Modern Living

Modern Living

Home and real estate topics discussed in detail

Composite Decking – What is the Best Material?

Your home’s outdoor space is an extension of the interior. It makes sense that updating the space can provide a peaceful retreat and boost the value of your home. The project can involve upgrades to better materials, and this means considering composite varieties on the market. Choosing a high-quality material can present a myriad of benefits, including longer life and low maintenance. Given that composites are created differently, here are some of the best materials to consider for your project.

Capped Composites

This is a new generation product that wraps the composite core with a tough plastic veneer known as capstock, of about 1/16 inches thick. The material is made of PVC. This is, in fact, the fastest growing segment of the decking market as it is known to be ultra-low maintenance. In addition to keeping moisture away, the material has more appealing faux-wood finishes, is durable, less prone to stain, scratches, mould, and has an easy-to-clean surface. The ends of these composites are exposed to limit the penetration of moisture. As opposed to the standard composites, the capped ones are a little more expensive but tend to carry longer warranties.

All-Plastic Decking

100 percent plastic is the other popular approach to ultra-low maintenance decking as it eliminates pesky wood fibres. The widespread popularity of Azek alongside other cellular products that are used for the exterior has driven the growth of PVC decking. The older version of PVC was designed from hollow extrusions that are similar to those of vinyl window frames. Today, this material has a solid core of cellular PVC that is condensed in a harder skin. Given that this material has no fibre, it does not have wood-related problems such as wood decay or mould. Its hard-outer skin offers realistic wood-grain textures and colour, and also gives resistance to fading, scratching and staining.

Choose the Right One

Decks to use in the hot sun- highly dense and dark coloured composites tend to absorb too much heat in the sun. Get several samples of different colours and set them in the sun to test the amount of heat absorbed within an hour.

The level of wetness- composites with smooth surfaces get slippery very fast. If you plan to use your deck near a pool, opt for materials with pronounced textures.

Building codes- before having your deck installed, check with the local building officials to ensure the material you choose is approved in your city. There are systems that have limitations in that they require certain framing in various applications. Ensure you know the type of fastener spacing required.

Your Budget- most lumberyards stock different brands and all come at varying prices. Even with the price variation, most of them give the same results and perform well. The differentiating factor is mostly based on design, the mix of plastic and wood, and texture. If you are fine with a limited pallet of colours and repetitive grain patterns, you will find a variety of low maintenance and cost effective products.
Composite decking presents a wide array of products, some of which have a decent track record and others still testing the market. The best way to determine the right material for your exterior is to visit a lumberyard to get samples of different varieties. Some of them look like plastic, while you may not tell the difference between some of them and real wood.

The lumberyard should advise on the best material for your application. It might be necessary to carry some samples with you. Try to stain them with oil and permanent markers and then clean them. This should tell you about what to expect from the material you buy.

Composite decking materials are constantly changing, and with the many technical factors involved it is difficult to evaluate the amount of wood, additives, cap materials and particle sizes used. Since you may not be sure of the condition of the product you are buying, it is important to bank on a manufacturer you can trust to ensure that they will be there to honour the warranty.


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These Tips Will Help You Make a Name for Yourself as a Realtor in Any Market

There are many reasons for an enterprising individual to choose realty as his or her chosen career path. There is plenty of interaction with the public, an opportunity to earn a lot of money, and freedom to determine many aspects of the job. Nevertheless, there are a few key obstacles that can plague anyone in the industry. Among the most common is a struggle to stand out in a crowded market. Fortunately, there are a few relatively simple tricks that make this challenging task a bit more manageable. Keep reading for a helpful roadmap when getting started.

Contact Potential Clients Directly

Being proactive is a great way to make a splash in any local market. Advertising is always important, but thinking about how to reach people in an innovative way is a helpful aspect of this step. Consider venturing into the realm of real estate direct mail or some other highly visible way of disseminating the name of a realty company or individual agent.

Get Your Name Out There

Introducing oneself to a community is a great first step, but it is not enough on its own. Follow up with a clear presence in local neighborhoods and try to make acquaintances anywhere that might pay off down the road. 

Rely On Word of Mouth

Always focus on providing the best experience possible for any client. The recommendations these individuals give to those in their own circle of friends and family members could be the most important form of marketing a realtor ever uses.
Of course, no job is easy — and selling real estate comes with its own set of potential pitfalls. Nevertheless, success can start with some strategic moves both early on in the career and as the business continues to build. The steps outlined above can help in this regard.

3 Common Places To Find Bugs in a Home

Home should be a place where you feel safe and comfortable. Painting, decorating and adding a personal touch to your home helps everyone feel welcome and relaxed. Unfortunately, there is one thing that can quickly turn your home into a place where no one wants to live: bugs. Here are three common places to find pests and ways to prevent them.

1. Garage

The garage is one of the most common places to find insects because it’s warm and sheltered. There is often a gap between the garage door and the ground making it easily accessible to all kinds of vermin. If you find pests in your garage, it’s definitely time to take action before they start moving inside. You can seal the gap between the door and ground to help reduce the number of bugs entering. You should also try and eliminate any reason for pests entering, such as crumbs or other items for them to nibble on.

2. Kitchen

The kitchen is another place where bugs like to congregate because of their access to food. Pests find their way into the kitchen through pipes and cracks near doors and windows. One type of insect that should be quickly identified and eliminated is termites. Termites can quickly cause structural damage to your home and pose a threat to your health. Fortunately, there are termite treatments Fort Myers FL that will get rid of these hazardous pests for good.

3. Dark and Moist Areas

Bugs also tend to find a home anywhere there are access points to the inside. This includes basements, utility rooms and laundry rooms. Anywhere you have appliances is also an entry point for bugs. Be vigilant about sealing cracks and inspecting dark and moist areas for pests. Some signs that you might have infestation include noises at night, musky smells, damaged walls or furniture and droppings.

By identifying common areas for bugs to assemble, you can be on guard for preventing them from becoming a major problem.

Finding a Contractor

If you are looking for an experienced general contractor Boston MA to help you with your next job, then you need to find the right professional. Home projects are expensive and whether you are planning on adding an addition to your home, trying to build a pool, or simply trying to renovate a room, you will quickly find that there are a lot of contractors from which to choose. How can you find the right one? There are a few points that you need to keep in mind.

The Insurance and Licensing of the Contractor

First, you need to think about insurance and licensing. When a project starts, you assume that everything is going to go well; however, this is not always the case. Sometimes, accidents happen. When they happen, this could lead to serious damage. For example, what if the project starts and a pipe bursts in your home? Think about how expensive this is going to be to fix. This is where insurance and licensing are helpful. All general contractors have to possess the right insurance licensing to protect both them and you against the possibility of an accident happening.

The Experience of the General Contractor

This is a large and diverse field. Similar to other industries, many contractors have more experience in one area than another. Therefore, even though someone might be a general contractor, they might not be the right person for the job. This is why you need to sit down with each contractor you are thinking about hiring and ask them about their experience. What type of jobs have they handled in the past? How did those jobs go? Furthermore, see if the contractor is willing to provide a list of references you can meet. Give them a call and see how their projects went. If those projects went well, then you have probably found the right contractor for your job.

Work with the Right Contractor

These are a few of the most important points that you need to keep in mind if you are looking for a general contractor for your job. Every project that takes place at your home or place of business is a big one. It should have the hands of an experienced professional guiding the way. Take a look at a few of the contractors in your area and see if you can find someone to help you with your next project!

Top 3 Reasons Maintaining Your HVAC System Is Important

If you own a residential property or commercial building, chances are that your building comes with an HVAC, or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, system. HVAC systems have become more popular in recent years due to their use of fresh outdoor air to improve air quality indoors. While property ownership comes with other responsibilities and it can sometimes be easy to put HVAC maintenance on the back burner, making sure your system is working properly is imperative, whether you just need to replace the industrial bag filters VA or do a larger overhaul. To learn more about some of the reasons keeping up with regular HVAC maintenance should be at the top of your to-do list, read on.

1. It Helps Improve Air Quality

One of the most important benefits of having a well-functioning HVAC system is that it won’t just maintain a pleasant temperature in the building, but actually help improve the space’s air quality as well. Filters, for instance, can help ameliorate breathing problems. When your HVAC goes unmaintained for too long, it starts to collect bacteria, dirt and even mold, which could potentially start causing or exacerbating the respiratory problems and other health issuesof people in the building. To avoid this, be sure to keep it clean and change filters regularly.

2. It Could Lower Your Utility Costs

If keeping utility bill costs down is a concern for you, you may be interested to know that maintaining your HVAC unit could actually help you save money in the long run. A well-functioning unit means having to spend less on heating and cooling over time, which has the potential to lower your monthly bill!

3. It Prevents Costly Emergency Repairs

Finally, making sure your HVAC system is well maintained on a regular basis is one of the easiest ways to avoid unexpected, expensive repairs down the road. When your unit is in good shape, it’s more likely to withstand periods of heavy use, like winters and summers, so you’re likely to need fewer emergency repairs. That way, you can have the peace of mind that your system is up-to-date and unlikely to suddenly break down.

HVAC systems are essential to keeping homes and commercial buildings cool and comfortable, so making sure they’re consistently well maintained should be a top priority. Keeping up with maintenance has numerous benefits, so keep these three things in mind and you can keep your HVAC in great shape for years to come.

Ways To Save Energy at Home

You may know how important it is to the environment to save energy. However, don’t forget that you can benefit your pocketbook at the same time. Here are some ways to save energy around the house and keep your money in the bank.

Get Solar

If you want to make a huge difference to both the environment and your utility bills, consider getting a solar panel system New Jersey. After the initial outlay, your utility bills can be nearly eliminated. If you figure how much you’ve been spending and how much you’ll pay after getting solar, you’ll see that it won’t take too many years to break even.

Change Your Bulbs

About 10% of your home energy costs may be due to running your lights. If you switch to CFL or even better, LED light bulbs, you can drastically decrease that percentage.

Lower (or Raise) the Temperature of Your HVAC System

Turning your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and higher in the summer can save quite a chunk on your bill. Be sure to make adjustments for when you are gone so your AC doesn’t run day and night while you are away at the beach for a week.

Use Your Microwave

Using the microwave oven during the hot summer months can keep you from adding heat to the home while you cook. It also uses less energy than a regular oven or stove.

Drop the Temp on Your Water Heater

Most tank-style water heaters heat up the water in the tank and keep it ready to be used at a moment’s notice. If you reduce the temperature a few degrees you may be able to save quite a bit. In addition, you won’t be in danger of scalding water straight from the faucet.

There are several things you can do to lower your energy consumption and costs. You can save money and help protect the environment at the same time.