Not Sure If You Should Maintain or Upgrade Your Eichler Home? Retain the Original Vision with Expert Home Remodeling As an Eichler homeowner, you may be skeptical about renovations because you are anxious to preserve the original look of your home. A deteriorating façade can, however, increase your maintenance expenses every year. With rising home prices and the growing trend towards generational living, you may want to increase the existing interior space. Perhaps you dream of a modern kitchen and luxurious bathroom—two remodeling projects that provide greater comfort and significant returns on your investment. If you are trying to decide whether to maintain or upgrade your Eichler home, here is a quick overview of important dos and don’ts outlined in an eichlernetwork.com article. Eichler Home Maintenance and Renovation Guidelines • Replace old fencing: A rotting and sinking fence is unattractive and unsafe. Retaining the distinctive Eichler look can be a bit of a challenge. Homeowners who have walked the fine line suggest using the carport as inspiration. Mimicking the glass inserts, for instance, can give a sophisticated appearance. You may choose a cedar fence with bamboo posts for a rustic look. • Replace old siding: Repainting or staining worn out siding is just a temporary solution. The three most common types of Eichler style siding are available at eichlersiding.com. The company also offers custom solutions to replicate the specific type your home needs. • Restore exterior lighting fixtures: A light sandblasting can remove the dirt and corrosion from your anodized aluminum fixtures. Powder-coating or re-anodizing will restore them beautifully. You may want to consider adding motion sensors for enhanced security. Keep in mind that if the corrosion is severe, re-anodization might give mixed results. If so, look for contemporary lights that will blend nicely with the Eichler design. • Change the old front door: Finding the right replacement for your front or garage door is challenging. To upgrade the look without taking away from the Eichler charm, architects recommend custom doors. It is also possible to automate your original garage doors with electronic sensors. Except when broken, it is not necessary to replace them. • Aim for an integrated look with your home addition: This is perhaps the hardest part of any Eichler home renovation project. Inappropriate remodels not only look out of place, they will also lower your property value. It is best to hire a professional home remodeling contractor with extensive knowledge of Eichler designs. Eichler Home Remodeling Specialists At Flegel’s Construction Co., we work hard to exceed your expectations of workmanship and service quality. As Eichler home renovation specialists, we create a harmonious blend of past and present. You can count on us to preserve the unique, mid-century architectural features of your home while giving it a modern touch. We are happy to work with your designer/architect to ensure your Eichler home renovation project is a success. These testimonials from our happy clients in Silicon Valley including Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, CA, speak for our quality. Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn more about how to maintain or upgrade your Eichler home.

Should You Just Maintain or Upgrade Your Eichler Home?

Not Sure If You Should Maintain or Upgrade Your Eichler Home?

Retain the Original Vision with Expert Home Remodeling

 Maintain or Upgrade Your Eichler Home

As an Eichler homeowner, you may be skeptical about renovations because you are anxious to preserve the original look of your home. A deteriorating façade can, however, increase your maintenance expenses every year. With rising home prices and the growing trend towards generational living, you may want to increase the existing interior space. Perhaps you dream of a modern kitchen and luxurious bathroom—two remodeling projects that provide greater comfort and significant returns on your investment. If you are trying to decide whether to maintain or upgrade your Eichler home, here is a quick overview of important dos and don’ts outlined in an eichlernetwork.com article.

Eichler Home Maintenance and Renovation Guidelines

  • Replace old fencing: A rotting and sinking fence is unattractive and unsafe. Retaining the distinctive Eichler look can be a bit of a challenge. Homeowners who have walked the fine line suggest using the carport as inspiration. Mimicking the glass inserts, for instance, can give a sophisticated appearance. You may choose a cedar fence with bamboo posts for a rustic look.
  • Replace old siding: Repainting or staining worn out siding is just a temporary solution. The three most common types of Eichler style siding are available at eichlersiding.com. The company also offers custom solutions to replicate the specific type your home needs.
  • Restore exterior lighting fixtures: A light sandblasting can remove the dirt and corrosion from your anodized aluminum fixtures. Powder-coating or re-anodizing will restore them beautifully. You may want to consider adding motion sensors for enhanced security. Keep in mind that if the corrosion is severe, re-anodization might give mixed results. If so, look for contemporary lights that will blend nicely with the Eichler design.
  • Change the old front door: Finding the right replacement for your front or garage door is challenging. To upgrade the look without taking away from the Eichler charm, architects recommend custom doors. It is also possible to automate your original garage doors with electronic sensors. Except when broken, it is not necessary to replace them.
  • Aim for an integrated look with your home addition: This is perhaps the hardest part of any Eichler home renovation project. Inappropriate remodels not only look out of place, they will also lower your property value. It is best to hire a professional home remodeling contractor with extensive knowledge of Eichler designs.

Eichler Home Remodeling Specialists

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we work hard to exceed your expectations of workmanship and service quality. As Eichler home renovation specialists, we create a harmonious blend of past and present. You can count on us to preserve the unique, mid-century architectural features of your home while giving it a modern touch. We are happy to work with your designer/architect to ensure your Eichler home renovation project is a success.

These testimonials from our happy clients in Silicon Valley including Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, CA, speak for our quality. 

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn more about how to maintain or upgrade your Eichler home.

 

custom home builder

Tips for Selecting a Custom Home Builder

custom home builderOne of the most critical decisions you will make about your custom home is selecting the right builder for the job. Compare the services offered by different companies to be clear about what you are paying for, what to expect, and how the process works. The design and construction project can be complex, and you want it done within your budget, and on time. The ideal building partner understands your needs, helping you confidently navigate the process to ultimately deliver your dream space. Here are some key considerations when selecting a custom homebuilder.

  • Credentials: Look for depth of experience, check licenses and ask about professional affiliations. Seasoned professionals have a reputation to protect and are more likely to execute the project according to plan.
  • Quality: This is your dream home and you may live here for many years. You don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of frequent breakdowns and ongoing repair expenses. Examine the track record of your shortlisted builders and ask about the type of construction materials they will use. An investment in quality today will offer years of comfortable living, and fetch top dollar if you decide to sell.
  • Customer service: Building a custom home requires a significant investment of time and money. Choose a team that takes the time to listen to your needs, answers questions, and provides information to help you make informed decisions. This will give you an indication of the type of customer service you can expect.
  • Communication: Established home builders in Silicon Valley know that transparent, clear and ongoing communication is vital to timely project completion and customer satisfaction. They will use a variety of methods including in-person meetings, phone and online communications to provide updates and answer queries.
  • References: Ask for references from previous clients and be sure to check them out. We recommend going to construction sites (if possible) and homes they have built. Take a close look at their work and material quality. Speak to crewmembers, if you get the chance, to assess whether you will be comfortable working with them.
  • Take your time: Carefully evaluate all the information you have from potential builders. Trust your instincts and avoid contractors that try to rush your decision with high pressure sales tactics.

Custom Home Builder Offering Personalized Service

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we treat your building project like our own. Your custom home will receive the personal attention of our owner, Scott. Pre-build discussions, weekly site meetings, easy accessibility and constant communication will keep you informed at every stage. With quality materials and skilled workmanship, our services will exceed your expectations. Our crew focuses on the little things that you might not even notice! We look forward to the opportunity to make your dream home a reality.

We value our happy customers in Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino and Mountain View, CA who continue to refer us to their family members and friends. 

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to inquire about our custom home builder services in the Silicon Valley area.

Trends in Bay Area Home Renovation

Trends in Bay Area Home Renovation

Quality Workmanship by Home Renovation Contractors

Upgrading Your Bay Area Property to Match the Latest Trends

Trends in Bay Area Home RenovationEven as Bay Area real estate prices continue to climb, homeowners are spending more on upgrading their properties. There are many reasons for this surge in home improvement expenditure. Many families are expanding their existing living space to make room for their next generation Millennials. Some may seek a more luxurious lifestyle, while others may be preparing for a sale. If a home upgrade is in the cards for you, it may help to be aware of these 5 important trends highlighted by trusted home renovation contractors.

  1. Outdoor rooms for entertainment: Are you looking to expand your living or entertainment space? An outdoor living room is an easy, stylish way to increase your square footage, especially if you have a yard with empty or unused space. You can also explore trendy patio and deck design ideas.
  2. Family space and privacy: As your family grows and matures, your needs will change. Teenagers may want a space to hang out with their friends. A newborn baby will need a nursery. An aging senior may require a bedroom on the main floor to avoid stairs. When planning your home expansion, think about the activities various family members will engage in and implement a design that works best for everyone. High quality home renovations will add to your home’s aesthetic appeal and market value.
  3. Bring in more natural light: A brighter home is more inviting. Not only does natural light benefit your health, it can improve your home’s sustainability by lessening your need for artificial light. Some popular trends include glass extensions and replacing outer kitchen walls with glass and metal doors. You can open up your view of the outdoors and enjoy the California sunshine. Increase the size of your windows and install skylights in your family room, bedroom, or dining area to flood your home with natural light. Discover unique designs for outdoor rooms, skillfully implemented by our talented team.
  4. Think solar: Many homes are going solar and it makes perfect money sense. Solar energy can be very cost-effective for your home budget. You may be able to reduce your electricity bills by up to 80%. Tax rebates can help offset your installation costs.
  5. Install low water use landscapes: Given California’s history of drought, many homeowners are opting for low water use gardens to maintain curb appeal all year round. Explore the abundant beauty of native plants that require little or no irrigation. The key to a beautiful garden is not only the plants you select, but also how you put them together. Colorful cactus, silvery foliage, wildflowers, ornamental grasses, and more can contribute to a stunning, water-efficient and easy to maintain landscape.

Why Choose Our Home Renovation Company

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we consider renovating your home a privilege. We work closely with you to understand your goals and provide quality touches that make your property stand out.

As Eichler home renovation specialists, we have the expertise to preserve its unique, mid-century architectural features and give your home a modern touch. We are happy to work with your designer/architect on your Eichler home renovation.

With over 30 years’ experience as a home remodeling contractor, we have a track record of exceeding customer expectations. These testimonials from our happy clients in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Menlo Park and San Mateo, CA speak for our exceptional work and service quality.

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn about the services offered by our home renovation contractors in the Bay Area.

 

How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

 

STEP TWO // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Wipe clean with a squeegee (Picture Window)

man wiping soapy window pane with a squeegee
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

Starting at the top left, pull the squeegee over the soapy pane in a reverse-S pattern (left-handers would start at the top right). At the end of each stroke, wipe the squeegee’s blade clean with a lint-free rag. Cloth diapers or old linen napkins are perfect for this task.

Dry off remaining drips (Picture Window)

man wiping away excess water on windowpane edges with a chamois
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

Remove any water remaining on the edges of the glass with a damp, wrung-dry chamois, which soaks up wetness without leaving streaks. Dry the windowsill with a rag.

STEP FOUR // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Customize the squeegee (Multipane)

using a hacksaw to trim a squeegee to fit a specific windowpane
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

To clean a divided-light window, you need a squeegee that fits the panes. Weingard uses a hacksaw to cut one to size. He trims the metal channel ¼ inch narrower than the window pane, then files the cut edges smooth. With a utility knife, he cuts the rubber blade to the pane’s full width and fits it into the channel so that it projects 1/8 inch at each end.

STEP FIVE // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Scrub the panes (Multipane)

man using a natural sponge to clean smaller panes of glass
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

(Multipane)

A handheld sponge or hog-bristle brush works best on multipane windows. Weingard prefers natural sponges. “They’re firmer and more absorbent than synthetics,” he says. Using the same solution of a
squirt of liquid soap in water, he rubs each pane from left to right, top to bottom, working the sponge edges or brush bristles into the corners to loosen dirt.

STEP SIX // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Wipe clean with a squeegee (Multipane)

man using a customized squeegee to wipe soapy water from smaller panes of glass
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

Pull the squeegee down each pane in a single stroke from top to bottom. After each stroke, clean the blade with a rag so it doesn’t leave streaks. (If the squeegee squeaks a lot, add a bit more soap to the water.) As above, remove any streaks on the glass with a chamois, and dry the muntins and sill with a rag.

STEP SEVEN // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Get rid of stubborn spots

mineral-stained glass windowpane on the left to compare with supercleaned pane on the right
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

Over time, hard-water runoff from masonry or rain falling through metal window screens leaves stubborn mineral stains on glass that normal washing can’t erase. So after a regular cleaning, Weingard wets the glass and gently “supercleans” it either with fine 000 steel wool (if the panes are small) or with Barkeeper’s Friend, which contains oxalic acid. (Other brands of powder may scratch the glass or fail to remove stains.) He mixes the powder into a paste on a wet towel, rubs away the stains, then rinses and squeegees the glass twice to remove the residue. Even with that treatment, the staining generally comes back in about six months.

To get rid of stains for good, Weingard recommends the application of 3 Star Barrier Glass Surface Protectant, a clear polymer coating. “After the stains are gone, you just put the coating on with a strip applicator and squeegee it off,” he says. Protection against staining is permanent, as long as the polymer is reapplied after each regular cleaning.

Originally posted at: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-clean-windows-pro

How to Choose Dining Room Chairs

While many dining room tables come with matching chairs these days, there are still occasions that might have you searching for a separate set. Maybe you inherited a family heirloom table or stumbled across the perfect fit for your breakfast nook in an antique shop. Maybe you just don’t love the chairs that came with your table or you’re looking to refresh the space with new seating. Whatever the reason, you’ve got lots of options which is why we threw together this guide to find the right dining chairs and create a cohesive look that you love.

how-to-choose-dining-room-chairs-1
Image from www.Potterybarn.com

First things first, keep in mind that your chairs don’t have to match your table. They don’t even have to match each other as long as each one sits comfortably under your dining table. If you do choose mismatched chairs, it’s important to make sure the one thing they have in common is that they’re the same height so that you and your fellow diners aren’t looking up or down at each other.

Regardless, preparation is key. Start by measuring your table to get a good idea of what size your chairs should be. You don’t want to fall in love with a set, only to have the chairs arrive at your home and realize they don’t fit at your table together.

Next, consider how many chairs your table needs to accommodate and whether your table extends, as well as if you plan to keep it extended with a leaf at all times. Think about how many people you plan to feed on a regular or semi-regular basis. Most long rectangular or oval-shaped tables seat six, eight or ten people, while most square or round tables seat four, six or eight diners.

No matter the shape, most tables are around 30″ high, and most chairs will have 17″ to 19″ of space between their seats and your floor. You want at least a foot of space between the top of the table and the chair seat, and you also want your guests to have at least 24″ of space to themselves, which includes the width of the chair and about 6″ on either side for elbow room so keep this in mind especially if you’re gravitating towards chairs with armrests.

Once you have an idea of the size of the chairs you need, it’s time to decide on a style. Pottery Barn offers a variety of dining room chairs, so browse some examples to determine what might look good in your home. You can choose between open and solid backs, upholstered chairs or chairs made from solid, easy-to-clean materials, such as wood, acrylic, wicker or metal. Keep in mind the size and decor of your dining room when making a selection; you might not want to put a rustic wooden chair in a sleek, contemporary-style room if your home is very modern, but in a more eclectic house that juxtaposition might be exactly what you’re going for.

If you choose upholstered chairs, you have plenty of options. Leather lasts a long time and wears well with age if properly cared for. Cotton and microsuede fabrics come in a wide range of colors and patterns and clean easily in the event of a spill. If you have young children dining with you regularly, that may be important. Also, consider chairs with removable cushions so that you can clean them, replace them if they become damaged or switch them out with the seasons.

Don’t forget about comfort. While chairs with armrests may take up more space, they may be more comfortable in your space. You also want to keep the chairs light so that diners can easily push them in or pull them out from under the table. Cushioned or upholstered backs and seats can also add to your diners’ comfort level.

Originally posted at: https://www.potterybarn.com/tips-and-ideas/how-to-choose-dining-room-chairs/

How to Clean Rain Gutters

Clean gutters to protect your siding and landscape plantings, and prevent thousands of dollars of damage to your foundation.

In a downpour, a clogged roof gutter sends a cascade of water down the side of your house, making canyons of your flowerbeds and saturating your foundation.

Clean gutters of leaves and debris to help prevent damage to your landscaping and siding, and to head off expensive water damage repairs to your foundation that may cost $10,000 or more.

How Often Should You Clean Gutters?

Clean gutters at least once a year — twice a year if you have overhanging trees. Also, clean clogged gutters after big storms. Clogs often occur where downspouts join the gutter system — check these areas closely.

How to Clean Gutters

  • Wear a shirt with long sleeves. Wear rubber gloves.
  • Have a good extendable ladder available. Standoff stabilizers (ladder “horns”) are ideal to keep the ladder from damaging the gutter.
  • Use a small plastic scoop to remove gunk. Buy a gutter scoop from the hardware store ($25) or try a child’s sand shovel.
  • Spare your lawn by dumping the stuff onto a plastic tarp.
  1. After you’ve cleared the muck, flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose — also a great way to spot any leaks.

How Much Does it Cost to Pay Someone to Clean Gutters?

If climbing ladders is not your cup of tea, you can hire someone to do the job for you for $50-$250, depending on the size and height of your house.

Should You Try Gutter Covers?

Interested in an ounce of prevention? You can slow clogging by installing gutter covers in the form of mesh screens, clip-on grates, or porous foam. However, the cost can be more than the gutters themselves, and covers need regular maintenance to keep them clear. Expect to pay $6-$8/running foot for gutter covers, installed.

 

Originally posted at: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/how-to-clean-rain-gutters/

9 Air-Cleaning Houseplants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill

What might your office or apartment have in common with a NASA spaceship? Unfortunately the answer may be poor air quality. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health: Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants to build up and stick around in greater amounts than we humans should be breathing in. Living and working in places rife with air contaminants and lacking decent ventilation can cause “sick building syndrome,” which can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye, ear, and nose irritation. Lucky for us, NASA scientists have been working to understand this problem and find solutions. Their space-age solution was an easy one that anyone can use: Use houseplants to clean the air .

What’s the Deal?

Given that people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, air quality matters . Furnishings, upholstery, synthetic building materials, and cleaning products in homes and offices can emit a variety of toxic compounds, like formaldehyde. Indoor air pollutioncan also be caused by pollen, bacteria, and molds, as outdoor air contaminants like car exhaust finds its way into buildings. All of these are made worse in small or poorly-ventilated spaces (like maybe your apartment with that window that you accidentally painted shut last year).

The good news is that there’s an easy and affordable way to combat the presence of the yucky stuff we may be breathing in, and it comes right from the natural world. Plants purify air, making them part of what NASA calls “nature’s life support system.” Adding potted plants to a room has been shown to reduce the amount of air particulates (although plants in bloom may be contributing their own compounds to the air) .

So, how do houseplants clean the air? Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. But that’s not all—microorganisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil, and these microbes are also responsible for much of the cleaning effect .

Beyond air quality, plants just make people feel better. For example, hospital patients with plants in their rooms were more positive and had lower blood pressure and stress levels . Similarly, indoor plants may make people smarter by allowing them to stay alert and reducing mental fatigue .

Your Action Plan

Although houseplants may be intimidating to those with a “black thumb” or fear of commitment, it turns out that many plants are easy to care for—so easy, in fact, you’d have to try pretty hard to kill them. Below, we’ve pulled together a list of nine virtually-indestructible plants inspired by NASA’s research.

Each kind of plant has its own favorite environmental conditions, so look for a tag that comes with the plant or online to find out how much sunlight and water it will need. If your plant doesn’t come in a pretty pot, or if it outgrew its previous one, you can easily repot it. Just find a pot that’s at least one inch larger than the previous container, add potting soil to the bottom, and place the plant so that the top of the soil remains at the same level as before. Finally, carefully pack potting soil around the edges of the plant and water it. Voilà!

1. Garden Mum

In the NASA research, this plant was an air-purifying champion, removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from indoor air. Popular and inexpensive at garden stores, they can be planted outside after they’re finished blooming.

Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene

2. Spider Plant

Spider plants are among the easiest houseplants to grow, making them a great choice for beginners or forgetful owners. A fan of bright, indirect sunlight, spider plants will send out shoots with flowers that eventually grow into baby spider plants or spiderettes.

Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene

3. Dracaena

There are more than 40 different kinds of Dracaena plants, making it easy to find one that’s a perfect fit for your home or office. They’re common foliage plants with long, wide leaves that are often variegated with lines of white, cream, or red. Pet owners might want to select a different plant, however, as these are toxic to cats and dogs.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene

4. Ficus/Weeping Fig

Though the ficus is a tree in its native home of southeast Asia, when it grows indoors, it’s a hardy plant that ends up being between two and 10 feet tall. So why not get figgy with it? Grow this low-maintenance houseplant in bright, indirect light and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Although this plant has some serious air-cleaning abilities, it can also be taken outside in late spring and brought back indoors when temperatures are warm and well above freezing.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene

5. Peace Lily

Peace lily plants are relatively small compared to many of the plants on this list, but they still pack some major air-cleaning abilities. Easy to grow, these plants will flower for much of the summer. Just be aware that those flowers (like all flowers) do contribute some pollen and floral scents to the air, so you may want to avoid having a room full of them. Put peace lilies in a shady spot and keep the soil moist without overwatering.

Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene

6. Boston Fern

These plants prefer to clean the air from a cool location with high humidity and indirect light. They’re relatively easy to grow, but they do need to stay moist. Check the Boston Fern’s soil daily to see if it needs water, and give it a good soak once per month.

Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene

7. Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

This is one of the hardest houseplants to kill. Although it does need to be watered occasionally, it generally prefers drier conditions and some sun.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene

8. Bamboo Palm

A superstar of filtering formaldehyde, these palms thrive in full sun or bright light. Part of the reason they can filter so much air is that they can grow to be pretty big—as tall as four to 12 feet high, making them exciting (and pet-friendly) indoor additions.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene

9. Aloe Vera

In addition to being easy to care for, aloe makes some serious health claims. The plant’s leaves contain a clear liquid full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and there is some evidence that aloe may help (and is unlikely to hurt) skin conditions like psoriasis .

Pollutant removed: formaldehyde

Originally posted at: https://greatist.com/connect/houseplants-that-clean-air

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