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!

Bathroom remodel ideas!

Master bath with hardwood floor and window overlooking lake

The winter is a great time to consider the inside of your home, and the rooms that are used on a daily. One such room of great importance would be the bathroom, we use it every day, so it should be one of the top priorities when it comes to comfort, access and spaciousness. If your bathroom is a cluttered room that drives anxiety, stress and frustration into overdrive just by looking at the closed that hides the beast within, you may want to consider a remodel!

Bathroom remodels can be very cathartic and really help you appreciate your bathroom much more. From the shower to the floor, a bathroom remodel has all sorts of possibilities! So lets think about some options!

Counter space, above and below

The bathroom counters are one of the main focuses when you step into the room. This will be the location you brush your teeth, do your hair and makeup, shave and a multitude of other functionalities. This space needs to accommodate your needs. Something to really consider is the type of counter, what material you will use, and what will help hide the fallen toothpaste instead of show it off. Usually there are cabinets of some sort underneath the counter space, to hold cleaning products or some random things here and there, however you could actually remove the space below and have the cabinets cut out, so there is a nice wide open space below the sink. this will open the room more, enhancing the feeling of space, while also being an option to store objects there if wanted.

Flooring

The kind of tile you have laid out in your bathroom is another strong attention capturing subject. The tile should be the cohesive element that ties the entire room together aesthetically, while still being something that shines on it’s own. Consider how far this tile is pushed, it doesn’t have to stop at the floor level. Some bathrooms can look great with the floor tile rising up and taking hold of some of the wall space, creating a cut across the room, before going into a different material for the upper half of the walls.

Bathtub or shower? Both? 

The cleaning station! the shower/bath in the bathroom can be the “make or break” of the room. Everything in the bathroom can look great and create an aesthetic appeal, but then be completely ruined by the shower or tub. The shower/tub needs to integrate seamlessly  with the rest of the room. A strong way of accomplishing this integration would go back to the flooring, which could lead right into the shower/tub. Another method could be the means of access, either curtain or slider, or doors. The method of access will also determine how open the room feels. If there is a curtain, the room will instantly be cut down, while a glass or frost door will open the room greatly, increasing the sense of space and decrease any claustrophobic feelings.

 

That’s all for now, but don’t for a second think that this is all that there is to a bathroom remodel! There is always the toilet, lighting, mirror, shelving, closets etc… that has to still be considered! Make your bathroom a place of peace and strong functionality! Once you have some solid ideas flowing around, give us a call and we will work through your ideas with you and help you through the entire process! 

10 quick tips to ensure a healthy home!

Home is where the heart is! But often times home is also where the unhealthy habits or situations may occur! We have 10 quick tips to help keep your home a place of positive health!

Let’s start!

  1. Barrier between the bedding and you!
    Make sure your using dust-proof casings for all your pillows and mattresses. These casings have such small pores that dust mites and their waste product cannot get through! This benefits your skin and overall health!
  2. HEPA Filters
    HEPA filters in a vacuum prevent dust from being blown back out into the air spreading the very thing your trying to get rid of! This will helps improve the air quality of the home as well as keep sicknesses down for the kids and parents!
  3. Changing the AC filters
    Always ensure your heating and AC have a filter installed before use. The lack of a filter can cause some serious health issues down the line. Be sure to change the filters at the very least every 3 months to ensure an efficient and top notch air quality!
  4. Venting the bathroom
    Bathrooms are naturally humid environments and in saying so, there needs to be a ventilation fan to help prolong the life of the bathroom. Make sure the ventilation fan runs to the outdoors, this will help remove the moisture in the air and ensure a long lifespan of the room and all things inside.
  5. Gutter maintenance
    Keep up on the security of your gutters through the seasons. A clogged gutter can lead to a flooded basement or crawlspaces. You can get gutter covers to help reduce the debris that enters.
  6. Textiles in the bedroom
    Textiles can be great aesthetic options, however all the rugs, carpets, pillows and other dust catchers can cause some serious issues with health and allergies as well as increase the time it takes to dust the room!
  7. Allergy instigators
    To help combat those pesky allergies, let’s ensure allergens aren’t being invited into the home. Checking your yard for wind pollinated plants and removing them can save you a big headache and puffy eyes. Grasses are one of the worst pollen triggers for allergies.
  8. Musty management
    Trust your sense of smell. If your in the home and you detect a musty smell, be sure to investigate. Mold can be a serious problem if it’s allowed to develop, so find it’s location ASAP and save yourself the trouble!
  9. Organize the dust
    Clutter is a safe-haven for dust mites. Be sure to organize your home office and other work spaces to prevent dust from settling.
  10.  Keep shoes under control
    Wearing shoes in the home is a health risk and can increase the allergen count in the home. When returning to the home, take off your shoes outside or put them into a washable tray as soon as you walk into the home!

That does it for today’s quick healthy home tips! Have a wonderful day and keep those homes safe and healthy!

Autumn chill, time for the home checklist!

Back right side view of the house

The chill in the air is finally here! The crisp leaves beneath our feet remind us it’s almost time for that long-awaited snow fall!

In mentioning the ‘S’ word, we should ensure our home is ready for whats to come! We’ve put together a nice little list to help you keep track of the tasks that need attention!

Ready…Set…Fall!

  • Gutters are full and it’s no bueno! It’s important to keep constant tabs on your gutters and downspouts. When the season involves any form of physical object flying through the sky, then there is a possibility of clogs! An easy way to prevent this is using gutter guards!
  • Wood trim is next on the list! Go around the home and check your wood trim using a screwdriver, looking for any form of crack/hole and be sure to fill those spaces in with caulk!
  • Believe it or not, the cooler weather (not cold weather) is a great time to paint the house! Have you been considering a new coat of paint to rejuvenate the look of your home? Now is the time!
  • With great caution, comes great safety..when checking your roof! Its important to make sure your roofs integrity is still in a good condition. Either check VERY CAREFULLY yourself, or hire a professional to see if there are any missing shingles or broken shingles that may result in a problem.
  • Frozen pipes suck, so lets avoid that whole mess. Turn off the valves running to exterior water pipes and then run those pipes until all the water is out of those pipes. If pipes have water in them when the temperature reaches freezing point, it can cause some serious damage or even cause the pipes to burst!
  • Wrapping exterior water pipes that run along the exterior walls in heating tape can save you energy and also prevent those pipes from freezing.
  • If your one of the homes that uses a hot water system for heating, be sure to drain the expansion tank. Follow up with a water pressure check and bleeding the radiators!
  • Move onto the Attic! Check the insulation is properly installed. The vapor barrier on the insulation should face down toward the living space. If this is not the case, then moisture will become trapped in the insulation causing some problems.
  • Go around your property and trim dead branches out of the trees to prevent them from falling during winter storms and possibly damaging something.

Alright team, lets get out there and get our home ready for the winter!

Don’t forget to do the most important objective before winter gets here! That is to call us and start planning out your remodels or additions! We can plan ahead and when the spring hits, so will the hammer on the new construction! Hesitation doesn’t achieve dream homes! 

Basic basement maintenance for the winter!

From fall to winter, there are plenty of opportunities for your basement to have some form of water damage. Between the heavy rains or the quick winter thaws (especially with Minnesota season madness) your foundation may have some breaches.

There are a couple things you can do to be aware of the possible dangers and costly repairs that arise from those pesky natural occurrences!

Rain and Snow

First, with heavy rain or frost, foundation cracking can occur. The shifting soils with the constant shrinkage and expansion due to climate,along with improperly directed drainage can become an issue in weaker areas of your basement foundation. When handling foundation cracks, repairs costs can rise significantly if you ignore the little cracks and let them expand into a bigger problem. Basically being active about foundation management no matter how small the problem, is essential. That being said, not all cracks need tending to. Call a professional to check out the foundation and use a felt tip pen to mark locations that may be problematic, fully circling the affected area, and then keep an eye on its progress, to identify if there needs any further action.

Dry season condensation

Its commonly known that basements can become damp during the spring seasons what with the rainfall and departing winter melts. What’s important to take note of, is the appearance of moisture in the basement even when there hasn’t been rain recently, or any snow melts. This could identify a hidden issue. Generally this is due to a factor outside of the basement, involved with some other area of the property. Anywhere from poor drainage, poor ventilation, obsolete plumbing etc… can lead to condensation in the basement. The best option is to call a professional to pinpoint the issue. This may seem like a hassle but will be much easier than mold removal or property damage!

Why to make basement maintenance a priority

No matter the season or climate situation, its important to be aware of the condition your basement is in. Spending time to examine its physical properties and integrity can do nothing but help save you stress and money down the road! Ensuring your basement is a place of comfort and enjoyable use, it will help you to notice the little things through your enjoyment of it, allowing you to catch issue before they become problems!

That’s it for today! Now go check out your basement! While your at it, give us a call for a friendly conversation about basement additions!

Oh! and don’t forget! Today marks the last weekend for the Parade of Homes in Savage, MN! Come on out and take a look at our new homes that might be something you didn’t even know your family needed! 

How to prevent a basement from flooding!

Unfinished Basement & Walkout

Floods are a mess, a big mess, and a flood in your basement is just plain wrong! Basement floods can blind side homeowners and really hurt them financially.

Generally flooding can happen due to some poor sealing around windows, doors, or due to electrical outages, causing your sump pump to stop pumping the excess ground water out. Another cause could be a clogged or loose gutter, which can result in leaking. Floods can ruin foundations of your home, not to mention your basement flooring or items. If flooding isn’t caught soon enough or handled well enough, mold and rot can also occur!

So lets talk about ways we can prevent flooding in your beautiful home!

  • Start by checking your roof, ensure gutters are hanging correctly and are free from excess debris and leaks.
  • If you don’t already have one, a sump pump is essential.  Newer sump pump systems have two pumps, one being able to run on electricity and one being able to run on a backup power source! When acquiring a sump pump, ensure it is in fully functioning condition.
  • Hire a plumber to take a gander at your basement and suggest which version of sump pump would be best for your home!
  • In the off chance your still having some floods despite the aforementioned anticipatory measures, the french drain is an option. A french drain is a gravel-filled trench that goes around your home. The water that falls into the trench travels through a perforated pipe at the bottom of the trench.  The water that enters the pipe is lead away from the home to a safe distance where it will cause no problems at all!
  • If installing a french drain, ensure it is not leading the water to neighboring homes or yards.

Floods are a wet mess that can be avoided with vigilance and the right equipment and understanding of your home!

Give us a call today to have a basement to protect! Don’t forget to ask about those addons! 

The paint you apply to your home is more than decoration!

Front side view of house

Most people think the paint outside their homes  is merely for appeal, however it has a more vital purpose!

Paint on the exterior of your home is a form of weather defense so to speak. Rain, wind, cold, and damp conditions can be battled with the right quality primer and paint!

Weather is a relentless force that can chip away at the longevity of homes, so finding ways to protect your home from strong weather conditions is of the utmost importance!

Paint your homes sides, trim  and other surfaces when the exterior paint begins to start bubbling/peeling/flaking or when your seals begin to wear down and need a new caulking. Keep your eye open for any of these signs after a strong weather passing.

Benefits and tips for maintaining the exterior paint:

  • Dampness wont get sealed into the walls and ruin insulation or encourage the development of rot or mold.
  • Before applying a new coat to your home, be sure to first caulk any areas necessary, that may have been caused by unwelcome house pets.
  • Choosing a high quality paint as well as an environmentally friendly paint with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) allow for a cleaner air quality in the home.

Not only is paint important outside your home but has some added effects inside the home as well!

  • Painting interior walls can minimize dust and dirt that occurs over time.
  • Painting bathrooms and kitchens specifically need to be able to withstand the daily routines that involve heat/humidity. Paint with sheen has a longer life span!

The next time your about to pain your home be sure to understand not only its visual appeal but also its defensive mechanics to help keep your home healthy!

Give us a call today and let us help you decide on a color as well as a new home design or addons! 

Hot tips! How to maintain a wood-burning fireplace!

Stairway view overlooking family room with very large windows

Summer nights are the natural setting for a bonfire, but when its raining its a bit difficult to achieve, so we move into the house and sit by the fireplace and get all comfy cozy!

For those rainy summer nights we need to make sure our fireplace is maintained, we don’t want an added frustration to the process that ruins the relaxing night!

So how does one go about maintaining a fireplace?

lets check the list! (gotta love lists!)

  • Remove left over ash from the last burning once cold and completely out (this part is important) via the ash dump, or as a nice alternative, sprinkle the ashes on flower beds for a nice nutrient boost!
  • Annual inspection for the chimney is a must! This will help you understand the condition of not only your fireplace but also your chimney! (equally important if not more!)
  • Through use and time, a chimney can become coated with soot and creosote, byproducts if fires that don’t burn efficiently. This can lead to chimney fires, which as it sounds, is very bad!
  • Sweeping a chimney should be done before the summer because humidity in the air can combine with creosote to form acids which can physically damage the chimney, causing cracks and strong odors.
  • Keep any combustible material away from the fireplace when in use. Guards are especially nice for this! Also nothing within 12 inches above the lintel (metal plate atop the fireplace opening)
  • Be sure to burn seasoned wood, rather than green wood. Seasoned wood has been dried under a cover for a long period of time, usually 6-12 months, keeping the moisture levels below 20%.
  • Burn hard wood rather than soft wood, thus creating a stronger flame for higher temperature.
  • Test your fireplace with a small bit of seasoned wood. Lit from the top down, and examine the smoke trail. If smoke doesn’t exit vertically from the fireplace into the chimney but enters the room, immediately check the settings of your fireplace to find what went wrong.  It may be a result of something simple like a damper being partially closed.

Now go check your fireplace/chimney condition, it looks like some rain is coming in this week!

On another note, if you were reading this wishing you had a home that would fit a fireplace, give us a call! We at Xpand will create the home of your dreams, making your reality dreamy! 

Less termites, less problems!

Stairway from mainlevel to upper level

Most homes today have beautifully decorated wood pieces, either as door frames, pillars, counters or whatever else! Nothing is quit as frustrating as termites chowing their way through those lovely decorations. So how do you know if you have termites?

Here’s how to check!

  • Some signs of termites are actually very subtle, for example the presence of mud-like material located in or around your home. This can be confusing due to its similarities to actual mud.
  • Termites can excavate wood to the point where there is only a thin layer remaining on the surface. If this layer is broken, termites can fill these holes with the aforementioned mud-like material that is made from soil, feces, and saliva (unfortunate).
  • If you spot an ant with wings, chances are you have seen what is known as a swarmer. Generally found near light sources, these can indicate a nearby nest of termites. These swarmers form a swarm which consists of adult males and females, who’s purpose is to establish a new colony. Swarms are most common March-June and occasionally September and October.
  • Swarmers tend to emerge on warm days after rain. If you notice swarmers outside your home, its not reason to panic, however if they are appearing in your home, its important to locate from where.
  • The headquarters of termites reside in mud tunnels. Termites make mud tubes, which are pencil-sized connecting points that lead from a food source to the nest. If you find a mud tube but it looks uninhabited, it does not mean you are free of termites.
  • Termites tend to be found messing around near sills and other wood members with access through cracks or voids in the foundation wall.
  • There are four main forms of tubes termites use. Drop tubes which lead from  wooden structures back towards the soil. Working tubes which lead from nests in the soil to wooden structures. Exploratory tubes and migratory tubes arise from the soil but do not connect to wood structures.
  • When swarmers reach their next phase of development they shed their wings into piles.

When checking locations in your home specifically for termites be sure to have a good flashlight, screwdriver and coveralls. Check trouble spots closely, looking for piles of wings and mud tubes for certainty of a termite presence.

Termites tend to be found in the basement levels initially, however in warmer climates they can sometimes be found above the 1st floor.

Always use the proper safety precautions, and if necessary call a specialist to ensure the problem is taken care of!

Thats all for today! Be sure to give us a call and see what we can do for you and your home! Lets make that dream home together! Termite free of course! 

Got a roof over your head? Is it raining inside still? Check out our tips on roof integrity!

Formal Living Room

A roof is a wonderful addition to a home, its basically a necessity, so how do you know if its condition is holding?

Here are some quick tips to identify  if your roofs integrity is holding up!

Starting from the inside, there are 4 main things to keep an eye on!

  • Locations where the roof deck is sagging.
  • Any signs of water damage or leaking.
  • Darker spots or trails in relation to tile locations.

These indications can help you asses just how poor the condition of some or all of the tiles may be!

Now lets check for exterior signs!

  • Look at the roof and try to notice any form of cracks, tears or missing shingles. DO NOT walk on the roof, especially if you have ceramic tiles, for it is dangerous and can also damage more tiles.
  • Look for loose material or wearing around chimneys, vents, pipes, or other protruding objects.
  • Check your gutter for excess amounts of shingle granules. These look like larger grains of sand, and they can be a strong determinant of advanced water wear.
  • Look for indications of moisture, rotting or mold. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold, fungi and bacteria problems to become prominent.
  • Double check your drainage and ensure the gutters and downspouts are securely attached. also make certain the drains are all open so water may exit and there is no blocking debris.
  • It is vital to make sure that all bath, kitchen, and dryer vents go entirely outside of your home, not just leading to the attic.

If there are any problems while checking off the steps in either of these lists, be sure to look further into the issues, using safety precautions and calling professionals if need be!

Something else to consider when concerned about roof tiles, is what the roof is made of!

  • Cedar: Lasts about 20 years, and is in need of replacement or repair if there is any split or locations falling apart, due to dry climates. In more humid climates, there will be development of moss.
  • Tile: As mentioned above, tile roofing is dangerous to walk on and this could cause bigger issues. Look for broken tiles that need to be replaced and call a specialist.
  • Concrete: Generally concrete should never need replacing.

 

If you find you do have water damage, don’t panic and throw on an entirely new roof. If your roof is only 15-20 years old, it can often be repaired!

However if you do decide you need a new roof, take into consideration your location and weather conditions, that would best suit your roof and ensure it lasts the longest it possibly can.

We hope these tips and tidbits of information will give you the option for a more informed decision! Be sure to call us today to say hello and see what we can offer you if terms of house services!