Nowadays, many are choosing to live in their homes longer.  As a result, a growing number of homeowners are investing in home improvements they can enjoy themselves.  

One of the best home improvements homeowners can make is replacing  tired, old, faded siding.  According to the National Association of Realtors, replacing your siding offers an 80 percent payback or return on your investment.

One reason that new siding is such a solid home improvement investment is it instantly enhances the curb appeal of your home. There's nothing quite like the warm feeling of driving up to your home every day and admiring its beauty.  

Siding also is a critical link to the well-being of your home. Siding is the first layer of defense against the elements, protecting the walls and interior of your home from moisture, heat and cold.

From wood clapboard and brick used widely to side homes decades ago to today's innovative materials, such as patented Ultrex pultruded fiberglass used in APEX siding and trim, siding materials have evolved to deliver higher performance, more cost efficiency and enhanced aesthetics.  With so many choices available to homeowners today, it's important for homeowners to do their homework when shopping for home siding.  Here are seven tips to consider when shopping for home siding:

1. Do your homework. Not all siding options are created equal. There's a huge difference between lower cost vinyl siding products and high-performance fiberglass siding. Lower priced options often come with tradeoffs, such as a higher risk of damage in a severe storm from hail or wind, faster color fading, or lots of maintenance (repainting, caulking, etc.). Premium siding products may cost more initially, but may be far less expensive and hassle-free over the course of homeownership.

2. Have a plan. Now is the time to coordinate other exterior elements with your new siding and trim to give your home a more contemporary, updated look and feel. Consider new energy-saving windows, such as Integrity windows, a new garage door, new roof shingles and enhance your landscaping through the use of pavers, wall systems and perennial plants and shrubs.

3. Get referrals. Ask your neighbors, co-workers and friends for referrals of remodelers who specialize in replacing siding.  Interview several remodelers and always get detailed estimates before committing to any remodeler.

4. Visit homes. Replacing siding isn't like replacing an appliance. You may only do this once or twice in your lifetime. To make sure you get exactly what you want, make sure to visit homes that have recently been resided by your contractor or remodeler. This will help you compare how different types of house siding actually look on a home.

5. Take your siding green. When replacing your siding, use siding material that is made from sustainable materials, such as sand, which will reduce the use of harmful chemicals and paints needed to manufacture and maintain it.

6. Select your colors. Choosing a color for your new siding may be the most difficult decision you'll have to make. The good news is that today's top-of-the-line siding offers a wide variety of bold colors from which to select. In contrast to traditional wood and fiber cement siding that requires painting and caulking every few years, new pultruded fiberglass siding offers an acrylic finish that is thicker and more durable than paint, and it resists chipping and fading. This allows homeowners to enjoy the satisfaction of their new siding with virtually zero maintenance.

7. Better moisture management. The number one thing you should expect of your new siding is it should protect your home from the elements, especially moisture. Unfortunately, some types of siding, such as fiber cement, wood and stucco, are more prone to moisture because they trap or absorb moisture behind the siding material. Instead, look to a siding that is inherently resistant to water.  Then, look to how that siding will manage moisture - behind the siding, when it's up against the wall of your home. A siding system that provides a continuous, natural drainage plane (moisture drains harmlessly away), and allows air to circulate to provide natural evaporation is critical to decreasing trapped moisture, which creates rot and mold.
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(NC)-As the daily grind gets busier, many of us yearn for a space where we can rest and relax without interruption. Yet, with the neighbor's lawnmower buzzing, aircraft flying overhead, cars and trucks whooshing past plus other noises, it can be increasingly hard to find a quiet place to chill out from the hustle and bustle of life.

Have you looked at the effective ways to soundproof your home?

Heavy soundproofing drapes and double-glazed windows are a good start to minimizing external noises, but they are often only effective for certain rooms. A far more versatile option that will noticeably minimize unwanted noise is the handy and increasingly popular spray foam insulation.

Applied throughout a home's wall and ceiling cavities, spray foam insulation (like that available from Icynene) addresses common airborne and flanking noises in places such as home theaters, workshops, garages and even from outside. The whole house can benefit with its sound dampening qualities and it works in harmony with other sound dampening materials such as double-glazed windows.

Spray foam insulation seals gaps and holes through which airborne sound moves within a home, adding value and comfort to create a quiet, peaceful environment. More information can be found online at www.icynene.com.



Courtesy of Newscanada
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Please visit our Open House at 15 MILLER BAY in OKOTOKS.
Open House on Sunday, August 25, 2013 1:00 pm OPEN HOUSE AUG 25, 1:00-3:00
This custom built 3bedroom with option of 4th bedrm bungalow in Okotoks is Feng Shui designed. The home is calming, peaceful & relaxing. Located on a quiet friendly cul de sac on a 3rd acre! Prof landscaped yard has a maintenance free deck, hot tub, fire pit, shed, lots of trees, flowers & underground sprinklers. It's an oasis! Inside is stunning, loaded with the highest quality & upgrades. With it's sleek architecture, open floor plan and roughly 3290sq feet of living space this home is sure to please! Starting with beautiful vaulted ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, 2-fire places one is a 2-way, Brazilian cherry hardwood, porcelain tile, air conditioning, on demand hot water, granite, wired sound, ceramic counter top stove. Master suite is very large & private, the ensuite is elegant with granite counters & oversized shower. This home boasts a private loft/bedroom & or office with separate bathroom. The Lower level is an entertainers dream with full bar, huge family room, sports room & extra bedroom.
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(BPT) - Indoors or outdoors, your home decor needs some TLC to look its best. Replacing worn or dated furniture or flooring inside your home is considered fairly easy. But when outdoor spaces start to appear shabby, do you decide to live with the tired look because you think freshening the space will be too time-consuming or costly?

A few budget-friendly improvements and decorating touches can revitalize worn outdoor spaces and help them look new and inviting again. Here are some common challenges, and tips for overcoming them:

Worn decks, patios or porches

Decks, patios and porches are popular spots for home improvements - ones that create a staging place for outdoor entertaining or just relaxing and enjoying nature. When a wood deck becomes old and worn, or concrete patios crack, you may think the only solution is to replace them. But before you take that costly step, consider alternatives that can revitalize the existing surface without the need to replace it.

According to Scott Richards, senior vice president of marketing at Behr Paints, BEHR DECKOVER Solid Color Coating is a smooth finish resurfacing product that brings old, weathered wood or concrete surfaces back to life with a unique solution that hasn't existed before, and it's a budget-friendly alternative to replacing deck boards, railings, porches, boat docks, pool decking or patios.

"BEHR DECKOVER protects against the elements, while refreshing the appearance of wood and concrete," says Richards. "With just two coats and no primer needed, the thick coating covers splinters and fills cracks up to a quarter of an inch, spreading as easily as paint. We've created a way to achieve a low maintenance deck that resists the elements, repels water and creates a smooth, slip-resistant finish that is comfortable for bare feet." It's available at The Home Depot stores nationwide and comes in 54 colors. Visit www.behr.com to learn more.

Adding accents like decorative railings or lighted post caps can also revive the look of older decks. Deck manufacturers offer a variety of options for railings, from carved wood to metal and even glass. In most cases, you can add these railings to your existing deck boards, allowing you to replace just part of the deck and achieve a brand-new, designer look.

Tired furniture

Replacing sun-faded, weather-damaged cushions on outdoor furniture is a good start, and easy enough to do. But what do you do when the furniture frame has seen better days? Depending on the type of construction, you have several options including painting and reupholstering.

Landscaping and lighting

Modern outdoor settings allow nature and technology to meet. Give your exterior living space a new modern look by upgrading both landscaping and lighting. Improving your landscaping can be as easy as planting a few container gardens around your deck or patio and filling them with flowers that will bloom throughout the season. Nothing looks fresher and livelier than flowers.

Next, look at how your outdoor space is lit. Adding lighting allows you to enjoy the space safely after the sun goes down, but dated lighting can make your deck or patio look dull. Plus, older lights are often not as energy-efficient as newer options. Upgrade lighting by replacing old fixtures with newer options, such as solar-powered lights or ones that use energy-sipping CFLs or LEDs.

Making your old outdoor space look like it belongs beside a new showcase home doesn't have to be difficult or costly. With a few budget-minded tips and tools, it's possible for any do-it-yourselfer to make everything old new again.
 

Courtesy of BPT
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Please visit our Open House at 15 MILLER BAY in OKOTOKS.
Open House on Saturday, August 17, 2013 2:00 pm OPEN HOUSE AUG 17, 2-4
This custom built 3bedroom with option of 4th bedrm bungalow in Okotoks is Feng Shui designed. The home is calming, peaceful & relaxing. Located on a quiet friendly cul de sac on a 3rd acre! Prof landscaped yard has a maintenance free deck, hot tub, fire pit, shed, lots of trees, flowers & underground sprinklers. It's an oasis! Inside is stunning, loaded with the highest quality & upgrades. With it's sleek architecture, open floor plan and roughly 3290sq feet of living space this home is sure to please! Starting with beautiful vaulted ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, 2-fire places one is a 2-way, Brazilian cherry hardwood, porcelain tile, air conditioning, on demand hot water, granite, wired sound, ceramic counter top stove. Master suite is very large & private, the ensuite is elegant with granite counters & oversized shower. This home boasts a private loft/bedroom & or office with separate bathroom. The Lower level is an entertainers dream with full bar, huge family room, sports room & extra bedroom.
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I have listed a new property at 418006 16 ST W.
What an amazing opportunity to own a truly gorgeous fully developed 1771 sq' air conditioned walkout triple car garage bungalow, on 118 acres of picturesque Alberta land! This home & land is just minutes south of Okotoks. There are way too many upgrades & additions to list here! This home boasts a huge Oak country kitchen with gas stove, large island & tons of cabinets. A very large dining room overlooking the amazing land from the plethora of windows. The living room is GRAND & open with gorgeous vaulted ceiling & the TOWERING STONE FIREPLACE is stunning. The Master suite walks onto the wrap around deck which showcases every angle of this property... beautiful! The fully finished walkout basement is massive! With in floor heat, huge family room, 2bdrms and an awesome WALK IN FRIDGE! Two unbelievable shops on the property one is 48'x64' heated with drive through doors, office & a CAR WASH! Second shop is 40'x60' with tons of storage space for tractors & equipment. This is a rare find... It's a true gem!
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I have listed a new property at 107 CASPELL ST in CAYLEY.
Come see this wonderful three bedroom Bi Level family home in the Hamlet of Cayley. This home boasts a huge family room with big bright windows. A separate dining room. A big kitchen with lots of cupboards, beautiful granite counter tops & black appliances. Three generous sized bedrooms and the master suite has a private ensuite too! The lower level is roughed in for future bathroom, four huge windows makes it very bright and open. The patio sliding doors lead to a huge two tiered deck with south exposure, lots of sunlight here! The yard is absolutely huge with tons of room for the family to play. This wonderful home sits on a quiet family friendly street with the Cayley school a block away, so the kids can walk safely to school. Don't hesitate to call and view this wonderful family home today!
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