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Maintenance for a Healthy Home

homeIn addition to all the other areas in life that we need to juggle: Marriage, Children, Health, Finances, Church, Work, Extended Family, Friends, and Vacations, there is another one that is equally as important – your home.

Have you ever driven by an old country road or in some of the inner city streets and seen a house around 100 years old with just a shell remaining? Isn’t it powerful to see what the elements can do to something so structurally sound as a home if left neglected? In addition to exterior elements, we as humans also create interior damage to the home through daily life if not maintained!

The house is a living and do I dare say, ”breathing thing”, that like all the other items on the list needs your love and care. The exterior has several parts that need to work together to make it function together well. The roof, gutter & gutter covers, downspouts, under ground down spout extensions, proper grading, siding, windows, paint, front porch and sunroom or covered patio all work together to create the first line of defense against rain, wind, sun, hail, snow, heat and cold. If one of these parts aren’t working or aren’t maintained, then harmful elements such as mold, mildew, moisture, and even water can enter your home causing health risks.

And within the interior, time keeps marching on and with it, designing elements change. Don’t wait until you need to sell your home to create the necessary updates that keep your home current. If a time comes when you decide to sell, the comparable prices in the neighborhood might not best represent what your home can earn in the market. Your neglected interior home might be classified as a fixer upper. In today’s fast paced world, many people want a move in ready home; they do not want to deal with the hassle to fix it up before they move in.

Finally, a stay cation is becoming more and more popular. Why not invest in your home to finish out the unfinished basement or add a sunroom, covered patio or a large deck to increase the home’s capacity and ability to host additional guests, offering special moments. These spaces will create many fine memories for your family. If and when you are ready to move on and sell your home, it has more attractive features for the real estate agent and potential buyer to consider.

Our homes are important like all areas in our life. They provide our shelter and are where we find peace and solace. We must maintain them to ensure that they withstand nature’s elements and prove to be a solid investment for the future.

To obtain a quote or for additional advice, feel free to contact me at 770-983-4698 or visit our website at www.CresBuilders.com.

Five Benefits of Basement Remodeling

A remodeled basement is a great addition to any home. The lowest (and often unused) floor in your home has lots of potential.

basement remodeling cumming gaRemodeling your basement can increase the value of your property and square footage of your living space.

Finishing your basement is a great alternative to adding on to your home and doesn’t require as much financial investment.

Here are a few reasons to consider turning your under-utilized storage space into a comfy living area that your family wants to spend time in!

  • Finishing your basement increases the value of your property and adds square footage to your home.
  • The additional living space gives your family breathing room and more room to enjoy for entertaining and guests.
  • You can personalize the additional basement space to your family’s needs. Do you need an entertainment room, kitchen or in-law suite?
  • You have the ability to completely customize your personal basement space whereas in many cases when you purchase a home you just get to choose a small selection of finishes or take it as it is with a built home.
  • Include your family in the planning of the finished basement and they will enjoy being a part of creating the newest space of the home.

See some of CRES Builders’ North Atlanta basement remodeling projects here:

We offer a wide variety of services in North Atlanta so that our clients never have to worry about going through multiple companies to make their homes perfect!
  • Custom Home Building
  • Room & Garage Additions
  • Basement / Kitchen / Bathroom Remodeling
  • Garage Conversions
  • Screened Porches
  • Pavilions
  • Siding & Window Replacement
  • Interior & Exterior Painting
  • Gutter, Down Spouts & Gutter Cover Installations
  • Roof Replacement
  • Hardscape & Landscaping (Retaining walls, Pavers & Walkways)
  • Driveway Replacements
  • Deck Remodels
  • Hardwood Refinishing

To obtain a quote or for additional advice, feel free to contact CRES Builders in Cumming, GA at 770-983-4698 or visit our website at www.CresBuilders.com.

Sunrooms Becoming a Second Living Room in Homes

2Home trends show that sunrooms and outdoor living spaces are becoming the second living room in homes. Building a sunroom onto your home adds a place for the family to relax in solitude.

A sunroom provides a peaceful place to sit in the sunlight and read, catch up with a friend or play scrabble.

The sunroom is no longer just for spring and summer – it can be used year round.
Sunrooms also fill the increasing trend to bring the outside in especially if they have smaller outdoor spaces.

The additional space in your home will increase your home value and offers extra space for entertaining and can open out on to the back porch or patio for inside/outside entertaining.

Before moving forward with a sunroom project, make sure the sunroom meets local building codes and is built with the right materials for the region where you live.

Here are a few questions you need to ask when building a sunroom.
• Will the sunroom match the style of your home?
• Do you need to consider shading? Direct sunlight?
• Do you want privacy or lots of windows?
• Do you want to include heating and air conditioning?
• Will you need wiring for TV and electronics?
• Do you want energy efficient windows and other materials?
• Consider using outdoor materials in the sunroom as it extends outside like rugs, furniture, etc.

If you’d are considering adding a sunroom addition, remodel or would simply like a consultation, please feel free to contact me for more information.

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

Outdoor Rooms Extend Your Livable Space

CRES Builders Outdoor PavilionFamilies are welcoming the warmer spring weather where the focus of the family moves from inside to outside.

Creating an outdoor room allows room for entertaining, play, dining alfresco and taking advantage of the longer daytime hours that spring and summer bring.

As more people are opting to have staycations, they are investing in outdoor spaces and creating areas for play, entertainment, cooking, relaxing and reading.Outdoor rooms are extensions of your indoor spaces and can increase your home’s value.

Before you begin designing your space, ask yourself what you want the space to be. A retreat? Kids play space? An entertaining deck? Be sure to create a design layout for your space and incorporate a traffic plan to ensure there is room for visitors to walk around the space.

Here are a fifteen outdoor room ideas from HGTV in the article “Outdoor Rooms Add Livable Space.”

Consider adding a paver patio, deck, outdoor living room, patio in the garden, or outdoor pavilion or gazebo to enhance and create your own backyard oasis. Contact CRES Builders for a free quote and let us help you plan your special outdoor space.

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Winterize Your Home for $100 or Less

Sure, it’s December and temperatures have been resting close to 70 for the past week; however, it’s safe to say that we will eventually experience weather that tentatively resembles winter, so it’s probably a good idea to be prepared.

While no one likes the chill that comes from drafty doors and windows, securing your home against winter is about more than discomfort. Plain and simple, as warm air leaves your house, money leaves your wallet, so taking steps to keep the cold air out will go a long way towards protecting your investment.

While most people groan at the idea of home maintenance tasks—due to the effort and money that’s often required—most DIY winterization projects involve very little.

CAULK: As the go-to for keeping “bought air” in, your basic caulk gun and tubes of caulk shouldn’t cost much more than $50 and will help fill in all those gaps in your siding, windows, and door. When sealing drafty windows and door; however, don’t forget to take care of spaces on the inside, as well as the outside.

PLASTIC FILM WINDOW INSULATING KIT: While this may not be the most beautiful fix, covering your windows will go a long way towards saving on your heating bill while still allowing light into your home. Most kits only cost about $20, but if you’re really feeling industrious, bubble wrap also does a great job!

WEATHER STRIPPING: As its name suggests, weather stripping is great at keeping weather out. Take some time to examine your windows and make a point to replace old weather stripping that is cracked or pulling away from the frame. A 17-foot roll should only cost about $5.

FURNACE FILTER: Making a point to replace your furnace filter on a regular basis will go a long way towards maintaining your home’s heating efficiency. Clogged filters will not only reduce your furnace’s ability to heat your home, but may negatively impact its overall lifespan. Most filters only cost about $10-20.

DOOR THRESHOLD/SWEEP STRIP: While you can buy these in store, it’s also possible to make them out of old towels, blankets, or even pillow cases filled with sand or kitty litter. Again, while they may not be the most pleasing things to look at, they help fill air leaks beneath doors.

For additional advice, especially if you have a bit more room in your budget, feel free to contact me.

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

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What You Should Know Before Removing a Wall

Thankfully, most of the newer homes on the market have been designed with open living in mind, which means fewer walls and increased light.  However, whether your floorplan is a bit more closed off than you’d like or you’re looking to expand your surroundings, removing an interior wall is always a decent option.   On the surface, it’s a project that seems simple enough—especially with a sledgehammer and a healthy dose of excitement—but depending upon what’s inside the wall and the extent of its structural importance, removing it may turn out to be somewhat complex.

Therefore, before you make the decision to tackle it on your own, it’s important to think about the following considerations:

What is Your Goal? – If you follow my blogs, then you know that this is a question I ask on a fairly regular basis.  Plain and simple, before starting any remodeling project, it’s worth establishing what your ultimate goal is.  If you’re looking to increase your resale value, your end goal may be very different than if you are simply looking to make your surroundings a bit more comfortable.

With that being said, the goal of most wall removals is to connect rooms or to help better your home’s flow.  Doing this may allow you to increase your seating or counter space, and it may also improve your sight line into other rooms.

Is it Load Bearing? – Removing a wall from a one-story home is much easier than a two-story home since a structural engineer will be needed for the latter—regardless of whether the wall is load bearing or not.  Still, if you’re not a professional, it may be tricky to determine the importance of certain walls since some won’t look the part.

What About the Floor? – When removing a wall, it’s important to plan ahead since something will also need to be done to the floor, as well as the ceiling.  If you already have hardwood floors, it is worth considering the fact that it will be difficult to patch the area and make it blend in.  Carpet is generally an easier fix.

What’s in Your Walls? –  If the wall you are looking to remove contains any form of gas lines, wiring, or HVAC vents, you’ll need to work with professionals who can make sure that they get properly relocated.  You don’t want to get rid of your return vents, only to find out that the functioning of your entire system is impacted.

With that, if your home is older, it’s always wise to be prepared for the possibility of extra expenses since you never know when things like unused gas lines or faulty wiring will be found.

Who to Hire? – While this may vary depending upon what you need done, as well as the location of the wall, you might want to consider working with an architect who can design a new space that won’t completely change the character of your home.  In some instances, keeping portions of the wall may be a better bet than removing the whole thing, so their advice may go a long way towards improving the final project.

Still, depending upon which wall(s) you’d like to remove, a structural engineer may be required, as well as professionals to deal with any plumbing, HVAC, or electrical concerns.  In an effort to streamline this process, it’s worth utilizing the services of a general contractor who can complete your initial consultation, deal with any permit issues, and line up the necessary professionals to finish the work.

If you’d are considering a remodel or would simply like a consultation, please feel free to contact me for more information.

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

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Recent Project: Exterior Face Lift

Customer’s Needs:  The Smith’s hired us to do several home improvement projects to the exterior of their house, which were inspired by two other homes in the neighborhood.  To start, they were looking to add a front porch with a more prominent entrance, as well as a garage eyebrow.  In addition, since they were also not happy with the color of their home’s stucco or brick, we were asked to design a new color palette which would utilize the new window color, while also reducing the focus of the stucco.

 

With that, since the homeowners were concerned about efficiency and making sure the house was properly maintained, they requested new windows, as well as new gutters, downspouts, and covers.  Their siding was also an issue since a large portion of it had started to rot and since the rear sunroom and deck had sunk 4+ inches, structural issues were also a problem.

 

Our Process: In an effort to create the pleasing exterior that was requested, we reached out to an architectural team member who helped us envision a four color paint palette.  We installed a rustic cedar porch post, craftsman-style shutters, and metal roof details for a very pleasing result.

 

As requested, we also installed all-new windows throughout the home and replaced their gutters, downspouts, and covers, as well as the siding that had rotted away.

 

Since their deck was improperly installed, we removed the old sun room and deck footings, and poured new ones.  However, I was not comfortable fixing the issue without knowing the cause, so upon closer inspection, we discovered that water from the neighbor’s house, the driveway, and the Smith’s roof was causing drainage issues.  To fix the problem, we installed two main underground drainage lines which would divert water away from the home.  From there, we were able to bring both structures to level heights where they could be properly secured and as a finishing touch, we added new tile to the sunroom to give it a more rustic feel.

 

As a result of the drainage issues, a large section of the driveway had sunk as well, so we removed the concrete and poured it with proper underlayment, rebar, stronger concrete, and a proper pitch.

 

Extras: While working at the home, the owners asked us to install a new wood-burning fireplace, as well as a new front door and an exhaust fan in the master bathroom.  In addition, since we overheard the homeowner say that they wanted to be able to park their car in the garage, we made a point to organize it for them so there was adequate space for a vehicle.

 

Result: After being referred by a friend who had contracted us to replace their roof several years ago, the Smith’s were so pleased with our work that they agreed to serve as a reference for one of our current customers who found us on Houzz.com.

 

When we completed their project, hugs were given out.  It was a great day.

 

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

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DIY Projects to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Home maintenance is obviously important, which is why I frequently promote the idea of creating a monthly checklist of tasks that should be completed throughout the year.  However, while it’s tempting to bask in what little is left of the summer sun, it’s important to take advantage of the lower humidity levels and cooler temperatures before winter really sets in.

CREATE A MUDROOM

If your home is missing a special place where the kids can stash their muddy shoes and hang wet coats, fall is a great time to create one.  While some homes comes equipped with mud rooms off the garage, making them user-friendly may still require a bit of work.  To get started, consider adding a large standalone piece of furniture with a bench seat, along with organizational items such as shelves, cubbies, and hooks.

If space is limited or you simply don’t have an actual mud room, you may want to place a console table in the hallway with baskets underneath for things like footwear, hats, and bags, while also adding a coat rack for those discarded layers.

TACKLE YOUR GARAGE

No, spring cleaning is not just for spring.  When it comes to your garage, chances are good that it’s not nearly as organized or tidy as you would like it to be.  If we look to the statistics which state that approximately 70% of homeowners don’t actually park their vehicles in the garage, it’s easy to assume that most people are dealing with an abundance of unneeded clutter.

Consider setting aside some time this weekend to go through the things you haven’t used in two years and get rid of them.  If something has been outgrown, is irreparable, or has expired, it’s time for it to go.

GRAB THE PAINT BRUSH

Don’t just think about painting—do it!  If you’ve been going through color swatches for months, yet have found yourself putting off the actual act of adding a new coat of paint to your walls, now is the time to get started.

Since painting requires good ventilation, fall is the optimal season to do it because the temperatures will allow for open windows and low humidity levels will help everything dry faster.

BRIGHTEN UP THOSE WINDOWS

You’ve probably noticed that the days are getting shorter, which will only get worse when we turn the clocks back in November.  In an effort to allow as much natural light into your home as possible, make a point to give your windows a thorough washing.  Feel free to use a commercial cleaner or utilize a solution of vinegar and water to get professional-looking results.

GIVE YOUR PATIO FURNITURE A BREAK

In an effort to make your patio gear last longer, it’s always good to give it a solid rubdown to remove any leftover pollen, grime, and bugs, and consider packing some items away for the winter.  For furniture cushions, the goal is to reduce the chances that you’ll allow mold and mildew to occur, so make sure everything is completely dry before covering it or placing it in storage.

If you have any home maintenance questions or would like to inquire about our home building and remodeling services, please contact me.

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

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Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

While it may not completely feel like it on a daily basis, if you’ve stepped outside the last few mornings, you may have noticed that a tinge of fall is in the air.  Here in Georgia, autumn is a relative idea, especially if you take into account the fact that truly cold, blustery weather tends to miss this part of the country.  Even so, as temperatures begin to dip, it’s important to keep a mental checklist of fall home maintenance tasks that will help keep your property in tip-top shape throughout the winter.

1. PREP YOUR MOWER.  Most lawns in Georgia are planted with bermudagrass, which becomes dormant during the cool winter season.  Therefore, since you won’t need to mow your lawn for several months, it’s important to remember that leftover gas in your sitting mower may slowly deteriorate and damage its engine.

To combat this, consider adding a fuel stabilizer to your mower’s tank, which can keep spare gas in good condition.  Additionally, make a point to run the engine for five minutes so that the stabilizer reaches the carburetor before it gets put away.

2. SEAL THOSE CRACKS.  This is by far one of the most important tasks on any fall maintenance checklist.  In order to prevent moisture from getting inside your walls, go around your home’s exterior with a few tubes of color-matched exterior caulk and seal any cracks between the trim and siding, window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house.

3. CLEAN THOSE GUTTERS.  While we miss a lot of the snow, Georgia is known to get a lot of ice, which can lead to expensive future repairs if proactive maintenance steps are not taken.  Clogged gutters can cause ice dams, so make a point to clean your gutters of leaves, twigs, and gunk after the trees have shed their foliage.

Make a point to tighten any lose gutter hangers and downspout brackets, and replace any worn or damaged gutters.

4. CHECK FURNACE FUNCTION.  Furnace checkups are relatively cheap and can be completed by a heating and cooling pro within 30-45 minutes.  If you don’t already have one, you may even want to consider signing an annual maintenance contract which will not only save you money, but help you catch any pressing issues before you’re left without heat in mid-December.

5. PRUNE YOUR YARD.  The summer growth cycle ends mid-fall, which makes it a fantastic time to prune plants and trees throughout your yard—especially those close to your home.  Overgrown limbs can allow moisture to drip onto roofing and siding, and can also cause damage during high winds, so make a point to keep them at least three feet from your house.

If you’re new to yard maintenance or are not sure whether too much pruning will harm the integrity of your plants, consider checking information listed on the UGA Extension Service’s website.

Home maintenance is something that needs to be done year-round in order to avoid greater issues, so consider setting aside a weekend or two to complete the above tasks.  For more tips and tricks, please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.

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

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How to Cool That Chronically Hot Room in Your Home

Keeping your home cool can be a challenge, especially here in the South where 90+ degree temperatures become the norm for months on end.  With that being said, it seems that every home has that one room where temperatures sit five to ten degrees warmer than the rest of the house.  To deal with this dilemma, many homeowners simply close off the overly heated room; however, this creates a situation where you’re left with unusable space four to five months out of the year.  Sure, it’s always possible to install a window air conditioner, but such appliances are generally less-than-pleasing to the eye and are often expensive to run.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a lasting solution, consider the following possibilities.

UTILIZE LANDSCAPING.  While great for curb appeal and overall home value, the right landscaping can be extremely effective when attempting to cool and shade your home.  Consider using dense-canopied trees on the southern portion of your property and deflect the afternoon sun with tall shrubs, planted trelliswork, and short trees to the west.

INSTALL AWNINGS.  While landscaping can go a long way towards cooling your surroundings, it’s important to remember that trees and shrubs take a long time to mature.  If money is no object, you’re probably in a better position to purchase plants that are already on their way to being fully mature; however, if your landscaping is still in its infancy, consider using awnings instead.  Sure, they may be an acquired taste for many homeowners, but their effectiveness is generally unquestioned.  When placed over a west-facing window, awnings can reduce heat penetration by as much as 77%.

WINDOW TINTING.  Much like the addition of window tint in a car, consider applying a heat-control film to your home’s windows.  This film, which is made up of multiple UV-blocking layers, limits the amount of sunshine which can heat up your room and is extremely easy to apply.

FANS.  Luckily, most southern homes come pre-equipped with ceiling fans in their main rooms; however, for areas without similar air circulation features—especially those on upper floors and in sunny rooms— consider situating standing fans that will blow out toward open windows.  For parts of the home situated in the shade and generally on lower floors, orient fans to blow in toward the room.  In addition, set ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise during the summer months so that cool air gets drawn up from the floor.

In the end, temperature differences in your house can be a pain, which makes it that much more important to consider the layout of the HVAC system when purchasing or building a home.  If you’d like some advice or are even considering revamping your current system, please feel free to give me a call.

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