Looking to find ways to save money on a custom home build or even your current home? Have you thought of upgrading or replacing plumbing fixtures as a way to add immediate value to your home, save money, provide ease of use, keep the kitchen and bathroom more sanitary, and reduce your impact on the environment? The latest advances in water-saving technologies can do all of this and more.
There is no need to wait for Cal Tech’s award-winning solar-powered toilet design that can “turn human waste into hydrogen, water, and electricity” to come on the market before you can build your new home or retrofit your existing home with innovative plumbing designs that are available today including:
Tankless water heaters
Low flow toilets
Gray water systems
A healthy home can be accomplished in a variety of ways, especially with hands-free fixtures. Hands-free faucets are designed for both bathrooms and kitchens, significantly reduce germ contamination and are very well-loved by parents with children who’ve been known to get distracted while the water’s running. In the bathroom, the installation of a touchless toilet kit enables the user to wave their hand above the toilet tank to flush it. With some kits, the toilet lid will automatically close without slamming shut. You can round out your kitchen and bath décor with soap or lotion dispensers that are also hands-free.
Tankless Water Heaters
More and more homeowners are replacing their hot water storage tanks with the newest tankless water heaters. Tankless water heaters supply hot water on demand and save the homeowner both the time and expense of storing hot water and constantly reheating it. Unlike a storage tank with a limited supply of available hot water, the heat exchanger technology can provide you with an endless supply of hot water no matter the number of tasks.
Low Flow Toilets
High-efficiency, low-flow toilets are one of the easiest ways to cut down on household water consumption. All home improvement stores and plumbing suppliers stock these high-efficiency toilets. If the toilets in your household were installed before 1994 or if they use more than 1.6 gallons of water with each flush, there are better options today with toilets using about 1.28 gallons per flush. Dual Flush toilets using even less water for liquid waste! A family of four could save more than 15,000 gallons of water per year by replacing an inefficient toilet with a 1.6 gpf (gallon per flush unit) and even more with a toilet rated 1.28 gpf.
To save the average family more than 700 gallons of water year, simply replace old fixtures for new high-efficiency WaterSense labeled fixtures. High-efficiency faucets and showerheads not only reduce water use but save energy by reducing the demand for water heaters. WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessories reduce water use without reducing performance. They are not the low flow products of a generation ago. Today’s high-efficiency showerheads combine water savings with high performance.
Gray Water Systems
Not everything requires potable water. Being able to reuse water is important to not only the environment but your budget and since no one can recall the last time the cost of water ever decreased, reducing water use is even more important. You can reduce your non-potable water use with the implementation of a gray water system. The State of Colorado allows water from bathtubs, showers, washing machines, as well as water from bathroom and laundry room sinks to be harvested for gray water systems. If you are considering a new home, please talk to your Builder about integrating a gray water system into your design and make the most of every drop of water.
What is WaterSense?
The Federal Government EPA’s WaterSense program labels plumbing fixtures for efficiency and performance. The labels indicate whether low-flow fixtures perform as well or better than similar counterparts. Their website has tools that allow you to search for WaterSense labeled products. WaterSense labeled products are certified to meet EPA criteria for water efficiency and performance. Ask your local plumber or homebuilder about WaterSense labeled products.
Plumbing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about technology and its impact but these innovations can immediately impact your home’s aesthetic and impact and your budget and comfort. Talk to your local plumber or homebuilder today. And best of all, updating your plumbing fixtures or building with the latest technology provides you the opportunity to take advantage of multiple rebates that may be available from your local utility companies and local and state government.
Building a custom home that is eco-friendly is becoming more and more commonplace now since more materials are being made available. Though many people are likely familiar with the benefits of traditional eco-friendly building materials and techniques such as adobe, solar panels or recycled tires, there are numerous emerging technologies that have either just been developed or have been known for decades but are just now finding footing in a wider market. While some of these materials can be more expensive than traditional building materials, many end up redeeming these price differences in what they eventually save you in cooling/heating, repairs, etc.
Elements such as these are so exciting because, whether they are creating new standards for efficiency or finding lower impact means to build, they are helping to continually improve the effect we have on the environment. (Even better, many of these materials do both for twice the benefit!) Let’s take a look at these two main ways in which we are striving to meet this goal.
Eco-Friendly from the Source
Many traditional building materials, while still highly reliable, may not come from the most environmentally friendly sources. Thankfully, much progress has been made in the area of building and construction materials that either come from more sustainable sources or are made from other recycled materials. Looking into these and other similar sources for materials while planning a custom home is one of the first steps you can take in building an eco-friendly home.
Wood – While wood is a staple in most building and construction projects, there are ways in which we can lessen impacts of deforestation and similar issues. When purchasing wood to be used in a project you want to consider the source. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an entity that monitors and certifies raw building material manufacturers to ensure that they adhere to sustainable forestry practices. Standards that they enforce include such practices as preserving the natural habitats from which the wood is harvested and prohibiting the use of hazardous pesticides in those areas. Sourcing materials from such certified and managed forests lessens the impact of unsustainable forestry tactics such as clear cutting an area or using harmful chemicals as pest management.
Other options when it comes to considering wood materials is to choose a type that is lower impact by nature. Many homes are utilizing bamboo more often these days, and not just because it is a beautiful option for any room. Bamboo grows much more quickly than other types of wood. It only takes bamboo three years to reach a mature state that is suitable for harvesting as opposed to the 50-100 years that other woods such as maple and oak need to mature. Bamboo’s natural durability makes it a wonderful option for flooring and has formed a large niche in that very market.
Cork is another great option for flooring. Being harvested from the bark of trees, cork eliminates the need to cut down the tree itself. And, since the cork bark regrows in just three years’ time, this source of materials is very much sustainable. As an added plus, cork is naturally hypoallergenic and anti-microbial.
Consider also sources of wood that doesn’t come directly from live trees. Reclaimed wood, such as wood salvaged from riverbeds or from old buildings, can be an aesthetically interesting choice as well as being environmentally friendly.
We also have options that, while still incorporating wood for its natural useful properties, introduce elements that greatly reduce the amount of wood needed in an area. Wood-Plastic Composite is becoming a very popular decking material for numerous reasons. To begin, using a 50-50 mix of wood fibers and plastic not only reduces that amount of wood that would be required in building a deck, but both the wood and plastic often come from recycled sources. The next time you see those plastic bags you tossed into the recycle bin may just be when you walk out onto your new Wood-Plastic Composite deck.
In combining wood and plastic you get the best of both worlds, the durability of plastic and the pliable strength of wood. And, whereas wood decking may need to be replaced if not given the necessary attention throughout the years, Wood-Plastic Composite is rot and mold resistant and won’t need painting or staining to maintain its integrity.
So far we’ve looked at some options that collect wood from sustainable sources and others that combine wood with other materials to reduce the amount necessary. Still, there are further areas in which we can completely remove wood. Of course, wood has been the standard for framing in home building for centuries, but recycled steel is emerging as a highly reliable and eco-friendly option for home framing. In fact, recycled steel can also simplify the framing process in that the steel beams can be custom designed to fit each project. Aside from the convenience, recycled steel also boasts both the durability of steel that is desirable in high wind and earthquake prone areas and a great reduction in environmental impact.
One company reports that while it may take 40-50 trees to build a 2,000 square-foot home the material required to frame that same home out of recycled steel could be collected from no more than 6 scrapped cars. Using scrapped material not only reduces the energy required to make steel by 75% but also keeps that scrap from ending up in a landfill. With the dual impact of reducing both the number of trees being cut down and the amount of trash to be left in landfills recycled steel has a promising future as a sustainable building material.
Insulation from Sustainable Sources – Yet another area is which recycled materials are making an impact is in insulation. Fiberglass has been go-to in home insulation for many years, but it has some well-known drawbacks that can be circumvented with alternate materials. Cotton insulation is made from recycled cotton materials, such as denim, and, unlike traditional fiberglass insulation, it does not contain formaldehyde. Similarly, recycled newsprint is versatile as an insulation as it can be used in different forms. One simple form is as a blown insulation where the recycled, processed newsprint is professionally blown into the insulation space.
There are other materials that, while not coming from a recycled source, are still eco-friendly. Hemp based insulation is made from fibers of easily grown hemp plants and has the added benefit of being naturally resistant to pests such as moths and beetles. This means that the insulation will not have to be imbued with pesticides, unlike some other insulation materials.
Beginning with materials that lessen your environmental impact is a great start to creating your eco-friendly home. To really reduce the effect your home has on the environment you will also want to consider materials that provide and maintain energy efficiency once you’ve settled in.
Energy Efficient Materials
Of course, many technologies exist these days that make a home energy efficient. Absolutely, these are wonderful options to reduce your environmental impact in your day-to-day life, but to get the most out of your home you want to begin by choosing building materials that will be efficient on their own and serve to amplify the effects of any technology you choose to introduce once the building is done.
Insulation – It will come as no surprise that choosing a highly efficient insulation is one of the easiest and best things you can do to make your home eco-friendly, heating and cooling account for about 50% of a home’s energy consumption. Above, we explored possible insulation materials that are environmentally friendly at their source, here we will look at a material in which the insulating property is its biggest asset (though it does contain materials that are from an eco-friendly source).
Plant-based Polyurethane Rigid Foam is an insulating foam that is manufactured from plants such as bamboo, hemp, and kelp. This rigid foam offers near endless advantages including high moisture and heat resistance, protection against mold and pests and an R-value (a metric used in rating insulating properties) that is higher than fiberglass.
Insulation can also be made very efficient by using different techniques of layering materials that maximize their insulating properties. Creating walls by pouring concrete between two pieces of insulating materials, a technique known as Insulating Concrete Forms, has been shown to reduce as much as 20% energy consumption in houses using this technique versus a traditional wood framed house. Conversely, in a technique called Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), a similar layering effect is used, but this time, concrete panels are on the outside and sandwiches foam insulation inside. Plywood or strand board can also be used as the outer material. In some estimates, this technique can yield as much as 50% in energy savings when compared to traditional building materials.
Windows – It’s well known that windows account for a great amount of heat gained and lost in a house. Of course, double paned windows have been a standard to combat this, but single paned windows have gained an ally in low-emissivity (low-E) windows. Low-E windows have a clear coating of metallic oxide that can reduce heat flow by up to half. This will help to keep the heat of summer out when it’s unwanted, but also keeps it cozy in winter while reducing your heating costs by 10 – 20 percent.
When it comes to building a home to match your eco-friendly lifestyle there are a lot of things to consider and a lot of options to explore. Thankfully, new techniques and materials are being developed all the time that allow for you to make the best choices for your home and location, those discussed here are just some of the most promising materials being worked with today. But, with a little forethought and planning, you can rest easy in knowing that the walls around you were built with the greatest of intentions and the smallest impact on the environment.
We live in such a bright and beautiful place. Durango typically has around 300 sunny days per year, so taking advantage of all that natural light is a must when planning your custom built home. There are numerous things to consider when planning to fully embrace all of that natural light. Luckily, when you’re building your home from the ground up you can take every step available to you in order to bring in the rays.
Naturally, when living in this sun-filled environment solar panels are a wonderful option for converting the power of light into energy in our homes. But, you can go beyond solar panels in the planning of your home to take full advantage of what the sun has to offer. You can utilize direct sunlight in a plethora of ways in your custom home to create a bright, warm and energy efficient environment.
When you begin to consider how to best incorporate sunlight into your custom home your mind will likely jump first to windows. Indeed, windows will be the primary means by which you’ll be bringing all of that sun into your home, but in order to maximize the effectiveness of those windows, there are things one should take into consideration in the early planning stages.
When deciding on room placement while planning your home be sure to consider what type of light you’d like each room to receive and how to achieve this. One of the easiest and earliest ways to plan for this is to visualize which direction they’ll be facing once the house is built.
Most people are familiar with the versatility and effectiveness of south-facing windows. Allowing the most winter light, when we rely more heavily on passive solar heat, but limiting direct sun in summer when less heating is desirable, south-facing windows are a great choice for rooms that make up the majority of your living area. These larger rooms, such as your living room and kitchen, will allow the winter heat to disperse throughout the house and are likely to be the areas in which you will spend the greatest amount of your waking time.
On the other end of the spectrum, north-facing windows will receive even, filtered, natural light year round without getting much direct sunlight. Rooms that might work best with north-facing windows are rooms in which you don’t spend a predominate amount of time. Laundry rooms, craft rooms, and bathrooms are not as high of a priority when it comes to heating, but will still benefit from the gentle light that your northern windows will provide.
When it comes to deciding which wall to put bedrooms on you must first consider the habits of the people who will be sleeping in those rooms. For an early riser, east-facing windows will likely be a desirable feature. East-facing windows will bring in the most morning sun to greet the early risers in your family. For this same reason, an east-facing window would be a challenge for someone who likes to sleep in.
Dining rooms and breakfast nooks are natural choices for east-facing windows; start your day with coffee and breakfast as you soak in that soft morning sun. On the opposite side of the house, you can count on strong evening light through your west-facing windows. If you’re fond of watching television at the end of your day keeping your entertainment room on the opposite side of the house is advisable as this direct sunlight will keep any west-facing room full of robust light until the sun dips away.
Creating an open concept design is another great way to welcome as much light as possible into your custom home. The smooth transition from room to room will assist the flow of light into areas of your house that don’t have windows of their own. Try to position interior rooms, those that will not have their own access to windows, in such a way that they will benefit from the free flow of sunlight. You can keep your future home aglow with a little forethought in the planning process.
You may think that once the sun slips behind the mountains you can no longer rely on the heating power of the sun. But, a thermal mass is yet another great way to fully utilize the sun’s heat. A thermal mass can take many forms with the defining characteristic being that it can absorb a great amount of heat throughout the day and slowly release this warmth back into its surrounding environment once the source of heat is gone. Think of leaning against a brick wall once the sun has gone down and feeling all the warmth that is still trapped in the bricks. In summer, a thermal mass should be shaded from the sun so that the heat it absorbs throughout the day will be drawn from the inside of your house and actually assist in keeping your interior cooler. If exposed brick walls don’t fit into your vision for your custom home consider other options that will serve as a thermal mass. Adobe or concrete walls, a large stone fireplace, or dark tiles or a concrete slab for flooring can all effectively collect and hold warmth throughout the day and generously release it back into the air at night.
With all this work done to bring the light and warmth inside you won’t want to neglect planning for the depths of summer when all of that light and heat becomes less desirable. That same passive solar effect that helps to keep you comfortably warm in winter can also turn your house into a sauna in the summer months. Something as simple as an overhang from your roof can make a great deal of difference in modulating the temperature inside your house. An overhang of the right length should drop low enough to provide shade for your windows in summer, but still allow the low-hanging winter sun to reach into your home. This little bit of strategic shade can make all the difference in keeping a cool house in summer and a cozy one in the winter months.
Planting vegetation around your custom home can add not only a desirable verdant touch of nature but provide additional shading when it’s needed. Deciduous trees, those that grow leaves in spring and lose them in fall, provide natural shade that automatically adjusts to the amount of coverage you need. Those summer leaves provide ample shade, but still allow a soft glow of filtered brightness. In the winter, when those leaves are shed, the bare branches allow light to pass through unimpeded. Large deciduous trees can also shade parts of your roof, thereby helping to keep your attic from getting overly warm and allowing heat to spread into your house from those areas.
Once the planning is done and your beautiful custom home is built there are still further ways to maximize the effect of natural light in your home. Consider the materials that you are using to decorate and accent your design. Large white or light surfaces will reflect light and will make a room appear larger. You can contrast these bright colors with darker, dense materials intended to absorb solar heat (once again tapping into that thermal mass effect). Plan to use these warmer colors on surfaces such as floors or cabinets that will naturally be in more direct contact with the sunlight.
Energy efficient shades or blinds can both serve a practical effect in helping to modulate the temperature in your home throughout the year, but also be an appealing aspect of your interior design. In winter, closing your shades after the sun goes down helps to hold the heat in while the icy winds blow outside. And, of course, in summer months when shades are drawn, they will assist in keeping the sun and heat from permeating into your cool interior. Choosing energy efficient versions of the shades you love will increase these effects to maximize your control over the temperature in your home. Honeycomb or cellular shades can be effective insulators and are often the “go-to” for many homeowners looking for energy efficient window covers. While these are a great option, don’t feel as if these are your only route for efficiency. Many other types of blinds and shades, from plantation-style to drapes, can be duly efficient. Looks for materials that will be able to trap air or have an additional lining that will lend an insulating aspect to the window coverage. For further efficiency and versatility consider combining or layering different styles of window coverings.
All of this sun that we are so lucky to live in is one of the best free resources that we have access to in Durango. It only makes sense to take full advantage of this when you are planning and building your custom home. With some careful consideration towards where and how you will be building and what materials you choose to use you stand to keep yourself in happy balance with the sun for years to come!
So, you love the house you live in but you wish your bedroom had a master bath. Or, it’s time to add another bedroom before your next little one comes along. Maybe you love where you live, but overall your house has left you wanting more. You know it’s time for a remodel, but you’re not quite sure where to start.
At Buena Vista Builders, we are here to help you and answer any questions that you may have but here are a few starting steps to consider as you move towards your custom remodel:
Visualize and Make a Plan – You may realize that you would like to make a change, but not be quite sure what you would like to do. To help your vision begin to take shape, start by walking through your house and make a list of things you like and dislike about your space. Not only will you find areas on which to focus from your list of dislikes, your list of likes can help you visualize what results you would like to achieve in the rest of your house. Even if your remodel will focus on one room, noting those things that you like and dislike throughout the rest of your house will give you an idea of what you’d like to achieve and avoid in your room of focus. If you value the natural light in a particular part of your house, you may be inspired in your remodel to focus on elements that will achieve a similar effect. Visualize how these elements will work in the new space. What limitations might you encounter? Do you live in a townhome or apartment? Did you clear your remodels and renovations with your HOA or fellow neighbors? Some townhomes and complexes require you to preapprove any changes or additions made to your building so make sure you’ve done your due diligence and contacted the right people.
Know Your Budget – Once you have an idea of what you’d like to do it’s time to look at how much you’d like to budget for your remodel. How much work will fit within your budget? Try to consider costs that may not immediately spring to mind. Visualize the completed space, what little details had you not considered in setting your price. Sometimes it helps to mentally allocate percentages to different areas of the job in an effort to prioritize and get the most for your money (50% to materials, 20% to man hours, 10% of appliances, etc). If the appliances you had your eye on are taking up a large percentage of your budget and you are struggling to provide enough to create a strong foundation it may be time to reevaluate.
Even the best-planned budgets can be busted by unpredictable elements. There may be damage that has gone unseen before work begins. Faulty wiring, water damage, and structural damage are unfortunate circumstances that could demand a portion of your budget that you had planned to use elsewhere or require extra funds to complete. It’s a smart move to be prepared for this by planning for a certain amount to serve as a contingency fund rather than be put in a situation which would necessitate your making sacrifices in other areas of your remodel.
Have a Time Frame – It’s best to have in mind how long you expect the remodel to take. It’s very important to communicate these expectations to us when we first meet so that a realistic time frame can be agreed upon. The establishment of such a mutual goal will help avoid frustrating situations that may occur when other plans overlap with the final phases of your remodel. Additionally, whether you plan to continue living in your house during the remodel or are planning to make accommodations elsewhere, it can be stressful to have no reliable end date in sight that will allow you the full use of your house again. These inconveniences can typically be avoided with open communication of expectations.
Be Prepared and Be Flexible – When undertaking any project it’s inevitable that bumps and blocks will crop up here and there throughout the process. When these hiccups do occur it’s best to be prepared to be flexible. Limitations in the environment, time and budget may affect what is possible in a project. As well, situations beyond anyone’s control may unexpectedly become a factor in the remodel and require changes in plans. Maintaining a flexible mindset will allow you to make decisions and take the necessary actions to get those plans back on track in a timely manner, not to mention save you from a lot of stress in the process.
Whether you’re already in contact with us, or are just beginning to put ideas together for a remodel, these few starting steps should help you form your expectations for your house. Of course, we can offer insight and advice on what your home could become, but ultimately this space is yours and we’ll do everything we can to make your vision come to fruition.
Spring has sprung, Durango, and there’s no better time to give your home an “energy-efficiency audit” than right now. Taking the time to tend to a few details can not only make you and your family more comfortable as the days continue to get longer (and hotter!), they can also save you a ton of coin to take that next great vacation.
Start by servicing your air conditioner – By replacing the air filter, you can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%. You might also consider checking its evaporator coil, which should be cleaned annually to get its maximum performance.
Take a good look at your window dressings – Blinds, shades, and films not only go a long way in slashing heat when the temperatures rise, they also add immensely to the beauty and value of your home.
Get out the caulk gun – Warm air moves out of your home in the winter and moves in during the summer. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 30% of heating and cooling bills are consumed by air leakage alone. Head to the hardware store where you’ll find plenty of options- including caulking, weather-stripping, and weather-resistant sealings.
Pay attention to dust – Dust that builds up on your electronics- lamps, stereo systems, computers- keeps them from being as efficient as they could be because they’re working harder than they need to. While you’re at it, get the ladder out and dust off light bulbs and fixtures for better lighting and air quality. Finally, pull out the vacuum cleaner and vacuum beneath the refrigerator where dust builds up on the coils, making it work much harder than it needs to.
Limit you’re A/C usage by redirecting your ceiling fans – Strategic use of your ceiling fans can be a huge boon to your energy savings. In the winter months, your ceiling fans should be rotating clockwise to push warm air downward. During the summer, they should rotate counterclockwise, thereby pulling warm air up and away from you. And it’s as simply as flicking a switch in the center of your fan!
Cook outside – Rather than using inside ovens and stovetops, take advantage of the warm weather and enjoy some time with your family cooking outdoors on the barbeque or grill. Remember to bring the baseball gloves or a Frisbee to entertain the kiddos!
Use surge protectors- Outfit each room in your home with a surge protector and run all of the electrical devices in that room to the surge protector, making it that much simpler to turn all of those devices off when you leave the room. This tip alone can make an immediate impact on your electric bill.
Head to the nursery – What better time to plant trees and shrubs and do a little landscaping than when the weather is pleasant? Evergreen trees planted on the north and west faces of your home protect you from those merciless winter winds while trees that lose their leaves in the fall can be planted on the south and west faces to provide shade in the summer and insulation in the winter.
After taking stock of your home and tending to these details, you might then consider making small changes in your day-to-day tasks to conserve even more energy. For example, washing your clothes in cold water can save you $63 a year, and hanging those washed clothes on the line not only keeps you from using a dryer that will flood your home with heat, but also give your clothes the sort of fresh scent that no dryer sheet can match!
What are some tips and tricks that you use to save money when spring rolls around?
Remodeling can add so much value to your already existing home so when you are eventually ready to sell, you can rest assured that your investment pays you back. We’ve discussed remodeling a home, the benefits of building a custom home and why – but maybe you’re not quite ready to undertake a large project just yet. Taking it one room at a time is a great way to slowly get your remodeling done – while still knowing you’re investing in the right areas.
So what room do you tackle first? We suggest that one of the first areas to remodel is your bathroom.
How do you know when it is time to remodel a bathroom? There are several indicators to look out for like: realizing that the plumbing needs some repairs, some major components of the lavatory need to be entirely replaced, or the room is just entirely too outdated for your comfort. When the time comes for these major changes, it may be best to simply call in a professional for a complete overhaul of space. However, there will be several things to think about before calling your homebuilder. Ask yourself the following questions to make the conversation with your home builder or general contractor easier when the time comes. As always, we recommend hiring professionals for any kind of home renovation to ensure that your new construction is up to code and done safely.
What are the basic expectations for the finished version of your new custom bathroom?
A builder will absolutely be able to help in planning the remodel and should be consulted before any decisions are made, but knowing the expectations for space will improve the planning experience for all parties involved. Going into the first meeting with the homebuilder thinking that you know exactly what you want may not be ideal. Have a general idea of what you want out of your space and how you want to feel in your space, and then talk to the professional with an open mind.
What sort of price range will you be willing to work with?
This is extremely closely tied to the basic expectations of the bathroom remodel. If considering a complete overhaul with new fixtures, tile work, and flooring, among other things, the budget may need to be a bit fluffy. However, there are ways to cut costs without cutting corners. If there are aspects of the bathroom that are still enjoyable, try to keep them. This is especially pertinent with part of the remodel like tile or flooring. In older homes, it is sometimes hard to be sure what is lurking below these surfaces, and breaking into them unnecessarily could prolong the expected date of finish as well as skyrocket the final costs. Keeping certain aspects of the plumbing in place will prevent the need to re-plumb areas that do not need it, even if the fixtures are being exchanged for new ones.
Is there a specific nuance you want for the finished bathroom?
Certain aspects of the bathroom should be strategically planned to accommodate ideas of what the finished product should make a visitor feel about space. Much of the nuance can be dictated by available natural light, added lighting, and the color scheme of the materials used in the remodel. Lighting is something that will need to be discussed with your homebuilder, but starting with a general idea of what you want will be best for productivity. Keep in mind that if you have an older lavatory, you may be getting into rewiring for lights in new places. Having a well-lit bathing area or shower will add to the overall feel of the bathroom.
Is there a need for more storage space in the bathroom?
This may be something to think about if there are frequent issues with cluttered countertops in the bathroom before the custom remodel. It could also be a good idea to add in a towel rack or two depending on what the bathroom is being used for, how often it is being used, and by how many people. If there is no linen closet elsewhere in the house, or you simply want to have your towels easily accessible where you need them most, then you should consider storage
Do you need to rewire or update your electrical?
There is value in rewiring the lavatory. When remodeling an older bathroom, outlets and electrical components of space might be outdated beyond current building code. This is not only disadvantageous to the value of the home; it can create a hassle later if it’s not taken care of during the initial overhaul. It is best to not only replace the outlet but also, completely rewire the bathroom during the custom remodel so that this space can support whatever electric needs you could have like electric razors, straightening irons, toothbrushes, etc. This part of the job may cost a bit extra, but will prevent issues if there is ever a time that the house needs to be inspected for sale.
Do you like the size of your current bathroom?
It is incredibly important to work with realistic ideas about the size of your space and what exactly you want in the bathroom. If the bathroom is a bit smaller and contains a bathtub that is not being used, it may be wise to turn this space into a shower. This would open up the bathroom visually and overall create a more practical area.
In rather small bathroom spaces, sometimes in may be beneficial to move the sink to a corner space in an attempt to open up the room even more.
Do you know what style you want in your new bathroom?
The textures of the floors and countertops can make a large difference in ease of cleaning, as well as how prone to becoming slippery they will be. This is something to discuss with your homebuilder after discussing your personal expectations, budget, storage needs, and desired nuance for the bathroom. The builder will be able to walk you through what they feel are the best options for assessing your personal desires for the area.
Will the remodel make sure there is enough ventilation?
In an older house, the bathroom may contain an out-of-date ventilation system, which will need to be replaced both for comfort and safety of visitors and residents alike. Having a well-ventilated bathroom can make a huge difference in the possibility of mold growth in the home. Another tactic for prevention of mold growth is to make sure windows in the bathroom can open to let overly humid air escape. This could be as simple as replacing existing windows and as complex as installing new windows where there previously were none. The beauty of the custom remodel is that these things are entirely up to the customer and are completely guided by the homebuilder.
Using these questions can help you determine when, what, how your remodel will look like from start to finish. Making sure that you communicate clearly with your homebuilder is imperative so that your next project finishes smoothly and to your satisfaction. Buena Vista Builders has been a local Durango establishment for over 20 years, providing remodel work to many Durango locals. If you have any questions about what we can do to get your home where you want it to be, drop us a line.
When we think of buying a home, we think of the financial ease being the main reason we purchase an existing home. There are many benefits to purchase an existing home and those reasons can vary from person to person. In Durango, especially, we have found that the market for pre-existing homes has definitely become more limited. Building a custom home on property is becoming more and more frequent. There are so many great benefits to building a new home that is built to your custom specifications. Read below to find out our top 5 reasons to build a custom home:
Energy efficiency: Custom built homes can allow for updated technologies for energy efficiency. Better windows, better insulation options, passive solar and more, as mentioned in our previous post, all contribute to the long-term benefits of having a custom built home. Energy efficiency is a standard in most custom built home but you can take your new home construction even further by incorporating energy-saving technologies like solar panels, too.
Custom Appliances: Being able to add the appliances and features in the house that you want can help you save more money in the long run. Picking out the appliances and customizing them to fit your needs for your family is a huge benefit to building a new custom home. Buying a previously existing home may cost you more money when you factor in that walls, wiring, drains, or pipes may need to change to accommodate your updated and energy efficient appliances.
Privacy: Building your custom home to your specifications can be built to maximize the amount of privacy that you need. Your custom home builder and architect can help you figure out which orientation is the most beneficial for achieving the results you want for the privacy that you need. They can also help you come up with creative ways to maximize natural light and views while still maintaining a private layout for your home. Purchasing an existing home may not yield as much privacy as you’d expect.
Saving money: When you consider that purchasing an existing home is usually several years old, it may cost you more money when you’re constantly needing to fix, update or upgrade certain items and parts of your home. According to New Home Source, “in September 2014, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that the median price of a new home was $259,000, while the median price of an existing home was $210,300. The key to comparing new versus older home prices, however, is to make sure you are comparing apples to apples, cautions Ed Hudson, director of Marketing Research for the Home Innovation Research Labs, a subsidiary of NAHB. “Comparing median prices is fine, but are the homes the same size? Do they have the same features? Newer homes typically are more spacious and have more modern features.”
Sentimental Value: The ability to build the home of your dreams from the dirt up is the major benefit of new custom home construction. From everything down to the wiring to the materials used in the construction of the home have all been incorporated for a reason – the emotional value of having a custom built home is insurmountable. Creating your custom home to fit your family, your needs, your lifestyle are all really great reasons to invest in the property for your custom home.
When you consider that your dream home may be a home you want to live in for several years (if not decades), making sure that everything is perfect and really up to your personal standards taking the time to build your custom home becomes priceless. Sure, building a custom home may take a little longer than purchasing a pre-existing home, but when you consider the long-term benefits that can go into new custom home construction, you won’t be disappointed. Buena Vista Builders is committed to making sure that your dreams come true when it comes to new custom home construction. As a company, we pride ourselves in making sure that every step of the way is easy as possible for you. We use a program called BuilderTrend wherein you can check in to see the progress of your custom project.
So we’ve discussed the benefits of building a custom home, but maybe you don’t want to find a new home or build a custom home. You’re happy right where you are – but you want to add some more value to your home. There are many ways to get the most out of your current home by doing a remodel. Below, we’ve outlined the top six things to help you make up your mind on whether or not a remodel is for you:
You Want New Amenities: According to the National Home Builders Association, adding in newer amenities is the number one reason to consider a remodel. With the change in technology, most home remodels now feature the latest gadgets and tech advances to make the most out of your existing home. Installing USB ports on your outlets, drawer-style microwaves, touch-less kitchen sinks are just a few of the ways to start upgrading your home with more user-friendly technologies.
You Want to Go Green: Going green isn’t as hard as it used to be, especially with advances in technology. There are many ways to bring an older house into the energy-efficient realm – and doing a home remodel is the perfect time to make sure that you’re where you want to be. You can increase energy efficiency by replacing older, single-pane windows with double-pane. You can update your heating and cooling systems to remotely monitor the temperature inside your house. You can also upgrade your appliances to the Energy Star rated dishwashers or refrigerators. Keeping in communication with your builder can also make sure that you are recycling used materials appropriately.
You Want to Stay in Your Neighborhood: You chose to live in this neighborhood for your family. The schools are great, your kids don’t want to leave their friends, and you’re invested in staying. Remodeling your home can keep you in the place you like best. Being able to put in the amenities you want and upgrade your current home can enable you to stay in the neighborhood that you love.
Your Family is Expanding: Maybe you’re welcoming a tiny addition to your home or maybe you’re looking to accommodate houseguests more frequently. More family members mean that you need more space – plain and simple. Undergoing a remodel to utilize the most out of your space and your home means that you can accommodate the growth of your family. Turning your garage into a second bedroom, adding more space above your stairs, or adding in an extra room in your attic can change the layout of your house immensely.
Your Home Needs Repairs: Older houses tend to need more repairs and updates – especially if it’s been a while since they’ve been up-to-code. If you’ve purchased an older home, undergoing a remodel can help to bring your home into a newer standard. If you’re not interested in doing a complete remodel on your home just rooms, consider choosing a few of the most important updates for your old home to do while your remodel takes place. Updating the electricity, updating the lighting, the windows, or the roof while you’re remodeling your bathroom or your kitchen, can save you a larger headache down the road.
You Want to Increase Value: Increasing the value on your home by way of remodeling is the best return for your home. If you don’t have the budget for doing a larger remodel, consider tackling the project one room at a time. According to HGTV, the number one remodel that has the most value is updating your bathroom, then the landscaping, and then the kitchen. Tackling a remodel in sections can save you money while adding, slowly, to your overall increased home value.
You Want to Avoid Buying a New House: You’ve already gone through the hassle of buying and selling a home. It can be a headache. Your current home was great when you just moved in – the excitement and the joy of having a house that you could call yours beat the fact that the home was missing some custom features. Remodeling is one of the easier ways to bring that personalization to your home without the headache of buying and selling all over again.
A home remodel can be the best way to bring in special touches to your home, save you some money and help you make the most out of your house. Updating your amenities and certain features can bring the 21st century into older homes with ease when you remodel. Buena Vista Builders is highly skilled and efficient at home remodels because we know that your house is your home. Check out some of our resources to find out some more information on saving money while you remodel your home, ideas about how to incorporate newer technology into your home, or updating awkward spaces.