Decking Materials Beyond Basic Lumber

 


Architects, interior designers, and more ∨

From Shabby Chic home accessories to contemporary furniture and wall mirrors, browse thousands of decorating ideas to inspire your next home project.
As you get ready to host an event, be sure you have enough side chairs and dishes for dinner guests, as well as enough bakeware and chopping boards for food preparation.

 

EXOVATIONS named 2013 Market Leader by Professional Remodeler Magazine

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EXOVATIONS named 2013 Market Leader EXOVATIONS was recently contacted by Professional Remodeler Magazine for a front cover photo opportunity after being named 2013 Market Leader by the publication. Kyle Clapham wrote this about EXOVATIONS in the magazine publication, ” Exovations … Continue reading

What Type Of Window Is Right For My Home?

Windows can be one of the most expensive elements in the home. And there are many options to consider when deciding to replace or repair your current windows.

There are basically five styles of windows: fixed, double-hung sliding windows, horizontal-sliding windows, casement windows and bay windows.

And then there are many materials to consider.

Watch this video and learn more about available window styles and materials.

video courtesy of

http://www.kudzu.com/

Adding Curb Appeal to Your Home

Fall is here and it’s usually the second time of year homeowners start thinking of vamping up their home’s exterior. The first home exterior game changer typically occurs in the spring after we have all sat inside all winter and dreamed of the possibilities we wanted to change once the first sign of warm weather occurs. For most home owners, time and money are a huge factor in all that we complete during those few short months of “Spring Cleaning”. Then summer arrives, unseeingly quicker than we would like for it to, and some of our “to dos” get pushed to the curb. Fall is a great time to reexamine what it is we didn’t finish in the beginning of the year. Some people are thinking of the guests they plan to entertain for football games, Thanksgiving, and even the Christmas Holidays. This brings me to my topic: Adding Curb Appeal to Your Home. Whether you are looking to add curb appeal for resale value or just make it more appealing for yourself, family, and friends.
The September 2012 issue of Atlanta Home Improvement Magazine has listed their top five things to add curb appeal to your home. I want to touch on those and elaborate on what I know best; home exterior. In an article written by Alma E Hill, it is noted that these are the five key elements in adding value to your home: remove weeds from planter beds and add new mulch and borders, repaint the house, repair porch railings, repair cracks in the driveway, replace a damaged roof with a new one. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes the smallest of changes makes a dramatic impact. Just “cleaning” your exterior and minor landscaping can add pizazz to a dull, dirty, dingy outside. I recommend that you pressure wash your home exterior yearly to maintain a radiant look. This also helps prevent from mold and mildew building up on exterior surfaces that do not see very much sunlight. If you roof has stains or mold spots, be careful not to pressure wash your roof. Pressure washing your roof destroys the granules and can lead to major roof shingle damage. If you notice mold spots, you can spray an application of bleach and water on the area and let it sit. Simply wash it off with water from a hose and skip using a pressure washer on your roof altogether.
After your exterior has been cleaned and looks nice and tidy, make your “to do list” based on what you see. Maybe your paint is flaking or chipped? Maybe a few boards need to be replaced here or there. It’s easier to evaluate what is damaged and not just dirty once you have given your exterior a thorough cleaning. Repainting your exterior is a daunting task, but you may only need to touch up the trim. If you are ever in question, it’s always best to seek the advice of a professional. Changing the color of your trim, garage doors, front door, or shutters can create an intense change that is easy and cheap to do. If you are really feeling bold, consider changing colors, patterns, and textures of your home’s exterior for a thrilling transformation. The possibilities are endless as to simple changes you can make for a jaw-dropping effect. There are several free websites that will allow you to create changes to visualize what differences you can make on your home and if you are really considering a major renovation consider an architectural rendering of the changes before you make any commitments. Many companies offer these for little or no charge. There are also many sites available to browse existing homes to seek ideas from such as Pinterest and Houzz. Capture anything that catches your eye or appeals to you. Chances are, others would be taken by the same look if it is on your home.

Lastly, fall is the time to attend home shows to get more ideas and even pricing for professional services if you so desire to seek the help from someone else. Many home shows have companies that set up displays of their actual work so you can see what you would be getting from them if they were to work on your home. Meet their staff, ask for before and after photos and references, and always check reviews from sites such as Kudzu, Angie’s List, and Google Plus to see what their customers thought of their process, products, and pricing.

THE DECLINE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE: A SIGN OF THE TIMES?

It is no secret that our economy has seen better days. I can’t even begin to comprehend the amount of people who have lost jobs, homes, cars, and their families over the past few years due to the mere fact of…..MONEY. It makes our world go round. So much so that we are forced to have it. We don’t want it, we need it. We take pride in earning it and spending it.

This love for money, however, creates a double edged sword. Those earning it probably feel that the job they are working doesn’t provide enough if it. This is caused by a number of things. Many have been forced to take lower paying jobs and or secondary jobs to make the ends meet. Those spending it know how hard it is to come by and feel a sense of entitlement to it and may have some walls put up when it comes to using it.

Have you recently been in a position of spending your hard earned money and felt very negative about the experience? As if those who will be taking your money are not appreciative of it? I feel that store clerks and even doctor’s offices should be grateful for my patronage. This feeling leaves me very disappointed most of the time. For instance, I’m excited to have some extra spending money and I walk into a retail store and no one greets me. No one asks me if they can help me or help me find what I’m looking for. I decide to make a purchase and feel as if I’m burdening the person behind the counter checking me out. I’m sorry; did I take you away from Angry Birds or Facebook? Or whatever it was you were doing on your iPhone before I rudely interrupted you to spend my money at your store? I’ve had the same feeling when calling a doctor’s office to make an appointment to, once again, spend my money with them. The person scheduling the appointment seems irritated that I’m calling, doesn’t have any openings that can possibly work with my schedule and could care less. The doctor’s offices view me as a patient, but I’m also a customer….a consumer of their services.

All of this has weighed heavy on my mind lately. I oversee the customer service experience for my company. It is our policy to treat each potential customer with care and each person is treated the same as the next and the one before that. We are honored and thankful to even have you call us and be given an opportunity to earn your business. We will go above and beyond the normal call of duty to accommodate each person and each situation to give every customer the maximum benefit of every dollar spent with us. The fact you chose us to spend your hard earned money with us versus our competitor means a lot to us. All of our associates understand that our customers have a choice and we want them to choose us. Why aren’t other companies doing the same? Why don’t their associates understand that their job is dependent on whether or not I spend my money with the business who writes their check? In the past, I would have blamed this on the teenager behind the counter who was forced to be there by their parents. This isn’t the case anymore. These people are grown men and women, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, grandparents even.

So what is it? I have a few theories. I believe people who are over qualified for their current positions were forced to take lower paying jobs or second jobs due to job loss and pay reductions in the past several years. We have people working retail positions, food chains, convenient store clerks that believe they are over educated, too smart, and too important to be able to relate to basic customer needs and expectations. We have companies that made the decision to cut costs by eliminating fulltime positions to avoid ever increasing health insurance premiums. Many of these businesses are left with only temporary help or part time associates. The corporate office thought the customers wouldn’t notice a change in staff, and they could save some money. Only trouble is…the customers do notice, have noticed, and will continue to notice until there is another failed store or business. Are you seeing a common theme here? MONEY. It’s all about saving money, spending money, having money, not having money, wanting it, needing it, and finding ways to get more of it.

Smart companies will redirect their focus to basic business one on one customer service. Take care of your customers and they will come back to you, they will refer friends, family, and neighbors. Without spending any money in advertising your previous customers will advertise for you. This starts with the company’s employees. Hire people who want to be there, appreciate having a job, put the company and the customers above themselves. If you take your sole focus off of MONEY and focus on the customers you will start a tradition of significance and excellence. Your business will grow on this simple basic principle. Be the difference, be helpful, be accommodating by bending over backwards to please and these attributes will be noticed by your customer and you will be rewarded. It’s not always about the money.