Thinking about Getting Window Film for Your Home? 10 FAQs and the Answers that Can Help You Decide

86526280You may have heard enough about window film to wonder if it might be a good choice for your home. That’s a question you’ll ultimately have to answer for yourself, but in the meantime here are some questions about window film we can answer.

#1What is it, exactly?

Window film is a thin, polyester-based transparent overlay that can be applied to the interior of windows or similar flat glass surfaces. Many people believe it makes windows look nice but its primary purpose is indoor climate control.

#2 How does it work?

The surface of the film is highly reflective, of either visual light or ultraviolet light, which helps cut down glare and heat penetration. It also has thermal insulating properties that keep heat from escaping out through windows when the weather is cold.

#3 Is window film expensive?

Prices vary, but it is a product that will pay for itself many times over in reduced indoor heating and cooling costs. It lasts and that is why it is so cost-efficient.

#4 Okay, but how long will it last?

Film manufactured for commercial use generally comes with a 10-15 year warranty, although a life span of up to 25 years is common. Meanwhile film for home use is often warrantied for life.

#5 Is window film appropriate for every type of window or are there some exceptions?

Interior window film will cause the outer surfaces of windows to heat up to some extent. This is usually not a problem, but window film is not recommended for the following types of surfaces in residential settings:

  • Double-pane glass sections larger than 40 square feet.
  • Triple-pane glass.
  • Glass that has been chipped or cracked.
  • Tinted glass thicker than a quarter-inch.
  • Laminated glass windows.
  • Textured, wired, patterned or reflective glass.

#6 Will its tinting effects reduce fabric fading?

In a word, yes. The intensity of visual sunlight is reduced and UV rays are cut off as well, making window film a fabric-friendly product to be sure.

#7 Will it get scratched?

Scratch-free coatings are commonly applied to good-quality window film, which makes it highly scratch-resistant and easy to clean without excessive worry.

#8 Will it kill house plants?

While it is true house plants thrive in sunlight, they still do just fine in homes that use window film. Window film cuts down on glare but it won’t plunge you into darkness.

#9 How is window film different than solar screens?

Solar screens are mounted on the outside, are not nearly as transparent to sunlight as window film and must be taken down and cleaned periodically. Window film blends into the interior surface of a window and quickly blends into the background, to the point where you will forget it’s there after a while.

#10 How is commercial window film different from the residential product?

The former is quite dark and reflective and is often used on large windows where glare and heat penetration can be significant. Residential film is lighter in both weight and shading effect, reducing solar energy infiltration by up to 70 without unduly altering the sunlit nature of any indoor living space.

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How Annual Deck Maintenance Can Save You in the Long Run

DeckingSince decks are outdoors and thus exposed to the elements, performing yearly maintenance can keep it in good shape and help you avoid costly repairs.

Wash Your Deck in Late Spring

Winter can be hard on a deck, and cold temperatures can invite mold and mildew. In order to get your deck ready for use in the summer months, remove debris and then sweep the deck after covering all shrubs and plants, in preparation for cleaning.

  • Wood deck—Use standard deck cleaner. Apply the cleaner with a paint roller, stiff-bristled brush broom or garden sprayer. Don’t let the cleaner pool, and make sure the deck doesn’t dry until it has been scrubbed clean. Let the deck then soak for about 10 minutes, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse with clean water.
  • Composite deck—Use a cleaner that is specially formulated for composite material. Scrub the deck with a soft brush. Don’t use a pressure washer, as it can cause permanent damage to the decking, which will void any warranty. Use a deck brightener that contains oxalic acid to remove stains that have appeared from rust and leaves.
  • Vinyl deck— A vinyl deck needs only warm water and mild soap. Using a stiff broom, scrub in a circle motion. Then rinse the deck thoroughly.

Seal the Deck in Late Spring

Choose a sealer or stain for your deck. You can choose between a clear sealer, toner, semi-transparent stain or solid stain. Seal your deck over a two-day period. Choose a couple days with clear skies, and temperatures that aren’t too hot or cold. Wear a safety mask, gloves and eye protection when applying the stain or sealer.

Lightly sand the deck, and use a pole sander with 80-grit paper in order to remove “furriness” caused by washing. Replace popped or missing screws and nails. Also replace nails that are protruding with deck screws that are just a bit longer than the nails. However, if the nail is only protruding a little bit, it can be easier to pound it in than to try to pull it out.

Apply the stain or sealer, using a roller to cover three or four boards at a time. Brushes and small rollers are good for use on railings, benches and planters. Be sure not to let the sealant puddle or dry. Instead of doing one thick coat, opt for two thin coats.

Inspect and Repair Your Deck in Mid Summer

Summer is great time to inspect your deck. Use the following checklist during the inspection:

  • Check for rot
  • Inspect the ledger
  • Check joists, posts and beams
  • Check for rotting decking boards and cracks
  • Check the railing

These steps can help you maintain your deck all year long, which will save you money in the long run.

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Enjoying the Many Benefits of LED Lighting

159271285Are you ready to make the transition to LED lighting?

You certainly should be. Costs are dropping fast and versatile LED bulbs are now being manufactured that can meet all of your home or office lighting needs.

The Price is Right, Finally

For a long time LED light bulbs were not economically competitive with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights).

But the situation has changed dramatically. LED bulbs for home fixtures are now available for less than $10, and higher-quality LED bulbs for home use won’t cost you much more than $20.

This may still seem like a lot, especially in comparison to old-style incandescent bulbs. But when you factor in cost-savings for long-term electricity consumption LEDs have become a true money-saver.

The Forever Bulb

An LED light bulb won’t actually last forever. But if you put it in a lightly-used fixture you might put on quite a few wrinkles before you have to make a change. The typical LED home bulb will continue to glow at full or nearly full strength for up to 50,000 hours, and if it was kept on for eight hours a day it would last for more than 17 years.

To put this in perspective, you would need five CFLs and at least 25 incandescent bulbs to match this performance. Just based on the price of purchase alone a good-quality LED bulb would cost you less, but when you take electricity consumption into account the cost advantages soar.

Under the current price structure it would cost you about $60 dollars to cover the operating cost of the LED for 17 years, but $140 to pay for the electricity consumed by the five CFLs. That is a savings of almost five dollars per year, and if you multiply that by a house full of LEDs it adds up to a fairly princely sum.

We won’t even try to calculate your costs savings for LEDs vs. incandescents—those results would be ugly.

Even More Benefits

LED light bulbs don’t generate any heat at all, which is the secret to their long life span and their high energy-efficiency. About 90 and 80 percent of the energy consumed by incandescents and CFLs respectively is lost as heat waste, in contrast to LEDs that generate no waste at all.

Another advantage of LEDs is their durability. Because they have no glass parts LEDs won’t break if dropped, bumped, jostled or exposed to vibrations. This rugged dependability makes LEDs suitable for crowded public venues and all sorts of working environments.

LED bulbs come in a variety of colors and in dimmable form as well. They also come in different shapes and sizes and can be purchased to fit just about any type of fixture you might be using.

LEDs are the Winner

The evidence is conclusive: LEDs bulbs can cut your home operating expenses significantly if installed en masse. They do still cost more to purchase than CFLs or incandescents, but if you make the switch to LEDs you will be compensated for your wise upfront investment many times over.

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Turn Your Backyard into a Perfect Getaway

147889036With the current economy, people are choosing “staycations” more than ever. For much less than you would spend traveling to an exotic destination, you can spruce up your backyard and turn it into a relaxing haven. Below are some ideas to get your started.

 

  1. Outdoor kitchens—For many outdoor gatherings, hosts and guests don’t get to spend much time together, because whoever does the cooking has to go back and forth to the kitchen. With an outdoor kitchen, everyone can be outside at the same time, so no one misses a thing.
  1. Enclosures—You can add an enclosure to your patio area to separate it from the rest of your backyard. This will provide an extra level of coziness and tranquility. Lattices are perfect enclosures that can be easily assembled and decorated with climbing plants.
  2. Porch swings—Who doesn’t love a porch swing? These gentle rockers are a great place to read, visit or even just to think about the day’s events. Children and adults alike love the hominess of a porch swing.
  1. Gazebos—Gazebos aren’t just for weddings. They also make for great outdoor spaces. They can serve as forts for children’s imaginations while adding a touch of elegance and a beautiful focal point to an open backyard.
  1. Fountains—Fountains offer a soothing water effect that creates a natural peaceful feeling. The fountain you choose can suit your individual style and personality and be anything from cherubs to abstract formations.
  1. Ponds—Ponds, like fountains, evoke a feeling of calm. A pond doesn’t have to be large, and you can fill it with fish to add some wildlife to your outdoor space.
  1. Comfortable furniture—In order to get the most out of your backyard, you’ll definitely want comfortable furniture. Get something that makes you feel relaxed when you sit in it, instead of just deciding based on its visual appeal.
  2. Spa or hut tub—Sometimes nothing helps sore muscles like a hot tub or spa. You and your significant other can escape to this handy getaway with a glass of wine in order to relax after a long day.
  1. String lights—String lights make anything look more festive. They can provide needed light while also making the yard look celebratory in a way that isn’t overpowering.
  2. Fire pit—Fire pits can transform your backyard into campground where guests tell stories while roasting marshmallows. Certain fire pits are completely above ground and can be placed on concrete while still providing elegance and charm.

 

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Basic Etiquette Tips For Moving Day

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No matter how smoothly one wants it to go, moving always presents some hiccups. Things could get broken or damaged and there’s always an unforeseen issue that crops suddenly. It would thus be helpful to make a checklist to offer guidance and to inform on house moving etiquette.

When it comes to etiquette, the problem is that while people get frustrated with others, they tend to forget the irritating things they do themselves. Moving isn’t any different. One needs to keep manners in mind and be considerate of their neighbors. This would be a great way to make new friends in the new neighborhood.

Decent Timing

Moving should be done during decent hours of the day. One should thus avoid doing it early in the morning, late in the afternoon or when it’s dark. The best time would be after most people are off to work or have at least woken up, such as between 9 and 11AM. The whole affair should be completed before 4-5PM before people return home from work.

Availability

One should avoid blocking access points. Such include the neighbors’ sidewalks and driveways as well as the street. If this is unavoidable, then one should explain it to them. The mover needs to avail themselves if there’s something that needs to be moved to enable access.

Refreshments

Whether one is hiring movers or being helped by colleagues, they should offer snacks and water to everyone. This makes them feel cared for thus enabling them help better. They’re also more likely to treat the person’s stuff more cautiously.

Helping

Rather than sitting around to watch everyone else working, it would be better to help out. One needs to do this, even if they’re paying the other people. To help out, one could begin unpacking or moving stuff. This goes to motivate the movers and eliminates resentment.

Being Grateful

One shouldn’t forget to tip and thank the movers. For hired help, the amount could vary depending on the staff’s attitude and quality of job done. Generally, about 5% of the total cost would be acceptable. If friends and family members are helping, one could give them gifts or buy them dinner. Showing one’s appreciation makes people feel appreciated.

Cleaning up

Any remaining debris should be cleaned up. Throughout the process, one should pick up any pieces of paper, boxes and plastic that falls off to avoid littering other people’s property or the street. Once the process is over and the vehicle is gone, a final inspection should be conducted to ensure everything is cleaned up.

Pets

If one owns a pet, they should try and leave it elsewhere for both consideration of others and safety reasons. Pets are likely to get agitated or just get in the way when one is moving. They could be left in care of a trusted relative or friend or boarded up at a local daycare or vet. If none of these options are viable, the pet should be locked up in an out-of-the-way room with enough food and water.

Courtesy

One should be polite to all neighbors. If they show up during the move to introduce themselves, one shouldn’t act irritated. They should instead introduce themselves and their kin then politely remind them that they need to get out of the way. If they offer to chip in, it’s up to the mover to decide if they’ll accept it or not. Either way, politeness should be maintained.

When one moves, they get a first glimpse of the neighbors they’ll have. It’s thus important to be considerate so that one gets off to a good start in their new neighborhood. Follow us for the best in home improvement, construction, and house and home.


The Most Affordable U.S. States For Homes and Remodels

480523000With home prices steadily rising and the economy finally enjoying new life, many people are considering homeownership, yet looking for the most affordable housing options. Finding a home that won’t break the bank is a matter of knowing the most affordable US states to live in.

According to CNBC, the most affordable US states offer low housing costs, lower than average costs for food, utilities and gasoline and a high quality of living. Alabama, Mississippi and Kansas all top the charts in affordability, with residents in these states paying far less than the national average for their living expenses.

Buying a home in one of these cheap states means that you will have more money in your budget for home improvement. Homeowners will enjoy affordable closet renovations, home theaters and children’s playrooms. Whether you want to remodel your kitchen or overhaul your bathroom, you can find high quality contractors that will get the job done right.

Choosing a Remodeling Expert

Home Improvement Partners is the first place to look when you are considering a home remodel. New trends in housing happen every day, and we always keep you up to date on what’s happening in the industry. Want to maximize your bathroom space but not sure how? We offer tips and tricks for making your small space feel larger. Don’t understand the ins and outs of home automation? Let our handy guides break it down for you.

Starting Your Remodeling Project

Whether you want to do a complete gut renovation or simply update your home, it pays to have a plan of action when you start your renovation. Think through your options in terms of budget, space and time to completion. Interview contractors and let Home Improvement Partners be your resource for the best information on finding the right one to manage your home improvement project.

Finding the right affordable home is the goal of many prospective buyers. The most affordable U.S. states offer you the ability to live comfortably without breaking the bank so that you have more money for home remodeling.

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How Much Does It Cost To Install An In-Ground Pool?

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Here at Home Improvement Partners, we often get asked how much does it cost to install an in-ground pool? That can be a difficult question to answer. After all, what would you say to someone who asks “how much does it cost to build a house?” The answer for both is, it depends on the size and features you want.

Average Pool Installation Costs

The best way to determine how much an in-ground pool is going to cost is to obtain multiple prices from local contractors. But in order to facilitate the process, you need to do your homework first to determine what you want along with what your yard can accommodate. Generally, in-ground pools cost between $25,000 and $50,000. That’s a huge range, but differences are determined by location and materials and a variety of other factors. Here are the most common factors that affect pool construction cost.

480758043Pool Size

This is the biggest factor. The average cost per square foot is about $50.

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Pool Depth

Although this element plays into size, it should be considered separately. The deeper the pool, the bigger the hole that must be dug, increasing labor costs.

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Pool Building Materials

Gunite, a type of concrete, and fiberglass are today’s premium materials. Constructing your pool with one will cost much more than if you go with vinyl.

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Custom Pool Shape

If you want an unusual layout, it is going to cost more.

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Your Local Economy

If the cost of living is higher in your area than elsewhere, expect higher labor and materials costs.

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Pool Fences

Although this isn’t part of the actual pool, many municipalities and homeowners associations require that your yard have a fence if you have any type of pool. Add this to the overall cost if you need to construct one.

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Permanent Pool Toys

Diving boards, if your pool is deep enough, and slides are a lot of fun but they can significantly add to the cost. Determine how much you will use them before adding them to the mix.

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Spas

Spas, or hot tubs as many people call them, seriously raise the price of your installation, but many people consider them a necessity.

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