Author: Alex Bleier

Is it too early to prepare your home for winter?

It’s always easier to make winter preparations (home maintenance) in the summer and fall. Prepare your checklist now and get these chores out of the way before the cold(er) weather sets in. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll be prepared.

Check your heating and air conditioning systems:

Most heating and air conditioning systems typically last 12 to 15 years. With proper maintenance you can stretch that to 20 years. Change your heating units filter and having the heating system inspected by a reputable HVAC contractor.  Test out the system to make sure it’s working properly.

Paint, caulk and seal exterior wood:

All of the wood trim on the exterior needs to be protected from the elements. The wood used on your deck is typically a pressure-treated or rot-resistant species of wood, but the wood trim around your exterior doors and windows is just a one-inch-thick pine board that deteriorates very quickly if not protected. Protect it with paint and caulking. Make sure your deck is properly protected with stain and sealant.

Seal your masonry and hard surfaces:

Make sure your concrete patio, driveway or walk is properly protected. Apply a concrete sealer to all of your flat exterior concrete surfaces. All concrete flatwork eventually develops cracks. Inspect your concrete and fill in any cracks before you apply sealer so that water cannot get in and freeze over the winter. Don’t forget to reseal your asphalt driveway to prevent deterioration.

Check your drainage:

Check the soil around your foundation and fill in low spots if it has settled. Water / ice can create cracks in your foundation. Check your rain gutter downspouts to make sure water is getting moved away from the home. Add downspout extenders if necessary.

Clean your gutters and install gutter guards:

Once the leaves are off the trees, it’s time to clean the gutters. If feasible, install gutter guards to eliminate future gutter cleaning tasks.

Clean your chimney and order firewood:

Get your fireplace cleaned and inspected before you start building those cozy fires in the Fall and Winter. Pre-order firewood to get the best price.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors:

Most house fires happen in the Winter. It’s the time of year when we’re blasting the furnace and building fires. We are also much more likely to have our home closed up tight, so carbon monoxide is a much bigger hazard. Check all your smoke detectors to make sure they are working and the batteries are good. If your home is not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, consider getting some. The HVAC inspection will also ensure your furnace and water heater are properly vented, which is the most likely source of carbon monoxide.

Shut down the pool and the sprinkler system and drain outside faucets:

Make sure your pool is properly shut down and prepare the system for winter. I think it’s worth the costs of getting an expert to inspect and shut down the system, even if you’re a do-it-yourselfer the rest of the year. Fall is a good time to get pool work done if a problem is discovered. Pool contractors tend to get busy in the spring.

Make sure your sprinkler system is properly shut down for the season. It’s well worth the cost for a professional to blow out your sprinkler system.

Your outside water faucet will freeze over the winter. Sometimes freezing splits the water line well inside the home, flooding the basement. Simply shut off the water valve to your outside spigot, then go outside and open the exterior spigot valve and let the water drain out of the line.

Prepare your lawn for winter and set it up for a great spring:

For a beautiful spring lawn, you have to give it attention in the fall. New grass does not grow when it’s too hot or too cold. If you want new grass to grow, you really only have September and October, then April and May to do it. If you neglect the fall, then you’ve cut your time in half. Late September is a good time to aerate the lawn and overseed it. Then in late October or November, apply fertilizer with winterizer.

Check your trees:

Take a look at your trees and make sure they’re still healthy, especially trees that could fall on your home or a neighbor’s home. Don’t think a dying tree will be obvious. Sometimes you really won’t notice, especially if you have a lot of trees.

Make sure your attic doesn’t become a critter hotel:

Your attic is the perfect winter home for squirrels and birds – these critters can cause a lot of damage and potentially create health problems. Make sure your trees are trimmed well away from the house, and make sure your gable vents are intact. It’s a good idea to tack a screen up behind your gable vent just in case.

Do a quick energy audit:

A professional energy audit is a good investment. Fall is also a good time just to check your door seals. Make sure you’re not seeing daylight around your exterior doors. Take a can of spray foam insulation and fill in around those drafty outlets and light switches.

Prep your expensive lawn and yard care equipment:

Before you put your lawn equipment away for the season, Drain the gas from your lawn equipment before putting it away for the winter. You can also just put a fuel stabilizer into the gas if you want to keep it on hand. Plan to do one really good trim job at the end of the season to run the fuel out of the weed eater. If you used your pressure washer this year, then make sure the gas is out of that as well. Run some pump-protecting antifreeze through the system. All this equipment is expensive; take the time to protect it.

Cover your patio furniture:

Protect your patio furniture protected – wait for a warm clear day to paint it so you don’t trap moisture on it.

Prepare for snow removal:

If you live in a snowy area, dig out the snowblower and fire it up before the big one hits. Make sure it’s ready for that snowy morning. If it’s not, get it repaired now. Take inventory of your salt and shovel situation, make sure you’re ready when the big snowstorm hits.

New home remodeling trends that can enhance the value of your home:

Maintenance-Free Siding

More and more, people are choosing maintenance-free that lives as long as we do, but with a lot less upkeep. People are opting for fiber-cement siding, a fastest-growing segments of the siding market. Maintenance free siding combines cement, sand, and cellulosic fibers that looks like wood but won’t rot, combust, or succumb to termites and other wood-boring insects.

Call us today to upgrade your siding: (650) 400-3600

Convertible Spaces

Forget “museum rooms” used twice a year, or dining rooms, embrace convertible spaces that change with your needs. For example, foldaway walls turn a private study into an easy-flow party space. Walls can consist of fancy, glass panels or they can be simple vinyl-covered accordions.  A Murphy bed that pulls down from an armoire-looking wall unit can turn any room into a guest room.

Call us today to repurpose your living space: (650) 400-3600

New Laundry Room

A major laundry room advance came as it arose from the basement to a louvered closet on the second floor where clothes live. Now, take it a step further and give your washday a room of its own. If you’re thinking of remodeling, turn a mudroom or extra bedroom into a dedicated laundry room,  big enough to house the washer and dryer, hang hand-washables, and store bulk boxes of detergent.

Call us today to create a truly useful laundry room:  (650) 400-3600

Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen remodels open up space, perhaps you can  incorporate a lonely dining room, create a large pantry, and so on. New appliances make cooking easier and more energy efficient. Often the entire family now helps prepare dinner – could you use a double prep sink or dual-prep islands with lots of counter space and pull-out drawers.

Call us today to upgrade your kitchen: (650) 400-3600

Electrical Repairs & Installation

Our homes are using more energy than ever before, and the electrical system that was installed decades ago may not have the necessary capacity to handle the electrical load required of it today. Whether you need 100-amp, 200-amp, or 400-amp service, our professional electricians will help you size and install an electrical service panel that will meet your needs now and into the future. In addition to installing ceiling fans, we provide all types of outdoor and motion lighting systems: Pathway & Walkway Lighting, Step & Deck Lighting, Spotlights & Flood Lights, Pool Lighting, as well as LED Lights & Solar Lights. Call us today for all your electrical repair and installation needs: (650) 400-3600.

Summer Home Improvement

Summer is a great time to start a home improvement or upgrade project. Have you been putting of an improvement you’ve always wanted? This is a great time to replace your home siding, replace your windows, build a deck, install an outdoor kitchen or firepit, renovate your kitchen, or upgrade your bathroom.

Call us for a free estimate: (650) 400-3600

Making the Most Out of Spring With a Home Improvement Project

Spring is the perfect time to start checking off that ever-growing chore list. To motivate your spring-cleaning efforts, consider a home improvement project, add a deck, install outdoor lighting, finish your basement / water-proof it, paint the outside of your house, add a new room / accessory dwelling unit.

Spring officially began March 20, what a better time to start a new project. One of the very best ways to get pumped up is to spell out your priorities for your seasonal bucket list, then work your way through it.

How about upgrading your ceiling fan or your HVAC? One of the best things you can do to prepare for warmer weather is to make sure that your air conditioning system is operating properly and efficiently before it kicks into high gear.

Or, you could start that KonMari project you’ve considered for a while: KonMari for All: Part With the Excess—Are you crazy for this ultra-popular organization method—made famous by Marie Kondo in her book and Youtube video: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. KonMari can help you do a massive purge so that your space is prepped for deep cleaning and that new home improvement project. The idea is that you keep only what “sparks joy” and get rid of everything else. Once you’ve purged the excess, you can get serious about installing new storage racks, investing in storage cabinets, or a new closet system.

As a premier Bay Area construction company, we can help with your improvement projects – call us at: (650) 400-3600

Check out some new home design ideas

Check out some of the new Cali home design trends at https://www.california.com/californias-hottest-home-decor-trends/

Spruce up your home with a new kitchen or bathroom design. Check out some new types of paneling and lighting to enhance the look of your home.

Check out 6 top interior design trends for luxury living in Cali: https://www.thepinnaclelist.com/articles/top-6-interior-design-trends-luxury-living-california/

Give us a call at (650) 400-3600 to get a free estimate for your new design ideas.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)

What are ADUs?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have been known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. No matter what you call them, ADUs are an innovative, affordable, effective option for adding much-needed housing in California. HCD is the state’s leader on local ADU ordinances, which — while optional — have grown exponentially in number as more cities, counties, and homeowners become interested in ADUs as one solution to increasing the supply of affordable housing.

What are the benefits of ADUs?

  • ADUs are an affordable type of home to construct in California because they do not require paying for land, major new infrastructure, structured parking, or elevators.
  • ADUs can provide a source of income for homeowners.
  • ADUs are built with cost-effective wood frame construction, which is significantly less costly than homes in new multifamily infill buildings.
  • ADUs allow extended families to be near one another while maintaining privacy.
  • ADUs can provide as much living space as many newly-built apartments and condominiums, and they’re suited well for couples, small families, friends, young people, and seniors.
  • ADUs give homeowners the flexibility to share independent living areas with family members and others, allowing seniors to age in place as they require more care.

What are JADUs?

Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are allowed to be created within the walls of a proposed or existing single-family residence and shall contain no more than 500 square feet. JADUs offer additional housing options. They may share central systems, contain a basic kitchen utilizing small plug-in appliances, may share a bathroom with the primary dwelling, all to reduce development costs. JADUs present no additional stress on utility services or infrastructure because they simply repurpose existing space within the residence and do not expand the dwellings planned occupancy.

New! New laws effective January 1, 2020

The Legislature further updated ADU and JADU law effective January 1, 2020 to clarify and improve various provisions in order to promote the development of ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs). These include allowing ADUs and JADUs to be built concurrently with a single-family dwelling, opening areas where ADUs can be created to include all zoning districts that allow single-family and multifamily uses, modifying fees from utilities such as special districts and water corporations, limited exemptions or reductions in impact fees, and reduced parking requirements. Please see the Accessory Dwelling Unit Technical Assistance memo (PDF) for more information.

Additional State Level Information

CALGreen Building Standards

Many CA municipalities adhere to the CALGreen Building Standards for residential and commercial properties: click here to check it out.

Stone Patios

STONE PATIOS: Call us (650) 400-3600 to install a great stone patio. From your design to the completion of the job, our team of deck and patio builders will handle every step of the construction process with the finest quality of work in the Bay area.

CUSTOM CARPENTRY-

We are proud to offer complete custom carpentry services from design to installation, giving your home or boat the look and feel that you’ve always dreamed of. Our custom carpentry services includes:

 

   > Cabinets – Kitchens & Baths
   > Crown Molding / Chair Rail
   > Door / Window Casing
   > Wainscoting / Baseboard
   > Wood Paneling
   > Hardwood Flooring
   > Fireplace Mantles
   > Built-In Entertainment Units
   > Wine Cellars
   > Decks / Fencing
   > Basement Refinishing

 

From your design to the completion of the job, our team of professional carpenters will handle every step of your project with the finest quality of work in the Bay area. Consider adding a little extra flair to your home or boat with custom carpentry designed to your specifications.

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