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Category: Remodeling

Most homeowners add a fence to their property for security reasons. However, the landscaping feature can also enhance a home’s exterior appearance. If you are a pet owner or a parent, then a fence will help you keep your loved ones safe and restricted to an area where they’ll be easy to find.

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About New Wood Fences

Wood fences are popular because of their aesthetic appeal. In some areas, a wood fence can even increase a home’s value. The cost of installing a wood fence will depend on the type of wood that you select, the size of your property and your residence’s terrain. You can hire a professional contractor to supply the fencing materials and installation crew, or you can buy the materials and complete a do-it-yourself installation. If you purchase the wood personally, then check the lumber for Forest Stewardship Council certification to make sure that the material originates from a properly managed forest site. Responsibly managed forests supply different types of wood including:

• Pine
• Cypress
• Redwood
• Cedar

Pine

Pine is a popular fence material as its composition makes it easy to use. Pine is less likely to swell, warp or shrink. You can expect to pay about $8 to $10 for each linear foot of a pine fence.

Redwood

Due to its natural makeup, redwood will resist rot and termites. The wood option is durable, and it accepts finishing substances easily. Keep in mind that redwood is pricier than other fence lumber types as it costs about $10 to $12 per linear foot.

Cypress

If you choose cypress, then you’ll be installing a visually appealing fence. The wood type is sturdy and aromatic. Cypress wood does feature knots, but they are usually small and compact. In addition, the fencing material features a natural preservation oil that increases its resistance to bugs and deterioration. Your cost for cypress will be around $7 to $10 a square foot.

Cedar

With cedar, you’ll receive a sweet smelling wood that is an appealing reddish color. It is also an easy material to use. The wood type resists decay, and most people find that their cedar fence lasts for many years. The cost of cedar is about $10 to $12 per linear foot.

About Labor Costs

Labor costs for the installation of a privacy wood fence will vary. However, you can expect to pay from $125 to $140 for about 4 hours of labor. When you receive a labor quote, it should include the cost of transporting the equipment and materials to and from your home as well as property preparation before the fence company begins the installation. The estimate will likely include cleanup and debris elimination costs along with setup and minimum hourly fees.

Possible Additional Fees

If you intend to hire a general contractor to organize and oversee the installation of your fence, then you will likely pay about 12 to 19 percent more for the extra service. You’ll also have sales tax on your fencing supplies and materials along with inspection and permit fees. Be sure to check with your area’s local building department regarding certification and construction regulations.

Wood Fence Cost Variations

The cost of adding a fence to your property will depend upon the type of property containment system that you decide to install. For instance, privacy fences are more dense and taller than traditional picket fences. Therefore, you’ll need more wood to complete the installation. Fence enhancements like caps, lattice and decorative gates also increase the cost of new wood fences.

Follow Up Care

Once your fence is installed, be sure to coat it with a weather sealer. Also, consider adding a protective treatment to prevent decay and repel bugs. Keep in mind that your fence will need regular maintenance that involves the reapplication of the substances that protect it. After your fence is installed, you may consider hiring a landscaping professional to finish the look of your home’s exterior spaces. An expert landscaper can also integrate your new fence into your yard’s current design.

Concluding Thoughts

Fencing companies make property containment systems in different types of wood. Therefore, you can select a material that will appeal to your budget, style and patience for maintenance tasks.

A sunroom can enhance your enjoyment of your home and give you additional space for entertaining or just relaxing. However, the term “sunroom” can mean different things to different people. To some, a sunroom involves little more than adding walls and a roof to an existing patio to create an area that will be used only during warm weather. For others, a sunroom is fully climate-controlled to provide comfort year-round and must be built from the ground up. The amount of new construction required and the intended use of the sunroom are the two primary factors that determine the final cost.

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Basic Construction Factors Impacting Costs

The first item on the list of construction elements that can affect cost is the foundation. If no foundation exists, the contractor must excavate the area, install forms, place rebar and pour concrete. A good foundation is essential to a sunroom that is to see year-round use. It is also a critical factor in determining how long the room will last without becoming destabilized by erosion; without a proper foundation, the room can “settle” or sink, causing cracks or gaps to form in the walls.

Sunrooms that are to provide comfort during all seasons will need to be insulated. The amount of insulation needed can affect the construction costs and depends a great deal on the local climate. Obviously, if you are building a sunroom in Boston, where the average temperature in January is 9.5 degrees Farenheit, you will need more insulation that you would to build one in Miami, which averages approximately 68 degrees during January.

Some costs are more reliant upon the intended use of the sunroom. If heating and air conditioning is desired, costs can be higher. An electrician will need to install the wiring for any outlets, lighting or ceiling fans if the sunroom is to double as another living area, such as a den or family room. Since sunrooms typically consist of lengthy expanses of glass, the quality of the windows selected can affect costs. Windows can be single- or double-paned, feature metal or wood frames, and be highly decorative or basic.

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Additional Construction Factors

A sunroom can be basic or upscale. For example, a sunroom with a high cathedral ceiling will cost more than one with a low, plain ceiling. The wall adjoining the house can be finished with drywall or expensive wood paneling. Built-in entertainment centers or bookcases can also raise the cost. Floors can be exotic hardwood, vinyl tile, brick, stone or carpet. Roofing materials need to match the house, or at least blend in for a pleasing appearance, so whether the sunroom’s roof will be slate tiles, fiberglass shingles or wood shakes affects the cost.

Another element that can affect costs is the terrain on which the room is to be constructed. The foundation needs to be placed on level, well-drained soil. If the contractor must arrange for substantial leveling of the site or clear trees first, the costs can be affected. The same is true if the soil is of a type that is too unstable to yield good results and the contractor must excavate and replace existing soil.

Virtually all cities and towns require building permits for sunroom construction. However, the cost of permits varies widely. In some towns, a permit costs well under $100, but in some major cities, the same type of permit can cost several hundred dollars. In addition, local codes may restrict plumbing, electrical or masonry work to individuals holding advanced licenses, and this has the potential to affect final costs.

Typical Costs for Sunrooms

Assuming that you want to build a sunroom of approximately 200 square feet that can be used year-round. Nationally, the cost is between $45,889 and $55,813, with HomeAdvisor.com placing the average at $49,316. This number is for a nice — but not extravagant — sunroom that required a new slab foundation and basic insulation, wiring, flooring, windows, heating and cooling, roofing and finishing. Add a few upgrades or construction challenges, such as those mentioned earlier, and costs can rise substantially, often to as much as $72,000 or more.

On the other hand, if you want to just have a patio surround built, the national average for this type of sunroom is approximately. $22,400. This is assuming that the foundation is already in place and does not need extensive repairs or enlargement. However, because these rooms are not resting on a thick slab foundation, they are difficult to heat or cool, so such sunrooms are better suited to temperate climates. Also, wall insulation is normally not as thick, which can make the room unsuitable in areas that experience cold winters or very hot summers. In addition, the location, size and shape of the sunroom is dictated by the existing patio, which means that you could end up with a sunroom that is smaller than you would like or that does not have the proper exposure to catch the light well.

There are numerous options from which to choose when you decide to build a sunroom. The first step is to decide how you plan to use the room, where you will build it and how large you would like it to be. The second step is to contact a reputable contractor for a quote. Discuss your exact requirements, such as heating and air conditioning, interior and exterior finishing, wiring and upgrades, with the contractor. Make sure that all elements are covered in the bid, including options you have selected, who will bear the cost of permits and the completion time. With the proper planning and choice of contractor, you will be able to enjoy your new sunroom quickly, and for many years to come.

Few homeowners are completely satisfied with the layout, décor or overall appearance of their homes. This often leads to big home renovation projects, many of which cost thousands of dollars to complete. As these homeowners spend their savings or take out additional mortgages to finance these improvements, they often begin to wonder whether the renovations will really increase the value of their homes or will simply take all their money.

While the average costs associated with remodeling have dropped 10-15 percent in the past few years, the overall selling prices for most homes has also decreased. This makes choosing renovations that will provide the most resale value even more important.

While small remodeling projects, such as replacing a worn front door or updating to energy efficient windows, still bring the highest returns, there are opportunities for larger renovations to improve a home’s value. These are the top four big-ticket home remodeling upgrades that retain the most resale value:

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1. Kitchen Remodeling Projects
While gutting and completely rebuilding a kitchen is an expense that generally will not pay off for homeowners, a fairly minor kitchen re-do can add up to 83 percent to the home’s value. By simply updating a kitchen with new cabinet doors, newer appliances and high-quality countertops, sinks and hardware, homeowners can provide a new look to their kitchen for under 20,000 dollars. Potential buyers walk into these partially renovated spaces and assume that these changes cost between 40,000-50,000, and they are willing to pay more for the homes.

A good rule of thumb for kitchen remodeling projects is to budget and spend approximately 25 percent of the home’s value. Spending more than this will be putting too much capital into a home that will not be recouped at resale. Additionally, homeowners should be cautious about building ultramodern spaces in traditional homes. Potential buyers like to see updated fixtures, but they also want kitchens that match the style of the home’s architecture.

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2. Bathroom Remodeling Projects
When potential buyers view a home, quality bathrooms are often their second-highest priority. Like renovated kitchens, remodeled bathrooms can look especially high-end, clean and luxurious. These qualities can entice many buyers to pay top-dollar for homes.

Remodeling a bathroom does not have to cost a lot either. Putting just 5,000-10,000 dollars into repainting, tiling and adding high-quality fixtures can truly transform a bathroom into a home oasis that will reap a 60 percent return on investment. Homeowners with multiple bathrooms should choose their remodeling projects carefully. Buyers like the idea of spa-like master suites, and updating guest powder rooms can also impress.

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3. Basement Renovations
Completing an unfinished basement or renovating an out-of-date basement can add significant living space to a home that will be reflected in value at sale time. Because homeowners are simply utilizing space that already exists in their homes to create additional living quarters, remodeling a basement is a surefire way to increase the value of their homes. Unfinished basements that are renovated into fully functional living rooms, extra bedrooms or even man caves can bring a 70 percent financial return at resale time. Of course this dollar amount depends on the square footage of the basement, but even small spaces that are made livable will see financial gain.

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4. Attic Conversions
Constructing an addition or expanding the roof or foundation is a costly renovation project that typically does not offer much in resale returns. However, homeowners that can fully renovate an interior space, such as an attic, spend less money and therefore make more profit when they sell. Because attics are typically used for storage and are then considered wasted space, renovating them to become usable living area can add significant value to homes. Most often these attics are converted into additional bedrooms, sometimes returning as much as 84 percent of the cost in resale value. Older homes are particularly appropriate for attic renovations since many of them have high rooflines that yield larger spaces under the eaves. These areas can become cozy bedrooms, libraries and bonus rooms.

While big-ticket renovations see the highest yields at resale, there are a number of smaller investments that often bring an even greater investment. Remodeling projects such as swapping out an entry door, adding a wood deck or updating a home’s siding typically cost even less than these projects but see more than 90 percent in resale returns. Homeowners who want to see value when it comes time to resell their homes need to carefully pick and choose their renovation projects.

Adding a new deck to your home increases the value of the property, boosts its aesthetic appeal and expands your family’s living spaces. Composite decking is a durable and environmentally friendly option that provides a good return on your home improvement investment.

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Cost of Composite Decking

Decking costs vary by region, material type and the complexity of your deck design. For example, if you plan to incorporate railings, benches, a spa enclosure or a pergola in your new deck, your cost will be higher than average. Currently, the average price for basic composite decking material ranges between $6 and $8 per square foot(1).

Various manufacturers price their composite decking differently. Less costly materials are hollow-core or cellular in construction while higher-end materials are solid throughout. Some manufacturers make their boards wider for added stiffness and stability, which raises the cost. Several companies produce more than one product line, each priced differently.

Comparing Decking Materials

EPA’s Decking Alternatives Cost Calculator provides a reasonable cost comparison of various decking materials. The following totals reflect the average price for a completed 20 x 30 foot deck as of 2006:

• $4,029: pressure treated pine
• $5,121: recycled plastic/wood composite
• $5,745: cedar/redwood

The Average 10-Year Cost of Composite Decking

According to EPA, the 10-year cost of a composite deck is nearly the same as its initial cost because maintenance is minimal. In contrast, the 10-year cost of a redwood deck is almost double its original price due to high maintenance. Similarly, the 10-year price of a pine deck is $9,921 compared to its original price tag of $4,029.

Therefore, when you cost out your decking options over the longer term, you see the advantage of putting a bit more money into low maintenance composite materials. Additionally, your composite deck lasts longer — up to 50 years. In comparison, well-maintained wood decks average only about 20 years before they need to be replaced.

Factors That Raise the Price of Your Composite Deck

Besides the size of your deck, the shape, elevation and the number of built-in features affect the cost. If you plan to take the best advantage of standard lengths of composite lumber, your cost per square foot will be less than if your design calls for dimensions that produce more waste. Lengths may vary according to the product you plan to use, but in general, 8′, 10’, 12’ and 16’ are the standard lengths for decking lumber.

If your design calls for curves or cutouts, additional installation costs will add to the ultimate price. However, since your composite deck is likely to outlast your tenure in your home, you may believe it worthwhile to pay for custom work that adds to its beauty.

Also, if your deck is elevated above the ground or built on terraced levels, your financial outlay will be higher than the cost of a deck on level ground. If your property requires excavation to accommodate a deck, be sure to include that expense in your calculations.

Railings, steps, planters, benches, trellises, gazebos, hot tub platforms and other custom add-ons further raise your initial deck cost. You may choose to include some essential features, such as steps, during construction but to add others, like benches, later as your budget allows.

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Additional Benefits of Composite Decking

Wood and plastic composite lumber provides a number of benefits over natural wood products. Composites are:

• Non-toxic
• Guaranteed not to rot, crack or splinter
• Stain resistant
• Resistant to salt water and fresh water damage
• Permanently stained and sealed
• Mildew and mold resistant
• Insect proof
• Resistant to ultraviolet rays
• Washable and impervious to chemical damage

In addition, composite decking is environmentally friendly. It is made from recycled wood, so it does not impact living forests. It contains waste plastic that would otherwise end up in landfills. Most composites contain no chemicals that could affect rainwater runoff.

Some homeowners prefer the look and feel of wood decking to composite materials. However, manufactures are currently producing more natural-looking composites in more color than ever. Given the low maintenance and longevity of composite materials, they represent a wise home improvement investment.

Hardwood and tile floors have their advantages, such as giving the illusion of more interior space and eliminating stains as seen on carpets. However, stepping onto a cold floor during the winter months has its drawbacks, and the ice-cold feeling you get from your feet to your knees makes you want to crawl back in bed or sleep with your socks on.

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Heated flooring takes away the cold, unwelcome feeling of standing on hardwood and tile floors in the morning and throughout the day. More homeowners now have heated flooring because of its many benefits, one of which includes saving money on heating bills. Heated flooring warms the room and allows you to keep the thermostat on a lower setting.

Five Facts About Heated Floors

1. Not all heated flooring systems are the same.

Radiant floors produce heat in one of three ways: electricity, hot air or hot water. While hot air-based heated floors provide the least energy efficiency, water-based systems offer the most efficiency in heating large and small spaces. The rising costs of utilities makes electric-based heated floors a costly investment in the long run.

2. Heated floors provide even heating.

Heated floors generate consistent and even heating throughout a room. They warm the furniture and the interior space. Normal heating systems turn on and off, providing heat only when the thermostat deems it necessary. Radiant heat continues to provide balanced warmth and minimizes the need to find the right setting on the thermostat.

3. Heated flooring is an allergy-free solution.

Heating systems gather dust and spread it throughout the house. To make matters worse, dust mites live in the ductwork and contaminate the living space and upset your allergies. Heated flooring does not release any allergens and cleans easily with a broom and a mop.

4. Radiant floors work in every room.

Heated flooring keeps the bedroom nice and warm during the winter, but it can also heat other rooms in the house. Radiant flooring works well in the kitchen, the bathroom and any other room with hardwood and tile. Heated floors are not just for new construction; you can have them installed in any room of any home regardless of its age.

5. Heated flooring rarely freezes.

Water-based radiant floors continuously run throughout the winter and rarely freeze unless you turn off the system for a long time. Even under extremely freezing temperatures, the heating system still operates normally at a lower thermostat setting.

Having radiant flooring in your home does more than keep you warm and toasty. It increases the resale value of your home, lowers your electric bills in the winter and minimizes the effect of airborne allergens. You can have heated flooring installed in any room of your home and enjoy its benefits for many winters to come.

One of the brightest forms of current ecological activity is in the area of metal construction. There are now a whole host of ways that steel buildings can be actively used to enhance and organize all areas of home activity. Versatile and durable, steel constructions are environmentally friendly from the outset. Companies such as Future Buildings now specialize in provided prefabricated steel buildings that are quick to build and create very little waste. Ideal for a whole range of uses, here are five ways that these green designs can enhance a home.

Garages

Steel is the most sustainable of all construction materials and can offer the most environmentally aware approach to home activity. Advanced forms of garages and car ports can be an essential for most families, presenting an ideal amount of space and security. The long-lasting durability of steel is an obvious must for car owners looking to store their vehicle in the safest way. The huge advantage of using a modern steel building for this task is that every design can be individually tailored to each user’s requirements. This can mean a tidy and well balanced garage.

Storage

Practical storage solutions can be an essential element of ecological living.  The best forms of steel constructions can be put up in far less time than more traditional building methods, offering a greater amount of time for designing exactly how best to store items.  Outbuildings and annexes can be a great way of de-cluttering the home itself, ultimately creating more space in and around the house.

Workshop and office

Households and businesses are both beginning to see the advantages of modern steel constructions in the practical form of offices and additional workshops.  A home office can be easily installed on the grounds of a house quickly and conveniently.  Presenting a fully secure location for all working activities, a green office space can make working around the house a well organized – and decisively green – activity.

Garden

The garden is often key to enjoyable relaxation around the home. With the latest forms of steel construction this enjoyment can be heightened even further.  The practicality and ease of use of the latest styles of metal constructions can bring an extra element of forward-thinking to every home garden. Able to safely store gardening equipment and horticultural items, the latest forms of steel construction present the ideal way of looking after the garden in the greenest possible way.  Lighting and heating elements can also be safely installed, allowing the growing and careful cultivation of plants.

Living

The latest styles of steel buildings can be used as beautifully contained guest houses or annexed living quarters. The wipe clean edges of a carefully constructed pre-fab space can help save on cleaning products and detergents. Steel does not rust or require any form of treatment or extra care. The material is certainly the greenest of all available home construction materials, and can make an extra living space both comfortable and perfectly secure. With the most solid of structural supports, a futuristic steel building can make a valuable addition to every home.

In the 1950s, vinyl siding was first introduced to the market as an alternative to aluminum siding. Siding that is made of vinyl was more lightweight and less prone to dents, and paint lasts much longer on vinyl than on siding that is made of metal or wood.

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The Components
Vinyl siding has two layers. The bottom layer contains synthetic resin and polyvinyl chloride, which is one of the most commonly produced types of plastic in the world.

The top layer is made of titanium dioxide, and this substance provides the siding’s color while acting as a physical barrier against UV rays.

Water
To prevent dirt from becoming embedded and very difficult to remove, a homeowner should use a pressure washer to clean the house’s siding at least once per year.

Water won’t harm vinyl siding unless the water has a temperature of more than 125 degrees Fahrenheit. When liquid that has such a high temperature hits vinyl, it will trigger a chemical reaction that can cause some of the titanium dioxide to break up and to fall off prematurely. Furthermore, the heat will swiftly fade the color of any paint that has been added to the siding.

Unlike hot water, rainwater will take many years to remove the color of your home’s siding. A homeowner should install an overhang at the edge of the roof to ensure that a large amount of water, which flows on the shingles during storms, isn’t hitting the siding consistently.

Sunlight
When the majority of homes had aluminum siding, the sun’s rays would heat the thin metal to an incredibly high temperature and cause the siding’s paint to swiftly begin to chip and to come off.

Vinyl is not a powerful conductor of heat, but the sun’s UVA rays, which are the longest UV rays that our star produces, can penetrate deep into the titanium dioxide and cause it to fade when the UV index is higher than 10.

Winter Weather
Snow does not damage vinyl siding, but ice can cause the siding to crack prematurely. When water seeps between the siding during a storm or after you wash the exterior of your home, that water can remain within the siding for weeks.

If the water turns into ice, it will expand. Over time, the constant expansion and contraction of the siding will weaken it substantially, and although the ice won’t cause it to break apart, the frozen water will make the vinyl much thinner and allow a light impact from a piece of hail or a poorly thrown baseball to create large holes in the material.

Hail
Impacts by pieces of hail that have a diameter of more than one inch will create large dents or holes instead of simple scratches, and as a result, a homeowner’s only choice is to completely replace siding that has been damaged by hail.

Scratches And Scuffs
Roofing materials, tools that are used in a garden and pieces of wood can easily scuff siding. These blemishes can only be removed by lightly scrubbing them for at least 10 minutes with brushes that are made of steel or nylon, and scrubbing the vinyl too roughly will create scratches.

To remove scratches, a contractor can use a sander to make the surface smooth again. Next, the technician will apply a filler that is made of wax or silicon to completely eliminate any trace of the blemish.

The Statistics
According to studies that were conducted by Alcoa and the Vinyl Siding Institute, vinyl siding on homes in the United States remains in good condition for 50 years on average, and the majority of companies that manufacture siding provide a warranty that lasts for 20 years to 55 years.

Windows come in a variety of styles, designs and sizes. Years ago, the material used for window frames was limited to wood, but today, you can choose vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass windows. However, wood frames are still one of the most popular material options. Today’s window manufacturers also produce different types of glass to give you a more energy efficient product.

Vinyl Windows
Vinyl windows offer energy saving benefits. The material choice is also affordable. Window manufacturers make vinyl windows from PVC, and as a result, the product can vary in quality. Today’s vinyl is a durable product. Also, manufacturers have advanced the window style’s structural design and implemented construction changes, so if you select vinyl windows, then you will have a quality product that can last as long as 15 years depending on your climate. Keep in mind that vinyl windows have a tendency to warp and become unworkable if they are not installed properly. In addition, the material may fail more quickly in areas that experience high summer temperatures and low winter temperatures. The reason for the failure is that the substance expands in the heat while the cold weather causes it to contract. In addition, if you live in an area with extreme summer temperatures, then vinyl window frames in dark colors will likely have more problems than light-colored models.

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Wood Windows
Wood windows are a popular choice for many homeowners due to the material’s diversity. Furthermore, the option should last for 30 years or more depending on your climate and the type of maintenance that you complete on a regular basis. If you live in an old home with the original wood windows, then you can add weather stripping to increase their efficiency. By repairing your old windows, you are helping the environment since you are decreasing landfill waste and using fewer resources to maintain your home’s interior temperatures. Hardwood windows are expensive, but the material is durable. Also, maintenance is simple as the home feature only requires oil. Hardwood windows give you a diverse style because you can paint them or leave them in their natural state. If you choose to install softwood windows, then the material choice will be more affordable than hardwood. However, expect additional maintenance as you’ll need to paint the style or maintain them regularly.

Aluminum Windows
Aluminum is an appealing material choice because it is affordable and stronger than vinyl. Depending on your area’s climate, aluminum windows should last from 15 to 20 years. The material option is best for homes in mild climates due to the failures that frequently occur with the option in more extreme environments. For instance, aluminum windows may suffer from seal failures, glass condensation between the frames and operation issues as the material begins to corrode and break down. In addition, the energy efficiency ratings for aluminum are poor.

Climate Tips
When you begin shopping for new windows, be sure to assess your climate. For instance, wood typically provides the best insulation, but the material can rot. Therefore, it may not be the best choice for rainy or humid climates. Alternatively, when heat transfer and loss is an area issue, aluminum windows may not be the best material choice. However, aluminum is ideal for rainy and humid climates. The substance is also strong, and manufacturers can build aluminum windows to meet the strict building codes in coastal areas. For many homeowners, vinyl is a practical option. Also, the material choice is available in various colors, which lets you select windows that increase the visual appeal of your home. Once you begin considering new windows, assess each style’s U-value as the measurement estimates a window’s ability to withstand heat loss. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, or SHGC, is another measurement to consider because it calculates the amount of heat that can enter your home through a window.

Tips for Selecting the Best Windows
If your windows are beginning to age, then it may be time to replace or repair them. Keep in mind that windows are a longtime investment, so be sure to select the right material for your area. Also, evaluate the home feature’s glaze and insulation materials to acquire the best replacement results for your residence. When you upgrade your windows, you’ll decrease your utility bills and help the environment.

Hiring a contractor to install new siding is a large project that can have a bill ranging from $1,500 to $15,000. This huge price range depends largely on the building’s size and your choice of material. Typically, a contractor must come out to your home to give you a customized quote, but you can get an idea of the siding installation cost by looking at an average size home of about 2,200 square feet.

Vinyl Siding
For every square foot of wall surface, vinyl siding costs between $2 and $3. For example, 1,000 square feet would require $2,000 to $3,000 worth of materials. Labor costs are typically based on the region and union laws. In general, you need to add between $50 and $150 per hour for labor. Your contractor usually quotes a flat labor amount, but this can increase if issues arise during installation.

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Aluminum
Stronger than vinyl, but prone to dents, aluminum is slightly more expensive. At $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot, a 2,000 square foot area costs between $5,000 and $7,000 to cover.

It is critical to note that labor and material charges grow substantially bigger when the surface area increases. Installing siding on a small guest house, for example, is significantly cheaper compared to an installation on your main home.

Wood
Natural or engineered wood gives a traditional feel to the home, but you must choose the wood type carefully. Find engineered or treated wood that has specialized coatings to resist decay and insect damage. For a basic wood installation, each square foot costs $5 to $7.50. Typically in square or rectangular shingle shapes, this siding choice is more labor intensive. Because each shingle must be attached separately, the contractor may charge more per hour or increase the amount of hours for the job. Check all the paperwork before you sign a contract with a company to ensure that labor costs have a reasonable cap.

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Fiber Cement
If you want a wood appearance without the maintenance, look for fiber cement siding. Available in a rainbow of colors, this siding has a wood grain and remains resilient against weathering and insect damage. For a 3,000 square foot wall surface, expect to pay between $13,500 and $27,000 for materials alone. Labor may be more negotiable for this siding because of its easier installation pattern.

Stucco
Stucco is a plaster mixture that must be applied to the building’s outside surface. This unique siding lasts for many years with barely any maintenance, but it costs between $4 and $10 for each square foot, not including labor. Although a 2,200 square foot surface ranges between $8,800 and $22,000 for stucco materials, it may be the last siding you ever purchase.

Unexpected Expenses
Other expenses surprise you as the contractor begins the job. If you have not removed the old siding, for example, an extra $1,000 to $3,000 is added to the quoted installation amount. Requesting insulated siding costs significantly more, depending on the insulation and siding type.

Once removed, the contractor may find poor structural wood on your home, such as supportive beams damaged from termites. This wood must be replaced. The contractor could be liable for faulty siding installation if the wood fails under the new material. You must calculate new wood supports and the labor involved to fully complete your siding project.

Asking for more men on the job to finish the installation faster only increases your labor amount because the contractor must pay more per hour to his workers. Any increase in labor and materials will be presented to you. No work can be completed without your approval on all changes.

Adding new siding to your home increases the value significantly, but you must pay for the upfront costs to receive the eventual benefits. Talk to several contractors to get separate quotes for comparison. Choose a reliable contractor that will transform your home’s exterior.

There’s an old joke among professionals that when a client asks a question that they don’t know the answer to, they are told to respond, “That depends,” which gives them time to look up the answer. Strangely enough, in the case of giving an estimate for the cost of installing new French doors, “that depends” is probably one of the most honest answer you will ever receive.

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And as much a non-answer as it may seem, it’s true, since there are such a large number of variables that depend on what you want and how extensively you shop, that at first glance there is no better answer. Fortunately, therein lies an opportunity for you to get exactly what you want and for a price you can afford.

There’s Nothing Like French Doors
There is probably very little to compare to the inviting and elegant look of French doors to a home’s appearance. It’s little wonder that in the past few years the demand for French doors has skyrocketed. Quality French doors can be made from a wide variety of materials that not only enhance the look of a home, but can also be made to fit practically any budget. Further, modern technology allows French doors to be made in a multitude of designs that will compliment any decor.

But What About the Cost?
If you have decided that French doors are for your home, chances are good that you have already taken a deep breath and taken a good hold on yourself over the cost. The good news is that not only will the cost not be as difficult to handle as you might first think, but if there’s a silver lining to the current economic outlook, it ‘s the fact that there are many dealers out there on the market who are not only able but willing to make you a good deal. The trick is to shop around and make dealers compete against each other.

Many Ways to Choose
Just as is the case with many home projects, there are many ways to approach having French doors created for your home. First, there are specialty stores who make and install doors. That’s all. Then there are stores who sell doors along with many other items for the home. Lastly, there are carpenters who can create a door made to measure for your home.

All three of these approaches have downsides and benefits all of their own. Again, the trick is to shop around and tell each one what you are doing. You can rest assured that when they know they are competing against each other they will want to negotiate on price in order to get the work.

Cost Ranges
Depending largely on where you are and the market of the area were you are looking, the cost of French doors can range anywhere from $ 375 to $ 505 on the low end, and $ 615 to $ 745 on the high end for the doors themselves. Installation is priced separately, from $ 93 to $ 155 on the low end, and $ 195 to $ 278 on the high end. Of course, much of the installation costs are for labor, but some costs are for materials such as weatherstripping, insulation, and other sundry items.

Stepping Back
Before you decide on which vendor to choose to instal your French doors, you should step back from the job, take a good look at what you are getting, and don’t be afraid of going back for a further round of negotiations with the vendor. You can bet that they will be willing to adjust prices, just maybe not too much. They need to make a living too, but your ultimate purpose is beautiful French doors.

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