Friday, August 19, 2011
You asked for it, so now we have it! Home Equity Builders is proud to announce that we now have a stone mason on our staff who is able to create beautiful flagstone walkways, patios and other mason work that will enhance the ambiance of your yard and home.
Flagstone pavers offer several advantages when used to create a walkway or patio. First is, of course, their natural beauty which is available in an assortment of colors, sizes and shapes. They are also very dense, which makes them weather-resistant and helps them hold up well even under heavy traffic. Finally, they are naturally flat yet have a texture which makes them non-slippery so they are ideal walking stones.
As the fall comes in, it is time to prepare your yard for the winter and also get it ready to make your spring season as low-maintenance as possible. Call us today at 703-759-2530 to get your appointment to start the estimate and see how beautiful your yard or home can be! We look forward to working with you.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Nothing can perk up a room faster than new cabinets. Whether it is a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or just the storage area, new cabinets will completely transform the look of a room. And there is no better time than now to get started on that facelift, because Bertch Cabinets is having a sizzling summer sale, offering 25% off any one premium! Bertch is family owned and operated, utilizing only the finest wood, furniture joints and exceptional finishes to create distinctive products for the home. Call us today at 703-759-2530 to see what Bertch offers and how we can help you make an old room look new again!
Friday, July 1, 2011
As we pause for a three-day weekend and remember the birth of the United States, Home Equity Builders would like to take a moment to wish you all a very happy Independence Day weekend. We honor the men and women who have helped to build this country with their determination, idealism and even their own lives. We honor those who continue to serve today and those who live out the ideals of our nation in their every day lives. We hope you will have time for family, friends, fireworks and some great food and that you will take a moment to pause and reflect, amid the celebration, on those who have gone before us. Happy Birthday, America!
Friday, June 3, 2011
Now that summer is here, it’s time to get all those painting jobs done! Home Equity Builders is here to help you with a special offer in the month of June! We will send a handyman to your house to finish up your paint jobs for only $325 for a full 8-hour day (plus the cost of materials) or $185 for a half 4-hour day. Our calendars are filling up quickly, so call soon. You can ask for Donna, Laurie or Marybeth at 703-759-2530. Let’s make your house look new again!
Friday, May 27, 2011
As we prepare for this three-day weekend of relaxation, parades and barbeques, Home Equity Builders would like to take a moment to thank all those who serve and preserve the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States of America. We thank our retired veterans, our active duty military, our reservists and all the families who love and wait for them. We think especially of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives in the service of our country.
If you take the time to put up your flag on Memorial Day, here is a fact that you might not be aware of. On Memorial Day, the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.
The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
"I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom." -- Abraham Lincoln
Happy Memorial Day!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The clients wanted a modernized layout of their basement to create a multi-functional space. They wanted to utilize existing space, giving it a larger feel. The existing plan included two bedrooms, a family room, a storage room and a bathroom. Home Equity Builders removed the wall between the storage room and family room to allow for easy viewing into the new media room, creating a large open floor plan. In the family room, arched doorways took the place of a typical square doorway. New maple cabinetry was installed in the family room for a kitchenette and the Media Room's snack area. An onyx countertop topped off the kitchenette cabinetry with the island lighted underneath to show the movement of the stone. Stacked stone was applied to the existing fireplace, as well as one wall in the family room, to add warmth and texture to the room. Warm paint enhanced the cabinetry and stone selections.
The client said that this remodel "created the perfect entertainment space for the entire family," and they enjoy the new spa-like bathroom that provides them with a space that can handle pool or overnight guests. How can Home Equity Builders help you create your perfect space this year? Contact us to start the idea and design process today!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Design/Build Award Kitchen Remodel Over $75K
Design/Build Award Bath Remodel Over $50,000
Thursday, April 28, 2011
What rooms in your house are "hidden?" They might be under the stairs, off the major hallway or tucked in a back corner upstairs. If you can't easily see it, you most likely won't use it. Allow us to come in and join those hidden rooms onto a room you use more often so you have space to spread out. We can open up a wall, create a new window or door frame so you have easier access to that part of the house and are more inclined to move into it. We can also create a pass-through from your kitchen to dining room or the family room.
Create a room that serves more than one function. Can you combine your formal living room with your formal dining room? Or what about putting bookshelves in your dining room? We can help you tweak and refine how your rooms are structured and add improvements so your rooms serve more than one purpose at a time.
Create the illusion. If you have a large area on one level that combines several different rooms into one (for example, a living room/kitchen/dining room combination, consider varying the ceiling heights for each room to create more definition, giving the illusion of more space. We can raise or lower ceilings, improving the dynamics of the space.
Don't forget the power of a window to open up a room. Consider adding French doors or a bay window to an outside wall to add light and space to the rooms you use the most.
We can help you with any of these items. Give us a call today, and let us know how we can start making the space you live in the space you love.
Monday, March 21, 2011
1) Shake It Up
3) A Place for Wine
1) Quartz Countertops
4) Satin Nickel Faucets
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The application of geothermal heating/cooling, also known as ground source heat pumps, has been named "the most energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive of all space conditioning systems", by the Environmental Protection Agency. The system's basic concept takes advantage of the earth's constant temperature, approximately 55 degrees, to heat and cool a building. By tapping this steady flow of heat from the earth in the winter, and displacing heat in the earth in the summer, a geothermal heat pump can save homeowners 40 to 70 percent in heating costs and 30 to 50 percent in cooling costs compared to conventional systems. Now you can also realize up to 30% rebates from both federal and state green stimulus programs.
Ground source heat pumps work in a similar manner as air source heat pumps, minus the high cost. Atypical household can save $1500 a year or more. This can give most systems a payback period of three to five years. GSHP's are more than three times as efficient as the most efficient fossil fuel furnace. By moving heat that already exists in the earth, instead of burning a combustible fuel, GSHP's deliver three units of energy for every one unit used to power the heat-pump system.
Ground source heat pumps work by circulating water or a water/antifreeze solution through a closed loop of polyethylene pipe that is buried in the ground or set beneath the water. GSHP systems can be lad out in different orientations, depending on the situation. A closed loop system, the most popular, can be laid out either vertically in 50 -250 foot deep holes drilled like a well, or horizontally in 3-6 foot deep trenches. The less common open loop system circulates a constant source of ground water and dispels the water back to its origin, such as a stream, well, or pond.
The principle action of a heat pump moves heat from lower temperature location to a higher temperature location. This principle can be witnessed in an air conditioning window unit, or air source heat pump, where cold air is blown into the house and warm air is released out of the back of the unit. A ground source heat pump works in a similar manner, except that its heat source is the warmth of the earth. The process of elevating low-temperature heat to over 100 degrees F and transferring it indoors involves a cycle of evaporation, compression, condensation and expansion. A refrigerant, like freon, is used as a heat-transfer medium which circulates within the heat pump.
The cycle starts as the cold, liquid refrigerant passes through a heat exchanger (evaporator) and absorbs heat from the low-temperature source (liquid from the ground loop). The refrigerant evaporates into a gas as heat is absorbed. The gaseous refrigerant then passes through a compressor where the refrigerant is pressurized, raising its temperature to over 180 degrees F. The hot gas then circulates through a refrigerant-to-air heat exchanger where heat is removed and pumped into the house at about 100 degrees F. When it loses the heat, the refrigerant changes back to liquid. The liquid is cooled as it passes through an expansion valve and begins the process again. To work as an air conditioner, the flow is reversed.
The ductwork is no different than that of a conventional forced-air system. The difference is found in the temperature of the air flowing from the registers in the winter. With a conventional air source heat pump, the air flow is seldom warmer than 80 degrees. But because water transfers a greater volume of heat than air, the Ground source heat pump is able to deliver warmer air, typically about 110 degrees F.
Another benefit of a ground source heat pump can be found when teamed with a desuperheater. This component skims residual warmth from the compressor to heat water. Which means that in the summer, when the system is working to get rid of heat, the desuperheater can provide practically free hot water. And since most systems are oversized, there is usually enough warmth left over for low cost hot water in the winter too.
While GSHP's require a small amount of electricity to concentrate the energy and circulate it through the system, most systems derive approximately 70 percent of their energy from a clean, renewable source- the earth.
Other advantages of GSHP's include the fact that all components of the unit are housed inside the building, thereby reducing the wear and tear on the unit by Mother Nature, and also eliminating the fear of vandalism or theft. GSHP's do not require a flue, and since there is no on-site combustion, there's less chance of fire, and no chance of carbon monoxide infiltrating the home. GSHP's also carry the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Label, which is used to designate energy-efficient equipment. Often homeowners may find tax benefits, lower mortgages, or utility rebates.
The only problem with GSHP's is one of economics. GSHP's can cost as much as 30 percent more than conventional heating and cooling systems. Another drawback to GSHP installation is the lack of qualified contractors who know how to properly design, install, and service the systems. Interested homeowners must take extra precautions in screening both the contractor and the equipment manufacturer for a solid track record.
Geothermal technology is still relatively new, with only about 50,000 systems (approximately 1 percent) installed nationwide last year. There are only 150,000 units installed in homes in the United States at this time, but the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, which includes the EPA, the Department of Energy, 240 electric utilities and 20 heat pump manufacturers, is out to change that. With $100 million at its disposal, the consortium is offering rebates, reduced utility bills and other incentives to entice homeowners.
Friday, February 11, 2011
The great news is, Home Equity Builders can help. From small handyman jobs (everything from hanging pictures to replacing countertops) all the way up to building decks, updating a bathroom or bedroom and even whole house remodels, Home Equity Builders has the skills, the personnel and the experience to help you finish your wish list and make your house the home you love! With over 22 years of experience in the Northern Virginia area, we can walk you through the steps to get your “to do” list done!
Start by figuring out what you want done on your house and prioritizing that list. For example, if your water heater needs to be replaced or your bathroom floor is sagging, those items should be in your top priorities. We will walk you through the budgeting, prioritizing and timeline needed to get each job finished. Spring is coming – let us help you make your house beautiful!
To see the entire Wall Street Journal article, go here.
You already know about the damaging effects of ice dams. The gutters clog up with ice, then water runoff from the roof gets trapped by the dam and eventually backs up the roof, travels under the shingles, and leaks into the house.
While a permanent fix for ice dams usually requires increasing the insulation, sealing, and ventilation in the attic, there is a simple way to diminish the damage after the dam has formed.
Fill the leg of discarded pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melter. Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. If necessary, use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into position.
The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof. Thanks to This Old House for this tip.
Think spring! We look forward to hearing from you. Give us a call at (703) 759-2530 today!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Cambria’s Quarry Collection offers a variety of warm, rich tones that capture the beauty and variation of natural quartz stone. The collection contains 28 colors, including Williston, which is seen here.
Hanex Solid Surfaces are known for their durability, aesthetics, design flexibility and color choices. The surfaces are crafted from a unique blend of acrylic resins and natural materials. They can be cut, shaped and formed to fit a range of designs. Hanex Solid Surfaces can be fabricated and installed in almost any application with invisible seams.
ThinkGlass offers glass kitchen countertops, backsplashes and raised bars. Its exclusive technology can make unique kitchen countertops in thicknesses of 1 1/2 inches or more. These countertops come with a smooth, glossy finish and a choice of embedded textures that can be infused with color.
Staron Surfaces, a division of Samsung, has announced the addition of seven colors to its Radianz collection of quartz surface options. The quartz collection now offers a total of 30 high-gloss color options, including its newest colors: Antigua Beach, Albion Amber, Bristol Beige, Toluca Sand, Allegheny Amber, Ural Gray and Rangoon Black. Radianz is nonporous, which prohibits bacteria, mold, mildew and moisture from penetrating.
Designed to complement traditional, crossover and rustic decors, Wood Countertops from J. Aaron can be used as bar tops, chopping blocks, vanity tops or traditional kitchen count-ers. Made from top-grade hardwoods, these counters are tough enough to take daily beatings and come in thicknesses from 1 1/4 to 5 1/2 inches.
LG Hausys Surfaces has launched the eco-friendly HI-MACS Marmo as part of the Prestige Collection that blends natural stone design with next-generation solid surface. HI-MACS Marmo is a nonporous, easy-to-maintain solid surface that has the contemporary look of natural stone in a thermoformable, easy-to-fabricate, seamless surface.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Cooler, Greener Roofs
Qualified Remodeler green columnist John Wagner discusses energy savings in roofing
By John Wagner
Some roofs are made of recycled or recyclable materials, like rubber or plastics, but the greenness of a roof has little to do with its raw materials. In fact, any green benefits you pick up from recyclability are outweighed by the key role roofs play in a building’s thermal envelope. Here’s why: Americans spend about $40 billion each year to air condition buildings, fully one-sixth of all U.S. energy, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That figure can be reduced substantially by simply changing the color of a roof. It can be reduced even further by using reflective roof materials or materials that frustrate the transfer of absorbed heat into the structure.
You couldn’t build a more efficient solar collector than a black roof, yet they’re popular because Americans hate the look of white roofs. The consequence of the fashionable black roof is it reflects just 5 percent of the sun’s heat; the rest is absorbed. A gray roof reflects about 20 percent of the sun’s heat and absorbs the rest. However, white roofs reflect 25 percent. As a result, black roofs get as much as 90 degrees hotter than white roofs. Imagine reducing that $40 billion cooling bill by 25 percent just by changing the color, coating types and the resulting reflectivity of the roof material.
How can changing the features of just one roof have an effect on a national scale? If the building community buys into the cool-roof movement, it means changing not just one rooftop, but potentially hundreds of square miles of roofs. All these roofs currently are collecting solar energy and transferring it into structures, which then are forced to be cooled by gas-fired AC units or by using electricity, most of which comes from nuclear or coal sources that negatively impact the environment.
An innovative solution has emerged that allows homeowners to have fashionable black roofs that reflect the sun’s heat like white roofs. Roof shingles now are being manufactured in lighter colors and/or with surface treatments that better reflect and emit heat. Granules embedded in the shingles appear dark, yet are highly reflective.
Although it’s odd to see an Energy Star label on squares of shingles because they don’t actually consume power, shingles affect power consumption so dramatically they can earn Energy Star status. An Energy Star shingle will have, upon installation, a solar reflectance greater than or equal to 0.25, meaning 25 percent of the sun’s heat is reflected. If you are installing metal roofs, you’ll find a wide range of Energy Star-rated products because metal roofs can be factory-treated with durable, highly reflective coatings. In fact, the vast majority of Energy Star-rated roofs are factory-treated metal roofs.
The Cool Roof Rating Council, or CRRC, offers another cool-roof product label. CRRC is the rating system followed by California’s Title 24—the mandated energy-efficiency building standard. However, CRRC is not strictly a California program. This group tests roofing material and rates solar reflectance (a measure of what percent of the sun’s energy gets reflected by the roof) and solar emittance (a measure of how well the roof defeats transfer of that absorbed heat into the structure) to create a CRRC rating between 0 and 1. The higher the number, the better. Generally, roofs that are considered cool have ratings in the 0.7 to 0.75 range. View CRRC-rated products at coolroofs.org.
Although the color of a roof can make a big difference, recyclability still plays a role in determining a roof’s green attributes. Metal roofs are made entirely of recyclable material; even brand-new metal roofs can have 100 percent recycled content. High-tech EPDM rubber and TPO plastic are used to create molded, lightweight, shake- or slate-like shingles that offer long warranties, impact resistance and UL Class A fire ratings. Many of these new roofing products are made from 100 percent recycled content, and they are 100 percent recyclable.
For those readers who still think green building means using exotic or expensive products, think again. A simple adjustment to the attributes of the lowly roof shingle can have a dramatic and long-term effect on a structure’s energy consumption.
Monday, January 10, 2011
It’s that time of year again – a brand new year, filled with a long “to do” list of items that didn’t get finished last year. You might have seen our trucks in your neighborhood (see many of the areas we service!), and thought about calling us, but didn’t know the types of services we offer.
We can do many household tasks for you, such as:
Plumbing/Bathrooms: install faucets, update vanity tops, install new toilets, replace shut-off valves, install towel bars (heated, if you want), paint the bathroom, re-grout or install tile, install medicine cabinets or bathroom fans or even heat your floors.
Laundry Rooms: Supply and install new cabinets, washers and dryers, tile your floor, run supply water or waste lines, run electric outlets, paint the walls and ceilings or run dryer vent lines to the outside.
Kitchens: Let us handle your total kitchen design or just a lighting plan. We can take care of your cabinets and countertops, install flooring or appliances and do any drywall, painting, faux or plasterwork you need done.
Basements: drywall, electrical, lighting, cabinets, displays, wet bars, bookshelves, entertainment centers, crown molding, trim, flooring, bathrooms, sump pumps and mother-in-law suites.
Garden: design and build your deck, patio, garden seating or gazebos; update the lighting; add a fountain or pond; build a doll house or playhouse (including tree houses); screen in your porch or add deco fencing.
Interiors: update cabinet or doors; paint doors, walls and ceilings; patch drywall or caulk the trim; hang light fixtures; install closet organizers; install ceiling fans; hang pictures, mirrors, chandeliers and more; refasten railings or newel posts on stairways; install pocket or storm doors; and even unclog drains.
Exteriors: fix rotten wood; repair trim; replace doors and windows; clean siding or decks; build front facades, porticos or arbors; clean and repair gutters; repair or replace roofs; repair or replace garage doors.
Need something that’s not on the list above? Give us a call – we can probably handle it! We look forward to helping you in 2011. Happy New Year!