Monthly Archives: April 2017

How Concrete Stamps Can Help Overcome Appeals

Has your patio or walkway been looking a little drab? You can add flowers and lawn décor nearby or you can even try cleaning it. But still, it’s boring. Start fresh with stamped concrete.

With many varieties and shapes available, stamped concrete could be the answer to spice up your outdoor décor. You can add a unique feature to your landscaping and increase your ROI. See how stamped concrete can help boost your curb appeal.

What Is Stamped Concrete?

If you’ve ever walked along a path and noticed the texture and shape, it’s likely you’re observing stamped concrete. The process of stamping concrete adds texture and pattern to the concrete. Often, it’s designed to resemble tile or stone, at a lesser cost. The texture aspect of stamped concrete is a good idea around pool decks and patios, to help prevent slips and falls.

If you already have a concrete path or patio and don’t want a complete replacement, a stamped concrete overlay can give you the same effect.

Stamped Concrete Cost

The cost of stamped concrete can vary greatly by the grade, finish and area you’re covering. The least expensive option will be one color and exposed aggregate. Additional customization options will increase the price. Here are a few of the average costs and factors of common places to stamp concrete.

Stamped Concrete Patio

If you want to dress up your patio for less, stamped concrete is the answer. While some wood and stone patios can be expensive, the average cost of a stamped concrete patio is between $8/sf and $20/sf.

Stamped Concrete Walkway

A stamped concrete walkway can be a welcoming addition to yard. You can add the impression of cobblestone, flagstone or even various colors. The minimum cost of a stamped concrete walkway is $6/sf and the maximum cost is $10/sf.

Stamped Concrete Driveway

A beautiful addition to the home, a stamped concrete driveway can add instant curb appeal. Consider replacing your old driveway with stamped concrete. The average cost for a concrete driveway is between $4/sf and $15/sf. The process of stamping and finishing will cost more.

Stamped Concrete Pool Deck

Not only will stamped concrete add style, but the textured surface will add safety to avoid slips and falls. It’s an affordable alternative to natural stone patios or wood decks. The average cost of a stamped concrete pool deck is $12/sf. Additional features or texturing can increase this cost.

How To Stamp Concrete

You may be wondering how this process actually works. First, you should know that stamping concrete is not a DIY project. It’s necessary to contact a masonry contractor who can do this job correctly. But, you can still better understand how the process is done to have the best results.

Of course, one of the largest parts of the job is placing the concrete into the walkway, driveway or patio. The surface must be perfectly level to stamp the concrete. Then, if chosen, color must be added to the concrete. There are a few ways to do this, through liquid and powder. Discuss your options with your contractor.

With a pre-designed stamp, pros will complete your desired pattern before the concrete dries. This could take some time to complete depending on the area and the type of pattern you’ve chosen. Once the stamping process is complete, the concrete is left to cure or dry. Once dry, the concrete will be sealed to complete the look of your stamped concrete.

Stamped Concrete Patterns

When it comes to the design of your stamped concrete, the possibilities are endless. Often, stamped concrete is made to resemble another material, giving you the look you want for less. Rectangular cobblestone and various shapes can formed via stamped concrete.

Stamped concrete to resemble brick is another popular option. This can be cheaper than a brick walkway, as the average cost is between $8/sf and $18/sf.

However, not all stamped concrete patterns have to resemble something. With your contractor, decide what unique patterns might be a good fit for your patio or walkway.

Caring for Stamped Concrete

A concern many homeowners have when it comes to their new stamped concrete installation is care. Stamped concrete walkways are likely to develop additional cracks over time. These cracks can ruin the appearance of the intended style. Luckily, there are plenty of products on the market that can patch the cracks, with an invisible epoxy.

Color may fade over time, but if you’re regular maintenance includes resealing, you shouldn’t run into a problem.

Caring for stamped concrete in the winter is important, as this is when the most damage could be done. Avoid using salt on stamped concrete, especially before the first year of installation. Never use steel shovels on stamped concrete as it can scratch the finish when it comes to removing snow.

Conclusion

Stamped concrete is a beautiful way to enhance your curb appeal. It will give you the best-looking driveway on the block and make your neighbors think twice about their current walkway design.

Want a Green House and look hejuk?

Creating a greener household is a hot topic in home improvement right now. Not only is it smart for your wallet, but it also benefits the planet. There are many steps you can take to do this in your home such as recycling more or turning off the lights when you leave the room. But, what if you took a bigger step towards a green home?

A home energy audit can tell you how efficient your home currently is and how you can improve. Think of it as a home check-up to see how each part of your home is working. Not only will you learn how you can update to save money, but you can see how you can help the earth. Here’s why you should consider getting a home energy audit.

What Is A Home Energy Audit?

While you may check to see what’s working in your home, a home energy auditor will inspect it. They can look to see what parts are functioning at their best and what might be impacting the comfort of your home negatively. They will test your home systems and features to see where you can upgrade, to save you money. Here’s what they will test:

  • Windows and doors to see if there are any leaks
  • HVAC system for the age of equipment and if it’s working properly
  • Insulation throughout the home and if it’s effective
  • If there are any moisture-related issues in the home
  • Gas lines to ensure it’s not leaking
  • Appliances for electrical usage

It is possible to conduct a DIY home energy audit and you should consider inspecting your house on a routine basis. However, we recommend having a professional examine your home. They have the proper tools and knowledge to know what to look for. They are trained to spot problems and suggest solutions.

Why Do You Need One?

According to the Department of Energy, making the right home upgrades can help you save between 5% and 30% on your utility bills. For many homeowners, this is reason enough to have the necessary tests performed. Old appliances and faulty systems can increase your bills in ways you may not even realize. Over time, you’ll see the savings and know you’re doing the best you can to help save the earth’s resources.

Additionally, a home energy auditor can help recommend next steps and how you can create a more efficient home.

How To Prepare For Your Home Energy Audit

To get the best results from your home energy audit, you should prepare for your visit. Gather your utility bills from at least the last six months and if possible, the last year, to show to your auditor. If there’s a specific reason you’re contacting the auditor, such as an insulation issue or a drafty room, write them down and address them. The auditor will need to have access to all rooms of the house during the inspection, so be sure to have the spaces ready for entry.

What Does A Home Energy Audit Cost?

Depending on the depth of the home energy audit, your cost of hiring a professional to conduct the inspection can vary. At the maximum, a thorough test should cost around $1,300. The average cost for a home energy audit is $383, with most homeowner spending between $262 and $357.

How You Can Improve

Once the test is completed, the auditor will explain the results and problem areas. If you live in an older home, this could mean an upgrade for your systems. Here are a few items they might mention after the test:

Smart Technology

With the latest innovations in home automation, you might find that this is the right time to invest. Many electric companies offer incentives for smart thermostats, that monitor your temperature habits and adjust accordingly when you’re away. This can help save you money over time.

Windows & Doors

If they found that your older windows or doors are creating draft, they may offer the suggestion to have them replaced or resealed. Energy Star certified windows and doors are focused on keeping comfortable air in your home, without creating a draft. It could be a smart option for your home if you need to replace your windows and doors.

Old Appliances

One large appliance could be the culprit of a higher energy bill. Your home auditor will find it and make a recommendation to replace. You can see a dramatic difference in long-term costs simply by investing in a new, energy-efficient appliance. The average cost to install a new appliance is $185, with most homeowners spending between $129 and $185.

Insulation Improvements

A home energy inspector might find that your insulation in your home does not meet recommended levels, especially if it’s an older home. Installing new insulation will help improve the energy retained in your home, meaning your HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to save money or improve the way your household uses resources, a home energy audit is a helpful way to discover and prioritize improvements that need to be made. They will give you all the details you need to create an energy-efficient home.

5 Very Unique and Appropriate Upcycling Ideas for Your Home

1. Upcycled Furniture

Furniture is where many DIYers turn first when it comes to upcycling, simply because there are so many options. Old dressers can be repainted and restructured to become just what your kitchen needs. An ugly coffee table can be turned into a beautiful bench for your entryway. I love the idea of taking an old headboard and transforming it into a chalkboard with hooks that can be used almost anywhere in the home. Beyond The Picket Fence provides an excellent tutorial for this.

2. Upcycled Dresser Drawers

If you’ve decided to upcycle your dresser into extra open storage for the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom, you might be wondering what to do with the drawers. After all, one of the keys to upcycling is to not be wasteful and have extra parts end up a landfill. For pet owners, this is the perfect opportunity to pamper your furry friend. Create a pet bed out of the extra drawers. This is usually a project that is best for cats and smaller dogs. It’s an easy project that shouldn’t take more than an afternoon to complete. See the tutorial from DIY Showoff.

3. Upcycled Doors

Old doors make the perfect upcycling project. They are uniquely shaped and can be transformed into almost any surface. Create a unique coffee table by sizing the door to your desired length and adding some legs on the end. Or, make your bedroom décor pop with an old door headboard. Be careful however, older doors may have lead paint on them which may need to be stripped before creating anything new.

4. Upcycled Glass Bottles

If you’ve been looking for the perfect way to use extra glass bottles, you’re in luck. Upcycling glass bottles is one of the easiest projects you can do. Start by stripping the bottle of any labels that may be on it. You can usually do this by soaking them in hot water for about 20 minutes, then gently scrubbing the label off. From there, you have endless options. Use glass paint to decorate how you’d like. Stick fresh flowers in it to create a vase or a candlestick in the opening for the ultimate DIY centerpiece.

5. Upcycled Chandelier

Over time, chandeliers can become worn and out-of-date. But, they are the perfect canvas to create something new. Chalk paint provides an easy opportunity to transform the piece completely, giving a new look to your light fixture. For outdoor décor, remove all electrical components and use as a hanging planter.

However, chandeliers are hot right now in the interior as well. See this tutorialfrom Mountain Modern Life on how you can dress up an old chandelier.

How to Save Energy, Tips For Summer

 the energy bills up inside. After a long day of gardening, games and other outdoor activities, it’s important to have a place to cool off. If you live in an area that sees extreme heat, having a home at a comfortable temperature is essential.

However, keeping a comfortable home might mean a larger energy bill during the summer. After all, your air conditioner, fans and other appliances are all working hard to keep your home cool. Here are a few tips to help cut costs and stay cool this summer.

1. Energy-Saving Air Conditioners

Your air conditioner is where most people turn when it comes to cooling their house to a comfortable temperature. From a central unit that cools the whole home to a window unit that can cool down a room at a time, homeowners have a few options when it comes to cooling. Whatever you choose, be sure it is Energy Star certified, ensuring that you’ll get all the benefits of an efficient appliance. According to Energy Star, you could save $115 annually by installing an energy-efficient air conditioner. Depending on the unit you’ll need, you might want to contact an HVAC pro to help. The average cost to install an air conditioner is $4,828.

However, if you already use an energy-efficient unit or do not wish to replace your system, there is still plenty you can do to cut costs. Be sure to change the filters regularly and have routine check-ups to ensure your HVAC system is working properly. Fans can help keep the cool air circulating so your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard.

2. Energy-Saving Thermostat

In addition to an energy-saving air conditioner, a smart thermostat will be the perfect complement to help save you even more money. Most learn your habits and can be controlled from an app, so you can turn off the air conditioning when it’s not in use, even if you’re not home. The Department Of Energy advises to keep the temperature settings as low as comfortably possible when you’re home, or roughly 78 degrees.

3. Energy-Saving Curtains

A small detail could make a huge difference in your energy costs. Insulated curtains give your windows extra protection against the heat, by blocking the hot summer sun and helping to trap the cool air inside. They come in a variety of styles that match your décor, so you won’t have to sacrifice your style to save some money.

4. Energy-Saving Power Strip

While there are summer-specific energy-saving solutions, there are tactics you can use year-round to help save you money. An energy-saving power strip can help save you up to 10% of your monthly electric bill, according to the Department Of Energy. That’s because items like TVs, computers and other plugged in electronics continue to use power even after they’ve been turned off. An energy-saving power strip can prevent this by cutting power completely when an item is not in use, making it a worthwhile investment.

5. Energy-Saving Roofing

For hotter regions, the type of roofing you have could impact the temperature of your home. A cool metal roof can help keep temperatures down inside. The average cost of a metal roof is between $7.50/sf and $10/sf. While it may seem like a costly installation, it’s a long-lasting option that can save you money on your bills quickly. To learn more, read Create An Energy Efficient Home With A Cool Metal Roof.