Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Benefits of Screened in Porches and How to Know If They're Right For You!

The Benefits of Screened in Porches and How to Know If They're Right For You!Once you realize the incredible benefits of a screened-in porch, you just might put it on the top of your home improvement list! From parties to relaxation, don’t let another summer (or any other season) go by without creating this enjoyable home getaway. 

Not sure if it's for you? Consider this.

Unique Home Building knows what makes a good home. A screened porch that's attached to your home can be turn into the perfect spot for you and your family to enjoy on lazy summer days or in the crisp fall mornings. With a roof over the porch, you won’t have any worries about overexposure to the sun, wind or other elements. At the same time, being surrounded by screens, allows fresh air into the porch and home without letting in all the bugs.

Here are the Benefits of Screened in Porches: 

Enjoy the Seasons
With screened panels, your porch will only stay as comfortable as the temperatures outdoors. You can increase the time you’re able to use your porch if you construct additional panels for use in place of the screens during cooler weather. With plexiglass panels, suddenly your summer porch becomes a three-season porch that stays comfortable during the cooler spring and autumn months.

Add Style to Your Home

Depending on the style of your home, you’ve likely got plenty of options for designing and building your screened-in porch. Generally, the way it works, is that screened porches are built with wood framing that supports the screen panels. You have the option of keeping it simple or making it more formal, stained and finished. It's great for the resale value as well.

With a screened porch built onto your home, you suddenly have new opportunities for entertaining without worrying about the extra bugs or unpredictable weather. With enough space on the porch, you can add normal outdoor furniture like lounge chairs, hammock's, wicker chairs, a casual dining table, and even a coordinating sideboard for dining pleasure. Want more elegance? Add an informal chandelier over the dining table and perhaps a ceiling fan over the seating area for added comfort and illumination! As a bonus, add a grill just outside the porch door and you'll have a convenient bbq and cooking spot.

The extra room will give your a more spacious living environment during the summer months when you just want to stretch out and relax. You might use the screened porch for hobbies, dining, visiting and just hanging out with a cup of coffee and a good book. The natural setting and sounds that surround you when using the porch can be relaxing and rejuvenating.

With consideration of these basic benefits of a screened-in porch, you may wonder why you haven’t constructed a porch before. The opportunities for enjoyment of your new porch should make all the work and effort worth it. Contact Unique Home Building, and get plans for your porches started today!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Increase Your Home's Value with a Proper Home Remodel Plan!

Increase Your Home's Value with a Proper Home Remodel Plan!Remodeling your home can increase the value of your home but only if you about it wisely and with proper planning. It's important not to get ahead of yourself and stick to what's the highest priority. 
At Unique Home Building, we've walked many people through the process and have learned the do's and don'ts. Start slowly. List the things you want to change and the updates you would like to make. Don't worry about organization, just write it all down. Take a guess on how long you may want to live in the house. If you're planning on selling, talk to your realtor and make a selling plan.
Once you have made a plan, do research or talk to a realtor to see what sort of return those improvements may bring. Some improvements will add considerably more value to your home than others. Now, it's time for the fun part. You ready? Increase your home's value with a proper home remodel plan - starting here!
Increase Your Home's Value with a Proper Home Remodel Plan!Start with one room at a time. Make the commitment to tackle one room at a time. Whether it's a simple coat of paint or knocking down a wall, by tackling one room at a time you keep projects achievable.

Make a list of all the things you dream about doing and break down your list into sections that help you get an idea of the time each task will take. This will help you not only get but see results in real time. Make sure you schedule your projects in the time frames you can actually complete them, that fits your level of comfort and budget frames. That's a big one right there. It's important to stay within your comfort zone or else it will be stress filled and frustrating. 

Small improvements make a big difference.  Are you torn between improving your home's decor, versus making upgrades you know will increase your home's resale value? Many homeowners are surprised to find out that even doing just a little bit will actually pay off greatly.
Get out some paper and make two lists. One list will be those that upgrade your home value and the other list will be for upgrades that are just for you. Some of these upgrades might include replacing old faucets, permanent lighting, new windows and doors. Upgrades for you are furniture, artwork, skylights and window treatments. With this plan, you will see real progress.
You don't have to spend a fortune on a home remodel that isn't meant for you. Now is the time to choose exactly what you want to do, and how you want it done. Once you make your list, you'll know what the priorities are. That's when you'll call the contractors at Unique Home Building. Bring your excitement to us and we'll put it to good use! Call us today!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Considering a Basement Remodel? Here are Some Important Things You Need to Know!

Considering a Basement Remodel? Here are Some Important Things You Need to Know!Basements no longer have to be considered the dark place in the house full of storage and spiders. You can actually create an inviting and beautiful space down there, with the bonus of adding even more usable square footage to your home. (that ups the resale value too!)
When done tastefully and planned well, remodeling a basement can be a fun and exciting adventure that keeps giving back!

At Unique Home Building, we love helping your house to be the home you dream of, and it's important to consider the details in the process. 

Here are a few important things you need to know about basement remodels:

Be Legal. Be sure to check with your insurance agent before jumping in with both feed. Some finished basements may not be insured and sometimes bedrooms are added but won't count in the total of bedrooms when you sell the house.  Know the facts before committing. But once you know the facts and are ready, the adventure can begin!

Water. Being prepared for flooding is so important regardless of your location, because it always CAN happen; so plan ahead. If you don't have a system in place to deal with the water, choose a flooring material that can handle getting wet, such as the tile shown in this basement. If you don't have a floor drain, get one installed. It's best to get a drain that ties into the storm drain directly or that drains into a pit with a sump pump in it. If you pay for these systems up front, you won't be paying to replace furniture, rugs and appliances later. In addition to waterproofing, you'll want to plan ahead with proper plumbing. Make sure to have a plumbing expert advise you to the best direction for new plumbing. 

Natural light. Natural light is often in short supply in a basement. In this picture, the kitchen was placed by the lone window to maximize sunlight in the prep area. Also, many building codes require a second way to exit the basement if the space is going to be finished. Get more light and satisfy code requirements by installing an egress window and window well. An egress window is big enough for a person to exit through it, and the well allows more light into your basement. To avoid water problems, have a drain installed at the bottom of the well.

Height. Think about how you plan to use your finished basement. If you want to exercise down there, you may need more headroom. Lift your arms overhead. I need an 8-foot ceiling to do that. Will you be standing on a treadmill? Height can be one of the biggest challenges in basement remodels. Do your best with what you've got - and make sure you've got great ......

Lighting. The most critical component to making a basement a place people want to hang out is good lighting. Because the ceilings in a basement are usually lower than elsewhere in the house (like we said above) light reflected up off the ceiling — like the ambient lighting in this tray ceiling or the sconces on the wall — is better than light directed down. 

Those are the basics you need to know about basement remodels. Obviously, there's always more to learn and prepare for, but you're not alone. The contractors at Unique Home Building are here and ready to answer your questions and join you every step of the way. Call us and schedule an interview today!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Important Steps For Success Everyone Must Know Before Building a Green Home


Important Steps For Success Everyone Must Know Before Building a Green HomeBuilding a green home can be a simple and joyous experience when you are properly educated and equipped for good planning. The contractors at Unique Home Building are experts in home building and want to help you through the process the best we can. 

Your home is important to us. So here are some important tips and steps for success you must know before building a green home. 

What Makes a Building Green?

A green building, also known as a sustainable building, is a structure that is designed, built, renovated, operated, or reused in an ecological and resource-efficient manner. Green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently; and reducing the overall impact to the environment.

What Are the Economic Benefits of Green Buildings?

A green building may cost more up front, but saves through lower operating costs over the life of the building. The green building approach applies a project life cycle cost analysis for determining the appropriate up-front investment. This method calculates the costs over the useful life of the asset.
These and other cost savings can only be fully realized when they are incorporated at the project's conceptual design phase with the assistance of an integrated team of professionals. The integrated systems approach ensures that the building is designed as one system rather than a collection of stand-alone systems.
Some benefits, such as improving occupant health, comfort, productivity, reducing pollution and landfill waste are not easily quantified. Consequently, they are not adequately considered in cost analysis. For this reason, consider setting aside a small portion of the building budget to cover differential costs associated with less tangible green building benefits or to cover the cost of researching and analyzing green building options.

Steps to Ensure Success

  • Establish a vision that embraces sustainable principles and an integrated design approach.
  • Develop a clear statement of the project's vision, goals, design criteria, and priorities.
  • Develop a project budget that covers green building measures.  Allocate contingencies for additional research and analysis of specific options.  Seek sponsorship or grant opportunities.
  • Seek advice of a design professional with green building experience.
  • Select a design and construction team that is committed to the project vision. Modify the RFQ/RFP selection process to ensure the contractors have appropriate qualifications to identify, select, and implement an integrated system of green building measures.
  • Develop a project schedule that allows for systems testing and commissioning.
  • Develop contract plans and specifications to ensure that the building design is at a suitable level of building performance.
  • Create effective incentives and oversight.
Building a green home not only benefits the health of yourself and family,  but also the environment. You have the options of customization in any way that suits your needs best, from heating to sustainable gardening! Let the contractors at Unique Home Building know your needs today and get the process started! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

5 Reasons Why Building a New Home is Better Than Buying:

5 Reasons Why Building a New Home is Better Than Buying:If you're having a hard time deciding whether to buy or build your own home, you're not alone. We want to help you with that decision. At Unique Home Building, we know homes. From renovation to building from scratch, we are experts in our field and want to leave you with inspiration and peace of mind. 
Each choice will come with its own individual benefits and challenges. With an existing home you don’t have to deal with construction and land costs or a moving timeline that may be extended, but you also inherit the previous homeowner’s problems. With a new home, the benefits are pretty obvious: customization, fewer repairs and the satisfaction of knowing your home is distinct and one of a kind.
If you’re interested in a new home, here are five reasons why building a new home is better than simply buying: 

You Call the Shots. When deciding to build new, you have the freedom to customize every inch of a home to your liking, whether you want a custom master bath with an enormous tub or a chef-caliber kitchen where you can prepare gourmet meals. You get to choose the paint colors, the design, the countertops, flooring and fixtures—basically everything down to the door knobs. It’s a unique experience that every homeowner deserves to have. 

Location: Building your home from scratch gives you the freedom of deciding where that should be! With an existing home, you are more limited. You might love the interior but not be so thrilled with its location on a busy street or facing an interstate.  When you build a custom home, you also purchase the land where it’ll sit, which means you get to choose the community—and to a certain extent—your neighbors. It’s a definite plus, especially since location is so closely tied to resale value.

Green Choices: New builds are usually more energy efficient than older or existing homes because of new construction standards. Many newly built homes have either a 5 or 6-star energy rating. Some new home builders also use green or recycled materials. Though these materials may increase upfront construction costs, they eventually end up saving you money because your custom home will be more energy efficient. At Unique Home Building, we have what you want to create the green home you're dreaming of!

Avoid Repairs: One of the biggest challenges with buying an existing home is that you’re also buying the previous owner’s hardships. A worn out roof, an old furnace or water heater—these are all problems that become yours once you buy. When you custom build your home, you minimize the repair costs and maintenance because everything is new. In addition, many homebuilders also offer at least a one-year warranty on certain workmanship, which is added protection just in case something stops functioning properly in your new home.

Higher Resale Value: If you’ve taken the time and effort to build a custom home, we’d hope you’d live in it forever. However, lifestyle or job changes may cause you to sell. But there’s an upside—custom homes usually have more unique selling points than existing homes in terms of energy efficiency, style and features. These things can attract great buyers who may want a unique home, but whose lifestyle isn’t suitable for the new construction process.

There are several benefits to building a custom home, but the tops ones are quality craftsmanship and service. At Unique Home Building, we specialize in quality work and service. If you are interested in creating your own unique home, contact us today for more information!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Get Your Home Ready for Spring, With This Easy List for Spring Cleaning Home Care!

Get Your Home Ready for Spring, With This Easy List for Spring Cleaning Home Care!Spring is coming faster than we can keep up with and we wanted to make sure you weren't swept off your feet in the midst of all the cleaning!

A beautiful home starts with quality home care.  At Unique Home Building, we work with families all the time to create and build a better home.  But without the home care, the home just isn't a home. 

To make sure you're home is ready for Spring, use this list and keep it simple for yourself!
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure they are directing water away from the house.
  • Cut back tree limbs and shrubs growing within five feet of the house or that are brushing up against the roof. You will create better ventilation, help dry out surfaces and prevent possible damage.
  • Check for and repair cracks in driveway/sidewalk. Spring is the best time to seal cracks in the driveway or any other concrete.
  • Pressure wash your deck/patio and bring outdoor furniture out of storage.  Make sure to wipe down each piece thoroughly prior to placing on a freshly-washed surface.
  • Check garden hoses for dry rot and inspect hose faucets for possible freeze damage that may have occurred during the winter months.
  • Clean/condition your outdoor grill by first rinsing all outside surfaces with water.  If grease has loosened on the grill grates and inside of the grill, wipe off using grill cleaner and paper towels. Follow by washing with a mild detergent and water. Rinse well and wipe dry.
  • Check for possible damage to the roof.  Look for missing, cracked or broken shingles and make note of any needed repairs. For safety reasons, you may want to consider hiring a qualified professional to take care of any repair work that needs to be done. 
Try not to be intimidated by the list. Simply do one thing at a time and get people to help you! Unique Home Building, has certified and trained contractors that are more than ready to help, so be sure to call!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Are Solar Panels Really Worth the Work? Here's What You Need to Know

Are Solar Panels Really Worth the Work? Here's What You Need to KnowYou can run your home on far more efficient and cost effective energy by installing and using solar panels. Not only are these an easy choice for you and your home, but they are also sustainable for the health of the environment. 
When we, at Unique Home Building, work with individuals and families in the construction or remodeling of their home, we love providing them with the options they need for their comfort and their health. 
So, are solar panels really worth the work? Here's what you need to know.
Advantages of Solar EnergyThere are plenty of excellent reasons that equate to advantages in using solar energy. Here are some advantages in using solar energy.
The abundance of Solar Energy
Even in the middle of winter each square meter of land still receives a fair amount of solar radiation. Sunlight is everywhere and the resource is practically inexhaustible. Even during cloudy days we still receive some sunlight and it is this that can be used as a renewable resource.
You don’t pay for sunlight.
Sunlight is totally free. There is of course the initial investment for the equipment. After the initial capital outlay you won’t be receiving a bill every month for the rest of your life from the electric utility.
Solar energy is getting more cost effective.
The technology for solar energy is evolving at an increasing rate. At present photovoltaic technology is still relatively expensive but the technology is improving and production is increasing. The result of this is to drive costs down. Payback times for the equipment are getting shorter and in some areas where the cost of electricity is high payback may be as short as five years.
Solar energy is non-polluting
Solar energy is an excellent alternative for fossil fuels like coal and petroleum because solar energy is practically emission free while generating electricity. With solar energy the danger of further damage to the environment is minimized. The generation of electricity through solar power produces no noise. So noise pollution is also reduced.
Solar power can generate electricity no matter how remote the area as long as the sun shines there. Even in areas that are inaccessible to power cables solar power can produce electricity.
Solar energy systems are virtually maintenance free.
Once a photovoltaic array is setup it can last for decades. Once they are installed and setup there are practically zero recurring costs. If needs increase solar panels can be added with ease and with no major revamp.
Solar energy is not only sustainable, it is renewable and this means that we will never run out of it. It is about as natural a source of power as it is possible to generate electricity.
The creation of solar energy requires little maintenance. Once the solar panels have been installed and are working at maximum efficiency there is only a small amount of maintenance required each year to ensure they are in working order.
We are happy that you are considering adding these sustainable options to your home and are happy to answer any questions you might have. For home building and remodeling, call the contractors at Unique Home Building today!  ( benefits of recycling )

Monday, March 2, 2015

Feeling Down? This Home Improvement Lifts the Mood and Creates Better Health!

Feeling Down? This Home Improvement Lifts the Mood and Creates Better Health!A cure to depression that works finally here. Research shows people suffering from depression need daylight. Unique Home Building, experts at home design, wants to let you in on the secret.  
We need daylight, for example to regulate our biological clock, which needs light to makes us feel fresh and well-rested in the morning and tired at night. But also during the day, daylight affects our well-being and our mood. Daylight affects human performance too. Swedish research has shown that students in windowless classrooms have much more trouble concentrating and cooperating than students in classrooms with good daylight. 

Daylight indoors is a combination of sunlight, skylight and reflected daylight.
Sunlight is light radiated directly from the sun that shines in through the windows. It gives the room character with strong light and shadow effects while reaching further into the home especially in spring and autumn when the sun is low in the sky.

  • Is the part of the daylight that is scattered and redirected by the atmosphere. It can be available together with sunlight, or alone (eg. on cloudy or overcast sky conditions).
  • Gives the room a soft and uniform light, but decreases with the distance to the window. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to see the sky from the areas in the room where you need plenty of daylight.

Darkness and depression

  • The darker the season, the more light our organism needs. When there is not enough light, the production of the hormone serotonin decreases and the production of the sleep hormone melatonin in the brain increases. In other words, on dark winter days our bodies feel as if we are on our way to bed.

Using skylights not only ease symptoms of depression but also enhance the beauty and design of the house. Natural light is allowed to enter into a room from above, giving modern look to the room.

All in all, adding skylights to the home is a wonderful way to increase the mood and better your overall health. Of course it's important to nurture the other parts of your life, but this is a great first step and way to feel good in the process. At Unique Home Building, we are happy to help you determine exactly what's best for you and your home. Contact us today!