Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not your typical Countertop

Kitchen/Bath Spotlight: Countertops

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

Cooler, Greener Roofs

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.

Roof-science Basics

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.

Roofing Ideas

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


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

How can we help you?

Home Equity Builders: How Can WE Help You?

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!