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.     

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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.

 

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Home Remodels Billings MT

Today’s modern homeowner moves approximately every seven years on average.  Some of these homeowners are obviously forced to relocate for work, but what about the homeowner that bounces around similar neighborhoods of the same town, trying to find that home that actually feels like home?

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What if homeowners could stay in one space, and make the space fit every one of their needs.  I’d be willing to bet there would be less people moving within a seven-year average.  It’s possible with the right contractor.  Even if there are space issues within the home: your having more children, you need a home office, or you would like to add that man cave hangout space: it’s could be possible with your current home.

There are multiple ways to get the home you want, but the two primary ways are renovation or remodel and addition.  Renovations can be as simple as a cosmetic upgrade in a kitchen, or adding tile to the bathroom’s floor and shower stall: your bathroom can be a wonderfully relaxing, spa-like place with the right materials and the right contractor.

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Design renovations are obvious, but what about the less obvious: space-issues?  What do you do if you love your home—schools nearby are perfect for your family; there are wonderful amenities in your neighborhood like walking trails and parks; or, maybe you just live in a quiet, safe place.  The obvious choice is an addition. 

Depending on the size of your lot, and the space to extend a home either vertically or outwardly, an addition can be as large as adding an entire level to the home, or even adding just a room.  One common addition is a sunroom or sun-porch. 

These rooms usually let in great amounts of light, and add space for a room that could be used for anything from a home office to relaxation space.  A simple addition or remodel like this can open up an entire room of the home for anything: baby, man cave, etc.

If your home is an important place, a place you would like to keep, meet with your contractor to discuss anything from a remodel or renovation to an addition.  You might be surprised at the potential of your current home, and you can build it up to be even more homey then something new.   

Contact Bruce Tall Construction, Billings Best Contractor for all of your construction needs.

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Kitchen Remodel Billings MT

A kitchen remodel is difficult.  It’s difficult because there are so many choices for materials and areas of upgrade.  Everything should match and flow well.  And, if you are getting an entire kitchen remodeled, that’s a lot to consider.  However, kitchens are one area of the home where a complete overhaul is often not entirely needed.  A basic facelift might do the job.  Here are a few options for when your kitchen just needs a bit of a boost to feel functional and new again.

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First and foremost, countertops are an obvious, and, depending upon the quality of materials used, somewhat inexpensive upgrade.  A counter top upgrade would be cheaper than a whole new wall of cabinets.  Kitchen countertops are often made of anything.  Even concrete countertops have a place in today’s kitchen.  Popular choices are laminate and granite—granite is going to be considerably more than laminate, although the unique beauty of a granite slab makes it worth the extra price.  A quality contractor can outfit a kitchen with new countertops in short order—a job like this will not take over your home for days on end.

Flooring and backsplash are other areas that can be easily upgraded.  If your kitchen has tired laminate or something similar, a tile job, or even a new laminate floor—modern laminates are being made to have a look similar to tile.  Tile floors in the kitchen are beautiful additions.  The backsplash area over the countertop is one area where an overhaul could be done, and the results would be noticeable—it’s the smallest things sometimes that make a room beautiful.

Kitchen Remodel Billings MT

Painted cabinets are an option for the homeowner to whom a new set of cabinets may be a break from the budget.  Painted cabinets in the right kitchen can be unique and beautiful and classy.  It can be a big job to remove the cabinets for sanding, priming, and painting, but the finished results are usually worth it.  Consider the sleek look of white cabinets in today’s modern kitchen.  White cabinets could match a slab of granite or laminate on the countertops, and the paint would give the entire kitchen a new feeling.         

Contact Bruce Tall Construction, Billings Best Contractor for all of your construction needs.