Residents of King of Prussia Improve Their Home With Stone Veneer

A stone veneer, or a stone façade, is essentially stone that is applied to the front of a house to improve its aesthetic qualities. It is generally considered to be an eye catching way to finish a home, which is this style can be seen popping up all over King of Prussia PA. This article will discuss the many different reasons why the residents of this community are using this method of home improvement to improve the appearance of their homes.

Versatility of its Physical Appearance

The primary reason why so many of the residents of King of Prussia PA are so taken with stone veneers is because there are so many different options. There are a myriad of stones that can be used to create such a veneer, which allows many different customers to work the façade into the existing style of their home and customize it so that it perfectly meets their aesthetic needs. Customers who are concerned that the façade is not going to look natural can have those fears alleviated because the stonework can easily be worked into the surrounding environment so that it does not stand out in a way that is considered to be aesthetically unappealing.

Durability

There are many different methods of home improvement with regards to finishing a home, but none come close to the extreme durability that is associated with the installation of a stone veneer. The stones that make up the veneer will weather naturally and look only better for being exposed to the elements. Another winning point for the installation of such a veneer is that it is able to withstand fire easily. This means, should a fire have the misfortune of starting in the front of the building, it will not be able to consume or move past the stone. Stone, as well as faux bricks, also tend to be extremely resistant to the invasion of insects. This will decrease the chances that insects will be able to come into a home and cause problems, which many homeowners consider to be highly advantageous.

Essentially, the main benefits that are associated with having a stone façade installed is that the veneer will be able to improve the overall aesthetic appeal of the house to which it is installed. It tends to come in many different styles and colors, allowing it to appeal to many different types of customers. Finally, this method of finishing a home is extremely durable, so that it will not have to be replaced as often.

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Choosing the Right Paving for Your Project and Your Pocket

Whether you are designing a new garden, or updating the one you already have, your choice of paving stones can really pull the finished look together. There are so many products on the market that the choice can seem bewildering. However, if you establish exactly the look and purpose of the required paving stones and a budget to work within, you should find that things become a lot clearer.

Character

Your choice of paving stones can either fit in with the age of your home, or contrast with it. You could enhance a Victorian brick built property with paving of a similar style or colour. Conversely, you could contrast old and new by using more contemporary paving, such as slate or sandstone. Similarly, if you have a modern house, you could opt for up-to-the-minute styles but equally a traditional style could serve to highlight the innovative design of the property.

Light & Shade

Always consider the position of the area to be paved. If you are working in a shady space you should consider using lighter tones to really ‘lift’ the space. In a sunny spot an area of too light tiles can prove blinding, a more subtle effect may be more appropriate here.

Cleaning & Maintaining

If the paving is to be laid in a high traffic area, wear and tear needs to be taken into account. Lighter colored paving may show the dirt and need frequent cleaning. If this is not for you, choosing a darker style may work better. When choosing paving stones, always aim to see them ‘in situ’, and try to view them both wet and dry.

Budget

When budgeting for your paving stones, don’t forget to factor in the cost of getting them laid. Natural stone tends to come in pieces of varying thickness, and can be very heavy, which can be tricky to lay, even for a professional.

Popular Stones

Yorkstone paving isn’t cheap, but it looks great and will last a lifetime. These days it is possible to buy excellent imitation Yorkstone, which looks just like the real thing but at a fraction of the cost. There are a myriad of natural stones to choose from, from granite, and slate to limestone. For a charming rustic effect, you could choose to lay natural Indian paving slabs. Always make sure that you do your research and check that the stone you choose is suitable to cope with the worst that the changeable weather can throw at it.

Safety

If you are laying paving that will be walked on, you need to make sure you opt for a finish that has some grip form a safety point of view.

When planning garden landscaping, the paving you choose can really make or break the overall look of the project. Do your research and make sure you have chosen materials suitable for your needs. Putting in the groundwork before you begin the project will reap rewards further down the line. A well paved outside space can be used for a multitude of purposes, and will certainly add style and value to your home.

Staff Writer (2013 November 11) Choosing the Right Paving for Your Project and Your Pocket Retrieved on January 24, 2014 From Coffetablesfurniture.com

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Skylights- What You Need to Know

Installing skylights in your home’s roof and inner ceilings can be refreshing, bringing natural light to the ambience of a room. Skylight installation can be done by the homeowner, however when dealing with the structural integrity of a roof and ceiling, it is best to contact a professional to do the work properly.

The type of skylights that you choose should depend on the space in which you’d like to put it. The smaller, tubular skylight is ideal for a small space, such as a bathroom. These round skylights are flexible and smaller in diameter, ranging from 10 to 21 inches. The smaller size and flexibility of these skylights makes them ideal for fitting in between joints and rafters. Usually there is no need for extensive carpentry or remodeling work. The homeowner cannot see through the tubular skylights to the sky. Light is reflected into the room from a highly reflective coating along the shaft of the tube, which can bend and flex to maneuver around pipes and support beams in attic spaces.

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The traditional, larger skylights can be in the shape of a rectangle, dome, pyramid, or bubble, and are made of glass, plastic, or acrylic. This is often referred to as the glazing. Many homeowners prefer glass glazing since it is resistant to scratches and has more design options, such as shaping. Some homeowners prefer acrylic and plastic because it is lightweight and more affordable, however the drawback with this choice is that there are limited design options since it has to be molded.

The glazing used for either glass or plastic options can be single, double, or triple, and can be constructed with a layer of argon gas to assist in energy efficiency. Some can be coated with protectant to help block UV rays, which will help prevent fading of fabrics in areas exposed to the light.

The frame around the outside of the skylight, on the roof, is usually made of wood or aluminum, but a combination of different materials is becoming more popular. Installing flashing is important to protect from water leaks. The frame on the inside of the ceiling, called the shaft, is made of solid wood or vinyl. The direction of each side of the shaft will determine the direction of the light.

Whichever type of skylight you choose, you are sure to add a touch of style and freshness to your home.

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Insulation Basics


Most of us spend the majority of our time in our homes (and for those of us who spend the majority of our time at work, we wish we spent more time at home.) So, of course, we want it to be as comfortable as possible and affordable to maintain. Insulation is one of the most important components of a home that can help to affordably keep you and your family comfortable year-round. In the “Insulation and Air Quality” article, we talked about how insulation is like a home’s clothes. Just like you need to bundle up on a cold day, so your home needs to also be bundled up against the elements.

For example, if the air temperature outside the home is 95 degrees F, and you’ve cooled the inside air temperature to 72 degrees F, proper insulation will help to keep the hot air outside and the cool air inside. This keeps you comfortable and keeps the air conditioning bill to a minimum. While the concept may sound simple, a home’s insulation system is quite complex — entire books have been written about the subject. So, in this article we’ll give you the basic facts so that you can talk knowledgeably with your builder about how your new home will be insulated. And if you’re planning on remodeling the home and want to know more about insulation, this article will give you an overview to start you out.

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How Heat Moves

The main function of insulation is to control heat flow. So in order to understand how insulation works, you need to first understand how heat moves.

In addition to heat from the sun and burning fuel, heat is also generated by people, animals and lights. In fact, as much as 30 percent of heat produced inside a home can be caused by lights and appliances.

The heat generated by all of these sources moves from place to place by three basic principles:

  • Radiation
  • Convection
  • Conduction

For ease of understanding, we’ll discuss these concepts one at a time. In reality, however, radiation, convection and conduction typically are working simultaneously.

Radiation

One way heat can move is by radiation. “Radiate” literally means “to send out waves; to shine brightly.” When heat moves by radiation, it’s moving in the form of waves. Imagine you’re camping in the mountains. The evening air is cool, so you decide to build a campfire. As you stand in front of your campfire, your face and arms begin to warm. The heat you feel is moving by radiation from the flames to your body.

Convection

Another method of heat transfer is convection. Convection uses the principle that warm air rises and cool air falls to transfer heat via the flow of air. To continue with our camping scenario — imagine it’s dinner time. You begin to prepare dinner by placing a metal pan over the campfire grill. In a few moments, the metal pan is hot, even though it’s not directly touching the flames. How has this happened? Flames have heated the air, and the heated air has risen to heat the bottom of the pan. This heat transfer occurs via convection (with some help from radiation).

Conduction

A third method of heat transfer is conduction. Conduction is the method heat uses to move through a solid material. For heat to transfer from one surface to another by conduction, the surfaces must be in direct contact with each other. Back to our camping scenario — to cook your dinner, you throw a fish into the hot metal pan over the campfire. The heat transfers by conduction from the pan to the fish, cooking it.

How Heat Flow Affects Your Home

Heat transfers through walls, windows, and roof of a home using a combination of radiation, conduction, and convection. Heat moves from warm to cold. In the summer, when it’s warm outside, heat transfers through exterior walls, roof, and foundation of a home to the inside of the home. This process is referred to as heat gain. In the winter, the opposite will happen. Heat generated by the HVAC system moves through the building enclosure and is lost to the outside of the home. This process is referred to as heat loss.

In the summer, uncontrolled heat gain can cause you to be uncomfortably warm. Your thermostat will react to the warm temperatures, and the air conditioning system will have to run more often and for longer periods of time, resulting in higher utility costs. The same thing can happen in the winter, when uncontrolled heat loss can make your home drafty and chilly. To keep warm, you’ll need to turn up the thermostat, and the heating system will have to run more often and for longer periods of time, again resulting in higher utility costs.

How Insulation Works

A carefully considered insulation strategy that takes into account the house’s characteristics and the climate it’s in is essential for controlling heat gain and loss through the building enclosure, which includes the roof, walls, and foundation. It does this by slowing the rate of heat flow through the building enclosure — which has a significant influence on how comfortable you and your family are in the home.

Insulation is typically referred to by its R-value. R-value is the measure of a material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more resistant a material is to heat flow. If you lived in Minnesota, for example, you’d want R-19 insulation in the walls instead of R-13, because R-19

insulation is more resistant to heat flow, and will hold in the heat longer. If you’re remodeling the home, you’ll want to find out the ideal levels for your region. A good resource is the Department of Energy (DOE).

The building enclosure should be insulated continuously without gaps. Having gaps in the building enclosure is similar to wearing a warm coat, but no gloves or hat. But keeping the insulation continuous is tricky. There are numerous openings in the building enclosure, like for windows, doors, electrical outlets, plumbing pipes, and lighting fixtures. All gaps or openings need to be sealed so that the insulation is continuous.

Choosing an insulation material and installing it right are critical steps in the insulation strategy. Now that you know the basics about how insulation works, and why it’s critical in your home, start talking with your builder about the insulation strategy they’re choosing for your home, and why. You should do this in the planning and design phases of your home.

Staff Writer (2013 December) Insulation Basics. Retrieved on December 27, 2013 From DIY.com

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A Home’s Exterior Materials

The first thing you see when you approach a home is its outermost surface, usually brick or siding. You may be surprised to know that what you see is only the final element in the make up of the home’s exterior. While the brick or siding helps create an attractive outer finish for your home, and serves as its first line of defense against wind and rain, the materials underneath it ensure that your home stays safe and structurally sound for your family. So what’s the fun part? Deciding what your home will look like by choosing the type of exterior finish, types of doors, and the color of windows and trim.

How the Home’s Outer Shell Comes Together

Just as each component of the home’s exterior is important to its safety and comfort, so, too, is the order in which each component is installed. Though both walls and roofs are part of the exterior finishing process, we’ll focus only on walls in this article. Following is a discussion of the process of installing each piece of a home’s walls, presented in the order in which each is installed.

Wall Sheathing — Wall sheathing encloses the home and is the first thing that’s installed as part of the exterior. It strengthens the walls and allows water to drain away from the home. Two materials commonly used for wall sheathing are 1/2″ plywood and 1/2″ oriented strand board, or OSB. In some colder areas, where additional insulation is needed, 1/2″ rigid foam is used in combination with the sheathing material.

Drainage Plane — For better drainage, the wall sheathing can be taped at the seams, wrapped with an additional material — or both. When the home is wrapped, a layer of building paper or house wrap is added to create a continuous drainage plane. House wrap, a relatively new material, also allows moisture vapor to escape, helping to minimize mold and mildew growth.

Windows — To prevent water from leaking into the home through the openings around windows, many windows have plastic fins around the outside that repel water. But because windows are particularly susceptible to water leaks, a material called flashing should also be installed around the window opening. (The term flashing also refers to
the practice of installing the material.) Two types of flashing material should be added around the window opening when the windows are being installed: flexible and rigid. The fins and flexible flashing create a continuous seal around the outside of the window, and the rigid flashing helps to direct water away from the opening between the window and the wall
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Many windows are double-glazed to keep your home more comfortable. Double-glazed means the window glass is actually two panes with an air space between them. Windows also can be vinyl- or aluminum-clad on the outside to help reduce the amount of outdoor maintenance you have to do. For these windows, a specific color can be used in the manufacturing process that doesn’t fade with time or sun exposure, eliminating the need for painting.

Exterior Doors — Similar to windows, doors can have flexible and rigid flashing on all sides, to seal the exterior of the opening against water leaks and direct water away from the door. Exterior doors generally are reinforced with steel for security, and have some type of insulation inside them to keep your home comfortable.

Flashing Along Walls — In addition to the flashing around windows and doors, flashing is added at several other places along exterior walls to help direct water away from the home. When siding will be used, starter-strip flashing is added where the bottom course of the siding will meet the top of the foundation wall. For a brick or stone facade, masonry flashing is installed where the brick meets the top of the foundation wall.

Facade Materials — Facade materials protect the wooden wall sheathing from the direct impact of weather. They also give a home its own unique look. Vinyl siding and brick are two of the most common facade materials. Many facade materials today are engineered to be low-maintenance or maintenance-free for the homeowner. Brick facades also have weep holes, which enable water to drain from behind the brick to the outside.

Trim — Trim is added as the final step and adds the finishing touch to the outer appearance of the home. In many cases, trim can be ordered already painted with enamel.

The decisions you make about your home’s exterior will help keep your family safe and comfortable — and your home looking good. When discussing exterior finishes with your builder, ask the following:

  • What type of shingles will be used on the roof and why?
  • What type of windows will be installed in the home?
  • Can I upgrade them to higher efficiency units?
  • Do I have a choice as to what material will be used on the outer facade?
  • Are there any neighborhood or community restrictions or requirements?

Staff Writter (2013 December) A Home’s Exterior Materials. Retrieved on December 27, 2013 From DIY.com

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Types of Stone Facing

Vinyl and wood siding each have their own benefits, but stone facing is quickly growing in popularity to replace these options. In fact, stone was used for centuries not only as the main structure for the homes but also only on the outside as a facing. Today, facing is available in a wide variety of types, colors, and styles.

Natural stones are one option you can choose. It is often selected because it is not uniform. Patterns, colors, sizes, and shapes all differ from piece to piece. These stones provide a high level of durability. The biggest downfall is in the weight and installation. These stones, in bulk, add a lot of weight to the home’s structure and outer walls. They also take more time to install, mainly because you have to fit the inconsistent pieces together, kind of like a puzzle. The remaining gaps are filled with mortar.

Stone Veneer has many of the same benefits of natural stones. They are also made by nature, but the difference is in the cutting. This particular form of natural stones are much thinner because they are cut in thin slices from the original pieces. Since they are thinner, they weigh a lot less. Veneer stones also have an inconsistent shape and size that must be considered during installation.

Faux brick or stone can also be chosen. These “fake” versions are manufactured to present consumers with a less expensive option without sacrificing the look of real stones. There are several different types available. You could choose versions made of a polyurethane blend that comes in sheets that interlock or line up for easy installation. Other versions involve tinting concrete and pouring it into molds that create sheets. Regardless of which type you choose, they are often made to mimic the natural look.

When you are choosing a facing for your home, it is important to consider your budget and the installation difficulty, especially if you plan on handling the installation on your own. Due to the rising popularity of this facing, the curb appeal and value of your home may increase. It is a good idea, particularly when choosing natural stones, to have a professional come out and inspect your home to make sure it is possible to use the types of stones you have chosen.

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Enhance Your Home: Window Replacement Benefits

Rotted sills and hazy glass can ruin the integrity of the windows in a home. Over time, the declining condition of the windows can cause several problems. Not only will a substandard set of windows spoil the curb appeal of the property, the energy efficiency of home will also begin to suffer. In order to restore the home’s value, replacement windows will need to be installed. Here are some of the benefits of installing replacement windows.

UV Protection

The powerful ultraviolet rays of the sun can cause a lot of damage to the interior of a home. The floors, furniture, and walls risk being tarnished by the presence of the direct sunlight. In many instances, a home window replacement will offer superior protection from the sun.

Lower energy bill

Old windows have
a tendency to allow air to escape to the outside of the home. This means that the energy bill has the potential to skyrocket. To ensure that the home remains as energy-efficient as possible, the home will need low energy cost windows installed. The well-insulated windows will enable the heating and cooling system to operate much more effectively.

Natural lighting

The outdoor lighting can instantly elevate the mood of a home. Natural lighting also decreases the need to use any artificial light sources during the day. Replacement windows will be able to illuminate the entire home with an organic glow.

Reduces noise

The loud sound of construction or the rumbling of a powerful engine can get to be annoying after a while. Replacement windows offer outstanding noise reduction. It also provides the occupants of the home with an additional sense of privacy. They will not have to worry about upsetting a neighbor due to a loud television or stereo system.

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Exterior Home Renovation

Renovation is not just making your home prettier, it also makes it convenient. And it also improves and compliments your home’s interior renovation as well. If you’re looking to sell, or just improve, you need more than a nice paint job to close a deal.

It‘s also true that a prospective home buyer’s first impression is “curb appeal”. Just like seeing a classic car passing by, it’s hard not to turn your head in that direction. There’s nothing like an attractive exterior to entice people to look closer.

So what catches people’s attention to when they’re passing by? Believe it or not, a new door adds lots of appeal. Glass insets or side-lites can bring natural light into your home, adding a unique and elegant addition to the traditional “wood and knocker” entry way.

Then consider the rest of the exterior. A wood exterior is appealing, but time, age and insects can ruin the look, making a house look dingy, fragile and unkempt. Having the exterior replaced or renovated makes a better first impression, and adds style and elegance. A professional renovator can offer several options – replacing the old wood with new, or with vinyl siding that won’t require repainting and replacement can save money as well in the long run.

Another often ignored element is the garage. A Renovator can remodel so that it doesn’t shout “GARAGE!” but an architectural extension that complements the home
and surroundings.

Landscaping can also provide added appeal. Overgrown bushes and large “shade” trees can create dark spots and make the outside of the house look forbidding. A well kept lawn adds color, space and sunlight, opening up the space and making it look larger and more inviting. A lighted walkway to the front door is inviting, and adds class. Whether you wish to sell or just add some style and comfort. An experienced home renovator can make the Old Home your Dream Home.

Knott, Craig (2013 December) Exterior Home Renovation. Retrieved December 5, 2013, From Houseworksunlimited.

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How to Plan a Home Renovation

Undertaking a home renovation is a big decision, but one that more and more people are choosing. There are a couple main reasons for this. One reason is that people are more motivated to sell their homes, and so want their house to look its best. But the other, perhaps more important reason is that they want to stay in their home, but want to change it to suit their needs better.

There are countless home improvement ideas out there, and so it is possible to change just about any aspect of a house in order to turn it into what the homeowner really wants – whether that is giving the outside a facelift, or completely repurposing an interior room.

But as was mentioned, this is a big decision, and a lot goes into a home renovation, so planning the process out is critical. Thankfully there are steps homeowners can take to make sure they are doing it right.

Be Detailed

One of the biggest problems with many home improvement ideas is that they are vague. A homeowner might say “I want a more efficient kitchen.” or “I want to give my house more curb-appeal.” But these are vague ideas that will not yield good results.

Homeowners need to make sure they write detailed descriptions of what they want to achieve, and do their best to draw out what they are envisioning. This way by the time they are talking to architects or remodeling contractors, their ideas are clear.

Be Realistic

When planning a remodel, homeowners need to make sure they are being realistic. This includes being realistic about how much time and money they can put into the project, how much space they have and can utilize, and what they can do themselves.

A lot of homeowners start thinking about home remodeling ideas and convince themselves that they can do all the work. Doing the work themselves can be less expensive at face value, but the reality of the situation is that most homeowners do not have the time, tools, and expertise needed to do a renovation properly.

Looking into remodeling contractors really is a good idea, since a good contractor will help the homeowner to make good decisions on design, materials, and what the homeowner should outsource vs. doing on their own.

Obviously there is a lot more that goes into fleshing out home remodeling ideas, but these are two of the biggest stumbling blocks that homeowners encounter. By being detailed with their plans and being realistic about what they can and cannot handle, homeowners are setting themselves up for smooth sailing when it comes to renovating their house.

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