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
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
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.
They don’t call it “Hot Lanta” for nothing… Atlanta, Georgia in early March and temperatures are already flirting with 80 degrees! The trending topic this week for the Atlanta Market on Twitter has included #patios #decks #greenbeer…somehow I believe most of Atlanta found patios and decks all around the city to engage in with cold beverages this week. Aside from the social aspect of the warming temperatures, what other behavior does this weather seem to cause? Most people will tell you that they start thinking or doing house and yard work; inside and out.
I have been with EXOVATIONS® for ten years and I can testify that each Spring we have a rush of calls and inquires about all sorts of Spring projects but our number one project is and always has been decks. These calls range from yearly maintenance calls of pressure washing, painting, and staining to starting over from the ground up. In fact, we spend our Winter like caged animals just waiting on these calls so we can get out and enjoy this sunshine with the rest of you.
Each year new technologies allow for the latest and greatest of anything we can possibly think of. This is also relevant in the decking world. TREX Decking spent nearly four years testing their latest TREX Transcend decking products. They listened to their past customers, current consumers, and potential customers on what it was that mattered most in their deck. Longevity, durability, low to no maintenance, curb appeal, warranty, risk of fading, risk of staining, and overall value were highly taken into consideration. The latest technologies have allowed TREX to present a product with an impeccable warranty to guarantee against fading and staining… so no worries for spilled ketchup, wine, or barbeque sauce during those Summer parties…simply wash the stain off with soap water and it is gone. Never worry about rotting again. Transcend decking is a composite material with an outer shell covering three sides of the board, which is 2 to 3 times thicker than any competitive offerings. The underside of the board breathes to avoid the surface separation some competitors suffer.
Composite decks bring together the best qualities of wood and plastic to create a longer lasting alternative to wood. Plastic shields the wood from moisture and insect damage, preventing rotting and splintering. Wood protects the plastic from UV damage while providing a natural, attractive look and feel. However, not all composite decks are the same. The industry is riddled with inferior product that does not deliver the manufacturers’ durability claims. There is only one brand of engineered decking that EXOVATIONS® has found to have proven product quality and durability backed by a 25-year limited stain and fade warranty. TREX Transcend decking comes in seven beautiful colors and the lighting options are endless.
Don’t wait any longer to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather and the beauty of your home! Let us help you make the most of your outdoor living area this Summer.
Do you have a room of your home that always feels dark? Did you know that windows or doors can be cut in to create an entirely new feel to your home?
Upon purchasing my home, we fell in love with the lot, location, and layout but the house had one major problem. The Master bedroom only had one window and the room was DARK. We recently addressed the problem by having 3 windows cut into the wall. I can’t believe the addition of windows made such a difference to our home. The light can be seen from all the way down the hall.
Consulting with customers through Exovations, I’ve planned many wall modifications to let in light. Each time, the room is transformed beyond imagination. One customer had a brand new home with an amazing living room. The problem was – no light. She didn’t want to take up wall space where furniture could go with a window so we got creative. We cut a long window in over her couch. Instead of hanging a picture, we installed a picture window framing an image of her yard. The window is about 2 feet high and 8 feet wide. This allowed the perfect amount of light into the room while not affecting her furniture configuration in any way.
As people live in their homes, they often expand the outdoor living space. The home was most likely designed with only one back door. A large window can be converted into a door to add access to outdoor living areas. Single doors can be converted into double doors either French (in-swing or out-swing) or sliding doors (now available to look like French doors).
Skylights are an option for adding light to a room as well. Skylights however, potentially add a leak hazard to your roof. It’s really best to install skylights only at the time of re-roofing your home. This ensures that they are properly flashed and tied in to your roofing system.
Then there’s the other side of this conversation- removing a window or a door where you just don’t want one. If you’re considering new siding for your home, this is a perfect time to “fill in” an unwanted door or window. If the project is done properly, no one would ever know an opening existed.
One of my customers had a door in her bedroom that lead to “nowhere”. There had once been a balcony outside her room but it was long gone. The door was a safety hazard for her grandchildren however she didn’t want to lose the light it provided. Along with replacing the siding on her home, we framed in the door and installed a window in its place solving the problem.
Another customer had an arch window that allowed light to glare into the home fading out floors and furniture. A custom window treatment was required to cover the window. Instead of the expense of custom window treatments, they chose to have us: remove the window, frame in the opening, and install siding over the space. The elimination of the window solved the light problem and you would never know a window was ever there.
Eliminating or adding a door or window will create a drastic visual change to a home. Each scenario is unique and completely custom. Additional framing is always needed and often electrical work. The type of siding as well as interior wall treatment will also be a factor in the renovation plan. An experienced, licensed, and certified Contractor is highly recommended to make these changes. The investment however is worth it. The next time you go to turn on a lamp during the day just think – where could we put that window…
1. Your Roof Is On Borrowed Time
The roof on your house has weathered over 20 years and the shingles are showing signs of age. It is time to start from the top and work your way down. New paint can wait if your roof is on borrowed time. Make sure your roofing company carries the best warranty, a lifetime workmanship and the manufacturer’s warranty that covers all defects in material for the lifetime of the shingle. Most important, make sure your roofing contractor is a certified installer with the roofing manufacturer. Take advantage of the tremendous curb appeal that a new roof can offer.
2. The Paint Is Peeling And You Never Loved The Color Of The House Anyway
Paint can be your number one reason to give your home a facelift. Most people change their preference on food, clothes, and cars within a 7 year period, which is about the average paint cycle. When it’s time to paint the exterior of your home, why not change the color? When painting is a must, choose quality lifetime paint and don’t forget a good primer coat. You’ve wanted to change the color for a while, so do it! If you want to keep the white trim, consider a move away from stark white, to a “Mother of Pearl” or “Linen”. This will add warmth to your home. Paint is instant change and gratification.
3. You Are Hot In The Summer And Cold In The Winter
Your single pane windows have been painted 10 times, the builder grade windows are fogged, and you’re ready for lower electric bills. It’s window replacement time! New windows make an old home feel new and bring tremendous curb appeal. The return on investment will make you smile when you open the electric bill each month. While an interior kitchen or bath remodel are always popular upgrades, replacing windows can have an 80% return on investment (Reliable Remodeler.com).
4. The Front Door, The Focal Point Of Your Home, Is The Last Place You Want To Welcome Guests
This is the focal point of your house, where your guests wait after the door bell is rung. What are they looking at before you let them in? The door is what welcomes them. Is it time for a fresh coat of paint? Has the sun faded the polyurethane finish and it’s time to re-stain? Small changes can make big differences. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
5. One More Round of Band-Aid Paint to Save Your Siding Is Not The Best Approach
Rather than putting a new coat of paint on siding that needs more than a Band-Aid, replace the siding with fiber cement or vinyl siding that will more than upgrade the look. Even better, according to Remodeler Magazine in 2010 and 2011, siding replacement consistently yields an 88% return on investment, higher than any other interior or exterior project!
6. You Have A Personal Connection With Niagara Falls Watching Rain Overflow Your Undersized Gutters
Get rid of the old 4 or 5 inch gutters and replace them with 6 inch seamless aluminum gutters with internal hangers. Not enough can be said regarding the importance of size and proper installation of new gutters. Consider changing the gutter color to contrast with the trim. For example, bronze or dark color gutters that match your shutters, front door or roof are extremely popular. The clean look of new gutters and no maintenance gutter protection will add increased curb appeal and peace of mind in protecting your newly painted trim from water run-off from your roof.
7. You Have Focused On Interior Renovations and Never Invested In Exterior Upgrades
It’s already been stated that new siding will yield the highest return on investment for any renovation. Consider how important first impressions are and remember the outside of your home is just as important as the inside. From a sales perspective, the outside is often more important. No gorgeous granite counter top will charm the potential buyer who drives past your home. Don’t forget the outside will draw a person inside.
8. You Can’t Sell Your House In The Current Market, So Invest In What You Have And Increase Its Value
Your plan was to move two years ago, then the housing market took a nose dive. What was initially a temporary home is now Home Sweet Home. Well maybe not, but consider the benefits of what improving your home will bring when the housing market returns. Who knows, you just might find yourself falling in love with the home you had always planned on selling.
9. You Have Always Liked the Location Of Your House, But Never The Look
It’s never been disputed, the right location will sell a house and you fully agree. You are one who bought your house for the location and have never loved the look. Maybe you have tackled the interior obstacles but closed your eyes to the exterior. Dream kitchen and baths grace the cover of magazines, but rarely is an exterior facelift given its proper recognition. Consider working with an exterior remodeling company that gives you an Architectural Rendering of what your house can look like with a few changes. Focus on creating Light, Texture and Color. Your home’s exterior is an empty canvas of possibilities. If you like the location of your home, get serious about liking the look of it as well.
10. Maintenance Is A Must, Makeover Your Home At The Same Time! Finally, when your house is screaming for maintenance, go beyond the musts and consider tying in a makeover. When you’re deck is falling off, replace it with 20 extra square feet or with cypress decking versus pressure treated. When wood trim is rotting, replace it with a fiber cement no rot material. When you paint, upgrade to lifetime paint. Small changes make big differences. If you’re getting opposition from your spouse when a makeover is on your mind, use maintenance as your excuse to do more. Your home is your castle. Treat it like one.
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It might seem simple but choosing exterior paint colors can be one of the most difficult and time consuming phases of your entire home remodeling project. Well chosen paint colors can enhance your home’s curb appeal and even add value to your home.
Start by picking a color scheme, or several colors in a pattern. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use a ratio of color such as 60:30:10 as follows:
Body / Field Area – The largest area of your home is considered the field area or the body. 60% of the color should be used for this area. Most people choose a more neutral color for the field area and may take more risk with their trim colors.
Roof/Trim - 30% of the color should be utilized for the roof and trim. The color of the roof doesn’t have to match the trim paint color, but it should harmonize. The trim color is used on areas of your home such as the fascia boards, gutters, window trim, and entry doors. When choosing your trim colors, keep in mind that this color should complement the field area. The trim color defines the architectural details of your house. If you feel the need to be more creative, your exterior accent colors are perfect for showing your boldness and, when used sparingly, can draw the right amount of attention to your front door, pediments, and/or shutters.
Architectural Details – 10% of a different color can be given to details such as shutters, decorative molding, doors, brackets, columns and porch decks and ceilings. This is a fun area of color to play with to show dramatic emphasis or just a little for your accents depending on how dark the shade of color you choose.
One of the easiest ways to find a color scheme idea is to drive around neighborhoods to see what appeals to you. This is not only a great way to figure out what you like, but it is also a tremendous help for anyone who has difficulty visualizing what their house will look like from a color swatch or wheel. If you see a home color that you love, don’t be afraid to ask the homeowner for the manufacturer and color they used. You will be surprised how flattered most people are that you liked their colors and they will probably be only too glad to share all their paint information, down to the last detail. Most paint stores will have brochures that suggest color combinations. Some paint manufacturer websites even have color selection software to help you visualize what the final project will look like.
When choosing your paint colors, make sure you choose a color that will last, meaning they will maintain their freshness and intensity for a long period of time. Darker colors will fade faster because they absorb more heat and are prone to damage from UV rays. If you prefer darker colors, adding gloss or sheen will help prevent damage from UV rays and reduce fading.
Lighter colors tend to make a house look larger and dark colors will do the opposite. Currently, lighter colors are the popular trend, but this alone shouldn’t be the deciding factor. This is just a consideration to help narrow down the endless possibilities of colors.
Not only do you need to pick the actual colors of your home, but you need to decide to choose the finish of paint to get in each of those colors. Typically, for the body of the home a flat or satin paint is used. A flat (matte) finish will add to the natural architecture of your home and is a great choice for hiding imperfections that are sometimes present in wood. A satin paint has a soft sheen with excellent performance, providing a longer lasting protection from UV rays and the elements than flat. It can be used on the body, trim, shutters and fascia. A semi-gloss is ideal for trim, doors, shutters, and architectural trim and has maximum durability. A gloss finish has excellent adhesion and is also ideal for trim, doors, shutters, and architectural details.
Because actual color and finish cannot be grasped as easily with a paint swatch or on a computer screen, it is ALWAYS a good idea to pick up samples from your local paint store and paint the sample colors onto your home. Choosing a side of your house that is least visible and with adequate light, paint sample areas large enough to obtain a good idea of what the color will look like, and be sure to let the paint sit for a couple of days to be sure the color does not change as it cures.
Once you have completed painting sample areas, “live” with the colors for a few days, viewing them in the lighting during different times of day. You might discover that a color that you thought was your final selection during the morning looked entirely different and unattractive in the waning afternoon light. This is also a good time to invite a few friends or neighbors with good “design sense” to view your samples and share their advice. If your neighborhood requires approval by an architectural control committee, this is definitely the time to arrange for their visit. Good luck and happy painting.
There are many factors to be examined when purchasing vinyl replacement windows and, therefore, is no straight-forward answer on how much they should cost. When starting the process of shopping around you will need to ask yourself the following questions about your windows and the company you choose to take on the project.
- What type of windows do I need? Prices vary for different types of windows. For example, casements, sliders and specialty shapes are going to be more expensive than basic double hung or picture windows
- Do I want energy efficient windows? The answer to this question should be YES. Energy efficient windows will lower your monthly utility bills, help keep your home at a comfortable temperature, and minimize the fading of furniture, flooring, rugs, etc. Most vinyl replacement windows on the market today are the double pane, low-e coated, argon filled windows that are very energy efficient. Be wary of companies advertising unusually inexpensive windows. They could be cheap windows with no better energy efficiency than older, poorly glazed, single-pane windows.
- What features am I interested in? Pricing will also vary depending on what additional features you are interested in. For instance, you have several options for window grids. Simulated divided light (SDL) grids on the exterior of the window pane are going to be more expensive that grids beween the glass (GBG) or no grids at all. Additional charges will also apply for options such as obscured glass, tempered glass, special colored or stained sashes, screens, special locks, etc.
- Who should install my windows? When shopping for vinyl windows you not only want to choose a company who offers quality windows, but also a company you can trust to install them properly and stand behind their work. Make sure your contractor is fully licensed and insured and offers a lifetime workmanship warranty. You will also want to be sure that your contractor has been trained and certified by the window manufacturer to perform the installation to proper specifications and ensure the best results.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. I personally don’t mind paying a little more to get a quality product from a reputable company who will stand behind their work. If you look for the lowest price, chances are you won’t be as satisfied. And finally, research window contractors on websites such as Kudzu.com and Angieslist.com to read specific experiences that customers have had.