilet and a 30- by 60-inch tub. With tight conditions such as these, consider a glass panel instead of a glass shower door. It will keep most of the water in the shower and will free up needed elbow room.bathroom design

Read the full post here:  12 Design Tips To Make A Small Bathroom Better

The smaller the space, the harder it is to make major changes. Hiring a professional building contractor to provide advice on options that will work and things that are out of the question might be helpful in the initial phase of planning. That way when you begin remodeling your bathroom, you won’t have any surprises.

 

When Will The Denver Housing Bubble Burst?

Posted on: December 3rd, 2016 by Lori Smith
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The housing market in the Denver metro area has steadily risen since around 2012. It is somewhat unique from other areas in the U.S., with the median home value in the Northeast raising by only 1.2%. There are multiple reasons that so many people are moving into the area, but you still have to wonder how long it can last.

This article from the Denver Business Journal provides some stats on the price increase in the metro Denver area:

Home resale price gains hold steady in metro Denver; national prices reach new high

http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2016/11/29/home-resale-price-gains-hold-steady-in-metro.html

Image via Denver Biz Journal

Denver’s yearly price increase in September was well ahead of the 5.5 percent national gain and the 5.1 percent average rise for 20 big cities that the Case-Shiller report tracks most closely.

Only two cities saw price growth greater than Denver’s across the year: Seattle (up 11 percent) and Portland (up 10.9 percent). Those cities and Denver have shown the highest year-over-year price increases among the 20 cities tracked by Case-Shiller for each of the last eight months.

Read more here:  Home resale price gains hold steady in metro Denver; national prices reach new high – Denver Business Journal

The downtown area in Denver is growing like crazy. Every old warehouse is being converted into residential or commercial space. Even a building that is dilapidated is bringing in a ridiculous price.

Some of the projects that are ongoing in downtown area are shown in this video:

Many of these construction projects were started in May 2016 but are still in the works. The amount of money being spent to build and/or upgrade is $2.5 billion, proving the demand for housing and office space is high. Is there an end in sight to this growth trend?

The Denver Post says that the development is showing signs of diminishing, but is it enough to cause the Denver housing bubble to burst:

$2.5 billion in downtown Denver construction underway or being planned – The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/2016/05/10/2-5-billion-in-downtown-denver-construction-underway-or-being-planned/

Image from The Denver Post

Downtown Denver’s development boom is showing little sign of slowing, with $2.47 billion in projects currently under construction or in the planning process.

Eighteen commercial, residential and civic projects were underway as of this month, and another 14 were being planned, according to the Downtown Denver Partnership’s annual State of Downtown Denver report released Tuesday.

Combined, the projects comprise some 1,230 new hotel rooms, 4,592 residential units and 2.77 million square feet of office space being added to Denver’s downtown core.

See the full post here:  $2.5 billion in downtown Denver construction underway or being planned – The Denver Post

In March of this year, News & World Report recognized Denver as the best city to live in America. In addition, Colorado is in the top 10 of the best states to make a living in 2016, according to the following graph by MoneyRates.com. You can imagine that these type of accolades are pushing the real estate market up and broadening the Denver housing bubble:

Best States to Make a Living

Image via MoneyRates.com

Some people say that Denver’s real estate boom isn’t a bubble, but others feel that there’s no doubt it is. It is such a beautiful place to live and work, so I’m not surprised a lot of people want to live in our progressive state. Eventually, though, with the mountains on one side and the plains on the other, you can probably guess which direction it will have to expand. The foothills are already crowded, so will the building head east?

Tips for Insulating Your Home

Posted on: November 26th, 2016 by Lori Smith
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One of the best ways to save some money when you are building a new home or doing some renovations is including insulation in your strategy. Not only does it save you on your heating and cooling bills, but it can also help protect the environment, depending on which type you choose to use. Some of the materials used in insulation have hydrofluorocarbons, which have a high global warming potential.

Fiberglass is the most common type of insulation used and is environmentally safe, as are mineral wool and cellulose insulating products. This article from House Logic describes the benefits of using fiberglass insulation:

A Guide to Insulation Types | HouseLogic Energy Saving TipsAttic Insulation

Fiberglass Batts and Blankets

R-value: 3.0-4.0 per inch (R-13 for a 2-by-4-framed wall).

Advantages: Widely available and familiar, standard widths and thicknesses are designed to fit between studs, joists, and rafters. Paper- and foil-faced versions have stapling flanges that make installation easy.

Disadvantages: Can be itchy to install — you’ll need protective clothing. Rolls of fiberglass must be cut by hand to fit spaces. It compresses easily, which causes it to lose insulating properties.

Environmental issues: Phenol formaldehyde, linked to cancer, is being phased out as a binder. Labels warning of possible cancer risk from inhaled fibers are being phased out because regulators have concluded the fibers break down quickly in lungs. Recycled content can be up to 60%.

Best use: Walls, floors, ceilings.

DIY or pro? DIY

Cost: 30 cents per sq. ft.

Read the rest of the guide here:  A Guide to Insulation Types | HouseLogic Energy Saving Tips

The author of this video is very detailed concerning the type of insulation that works best for different areas to improve your R-value for your home. R-value is the measure of resistance to heat or cold  flowing through the thickness of the insulation material. He explains the importance of ensuring the insulation is touching the drywall and not allowing air to leak through:

When it comes to insulating your ceiling or attic, there are two main options – loose fill and batts.  Which is better? This article from This Old House provides tips for insulating your home when it comes to top heating and cooling value for the top of your house:

Read This Before You Insulate Your Attic | This Old House

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/read-you-insulate-your-attic

Image from thisoldhouse.com

For DIY attic insulation, you’ve basically got two choices: loose fill or batt (the common term for blanket insulation). Both can be added to uninsulated attics or layered over existing material. Once you’ve decided which type is best for you, examine the material options and prices to home in on the right product. Always check labels for specifics on whatever you buy.

Loose fill

Insulation fibers are packaged in bags and blown in place to the desired depth and density using special machinery you can rent from a home center. You can pour the fill in place and spread it manually, but the process is much more labor-intensive and the results won’t be nearly as good.

It works best for: • Attics with irregular or nonstandard joist spacing • Attics with lots of obstructions and penetrations to work around • Attics where there is existing insulation to be topped, since it fills gaps and joints well• Low-clearance attics with limited headroom for maneuvering during installation• DIYers who want to get the job done quickly and are comfortable working with power equipment

Batts

This flexible insulation material is most often packaged in rolls that come in various thicknesses and standard widths, usually 16 inches and 24 inches, to fit between joists or studs in a house’s framing. They come with or without a paper or foil facing that acts as a vapor barrier. You add one or more layers to achieve the desired level of insulation.

They work best for: • Attics with standard joist spacing, especially those with no insulation• Attics with few obstructions or penetrations to work around• Attics with sufficient headroom for maneuvering during installation• DIYers who don’t mind cutting the material to fit around obstructions

Read the full post here:  Read This Before You Insulate Your Attic | This Old House

You might be wise to consult with a building contractor to get their advice on the best insulation for your situation. If you are renovating, part of the key is evaluating your current insulation to see if it needs to be replaced. The image below offers some insight on how to measure the current R-value of your existing insulation:

R-value evaluation on existing insulation

Image via the Department of Energy