Double Hung Windows – the new replacement

We all know new windows can help with your energy bills, but when it comes time to replace them, what to choose?  There are several different types of windows. Traditionally, most windows were side-hinged windows, referred to as casements, and sliding sash windows. New opening mechanisms such as friction and pivot hinges are increasingly popular and available in double hung windows.

So,why choose double hung windows? Cleaning. Double hung windows are much easier to clean than windows based on a spiral or string system, because they won’t allow the sash to drop out when you are cleaning them. They also tilt in a way that uses a flush fitting tilt release which is more attractive than the older screwed in tilt release systems. This system works well for two story homes and enables you to clean your windows from the inside.

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You may find that choosing a quality window is difficult because of the overwhelming number of options. So where to start?  We suggest picking a window that comes with a solid warranty offered by a quality manufacturer.  Besides your budget, this is an important factor in your decision making, since your windows should last decades.  Also to consider is the material you choose: vinyl, wood, aluminum and composite materials are all available in our area. And after you’ve made your decision, we suggest hiring a professional to install them – nothing worse than spending your hard earned money on new windows and then not have them installed properly.

Remember, window materials, shapes, and sizes vary considerably, as does terminology, so you should read your manufacturer’s literature carefully. Replacement windows for older homes often need to be custom-built to your requirements, which is also something to consider.

Windows are a large investment and if you pick wisely you can save money over the long run by improving your energy efficiency. In order to save money in the future you may be wise to spend a little more on your windows now…

Need help choosing and installing your windows – we’re here to help. Give us a call, 608-241-9009, and we’d be happy to get started on updating the windows on your home.

Bathroom Update – Low Flow Toilets

Do you still have an old toilet, pre 1994?  If so, then you are using a lot of drinking water every time you flush your toilet.  Older toilets waste a huge amount of water, they use approximately 3.5 gallons of drinking water every time you flush.  That can add up to an average of 20.1 gallons of water per person, per day, about the equivalent of one bath. These older toilets account for around 30% of indoor water use.  And it takes considerable amounts of emissions-producing energy – to say nothing of chemicals – to treat all this water, both at the water treatment and sewage treatment plants.  By installing a low-flow toilet you can save all that extra drinking water from being flushed down the sewers.

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Congress, in an effort to conserve resources, reduced the amount of water which newly manufactured toilets could flush, to 1.6 gallons per flush.  The first generation of low-flow toilets had some problems with this low water, however low-flow toilets have greatly improved since they were first introduced.  There have been design modifications and outright changes to the method of waste disposal to make low-flow toilets more efficient. There are also dual-flush low-flow toilets available, where you have two options when flushing.  Most dual flush toilets flush 1.6 gallons on the main flush and as low as .08 gallons per flush on the rinse flush.

Something else to consider if you are replacing your toilet is to get a high-rise toilet (also known as comfort-height or chair-height).  They don’t set as low and can really aid aging-in-place.

Whether your motivation is to be more environmentally responsible, or just saving money,  installing a more efficient toilet is an effective and easy way to start to upgrade your bath.

We love re-doing bathrooms, so give us a call and get started with your new bath!

Peace in the Bathroom

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Photo Credit: ph.iha.com

When the weather gets colder there is nothing better than a long hot shower or bath. With this extra time warming up your bones during the winter season you may find that your bathroom could use some upgrades, possibly an entire remodel. The bathroom you’ve always wanted can be yours with a design that will fully utilize the space you have. Another bonus to remodeling your bathroom, it can be one of the most cost-effective projects a homeowner can have done.

There are so many things to consider when you start planning a remodeling project of this magnitude. It’s best to break things down a bit into categories to limit some of the planning stress. There are so many resources online that will allow you to preview almost every style out there. In most cases you’ll be able to see what a completed project looks like.

Feel free to take a look at our work for some inspiration. So where to start? Again keep the thought process categorized. What kind of flooring do you have in mind? Tile works so well in small or large bathrooms, it will add style to the smaller space without being overwhelming. In a larger bathroom it creates an elegant effect.

The shower or tub is always a major focus in the bathroom. Saying goodbye to the basic will allow you to have more control over water flow, mix and temperature. Don’t forget to think towards the future when planning your shower or tub set up though. A great design will grow with you as you age or have children, unless of course you’re doing a master bath. In that case it’s all about you!

Freestanding bathtubs are quire striking and can set the mood for rest and relaxation. With the chaos of life constantly pulling you in many directions keep peacefulness at the center of your bathroom design so you have a place to escape, even if it’s just for a half hour.

Take a deep breath and let us help you design the bathroom of your dreams!

Weird Stuff in the Bathroom

bathroom-remodel When the bathroom gets crowded weird stuff can happen. Cell phones end up in the toilet, toothbrushes get knocked in the trash and things just get messy! This isn’t a problem that only applies to small bathrooms either. Even adequate space can be cumbersome when it’s not laid out properly. No matter what the issue is, too small, bad design or both we can help you.

When a bathroom remodel is done properly it can provide years of pleasure and comfort. If corners are cut and a more amateur approach is taken it will serve as a reminder every day. There are lots of moving parts in the bathroom and a large volume of water use with potential for leaks. Here are some good ideas for a bathroom remodel. Continue reading

Lighting Your Bathroom Right

Whether it’s shaving your legs in the shower, looking through the medicine cabinet, or trying to pull out those stray nose hairs, light is key to making your bathroom work – but it’s not always the easiest thing to do. Because every bathroom is a different shape and size, each one has its own lighting solution. Continue reading

Home Remodeling Trends for 2014

2014 is well on its way, and it’s exciting to see what will happen in the world of home remodeling in the new year!

As we’ve mentioned before, high-tech homes have been gaining a lot of ground in the last few years and this year will be no different! Home automation used to be expensive and overly complicated to use, but that isn’t the case anymore. Smart thermostats like Nest are becoming more affordable every day, can be installed in less than an hour, and can save you big on energy spending. Even just a few years ago, something like a USB outlet might have sounded like a novelty. But with the ubiquity of smartphones, tablets, and other devices that charge with a USB cable, they can be a really handy way to save outlet space by keeping them free of clunky chargers. Continue reading