5 Smart Home Upgrades that will Pay Off Later

Whether you want to make the most of your home now, or you’re thinking of selling soon, smart upgrades can boost your enjoyment of your home and increase its resale value. Some upgrades improve the aesthetics of your house, while others help save on energy costs or improve the functionality of the home. Still others can add a touch of luxury.

Why not consider smart upgrades for right now, instead of waiting until you’re ready to sell? You can certainly appreciate the upgrades now, while confident that they will pay off later. Here are some ideas.

Timeless hardwood floors

Designers and real estate agents agree that installing or refinishing a hardwood floor can boost not only the look of a room, but will make the room easier to design around — and to sell. Most homebuyers look at replacing aging carpeting in a new home, to refresh and put their own stamp on rooms. Hardwood floors have long been coveted by real estate agents and luxury homeowners alike, as they provide a blank canvas to work with, allowing new homebuyers to choose area rugs and accents to create their own design aesthetic.

Energy-efficient windows

This is one of the smartest upgrades you can make, as it improves the aesthetic from the outside (that all-important “curb appeal”), enhances your enjoyment of rooms from the inside and reduces energy costs. Advances in technology behind high-performance window glass have made a huge difference in terms of the amount of insulation and energy-efficiency they provide. Low-emissivity coatings on glass help control heat transfer through windows that have insulated glazing. In addition, the latest window frames — from metal or fiberglass to vinyl — offer superior insulation and long-lasting performance over standard wooden frames. Installing the best new windows for any room, or the entire house, offers an outstanding return on investment.

New doors

Like windows, doors also present a face to potential buyers from the curb, and can help decrease energy costs. The front door is an obvious place to start. You’ll want to consider your local climate and its needs, such as good weather-stripping to keep out the cold or sturdy screen doors to keep out bugs. Garage doors are also a great choice for updating, especially if they are large and highly visible. An upscale garage door is built from highly durable materials and looks as good as it functions. For any door facing the curb, including the garage door, choose a color and style that matches the overall look of your home, and that will last many years, through a variety of weather conditions.

Cleansing seats

Haven’t you always wanted a toilet with a heated seat, plus warm-water cleansing and warm-air drying, operated by remote control? How about an automatic LED light to help you see in the dark? You can elevate your daily routine with a Kohler Cleansing Seat, designed to fit most toilets. The seats are ergonomically designed, and will complement a range of decors. The Cleansing Seat also offers carbon filters to help keep the space fresh, and the wand that sprays water is self-cleaning. The flush and lid are both motion-activated. This toilet upgrade with customizable amenities will make you feel like you’re at a spa or luxury hotel. Then you may wonder how you ever lived without it.

Beautiful outdoor living space

Everyone today is looking for ways to spend time outdoors comfortably — whether this means a deck, patio or gazebo. If you have a functional area outdoors, consider improvements — is the space big enough? Could you add privacy fencing or shade? Do you want a better cooking area or fire pit for entertaining? If you don’t currently have a usable outdoor space, look at your property as a whole and consider what makes sense for the space and your lifestyle. You could consult a professional to help you design a more beautiful and comfortable outdoor space.

Making smart choices about home upgrades means planning for the long-term life of the house, and improving the enjoyment and functionality of your home right now. With so many possibilities, consider what upgrades would add the most benefit for your everyday routine. – (BPT)

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A.C.F. Home Inspections, Your Premier Orlando Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced Orlando Home Inspection Company help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

As a family-owned business, we pride ourselves on supporting homeowners and families who need an honest, competent and dependable property inspector. We understand the importance of safety. When it comes to children and family. Therefore, we give special attention to deficiencies in systems and components of the home that represent an immediate danger. And we are independent and impartial; we work for you – our client – and not for an agent or other interests.

A.C.F. Home Inspections is committed to bringing you a consistently high level of service. We are an indispensable asset to real estate agents, buyers, sellers, investors, property managers, landlords, mortgage brokers, and private and nursing care homes.  Let us be your residential and commercial advisor, and find peace of mind that you are getting a professional’s opinion.

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate!  We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

Call A.C.F. Home Inspections Today (407) 218-6522 or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

4 Ways To Make The Most Out Of Your Smart Garage

If there is one thing that we learned from Prime Day it’s that the smart garage is a must-have for Amazon Prime Members. Chamberlain Group’s myQ Smart Garage Hub was one of the best-selling smart home items during Prime Day. So, why are so many homeowners focusing on making their garage smart?

1) Get deliveries straight to your garage with Key by Amazon. Key by Amazon lets you get packages delivered safely and securely right in your garage, so you don’t have to worry that the dog’s food, kid’s birthday present or a special treat for yourself will get wet or go missing. If you’re a Prime member in one of 50 eligible cities and surrounding areas, simply download the free Key by Amazon app, sync it with your myQ profile, and start selecting in-garage delivery when you shop on Amazon.com. Your packages will be delivered directly into your garage for no extra charge by a delivery driver, like Tesya, who walks you through how in-garage delivery works in this video (https://youtu.be/RSvGdGUs7GM).

2) Never wonder if the garage door is open. How many times have you driven away from home wondering if you left the garage door open? Or, how many times do you have to remind the kids to close the garage door after they get home from school before they actually do it? With a myQ-connected smart garage door opener, you’ll always know whether or not you or a family member has left the garage door open. You can check the status of your garage door, plus open and close the garage door from your smartphone — anytime, anywhere.

3) Know who is coming and going at all times. You can’t be in two places at once, but you can get real-time alerts when your garage door opens and closes to keep track of daily comings and goings. And, if you pair your smart garage door opener with an Amazon Cloud Cam, you can actually see the kids heading out on their bikes, check to make sure the dog sitter made it in — or just keep an eye on your car while you’re at work. You can also watch in-garage deliveries live, or view a clip in the app after they have been completed.

4) Share garage access — without sharing your password. With myQ Guest, you can securely and conveniently invite people to your inner circle so they can control and check the status of your myQ-connected garage doors, gates and lights from anywhere.

More than 75% of homeowners use the garage as their primary access point into the home. With Key by Amazon and Chamberlain’s myQ technology, it’s never been easier to make the most of your smart garage. Visit www.amazon.com/checkmygarage to get started. – BPT

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A.C.F. Home Inspections, Your Premier Orlando Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced Orlando Home Inspection Company help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

As a family-owned business, we pride ourselves on supporting homeowners and families who need an honest, competent and dependable property inspector. We understand the importance of safety. When it comes to children and family. Therefore, we give special attention to deficiencies in systems and components of the home that represent an immediate danger. And we are independent and impartial; we work for you – our client – and not for an agent or other interests.

A.C.F. Home Inspections is committed to bringing you a consistently high level of service. We are an indispensable asset to real estate agents, buyers, sellers, investors, property managers, landlords, mortgage brokers, and private and nursing care homes.  Let us be your residential and commercial advisor, and find peace of mind that you are getting a professional’s opinion.

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate!  We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

Call A.C.F. Home Inspections Today (407) 218-6522 or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.


Fact or fiction? 5 Myths About Metal Roofing

Asphalt shingles may be the most popular roofing in the U.S. by volume, but metal roofing is gaining in popularity for its durability, longevity and low-maintenance benefits. Still, many people unfamiliar with the product have misconceptions about this quality roofing option.

Myth #1: Metal roofs are loud

One of the biggest misconceptions of metal roofs is that they are loud during a rainstorm and unbearable during severe weather, making sounds like repeatedly dropping objects on tin. In reality, residential metal roofs are fastened to the roof deck, not open rafters. Metal roofs can be applied over multiple layers of old asphalt shingles, so the sound insulation between the metal shingles and your ears could reduce the noise to potentially less than more traditional forms of roofing.

Myth #2: Metal roofs attract lightning

The Metal Construction Association has released several technical bulletins outlining research that shows metal roofs are no more likely to be struck by lightning than other types of roofing. The factors that do affect lightning strikes include topography of the surrounding area, the height and size of the building and the frequency and severity of storms in the area.

“Research shows that the material used in roof construction does not influence the risk of a lightning strike,” says Karl Hielscher, MCA’s executive director, in a press release. “In fact, the presence of a metal roof really shouldn’t statistically increase or decrease the chances of a lightning strike. There are many other factors that influence the actual chance of a lightning strike.”

Myth #3: Metal roofs are ugly

Metal roofs have traditionally been associated with industrial buildings or outbuildings like sheds and barns. But as metal roofing’s popularity has grown, so has the technology to make it an excellent choice for residential structures. Manufacturers have gone from standing seam metal roofs to creating metal shingles in a variety of colors that would make an attractive covering for any home. Some metal shingles are stamped and shaped to look like other types of roofing, like wood shake, stone slate and clay tile, such as the MetalWorks steel shingle produced by major roofing manufacturer TAMKO Building Products.

Myth #4: Metal roofs can’t handle hail

Metal roofs are actually among the most resilient roofing options when it comes to hail. Many metal shingles are rated Class 4 for Impact Resistance by the UL testing group. The Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) reported that studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) acknowledged that all roof types can sustain some cosmetic damage depending on hailstorm severity, but “metal roofing performed best and was much less likely to puncture as compared to asphalt, withstanding even golf ball-sized hail stones without compromising performance.”

Metal roofs also stand up well to other types of extreme weather. Metal shingles are often rated to withstand winds of over 100 miles per hour, and are rated for fire resistance.

Myth #5: Metal roofs aren’t energy efficient

Because metal in other uses is a good conductor of heat and cold, some homeowners are concerned a metal roof will cause their homes to be colder during winter and hotter in the summer. Besides the comfort factor, the increased utility costs associated with that misconception cause major concern. The reality is, according to the MRA, metal roofing boasts some of the best energy efficiency among roofing options. State Farm Insurance Company reported that metal roofs reflect solar radiant heat, which can reduce cooling costs by 10-15 percent.

“Unlike asphalt shingles, the secret to metal roofing’s energy efficiency is its highly-reflective surface, regardless of color,” said Rick Taylor, a longtime roofing contractor now working as TAMKO’s field sales training manager. “This means, in our case, all of the MetalWorks colors are ENERGY STAR-certified and are rated by the Cool Roof Rating Council — even the darkest color options.”

The Metal Roofing Alliance reports that metal roofs also provide excellent insulation in the winter, and estimates that choosing metal could save up to 40% in energy costs for a home during the year. The Metal Construction Association also said metal roofs are considered a product of choice for snowy areas because of their superior response and tolerance to that environment.

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A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

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

Call (407) 218-6522 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

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Affordable Home Improvement – Useful Tips

Home improvement tips

The holy grail of home improvement is a project that makes a big difference to the appearance or value of the home without breaking the bank. The key is to focus on low-cost, quality items that will give the most bang for your buck. Here are five to consider:

New bathroom countertop

Bathroom remodels still provide some of the best return on investment for home improvement projects, but can also be some of the most expensive. If you can’t afford a full bathroom overhaul, opt for one high-impact update. Replace that outdated laminate vanity countertop with a stone version to bring an immediate touch of class to the bathroom. This update can be completed quickly and, for homeowners with a little plumbing knowledge, could even be a DIY project.

Refinish kitchen cabinets

According to Home Advisor, replacing kitchen cabinets in a typical 10-by-10 kitchen costs an average $4,000-$13,000. For homeowners not able to make that type of investment, refinishing existing cabinets can provide a dramatic upgrade at a fraction of the cost. Homeowners can start by removing all cabinet doors and hardware, keeping all hardware together in a bag in case it’s needed later. Cabinets with a glossy finish should be sanded, either with blocks or a chemical product, then either stained (consider an espresso finish for a modern look) or painted. Adding new, brushed metal fixtures completes the look.

Affordable roof update

For the biggest ROI on an improvement, look outside. Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report revealed nine of the top 10 high-return remodeling projects were exterior replacement projects. Replacing a roof can sound overwhelming, but with some smart shopping can provide a major curb appeal boost on a budget.

A common misconception is that expensive products equal better products. While that can certainly be true, there are lots of examples where the most expensive option is not the best choice for every consumer. This is certainly true in large home improvement projects, where the costs can run high and the consequences for purchasing subpar materials can be serious. But, homeowners can save money while protecting their investments by finding the low-cost leader in the product category: a product that provides the best quality for the price point.

“In many product segments there is a low-cost leader — a product or brand comparable in quality to more expensive brands, but offered at a lower cost to provide the best value per dollar,” says Rick Taylor, a longtime roofing contractor now working as a trainer for TAMKO Building Products, manufacturer of the low-cost leader Heritage shingle. “Home improvement isn’t the place to cut corners, but, if you buy smart, you can save money even on big exterior projects.”

Home Improvement Tips

New door and porch decor

A new entryway can add major curb appeal to any home, but can also come with a big price tag, especially if the front porch area is aesthetically weak and would require construction to build it out. To achieve a similar result at a fraction of the cost, replace the front door with a new, energy-efficient option with a strong design element. You may even consider painting it a bold color. Next, add a ready-made pergola around the entryway, or large concrete or sandstone pillars on either side of the door, available at most garden stores. Adding large, decorative plants to the top of the pillars, or around the doorway, can help define a dramatic entryway without ever pulling out a hammer.

Paint

Adding a fresh coat of paint is one of the most affordable ways to update many portions of the home. While time-consuming, the transformative properties of paint on a staircase, exterior shutters, interior walls or even a floor are legendary. Paint is another great opportunity to utilize the consumer trick of looking for the low-cost leader in the product category. Stay away from the cheapest paint as it may chip or require many coats to cover, and in the end, cost you even more money to fix. But, also avoid the highest-end paints, as you may be paying more for the brand name than the actual product. Look for the best quality option at the most affordable price point. (BPT)

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

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

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

Call (407) 218-6522 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

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

3 Small Things Plus Bonus Tip That You Can Do to Add Value to Your Home

When it comes to your home, you want updates that make your property more comfortable, beautiful and of course, add value to your home. Whether you have a big budget or more elbow grease than cash to invest, there are numerous things you can do to improve your home’s worth immediately.

Here are three small things you can do to boost your home’s value, plus one big one that will really make an impact.

Small change #1 – Fresh paint

Paint is one of the most affordable ways to bring dramatic change to a room. Adding a fresh hue will instantly update the entire feeling of a space while also making it look more stylish and clean. Neutrals — like tan, gray or greige (gray and beige) — are always a good choice but don’t fear a bolder color. Not sure? Consider painting neutrals on three walls and using the fourth as a focal wall that features a bolder color choice.

For walls, start by patching and sanding any holes so you get a smooth finish. Use painter’s tape to protect molding and ceilings and help you get a clean line when finished. Drop cloths will protect flooring and furniture. Taking time to properly prep helps ensure you get professional-level results that look great and last a long time.

Small change #2 – Bathroom updates

You don’t need to invest in a complete remodel to get an updated bathroom. A few simple enhancements can make a big difference without breaking the bank. Start by looking at the walls. Remove old wallpaper and repair any damage before adding paint. Then, look at the light fixtures and consider new options. A few quick swaps can add a modern aesthetic and optimum light for bathroom tasks.

The style in a bathroom is often defined by the accessories, so turning attention in that direction can help rejuvenate the space as well. Replace hardware on vanities and other extras like towel bars. Popular materials include chrome and brushed metals, but choose whatever fits with the rest of the room. Finish the look with a new shower curtain and towels to elevate the space.

Small change #3 – Entryway enhancements

Is the place where you welcome guests looking a little dingy? Your entryway is where your home makes a first impression, including buyers when it comes time to sell. Fortunately, it’s easy to update an entryway so it stands out positively and enhances your home’s value.

Focus on the door by giving it a new coat of paint. Then replace the hardware with a handsome, high-quality option. You can add a door-knocker or wreath to give it style if you’d like. Then move to the surrounding spaces. Get rid of clutter to open up space, and then add in a few key pieces of decor. For example, a plant or welcoming sign makes a house feel like a home.

One BIG change – Add a deck

3 small things that you can do to add value to your home

When you want to make a big investment in your home to improve its appeal and value, adding a high-quality deck may carry a bigger price tag, but it also offers some of the best return on investment for homeowners. Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report listed a composite deck addition as one of the highest performing projects when it comes to the rate of year-over-year ROI.

“With the outdoor living trend thriving, people want deck spaces that are true extensions of the home,” said Shara Gamble, director of sales and marketing for high-end composite deck manufacturer Envision Building Products. “Luxury composite decking is growing in popularity due to its exceptionally beautiful appearance and low-maintenance benefits.”

Gamble added that Envision boards have attracted additional attention due to the brand’s exclusive compression molding technology, which is unlike other boards on the market and uses tremendous heat and pressure to form the boards with deep wood-like grain that never repeats on a single board. Learn more at envisiondecking.com.


orlando home inspection acf home inspection logoYour Premier Orlando Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

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

Call (407) 218-6522 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

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

7 Smart Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home

Think about how much time you and your family spend inside versus outside. From your home to the car to work and to school, it’s not uncommon that the majority of your day is spent indoors. This modern phenomenon means increased exposure to indoor air pollution. Fortunately, with a few smart, proactive steps, you can help protect yourself and your family.

People vastly underestimate the time they spend inside, assuming just four hours, when in actuality they are inside more than 21 hours each day, according to The Indoor Generation report by The VELUX Group. The Indoor Generation refers to a growing number of people who spend the vast majority of their time indoors — currently 90 percent of their days on average, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In addition to people spending more time inside, homes are being built and sealed tightly to meet the demand for increased energy efficiency. This is great for energy efficiency but not so great for fresh air exchange, which is necessary to maintain healthy indoor air quality. The resulting polluted air is locked in and can have health consequences: Moldy and damp air inside the home can increase the risk of asthma by 40 percent. Poor indoor air quality can contribute to irritated eyes, nose and throat, headaches and fatigue. Long-term indoor air pollution can even lead to the development of respiratory diseases and heart disease.

7 Smart Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home

How to improve indoor air quality

Everyday activities, such as cooking, cleaning, showering, burning candles and drying clothes, contribute to polluted indoor air. Pollutants coming from toxic materials, such as plastic toys, synthetic furnishings, cleaning solvents and building materials, can also worsen indoor air quality. Adding natural light and fresh air to your home can help combat the dangers of modern indoor living.

Here are seven smart steps homeowners can take to make their living conditions healthier:

Vent air while cooking

Always remember to turn on the hood fan while you’re cooking and open nearby windows and skylights. Try cooking oils with higher smoke points, so you produce fewer fumes. Palm, peanut, grapeseed, avocado and sunflower oils all have smoke points higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Install a skylight

Adding a skylights is a simple renovation project that drastically improves your home’s health. One option is Velux No Leak Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylights, which bring in natural light and open to create fresh air flow. The latest models come with a remote control to open and close the skylight and its blinds. Learn more at whyskylights.com.

Use natural air flow

Hot air rises and cool air stays closer to the ground. You can take advantage of this natural air exchange in your home by opening a skylight or window higher in your home while also opening one below it or on a lower level. As fresh, cool air is pulled in, the warmer, polluted air will escape at the top.

Avoid burning candles

Candles provide ambiance and often a pretty scent, but they can have a negative effect on indoor air quality. Try opting for beeswax candles, which produce fewer airborne toxins. Alternatively, check out battery-operated candles that look close to the real thing.

Clean regularly

Create a home and pet cleaning schedule, and stick to it as much as possible. Vacuuming can help eliminate dust and dander.

Dry clothes outside

When the weather is nice outside, take a cue from your grandparents, and dry clothes outside naturally with the sunshine and breeze. Eliminating use of the dryer or dryer sheets decreases air-polluting fumes and moisture buildup in your home. Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of line-dried clothing?

Make home airing a daily habit

Even if the weather only allows you to air out your home for a few minutes, it can make a world of difference. Make a habit of opening windows and skylights daily. If you think you’ll forget, just set an alarm on your phone to remind you. – (BPT)

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

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

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

Call (407) 218-6522 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

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

Inspire Your Renovation: Five Show House Trends in 2019

5 design show trends to inspire your renovation in 2019

When it’s time to remodel and renovate your home, you’re no doubt on the lookout for the freshest takes in design and color choices, so you can ensure your renovation is a lasting investment.

To go about your home refresh in a thoughtful way, it can help to turn to the top experts in the industry for their ideas and insight. With more than 145 years of leadership in the kitchen and bath space, Kohler Co. has worked side by side with the top designers to showcase the most inspired designs for the kitchen, bath and other areas of the home.

To help you come up with looks you’ll love for years, here are five head-turning trends that led the way in 2018.

5 design show trends to inspire your 2019 renovation

Make a statement with plants: 

Humidity-loving plants have long added a soft contrast to the traditional hard bath surfaces. Designers are going big with the plant concept by incorporating what’s called a living wall in this room – a wall that’s essentially a floor-to-ceiling panel of things that grow. Pairing the lush greenery and soft blooms with statement fixtures – such as the curved shape of Kohler’s Veil Trough Vessel Bathroom Sink – will make your space into the perfect place to retreat and take time out for self-care. Staying in that vein of incorporating nature-inspired elements, designers are also incorporating new natural materials like wood and stone into kitchen and bath design.

Shifts in the color story: 

The bright whites that have dominated design books this past decade won’t be gone, but they are starting to make their retreat. In 2018 we saw an abundance of earthy neutrals to choose from, like stone grays, blush pinks and warm terracotta – colors that inspire warm feelings and connections to nature. Where white was once uber-trendy in cabinet design, the script has flipped to deep, moody Velvet-inspired hues like emerald green, burgundy, navy, and black.

Going for the gold: 

When it comes to fixtures, chrome dominated style books for years. But now, designers are turning toward gold, copper and bronze fixtures at an increasing rate. With a variety of finishes to choose from, from gleaming rose gold to a burnished copper, opting for warmly toned fixtures is an easy way to add texture and interest to any room.

Next-level entertaining: 

The idea of the home as a haven is catching on. One concept to consider is turning that extra room or basement into an intimate, inviting space tailor-made for unwinding and entertaining. To create that escapist vibe that calls back to the speak-easy, go with dark-hued walls and cabinetry to create an eye-catching contrast with pops of colorful art and gleaming fixtures. To lighten up the somber tone, playful designs like Kohler’s Artifacts Gentleman’s Bar Faucet adds a touch of retro charm.

High function, stylish design: 

The kitchen is the busiest room in the house, which is why homeowners welcome new ideas in hard-working, durable solutions that are also aesthetically pleasing. Incorporating design into the kitchen has never been easier with options like Kohler’s Purist Kitchen Faucet – a design that works seamlessly with any style/aesthetic/taste. Adding a secondary island to the kitchen will keep all your gear ultra-organized, and adding sinks to one or both islands can make food prep a snap – even with multiple cooks in the kitchen.

To discover more design ideas to inspire your upcoming renovations, visit kohler.com. – (BPT)

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Expert Answers to Common Questions About Composite Decks

Considering a composite deck? Here are expert answers to homeowners’ most common questions

When planning a composite deck project, choosing the right material is key to the enjoyment and value you’ll get from your outdoor living space. Today, there are more choices in decking materials than ever before, including high-performance composites, which are increasingly replacing wood in backyards across the country — and for good reason.

“Today’s homeowners want to spend their time enjoying their outdoor living spaces — rather than maintaining them,” says Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing for residential products at Trex Company, the inventor and leading manufacturer of composite decking. “High-performance composite decking stands up to decades of weather and day-to-day usage without the burdensome sanding and staining required to maintain wood decks.”

Expert Answers to Common Questions About Composite Decks

As you weigh your options, here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about composite decking:

What are the key benefits of composite decking?

Unlike wood, high-performance composite decking resists fading, scratching and mold — and won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter. Wood decking does not age gracefully, even with regular maintenance — including washing, staining and sealing that can take several days and a considerable number of materials and tools. Composites require minimal upkeep. You never need to worry about painful splinters or the laborious sanding, staining or painting — just an occasional soap-and-water cleaning will do the trick.

Does composite decking look natural?

The aesthetics of composite decking have evolved considerably over the years. Today’s offerings feature high-definition wood-grain patterns that are nearly indistinguishable from real wood textures. Additionally, composite decking comes in a wider variety of color options to complement the exterior of any home. Ranging from rich browns and warm umbers to spicy reds and pristine grays, composites are more natural than ever before and boast a vibrancy that remains unchanged without having to stain and re-stain year after year.

How do composite costs compare with wood?

Initially, composite decking costs more, board for board, than pressure-treated lumber. But rather than deteriorating over time, composite decking delivers more long-term value due to its minimal maintenance requirements. When you consider the cumulative costs of power washing, sanding, staining and painting a wood deck every season. Composite decking proves a much better value over time. According to HomeAdvisor.com, maintenance for a wood deck costs an average of $540 to $1,050 per year compared with just $15 to $20 for a composite deck.

Are composite materials environmentally friendly?

Wood might be a natural material, but the chemical coatings used to protect the wood from rot and mold are not. Composite decking, on the other hand, uses few chemicals in its manufacturing and the upkeep is simple — just soap and water. Additionally, Trex decking is made from 95 percent recycled materials, including plastic film recycled from a variety of items, such as grocery bags and newspaper sleeves. The company repurposes more than 400 million pounds of plastic and wood particles annually that would otherwise end up in landfills.

What’s the difference between “capped” and “uncapped” composites?

Early generations of composite decking were “uncapped,” leaving them vulnerable to staining, fading, mold, and mildew. The leading composite products available today are “capped” with a protective outer layer that is bonded to the core during the manufacturing process. This “shell” contains UV inhibitors and other ingredients to ensure the deck boards retain their aesthetics and durability. In addition to resisting fading, staining, and mold, they won’t rot crack or splinter like wood and require minimal maintenance. – (BPT)

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc. has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

How to Create the Perfect, Four-Season Outdoor Living Space

Creating an outdoor living space will give you an extra “room” to enjoy in all types of weather, even as the temperatures drop. You can start small with an inexpensive patio set and charcoal grill on a new deck, go all out with a fully installed kitchen, fireplace and living room, or something in between. It depends on your budget and how you plan to use the space.

How to Create the Perfect, Four-Season Outdoor Living Space

Here are some ideas for must-have elements in your perfect outdoor living space that will allow you to enjoy your backyard in style with family and friends all year long.

* Deck

It’s the foundation of your outdoor space. Using real wood for your deck is the key to creating a natural, beautiful outdoor living space. One great option is Western Red Cedar. Resistant to rot, decay, and insects so it lasts a long time with minimum maintenance. It’s also durable, yet surprisingly lightweight, which is one of the reasons DIYers and building professionals find it so easy to work with. It’s also a green choice. Woods such as cedar leave the smallest carbon footprint compared to any other building material.

* Fire

There’s nothing cozier on a crisp night than curling up in front of the fire. Adding a fire element to your outdoor room creates the same sort of ambiance. Imagine gazing up at the sky on a dark, starry night while sitting in front of the fire and you’ve got the idea. You’ll find a wide variety to choose from, including decorative metal fire pits or bowls; chimeneas, which are earthenware or stone outdoor fireplaces; or full-blown, permanent fireplaces like you might find inside the house. Whatever you choose, the crackling fire will draw people and create a focal point for conversation and reflection. Added bonus: It will provide a heat source for chilly nights.

* Outdoor kitchen

You can go big, creating a second full kitchen alfresco with a high-end gas grill, a wood-burning pizza oven, a fridge, a sink, storage for dishes and utensils, and a countertop for prep, or you can go small, with a simple grill. Either way, it’s essential to be able to cook outside so you won’t be stuck in your home’s kitchen preparing dinner while your family and friends chat on the deck.

* Furniture

A patio table and comfortable chairs are a must, as are some Adirondack or other sturdy, comfy chairs positioned around your fire source. But beyond that, think about how you’ll use the space. Does a chaise or two for lounging with a book and a cold beverage make sense? What about an outdoor sofa and chairs to create more of a living room–type feel? Whatever you choose, comfort, durability in all types of weather, and the size (not too big or too small) are prime considerations.

* Shelter

In addition to the standard umbrella for your patio table, creating shelter for your outdoor space lets you enjoy it in all types of weather. The sky is the limit on your choices: a simple wood and fabric canopy to shade your seating area, a more structured gazebo complete with mosquito netting, a decorative wooden pergola, or an outdoor sunroom or solarium that attaches to your home’s exterior wall. Get some ideas for great DIY projects, be it a pergola, a Tiki bar, a cover to protect your grill (and the grillmaster) from the elements, or for less experienced DIYers, a dining table, benches and chairs, by downloading free DIY project plans at http://www.realcedar.com.

* Landscaping

The final touch is the yard beyond your deck. Extend your outdoor space with a patio, create a walking path with stone pavers, or add shrubs, plants and flowers that will cycle and change with the seasons, giving your space a fresh look as the months go by.

For more information about creating your perfect outdoor living space or to download DIY plans, visit http://www.realcedar.com. – (BPT)

 

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc. has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

Why Fall Is One of the Best Seasons to Build a Deck

Why Fall Is One of the Best Seasons to Build a Deck

As the weather starts to shift and the crisp air settles in, your first inclination might be to head indoors, cozy up with a blanket and save that deck project you’ve been researching for next year. Not so fast. While home improvement stores sell spring and summer as the seasons for all things outdoor home improvement, fall is actually one of the best times to build a deck. Here are five reasons you should take advantage of the transitional months and make your deck dreams a reality.

1. Use fresh summer memories to plan to perfection

With memories of backyard barbecues and lazy summer days still fresh in your mind, fall is the perfect time to evaluate your outdoor lifestyle and plan a deck that fits your needs. Whether you’re building a small, platform deck or a multi-level expanse, think about how you use your outdoor living space. Do you host large summer soirees? If so, a durable deck with handrails, built-in seating and lighting can help you define zones for socializing and eating. Is a peaceful, deck getaway more your style? Then consider designing your deck to frame a view, incorporate a hot tub or include a small reading nook. Whatever your preference, make sure you keep transitions in mind. Clear pathways between frequently used openings like the kitchen door, stairs and the backyard will improve your use of the space.

2. Avoid project delays

When deck building is at its peak and contractors are working from dawn to dusk, it can be hard to nail down the right professional and get a start date on the calendar. Far too often, project delays turn dreams of days lounging on a new deck with a lemonade in hand into a source of frustration that mars summer fun. But as fall approaches and construction demands slow, these become issues of the past. Homeowners can often secure top-rated contractors and negotiate a convenient start date. And with full project crews, many decks are built at a quicker pace.

3. Take advantage of seasonal savings

Fall marks the start of the off-season for decking. Whether brands are clearing inventory to make way for new products or contractors are offering incentives to keep their schedule full, there are plenty of seasonal opportunities to save on decking materials and installation costs. By taking advantage of these discounts, you can create your dream deck under budget. You might even free up some money for a few splurges like a trellis or fire pit.

4. Protect your existing landscape

The telltale cool air of fall means one thing — improved working conditions. Grass, trees, and plants start to go dormant as temperatures drop and the ground freezes, making it easier for you or your contractor to build a deck without harming your landscape. The season’s milder weather also lends itself to a more comfortable working environment.

5. Extend decking season

Decks are no longer reserved for summer. With the right decking material, you can create an indoor-outdoor space that spans multiple seasons and keeps you breathing fresh air all year long. Look for decking products that are as durable as they are beautiful. This will help ensure your outdoor living space remains in top shape throughout Mother Nature’s harsher months.

“By using products like ChoiceDek composite decking that are extremely durable and water resistant, homeowners can broaden the scope of their home,” said Josh Landis, senior marketing manager for ChoiceDek composite decking. “The boards resist rotting and splintering and are easy to clean, a combination that will keep decks looking ready for summer all year long.” – (BPT)


A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc. has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.