Predictions for 2020's Housing Market

The Michigan real estate market is no exception, 2020 is projected to be a strong year in real estate.  Here are some pros and cons of buying and selling your home in the Michigan real estate market in 2020.

 

Mortgage Rates are on the Rise

Although rates are projected to increase in 2020, they are only projected to slightly rise. This means now more than ever is a great time to buy as they will only continue to rise over the next year or so, and you can still get a great rate!

Rent Prices Increase

Millennials are reaching the point in their life where they are having to make the decision of continuing to rent or becoming a homeowner. As rent prices rise it is becoming increasingly affordable to take on a mortgage. Many renters are finding they are able to take on a mortgage for the same, or at times, a cheaper monthly payment!

Low Inventory on the Market

Low housing inventory will continue into the new year, which will make it a great time for sellers. This trend will result in homes to selling quicker at a higher price. It's more important than ever for buyers to have a real estate agent working for them. Having an agent will get you the quickest access to homes once they're on the market.

Housing Prices on the Rise

As the demand for houses remains higher than the supply, many home prices will rise. Housing will become less affordable which will hurt Millennials and those that are renting the most. It's always best to work with a trusted real estate agent to best determine the listing price for your home. An experienced real estate agent has the knowledge and experience in your market and will be able to guide you to reach top dollar for your home.

The market for 2020 is really at a stage that can work well for both sellers and buyers.  Since rent prices are on the rise and mortgage rates are slowly increasing as well, now is a great time for renters to become homeowners!  with motivated buyers on the market and low inventory now is a great opportunity for sellers to get multiple offers on their home. If you are looking to buy, the first step is to consult an experienced real estate agent and get pre-approved for a mortgage.  Sellers will want to consult with a real estate agent for expert advice on their home value and the current market!

 

March 19, 2020

Pantry Organization Tips

A pantry is a great thing to have. Not only does it store all your dry goods in one place, but you can also use your pantry to better organize your kitchen. Whether it’s a space the size of a small closet or a walk-in the size of a small room, your pantry is an important part of your overall kitchen experience. With that said, do you ever wish that your pantry could do just a bit more? Here are a few ways that you can modify your pantry to add additional functionality and really get the most out of that storage space. Best of all, many of these ideas work regardless of how large your pantry is!

 

Multi-Height Shelving

Most pantries feature shelves, and most cases those shelves are fairly evenly spaced within the pantry. However, you can get more use out of the space if you break that symmetry up a little. Fit in more shelf space by leaving a shelf or two with a lot of headroom and then placing other shelves a bit closer together. If you really want to maximize the effect, install vertical dividers on shelves so you can have one side be tall and add a smaller half-shelf on the other side.

 

Baskets

Another great way to increase storage is to add baskets that slide out from under the shelves  when you need them. These baskets are available in different sizes depending on your needs and can be used for bagged items, loaf bread or other things that are light or fragile.

 

Zone Organization

To make better use of your pantry, consider designing a zone organization plan. A zone organization plan places your canned goods in one area, your pastas in another, breads and cereals in another … whatever groupings you want can work! You can modify each zone to meet the shelving and storage needs of whatever it holds. When you’re done organizing, add labels to the shelves to make items easier to find.

 

Tool and Utensil Storage

A lot of people think that a pantry is just a place to store food items. It’s also a great place to put your kitchen tools and other utensils so they’re out of the way. Add hooks or drawers in the pantry to hold lesser-used utensils so that they’re out of the kitchen but easy to find when you need them. 

 

Take Notes

Add a chalkboard, whiteboard or other writing surface to your pantry so that you can make shopping lists, jot down meal ideas or otherwise take notes without having to leave the pantry area. If the pantry has a door, you can even add a coat of chalkboard or dry erase paint on the inside to give you an extended note-taking area.

 

Door Racks

If you have spices, small containers or other small items to keep in your pantry, consider adding racks on the back of your pantry door as a place to keep them organized but out of the way. Depending on the type of door and what it’s made of, you can either install them directly to the door or simply use an over-the-door hanging rack.

 

Roll-Out Shelves

If you have limited space and want to make the most of it, consider investing in roll-out shelves or full-width drawers for your pantry. This lets you slide out the shelf that you need and access it all the way to the back so that you can place your shelves closer together than you might be able to with stationary shelving.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
March 16, 2020

Cleaning for the Coronavirus

There has been a significant amount of concern raised recently about COVID-19, a relatively recently discovered disease caused by a type of virus known as a coronavirus. A lot is still unknown about the virus and the disease that it causes, and this is causing some people a great deal of anxiety about it. Major conferences and events are being canceled, people are buying up supplies (even if they shouldn’t), and the internet is filled with memes teaching people how to wash their hands. COVID-19 has the potential to be a serious illness. Here’s some info that can help you to protect yourself, especially if you’re confused by some of the contradicting advice that you might have seen online.

 

What Is COVID-19?

Even though it’s mostly referred to simply as “coronavirus”, the virus that causes COVID-19 is actually a novel coronavirus that’s been designated “SARS-CoV-2” and sometimes referred to as “2019-nCoV.” COVID-19 itself is a potentially severe respiratory illness that typically presents with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. While most people who become infected with COVID-19 recover, the disease can be severe and even fatal. Those at greatest risk from COVID-19 are individuals older than 60 years of age and those with preexisting conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

 

Decluttering to Prevent Illness

If you want to clean up to try and prevent coronavirus infection, a good first step is to declutter your home. This will eliminate surfaces where the virus could linger, making it easier to disinfect your home and keep it clean. Decluttering can also have a positive effect on mental health and anxiety levels, which can improve your overall well-being and even provide a bit of a boost to the immune system.

 

Disinfecting Surfaces

The US Centers for Disease Control recommend disinfecting surfaces with regular household disinfectant wipes and sprays. While many of these have not been tested specifically for use against SARS-CoV-2, they are effective against some other common coronaviruses and are likely to at least reduce infectiousness if not kill the virus completely. Other household cleaners and disinfecting practices are also likely to be at least partially effective.

 

Handwashing Stations

One of the best defenses against COVID-19 is good handwashing practices. As such, make sure that you have soap available by every sink and clean towels ready for use after washing your hands. Printing out a guide to proper handwashing and placing it near your sinks can also be a good idea, especially if you have young children who are still learning how to wash their hands properly. If you have any, having hand sanitizer accessible for times when you can’t wash your hands is also helpful.

 

Don't Panic

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t panic. Don’t stockpile supplies that you don’t need, buy sensible amounts of the things that you do need, and take reasonable steps like avoiding large crowds and not shaking hands. One of the best ways to stay safe from COVID-19 is to keep yourself clean, keep your home clean and apply some common sense to your preparations for the disease.

Posted in Community News
Feb. 17, 2020

A Cost-Benefit Approach to Cleaning Services

Cleaning up around the house isn’t a task that a lot of people enjoy. It can be especially difficult if you have a big family or just have a schedule that seems constantly packed. There are probably times when you’ve thought that it would be so much easier to just hire somebody to come in and do the cleaning. And you totally can! There are a number of cleaning services that can provide you with the cleanliness and sanitation you require. The question is, should you hire someone? There are several factors that can go into the decision to hire a cleaning service. If you’re not sure whether you actually want to call in a cleaning service or not, here are a few things to consider.

 

How much cleaning is needed?

The first thing that you should consider is exactly how much cleaning there is to be done. If you only have a small amount of cleaning that’s needed at any given time, there may not be much of a benefit to not just doing it yourself. If you need more cleaned up, though, the benefit obviously grows with the workload.

 

How often is cleaning needed?

Another factor in how much of a benefit there is to hire a cleaning service centers around the frequency with which cleaning is needed. If you find that you really only need things cleaned up once every month or two, that probably isn’t an insurmountable task and there’s relatively little benefit based on frequency. If your home could use a good cleaning every week or possibly even a few times a week, however, there could be a huge benefit to hiring it out.

Of course, this should also be weighed against the amount of cleaning required; needing a significant amount of cleaning once a month might still provide a strong case for hiring a cleaning service. Even if cleaning amounts differ, such as one large cleanup followed by periodic maintenance cleaning, the overall benefit could still be substantial.

 

Do you have time to clean?

The amount of free time that you have can affect the degree of benefit you’d see from hiring a cleaning service. If you’re constantly busy and have very little free time, having someone else do the cleaning would provide a significant benefit. On the flip side, if you find yourself with hours of time in which you don’t have anything to do, you could put some of that time toward cleaning tasks; this would reduce the benefit of hiring a service.

 

Can you afford a cleaning service?

After you have an idea of how much benefit there is from hiring a cleaning service, compare that against the cost of bringing cleaners in. Look up prices or request quotes from some cleaners in your area to figure out how much of a financial burden the cleaning service would be. You might even want to develop a few different cost models, figuring out how much it would cost to bring them in weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even on demand.

 

Should you hire a cleaning service?

Once you have both your approximate benefits and costs figured out, it’s time to compare the two and make sure that there’s enough benefit to justify the cost. If the cleaning service would cause you a financial strain, then there would obviously have to be a substantial benefit for you to hire them. If it would be easy enough to fit their services into your budget, however, the requisite benefit to make it worth your while will be much less. Comparing these two factors will make your decision much easier and can provide insight into how often and to what degree you’ll want their services as well.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Feb. 12, 2020

What You Need to Know About Debt Consolidation

If you’re carrying around a lot of debt, the number of payments and the various interest rates you have can make managing it quite difficult. Some people choose to get this under control through debt consolidation. By consolidating your debts, you can reduce multiple items to a single payment with a single interest rate, making your finances easier to manage. Before rushing into debt consolidation, though, it’s important that you take the time to understand exactly how it works and what its benefits are. If you aren’t sure whether debt consolidation is right for you, here is some more information! 

 

Consolidating Your Debt

As its name implies, debt consolidation is the process of combining multiple debts into one that is (theoretically) easier to make payments on. Debt consolidation can even combine different types of debt such as loans and credit cards into a single debt. At its most basic, debt consolidation establishes a new loan or line of credit and then uses that to make payments against the other debts to pay them off. This leaves you with a single remaining debt. Depending on how you manage your consolidation, though, there may be a few differences in your experience.

 

Consolidation Loans

Taking out a loan to consolidate debt is one of the most common forms of debt consolidation. These loans are typically pretty straightforward, since the borrowed money is used to pay off existing debts and you simply need to pay off the loan after that point. In some cases, you may even be able to piggyback debt consolidation on top of a loan taken out for a purchase, borrowing extra to pay off existing debt. Just be sure to check with your lender to make sure this sort of use is okay before borrowing the money for it.

 

Credit Card Consolidation

Credit card consolidations typically occur when taking out a new card, using balance transfers to consolidate your existing balances to a single card. This is especially useful if the card has an introductory interest rate such as a 0 percent APR for six months or some other promotion. The theory remains the same, however; instead of having balances across multiple cards, you have only one balance to focus on and pay down.

 

Debt Management Programs

Though not necessarily a true “consolidation”, debt management programs are another way to get debt under control. These programs can negotiate with debtors, allowing you to make payments on a negotiated schedule without worrying about late fees and other costs piling up. You may have restrictions placed on you such as not being able to take out additional loans, but you will have the advantage of not having to work through getting your debt under control by yourself.

 

The Effects of Consolidation

Debt consolidation can have a major impact on your financial health, both improving your credit score and helping you to pay down your existing debts faster. It can also save you time and money, since you’ll only have one set of interest charges instead of multiple to keep track of. Best of all, most forms of debt consolidation won’t have a negative impact on things like buying a house since there isn’t a special classification to the loans or transfers in most cases. Even debt management won’t necessarily interfere, since its restrictions are usually focused on unsecured loans instead of secured ones like a mortgage.

 

What to Watch Out For

There are a few things that you should be careful of when looking into debt consolidation. Perhaps the most important is to avoid getting yourself even deeper in debt once you pay off the balance of your credit cards or other lines of credit. The goal is to pay off what you owe, so hold off on using your cards again until you’re more financially stable. You should also watch out for predatory lenders and fraudulent debt consolidation companies that will charge you a significant amount for things that you could manage on your own for free.

Posted in Community News
Feb. 3, 2020

Frequently Asked Mortgage Questions

What are the common fees in the mortgage process?

  • Application Fee –  An application fee may frequently include charges for property appraisal and a credit report.
  • Appraisal Fee – A fee charged by an appraiser to render an opinion of market value as of a specific date. Required by most lenders to obtain a loan.
  • Processing Fee – This fee is paid at closing. The Processor is the person who handles all paperwork requirements in getting your loan approved. He/She obtains verification's from your bank, employer, and other sources.

  • Title Search and Insurance Fees – The fee related to a check of the title records to ensure that the seller is the legal owner of the property and that there are no liens or other claims outstanding and Title Insurance to protect the lender (lender’s policy) or the buyer (owner’s policy) against loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property.
  • Origination Fee – The fee charged by a lender to cover administrative costs incurred during the processing of the loan, often expressed as a percentage of the loan amount.
  • Recording Fees – Fees charged by the County Recorder’s Office for recordation of Deed, Mortgage or Deed of Trust, and, at times, additional documents requiring public notice.

What are the steps in the mortgage process? 

How does an escrow work?

  • An escrow account is a separate account that holds funds for the purpose of paying bills such as homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Funds to cover these expenses are deposited into the account each month along with your monthly payment and then pays the bills for you when they come due. By taking the annual amounts charged for homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and other annually paid items and dividing them by 12, the escrow department establishes a payment amount that is added to your monthly principal and interest payment. Spreading the cost of these expenses over 12 months makes it easier for you to budget those expenses, and you won’t have to come up with additional cash when bills are due. For most loans, an escrow account is a requirement.

What is the difference between interest rate and APR?

  • Interest Rate – The interest rate is the cost of borrowing the principal loan amount. It can be variable or fixed, but it’s always expressed as a percentage.
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – The cost of credit on a yearly basis, expressed as a percentage. Required to be disclosed by the lender under the federal Truth in Lending Act, Regulation Z. Includes up-front costs paid to obtain the loan, and is, therefore, usually a higher amount than the interest rate stipulated in the mortgage note. Does not include title insurance, appraisal, and credit report.

What is private mortgage insurance (PMI)?

  • Private Mortgage Insurance is provided by a private mortgage insurance company to protect lenders against loss if a borrower defaults. Private Mortgage Insurance is generally required for a loan with an initial loan to value (LTV) percentage in excess of 80%. In most cases, this will mean that you will have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance if your down payment is less than 20% of the value of the home you are purchasing or refinancing.
Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 31, 2020

A Growing Trend: Home ownership Among Singles

When a lot of people think of buying a home, they picture it as a part of settling down and building a family. There’s a pretty good reason for this; couples and families do make up a significant portion of the home-buying population. But there is a growing trend among buyers that bucks this tradition: Single people have become increasingly likely to shop for a home in recent years.

 

The Importance of Singles Buying Homes

There are multiple reasons why the increase in singles buying homes is noteworthy. The uptick may be due in part to overall changes in society, with individuals marrying or starting families later in life, after trying to achieve stability. It also speaks to the increased economic power of the Millennial generation, with those in their 20s and 30s able to buy a home of their own even as they’re working on building a career. Of course, there is one other important thing about more singles buying homes that is easy to overlook. Those looking to sell their home may focus on making their property as appealing as possible to older buyers or those with families, missing out on this growing segment of homebuyers. Realizing that more singles are buying homes allows sellers to market their property to a wider range of buyers, increasing the likelihood of selling a home quickly and without having to compromise substantially on asking price.

 

Women as Homebuyers

One specific aspect of the increase in single homebuyers that is worth noting is the fact that single women are significantly more likely to buy homes than single men. In fact, as many as 1 in 5 potential buyers is likely to be a single woman according to recent trends. This is around twice as likely as a buyer being a single male. This difference is especially noteworthy when you consider that, on average, women typically earn only around 80 percent as much as men working in similar roles.

This is another point that sellers should consider when putting their homes on the market. Not only is it increasingly likely that singles will be interested in the property, but when they are, they will probably be women shopping for a home. This really shakes up old mindsets that focus on married couples buying with the husband as a negotiator trying to get the best price on the home purchase.

 

Attracting Single Buyers

Single homebuyers may have different criteria when shopping for a house than couples or families. They may look for smaller properties, homes with large yards for gardening or other characteristics that might not be as important to couples or families. Location can be viewed differently by single buyers as well; they are less likely to be concerned with school districts and proximity to parks or other family destinations, and more likely to consider proximity to work or attractions that appeal to singles.

Realizing how the priorities differ when it comes to buyers who are single versus couples and families can affect how you advertise the home you have for sale. Listings in areas that aren’t ideal for families can be targeted toward single buyers instead, focusing on those aspects that a single woman or man might find appealing. Even if you don’t target your sales specifically toward singles, being mindful of the differences can help you to create home listings that have a wider appeal across a range of potential buyers. 

Jan. 27, 2020

All About Insulation

Insulation is an essential part of your home. Not only does it help keep the home warm during the winter, but it also plays an important part in keeping you cool during the summer. Once you start looking at the different insulation options that are available, though, the whole thing can get a bit confusing. To help you make sense of it all, here are some of the basics you need to know about home insulation.

 

How Insulation Works

Insulation works by providing a physical barrier to the transfer of heat through parts of the home such as the walls, ceiling and roof. Depending on the type of insulating material used, it may simply provide a barrier to heat transfer, or it could actually reflect some of the heat back in the direction it came from. In the summer, this means that heat is prevented from entering from outside; in the winter, the insulation stops heat from moving out of the house.

 

Understanding R-Values

Insulation effectiveness is measured by R-Value. The higher a material’s R-Value is, the more resistant it is to heat penetration. Insulations that have a higher R-Value tend to be thicker or made of denser materials able to resist greater amounts of heat transfer than thinner insulations. Some forms of insulation may have a lower R-Value but are still effective; an example is aerosol can spray foam, which can’t be placed very thick, but seals out air. So keep in mind that R-Value isn’t the only measure of how effective insulation is.

 

Types of Insulation

Insulation isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all product. There are different types of insulation available to meet different needs. Though the specifics of different insulation types may vary, these are the most common types of insulation you’ll see:

  • Batt Insulation – This is what most people think of when they picture insulation. Batt insulation comes in rolls of material such as fiberglass or cotton that is applied in walls, floors, ceilings or other areas where large amounts of insulation is needed.
  • Spray Foam – As the name implies, this insulation comes in the form of a liquid foam that is sprayed onto the surface where insulation is needed. The foam expands and hardens, providing a layer of insulation that can fill gaps, cracks and other areas that other insulation types often miss.
  • Blown-In Insulation – Similar to spray foam insulation, blown-in insulation is applied by a blower instead of coming in rolls. Instead of originating as a liquid, however, this insulation is made of small bits of fiberglass or cellulose and fills in the area where it is blown. It provides excellent heat retention and creates a sound barrier where applied as well.
  • Radiant Barriers – A specialty insulation generally made of layers of perforated aluminum, this insulation is applied in the attic walls and rafters in areas with warm climates. The insulation reflects radiant energy from the sun, reducing attic temperatures and making heating and air conditioning more efficient.
  • Window Insulation – This can come in the form of films applied to the window surface, plastic sheeting applied over the windows or even insulation built into the windows themselves.

You may encounter other types of insulation as well, though they are typically intended for more specialty uses than those listed here.

 

Air Sealing

Even high-quality insulation can’t do much if there are cracks and gaps in your walls or foundation that let air flow in and out freely. Finding and filling cracks with a sealant is an important part of insulating your home. There are different sealants available for this purpose, though spray foam insulation works as both an insulator and an air sealant.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Jan. 24, 2020

Get Snow Storm Ready!

Winter weather has a way of catching people by surprise. Even if you know a snow storm is coming, the amount of snow or speed of accumulation can sometimes take you by surprise. Unexpected snow can create a number of dangerous situations, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible in case a snow storm hits. Here are a few ways that you can be ready to face snow storms or other hazards that winter might throw your way. Some of these tips may be useful for facing down other types of bad weather as well. 

 

Get Travel Done Early

If you need to go to the store, help relatives get ready for the snow or otherwise get out on the roads, try to get everything done as early as possible. If you can, try to be back home before the snow falls. If that’s not an option, head out at your earliest opportunity and avoid the temptation to break the speed limit. You shouldn’t waste time, but trying to rush increases your likelihood of an accident, so avoid going too fast while you’re behind the wheel.

 

Stay Inside

Ice and low temperatures typically accompany snow storms, so it’s best to stay inside where it’s warm. This will also eliminate the risk that you might slip on ice and injure yourself in a fall. Also remember that this rule applies for pets, too; either bring them inside or provide a safe and warm place for them while the weather outside is frightful.

 

Stock Up

Dry goods and canned foods are important staples to have when the snow is coming down outside. They might not be as tasty of an option as fresh-cooked meats and other meals, but the tastier options are sometimes harder to cook if your power is flickering due to the snow storm. Be sure that you include pet food, bottled water and similar items that you might not always get on a shopping trip! 

 

Stay Warm

Power outages can be a real hazard during snow storms. Make sure that you have multiple blankets available to cover up with in case the power should go out for a while. Home generators or even portable generators can be very useful if the power goes out, but remember to keep them outside as they often produce dangerous exhaust. The same goes for gas-powered heaters; you shouldn’t place them in the house since it can be hard to ventilate the gases that can build up when using those heaters indoors.

 

Have a Plan

Before a snow storm hits, take the time to develop a plan for your family in case of snow emergency. This should include making sure that everyone in the house knows where emergency supplies are located, how any generators you have work and other details like whose responsibility it is to go on a grocery run or evaluate potential damage after the snow stops falling. Make sure that you include something in your plan about checking in on your neighbors as well, since it’s important to make sure that nobody gets stuck in the cold once the snow starts to fall.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Jan. 9, 2020

Ice Build-Up on Homes

 

When the weather is cooler than cool, it can turn ice cold. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of ice on and around your home. There are few things that can make you lose your chill faster in the winter than ice-related falls or damage to your home. Excessive ice build-up can create a number of potentially dangerous situations during the winter, so knowing what causes it (and more importantly, how to prevent it) is an important part of staying safe as temperatures drop.

 

Ice Build-Up

There are a few different ways that ice can build up during the winter. The most basic ice buildup is just a thin layer of ice that covers large portions of the house, sometimes accompanied with snow or other precipitation. This usually isn’t that big of a deal. Of greater concern are large icicles, sheets of ice and snow that build up on the roof, frozen gutters and built up ice at the edge of the roof known as an ice dam. These can be dangerous in several ways, both to you and to your house.

 

Frozen Gutters

When ice freezes in your gutters, it places extra strain on the screws or clips holding the gutters in place. Overflow can result in icicles hanging from the gutters, and if the buildup gets too heavy it can actually pull the gutters away from your roof. This is particularly dangerous because that heavy ice can then fall to the ground… bringing part of your gutter with it.

 

Ice Dams

If a portion of your roof becomes warm enough to melt some of the snow and ice on top of it, an ice dam can form. That melted snow or ice will trickle down the roof as water, reaching the eaves or gutter and encountering much colder materials where it will freeze again. This process continues until there is a buildup of ice at the very edge of the roof, with liquid water attempting to flow underneath it. The ice can overflow onto your gutters, while the water forces its way under shingles and possibly through other materials until it freezes and expands. The longer the ice dam continues this process, the thicker it becomes and the more damage it can do.

 

Other Forms of Ice

Ice sheets and icicles also present dangers during the winter. Icicles form when liquid water gradually drips at the same spot over time, freezing more and more until it grows large enough to potentially break free and fall to the ground. Ice sheets form similarly to ice dams, but instead of melting entirely the heat of the roof only melts a small portion of the ice sitting on it. The remaining ice is able to shift under its own weight due to the thin layer of water underneath it, and in some cases may slide down the roof and fall to the ground.

 

Removing Ice Build-Up

Care should be taken when trying to remove any form of ice build-up. Don’t use any sharp implement as it can damage your roof, gutters or walls. Instead, tap away at the ice with a blunt mallet or pole. Work in small sections, making sure that there is someone with you to brace your ladder in case the ice shifts. Apply a calcium chloride ice melter to the ice beforehand, if possible, to melt as much of it as you can (but don’t use rock salt or other chemicals that can damage your home.) Take every precaution you can before you start trying to remove the ice, because even when you’re prepared, it can be dangerous.

 

Preventing Build-Up

To prevent ice build-up, work on improving ventilation in your attic to ensure even heating and consult an energy efficiency expert to see if there are other steps you can take. Use a snow rake to remove snow and ice buildup from the roof before it can become a problem, and clean your gutters thoroughly before winter weather sets in. If you have a continuing problem with build-up, you might also consider replacing some or all of your existing roof with a standing-seam metal roof with a water-repellent membrane underneath it.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Jan. 2, 2020

High Traffic Flooring Options

A nice deep pile carpet can look great in your home, but if you have a lot of foot traffic then it’s just asking for trouble. Not only will you have to work harder to keep it clean, but you’ll also have to replace it sooner than you’d like because all those feet and shoes will leave their mark over time. If you want nice-looking floors without worrying about your own personal parade wearing them down before their time, you need to find a flooring option that’s better suited for high-traffic areas.

 

Laminate Flooring

An increasingly popular option in homes, laminate flooring uses laminated wood slats with images applied to them to create the look of a premium flooring option without the premium price. Laminate is available in a wide range of sizes and types. If you want something a bit different than standard laminates, some companies are also now making vinyl flooring that functions similarly to laminate floors but with the water resistance and other benefits of using vinyl.

 

Natural Stone

If you really want something that can stand up against some foot traffic, consider going with natural stone. These stone tiles add a touch of beauty and class while giving you the wear protection that only stone can provide. Depending on the option you choose, this may run a bit more expensive than other options, but there is very little out there that can match the look of stone in the end.

 

Concrete Flooring

Though this may sound unappealing when you first think of it, there’s a lot that can be done with concrete flooring. You can add color, stains, etchings, stamps and even embedded features such as stones or tiles to really bring the floor to life. Best of all, you already know that concrete can stand up to a lot of traffic and use without showing any wear, so you won’t have to worry about your floors showing their age for quite some time.

 

Hardwood

Another option, which can be a bit pricey depending on the wood you go with, is hardwood. There is very little that can beat a hardwood floor when it comes to beauty and wear resistance. You have several woods to choose from, each giving the floor its own touch of color and personality. The maintenance of hardwood is a little higher than some other options if you want to keep it looking its best, but the little bit of extra time you spend keeping up your floor is more than worth it.

 

Ceramic Tile Flooring

There are a lot of benefits to using ceramic tile in your high-traffic areas. Tile is versatile, comes in a wide range of colors and styles, creates a classic look, and is relatively easy to repair and replace if individual tiles get broken. Don’t worry that the look of ceramic tile is dated, either; while you might think that tile will give you the generic “tile floor” look of decades past, modern ceramic tile is truly a sight to behold.

 

Traffic-Resistant Carpet

Yes, carpet isn’t always the best flooring option for high-traffic areas. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t carpeting options available for rooms that see a lot of use, however. Not only are there low-pile carpets and other options designed with higher-traffic use in mind, but you can also get carpet tiles and other carpet options that are both easy to maintain and easy to repair if parts of them start showing a bit too much wear.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance