Going Green without Breaking the Bank

It’s important to remember that it’s simple to be more energy conscious, and there are so many ways we can benefit, and, in the process, decrease both our energy usage as well as our energy bills, by just making a few simple changes. For instance, did you realize that one quarter of your yearly heating bill, is caused by the heat lost through inefficient windows? If new windows are not in your immediate budget, here are a few tips to get the heat loss under control.

Window Treatments

These window treatments can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. The first, a cellular shade, which is an economical and good-looking addition over most windows, can affect the heat loss by up to 33 percent. Obviously, the strength of the cellular shade will be determined by how thick it is—cellular shades come sized as single, double, or triple celled. Cellular shades essentially form a barrier between the window and the room, blocking the escape of air through a window (Did you know that it’s not the cold air coming through the window that affects a room’s heat, it’s the cold outside pulling the heat through the window—that’s why, when you’re standing near a cold window, your skin feels suddenly cool then cold, as the heat from your body is pulled through the window).

Sheers are common in most houses, and these include the cheaper plastic alternatives, however, the plastic versions are not great at blocking heat loss. Sheers can be backed by extra material to boost R-Value (R-Value is a rating determined for how efficient something is). Drapes, which often accompany sheers, can cut heat loss significantly, again depending on R-Value, and the two in combination work well. The last window treatment is something called a cornice—sometimes called a valiance—which traps the air that is lost along the top of the window. To put these in combination would greatly impact the heat loss in your home.

Going Green without Breaking the Bank

If you have any questions as to greener building practices, make sure to call Bruce Tall Construction today.     

free roof inspection billings mt

Winter Tips for Your Foundation

Oftentimes this time of year we start to see a break in the winter weather, and the warmer days melt the snow, causing an immense amount of water to runoff. That water must go somewhere. If the ground near your foundation is not set to a proper sloping grade, then that water could be seeping into your home, and working its way through cracks or imperfections in your home’s concrete foundation.

Keeping water outside the home

The grade of the ground surrounding your foundation is the most important deterrent for keeping water away from your home. Ground sloping at your home’s foundation will only provide a downspout to push the water toward the home. Obviously, this is bad. When the ground clears of snow, check the areas around your home’s foundation to make sure that the ground slopes away from the foundation. The grade of the ground doesn’t need to be severe. It’s easy to correct if your grade goes the wrong way. Oftentimes a poor grade is just the result of a home settling, and the remedy is nothing more than adding dirt, packing it, around your homes foundation. However, do not add dirt up to the level of the siding.

Also, a functional gutter system is important to keeping excess water from your home. If your gutters are full of the dead leaves from last fall season, water is going to be trapped there, plugging up the gutters, and preventing water from draining away from your home properly. Make sure that all downspouts have an angle/elbow section at the bottom which turns the water out and away from the home. For homes with a minimal grade at downspout locations, it may be beneficial to add a lengthy section of downspout here to push water away from the foundation. Also, make sure that any downspouts don’t empty water onto common walking surfaces. This won’t affect the runoff of water, but it will push water onto the surfaces where we want to walk or drive, create ice where we don’t want ice.

If you have any further questions about how to protect your foundation or for more winter care tips, call Bruce Tall Construction today.

 

gutters billings mt

Decks and Additions

Springtime means more time spent outside in the warmer weather, enjoying the longer days.  For those of you that enjoy your BBQ or your outdoor entertainment, maybe it’s time to consider a new outdoor living space.

Decks
Decks are classic, stylish, entertainment areas.  Decks can be built as custom as the homeowner’s imagination, especially if the deck can be built multiple stories.  Tiered decks can create entertainment spaces, which, for instance, can allow a full cookout area—complete with grills and tables—and an entirely different tier, in which people can entertain or relax.  One highly customizable area of the deck is the handrail.  The handrail can be built to match the deck, or it could even be a customized metal rail which adds flair and class.

Patios
Patios provide outdoor living spaces to even the simplest homes.  Patios can be built with either wood or concrete.  Concrete patios allow the best customization.  Concrete can be easily stained in any color that the homeowner chooses.  Also, concrete can be stamped in a pattern that adds style to what would otherwise be a smoothed concrete surface—these patterns can resemble brick paths, or even swirling designs.  Concrete Patios work well for outdoor cooking areas.  These are great places to add enormous BBQ grills.  Maybe even outdoor televisions, so even when you want to spend time outside you wont miss the game—there are televisions today that are completely weather-proof! 

Lighting

Lighting is an important consideration in an outdoor living space.  If you have the new patio or deck it’s important that you install quality lighting to ensure that even if the party doesn’t wind down before it gets dark, it’ll still be possible to enjoy the outside space.  There’s numerous options for lighting that include everything from tiki torches to enormous, antiqued sconces.  Whichever designs you choose, make them as customized as the living space. 

If you’re one of those people that enjoy entertaining others outdoors in the summer, then remember that great movie line from Field of Dreams— “If you build it they will come”

Contact Bruce Tall Construction for all of your construction needs. We are Billings Top Roofer and Billings Best Contractor.

luxury home construction billings mt, Luxury Homes and Cabins Construction Billings MT

Luxury Log Homes

Log homes are as beautiful as they are practical. While conventional—also known as stick built homes—are the norm, log homes can be equally as practical to build, as efficient to heat, and its appearance should withstand the test of time—you don’t have to repaint the logs, or worry about weather damaging your siding. While log homes are often viewed as luxury homes, or even antiquated, abandoned structures, or possibly simple vacation homes, some timbered structure tucked back in some remote nook in the mountains of Montana; log homes are actually more then capable of being a forever “live-in” type of home.

luxury home construction billings mt, Luxury Log Homes

Luxury Log Homes

One major advantage to a log home build is how it will make the person living in it feel. A house is a uniquely personal thing, and for those of you that have a strong desire to live in a log home, there’s nothing like the feeling of tall timbered walls, and lots of natural light.

One definite pro of owning a log home is the durable nature of the construction. Log homes withstand most anything mother nature throws at it, and, even though it may seem counterintuitive, log homes are better in a fire then a stick built home. Because of their overall mass, logs are difficult to burn (when you start a fire you start it with tiny bits of kindling before the big logs, because the big logs wont burn until the fire is at its hottest). Timbered walls and a metal roof can defiantly outlast the homes inhabitants, leaving the home to be passed down generationally.

People view log homes as “green homes”, because log homes are built from a renewable resource. However, logs do have a lower insulation rating (R-factor) then a conventional home with insulation between the studs, but logs do hold in more residual heat, which doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher R-Factor, at least not by ratings, but logs can take the heat in from the sun during the day and release the heat at night, which, in some climates, significantly increases the R-Factor.

Today’s homeowner has a plethora of choices for a new home build. Log homes are definitely a great option, for the person for which nothing else will do.