Friday, May 29, 2015

How to Prevent Mold in the Home After Water Damage

How to Prevent Mold in the Home After Water DamageMold spores spread easily and cannot be completely eradicated. Mold can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can't see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.  Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and, rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health.
So what can you do if you're concerned about mold growing in your home? Let the expert contractors at Unique Home Building help you out. The truth is, as with most things, the best way to treat mold is through prevention. How do you prevent mold? Controlling the moisture in the home. And in the current torrent of rain storms and flooding, this is an important prevention to take. 

Dry wet areas immediately. 
Mold can only grow with moisture, so be wet areas right away. Water that's gotten into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulated from a leaky pipe, even just spills on the carpet need to be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you've been hit negatively by the flood, make sure to remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can't be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don't leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower.

Identify the problem areas in the home and correct them. 
Where are the problem areas in your home? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. (Contact a contractor) Whatever the case, address the problem now. 

Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. 
It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn't invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan. 

Texas has a lot more water than normal and it needs to be dealt with quickly to avoid a domino effect of disaster. Mold is a bad thing to have in the home, both for the house and for your health, so be sure to deal with it quickly! Please contact us at Unique Home Building for help and assistance. 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Reduce Your Risk: How to Prepare Your Home for a Flood

Floods are happening more than most homes can handle and for the safety of our homes
and families, it's important to be prepared. At Unique Home Building, our contractors are trained to deliver professional, high quality work. As you see things need to be done, be sure to have them done right by a skilled and licensed contractor. In this hard time in Texas, please send your prayers and love to the many families devastated by the recent flooding, and take further precautions to protect yours.

Reduce Your Risk: How to Prepare Your Home for a Flood
How to prepare your home for a flood: 

  • Hire a licensed electrician to raise all electric components at least 12 inches above the expected flood levels for your area to avoid electricity connecting with water. 
  • If your home has a basement, it is wise to hire a licensed plumber or specialized contractor, to install an additional back flow valve, to help prevent any sewage from backing up into your basement as a result of a flooded sewer system. However, this won’t be very helpful if flood waters pour into your basement or house, but would be useful in instances where more minor flooding affects the sewage system, but not your actual house.
  • Make sure the slope of your slope directs water away from the building.
  • Be sure to anchor your fuel tanks, otherwise, they can be torn free by floodwaters, and the broken supply line can cause contamination or be swept downstream and damage other properties. 
  • Create an evacuation kit, complete with all important papers, phone numbers, insurance documents, medications and other important things you may need, in the case of sudden emergency or evacuation.

When a flood is about to hit:

If you find out that a flood is about to hit, you'll be thankful you followed the above steps well. It's still good to act fast, and make sure the following list is completed:

  • Clear all property drains, gutters and down spouts of debris and roughage.
  • Roll up an and all area rugs, and store them on higher floors or elevations of the home. This will help avoid the likelihood of rugs getting wet and growing mold. 
  • Make sure all damageable furniture and electronics off the floor, particularly in basements and first floor levels. 
  • Place all appliances, including stove, washer and dryer on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Have your evacuation kit prepared and ready (with all important papers, phone numbers, insurance documents, medications and other important things you may need) just in case your are forced to be away from your home or business for several days.
  • Have an inspection done on your pumps and drains to ensure proper operation. If a pump has a battery backup, make sure it is stocked with fresh batteries.
  • Shut off your electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets are likely to be under water.

After the flood:

  • You want to act quickly to decrease the odds of loosing furniture and accumulating rust, mold, or structural problems. 
  • As soon as it's dry and safe enough, disconnect all electronics/electrical equipment and move them to a dry location.
  • Try to remove as much of the standing water as possible from inside the building using buckets and high absorbency towels. 
  • Ventilate all wet areas with fans or use dehumidifiers to dry out the house once electrical outlets are safe to use.
Floods are happening more often than we realize and it's so important to be prepared. Take the steps today to see what your home needs to be better prepared for a flood or other natural disaster and remember, the contractors at Unique Home Building are only a phone call away. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Beat June Gloom with These Easy Home Brightening Tips!

Beat June Gloom with These Easy Home Brightening Tips!It's great that summer is coming,  but in most places, the coming of June is the coming of June gloom! It can be really hard on the emotions, because you are excited to enjoy the ease of summer but you're experiencing emotional twist that comes with winter. 

So to beat those June gloom blues, try these easy home brightening tips!

Add Glass

This is a great option for both front and back entries.   It allows more light and looks very classy and welcoming.  However, some may feel concerned about their privacy.  If that's the case, there are many options, such as reeded or etched glass, for maintaining privacy while allowing light in. Another idea would be to place some white or sheer curtains along the door to pull shut in times when you'd rather not be seen as well.  Talk to our contractors about your options!

Beat June Gloom with These Easy Home Brightening Tips!Windows

Adding large and plenty of windows allows more possibility for the light to enter in.  This is especially helpful if you are dealing with low ceilings or deep eaves.  Consider walls near fire places or even in the kitchen, replacing a  section of your cabinets with an extra or larger window instead.  Another place to add window is in a stairway or landing.  This is great because the light is able to reach in and bring a bright warmth from top to bottom. Want to take it a little further? Add some brighter colored painting to the stairwell and landing as well.  When the light comes in, it will bounce of the bright accent colors and leave the area looking more cheerful as well. 
Talk to our contractors about your options!


Basically the miniature version of skylights, tubular day lighting devices (TDD's) are a fantastic option for places that need more light but want to remain private- like bathrooms or walk in closets. Larger skylights are great to brighten up dark kitchens, attic spaces, bedrooms and the upper halls and landings.  These are a great option but also bring in a lot more heat.  So I would suggest placing them in the cooler areas of the house and also the West or Northwest facing areas; as it's more enjoyable to have the welcome of morning sun enter in rather the heat of the evening sun.  
Talk to our contractors about your options!

Color and Mirrors

I understand that some of those modern fixes may be too much for the bank.   So here is my most budget friendly point.  Add color and mirrors.  If this is all you can do, do it well!   Many may say that adding brighter color to a dark room is your best bet.  However, this tends to back fire and the color looks muted and muddy. Sometimes your best option is to embrace the dark room and fill it with rich color.  This allows you to enhance it's naturally cozy nature instead of hitting the - um - wall, repeatedly out of frustration.  Go for rich deep blues or charcoal even and instead, accent with whites and light wood.  Bring in natural metals like copper and silver on vases and fixtures to keep the feeling balanced.   And lastly?  Just add mirrors.  From one large mirror, to a cluster of various mirrors, this is helpful in most areas to add the illusion of more space and even to allow light to bounce off.   
Talk to our contractors about your options!

Inside Doors

Interior doors are helpful to us as they not only separate one area (visually) from another, but they also provide soundproofing, which has proven to be very beneficial in today's open floor plans. So why not replace those heavy solid doors with some lovely french doors?  French doors can separate a long hall from a family room quite easily while also providing a way for rooms to share more light and avoid shutting other rooms off, leaving the space looking open and beautiful.  I have to say, they look quite nice as well! 
Talk to our contractors about your options!

Isn't it great to know that you no longer have to just 'deal with it'? But don't tackle it alone. Please, call us at Unique Home and let us know how we can help you make these changes easily and in a way that fits your budget. 

Wishing you a happy June!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Get Your House Summer Ready With These Quick and Easy Design Tips!

Get your house summer ready with these quick and easy design tips!Summer is a time to kick off your shoes and relax. Make sure your home sets the mood!

Whether you are ready for a total remodel or just a few tips here and there, Unique Home Building is ready to help turn your house into a home you love! 

Get your house summer ready with these quick and easy design tips!

Play with Color!
Play with color as you update your home. Have fun with it! But also make sure you don't over do it. A good rule to keep to is to mix and match three bright colors to give your home an update. The colors can be a mix of both vibrant and muted.  Just make sure they are complimentary to each other and don't feel overwhelming.  One idea is to take these colors and buy your accents with them included, such as vases, espresso cups and pillows!

Make it Bright
Get your house summer ready with these quick and easy design tips!Just add flowers! Summer arrangements should look casual and organically put together. So if this is your first time, relax and know you can't really go wrong here!  Just start placing them in the ways that feel simple and best! 
Want an edible alternative? Fill a white bowl with either lemons or Granny Smith apples and petals, as a centerpiece. Nothing says summer quite like a pop of floral and fruity colors!

Love the Light
During the summer, the sun rises earlier and sets later, and all that extra light can lift one's spirits and set the mood for summer. One of the best ways to enhance the natural lighting in a room is to add mirrors to your decor. Place a floor mirror in a dark corner of a room to brighten your space from the ground up, or hang a mirror on the wall to allow sunlight to bounce off it and onto the other walls of the room.

Keep it Simple
Summer is actually the time to reduce your decorative footprint. It's an airy, breezy time and you want your decor to reflect that.  Trinkets and small decorative pieces are great, but can really feel cluttering in the summer.  Consider storing a few of these items away for the season.  Another way to add minimalist freshness is to remove cases from accent pillows and reveal their white casings.  Increasing the presence of white in your decor allows you to keep the stuff but without feeling overwhelmed by it.  If you'd like to keep them covered, consider a fitted white cotton or lace crochet case!

You are going to feel wonderful and relaxed in your home this summer using these simple ideas. Think about what you've read, look around and see what you can do.  You may already have what you need at home.  If not, you can take a quick, affordable trip to the store and grab a few simple staple items.

Enjoy the season upon you and relax.  Unwind. Enjoy!

For more home update ideas, remodeling tips and home renovation planning, visit us atUnique Home Building and let us know how we can help!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

How to Update Your Window Coverings to Add Style, Color and Ambience!

How to Update Your Window Coverings to Add Style, Color and Ambience!Windows are one of the most important parts in the rooms of each house but also some of the most forgotten and passed over. If you're looking to bring some life, light or mood into the room, then windows are the place to start. 

At Unique Home Building, we do everything from updating homes to building them scratch. So we know what homes need to add character and that sense of "home" everyone is looking for. 

If you're ready to handle your windows, here's how to update your window coverings to add style, color and ambience!

Remember that Prices Vary

Depending on your needs and the window's size, prices can run the spectrum from inexpensive aluminum mini-blinds to state-of-the-art, remote controlled, vertical type shades with sheer coverings costing hundreds per shade.

A qualified window coverings expert can help you make the right choice for your home’s interior, for both function and beauty at a price you can afford. 

Do You Know Your Windows?

Not every covering is right for every window. Depending on the type of window (sash or casement), some products will look and function better when properly measured and professionally installed. For example: If the window to be covered is a sash type, for the best light control and privacy, the window measurement should include the trim around the window opening and the head rail installed to the top of the wood frame. 

If you have fancy decorative moldings and want to avoid holes from the attachment brackets, they can be installed just above the moldings using extension hardware. The key is that the shade should overlap the window opening about three and a half inches to control the light and privacy.
This not only provides the proper function, but when the shade is fully lowered, the edges of the blind will extend to the edge of the wood frame around the window. Otherwise your shade will look like it is too small for the width of the opening, much like a cheaply made suit. 
Choosing the right window decor isn't as daunting as some may believe. We feel it's a wonderful finishing touch and accent in every home. 
At Unique Home Building, we love helping your house to become the home you're wanting. For more information on our remodeling, building or other contractor services, please contact us today!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Remodeling Your Home is Way Easier With These Simple Planning Tips!

Ready to remodel your home but don't know where to start? That's the biggest reason people end up never really having the home of your dreams. At Unique Home Building, we cover your needs spectrum, from small changes to building a home from the ground up. The secret to getting from idea to realization is the same, no matter what the project. 

You always get there with one consistent step at a time.  The truth is, there are two parts to that secret. Taking steps and taking them consistently. The biggest mistake you can make when wanting to create the home you love, is to imagine these lofty visions at their greatest without planning the steps to get there. 

In our experience as professional contractors, we've worked with many families and individuals in the greater Dallas area, and we've seen some patterns and habits worth noting.

Start with an easy and workable to-do list. Many people fall head over heels for the latest apps and gadgets. But I have found that so many people do much better with a simple sticky note or day planner list. It doesn't mean you're lazy or unintelligent.  All these different tools can leave you spending much more time trying to organize or consolidate your list, leaving many of your items undone.

Keep it in 3's.   I remember seeing a Tony Robbins talk about being overwhelmed with too many things to do.   But many times though our list has 10 things on it, it's likely they can be grouped into 3 (or 4) groups.  Home, family & work.  That's the first step. Once your list is organized into categories, you may find that you can narrow it down even further to your top 3 priorities and then another list of 3 secondary things to do.   At the end of the day - you'll likely get 6 things done!  But at the very least, you'll get the most important things done first - leaving you feel accomplished and at peace with your performance. 

Have an idea book!
This is the number one idea we have.  Paper, phone, moleskin, iPad...  whatever. little things you remember, ideas & responsibilities should all go to one place. You know how it is - an idea will come to you and you love it! .... but then you forget it. With an idea book,  you can reference this list at the end of the day an organize them accordingly. 

Keep your ideas organized. 
Remodeling Your Home is Way Easier With These Simple Planning Tips!Your life is busy and organization is what keeps it more simple. That capture pad is able to keep you from forgetting the important tasks and ideas that pop into your head.  At the end of the day place tasks on to your categorized to-do list and ideas either into your work planner or artistic/idea outlet space.  ...which brings me to another point-

Make your heart your home and a place in your home for your heart.
In the hustle of life, it's important that your home not just be a place you live, but a place you grow. What moves you? What makes you feel good? Make sure your home accommodates for your needs, interests and personal development. In your idea book, make sure to include a section of what you enjoy. Do you need an art room? A fitness area? A reading nook? Take care of your needs during your planning. 

Study color.
Color holds a lot of influence in the making of your home. Bright reds can cause stress or creativity, depending on where they are placed and how they are combined. In most cases, blues are calming and nurturing, but add too much grey in them, and they will feel cold and empty. Start to notice how colors make you feel, which ones make you happy, motivated, sad, tired or relaxed. Write that down. See the patterns. 

Simple or busy?
Are you a minimalist or do you prefer a lot of knick-knacks and memorabilia? There's no wrong answer here, it's just important to be honest with yourself and see what really nurtures you. I've known many people that are minimalists at heart but just don't know how to let go of their decor, and it really adds stress to their home. 

If you are ready to make some changes in your life, you don't need to be overwhelmed by the process. As long as you know and are consistent with the basic steps, you'll be on your way to a better home in no time. Be sure to call the contractors at Unique Home Building today and see what steps would be needed for your home project!