Things To Know Before Building a Deck

A deck can be a perfect oasis for enjoying company and relaxing. A deck can be diligently crafted to fit your specific needs but requires considerable planning and decision-making before a project can break ground. This week, we’re telling you everything you need to know before adding a deck to your home. 

Purpose and Function

Decks are versatile spaces that can be used for entertaining, outdoor dining, relaxation, and so much more. The first thing you should do is identify the purpose and function of your deck and design the space accordingly. For example, if you want a shady area, a deck should be placed under trees and feature an awning, but if you want to use it to work on your summer tan, it should be placed in an area with all-day sunshine. If the deck will be a place for hosting barbeques and parties, ensure easy mobility between the space and the kitchen.

Location

Determining the function of your deck will help you figure out the ideal location. You should be sure that you’ll be able to scale the deck to the size of your property, maximize your view using the scenery around you, and have easy access to bathrooms and kitchens. 

Privacy is an essential factor that should be considered in the planning process. Sometimes, there is not a perfect spot for a deck that’s 100% private. If you have to settle on a location that may be in view of neighbors or the street, you may consider adding privacy measures such as screens or fences. 

Budget 

Your budget is another critical factor that will impact what you can do with a deck realistically. The cost of materials, size, permits, labor, furniture and lighting add up quickly. Make a spreadsheet of every projected expense and call around for a few different estimates for the above expenses. 

Materials

Wood is the obvious choice for decking material, but there are quite a few options to choose from that affect maintenance and cost. The most weather-resistant option is pressure-treated woods like pine, cedar, and redwood. If you’re looking to be eco-friendly composite materials made of recycled wood diners are easy to maintain but will be more expensive. Plastic planks are another great option that resist rot but tend to get very hot in the sun. 

Choosing a Contractor

Choosing the right contractor can be challenging. However, a trustworthy contractor can help ensure you know the local codes and regulations and will typically take care of the logistics for you. Our Guide of questions to ask before hiring a home contractor will safeguard you and your home from fraudulent contractors and a deck-building disaster. 

Conclusion

Building a deck doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Have more questions about adding an outdoor addition to your home? Contact us today!

The Laundry Chute That Broke The Internet

 A robotic laundry chute has taken the internet by storm this month. A video shared on Twitter of the world’s first vacuum-powered laundry chute has racked up over 11 million views and thousands of replies.

What is the Laundry Jet?

The Laundry Jet is the first vacuum-powered laundry chute that transports laundry from any room with ports installed, to the laundry room. Unlike a traditional laundry chute, the Laundry Jet can be used regardless of if a home is a multi-level or single-story because it is not reliant solely on gravity. It can be installed seamlessly into any custom laundry room design and existing laundry rooms. It has been highlighted as a convenient and safe way to transport clothes to the laundry room from any room in the house.

Online Criticism

While the laundry jet may provide a solution for those living with mobility issues, the high-tech home addition has received an overwhelming amount of negative reactions online: 

From those criticizing the over-complicated design and waste of energy:

To those who had legitimate concerns over the potential danger the contraption has for people:

Other users voiced concern over the dangers of a suction device concerning household pets:

Cost

The Laundry Jet system is a pricey investment in the name of convenience. It ranges in price from $2,400 to $15,000 depending on the size and number of ports. The pricing includes an estimate for the pipe but does not include installation or delivery. Installation can take from 1-3 days depending on the house. Free quotes are available within 1-3 days using their online quote request form

Conclusion

Would you add the infamous Laundry Jet to your home? Leave us a comment down below and feel free to contact us for all your renovation needs!

Does Your Bathroom Need a Bidet?

The bidet is a universal fixture in bathrooms throughout Europe, Asia, and South America that has slowly started to gain some popularity in North America. According to SNWS Digital, the average American spends around $182 on toilet paper each year, meaning that over the course of a lifetime, people spend roughly $11,198.88 on toilet paper. With those numbers in mind, you may be curious about installing a bidet of your own. This week, we’re telling you everything you need to know about home bidet systems. 

What Is A Bidet? 

Simply put, Bidets use water to wash you after using the restroom, and no, they don’t use toilet water to do this. The attachment redirects pipe water to a nozzle you control, and the water source is the same one that your shower and sink use. Praised for being less wasteful and more sanitary than toilet paper, bidets have been a trendy alternative for toilet paper in many countries worldwide.

Health Benefits

The idea of a bidet turns many people off because they find it too invasive, but it’s just a way to wash without hopping in the shower. Bidets can significantly help with cleanliness and hygiene and can even aid in reducing rashes, hemorrhoids, urinary tract infections, and other medical issues. 

Environmental Impact

Using a bidet is one of the many ways to reduce your carbon footprint. While it saves a ton of toilet paper, it also doesn’t use as much water as one might think. The bidet uses only one-eighth of a gallon, while it takes about 37 gallons of water to make a single roll of toilet paper. It also takes almost 400 trees to make a lifetime supply of one person’s toilet paper, which also would be saved by converting to a bidet. So a bidet is not only easier on your plumbing, but the world.  

Cost

There are a range of bidet types on the market, each with their own costs. The three most popular choices, in order of price, are: 

Toilet Attachment Bidet: These small, one-piece bidet units are known for their cost-effectiveness and simple design. The smallest type of bathroom bidet, these are designed to fit under any regular toilet seat. They feature spray controls that are accessible on a small console. Costs vary, but most models of this type cost around $40 to $100.

Toilet Seat Bidet: The next step up from an attachment is a model that replaces a regular toilet seat with one that can spray water. There are many to choose from, some basic and some with many settings and features. These toilet seat bidets cost from $200 to $700 or more depending on the features, with most models falling somewhere in the middle.

Bidet Toilet: Want a high-end bidet but don’t have space for a stand-alone unit? Bidet toilets are a good compromise. Bidet toilet seats and attachments are retrofit solutions, and bidet toilets combine waste disposal and cleansing all in one. The fanciest models have multiple settings for adjusting water pressure, temperature, and spray pattern. Less expensive models start at around $800, with most retailing for $1,500 to $2,000.

Conclusion

A bidet is a soothing, low-cost bathroom addition that can help the planet while improving personal hygiene. Have questions about adding a bidet or other luxury features to your bathroom? Contact us today!

Choosing the Right Kitchen Cabinets

 If you’ve spent any time researching a kitchen remodel, the cabinet selection has likely taken up a lot of your time. With so many cabinet options to choose from, we’ve outlined the best cabinet types for the most popular kitchen styles of 2022.  

Spanish

This coastline-inspired style incorporates rustic elements paired with a casual feel. With open shelving, bold colors, archways, and lots of wood elements, the best kind of cabinets to go with are rich and dark wood, as it resembles traditional furnishings found in the main living areas of the Spanish-style home. Some cabinets may also feature an easy-access design without doors to highlight the openness of a Spanish kitchen.  

Cottagecore

The agricultural-based kitchen style employs a mix of traditional and rustic styles, emphasizing natural materials like wood and cotton. For those looking to feel comfortable and at peace in their kitchen, opt for farmhouse-style cabinetry. A traditional palette of creams, sages, or whites can be used throughout, while highlighted features can be accompanied by natural earthy-toned cabinets such as forest green, pebble, or royal blue. Also, consider using antiqued molding and fixtures in the design of your cottage-style cabinets to capture the whimsical mood of cottagecore. 

Nordic

This understated kitchen style features many simple white spaces, feature lights, and wooden flooring. Efficiency and functionality are a top priority in nordic kitchen design, so the simpler the cabinet, the better. We suggest the shaker cabinet with a five-piece flat panel door and no ornamentation. The clean lines of the shaker style create an understated feel, which suits the nordic style nicely. 

Bohemian

The unique ambiance of a bohemian kitchen is filled with character and personality. This kitchen design is all about personalizing the interior with a mix of colors and unusual textures. A bohemian kitchen allows for the most creativity with a selection of cabinetry. Play around with your favorite colors to create a space unique to you. 

Conclusion

Have questions about kitchen cabinets and redesign? Contact us today!

How To Keep Hardwood Perfect

The cost of hardwood flooring averages between $6 and $12 per square foot. At that rate, it can get pretty expensive to install it throughout a home. When you opt for hardwood floors, there are several maintenance practices you should become familiar with to keep your hardwood floors beautiful for years to come. This week, we’ve outlined a few of the best methods to care for hardwood floors. 

Re-Finishing

If you notice your hardwood floors become a little dull, you can renew their shine through a thorough recoating. Depending on the level of wear and tear, a hardwood floor should be refinished every 3-5 years. Contact a local wood floor restoration company, or research how to DIY

Use Pads

Scratches are a big issue with hardwood floors. Unfortunately, most furniture can cause pretty bad scratches when moved around in any capacity. Using furniture pads can help prevent this kind of damage and should be added to the legs of any tables, chairs, sofas, etc. 

Protect Heavy Traffic Areas

Protecting heavily used areas, like the front hallways or kitchen, is easy with rugs and runners. High traffic is the #1 cause of wear and tear on hardwood, so decide what spaces are worth protecting and explore different design options for rugs. 

Clean Spills

Cleaning up any spills as soon as they happen is key to not permanently staining hardwood. Avoid wet or steam mops to clean up messes, as they tend to cause more damage over time. Keeping your home between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit will also help lessen the severity of spills over time. 

Vacuum Weekly

Make it a point to emphasize vacuuming in your weekly cleaning routine. This will help ensure that any dirt, crumbs, or other debris doesn’t scratch your floor over time. Don’t feel like vacuuming yourself? Consider investing in a Roomba. 

Use Wood Floor Cleaner Monthly

Here are a few of our recommendations:

  1. Black Diamond Stoneworks Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner
  2. Murphy Oil Soap Wood Cleaner
  3. Swiffer WetJet Hardwood Floor Cleaner & Mopping Starter Kit
  4. Aunt Fannie’s Hardwood Floor Cleaner
  5. Pledge Floor Cleaner

Conclusion

We hope we were able to educate you on how to take the best care of your hardwood floors. Want to install a new floor or have more questions about care? Contact us today!

Trending Kitchen Styles

With summer approaching, you may be eager to give your kitchen a new look. There are many kitchen designs constantly going in and out of fashion, but this week we’ve rounded up a few of the most stylish kitchen trends of 2022. 

Spanish

This coastline-inspired style incorporates rustic elements paired with a casual feel. Open shelving, bold colors, archways, and lots of wood elements are common. The laid-back atmosphere of a Spanish style kitchen is perfect for entertaining. 

Cottagecore

The agricultural based kitchen style employs a mix of traditional and rustic styles, with an emphasis on natural materials like wood and cotton. One of the coziest trends of the year, it’s perfect for those looking to feel comfortable and at peace in their kitchen. 

Nordic

This understated kitchen style features a lot of simple white spaces, feature lights, and wooden flooring. The muted space leaves room for plenty of contemporary art and has an airy feel. 

Bohemian

The unique ambiance of a bohemian kitchen is filled with character and personality. This kitchen design is all about personalizing the interior with a mix of colors and unusual textures. A bohemian kitchen is great for anyone looking to create a chill, relaxed environment.

Conclusion

Have questions about redesigning your kitchen? Contact us today!

Annual Roof Cleaning Practices

A roof is a significant investment, and a good annual cleaning ritual will assist in prolonging its lifespan. Nobody wants to replace a roof after only 10 or 15 years. Summer is a great and safe time for homeowners to perform roof maintenance, so this week we’ve outlined a guide to the best roof cleaning rituals to ensure your roof lasts. 

Clean the Gutters

Cleaning your gutters is one of the keys to preventing debris buildup and water damage, as clear gutters help redirect water from the roof. According to experts, gutter cleaning should happen a minimum of twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. The gutters should also be inspected up to 4 times a year. It’s best to remove debris by hand and then rinse the inside clean with a less intense water flow. 

 Cleaning your gutters helps to prevent:

  • Extensive water damage
  • Mold
  • Roof rot
  • Accelerated leaks

Search for Debris

Roofs with less steep peaks will be tougher to keep clear of leaves and other debris. This debris can quickly accumulate in valleys of the roof and even chimneys, which leads to a buildup of moisture and decay. To prevent this, check your roof and clear off debris routinely. You can also cleanse the roof with a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water to combat algae growth if you notice any significant staining.

Trim Overhanging Branches

Trimming trees that are responsible for most of the debris that falls onto a roof goes a long way. Keeping them well-pruned will be a game-changer for preventing moss growth and other damage. Trees that touch your roof will also cause deterioration over time and pose a risk when storms hit. Aim to keep any branches at least 10 feet away from the roof. More complicated trimmings should be left to the pros.

Conclusion

These simple cleaning practices will go a long way in maintaining the life of your roof and preventing severe damage. Make sure to consult a professional if your roof is in need of more than just a good spring cleaning. Have questions? Contact us today!

Never Make These Mistakes When Building a New Home

Building a home is one of the most significant projects you can take on. Getting to pick out every detail of your dream home is exciting, but be sure to remain cautious and knowledgeable throughout the process. This week, we’re talking about the mistakes people make when building a new home and how to avoid them. 

Don’t Set Unrealistic Expectations 

It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture when designing a custom home. While you may find yourself over the moon at the thought of certain home features, be reserved that they might not be possible with your budget, building code requirements, and other structural issues. Don’t anticipate that your build will be done in the set schedule, as delays are expected due to issues such as structural inadequacies, material shortages, and bad weather conditions. Budget your time realistically to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Hire The Right Builder

Renovating your home is a big deal, and you and your home contractor must be on the same page for the most seamless possible process. That being said, picking the perfect contractor that understands you can seem like a challenging and scary task. It is essential that your home contractor know your needs and vision and actualize these items within your budget. Asking the right questions about your potential home renovation before signing any contract with them will make your home renovation process exciting and pleasant rather than stressful. Our helpful guide will safeguard you and your home from fraudulent contractors and a home makeover disaster.

Don’t Move Too Fast 

The last mistake you want to make is jumping into the process of building a new home and committing too early. Instead, do your research by visiting home improvement stores, attending home shows, and searching around online to get a clear picture of what you want. You should be able to provide your contractor with plenty of photos and ideas of elements you want to include in your new home. 

Stay Organized

A new build introduces a lot to keep track of. Be meticulous in your tracking of important paperwork, timeline, pricing, and all communication about the project. 

Hope For The Best, Plan For The Worst

While everyone envisions their dream home coming together perfectly, there are errors that will occur during the process. Learn how to accept and adapt to issues, especially during the construction process. It is also well worth it to periodically visit your new build site to get ahead of issues or mistakes that arise. 

Conclusion

There are many careful considerations you should make before committing to building a new home, but the process doesn’t always have to be stressful. Have more questions about new projects? Contact us today!

De-Winterizing Your Home For Summer

Many seasonal and vacation homes are shut down during the colder months. Often, precautions are taken to get a house ready to sit vacant all winter, and opening it back up can be an overwhelming process. As the weather gets nicer, we’ve created a comprehensive checklist to get your home de-winterized and ready for summer!

Reconnect Water Supply 

Remove any aerators from faucets and reconnect any removed supply tubes and pipes. Make sure to also check the water heater and other utility appliances to ensure their water connection. Finally, confirm there are no noticeable leaks in the pipes. 

Turn On Electrical Circuits 

Make sure all of the individual breakers are in the “on” position for you to have light in the home and turn on the water.

Turn on Plumbing Fixtures

When you have the main water supply opened at least halfway, turn on all of your plumbing fixtures one by one. When you turn on faucets, air may rush out at first. Once the water runs regularly, you can turn off the faucet.

Check The Roof Gutters 

Clear any debris that may be leftover from the winter to ensure that water is carried away from your home the next time it rains.

Adjust The Alarm And Thermostat Systems 

These two are usually programmed to a particular setting if a house sits vacant all winter, so make sure to reprogram them to desired summertime settings.

Check The Sump Pump 

Rain and snow can cause basements to flood if the sump pump isn’t working correctly.

Reconnect All Household Appliances 

The winterization process likely included unplugging every appliance in the home.

Check Around Outside Of The Home

Ensure there haven’t been any issues with the foundation, and call a licensed contractor immediately if you notice any cracks. 

Replace The Air Filter

Frequently these can get clogged with dust throughout the winter months.

Test Carbon Monoxide And Smoke Detection Systems 

Make sure to replace any dead batteries immediately, as they are lifesaving home features in an emergency. 

Conclusion

Have questions regarding de-winterizing a home or looking for help with the process? Contact us today!

What Makes a Great Builder?

When it comes to renovating your home, you need to become accustomed to making good decisions. Of course, your first and most important decision is who you’re going to build with. The number of builders out there is overwhelming, so this week, we’re talking about all of the qualities that make a great builder.

Longevity

You must choose a builder with longevity that has been building homes for many years. Having a great deal of experience enables a builder to understand a lot of the critical elements in the design of a home and avoid mistakes. 

Collaborative Skills

Any builder you work with should be able to enthusiastically listen to your needs and adapt to them seamlessly. A home renovation is your process, and a great builder should be able to hear out your ideas and collaborate with you effectively.

Knowledgeable

Great builders are constantly learning new tricks of the trade. Construction professionals need to be internalizing important information relevant to building codes, material costs, and top options on the market for every project. 

Strong Community Ties

A strong connection to the community is a solid marker of a great, reputable builder. Builders should value forging lasting relationships with clients that will depend on them for years to come, especially in a business that is based on reputation. Positive reviews from people close to you signify that you’ve found a builder that you can trust. 

Conclusion

We strive to ensure high-quality and sustainable outcomes for future buyers and tenants and their surrounding communities here at the Horton Group. Have more questions about what makes a great builder? Contact us today!

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