Category Archives: Home Design

Top 10 Siding Materials: Costs, Pros & Cons and ROI

Today, you have more attractive house siding options than ever before. This buying guide details the top 10 siding materials to help you decide which type will give your home the look and durability you want, while staying within your budget.

1. Vinyl Siding
2. Fiber Cement Siding
3. Aluminum Siding
4. Natural Wood Siding
5. Engineered Wood Siding
6. Brick Siding
7. Brick Veneer Siding
8. Genuine Stone Siding
9. Stone Veneer Siding
10. Stucco Siding

Did you know? Most other online estimates of house siding costs are unrealistically low. Many other resources take the cost of the basic material and add the “base” installation costs to reach their total. — This approach fails to consider accessories like trim, supplies and fasteners that can add $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a plastic. It is blended with pigment to give the siding color. Acrylics are added for strength and fade protection.

The material is extruded into panels. Most panels are textured like rough-hewn wood siding, but smooth panels are produced too.

What we like:

Vinyl siding is known for its relatively low cost and durability. — That combination produces good value. The material lasts 20-30 years depending on its quality.

Vinyl offers excellent styles and color options:

Horizontal vinyl siding is made to look like wood boards from 3” to 8” wide in Dutch lap, beaded and clapboard styles.

Vertical panels are produced in board & batten and flat styles.

Architectural panels are formed like wood shingle and shake siding. Most products are offered in colors from white to deep browns and dark grays.

Vinyl siding is light and easy to install. — This helps cut down costs when hiring a professional and makes a DIY option more viable for handy homeowners.

Maintenance is minimal: Lightly power wash it to remove dust and dirt.

What we don’t like:

Vinyl lacks the authenticity of wood: In neighborhoods where homes are sided with wood, stone and brick, vinyl often looks inferior.

Plastic isn’t eco-friendly: While vinyl siding can be recycled, most of it ends up in landfills.

Warping, cracking and water penetration are frequent problems with bad installation.

Cost:

The installed cost of basic vinyl siding is $4.25 to $7.50 per square foot when horizontal and vertical panels are used.

Architectural vinyl siding panels cost $2 to $3 more per square foot. Cost factors are the quality of the siding and the complexity of the house on which it is installed.

ROI:

Vinyl siding has an ROI of 80%. The ROI is the percentage of the cost homeowners recoup when selling their home while the siding looks new and is in good condition.

Did you know? Vinyl siding is the most common house siding in the US and Canada. It accounts for nearly 30% of siding jobs. However, vinyl’s market share is slipping as other siding materials gain popularity and homeowners want a greener siding solution.


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Rain Chains Cost, Materials, DIY Options & Styles

Rain chains demonstrate a beautiful blend of decorative form and useful function. Instead of water traveling from your roof through a closed downspout, rain chains allow you to enjoy rainwater’s pleasing sound and aesthetics, like a babbling brook cascading downward.

Rain Chains DIY Installation

via Hallmark Channel

In Japan, where rain chains had their origin, they are a common element of traditional building design. Gutters are viewed as too utilitarian to use when the function can be handled by something that also enhances the beauty of the structure. — That view is spreading, and the popularity of rain chains is growing in North America and around the world.

This buying guide provides a comprehensive overview of rain chain styles, materials, options, installation methods, costs, and DIY options.

The Basics

If you’re unfamiliar with rain chains, or kusari doi in Japanese, lets discuss their anatomy.

  • An adapter or bracket is attached to the gutter in place of a downspout
  • The rain chain hangs from it
  • The chain is anchored by a basin, stake or weight

These three essential components might be sold separately, but many top manufacturers produce kits with everything included.

Cost

There is a wide range of rain chain prices, but they can be loosely grouped into these four categories that have some overlap:

  • $15-$50 | Cheap rain chains, fine chains, small design elements spaced widely, most often painted or coated steel or aluminum.
  • $45-$90 | Good-quality rain chains, larger and more design elements, most often copper, but some are brass, aluminum or stainless steel.
  • $80-$215 | High-quality rain chains, large, complex design elements, most often copper or stainless steel, a bottom bowl might be included.
  • $200-$700 | Best-quality rain chains, quite ornate, copper and stainless steel designs, often with a basin and stake included. The very finest rain chains are imported from Japan and cost in the upper end of this range.

How Much Do Accessories Cost?

The accessory options are weights, basins and stakes:

  • Rain chain stakes: $10-$16
  • Rain chain weights: $25-$50
  • Rain chain basins: $35-$150 depending on the size, material and whether they’ve been handcrafted

Most Popular Styles

  • Chain links are interspersed with artistically designed cups or other features such as birds, leaves or flowers at intervals of a few inches to as much as a foot apart.
  • Most rain chain cups have holes in the bottom to allow water to pass through. Other chains are produced with shallow cups, and the rainwater fills the cup and spills over into the cup below.
  • Single links or another type of connector are used to hold each cup to the one above it, so that the rain chain is really a series of cups with little or no chainwork.
  • The rain chain is a series of decoratively fashioned links or loops, often of varying size and artfully interwoven, with no cups at all.

Because of the artistic nature of rain chain design, these three basic styles are produced in nearly limitless variations and combinations.

via Eichler Network

Traditionally, rain chains were crafted from metal, and most still are.

Most Popular Materials:

  • Copper: This is the traditional material choice of rain chain artisans. The copper must be polished regularly if you wish it to maintain its gleam. Most copper rain chains are allowed to develop an appealing patina finish that changes as the copper ages.
  • Steel: This is another traditional metal. Make sure any steel rain chain you consider is coated or painted to prevent rust, though corrosion is probably inevitable.
  • Stainless steel: This corrosion-resistant metal is often used by itself or in a rain chain design with copper.
  • Aluminum: More affordable than stainless, aluminum is durable and will develop a light patina too.
  • Brass: This material is a staple of plumbing fixtures because it resists corrosion. It’s an attractive choice for rain chains too.

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Evolution of Modern Home Design and Decor by Millennials

Ever wonder what Millennial homeowners or home buyers want in terms of exterior and interior home design, living space layout, interior decor and other architectural elements of a house? Knowing this can help inform your remodeling choices and ultimately affect desirability and saleability of your home later on. Read on to learn how to please a millennial with your thoughtful choices of home improvements and remodeling upgrades.

Before we get started – Who are these Millennials anyway?

Millennials – those people born between 1982 and 2004 – are gradually coming of age and becoming the new first-time home buyers these days. It may be hard to believe, but the oldest Millennials are now in their early thirties! Of course, whenever a new generation takes over the mantle of first-time home buyer, the housing industry reacts: building and design trends become driven by that generation’s unique preoccupations and interests. (Remember floral wallpaper?)

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via Gunlock Homes

Even though there’s been a lot of buzz in the media about Millennials moving back in with their parents due to economic pressure and enormous student loan debt, they still overwhelmingly want to own homes when they can afford to. Perhaps more surprisingly, they also represent a significant portion of the home buying market. How significant? Try 35%!

That’s enough to make home builders and home designers pay attention. After all, even if they are currently buying older, cheaper, and smaller homes than their wealthier elders, those same Millennials will be the second- and third-time home buyers of the future – and they’re going to want to buy homes that make them feel comfortable.

In fact, in a survey conducted by Better Homes & Gardens, 63% of Millennial survey-takers said that having a customized home suited to their tastes was a top priority. Consequently, anyone trying to sell a house in 2017 probably ought to know what qualities Millennials are looking for in a new home.


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