Upgrades that Pay Off

You love the size and location of your home, but some work needs to be completed for you to remain happy while living there. 

If you are going to spend money on renovations, it’s important to factor in how much value the projects will add to your home. 

Whether you plan to sell in the near future, a few years down the road, or haven’t thought of selling at all, continue reading to learn what interior projects are most likely to add value to the home for resale. 

INTERIOR RENOVATION PROJECTS

REALTOR rank of projects’ appeal to buyers (highest to lowest)

REALTOR rank of projects’ likely value to the home for resale (highest to lowest)

Complete Kitchen Renovation

Complete Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Upgrade

Kitchen Upgrade

HVAC Replacement

HVAC Replacement

New Wood Flooring

New Master Suite / Owners’ Suite

Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom Renovation

Hardwood Flooring Refinish

Basement Conversion to Living Area

New Master Suite / Owners’ Suite

Add New Bathroom

Add New Bathroom

New Wood Flooring

Basement Conversion to Living Area

Hardwood Flooring Refinish

Attic Conversion to Living Area

Attic Conversion to Living Area

Insulation Upgrade

Insulation Upgrade

Closet Renovation

Closet Renovation

* From the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report

 

Kitchens and Bathrooms 

Kitchens top the list of remodeling projects, according to the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report by the National Association of Realtors. “Complete Kitchen Renovation” is the top remodeling project to complete if you want to appeal to buyers and add value to the resale, according to Realtors surveyed. 

We know that while a complete renovation in the kitchen is what homeowners dream about, it is also a costly project. With a kitchen upgrade ranking number two on both lists, you can choose to stay within budget by keeping some aspects of the kitchen and upgrading others. 

“Bathroom Renovation” and “Add a New Bathroom” are also remodeling projects that add value. If you have just one bathroom, consider where you can add another. For an outdated bathroom, determine what upgrades are needed to make it feel more luxurious or relaxing. 

 

Comfort and Sustainability

Aesthetics aren’t everything. Buyers are also interested in comfort and sustainability, which has a lot to do with the mechanics of the home. An HVAC Replacement or Insulation Upgrade can make a significant difference for buyers. These changes can help to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient, which adds value to the property.

 

Which home renovation project would you like to tackle in 2020?

 

Fiberglass vs. Spray Foam Insulation

Insulation may be hidden behind the walls, but it plays a big role in keeping you comfortable all year long. 

The job of insulation is to keep the house warm during the winter and cool during summer. With heating and cooling accounting for about half of the energy used in the home, proper insulation can cut back on energy usage and save homeowners money. 

Keep reading for a comparison between two types of insulation: fiberglass and spray foam. 

Fiberglass

Fiberglass insulation is the more traditional form of insulation. This type of insulation comes in pre-cut rolls or blown-in loose fill. It works to regulate air temperature by trapping air inside tiny glass fibers, slowing the transfer of heat. 

Pros of Fiberglass

Fiberglass insulation is inexpensive to install when compared to other types of insulation. It comes in pre-made R-Values, and it maintains performance levels for an extended period of time. Fiberglass is also easy to install.

Cons of Fiberglass

Though commonly used and easy to install, fiberglass is not as effective as spray foam at maintaining comfortable temperatures. Fiberglass cannot fit into every crevice, which can allow for air leaks. This is especially true in colder regions.

Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation is newer than fiberglass and is becoming more popular in homes. Spray foam is installed by spraying a polyurethane foam into walls and ceilings. The foam expands to create an airtight seal. Spray foam can be used as the primary method of insulation or as a supplement to existing insulation.

Pros of Spray Foam

Since spray foam creates an airtight seal, it protects against pests, rodents, and mold, in addition to its insulating properties. It is more energy-efficient than fiberglass, sealing off any crevices so air cannot leak in. It also has a longer lifespan, because it does not break down or sag over time.

Cons of Spray Foam

Spray foam is more expensive than fiberglass. In addition, spray foam should be applied by a professional, which increases the cost even more. The installation process can be messy, so make sure you work with a professional who has experience with spray foam.

If you are ready for new insulation, speak with your contractor to determine what type is the best option for your home. 

 

10 Tips to Stay Warm at Home this Winter

Winter weather means spending more time cozied up inside. Staying warm during the coldest season of the year doesn’t have to equate to sky-high heating costs. With some preparation, you and your budget can stay comfortable all year long. 

Incorporate some (or all) of these tips for added warmth this winter.

Programmable Thermostat 

A programmable thermostat, like Nest, makes your heating more efficient. Set your thermostat to a comfortable setting for times you will be home.  Lower the temperature during times the house is empty or when everyone is asleep. An automatic schedule ensures the heat doesn’t stay on high all day long and keeps the house toasty when people are there. 

Let in the Light

Window curtains can do more than give privacy. During the day, when the sun is shining, open the drapes. Even with cold temperatures, the sun’s light is warm. Once the sun goes down, close the curtains to prevent heat from escaping through the windows. You can even purchase insulated curtains for winter use. 

Check the Furnace

Make sure your furnace is in good working order with a simple tune-up. Also, check the furnace filter. If it is dirty, replace it with a new filter to maximize the efficiency of the furnace. 

Seal Gaps and Leaks 

Doors, windows, attics, and basements can have leaks, letting the cold air in during the winter. Finding and sealing these leaks is a simple solution to retaining heat. This do-it-yourself guide from energystar.gov provides more information on how to seal leaks. You can also use draft stoppers for doors where you feel cold air sneaking in. 

Check Vents and Radiators

Vents and radiators that are blocked will produce heat that is blocked. Move furniture away from vents and heaters so that warm air can blow into the room being heated.  

Rugs on Hardwood

Bare hardwood floors can account for heat loss. Grab some area rugs for extra warmth in the rooms you utilize most. 

Reverse Ceiling Fans

We all know that warm air rises, but did you know your ceiling fan can push that warm air back down? The trick is to reverse the motion of the blades, so the fan moves clockwise. 

Radiant Floors

If you want to go a step up from area rugs, radiant floors are the way to go. While more expensive than carpet, radiant heating systems evenly distribute heat that slowly rises to the rest of the room. 

Insulation

Poor insulation equals a loss of heat and a loss of money during the winter months. Check to make sure you have proper insulation. This will help to keep you warm while keeping energy costs low. 

HVAC Zoning System

An HVAC zoning system allows each area of the home to stay at a different temperature. You can keep the most-used rooms warm while lowering the temperature in rooms that are rarely used. 

Living in a region with cold winters means you can appreciate the beauty of the season. It also means you need to prepare your home for the changing temperatures. 

How do you stay warm in winter?

 

What are energy efficient windows?

Energy efficiency is overwhelmingly important to homeowners, which was made clear in a 2019 study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. 

For homeowners, installing energy efficient windows is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy consumption.  Consequently, lower energy consumption means lower monthly heating and cooling bills. 

What are energy efficient windows?

Energy efficient windows work with the seasons. In the winter, they keep heat inside the home, while in the summer, they keep the cool air in. The climate zone where you live determines the type of window that is qualified for your location. 

The easiest way to determine if a window is energy efficient is to select ENERGY STAR rated products. ENERGY STAR rated windows are manufactured by an ENERGY STAR partner, tested and certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council, and meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Features of an Energy Efficient Window

For windows to be considered energy efficient, they must meet specific criteria. These include:

 

  • Low-E Glass. A special coating on the windows helps to reflect infrared light and ultraviolet light. This not only increases the insulation, but helps to protect carpet and furniture against fading from the sun.
  • Panes of Glass. Energy efficient windows contain at least two panes of glass, but can have three or more panes for more insulation. 
  • Warm Edge Spacers. Edge spacers keep the panes of glass secure at an equal distance apart. Warm edge spacers are non-metallic, helping to reduce the loss of heat around the edges of the window.
  • Gas Fill. In between the panes of glass, non-toxic, odorless, and colorless gases can be added. These gases help increase insulation. 

 

 

Framing Options

In addition to creating the aesthetic style of the window, window frames are as important as glass when it comes to energy efficiency. There are numerous options for ENERGY STAR rated window frames. All of these framing options are designed to provide optimal insulation:

 

  • Wood 
  • Fiberglass
  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum 
  • Combination: Made of different materials, used separately throughout the frame (such as a wood interior and fiberglass exterior). 
  • Composite: Manufactured with blended materials. 

 

 

We know how important it is to both reduce energy usage and keep the home comfortable. Selecting windows that are energy efficient is an easy way to accomplish both.

How does the Horton Group eliminate noise in a multi-unit building?

Noise.

It can interrupt your workflow or wake you up from a deep sleep. Unnecessary noise can range from distracting to infuriating, and isn’t something you should deal with in the places you spend the most time in.

With all of our multi-unit buildings, whether a residential luxury condominium community or an office park, we concentrate on eliminating noise.

When you go into an old building, one of the things you may notice right away is the noise of footsteps from the floor above you or overhearing a conversation from a unit over. In the past, buildings were not always soundproofed because there weren’t solutions that were budget-friendly and effective. With today’s materials, soundproofing can be attained in any building. Below are some of the solutions to combat noise travel.

Walls

“Paper-thin” walls are no longer acceptable in buildings. To reduce noise from room to room, soundproofing the walls is an important step. It can be challenging to identify where noise is coming from, as sound travels the path of least resistance. When building, the entire space needs to be taken into consideration, including windows, vents, and doors.

Materials that are dense and resilient are best for blocking sound. For walls, this can be achieved with noise-reducing drywall, double walls (this is perfect for office spaces), and dense insulation.

Flooring

Flooring is another factor in eliminating unwanted noise from neighbors. Just like walls, layering up noise reducing products is most effective.

While carpet with padding underneath is one option for creating dense layers, most people prefer hardwood and tile in their homes. The Residences at 66 High Street were built with materials that make you forget about your upstairs neighbors. We start with a layer of Homasote soundproof board, which is made of 98% recycled materials. The next layer is AdvanTech plywood, followed by engineered hardwood flooring. These three layers help to eliminate noise while combining strength and moisture resistance.

If moving into a new building or searching for office space, ask what has been done to reduce noise. This will save you many headaches in the future.

What type of insulation do I need?

Insulation is needed in homes for many reasons: cost and energy savings, comfort, and even noise reduction. Depending on the climate where you live, the amount or type of insulation you need varies.

Insulation materials slow the flow of heat. In winter, it will slow the flow of heat from inside the home moving out, and in summer it slows the flow of heat from the outside in. The better insulation you have, the slower that flow will be, saving you on heating and cooling costs.

Insulation R-values refers to how much insulating power you need or have in your home. The higher the R-value, the more heat the material resists. The R-value is determined by the type of material used, the density, and the thickness.

The map and table below, from Insulation Institute, shows the insulation R-value needed based on location in the United States.

Zone Attic Wall Cavity Floor
1 R30 to R49 R13 to R15 R13
2 R30 to R60 R13 to R15 R13 to R25
3 R30 to R60 R13 to R15 R25
4 R38 to R60 R13 to R15 R25 to R30
5 R38 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
6 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
7 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
8 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30

 

“This map shows thermal recommended levels of insulation for various climate zones, based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The IECC is the model building code for the United States.” (insulationinstitute.org)

When building or renovating, consult with your contractor to determine what type of insulation is best for your home and location.

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