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Free Remodeling Seminar at Lancaster Public Library on Aug 11th

Matt & Mike Blank of MBC Building & Remodeling, LLC will be hosting a free seminar at the Lancaster County, PA Public Library on August 11th, 2014 from 1p – 2:30p

 Free Remodeling Seminar at Lancaster Public Library on Aug 11th

Lancaster Public Library, Duke St.

Topic: Long-Term Living Solutions for Seniors

Cost: Free, but you must register online.

Date/Time: August 11th, 2014 1p – 2:30p

Where: Lancaster County Public Library, 125 North Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17602 (717) 394-2651

Come out to learn about different home remodeling techniques that can help you and those in your lives remain in their own homes, safely and independently.

Ramp after lancasterpa3 300x225 Free Remodeling Seminar at Lancaster Public Library on Aug 11th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image mikeandmatt Free Remodeling Seminar at Lancaster Public Library on Aug 11th

Matt & Mike Blank

Posted in Accessibility and Aging In Place Remodeling.

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The Cost of Replacing Windows

By Matt Blank

Like a majority of things around the house, replacing your windows is probably a good idea; and it can be major investment in money and time. Let’s review some different factors that can affect the price of your window replacement.

1. Type & Efficiency of Windows: The first and biggest determinant of the cost to replace your home’s windows is the frame material your windows are made from. A good remodeler will help guide a prospective client in selecting the best window choice for their budget. Vinyl? Wood? Fiberglass? Aluminum? Each of these has pros, cons, and a different price tag.

Vinyl Pros: / Cons: Least expensive; good insulation; minimal maintenance / Susceptible to expanding and contracting during temperature variations.

Wood Pros: / Cons: May match historically with home and its design / Needs regular maintenance; affected by moisture changes.

Fiberglass Pros: / Cons: No changes with temperature or moisture; little maintenance / Expensive option.

Aluminum Pros: / Cons: No changes with temperature or moisture; good soundproofing / Highly conductive of heat and cold, lowering energy efficiency.

Generally speaking, the more efficient a window is, the more it will cost.

Other considerations are the brand name, Low E coatings (thin covering increasing ability to reflect instead of absorb heat) and spacers (multiple sheets of glass that help improve the insulation).

replacement windows The Cost of Replacing Windows

2. Material: Separate from the frame materials, the aluminum or other material used to seal or wrap the casings around the windows, plus any trim you desire, will be needed. Also, shims to level out the unit are necessary along with the standard hardware.

3. Labor: Preparing the jobsite, removal and installation (which requires work on the inside and outside), disposal of old windows, repair of the opening in the wall if needed and clean up should all be accounted for in a contractor’s proposal. Permits and inspections could also be required by the township.

To help evaluate whether a remodeling project will increase the value of your home, Remodeling Magazine puts out the annual Cost Vs. Value Report that gives average project costs and the home value someone can anticipate recouping in relation to that initial cost.

Interestingly, the 2014 Cost Vs. Value indicates a window replacement project in the Lancaster, PA area will recoup around 53% of the total investment. This came in well below the national average of 79%.

The energy cost savings are also an important consideration, but they can be small or HUGE – depending on the current state of your windows, insulation, appliances plus environmental factors such as how much direct sun your home takes on a daily basis.

YES – Replacing your windows is a good investment. NO – you won’t see a 100% return without more time in your home, if ever.

Either way: they will improve the curb appeal on a home nearing its time on the market, right?

Posted in Additions, Do-It-Yourself Tips & General Remodeling Info.

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Throw Open the Windows – Summertime is Almost Here!

by Matt Blank

Oftentimes overlooked during yearly maintenance, window screens need regular cleaning and care. Experts recommend removing and cleaning window screens every year for maximum performance in the home.

Window screens are generally made of fiberglass or aluminum mesh and require proper maintenance to allow for maximum airflow into the home and prevent insects from getting in the house.

Cleaning Tips: To clean window screens, remove the screens from the window frame, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the screens on a flat surface (such as the driveway) and use mild soap and water with a soft bristle brush to remove dirt and grime. Clean both sides of the screen and around the interior and exterior of the frame. Rinse off the unit with lukewarm water. Allow the screen to dry completely before replacing in the window. Never pressure wash screens or windows because the force of the water may damage the units. Use extreme care when cleaning aluminum mesh, since it can be dented or creased if too much pressure is placed on the screen.

window screen Throw Open the Windows   Summertime is Almost Here!

Maintaining Your Screens: While most window screens may remain in the windows year-round, some homeowners prefer to store screens during winter months. If you choose to remove your window screens, make certain to store them either in an upright or flat position. Covering them with plastic or a sheet will keep them clean while in storage. And, make sure nothing sits on top of (or leans against) the screens to eliminate the chance of bending of the frames or poking a hole in the screens.

If a small hole or tear does occur in your screen, patch kits are available in most hardware and home stores. Homeowners unhappy with the look of a patch (or who have a large gash in their screen) may choose to get the screen mesh replaced on the entire unit. Many cities have screen repair services where you can take your screen frame and have new mesh added to replace torn mesh.

Screens and Safety: Screens are not meant for animals or children to lean up against. Screens can be damaged or pop out if a child or animal pushes against them with enough force. Never consider a screen a safety feature in the home … they’re available only to allow in the flow of air, not to restrict anything of force. Another safety tip for the home is not to place cribs or furniture directly under a window. Children can climb and push out on the screens when the windows are open, resulting in a potential fall.

Window screens are terrific for ventilating the house and keeping insects outside, but that’s all they’re intended to do. Maintain their screens regularly and make sure to keep the bottom sash of windows closed when children and pets are around to prevent potential problems.

Posted in Additions, Do-It-Yourself Tips & General Remodeling Info.

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“The 85% Rule”: Start it yourself projects are easy, but will you finish?

HGTV makes it look so easy – 30 minutes and wala! – new space. No time, no hassle, barely any dirt. Some home remodeling projects can be that easy; but unfortunately, even with all of the training and experience in the world, no project finishes exactly as planned. Remodeling is an art, not a science. The creative problem solving it takes to complete these types of renovations is sharpened only with experience. This is what I think leads to a lot of the “DIY Fatigue” contractors like us see when we come in to finish the work.

But, I know what you’re saying – “No one wants to hear what a contractor’s biased opinion on these things” – right?? Well, I’m one step ahead of you! I went to LinkedIn for some real world answers from members of the Lancaster County, PA community as to what their experience with starting projects has been and what gets in the way of them finishing:

 

1. Stairs to Nowhere 300x168 The 85% Rule: Start it yourself projects are easy, but will you finish?
A rep from Web Talent Market says ”I’ve taken doors off of everyone second floor bedroom in my house, with the intention of re-painting, re-finishing and fixing them up. I ended up getting so busy that the doors did not get put back on for another 5 months. Let’s just say that there was a lack of privacy but a copious amount of bonding!”

Carolyn Schlicher from LiquidWholeFood.com: “We have done a lot in our home ourselves, including plumbing, wiring, drywalling, tile, laying hardwood and laminate, even building walls in our basement. The one reason my husband and I said, “No more–we’re hiring!” is because of what we joke is the “85% rule.” It seems that every major project we tackle gets to 85% and we 1) get disheartened it will never finish, 2) have all the important stuff done and the last 15% seems so trivial and hard to finish, and 3) he and I have a difference of opinion of what “finished” means and have had our own share of…ahem…”discussions” about who should be doing what in that last little bit.”

PITFALLS:

Reasons like Carolyn mentioned are the biggest causes of DIY Project Fatigue. Also, finish carpentry is where you separate the amateurs from the professionals. Many people can slap something together, but few can finish it beautifully. Watch out for these other project pitfalls:

  • start something new before finishing original project
  • underestimating the time it takes
  • not factoring in interruptions – work, kids, family, church, committments, etc, etc, etc
  • embarrassment leads to avoiding the issue and hoping it goes away

What’s behind the walls?

 

4 months The 85% Rule: Start it yourself projects are easy, but will you finish?
The biggest unknown in a remodeling project is what’s behind the walls. Whether your house is brand new, a cape cod from 1964 or a country farmhouse from 1857, there is no guarantee of knowing what is waiting for you when you open up a wall – until you open it. Some of the things we’ve found: wood (duh), dirt, bricks, concrete, rot, termites, mold… you never know what you will find until you open those walls. And just because your house is new, don’t assume there isn’t something sloppy back there.

TIPS:

The biggest and most unfortunate consequence of unfinished work at home is embarrassment. When your friends, family or neighbors come over for an event, you may feel an urge to avoid letting them see your unfinished project, especially as the months and months fade away and no more progress has been made. Instead of feeling bad, harness this feeling as MOTIVATION to rectify your DIY situation!

  • schedule time away – 1 parent takes kids?
  • list/prioritize what you want done – especially if there are things already started.
  • talk with a professional about possible teaming up on the project, you taking the portions you feel comfortable with and leaving the rest to your contractor
  • use negative energy as positive motivation

And hey, if this remodeling thing doesn’t work out, like Carolyn said “Perhaps another blog post on how to save your marriage during a DIY would be a good idea, too! ;)” to which I replied if I know that answer I’d write a book. “…and be a kajillionaire from the sales!” she quipped.

MBC Building & Remodeling offers DIY Consulting to help you plan your project. Talk to you soon!

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Here are some great tips from MarissaFontanez.com:

Avoid DIY Disasters 800 The 85% Rule: Start it yourself projects are easy, but will you finish?

Avoid DIY Disasters from MarissaFontanez.com

 

 

Posted in Additions, Do-It-Yourself Tips & General Remodeling Info.

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YES! NOW is the best time to invest in your Home.

Picking the right time to do a home improvement project can be difficult. One of the most important factors to consider is getting the best return on your investment. 

There is plenty of financial incentive to acting now vs. waiting. Lower heating and cooling costs, is a great reason for you to look into replacing windows and doors, updating your home’s heating and air conditioning systems, renovating outdated kitchens and bathrooms, or replacing damaged and unsightly roofs, siding, and landscaping.

Then there’s always the reward of pride and enjoyment in your home. Having any of the needs above addressed, or investing in a new painting, decking, or sunroom project will also bring you great pleasure and satisfaction on a daily basis as you enjoy the investment you’ve made in your family’s home.

The simple truth is that for wise homeowners, this is a great time to get started with your project. You will get more value for your investment and your family will begin enjoying your home even more. Please be advised, timing is everything. There’s no way to know how long these lower construction costs will continue. Industry experts concur; costs are likely to rise considerably in the coming months.

Posted in Additions, Do-It-Yourself Tips & General Remodeling Info.

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