Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Moving Soon? These Tips Will Keep the Process Efficient and Stress Free!

Moving Soon? These Tips Will Keep the Process Efficient and Stress Free! Nobody likes the moving process because it’s so much work. It’s no wonder that people tend to procrastinate and avoid doing the dirty work until the last minute.  Why? Because it’s exhausting. There’s always more to do than you realize and it’s always such a strain on your body and schedule. So really, you need options and solutions to make the process easier because you just don’t need all that extra stress! 

At Unique Home Building, our contractors work hard to make your house a home, and we know that every aspect of the process is important from the design to the big move in. We’re here to help this transition be as easy as possible and would love to share some of our best tips to reduce stress and help the move be smooth. 

Downsize. You know those things you keep carrying from house to house but never really use? Time to let these things go, or if they’re special, get a storage unit. The less you pack, the less you have to move and unpack. If it doesn’t have deep family meaning or if you don’t use it often, stick it in a box and drop it off at Goodwill. Other families will be wonderfully grateful.

Go room by room. Box things up one room at a time and keep things organized in the boxes the way they live in the room so it will be easy to find and unpack when it’s time. Also be sure to be detailed when you label the boxes. The more detailed you are, the less mystery and confusion. 

Use with smaller boxes. Many small boxes are easier to manage than large ones. The large ones get packed with more things and can become heavy and cluttered. Smaller boxes keep things organized and specific. Easier to put away and easier to transport.

Have a timeline and create a schedule you can stick to. This is how many details slip through the cracks, especially with things like dealing with your utilities. Utility companies need about a month notice to know you will be turning yours off, switched or turned on. Some require appointments that may be booked out 2 weeks. Don’t get stuck without phone, internet or gas, etc. Think ahead. Call your current and future providers and let them know your move date to determine the best on/off services days.

Create your team. Whether you hire movers or bring on a group of friends, don’t do this alone. Determine ahead of time who will do what and when and ask them to commit to it. Be sure to pay them a fee, in service or even in food and drinks to show your gratitude for them and compensate them for their time and effort! 

Moving doesn’t have to be the stress we know it to be. 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!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Need a New Heating System? See Benefits of Natural Gas Versus Electric

Heating is important to get right in your house. If you’re considering a new system, you have a big decision to make: Electric or gas? There are an overwhelming amount of options once you have made it past this decision, so here are a few facts that will help you at least lock in which type of heating you want in your home.

Electric Heat

Electric heating is the perfect solution for home owners who want to save on their heating bill or those who can’t access natural gas lines. Electric heating systems have an added ecological benefit of not producing or releasing toxic waste like carbon monoxide. It’s the way to go for a homeowner who needs a cost efficient way to heat a home addition or a three season room. Want some extra comfort? You can also consider baseboard or under floor heating on a tile floor that gets too cold come winter time. There are also a few options to installing your electric heat system, choosing between an electric furnace, baseboard heating, or an electric boiler.

Natural Gas Heat

Natural gas has the strong benefit of being an energy efficient home heating option. With the proper maintenance, a gas furnace can last for 25 plus years. Natural gas does not dry out indoor air as much as an electric heating system, and many people say that this makes natural gas a more comfortable option for home heating. In addition, you can connect a humidifier to your gas furnace for even more comfort during those cold winter months. Natural gas furnaces are a cost efficient heating option for them home in regions that have low natural gas costs.

Key Factors to Consider

The decision between using natural gas versus an electrical heater is a hard one to make that should be given thoughtful consideration. Here are some key factors that every homeowner should keep in mind before they decide which purchase to make:

      How much space do you need to heat? Your room can be left much too cold given a system that is too small, but get too big of a heating system and you will unnecessarily drive your heating bill through the roof.
      Utility rates. Before you decide what type of heating system you want to go with, make sure to research which type will be a better choice financially given where you live.
      System durability. Gas furnaces tend to be the way to go in terms of longevity compared to electrical units.
      Repair and maintenance. Both types of systems need occasional maintenance – usually about once a year. Make sure you look into the maintenance costs for each type of system.
      Installation. Costs will differ between system types for installation. Give this careful consideration as well.
      Tax credits. There are a number of varying tax credits you may be eligible to receive when it comes to energy efficient heating systems. Look into what credits you can get on the federal, state, and local level.

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!

Friday, February 24, 2017

7 Great Pot Drawer Ideas to Consider Implementing in Your Kitchen Remodel

 Pots, Pans, and Big Cookware Take Up Too Much Space in Your Cabinets. Use Drawers for Design and Convenience

Simple, straightforward pot drawers

The 21st Century has so far had its fair share of headaches. Our ever growing wealth, and what to do with it, is often one of them. It was not too long ago that all you needed in the kitchen was one pan, a select few different sized pots and a griddle and you could let your culinary dreams run wild. Enter the 21st Century and so many people seemingly have more than they could ever need: A non stick and regular set of multiple different sizes of cookware, a toaster and a toaster oven, an electric skillet, a crock pot, a rice cooker, and the list goes on and on and on…

Extendable pot shelves behind cabinet doors

We have so many tools and appliances in the kitchen and many of them get used once in a blue moon, if ever. The problem is that the hoarder in all of us says “I can’t throw this away, I might need it someday” and thus we are faced with a serious storage problem in the kitchen. One common kitchen theme among cooking enthusiasts is to hang cookware over a kitchen island. There’s some pros and cons here. On the one hand, you’ll make sure that every pot and pan is clean to a grade A restaurant standard so they can look beautiful left out for every eye to see. On the other hand, you have to take the time to clean them all with an extra helping of elbow grease, and often you’ll need impressive dexterity to get them down off of their hooks.

Pot drawers with a lid section

This leaves pull out shelves, lazy susans, and pot drawers, specifically large ones and preferably at counter height lower as the best option when it comes to cookware storage. Pot drawers done right make access a breeze and allow plenty of space for necessary and unused kitchen tools alike.

Seven Pot Drawer Ideas

1.     Work from your end goal backwards. Lay out every pot, pan, large, and heavy cookware that you have in your possession. Make some decisions. Do you need more? What else will you get if you do? Once you have an estimate in mind, think long and hard about how much space you’ll need to fit your end total.
2.     Are you a “put it wherever it fits” or “everything must have its place” kind of person? What about the other people in the house who handle kitchen responsibilities? This will help you decide between having more open space storage or a more organized approach. For young and some adult men, location charts can be helpful to keep everything in its place.
3.     Hardware’s importance cannot be underestimated when it comes to pot drawers. You buy the right hardware today and you won’t have to worry about pulling open those heavy drawers for 30 plus years.
4.     Do you want to store your lids separately or on your pots? If you want to keep them separate, make sure they will match easy, you don’t want another plastic container mess. Make sure too that keeping lids on pots won’t take up unnecessary space.
5.     Allow for two or three different sized drawers. Dedicate one for your largest cookware, one for frying pans and smaller pots, and maybe one more, depending on whether or not you want to keep lids separate.
6.     If you face an inability to make drawers because of lack of space on the walls, you can always opt for a stand alone unit with wheels. Bonus: you get more counter space.
7.     For even more great ideas on installing pot drawers, go to http://www.houzz.com/pot-drawers

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Simple Tips to Having the Green Home Remodel of Your Dreams:

Simple Tips to Having the Green Home Remodel of Your Dreams:You want to have a green home but there are so many options. So what do you start with and how do you know it’s the best thing for your you? Unique Home Building has worked with families and individuals over the years. This is why we want to share these important tips for every green home building or remodeling project.
Insert Fireplaces: Fireplaces inserts (rather than a traditional fireplace) that can burn logs and paper trash, has intake and outflow vents at the bottom and top (you shouldn’t need a circulating blower), has an easily operable damper, and sports large glass doors so you can enjoy the dancing flames. A fireplace insert is 50–75 per cent efficient and easier to operate. Another option would be a gas fireplace or dutch oven.
Install Efficient Windows: Having energy efficient windows will allow for better heat capturing in the winter and better eat filtering in the summer. The general differentiation of windows beyond style (double-hung, casement, sliding, etc.) is the glass or glazing and the framing material. There are three main types of frame materials, each addressing several lifespan aspects of the windows; wood, vinyl and aluminum.
Open Indoor Spaces: By removing useless corners, unused crannies, gun barrel hallways, seas of circulation around islands of furniture, and other chubby cubic footage indoors, not only will you be more comfortable in less space, you may have enough room in your home to install an office, have an exercise area (instead of driving to a dues-paying health club), and store more belongings (rather than rent a storage unit miles away). One of many clever ploys: Convert the usual wasted space between a row of studs into a hallway library or similar shelving. This can be done almost anywhere indoors.
Solar panels: Solar panels are a great way to conserve energy and utilize natural electricity.  To see if your home is a candidate for solar panels, go out on your roof on a sunny day mid-morning and see if the sun shines on it. Do this again mid-afternoon. If the sun shines through on the shingles for most of those in between hours, and your home isn't blocked by nearby buildings or hills, then you could be a great candidate for natural energy in your home!

Find a Skilled Contractor: You’ll have a better chance of negotiating successfully with builders if you know about the details that make for a green home. One good way to learn is to get a book on construction and decide what it is that's important to you and to communicate that to your contractor. Some options to consider are green roofs, rain storage collection and low voc paints. 
Unique Home Building is dedicated to making your home the finest quality living space you can imagine.  Call us today to see how we can make your home a place you love!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Add Value to Your Home and Spice Things Up! Top 10 Replacement Projects to do Right Now!

The Top 10 Replacement Projects that Bring the Highest Return on InvestmentReplacement projects are an amazing way to add value to your home. The best part is, you don't have to empty your pockets and lose your savings on a full remodel. The following replacement projects are a sure fire way to get the highest return on investment. Replacement projects are a great option simply because you can completely change the look of your house with a small price tag. Even just buying new windows, siding, and front door can completely change the look of your house and add sale value!

Here is our top 10 remodeling projects. Don't worry, these jobs are quite simple and straightforward. They will replace aged and worn components in your home that will update your house and can even add living space - all without expanding your footprint:


1.    Entry Door - Replace one of your entry doors with a mid-level steel door. You can do this upgrade relatively inexpensively - an average of $1,238 - in addition to strongly improving curb appeal and boasts a 73% pay back.

2.    Attic bedroom - Pop out a dormer, add a few windows, put in insulation, finish the walls and ceiling, improve the wiring and lighting and get HVAC extended into the attic and you have a great attic bedroom with a full bathroom. You'll spend around $56,000 and get a payback of about 76%. Many adult children are moving back in to their parent's homes and several aging parents move back into their children's homes. In fact, the Census Bureau shows that 18% of all American homes are doubled up. The result is that many people require more living space in their homes. Remodeling the attic is a cheap and relatively simple resolution to getting that necessary additional space. Alternatively, remodeling the basement is next in line for cost-efficiency regarding additional living space, but according to Alfano, the additional code requirements necessary to make it happen can add expense and complications.

3.    Windows - If you decide to go this route, upscale vinyl replacement windows have a 72% average payback on a cost of $16,123. These estimates are based on a project to replace 10 double-hung 3-by-5 windows. These windows have simulated wood-grain trim and are made with low-emissivity glass. *


4.    Mid-Range Garage Door - Garage door replacements are never the most coveted home project, but they have to be done. Don't worry, it adds a lot of function and curb appeal, plus it pays back an astounding 82.7% of its $1,535 average cost.


5.    Upscale Garage Door - Have a little more money to spend? Opting for a higher end garage door replacement is about double the cost of the mid-range door at $3,198. The upside: increase your payback to a whopping 86%! 


6.    Mid-Range Exterior Siding - New mid-range replacement vinyl siding upgrades the look of the home and pays back 69.5% of the $11,729 average price.


7.    Upscale Exterior Siding - Use upscale fiber cement to replace your existing siding. Siding has a great 79% average payback on an average cost of $13,660. this is on of the most cost-effective upgrade you can make on your house.


8.    Upscale Exterior Siding (option 2) - If you're looking for a little more insulation in your home, you can opt for foam-backed vinyl siding. The good news is no matter which type of siding you select, your costs will remain about the same and there's no advantage in terms of home value. Foam-backed vinyl siding averages to a cost of $12,299 and yields a slightly better payback of 79.8%.


9.    Mid-Range Kitchen remodel (minor) - This minor remodel boasts another great payback - 78.6% - on a modest $20,440 initial cost. A mid-range kitchen remodel will include new appliances, a new sink, new faucets, and laminate counter tops. You won't be able to touch the floor or rearrange the cabinets, but at least you can reface the cabinets and swap out your old hardware. "You're taking what's there and giving it a face lift," Alfano says. You can have a near brand new kitchen that will last for years for less than the price of a new car. Most consumers are moving away from more expensive features a chef's kitchens that involve moving electrical services, walls, and new plumbing.


10.   Wood Deck - What better way is there to give your house a quick facelift than to add a beautiful wood deck to your backyard? Fortunately, they aren't too expensive. At an average cost of $9,975 and a great 74% payback a deck is an affordable and easy way to add value and versatility to your home.

Before you rule out making any changes to your home remember, replacement projects are simple, affordable, and even profitable in the long run! We are eagerly waiting to help you out with whatever project you decide to take on next. At Unique Home Building, we make your home our priority, whether that means building, remodeling, or selling. Please don't wait; call us today!