Monthly Archives: July 2014

Improve Your Home’s Natural Light

34152-1f6dd-7fcfd-cde62-7a8afWhen it comes to remodels and home upgrades, many owners with older houses are looking for ways in which they can update their surroundings.  Yes, there’s something to be said for the unique design of many aging homes that boast a certain level of charm; however, one of their largest complaints generally revolves around closed-off floor plans and a general lack of natural light.

If you’re looking for a quick fix to brighten things up, the easiest solution would be to add recessed lights or sconces, or to paint the interior walls in a light color.  Still, since natural lighting tends to be a quick mood booster—which has been shown to make people happier and more productive— adding sources of extra daylight can produce some wonderful benefits as well.

Daylighting, as it’s called, is the process of using window placement to maximize the natural light in a space.  By making rooms appear larger, it not only reduces electricity bills, but reduces eye strain and boosts energy.  However, while a great choice for any dark home, it’s important to remember that there are varying ways to increase natural light which may vary for each particular house.

1.) WINDOWS:  It’s not surprising that windows tend to be the most utilized way to allow the flow of natural light into the home, but it’s important to remember that a myriad of different glasses can be used in the process.  If glare reduction or privacy is something you’re concerned about, your windows can be tinted or installed with a low-transmittance glass which, even on cloudy days, will still fill your entire room with light.

Another glass option, which should be a consideration if you’re looking to reduce heat flow, is to select low-emissivity windows which are layered with an extremely thin, transparent metal coating.  For these types of windows, specifically ones which are rated with the Energy Star logo, homeowners may even be eligible for a government tax credit of up to $500.

2.) SUN TUNNELS:  Not to be confused with skylights, sun tunnels are an easy option which has become a popular choice for homeowners looking to attain a brighter atmosphere.  In short, they consist of metal tubes which are installed through the ceiling and out the roof, which allows light to flow into the room.  With the possibility of installation on different roof pitches, the top part of the tunnel consists of a low profile dome, which allows light to pass without allowing heat in or out.

Much like the different types of energy efficient windows that are perfect for the walls of your home, these may also qualify you for a tax credit; however, it’s important to note that, since sun tunnels do not have shades, they should only be placed in rooms where you always want light to flow in.

3.) SKYLIGHTS:  In the past, many homeowners with skylights found out the hard way that leaks were and all-too-common occurrence; however, their production and installation has come a long way.  With leak-proof flashing that can now fit any type of roof pitch, homeowners also have the option of selecting single or double pane glass, which can help reduce heat loss.  Additionally, while many people assume that skylights have to be closed off—similar to a picture window—some types can actually be opened to allow ventilation.

While they are usually made in either plastic or glass, most of the plastic options tend to become discolored over time, so glass tends to be what most homeowners select.  With this, many people have some concern about whether their skylights will hold up in storm conditions; however, the glass is usually tempered for impact resistance, and in an effort to avoid an abundance of heat transference in the summer, window placement on the south side of the home is generally preferred.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | www.cresbuilders.com | 770-983-4698

Fireplace Options for a Perfect Fit

 

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When it comes to rainy days or the cold winter months, there’s nothing like a beautiful fireplace to make you feel warm; however, if you’re looking remodel or add a hearth to your home, it’s important to understand what types of options are available.

1.) WOOD-BURNING:  While wood-burning fireplaces remain the always-popular classic, they entail a bit of upkeep.  For starters, they obviously rely upon real wood, which means you’ll either have to chop it yourself or purchase it for later use.  From there, you’ll want to stay on top of certain maintenance tasks such as checking the chimney, removing soot or grease, and having a chimney cap installed to keep critters such as squirrels and birds from moving in.  On the plus side, however, there’s truly nothing like the sizzle and pop of a genuine wood fire.  While other models try to replicate all of the wonderful ways a wood-burning fireplace engages your senses, it’s no surprise that they simply fall short.

2.) GAS:  On the plus side, these fireplaces can easily be lit with the push of a button or the flip of a switch; however, since they utilize power sources, they tend to drive up your gas and electric bills.  Still, there are actually three types of gas fireplaces: direct vented (usually vented through a wall or roof), top vented (through the chimney or a vent), and ventless (expels exhaust into your home).

3.) ELECTRIC:  Ranking high for ease of use, these fireplaces can be plugged in anywhere.  Since they fail to produce a flame and therefore don’t require any sort of venting, they can be easily installed anywhere.  While convenient, their downfall actually lies in the fact that, along with not appearing overly real, they also tend to put a bit of strain on your electric bill.

4.) PELLETS:  Along with being eco friendly, corn pellets are actually strong enough to heat the entire house.  With increasing popularity in many newer homes, the pellets are actually made from compressed wood that produces fewer odors than traditional fireplaces, as well as almost no smoke.

5.) ETHANOL:  At the moment, ethanol is considered by some to be the gas of the future.  Made from plants—mostly corn—it is tasteless and colorless, and fails to release any sort of carbon dioxide or other chemicals into the air.  These fireplaces don’t require venting and they remain a wonderful choice for those who are interested in the state of the environment, as well as their own health.

Mirko Attolini | Cres Builder Corp. | www.cresbuilders.com | 770983-4698