The Home Doctor Is In

Brian Morris

The Home Doctor Remains in

Source: Flickr

The Home Physician has the solution to your structure concerns.

Q: A recent tornado ruined my roofing system and also I’m now dealing with a roof covering substitute job for the very first time. Just what should I know about roof shingles before diving right into the reroof with my service provider?

A: Prior to I answer your inquiry, I intend to make sure you’re dealing with a trustworthy specialist. Ask your roofing professional if he has insurance and get a written price quote for the job. It’s a good idea to request a few recommendations to act on ahead of signing a contract. The Better Business Bureau can also signal you to any type of issues that have been submitted versus the firm.

When you are comfortable with the professional, it’s time to investigate shingle options. Surprisingly, I have actually found that service providers will regularly recommend a roof shingles identical to the one they are changing. There are so many brand-new choices in roof that you would certainly be remiss not to explore. From remarkable color blends to premium “high-end” looks and also impressive service warranty terms, ensure your contractor provides you a number of options.

For the majority of property owners, I suggest asphalt roofing versus slate or wood. Generally, the much more traditional metals are a lot more pricey and also call for a substantial quantity of upkeep over time. Asphalt roof shingles have the tendency to sustain the aspects better as well as some even included impact-resistant features. They are a lot more economical in ahead of time prices. Plus, brand-new styles of high-end asphalt tiles replicate the appearance of timber or slate with a likeness as well as cost that are hard to defeat.

As far as locating a quality shingle, CertainTeed has actually constructed a good track record with its extensive line of asphalt tiles. This is the business that spearheaded the significantly prominent multilayer roof shingles as well as is understood for its ingenious style and vibrant shingle color choices, such as variegated reds, blues and also eco-friendlies. When examining roof shingles styles, their Website is a good place to start.

The style of your house and your individual choice will certainly determine the appropriate shingle for your residence. If you want a roof covering developed of premium materials and also a significant, statement-making look, it might deserve checking out CertainTeed’s brand-new Centennial Slate™ ™ or Spots TL Ultimate™ ™ luxury tiles. The former has a look of true blended slate, the latter is a wood-shake style Both high-end roof shingles feature outstanding service warranties as well as use color and also layers to capture genuine style.

GE Monogram Appliances

Brian Morris

GE Monogrammed Appliances

GE Monogram home appliances are the not the most up to date top of the line venture from the electronics firm, yet in the previous couple of years they have upped the stake on this line. The home appliances have taken an ultra contemporary twist as well as currently showcase covered stainless steel and also heavenly innovation where each brand-new version out does itself.

If you are fortunate sufficient to commission your new home to be constructed by a credible contractor, possibilities are you will have the alternative to include GE Monogrammed home appliances. With the prices of GE Monogram appliances beginning in the countless bucks each having them created into the cost of your brand-new residence is a terrific method to go if you want a top quality kitchen, but cannot pay up front for a total kitchen space remodel of your existing residence.

Even if you are thinking about having your contractor placed the GE Monogrammed devices in your new to your house, it is still highly suggested to have a professional specialist designer assist with the design. The developer will meet you as well as with your building professional to design a clever and reliable plan for the devices to be placed.

Your developer will certainly also aid with such features as assisting to pick the best variety hood to enhance your cooktop and if a garbage compactor is something which will certainly profit the house. These are just some of the GE Monogram devices available to be bought. Countertop choice as well as various other cooking area features such as lighting are all projects your developer will certainly aid with.

If you can not employ your own personal developer or if you would like to have a much more hands on strategy to selecting your home appliances you could conveniently locate a store near you from the firm’s website. It is advised to go to the shop to see, really feel as well as touch the devices face to face, as this will give you a far better concept of just how specifically they will suit your residence.

Because the GE Monogrammed home appliances are not offered at the ordinary to your house enhancement shop, you will have to go to a small high end seller, typically a customer kitchen spaces as well as bathroom shop. These shops are excellent though since they will certainly have an on team developer available to aid you with all your concerns as well as requirements.

Usually, if you are purchasing GE Monogram home appliances from these merchants the layout costs will be free. The disadvantage to this is that you will not have as much face to face focus as an individual designer, and also could not have the high-end of the in-store developer seeing your house.

If a client wants to see the latest offered GE Monogrammed home appliances they just need to go to the General Electric Monogram online showroom. For those with some time and also a much more non reusable earnings they can go to the physical 10,000 square foot showroom in Louisville Kentucky. The General Electric Monogrammed display room is itself a masterpiece. Neighborhood designers made the structure with features from the appliances, such as the roofing system appearing like a variety hood.

There are lots of means to include GE Monogram home appliances into your house. With a little aid and imagination you can have a top of the line expert kitchen quickly!

Luxury Home Buying

Practical Tips When Buying a Luxury Home

Brian Morris

Wikipedia defines luxury real estate as the real estate market niche targeted to high-net-worth individuals. These individuals tend to own multiple homes in numerous locations across the world.

Luxury Home Buying

Ever wonder who is buying luxury homes, in Southern Ontario? According to a study done by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation, Canadian buyers of this kind of properties belong to these profiles: “31% are cash buyers, 68% are considered ‘new money.’ The number one job among these home buyers is classified as “business executives,” 67% are from the “baby boom” generation, between the ages of 45 and 65, and 88% of luxury home buyers are married.

Other findings include: “designer kitchens are the top priority concerning amenities, 89% of luxury home buyers request a four or five-bedroom home, and 49% of luxury homes sold by Coldwell Banker sales agents have between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet.”

Although these homes are rather expensive, still many would want to become luxury home owners. Needless to say, these houses are not for those with a flat wallet (the home price ranges from $1M-$4M) and a faint heart (the upkeep is rather costly, too). But remember, you are not just paying for the house but for the grand amenities as well which come with it, and not to mention the location where it stands. Here are a few tips when planning on purchasing a luxury home:

1. Although multiple listing services (MLS) can be helpful when choosing this kind of homes, you may have to see the property for yourself. Head to and drive around the area you are interested in and where these properties are located. See and have a feel of the house you’re about to call home. As they aptly say, seeing is believing. And being that luxury homes are not ordinary homes yet cost extraordinary, you might as well make sure that you’re going to invest in a property just as you’ve expected it to be or even beyond that.

2. A huge amount of money is involved when purchasing a luxury home. Some Most luxury homes are priced between $1M-$5M. Not to mention the other costs that goes when purchasing the said properties. Check your finances and have it all cleared from debt and any other liabilities that might alter your payment for your luxurious property. Go to the bank you’re most comfortable to transact with. And get pre-approved for a loan and work on it; banks mean and do protect their business as well. Typically, luxury homes are purchased with jumbo loans – a mortgage that does not conform to the guidelines preset by Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) or Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation).

3. Document everything and in order. With the unstable economic climate and the apparent extravagant price of a luxury home, pre-qualification is inevitable. Pre-qualification is entirely different from pre-approval. Pre-qualification is an assessment of your income, assets, and debts. Through this, a projected down payment is drawn and in what kind of loan you’d likely qualify for.

4. Hire experts and professionals. A buyer’s real estate agent can be more helpful to you with this kind of transaction. They work exclusively with and for you, unlike some agents who also work with sellers. An exclusive buyer’s agent mainly look after your welfare and your wanting to acquire that luxury home you’ve been dreaming of.

Owning a luxury home is pride in itself, as everyone don’t have the privilege to acquire one. Luxurious as it is and as it sounds, you still have to work on it. But the pleasures, looks, amenities that go with this kind of homes are worth every penny you’re going to spend on it.

Beautifying Your Home

Brian Morris

by: Brook Noel

“Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.” –Jim Rohn

As a frequent traveler, I’m often amazed at how dramatically my mood changes depending on where I am staying.

I have stayed in some very nice hotels that were so warm and welcoming that I loved being in my room. Other rooms were so dark and uninviting I found my mood spiraling downward. Our environment and surroundings play a huge part in how we feel on a day-to-day basis.

Think about it. When your home is messy, chaotic, cluttered, and filled with piles, how do you feel? My guess would be “stressed” is amongst the adjectives that top your list. Likewise, when our homes are clean and straightened we feel more at peace.

So why not create a dream home for yourself? You don’t need a million dollar budget and a designer’s help. Instead, approach your home with the same mentality we bring to this challenge — one day, one step, and one project— at a time.

The task of beautifying your home will be an ongoing process. I recommend getting a separate binder for this project. I have a binder with dividers for each room of the house that I wanted to “beautify.” Then when I found pictures, ideas, or had inspirations, I would store the information behind the applicable room tab.

The process of going through your home is much like when we created the MASTER TASK LIST.

Choose a room in which to start. Sit down for a good twenty minutes, actually taking in all the items, furniture, textures, and colors of the room. Then imagine how you would like the room to be. Don’t be shy, write down anything that comes to mind no matter how crazy it seems.

There may be things on your list that aren’t practical right now and that’s okay. These notes will give you a clue into the traits and mood you want to create in the room and you may be able to find a less expensive alternative. (For example, in one room I would have loved new hardwood floors.

Instead, I found that sanding the current wood floors and covering them with inexpensive rugs purchased at a wholesale outlet, created the nice warm feeling I was looking to have.)

Here are some specific things to think about in each room:

• COLOR: Do the walls represent the room? If your house has all white walls, consider toying with color. Painting a room is the quickest way to give it a fresh look. Stenciling is another option for those who don’t want to brave a full paint makeover. If you want to keep your white walls, are there prints or paintings that could be added to give the room a new tone? What types of prints and paintings would you enjoy — abstract, contemporary, wildlife? What colors should the paintings emphasize to help coordinate the overall color of the room?

• FURNITURE: Are there pieces of furniture that need to be refinished, repaired, or replaced? Are there any pieces you would like to add?

• WINDOWS: Do you like your current window coverings? If not, what would you prefer? Would you like to go with a valance? Blinds? No coverings?

• DECORATIONS: What elements could be added to change the tone of the room? How about a small water fountain in a room where you like to relax? Fountains can be found very inexpensively at stores like Target or Wal-Mart. Would an arrangement of candles or dried flowers add to the room? Could you remove items to simplify the space? Could you swap items with items from another area of the house for a fresh feel?

• FOLIAGE: What about plants? Plants quickly provide a new feel within a room. If you have a bad history with plants, don’t despair. Visit your local garden center and explain you want a very durable plant for someone without a “green thumb.” These garden experts can help you pick the plant that is best for you.

• FLOOR COVERING: How do you want your floors to look? Would you like rugs, floor coverings, hardwood, or to lay new tile?

Idea-Gathering Gathering ideas can be a very fun step. Begin by paging through magazines and finding attractive rooms. For example, if you are working in your living room, begin by finding living rooms that have a theme or feel you would like to emulate in your own home.

Don’t worry if you can’t find something that is exactly like what you want; you can clip furniture from one picture and paintings from another. Here are a few more sources for idea-gathering:

1. If you have a friend who has a “knack” for displays and interior design, consider seeking her help and recommendations.

2. Visit furniture stores, antique shops, and department stores to gather ideas for displays and decoration. Check your local library and bookstore for additional books and ideas.

3. The internet also has a ton of great resources for decorating. Try doing a search at for decorating. The Better Homes and Gardens website has a lot of great resources as well — you can find it at

4. Visit your local improvement store. Look at their idea books and magazines. Find paint samples and color palettes that are appealing to you.

5. Let the process of gathering ideas take as long as you desire. Remember this is a work in progress. Once you have some ideas, pick one to start. I encourage you to work through one room at a time, completing it in its entirety before moving to the next room. This way you will be able to enjoy one room while working on the others and not cause a lot of clutter or disruption in the home.

Remember that decorating and performing a facelift to a room needn’t be costly or time-consuming. Adding a new print to a wall, colorful pillows to a couch or a few plants can breathe new life into a tired room.

Your Assignment:

Begin gathering ideas. Try to choose at least one idea that can be implemented today to beautify your home.

About The Author

Brook Noel is an international, best-selling author and has written over 10 books. Her works include: I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, coping, and healing after the sudden death of a loved one, Grief Steps, The Single Parent Resource and her newest book The Change Your Life Challenge: A 70 Day Life Makeover Program for Women To learn more about the challenge that thousands of women have used to improve relationships, finances, home management, self-esteem, fitness, self-care, stress and depression you can visit the website at:

Ten Important Elements of a Good Bathroom:

Brian Morris

It’s one of the first rooms we see in the morning and one of the last rooms we see at night. It’s certainly among the most private rooms in the house, and the finishes, fixtures and mechanical equipment required by even a simple bathroom place it among the most expensive real estate in the house.

Given the intimate nature of bathrooms and the frequency with which they are used, I think their design and detailing should also impart a measure of emotional well-being to their users. In this spirit, I offer ten suggestions for making a good bathroom that can enhance some of your everyday experiences.

Even a small entry transition, such as a 3-ft. square space just inside the door, changes the feel of the room. Separate alcoves for different functions around a central space give a bathroom a room-like quality.

1. An entrance transition

Except for the so-called master bath, most bathrooms serve several users and need to be placed in a location central to these users, usually halfway between the private parts of the house and the more public parts. Don’t have a bathroom with multiple-door access.

Instead, create an entrance with a space outside the door — maybe an alcove off the hallway that gives some privacy from the main rooms or circulation area and with a little room inside the door before reaching the bathroom fixtures.

Room-like proportions add a calming touch. A bathtub alcove creates a sense of place that just can’t be achieved in a bath that resembles a hallway.
2. Room-like proportions

Too many bathrooms are simply hallways with the fixtures lining one side of the hall. It is hard to make a pleasant room of that shape.

First, a good room is roughly square or rectangular with length-to-width proportions not exceeding 2:1. In almost every good room, there is a clear central space, a center with smaller spaces like alcoves around the edges.

A bathroom can be designed using these principles in miniature. There can easily be a central space that contains the entry, with some elbow room for washing and drying off and with alcoves around the edges for the toilet, the shower or the tub.

For ventilation and a glimpse of the world at first light, a good window is a must in a bathroom. Try to place it in a position that you walk toward.
3. A good window

Natural light and a view to the outside are important in the bathroom. Our first understanding of the weather and the general look of the day comes in the window. Ideally, windows are on at least two sides of the room to provide even day lighting.

If privacy is an issue, make multiple windows face a courtyard garden, perhaps with an outdoor shower. If you have room for only one window, place it where it illuminates the portion of the room that you see when you enter.
4. From the least intimate places to the most intimate places

Another principle that applies to residential design in general and to the bathroom in miniature is “the intimacy gradient.” Just as you locate the bedrooms the farthest from the front door, you should locate the most private part of the bathroom the greatest distance from the entry to the room.

The most private part varies from family to family, with the toilet being the most private for some and the bath for others.

The most intimate portions of a bathroom should be farthest from the door. Diagonal sight lines enlarge a bathroom. As seen from the shower, views across the tub and into the lavatory portion of this bathroom foster a sense of spaciousness.
5. Borrowed views

In a small space such as a bathroom, it is difficult to get a direct view to the outside from each space. But it is possible to borrow the view across another space or another fixture.

A shower is a good example. It needs to be enclosed with water-resistant materials. So a window in a shower with an exterior wall, particularly a beautiful wood window, is not an ideal candidate for part of a shower enclosure. There are a number of positions that the shower can take in the bathroom that will allow for a good view through a clear glass shower door.
6. Pay attention to vertical and horizontal dimensions

Certain minimum clearances around bathroom fixtures are required by every building code. My experience is that you need about 36 in. of elbow room at the lavatory to use it comfortably. Its counter is typical between 31 in. and 34 in. high.

The rule: You want the water to run off your wrists, not your elbows. A double-lavatory arrangement is mostly ornamental unless it has 6 ft. of counter space.

A toilet compartment is tight at the code minimum of 30 in., about right at 36 in. and a waste of space after that. In fact, after 40 in., you lose touch with the walls on each side and the sense of enclosure they provide.

Although the minimum dimension for a shower stall is 30 in., it must also have no less than 1,024 sq. in. of finished interior area.

This amount is really minimal, and I wouldn’t recommend less than 36 in. square, or a 30-in. by 48-in. rectangular shower if you can find the room.

The standard length for a tub is 60 in., and many are 66 in. and 72 in. long. If you get a deep, rounded-back claw-foot type, you can easily be comfortable with a 54-in. or a 56-in. long tub unless you’re taller than 6 ft. I recommend, however, that you make an honest evaluation of whether you really ever use a tub and consider instead putting money into a nice shower.

Just as any good room benefits from a variety of ceiling heights, so does a good bathroom. Make the ceiling highest in the center, and lower it around tubs, showers, toilet alcoves and window seats.

Any small room like a bathroom can benefit from the visually expansive effects of horizontal lines. This is often seen in traditional bathrooms as a strong cap on top of wainscoting. The lower part of the wall is done in a water-resistant finish such as tile or enamel paint and is capped by a strong horizontal band with plaster or wallpaper above. This horizontal band combined with a baseboard and sometimes a crown molding at the ceiling adds horizontal lines that visually enlarge the perimeter of the room.

Two vertical dimensions are often the subject of discussion and sometimes construction changes. The first is the height of sconces. I prefer a framed mirror above a lavatory with sconces on the side because they give the best light to the sides of the face and fewer shadows in the facial recesses than light from above the face. The height I use for sconces is the height of my client.

The last vertical dimension is one of those little details that gives me problems near the end of a project: the water supply to the toilet. Place it high enough, including the escutcheon, to be out of the baseboard. I’ve found that 10-1/2 in. is enough to clear all but the tallest baseboards and still leaves room for a flexible connection to the toilet tank.
7. Water-resistant finishes

There is probably nothing nicer than ceramic tile in a bathroom. Properly installed, it is a cleanable, water-resistant surface for floors, walls and shower enclosures.

If a whole wall need not be water resistant, ceramic tile can also make a beautiful wainscot. On floors, it can be colder on the feet than other materials, such as wood, but a simple area rug or a more expensive heat pad under the tile can easily solve this objection.

Too much tile can change the acoustics of a room, and you should keep to softer materials on the ceiling and a portion of the walls (or have lots of bars for big fluffy towels).

This toilet sits on a marble slab that protects the wood floor from moisture damage.

I have used wood floors in many bathrooms, and with today’s tough floor varnishes, they can hold up well to a modest amount of water as long as it is not allowed to sit on the floor for a long period of time. It seems a little uncomfortable putting a toilet directly on a wood floor, so I use a transition pad made of a scrap of granite or marble for toilets on wood floors.

Another attractive, traditional bathroom-floor material is linoleum. It is nothing like today’s vinyl plastics. Again, proper installation is important for resistance to water.

The only wall surfaces that truly need to be water resistant are the shower walls. There are a variety of useful materials ranging from one-piece molded enclosures to wall-size sheets of materials to individual pieces such as tile. In every instance, installation is critical, particularly at joints, to the ultimate success of the material.

It is helpful to have an easily cleanable surface around the lavatory on the countertop and on the walls immediately around the sink. Ceramic tile is a good choice. Natural stone, polished and sealed concrete, and other nonabsorbent materials work well on both surfaces.

On walls, a good-quality enamel paint on smooth plaster makes a cleanable, water-resistant finish.
No-frills, high-quality plumbing fixtures such as this Chicago faucet will last for generations.
8. Fixtures that really work

To me, good-quality bathroom fixtures mean enameled cast iron for tubs and china for lavatories. I recently remodeled the two bathrooms in my 1929 cottage. After 70 years, it was finally time to replace the original enameled cast-iron tubs. Cast iron and china are still so commonly used that the price difference between these quality fixtures and bargain fixtures is modest.

Good fittings such as faucets and tub/ shower valves, however, are noticeably more expensive than run-of-the-mill fittings, sometimes as much as triple the cost. I use them, however, whenever I can afford to put them in the budget because over their life, they are still a bargain when compared with average fittings that last a far shorter period of time.

For finishes, stay with tried-and-true nickel or chrome without the plastic coatings. Someone’s going to have these faucets in 50 years if you make the correct choice.

One piece of equipment that has improved during the past few years is the exhaust fan. They are clearly quieter than five years ago. Companies such as Broan and NuTone have ceiling-mounted, barely audible exhaust fans.

Speaking of noise reduction, the newer “coexcel” ABS plastic drain pipe seems to be quieter than the older ABS. But nothing can replace cast iron for quietness in a drain pipe that comes down the wall of a first-floor living space. The slight increase in material cost is more than offset in the long run of the life of the house.

Use fixtures and accessories that are simple and substantial. Simple chrome rings and stainless-steel cover plates are good choices.
9. Important accessories

Light fixtures, towel bars, medicine cabinets, furniture, switch-plate covers, shower doors — there are hundreds of opportunities to make decisions about these kinds of details in a bathroom.

My advice: Keep them simple and straightforward. Buy good quality that will last a long time. Keep them related to each other in design and materials, except for the occasional humorous surprise. Look for timeless qualities. Choose things that you want to live with. There is no reason you can’t enjoy even the most mundane item in your bathroom.
10. The lost art of bathing

The previous suggestions will help you to make the ordinary bathroom that you use several times each day a pleasant, enjoyable place. Sometimes, though, you want to go beyond that and experience the real pleasure of bathing.

The deep relaxation of hot water, the peaceful pleasure of bathing with family or friends, and the therapy of quiet immersion in water are all aspects of the art of bathing. The oversize master bathrooms in the pseudo mansions of the late 20th century only hint at this fundamental human need.

The essence has been lost in the cheap materials typically used to build them.

To re-create this experience requires a deep, profound examination of the history and tradition of bathing and the environment needed to support it fully. My sense is that the quality of the room as a space–with places to sit around the perimeter, with good natural light and with good connections to a private outdoor space — are paramount to creating this experience.

When Does It Pay-off To Obtain A Home Mortgage?

Brian Morris

By: John Edwards

If you are in dire need of money and don’t have the financial means for a large cash transaction to buy a house, then opting for a home mortgage is worth consideration.

Basically, a mortgage refers to a long-standing credit that a debtor obtains from a financial institution or from a property seller.

In most cases, the house is the usual collateral for the mortgage, thus the term “home mortgage”. In turn, the mortgage lender will be entitled to some legal rights upon the property as long as the mortgage is in full force or until the debtor pays back the loan.

A home mortgage serves as security for loans, thus giving the lender the power to acquire the property through foreclosure in the event that the borrower fails to pay the loan on time.

Generally, a home mortgage is comprised of a large loan. That’s why in most cases a home mortgage can take 15 to 30 years before the borrower can pay back the due amount.

In a home mortgage, the amount due to be paid by the borrower stipulates the principal amount of the mortgage and the interest owed relative to the outstanding balance. The real estate taxes and property insurance are also factored into the total mortgage balance.

Some home owners who find it difficult to make their mortgage payments may opt for refinancing of their mortgage. But for those who wish to pay off a home mortgage quickly, there are things to be considered…

First, make sure you have a stable source of income. Organize your overall financial assets to ensure that paying off your mortgage will not over-extend your cash flow. There are many such considerations that should be carefully planned and organized before resorting to pay-off your home mortgage.

It’s also important to your financial security to have a ready reserve of cash just in case of emergencies. This can be in the form of stocks and bonds, a bank savings account, or any other readily available form of cash.

Paying off your home mortgage can be a rewarding experience, but be sure to consider your overall financial status before making the decision to do so. The wrong decision can put you at great financial risk.

If you think that you are ready for the mortgage “experience” and that you have your finances securely organized, then by all means, go for it. After all, nothing beats a worry-free, mortgage-free financial status.

Waterproofing Your Foundation? What Is The Right Choice?

Brian Morris

by: Dagmar Rakos

What is foundation waterproofing?

Waterproofing is Protecting your property foundation – be it residential or commercial – from cracks due to natural processes such as water damage, thermal movement, shrinking, settlement and other causes.

Think of foundation waterproofing as a long term solution for protection of your property.

Did you know that 44% of new homes have leaking basements without 3 years of completion? And the warranty on dry basement on a new home in USA and Canada is only 1 or 2 years?

Think of what can happen if you don’t pay attention to properly seal your house foundation.

It not only causes countless damage to your property it also decreases value of your house, costs money to repair, wastes time, not to mention various health and life hazards.

So what is the Solution to this problem?

Waterproof your property the right way as you build it!

There are many products on the market and it is difficult to choose at times, but not all are the same quality.

The easiest, simplest and smartest way is to apply rubberized liquid membrane. Liquid rubber membranes are elastomeric polymerized coatings made from liquid rubber – the same quality tough material your car tires are made from.

Advantages: They are easiest to apply, quick to dry, cold applied. You can do it by yourself, by using sprayer, roller or trowel. The liquid cures into an elastic rubber coating on the wall, able to fill up eventual cracks in foundation wall because of its flexibility. They also come with a long warranty and are very cost effective.

If you want the best ones you should aim at the ones which are environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-flammable, also VOC compliant, offer superior vapor and water barrier protection, and no priming is required before installation.

Disadvantages: Possibility of inconsistency in coverage, but the newest liquid rubber foundation waterproofing membranes will help you to determine the “right” thickness by intensity of color f.e. the Gray Coat All Seasons Formula from blends in with the concrete foundation, so over-spraying is no longer a problem, making it much easier for the applicator to apply.

There are of course other products on the market like sheet membranes, cementitous waterproofing, hot tar or bentonite, but they either don’t offer such a long warranty, are labor intensive or low quality, or you have to use company employees/certified technicians who are the only ones allowed to apply their product which will cost extra money.

Basically it comes what your needs are and how much money your are willing to invest to protect your property properly.

What seems to be cheaper at the beginning can be Very costly later on if you don’t do it right the first time.

© Dagmar Rakos

About The Author

Dagmar Rakos is the site Administrator for

Highly effective, easy to apply foundation, basement and specialty waterproofing products for ICF and standard construction. For home builders and waterproofing contractors.

Ways To Heat Your Water

Brian Morris

by: John Thomson

Water heating options

Where you live, as well as the life style you lead, the number of people in your household, and where you’ll put the water heating system, you’ll need to factor these realities in if you’re going to purchase a new hot water system, or getting a back up system.

Having this basic information at hand, will ensure you’ll get hot water every day of the year, when you want and however much you need – at the best cost possible. This will also help you decide, if you should stick to the traditional water heating system you’ve used or if you’ll step out of the box and try an alternate water heating system.

Here’s a short list of the different water heating systems, available today

Electric hot water tank

This system uses heating elements that are located at the topmost and bottom parts of your tank. Because they don’t need vents, you can install or put them wherever you feel is the best location. For example in Canada many R-2000 energy saving homes have this water heating system.

Induced draft gas hot water tanks

This heating system has a fan that’s found at the top of the tank itself. What the fan does is to induce movement of the combustion gases to go through a sealed plastic pipe and then out the sidewall of the house. You’ll find that a lot of these units use combustion and dilution air found inside the house. However, due to the combustion gas exhaust fan pressure; you won’t have to worry about the backdrafting combustion gas spillage. You’ll need to buy a condensing furnace that works well with this kind of heating system.

Natural draft gas hot water tanks

These are inexpensive units, which come with a naturally aspirating burner and draft hood, which is connected to a vertical chimney vent. However, this particular equipment more prone is more subject to combustion gas spillage compared to the other models mentioned, here, so you’ll need to make sure you have a furnace that works well with this equipment. Another factor you’ll need to think about is, if you live in an highly energy efficient home. These homes experience a higher degree of air tightness, so it’s not advisable to install a unit of this kind.

Direct vent gas hot water tanks

As stated a direct vent or sealed combustion water carries combustion air in from the outside, while venting the combustion gases out through a single concentric pipe. As there is no interconnection between the burner and house air, they are spillage resistant and work very well in the more closely sealed Homes.

Tankless water heater

You could purchase an instantaneous water heater or tankless water heater, which as its name indicates provides hot water, without the aid of storage tank. You can choose either a gas or electricity driven unit. In tankless water heaters, temperate water runs through a pipe into the unit, and then either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water.

Solar Units

Or you could try a solar powered heating water system. Solar heaters derive their power from the sun’s energy, and channel the heat to water.

You can purchase a reliable solar heater and use this as your main source for heating water. Or you can decide to use this unit as the back up system. If so, then select a solar heater, which allows you to be the back up for either electric or gas water heater.

Take your time to do research on this system – find out the differences between the different water heating systems – so you can save on money, your time and resource. Not only that but the right water heater for your home will mean a lot of difference on whether you’ll have hot water when you need it, in the amount, you want to use the water heater to produce.

“If Rome Was Built Today It Would Be Built Using Insulated Concrete Forms!”

Brian Morris

Imagine . . .

What would you think if we said that a home could have:

Heating bills 35%-60% less.
Weather resistance that will stand up to hurricane force winds, and is rated to withstand earthquakes.
The ultimate fire resistance insofar that some insurance companies decide to give a 20% (or more) discount on a homeowners’ policy.
Healthy indoor air quality, essentially free from dust and pollen.
A guarantee to never get dry-rot, or be infested by termites or carpenter ants.
Recycled material components that save in average 15 trees per home when constructed.
Reduced exterior wall sound transmission by more than 65% so barking dogs, lawn mowers, and even airplanes are reduced to a whisper.
The most amazing thing of all, is that this technology is available right here, right now and it costs only a little more than a conventional wood built house.
The Magic of ICF’s……

The big secret that more and more builders, architects, engineers and homeowners are beginning to uncover is the new advances in concrete homes constructed using Insulating Concrete Forms technology.

Insulating concrete forms are lightweight, highly durable foam blocks or forms composed of an expanded or extruded polystyrene, and recycled materials.

Raw plastic beads are molded into one of several basic form types.

Some look like hollow blocks that you stack and interlock like big Lego’s. Others use panels that are held a constant distance apart by a series of plastic ties.

Either way, the product is stacked in the shape of your home, reinforcing steel is placed inside, and concrete poured in between to create a solid, structural wall.

The Insulating Concrete Forms’s remain in place after the concrete sets, and function as thermal and acoustical insulation, an air and vapor barrier, and exterior wall sheathing.

Your finished wall is basically 6″ +/- of reinforced concrete with 2”-3” of dense foam insulation on the inside and the out, resulting in a rock solid, 12″ thick, super-wall!

The integral, permanent insulation allows builders to construct ultra efficient walls in a fraction of the time required to build walls out of wood or steel studs.

How is an ICF Home More Environmentally-Friendly?

In so many ways, ICF homes reduce their consumption of energy. They are the most air-tight homes on the market. The concrete absorbs solar heat and slowly releases it so heat is distributed evenly throughout the home. The average energy consumption reduction is 35-60% below conventional wood frame houses. The houses use fewer natural resources to heat them and they will last quite literally for centuries.

ICF walls conserve forest resources and their energy efficiency reduces fossil fuel consumption. It’s estimated a 2,000 square foot home saves up to 15 large trees when compared to conventional construction. Concrete is inert, non-toxic, and produced from abundant natural and recycled material.

Lower noise from the outside world and the air exchange system all contribute to a more peaceful and healthy environment for the occupants of an ICF home.


Cost; expect to pay 5-10% more for an ICF home depending on where you live.

Where ICF homes are popular the cost will probably be a little cheaper. Even though ICF construction is very durable and Code approved, it will take a little extra to get your plans through the building department (unless they are familiar with the particular system that you are using).

ICF construction requires subcontractors to do certain tasks differently. Wiring, heating, plumbing, drywall will be different than in traditional construction. This might cause prices to be higher or difficulty in finding sub-trades that have experience working in an ICF home.

The ICF industry is growing rapidly, and in the last few years we have completed projects in many different townships and municipalities. There are very few building departments left in Southern Ontario where they are not informed with the ICF building process.


ICF homes are a superior system to wood framed or steel framed homes.

Once the exterior walls are poured they are ready for finishing (on the inside and out).

They are extremely durable and they don’t cost much more than a traditional framed home.

Finding subcontractors may be a challenge, but if you are planning to live in your home for many years, ICF homes are the only choice to make.

Harvey Juric, ICF Consultant and CEO of is a custom home builder in southern Ontario. He has been in the home construction industry for the past 30 years performing a wide variety of tasks related to the building trades. As one of the pioneers of the Insulated Concrete Form industry, he formed “Rainbow Country Homes” (RCH) that later changed its name into to take advantage of, at that time, emerging new construction techniques that promised stronger and better homes. All the members of his staff are skilled professionals who share the same commitment to quality workmanship and exceeding the client’s expectations.

Your Building Your Dream Home, But Where Do You Start?

Brian Morris

by: Martin Smith

You have finally found the perfect lot, in the neighborhood of your choice, and at a price you can afford. Now you have to decide what type of house you want built.

In fact you may even know the house you want, be it a big rambling farmhouse, with a wrap-a-round porch reminiscent of your grandmother’s home, a rustic log cabin or a more modern luxurious home.

Whatever you choose, the first thing you will need is a set of house plans.

An architect can draw up plans to your exact specifications, but this can be very expensive. A building contractor may show a selection of home plans to choose from, but perhaps a better less costly idea would be to purchase a set of pre-drawn house plans.

There are magazines and web sites where you can purchase plans for just about any style house you could imagine.

Most House plans web sites allow you to search, by house style, such as country, cottage, log cabin, Tudor or luxury home. You can also search by price, designer, number of bedrooms, number of stories, garage etc. not all sites offer all search options.

Informational articles, or FAQs (frequently asked Questions) are available on most sites. These provide information about the different types of plan sets available and what is included in each, making changes to the house plan you choose, return policy, finding a builder, return policy, and a number of other questions. For Questions not covered in the information section, there is usually a toll free number you can call to get the answers to your questions.

The types of house plan sets are: Construction sets. Which consists of 5 to 8 complete sets of plans. This set is what you will need, to get a building permit, arrange financing, and actually get your house built. The plans in this set include, exterior views (elevations), floor and roof plans, basement or foundation plans,

Building sections, electrical schematic, and usually information about such things as structural specifications, excavation and grading, flooring material, carpentry, and tiling. A building license, not to be confused with a building permit, is included. The license allows you to use the plans to create your dream home.

A reproducible set is available for making minor changes to your plans. The plan is drawn on erasable vellum or Mylar. This set comes with a Copyright Release, allowing you to make as many copies as needed to accommodate the changes you make to the original plan. It also comes with a building, license, but you may not construct more than one house without first getting a multi-use license from the company.

The CAD set is intended for use when you will have a local architect make major changes to the original house plans. It also includes a copyright release so that your designer can make copies as needed. Again you need to get a multi-use license if you intend to build more than one house.

A study set, is used primarily for estimating costs, it usually doesn’t include foundation plans and may not be copied. No license is included and comes marked with a “Not for Construction” label. Lastly there is the Single set it is for obtaining bids, it also bears the “Not for Construction” label, and no license is provided.

The designers of pre-drawn house plans do their drawings to meet national building codes. It is possible that you will need to hire a local architect to bring your plans up to code for your area. It may be wise to contact your local building agency and to find out what is required to get a building permit.

At last you have chosen the plans for your new home, obtained financing, and your plans meet code. What comes next? You need to hire a building contractor, and sub contractors, for electricity and plumbing.

Where do you begin? Most areas license contractors, so make sure that the people you interview, have the right qualifications, and licenses. If you had a local designer to alter your plans she may be able to refer you to some qualified, reputable contractors in your area.

If you have had electrical or plumbing work done in your present home, that person may have the name of a good builder. Always ask for and check references.

Also, make sure your contract provides for redress if the work is not completed, done properly and to code standards Once you hire a qualified builder, he should have the names of plumbers, air conditioning specialists and electricians that he has worked with in the past.

Check the Better Business Bureau to see if the person you are considering has any complaints lodged against them.

The companies that sell house plans will usually make minor changes to your plan, for an additional charge and it may not be necessary to hire a local designer. However, the changes must be requested at the time of purchase.

It is possible to have your plans reversed in most cases. If your breakfast nook faces north for instance and the best view from your lot is to the south, you can ask to have the plans reversed.

Most house plan web sites allow you to view the reversed image on line. Occasionally the view can’t be seen on line, but most companies will email you a reversed view in that case.

One thing the plans do not include is the actual layout of the electrical, plumbing and air conditioning work, since the designers have no way to know where on your lot these lines would enter the house. Your contractor s will have no problem working that out.

There are dozens of home styles to choose from .A- frame to Victorian. One search option is size. A small house is anything up to 1500sq. ft. of living space, a medium size is from 1500 to 2500 sq. ft. A home over 2500sq.ft is considered large.

A luxury home is also 2500 sq. ft. or more and has extras, such as large main floor master bedroom suite, walk in closets, media room, and home office. Premium homes are also large, often 5000sq.ft. In addition to the Master bedroom suite and extra special use rooms, they generally have a bathroom for each bedroom. Music room’s media centers, and offices are common. The garages with these houses are often larger than 600sq.ft

Your dream house is out there, you just need to do your homework. When you find the right plan to suit your family and your lot. Make sure your contractor is licensed, reputable and qualified to do the work and adheres to your local building code. Be sure that your contract protects you if the work isn’t done to code. Stay in touch with the contractor, visit the site often, be there when the last detail is completed. Now relax and enjoy your new home.

About The Author
Martin Smith is a successful freelance writer providing advice for home buyers and consumers on purchasing a variety of unique house plans which includes cottage plans, beach house plans, and more! His numerous articles provide a wonderfully researched resource of interesting and relevant information for more information visit

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