What your driveway has in store for you come spring!

Still on the spring shtick, hoping it will arrive sooner rather than later. Spring is a beautiful time of the year! However spring can also be a bearer of bad news, due to the unfortunate effects of temperature change.

Underneath the banks of snow is the thing we used to call a driveway, made of either concrete or asphalt. These materials are affected by weather and depending on the damage, could become a serious problem for you and your vehicle!

So let’s say the snow is gone and the sun is shining, what should you inspect your driveway for and how should you treat it?

Concrete driveways

Concrete is a great looking driveway material, and has a low maintenance requirement. However, concrete is an expensive material as well, meaning if a problem occurs and is let go for a period of time, the endeavor of fixing it will grow in cost.

Cracked and crumbling concrete is no good. Water from the melting snow, or rain even can both seep below your driveway causing the ground to shift, which can lead the stress on the material and the aforementioned results.  Due to living in a climate that often drops below freezing point, this means we our more susceptible to the damage. If you see any pooling of water on the surface of your driveway, and that is left, there is a good chance of cracks occurring at that point as well.

When the weather is permitting, inspect your driveway carefully for cracks, holes or crumbling.  Be sure to check the expansion joints of your driveway as well, for this is often a location people miss and regret later on!

If your unsure of the situation of your driveway, call a professional! Generally, getting someone to just look at your driveway is free, along with the advice that follows!

If you happen across cracks, use some driveway sealing material like caulk. If you have parts of your concrete driveway that dips in, you can fix that as well with concrete re-surfacer! It is recommended to re-seal your driveway every 3 to 5 years to ensure its life span, as well as keep away damaging growths such as moss and lichen!

Asphalt

Asphalt driveways give a great smooth texture that makes your feel like your driving on a cloud. Asphalt is also durable, however, it does require regular maintenance and a watchful eye. If your asphalt develops a little crack and is let to sit, the whole driveway can fall apart after a while.

Just like concrete, asphalt is susceptible to damage from extreme temperatures and moisture. Weed encroachment, potholes, as well as cracks are a possible result. Just like concrete, make sure there are no dips in the surface that would allow water to pool. This will also result in cracks and problems!

The remedies for these issues are basically the same as concrete driveways. Fill any potholes and patch any cracks, while also filling in any dips in the surface! If you happen across weeds rising along the edges of your driveway, be sure to pull them and clean up the area with and edging tool or hoe. If there is a really invasive weed problem, consider installing rubber mulch edging around your driveway with a weed proof mat underneath. Asphalt is recommended to be re-sealed every one to three years, while also being aware of any moss and lichen to prevent them from entering between the seal-coating.

We are all excited for this gray sky to fade in wake of the shining sun, however we cant be dazzled by the light and forget to check our driveways condition!

If you have some need for a new driveway or questions, feel free to give us a call! We at Xpand are dedicated to achieving your dream home! Cracks free!

 

Spring sun, spring cleaning!

I know it’s a little early to be using the “spring cleaning” slogan, but on a day that is as bright as today and all the melting snow, it’s hard not to get ahead of myself!

Although there are many days left before truly reaching the first day of the spring season, it is always good to be proactive and prepare yourself for what needs to be done when it arrives! This means home maintenance for a smooth transition into the coming days. We don’t want to have some damage from the winter go unnoticed!

Let’s break down a quick list on things that should be checked out during the spring weather to ensure your homes integrity!

  • Gutters and all things downspouts- Remove any debris that has accumulated in the gutters and downspouts, while ensuring everything is connected properly. Often gutters can get moved and become unattached and pull away from the home. Use caulk or epoxy for any leaks.
  • Home siding- Pressure washers are not only fun, but useful! Go rent a pressure washer and get the mold and grime out of the nooks and crannies of your home! Check for any weathering or paint damage that may have occurred during the frigid weather.  If there is wood showing, or paint chipping, properly sand or remove at the site of damage and apply a primer and new coat of paint!
  • Exterior caulking- Go around your home and look for deteriorating caulk. Scrape away the bad caulk and reinforce the areas with a fresh caulking.
  • Windows, doors and thresholds oh my!- Check for any cracks and caulk issues and fix accordingly!
  • Screens- Window and doors screens are vulnerable little sections! Check to see if there are any holes that have occurred in the screens. If the hole is big as or bigger than a quarter, then bugs can get through, defeating the purpose of the screen. Either patch the holes or replace the screens, but don’t toss the old screens, rather save them for repairs next year! Be sure to tidy up any loose frames so there isn’t any flapping parts in the wind!
  • Drain waste and vent system- Flush out the drain waste and vent system to avoid any problems in that area!
  • Heat pump- Lubricate blower motor to ensure future efficiency
  • Foundation- The foundation is, as it sounds, important for the integrity of your home. Check your homes foundation for cracks and heaving or deterioration. Then search your walls and floors of the foundation concrete and masonry for the same problems. If you find large amounts of cracks or bricks losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If the crack is large enough to fit a nickel, call immediately.
  • Roof- Look for fallen shingles or broken shingles, as well as surface flashing, eaves and soffits. Clean what you can and check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.
  • Decks and porches- Look over your decks and porches for any loose members of the structure and replace or repair as seen fit. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years. If something looks off in terms of color of the stain, or some of the wood turns a dark grey, call a professional to treat the surface.

That’s all we have for your spring home maintenance tips today! I’m sure we will be in a winter warning again soon, but catching these problems when the weather allows could save you time and money in the long run!

Don’t forget to give us a call if you have any questions about your home and the possibilities of additions or some form of renovations! We are here to make your dream home after all!

Out with the old, in with the new!

Our homes age, just as fast as we do, however in their sense, the functionality and visual appeal begin to fade. This is when we often start to consider renovations of the home, to update and reinvigorate the home. We want to walk into a place that feels current and welcoming again, so lets get to that place.

Decades ago

When it comes to renovations we sometimes consider new rooms or stress over the decision of altering a rooms function. We don’t need to alter the primary function of the room, we just need to upgrade it!

  • Kitchen- Quit possible the center of the home and main social environment. When upgrading this room a coat of paint can go a long way. Identify the parts of the kitchen that need to be gutted for it’s lacking functionality or irreparable surface. Re-surface the cabinets and backsplash to something more modern and in the times, this will prevent the feeling of time warp when you walk into the home, and even bring an atmosphere of luxury into the air.
  • Bathroom-  You don’t need to relocate plumbing lines and change the entire layout of a bathroom to bring it into the 21st century. Consider the alteration of the surfaces available. Changing a few separate counter spaces into one whole surface space could really change the way the room feels. If your still feeling a bit boxed in, why not consider removing cabinet doors and just keep the drawers as the only move-able parts in the counter. This will help add a minimalized  energy to the space, which in turn will make the room feel less cluttered.
  • Fireplaces- We all know that home that is till rocking the cabin-esque stonewall fireplace. This isn’t a bad thing, but there are other options, if you want them. If your looking to replace your fireplace why not think about a modern twist on an old fashioned fireplace? A strong contender for such a thing would be wood-stove fireplace. The wood-stove fireplaces you find now are modernized in their functions and performance but still keep the timeless charm. If you want to add a little nifty section to the wood-stove, why not add a stashing area underneath it to hold some cut logs? This will keep the logs nice and dry and ready for those cold winter nights!

That’s all we have for today! We hope there are some thought provoking ideas that have struck a cord for you! Give us a call when you have those ideas conceptualized and let us help you build that dream home together!

Painting ideas for the home! How grey can be a grey-t option!

When painting a room or home in general, people often consider colors that have a strong depth and are able to catch the eye in an instant. This isn’t a bad tactic, however there are other means to achieving this result!

The colors we use have synergy with the colors around them, and this sole fact is important to remember when choosing a color theme for a room or the entire house. Often people go with the always favorite black and white combo, because the high value contrast is an appealing visual interaction.

Taking the thought process of black and white, we can apply the same concept using the color grey. Grey is often thought of in office settings or work places, but I promise, those places don’t use the color to it’s wonderfully colorful potential!

How to properly combine grey with other colors!

  • When using grey, consider making grey the prominent component of the room. Doing this and adding other colors in small portions can cause a large visual contrast that intensifies the colors present in the room.
  • Using grey will incite specific emotions depending on people’s past interaction with the color. For example, grey can often be associated with sophistication and knowledge. Probably due to it’s use in a work space, people tend to see grey as an intelligent color.
  • The use of grey in different rooms will result in different effects. Depending on the room and it’s primary function and expectations, grey will naturally change in accordance with the rooms needs.
  • Using vibrant colors in contrast to grey will make the colors seem deeper and more rich. For example, grey walls with orange shades on the windows would be a great contrast, and really draw the eyes to the windows. You can use this to your advantage and show off specific parts of your home that you want to have the attention.
  • When using a cool color such as grey in the bathrooms or kitchens, there will be a conveyed feeling of cleanliness and order.
  • You can still use black and white along with grey! Using the natural light and dark combo with grey will actually enhance the natural draw of the two contrasting values. This is natural due to grey being the mix of black and white, so the natural cooperation between all three is going to be a strong “classy” feeling with intertwined sophistication and warmth.

That’s all we have for this “grey-t” article! Try going around your home with some color panels and visualize what your home may look like with the introduction of grey in the home!

Have a great week everyone! Until next time!

Garage maintenance in the winter

With the cold of the wind and the frozen falling sculptures comes salted roads and slush in abundance. Often during the winter through the slipping and sliding we track the slush indoors, and the location that receives the worst treatment is the garage. So for this little snippet, we are going to give some tips for protecting your garage from the harsh season and prolong its life!

Initial inspection

  • Before anything else, we need to return the garage to it’s former clean, salt free glory. This will require some manual labor, but it will be well worth it in the end.
  • Sweep, mop and scrub the problem areas of the garage floor to ensure there are no salt stained locations that will cause problems for the health of your concrete flooring in the spring.

Protection from the weather

  • Once the floor is clean and returned to the point of acceptance, it’s time to anticipate and prevent the further damage. Inspect your garage and make any repairs now that may be needed involving the concrete. This may involves cracks, gaps, or chips.
  • Once the floor is whole again we need to implement defenses from further snow, slush and salt encounters. We can achieve this protection from a simple garage car mat which can contain the mess that is drudged in from the cold world outside.
  • Garage mats are easy to clean and store when the need for them is no more, and this will ensure the start of the next winter season is already accounted for, because this mat is easily reusable through the years!
  • If your concern is bigger than just the car and what it brings in, and you need more protection for a wider areas of the garage, consider different mats. There are mats that can be tailored to your garages dimensions  and cover a much larger surface area, preventing the concrete floor from interacting with the winter at all!
  • Finally, there is a sealant option  to really ensure the protection of your garage flooring. Siliconate penetrating sealer is applied with a acrylic sealer and simple to use. The result of this sealant is a glossy finish that will enhance the clean and orderly look of the garage!
  • The sealant is a strong physical barrier that will prevent things like salt and deicing from running through your garage floor and causing larger concrete issues for the spring.!

That’s all we have for today! If you have any questions or concerns about your home please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We at Xpand are here for the family and you! 

Concrete floors? Let’s give it a shot

I know, we have been doing a lot of posts that involve the floor of your home lately, but to be fair, it’s only because there are so many great options! Concrete floors are no exception!

For this snippet, we will explain the aspects of concrete floors in a home that really give it an advantage over other flooring options! Most often we think of an organic material like wood or bamboo, but concrete has some seriously rocking advantages to them!

Let’s quit dilly dallying and get into the bullet points!

  • Variation in design- Concrete often brings forth the idea of grey, cold and industrial, however it doesn’t have to be that way. Concrete has some great options for visual alteration ranging from stains, colors and hardeners. How you integrate the color into the floor is a big part of the process as well. You can add the color during the mixing process to add a nice even spread across the concrete or produce a translucent finish with a unique design finish!
  • Texture- Not only does concrete have a wide range of color application but concrete can also be altered with surface texture for design or practical purposes! Some surface textures include troweled, smooth and polished, each of which can add a unique feeling to a room. There is also an option called stamped, which allows for the creation of patterns such as tile!
  • Type of concrete- Generally there are two types of concrete flooring options. Existing concrete which uses the concrete already in your home but enhances it for visual appeal and daily use. Decorative overlay, which is concrete on top of certain surfaces that are already installed, and can be used to either mask damage, or just give a new and fresh look to a room!

Concrete flooring has some strong innate functions that can benefit not only your home, but the world as well! That’s right, concrete flooring can be a eco-friendly option! The creation of concrete does not deplete natural resources, does not requires as much energy to create, and is poured locally! Concrete is a strong defense against mold, mildew and odors, which can improve or at last keep a healthy air quality. Concrete absorbs the temperature around it, which can help cut energy costs for heating and cooling, due to the minimizing need for continual production! Lastly concrete can be recycled, cut down and reprocessed!

That’s all for today’s rock solid dream home options! If you have any questions for comments don’t hesitate to call! We will work with you to achieve the home you and your family can call dreamy!

Some great flooring options for your dream home!

Often times when we visit as home we examine it’s differences from our own. There are an outstanding amount of variables involved in the contrast between homes, but sometimes there are things that can really stand out, much more than others. Generally the flooring of a home is that factor.

There are a multitude of flooring options available for a home, and we think it’s important to know the different kinds, to make an informed decision! Plus, who doesn’t like more options when your building your dream home?

So today we will be talking about 5 different kinds of flooring options! So let’s break out those nifty little bullet points!

Hardwood

  • Hardwood floor is nothing new, it is common to find in homes and some prefer it to carpet for it’s easier upkeep.
  • Hardwood floors have an elegant vibe to them. They can enhance the level of a room alone, but cooperatively with the rest of the room, you can really enhance the feeling of “charm” and “elegance”.
  • There are many varieties of wood types to choose from in this section of flooring alone. Some of the most renowned are red and white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, and hickory.

Bamboo

  • Most people don’t ever consider bamboo as a flooring option, and that alone is a grave mistake!
  • Bamboo is a form of grass, that is fast growing and ready in about 3-5 years. This allows it to be eco friendly and have a fast turnaround.
  • Bamboo is also fire resistant, further enhancing yours homes safety score! Who doesn’t like a safe home?
  • Lastly, bamboo is actually very strong, and through comparison purposes, bamboo is 27% harder than Northern red oak, and 13% harder than maple!

Engineered

  • Engineered wood looks similar to solid hardwood but has more unique aspects to it. For example engineered hard wood is composed of a core of hardwood, plywood or high-density fiberboard, and layered on it all is a hardwood veneer.
  • Three to seven layers of the material is taken and glued and compressed together under high pressure and heat to create sturdy flooring and a complete resistance to humidity.
  • The manner in which this type of flooring is made allows for engineered would to be place in parts of the home that regular wood would not be able to, for example high humidity place like the bathroom or basement!

Linoleum

  • Composed of material similar to linseed oil, cork. limestone, wood flour and tree resins. This material boasts a high durability with low maintenance.
  • Linoleum flooring also has a wide variety of patterns and colors to choose from, expanding its synergy potential with many different forms of homes.
  • Linoleum can also come in sheets, or if preferred, intricate cuts, to achieve a more unique flooring style.

Marmoleum

  • Marmoleum is an all natural renewable resource. This flooring is made from recycled material that can actually benefit the environment.
  • As opposed to linoleum, marmoleum is resistant to dust and dirt, ensuring those with allergies a comfortable experience in the home.
  • This flooring can be ordered in sheets or tiles, has an easy upkeep and is fantastic for high traffic locations!

We hope this insight into different flooring options was helpful! Why not go around your home and consider the different flooring options in different rooms and see what might feel best? Once you have a concrete concept of what you want done, be sure to give us a call and we can work with you to achieve the home of your dreams!

Interior design tips for the home that will ensure a comfortable experience!

Interior design can be exciting and daunting all at the same time. On one hand you really get to make your home feel unique and show a special kind of character that reflects you or your family. However on the other hand, there is plenty of ways you may over do it and cause the home to feel packed or cluttered, preventing a comfortable atmosphere.

Let’s break down a couple tips for a happy flowing home with great thought out layouts!

Living room

The living room is always known to be the main area of social interaction and relaxation for the family and guests alike! Often the living room is built around a specific wall that has a TV placed on or in front of it. Knowing what a room is revolving around will be an immense step in the right direction. Once you’ve established what the room will be working around, you can plan the design of the room in a way that most efficiently involved the TV, which will have a domino effect and in-turn cause the rest of the room to come together almost seamlessly!

Another manner of going about a  rooms design, is doing what we just recommended backwards! Build a room and it’s theme cohesively and after everything has been thematically matched, introduce the focal point of the room, in this case the TV, in a manner that allows for full functionality, while keeping the rooms aesthetic you already made!

 

Bathroom rugs

This is going to be short and sweet. Bathroom rugs are often used and they tend to be at the base of  the toilet and wrap around the sides a tad, and generally there is a seat cover to match. While this can be a fun and effective method for bathroom design, it is also becoming that of something which is expected. Spice up the manner in which you add the rug, by getting a rectangular rug and placing it at an angle near the toilet, but not at it’s base. This will give the rug an added function as a pathway leading to the toilet or shower, as well as the entry or exit.

House plants

people often don’t take house plants seriously, but goodness they have such an affect on an atmosphere and can help clear the air of toxins! You don’t need to make your entire home a green house by any means. Just adding one little potted plant at the dinning room table, or a few along some windows ledges, in any or all rooms can be a tremendous way to having a room feel full of life and a lighter atmosphere!

Swing back next time for some other tips and tricks! Your home is an ever evolving extension of your personality and characteristics, so keep it in great shape for a much more fulfilled daily life!

Any questions, comments or concerns? Give us a call or E-mail us! Just click the big blue button below and you will be re-directed to our ‘contact us’ page! 

Nursery room and baby tips!

If you are lucky enough to be adding an extra to the family this coming winter, i’m certain you are stressing about the room that will be dedicated to that soon-to-be. A nursery room is supposed to be the safest location for the baby and have nothing but positive affects on the little bugger. So what should be considered when baby-ing up a room?

Let’s break it down!

Environment

The new born baby will spend most of it’s time in here staring at a never changing ceiling. This room needs to be well thought out, from the lighting, to the noise, to create the least stressful environment as possible. To do this, it is important to consider all of the senses. When considering the light, it’s best to have forms of light that are natural, but not intense, something more subdued. This room also needs to have as much stillness as possible, so very little traffic should come through here, which means nothing of need should be stored in here that will require you to go in and out of this room often. Consider the placement of the furniture that works best with the needs of you and the baby, this will ensure a more peaceful environment, rather than a jungle gym. Once the child actually comes into the room, there may be a need to adjust things to make it a comfortable location for the both of you.

Baby furniture

The furniture you have will require some familiarization, to ensure smooth functionality in the moment of need, rather than struggle and increased screams. Become familiar with the bassinet and how it works, this will be an essential tool in the early stages of babyhood because it allows transportation of the sleeping bug, for a watchful eye. After the first four or five months, it’s time for the infamous crib. When choosing a crib, ensure it satisfies all safety regulations so that your child cant slip through the slates like Maggie in the Simpsons. Information on the new regulations and suggestions for cribs can be found here.

Sleeping arrangements

Since your baby will be sleeping most of it’s early life, it’s important to know the safety tips.

  • “Back to sleep”- always make sure your baby is placed on it’s back while sleeping, to avoid the possibility of the worst case scenario, SIDS (Sudden Baby Death Syndrome)
  • A firm and flat sleeping surface so the baby can sleep better and healthier.
  • fluffy pillows, crib bumpers, blankets, and toys should never be place in the crib with the child.
  • Do not use sleep-position devices. They may prove to endanger your child rather than help.
  • Zipper sleepers are a great way to keep your child warm, but ensure it is not possible for it to be pulled up and over the child’s face.

Having a child can be a wonderful experience if you have thoroughly prepared with the gaining of knowledge and mental confidence! There is more important aspects to consider than what is laid out here, so be sure to keep scouring the web for important aspects of nurseries and babies health! Also, congratulations!

Be sure to give us a call if you have any questions about remodels for the nursery to ensure a larger space, or better noise cancellation options, not to mention lighting options!

That’s all for today! Have a wonderful week, and we hope this was informative for parent’s to be!

Bedroom remodeling ideas!

Now that the cold is sailing in on the frigid waves of winter, we all will be spending a bit more time indoors, which means our home will soon become subject to criticism due to constant interaction. So lets get the blood flowing and think of some new ideas for some indoor bedroom remodeling ideas!

For the bedroom, we often have quarrels with the look of our closets. Our closets are usually the epitome of clutter and discord, so lets straighten that out and help reduce the stress of even looking in that direction!

First off, we need to address the door, or doors that allow entry into the closet. This is the face of the closet and should be aesthetically pleasing to look at, and flow with the room.

Take the doors from the closet and replace them with some hollow core doors for some light weight movement. Paint the doors a color that matches the surrounding environment or has a great compliment to it. There is also the option of altering the hollow core doors with some extra wooden bars across the doors, to give them a unique style and not be so flat.

Next is the guts of the closet. There are many ways to go about this, you could have the back wall expanded and allow for a walk-in closet option, or even widened and turn it into a wrap around closet! After you’ve decided on your dimensions of the closet, you now need to choose a color for the inside of the closet. This color should match or compliment the walls outside of the closet as well, for a more appealing visual.

Once that’s decided its important to address the layout inside of the closet. Will you just have a clothes rack? Will you implement a top shelf for more storage capabilities, as well as doors racks and ground level compartments? These need to be chosen according to your needs. If your closet is mainly clothes, then improve accordingly to what holds clothes and allows easy access the best!

Congratulations! One closet is done!  Now you have the entire house to do! This is just the beginning! The closet is merely a part of a whole! You have the entire room to mess around with and re-design! If your interested in completely revamping a room, from the floor to the ceiling, you can always give us a call at Xpand inc. We are more than happy to help with those room remodel ideas during the winter!

Until next time!