Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat! Here Are Some Great Etiquette Tips For Halloween Night

Do you get a flood of trick-or-treaters on Halloween? It's important to have fun with the night and it's also important that everyone have fun in a respectful way, especially when people are coming to your homeIf you’re handing out candy, here’s the etiquette for dealing with the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins prowling your neighborhood:

  • Don’t hold out a bowl, and just let trick-or-treaters grab all they want. Otherwise, some greedy goblin may run off with half your Reese’s peanut butter cups. Instead, make eye contact with each kid, and say something like, “What scary green makeup you’re wearing!” – then, stick a treat or two in their bag. Children shouldn’t take the candy; you should give it to them.
  • Don’t snub trick-or-treating teens. You may think that candy handouts are only for little kids, but height doesn’t always correspond with age. Plus, the teens at your door may be trying to hold onto their childhood for one more year. But even if they’re 16 and all they want is free candy, will it hurt to toss some Skittles their way?
  • What if you’ve given out all your candy, and turned off your porch light – but Batman rings your doorbell anyway? Simple: Ignore it! No light means no candy - period.
  • What should you do with tricks? Do you like witches and warlocks tossing candy wrappers on your lawn, T-Ping your house, or egging cars on your street? For trash, leave a small garbage containers for wrappers by your front steps. And if the Halloween celebrations and shenanigans are getting out of hand, call the police. It doesn't make you the party pooper, it allows you to require respect. Of course, use discretion and save police calls for when they're absolutely necessary. 
We at Unique Home Building want the best for you and your family, from the house you live in, to how you celebrate in it. From us to you, Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Too Many Toys? Tips to Plan the Perfect Child's Playroom!

Too Many Toys? Tips to Plan the Perfect Child's Playroom!Planning a child’s playroom is a very fun adventure that can bring out the creativity in everyone involved! Whatever the space, big or small, Unique Home Building wants to help you in exactly the way you need it!

A child’s playroom is a place of creativity and imagination. It is exciting to envision endless design possibilities as you plan the space, but it is also necessary to consider more practical matters, such as storage and layout. Rather than feeling limited by the many pieces of the playroom puzzle, view the experience as the ultimate design challenge!

Creating a space that inspires kids to experience the joys of play is an amazing opportunity for whimsical decor choices. The juxtaposition of children’s motifs with efficient organization can create breathtaking results. As you begin your playroom design quest, don’t forget to consider the interests of your kiddos. Their ideas may spark the inspiration for a winning decor concept, and under your guidance, the room will take flight. Here are some ideas to get you started:

As you plan the layout for your playroom, pay attention to the space involved. Is the room large? Will it be shared by multiple children? Or perhaps the “playroom” is a section of the child’s bedroom, making compact living a must. If space is no issue, consider placing storage and seating pieces along the wall and leaving the center of the room free for creative endeavors.
Too Many Toys? Tips to Plan the Perfect Child's Playroom! 
Include plenty of table space, as children use tabletop surfaces for activities ranging from arts and crafts to small block building, as well as sensory activities such as play dough.

If the play area will be a part of the child’s bedroom rather than a separate room in the house, there are plenty of layout options to ponder. For example, with the bed taking up a portion of the wall space, there may not be room for tables along the edge of the room. A table in the center of the floor is a wonderful alternative.

As usual, we only want to give our best when it comes to your personal home renovation and remodeling projects! Give Unique Home Building a call today and let us know how we can help!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Winterization Tips to Care for Your Home, Keep You Warm & Lift Your Mood!

Winterization Tips to Care for Your Home, Keep You Warm & Lift Your Mood!Maybe your closet is ready for the coming winter, but is your home? The fall has been
 beautiful so far with it's predictable changing leaves, rain showers and lowered temperatures. It can be easy to forget the important changes, both maintenance and esthetic, that are important for staying warm and comfortable during the fall and winter months. Below, are some helpful winterization tips and even ideas to keep that smile on your face when the grey skies hit. 

Care for your deck
Winterization Tips to Care for Your Home, Keep You Warm & Lift Your Mood!Decks get a lot of use during long summer days. By the time fall comes around, they can look worn out and old. Once the deck is cleaned off and all summer chairs and tables are stored away, power-wash the deck. This will remove any dirt that is stuck in the wood grain and will take away the gray color that decks fade to over time. Fall is also a good time to reseal the deck if you use a sealant or stain.

Entertain well
Fall and winter bring visitors and family together to share meals and celebrate holidays. Do you have room for everyone?  You can expand a dining or family room pretty easily and be able to fit more people into your home in a more comfortable way.  You may also think of adding skylights or other windows to bring in more light to these spaces and the sun becomes more dormant. 

If you have old, single-pane windows, you will lose a significant amount of heat in the wintertime. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient, double-paned upgrades can pay for itself quickly in heat savings. Check all exterior doors to ensure that they are insulated and that there are no gaps or cracks between the doors and the frames that could let heat out. If you have weather stripping around doors, make sure it is intact and in good shape.

Once all the autumn leaves have fallen, cleaning out the roof gutters will save you from building up ice dams that can damage the roof in the winter. Blow out the gutters with a leaf blower or spray them down with a hose. Check for holes or any other damage to the gutters and repair them before heavy snow or rain makes them worse. It’s also a good time to take a look at the roof itself and fix any shingles that are curling or any flashing around chimneys that has come loose.

Let the sun in
This could be a life saver in prolonging the warmth and glow of the summer months. Imagine a room addition, surrounded by windows that take in the heat of the autumn sun with the added bonus of a gentle ceiling fan and scattered indoor plants.  You'll have created your own oasis that is sure to bring you comfort and brighten the darker days to come!

Plumbing care

Plumbing lines that aren't insulated and are in unheated spaces are a major cause of power use, as the water heater must work extra hard to heat water.  Check all of your plumbing lines to identify those that are outside or underneath the house, or are in an unheated basement or attic.  Foam wrap all exposed pipes.

Sweat it out
The best way to combat the winter blues is to turn up the heat.  If you are able to build a sauna at home, you'll be benefiting yourself in so many ways. Your body will be sweating out toxins, germs and viruses it comes in contact with, your circulatory system will be more efficient to keep you warm and your skin will have a better moisture balance. Studies have also shown that saunas are a powerful tool to combat seasonal depression.  

At Unique Home Building, our contractors are dedicated to creating a home that feels like it's your very own. As fall will be here before you know it, let us help you get the planning started, so that as the seasons pass, you know you are prepared to take the best of each along with you!

Trying to Stay Warm? Here's Why A Gas Fireplace is the Best Solution:

Trying to Stay Warm?  Here's Why A Gas Fireplace is the Best Solution:When the temperatures drop, there's something so wonderful and inviting about a roaring fire; but hauling wood, stoking flames and cleaning soot?  What if you could have all the glory of cozying up to your loved ones and warming every layer of clothing, without the extra work and with far less cost? Well, if you are trying to stay warm, you may want to consider installing a gas fireplace, for a warm, personal and very unique home.
A natural fireplace has plenty of advantages that make it even more attractive to homeowners who are looking for not only style but also a savings on their energy bill.
Here are 15 advantages of a natural fireplace that may make your decision of choosing between gas and wood burning easier.

Number #1: Constant Heat

Unlike a log fireplace, a natural fireplace has constant heat supply.

Number #2: No Hauling

With a gas fireplace you will never have to buy or chop firewood or worry about harming a tree.

Number #3: No Sparks

Because there are no logs that mean no ashes or fly always that you have to clean.

Number #4: Energy Savings

A natural gas fireplace can save at least 25% on your energy bill

Trying to Stay Warm?  Here's Why A Gas Fireplace is the Best Solution:Number #5: Easy to Work

A gas fireplace can be turned on and off with the flip of a switch unlike a wood burning fireplace that can burn out without notice.

Number #6: Much Safer

The environment benefits nicely from a natural gas fireplace because there are no fumes or particles that are being released into the air or in your home.

Number #7: Stylish

There are numerous designs and styles in natural gas fireplaces that can add value to your home and look beautiful at the same time. From natural looking logs to beautiful grates, gas fireplace design has come a long way.

Number #8: No Chimney

A gas fireplace usually has a venting system which means they do not need a chimney.

Number #9: Warmer

There are gas fireplace models that have a blower already built in which helps to circulate the warm air throughout the home and not just in one area where the unit is places.

Number #10: Remote

There are manufacturers that produce natural gas fireplaces with a remote control similar to a TV remote making it easy to operate for anyone in the family.

Number #11: No Bans

There are States that have banned the use of wood burning fireplaces because of environmental concerns.

Number 12: Installation

The cost of installing a natural fireplace is often cheaper that a wood burning fireplace and can be easily installed by either a Do-It-Yourselfer or a professional.

Number #13: No Storage

Because a natural gas fireplace runs on gas, it is metered into the home by the local gas company. This is easier for the homeowner who doesn’t have to worry about storing natural gas at home or on the premises.

Number #14: Good for Kids

A natural fireplace is safer for children and pets since it is controlled and there are no fly away sparks or flames.

Number #15: No Creosote

Unlike a wood burning fireplace that needs to be cleaned along with the chimney die to a build-up of creosote, a natural fireplace does not.  {info credit to:}

At Unique Home Home Building, we are here for you, to do what's needed in your home in any season, in order to ensure your dwelling space fits your family personally.  Let our contractors get your home to the vision you have for it today!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Caring For Hardwood Floors: Tips for Care, Cleaning and Mistakes to Avoid

Caring For Hardwood Floors: Tips for Care, Cleaning and Mistakes to AvoidChoosing to install hardwood floors is one of the best choices you can make for your home. When cared for properly, they can add a sense of elegance, charm and cleanliness that can be missed with common carpeting. In many ways, they are much lower maintenance.  But in their everyday care and cleaning, you want to keep these tips in mind, to avoid mistakes and get better use in the long term and short. 

When cleaning your hardwood floors:
  • Use a soft cloth to blot spills and spots as soon as they happen. Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your floor.
  • Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly with the hard floor attachment (not the beater bar) to prevent accumulation of dirt or grit that can scratch or dull the floor finish.
  • For spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Don't use oil based, wax, polish, or strong ammoniated or abrasive cleaners.
  • Don't use steel wool or scouring powder.
  • Don't wash or wet-mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent, or any other liquid cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty.
  • Don't use any type of buffing machine.

Preventative Care

*Use exit mats upon entry.  Good quality entry and exit mats will help collect the dirt, sand, grit, and other substances such as oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer that can otherwise be tracked onto your flooring. Do not use rubber- or foam-backed plastic mats as they may discolor the flooring. To prevent slippage, use an approved vinyl rug underlayment.

*Use floor protectors and wide-load-bearing leg bases/rollers to minimize indentations and scratches from heavy objects. As a rule, the heavier the object, the wider the floor protector should be.

*Maintain a normal indoor relative humidity level between 35 and 55% throughout the year to minimize the natural expansion and contraction of wood.
  • Heating Season (Dry): A humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinkage due to low humidity levels. Wood stove and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.
  • Non Heating Season (Wet): An air conditioner, dehumidifier or periodically turning on your heating system can maintain humidity during the summer months. Avoid excessive exposure to water during periods of inclement weather.

*Remove shoes with spiked or damaged heels before walking on the floor. They many cause indentations in your flooring.

*Keep your pet's nails trimmed to keep them from scratching your flooring.

Those are our tips for today on proper hardwood floor care.  If and when you are ready to start your next home remodel or renovation project, give the contractors at Unique Home Building a call, and you'll be on your way in no time!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Time For a New Heating System? Compare the Benefits of Electrical and Natural Gas

Time For a New Heating System? Compare the Benefits of Electrical and Natural GasWhen considering the installation of a new heating system it's important to determine
whether you want to go with electric or natural gas.  But the options can be overwhelming, so we put a few facts together for you to compare the benefits of each. 

Electric Heat

Electric heating systems are available for homeowners who don't have access to natural gas lines or when natural gas is too cost prohibitive. Electric systems don't produce toxic waste products such as carbon monoxide. Electric heating is a cost efficient solution for homeowners looking to heat a three season room or a home addition. Baseboard or under the floor heating increases the comfort of a room that has tile floors, as these floors are otherwise cold during the winter months. Homeowners can choose an electric furnace, an electric boiler, or baseboard heating.

Natural Gas Heat

Time For a New Heating System? Compare the Benefits of Electrical and Natural GasNatural gas is an energy efficient way to heat a home. Gas furnaces can last for 25 years or more when properly maintained. Many people feel that gas furnaces produce a more comfortable type of home heating, as the indoor air is less dry with gas heat. Gas furnaces can be connected to a humidifier for added comfort during the winter months. In areas where the cost of natural gas is low, homeowners will enjoy low monthly heating costs when using natural gas furnaces to heat their homes.

Things to Consider

Choosing an electrical versus natural gas heater is a personal matter that requires careful consideration. Some of the factors that a homeowner should consider before making a purchase include:
  • How much space needs to be heated. A too-small heating system will leave the room drafty and cold, while a too-large heating system will result in unnecessarily high utility bills.
  • Utility rates. Homeowners may need to do some research about whether electrical versus gas heat will be the better economic choice in their region.
  • System durability. A gas furnace usually lasts longer than an electrical unit.
  • Maintenance and repair costs. Gas furnaces need annual maintenance to ensure the combustion chamber, burners, and fuel supply are in safe operating order. Electric systems should be tuned-up annually as well.
  • Cost to install the system.
  • Available tax credits. Federal, state, and local tax credits may be available for energy efficient home heating systems.
At Unique Home Building, we are dedicated to your home's comfort and efficiency. Let us know how our contractors can be of best use to you during your remodel, renovation or update!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tired of Being Sick? More Light In Your Home Can Make You More Healthy!

If you experience poor health or mood swings, light may be playing a major factor in it all. As a whole, our nights are too light and our days are too dark. Our adrenal glands, that regulate hormone production and sleep/wake patterns are totally thrown off, causing so many other parts of our bodies to be off balance as well.

Tired of Being Sick? More Light In Your Home Can Make You More Healthy!So in order to really benefit from proper light, you have to have the contrast.  Make sure your sleeping rooms have black out shades installed to give yourself the darkest environment for sleep and resetting your adrenal glands. You'll feel the difference. 

Tired of Being Sick? More Light In Your Home Can Make You More Healthy!As far as light, there’s an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in part because people aren’t getting enough direct sunlight. As many as three-quarters of the teen and adult populations in the United States may be deficient in this vitamin. This is bad, because vitamin D deficiency has been linked with increased risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, parkinson's and other diseases. 

Part of our sun deficiency is related to fear of skin cancer. However, what people should fear is any degree of sunburn. According to the Vitamin D Council, your body gets all the exposure it needs for health long before the skin starts to redden. So getting sun in small, frequent doses is healthier and less risky than avoiding the sun part of the year, then getting occasionally sunburned.

The takeaway here is that most people living outside the tropics just aren’t getting enough sunshine. And the best way to get sun is in small doses very frequently. 

Let the sun shine in

This fact can inform our decision making about home design and home investment. 

For example, where to invest on home improvement? Retile the bathroom or install skylights? Buy an expensive new TV and home-entertainment system or playground equipment in the backyard? Replace a wall with drywall or floor-to-ceiling glass windows? Add a pool table or a pool? 

One interesting possible upgrade is a “smart" skylight called the Ciralight Suntracker. With a typical skylight, a patch of sunlight is cast on the floor or wall of your home, and moves throughout the day as the sun moves. The Suntracker uses GPS, and mirrors track the sun throughout the day and bounce it directly down onto a diffuser. So as long as the sun is up, the skylight is capturing all available sunlight and beaming it into the house in a way that maximizes light. Most Ciralight customers are industrial or retail companies, but the company also offers home installation. The price is about $1,100 to adapt a commercial unit for a residence, and they're working on a 2-foot-square model for homes (price to be announced). If this sounds like a good option for you, the contractors at Unique Home Building would love to help you through it!

Science is telling us that lighting decisions can have far-ranging consequences for our happiness and well-being. Investing in darker nights and sunnier days may be the brightest idea for your family’s health. We are on your side.  Let us know where we can help!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Time for A New Home? Here Are Our Top 3 Tips to Keep Moving Easy

Time for A New Home? Here Are Our Top 3 Tips to Keep Moving Easy Moving isn't easy regardless of how prepared you are. But there are some things you can do to help you keep your sanity (and life organized) in the process.  If it's time for you to move into a new home, then now is a good time for us to share our best tips to keep moving easy. 
1. Purge, purge, and purge some moreMore 'things' means more to take care of, more to unpack, and more to move again. I am fairly relentless, if I don’t use it or love it, it goes. If we have boxes with multiple moving stickers on them that have never been opened, chances are good we don’t need it. (FYI – A lot of Goodwills will come to your home and pick up.)
2. Go through your drawers and put the little things in sealable plastic bags. The movers just can drop the bags into the box, and when you are unpacking, you can just dump it back in. Everything is together. This is especially helpful for junk drawers, utensils, underwear drawers.
3. About a month out, make appointments to have the utilities turned over or turned on. It is nice to have Internet on move in day, and not a few weeks later. It can be hard to get cable appointments during moving season. Also, call your current providers and let them know your move out day to turn off what you already have in your current home.
Whether you're buying, selling or even remodeling, Unique Home Builders are here to support you along the way.  Please contact us and let us know how we can best serve you!