Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Whether you’re ready for it or not, fall has arrived. As the days get shorter and the temperature more brisk, it’s time to put away the lawn furniture and get your house prepared for what’s in store over the next six months. Here are some tips on things you should do now to help make your home more comfortable during fall (and winter!)



  1. Clean Out, Repair and Secure Loose Eavestroughs And Downspouts
    Make sure to have your eavestroughs clear of debris and downspouts tightly fastened to help protect your roof and your foundation from water and ice damage.
  2. Repair Exterior Caulking Before Winter
    Cracked caulking can cause damage to your windows and will be a source for water to get into your home. Repairing exterior caulking will make your home less drafty and more comfortable while protecting your windows and helping you save on your energy bills!
  3. Fix Cracks in Your Weather Stripping
    Cracks from summer sun and aging reduce the effectiveness of weather stripping to keep the cold out. Weather stripping should be replaced every few years for the best result.
  4. Repair Any Loose Roof Shingles
    Your roof is critical to the integrity of your home. Damaged shingles can cause water leakage into the attic or the space between the roof and your top floor. Also take notice of missing shingles – an indication you have a potential roof vulnerability.
  5. Turn Your Furnace On
    Best way to make sure that you’ll be comfortable this winter is to test your furnace before the really cold winter weather hits. If you’re not sure how well your furnace is working, you’ll have time to have it inspected. Don’t forget to change your air filters too!
  6. Check and If Necessary, Replace Your Carbon Monoxide Detector
    Winter is the season when we are indoors almost all the time and your furnace – and other heat sources – generate carbon monoxide as they heat your home. A carbon monoxide detector monitors levels in your home and will alert you if levels ever rise. Make sure you test your detector regularly and change the batteries.
  7. Ensure Your Smoke Alarm Is Working
    Most home fires occur during the winter, an important reason to check your smoke alarm. Don’t forget to change your batteries on a regular basis too
  8. Protect Pipes in Unheated Areas Around Your Home
    Frozen pipes can cause some serious damage. Look around your home, especially areas where it is not heated and where pipes may run through such as crawlspaces, basements or garages. Wrap the pipes with pre-made foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation. This will reduce the likelihood of your pipes freezing in the winter and bursting.
  9. Turn off any faucets outside
    Water left undrained can freeze, which can cause the pipes to burst. Disconnect your garden house and drain the remaining water.
    Check out our how-to video below!
  10. Put your air conditioning unit to rest
    A/C window units should be removed and properly stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions before winter in order to protect the unit and help keep cooler outside air from getting inside.
    Whole home A/C units should be powered down from the breaker in your main electrical panel. If you have a safety shut-off switch located outside by the A/C unit that should be turned off as well.

Reasons for Working With a Custom Home Builder

 

 

You’re thinking of purchasing a new home, but you cannot decide whether you want to just purchase a house off the market, or build a custom home. See when you think about it, with just any old house on the market, you are most likely going to have to sacrifice some features that you may have needed or wanted, as well as many other factors that should be taken into consideration. Additionally, attempting to hire numerous people to help you build a new home can get pretty difficult too. Today you are going to be reading about why you should work with a custom home builder.

These are some reasons why it would be more effective and beneficial for you to work with a custom home builder.

Firstly, when building a home with a custom home builder, you don’t only get them, but you get an entire team comprised of people like: designers, architects, contractors and so on. This is easier since trying to hire everyone individually by yourself can get difficult and confusing because you will be in charge of constantly contacting everyone, but with a home builder, you will have one individual to do most of your dealings. By doing this you would save money by not hiring everyone individually, and the team could consult you on the most cost effective materials, thus saving money there as well.

You are constantly in contact with the builder, so you can have you questions answered at any time, which will provide you a peace of mind.

Another big factor that should be taken into consideration is time. When you build by yourself, you are juggling with multiple contractors, designers, etc, which an become very stressful. However, by just dealing with one company; who will take all that responsibility off your hands, you will save yourself from those endless ours of phone call after phone call and numerous meetings.

Then, you will end up with a quality custom home. You get to choose what you want, and you gotta admit that you will take more pride in a home that you would have invested so much time and energy into.

As a result, Sunlight Heritage Homes is a quality home builder that will would definitely fulfill your desire to build a new custom home, so contact us now for more information.

 

The City of London

Are you looking for a new city to explore or some new and exciting things to do?
Look no further then City of London!


London is a city in Southwestern Ontario. London is approximately 200 kilometres from both Toronto, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan; and about 230 kilometres from Buffalo, New York.

London is known in the region as the centre of health care and education, being home to the University of Western Ontario, Fanshawe College, and several hospitals.  The city also hosts a number of musical and artistic exhibits and festivals.

London offers so many wonderful options for social enjoyment, relaxation and entertainment. Residents of London have easy access to shopping, dining, hospitals, a major highways such as HWY 401 & HWY 402. It also has an international airport, train, and bus station.

London is home to a number of local Sports teams such as the Western Mustang Football team and the London Knights Hockey team. The city also offers a range of activates from water parks to renaissance festivals and more! Don’t forget all the local amenities people need such as the local, Tim Horton’s and Farmers Market.
Not into the hustle and bustle of shopping around town? No problem!
There are lots of hiking trails to explore that are sure to calm your pace and bring you back to nature. There are a few local conservations that you could pack a picnic and spend the day.

Sunlight Heritage Homes is currently selling and building 2 story detached Homes in London, Ontario. So, let’s explore some of the amazing things that the City of London has to offer.

Check out our newest model home in the link below!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1mPoeHqjnk

Come check out the City of Woodstock for yourself!

Thinking of setting down roots in Woodstock?
Check us out at http://www.sunlighthomes.ca/
Or, Leave us a comment below!

How to Create a Cozy Cottage Inspired Interior

Is there anything cozier than settling in on the sofa in a charming cottage?

There is something about being away from the busy city that seems to bring on a calm in people. So, it’s not shocking why people seem drawn to cottage styles within there home. Warm colours, plush furniture, and a generous scattering of art, antiques and natural materials make these country interiors perfect settings for curling up with a cup of tea.

This style isn’t restricted to cottages themselves though – anyone can bring a touch of this traditional design into their home, whether you’re nestled deep in the English countryside, stretched along a costal beach line or hidden deep in the woods.

Check out a few of our favourite examples of ultra-cozy, cottage-style designs, and prepare to get comfortable.


Rustic-Cottage Style

Photos by Eric Roth

Stone textured walls pour on the rustic charm in this lovely old English style living Room. Exposed wood beams, Vintage furnishings covered with throws, pillows, and sheepskins lend warmth on chilly nights.


Coastal-Cottage Style

Photos by Kristina Braun

If you’re by the sea or if you just want to bring the sea to you, integrate beach elements into your home. Starfish, coral, seashells and sand all pull in theme with beachy colors of soft blues, greens and sandy beiges with lots of white.


English-Cottage Style

Photos by Kitchen Architecture

Don’t be afraid to mix and layer different patterns in various colors. Crisp, white walls will always provide the perfect backdrop. Use a variety of throws, pillows, and rugs to help create an instant warmth and homey vibe. 

Did you like the ideas listed above or share your own ideas on how you made your home cottage-cozy!

Let us know in the comments below!

 

How To Determine The Best Floor Plan For You

When you are looking for a new home, there are many factors that need to be considered, and the right floor plan for you and your family is an essential one. If you do not take this into account and give it some thought then you will never end up with the best home for you.

First, you need to start by examining your lifestyle and determining all your needs and wishes. For example, a good one to consider is, do you want children areas and toys to be separate or for everything to be on the main floor for maximum visibility. In that case, if you want closed off areas, then you would be looking at a home with many rooms, and maybe a basement for those children areas. If you are looking for maximum visibility, then you would opt for an open layout kind of floor plan. It is things like that that need to be considered when purchasing your home. Some other helpful questions you could ask yourself include:

  • Do you want a separate dining room for formal functions, or are you more comfortable with a large eat-in kitchen?
  • How many bedrooms do you need for immediate family members? Do you need an extra room for guests or grandparents? Will your family be growing in the future?
  • Do you need an area dedicated for a computer/work station? Does it need to be a separate room, or would a nook or a loft area work?
  • Do you need/want a master ensuite bath plus a separate bathroom for friends and the children, or a larger family bath? Do you want a separate shower and bathtub, or a combination of the two? Do you need one or two sinks in any of the bathrooms? Knowing what you want out of your house will help you narrow the field to choose from.
  • Look at the square footage of the room. A floor plan can be rather small, it is easy to either under or overestimate the size of the room. If you have a hard time visualizing what those numbers mean, measure the equivalent room(s) in your current home to compare.
  • Consider furniture placement. There is nothing worse than arriving at your new house on closing day and discovering that there is nowhere to put the Big Screen TV, that the couch doesn’t fit or that you need a smaller dining room table. If you have specific needs, consider making a scale room plan with your furniture to make sure that everything will fit.

All information retrieved from sunlighthomes.ca.

Let us know if this was helpful, or what kind of floor plan you prefer?

We would love to hear about it in the comments.

 

Hardwood or Carpet?

What is the first thing your toes touch in the morning, hardwood or carpet?

Beeny, Sarah. “Carpets vs. Wooden Floors.” Tepilo, www.tepilo.com

Flooring is one of the biggest decisions a homeowner makes. Some love the softness of carpet, the way it muffles footsteps and cushions your feet as you walk. Some people would preferer hardwood’s natural beauty. It’s easy to clean and can look new for decades if cared for properly.

Flooring is an important part of the overall feel to your home. You can use a single consistent flooring thought your home to give it a sharp, clean look or you can choose different flooring per room to give each space its own presence.

Beyond aesthetics, homeowners must consider their lifestyles when choosing flooring as this could dictate which style of flooring can be/ should be used. Does the family remove shoes at the door? Are the pets house-trained? Does the family take dinners into the family room? All of these living habits will have an effect on the life of the product you buy

If you’re choosing flooring for a new home or musing whether to replace a tired carpet with wood (or vice versa), there’s a lot to consider.

THE CASE FOR WOOD

Hand-scraped wood flooring, with deeper grooves, hides the small dents and wear that can come from active families and pets. While it is a higher upfront investment than carpet, but hardwood adds a lasting value to a home that carpet can’t. It also helps alleviate allergies as it doesn’t hold on to allergens that can sink into the fibers of carpet. It is easier to spot spills, pet hair, crumbs and debris on. Spills can be completely wiped up while it would normally stain carpet, but wood needs to be cleaned more often than carpet.

THE CASE FOR CARPET

Carpet is easier, faster and cheaper to install than wood flooring, which must be nailed down, glued or clicked into place. Its life can be extended with frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning but may stain and become matted over time. You can also choose from any different patterned carpets make a design impact in the space.  You can easily change a hardwood floor’s look with area rugs. Carpet is quieter than hardwood floors and warmer in winter due to the many verities in carpet length

Ways To Furnish Your Home With No Money

We can all agree that this happened at least one time in your life; you’re flipping through a home design catalog or watching a show, perhaps HGTV? And then you become overcome with envy as you realize you want your home to be as stylish and chic as all those television families, but there’s one problem. You simply don’t have a “flexible” budget of 30k. There are, however, ways for you to up the glamour factor on your home, with items you already have, used items, or items costing less than at least $100.

First, this is a really good option for getting items for free or cheap. You could visit Facebook or Freecycle. There are various groups, and definitely one for or near your area. There people can trade, buy, or give away items, and you could score a branded item that you wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.

Next, you could search for estate sales. A popular website used for this is EstateSales.net. Basically what these are is, when somebody moves, goes through a divorce, or anything of that sort, they are likely to sell their belongings quickly. So they are a great opportunity to furnish your home on a cheap budget.

Another good tip is to look for discounts at furniture stores. If you can get a coupon you could possibly reduce the price of the item you wanted. There are many websites that sport various store coupons, or you could sign up for your favourite furniture store’s mailing list in order to get sent all the updates. You could also ask stores about their dented or scratched pieces. That way they give you a discount on them and you could easily fix it yourself with a little acrylic paint.

If we are talking about up-cycling used items, there are many ways to do this. One of the styles in right now is having old rustic looking furniture. You could achieve this by using an old table or chair, either one of your own or something you scored at a garage sale. You could sand it down and paint it with chalk paint giving it a new lively look. You can easily find 40% off coupons for Michaels, thus saving you money there too because we all know how expensive Michaels can get. You can also look for DIY projects on Pinterest, speaking of which, we recently created one so check it out, we also save all kinds of things, including very cool DIY projects.

These were just some tips on how to decorate your home for cheap!

Let us know about any pieces you have made or found!

 

Creating A Home Gym That Motivates You To Get Moving!

There is nothing like being able to exercise whenever you want in the comfort, and privacy of your own home.  You don’t have to make a big event of getting ready and gathering all your things to head out. You don’t have to wondering if the exercise equipment you want is in use or not and you don’t have change and shower with strangers. These are all things that hold many people back from going to a gym and reaching their fitness goals.

Image by John Cannon Homes

Then when you add in the cost of a gym membership or personal trainer, trying to workout can seem like mission impossible. Let your home become your motivational haven with your vary own home gym. A home gym might cost a bit of money to get started but once you have what you need, it will pay for itself in no time.

So, even if you’re not an exercise buff, designing your own home gym allows you to create the type of space that is motivates you to get moving Below, you’ll find some design tips to help you turn your home space into home gym that inspires you to become your best.

 

Space considerations

Adding a home gym doesn’t have to be a major renovation project. Using your basement or spare bedroom are great places to start. Even an uncluttered corner of your living room can work you just have to make sure there will be enough clearance around and above you and your equipment.

If you’re setting up your home gym to have Equipment such as weights or a power rack, it’s going to take up a lot of floor space. These types of equipment such as a Power Racks allow you to set the bar’s height at any level, allowing you to perform a range of different exercises with one machine. Take a look at different types of wall mounted equipment. When not in use them, they can fold up and stick out five inches from the wall, allowing you to have a more versatile gym with both a weight room and free floor spaces.

Flooring considerations

If you plan on using weights or heavy equipment in your home gym, it’s important to make sure that they’re evenly dispersed across your floor specifically ma

Image by Originate Architects

ke sure to put heavier equipment evenly on floor joist. You don’t want to load up a dumbbell rack that happens to be in between two floor joists. The average two-tiered dumbbell rack weighs around 700 lbs and Over time you could see the plywood and flooring under the rack is going to warp or it’s going to collapse under the load.

 

A great type is to use rubber floor mats or platforms. Not only are they vary durable, easy to clean and provide great sound insulation for when you’re at that last set and just have to drop your weights when you finish. Dropping weights can bust concrete and plywood, costing you hundreds to repair so be carful

Equipment considerations

Your equipment is one key to a successful workout. Make sure and take the time to select if you want equipment in your home gym. If so make sure your choosing

Image by Sarah Evers Hoffman

equipment that you are going to use on a consistent basis, especially when looking at cardiovascular equipment such as Ellipticals, stair masters or treadmills. While price is often a factor for most people, paying a little more on equipment that you will utilize is a much smarter decision than spending less on a piece that will sit unused.

 

Resale Considerations

Finally, when deciding on the area you want to layout for your gym, consider how it will affect your home’s resale value. Not all people want a gym in there home and if you have modified the house to have a gym instead of a spare bedroom, you’ll want to make the necessary changes are made to make it a bedroom prior to relisting your home. Buyers like to picture themselves in your home and if exercise is not a part of their lifestyle, a room full of gym equipment is going to decrease the chances that they will fall in love with your home and want to buy it. Don’t forget to put your gym equipment into storage before you sell in order to show off the full potential of the space.

Helpful Tips Every New Home Owners Should Know

If you’re a new homeowner, in the market or just looking to get more informed here are some helpful types that not all home owners think about. These assortments of tips will help you save money, help keep your over home healthier and safer!


Change the locks and make spare keys.

One of the first things a homeowner should do is change the locks on their new home. You don’t need to be particularly handy to install new door hardware, and a set of basic doorknobs and locks for your front and back door will only set you back $20-$80 or so. It may seem unnecessary, but there’s no way to know whether there are copies of your old key floating around, and who might have them if so. Investing a bit of money and time today can protect you from burglary down the road.

While you’re at it, get an extra copy of your key made and leave it with someone you trust, so you don’t have to shell out $100 to a locksmith when you inevitably lock yourself out.


Install LED or CFL light bulbs.

LED and CFL bulbs can save you a lot of money on energy use over the long haul, plus they have much longer lives than normal incandescent bulbs, making them well worth the upfront investment. Consider installing some in various places — especially in areas where the lights may be in use for long periods, like the living room or kitchen, or left on accidentally, like a back hallway or basement. CFL bulbs tend to be cheaper, but LED bulbs are usually preferable in terms of performance and have come down in cost quite a bit over the past few years.


Check Smoke and CO Detector Dates and Replace, as Needed.

It’s important that you know where your smoke and CO detectors are located and that you make sure they are working. Smoke alarms may be the cheapest, easiest and most effective means for protecting your family and your home from a fire, as long as they’re functioning. Learn where smoke detectors should be located, how to maintain them, when to replace them and some cool new options available for homeowners here and here.


Replace your air filters.

When you first move in, you almost always need to replace the air handling filter or the filter on your furnace or AC unit. Don’t worry, it’s easy to do – it takes about 10 seconds.

Go down to your air handling unit, find where the filter is (it’s almost always a large rectangle), and mark down the measurements (printed around the edges). Then, go to the hardware store and pick up a few of them. Go home and replace the old one with a new filter and save the rest so you always have a clean one ready to go. An outdated filter not only doesn’t filter air as well, it also has a negative impact on air flow, meaning your air handling system or HVAC unit has to work harder — and use more energy — to pump out lower quality air.

Watch our how-to video below!


Install a programmable thermostat – and learn how to use it.

A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule automatic increases and decreases in your home’s temperature, saving money on cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

They’re easy to install and easy to use, especially if you keep a fairly routine schedule. Just program the thermostat to drop a few degrees at night while you’re sleeping or off at work during the day and set it to return to your preferred temperature just before you wake up or return home from work. You won’t notice the difference — until you see your lower utility bill.


Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down.

This is the optimum temperature for your hot water heater. Most people don’t use water hotter than 120 degrees — indeed, water hotter than that can scald you or a child — and thus the energy needed to keep the water above 120 degrees isn’t used effectively. Lower the temperature, save money on your energy bill, and you’ll never skip a beat.


Mark any cracks in the basement with dated masking tape.

Many homes have a few small cracks in their basement walls from the settling of the foundation and the weight of the house. In a stable home, the small cracks aren’t growing at all – they’re safe. If they’re growing, however, you’ll save a ton of money by getting the problem addressed now rather than later.

How do you tell if they’re growing? Take some masking tape and cover up the end of any cracks you notice inside or outside and write today’s date on the tape. Then, in a few months, check the tape – if you see a crack growing out of the end of the tape, you might have a problem and should call a specialist before the problem gets out of hand.


Check the insulation in your attic – and install more if needed.

If you have an unfinished attic, pop your head up there and take a look around. You should see insulation up there between the beams, and there should be at least six inches of it everywhere (more if you live in the northern part of the United States).

If there’s inadequate insulation up there – or the insulation you have appears to be damaged – install new insulation. Here’s a great guide from the Department of Energy on attic insulation, including specifics on how much you should have depending on where you live. Many states offer financial incentives, up to a 75% refund for instance, to encourage homeowners to better insulate their homes.


Clean Refrigerator Coils or Pay Unnecessary Repair Bills.

Refrigerator condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. When coils are clogged with dust, pet hair and cobwebs, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge. Clean the coils with a coil-cleaning brush and vacuum. A coil-cleaning brush, which is bendable to fit in tight areas, does a thorough job. Look for one online or at appliance store


Find these tips helpful?
Let us know in the comments below!

Steel Studs vs. Wood Studs for Residential Framing

There was a time when the use of steel studs in residential building applications was considered exotic. Its use was limited mostly to builders or home remodeling professionals, and DIYers barely knew they existed and almost never used them in projects. You could only buy them at specialty building supply outlets and rarely saw them at standard consumer stores. 

Now, if you go to any big box home improvement center such as Home Depot, chances are good that you will find a stack of steel studs in the lumber section. But the fact that steel studs are outnumbered 100 to 1 by good old-fashioned wood framing lumber should tell you something: working with steel is not as easy as it seems.

Benefits of Steel Studs

  • Durable: Metal studs are impervious to fire, termites, rot, splitting, and any other number of hazards which can affect any kind of organic-based building material—namely, wood. 
  • Predictable: Unlike wood, which can arrive warped, twisted, or bent, steel studs (unless damaged) always arrive perfectly straight.
  • Cost-effective: While never as cheap as wood, steel studs are now only about 30 percent more expensive than wood studs.
  • Lightweight: Steel studs are lighter to carry and store than wood because they are hollow.
  • Good for problem areas: Since they are impervious to moisture, steel studs work well in bathrooms and water-prone basements.

Disadvantages

  • Difficult to cut: Cutting steel studs is more difficult than cutting lumber. Pros usually use It is usually done a miter saw or circular saw equipped with a metal-cutting blade in conjunction with tin snips. 
  • Limited availability: Metal studs found at your local home improvement store will only come in the most popular dimensions. Unusual dimensions will need to be sourced at stores that cater to contractors. Local big-box retailers will usually stock the dimensions matching wood 2 x 4 studs, in lengths ranging from 8 to 12 feet. Standard steel studs available at big-box retailers use 25-gauge steel. 
  • Safety: Cutting metal studs is considerably more hazardous than cutting wood. Cutting metal studs by hand with tin snips is a good recipe for lacerating skin, and the sound produced by an electric saw on metal studs will damage hearing unless you wear hearing protection. Cut edges can be quite sharp, so make sure to wear heavy work gloves and long sleeves
  • Limited creativity: Metal studs are not a “forgiving” material for the DIYer. While wood is a very flexible, malleable, forgiving material, with metal, it is all or nothing.
  • Drywall installation is tricky: When driving a drywall screw into a wood stud, the wood practically seems to draw the screw into it. Tapping a drywall screw into a metal stud requires a bit more work and practice.
  • Heat loss: Steel studs that are in contact with a conditioned area on one face (i.e. a heated basement) and a cold outdoor area on the other face (masonry foundation walls), will allow considerably more heat loss than do wood studs since metal is a much better thermal conductor. This can be avoided if the walls are constructed with a thermal break or gap. 

Recommendations

All factors considered, most DIYers will find that there is little advantage to using metal studs over traditional wood studs. For first-timers, using steel studs require a learning curve that makes installation a little slower than with wood studs, and working with steel comes with additional safety hazards. And there may be locations where you still prefer to use wood as well as metal studs, such as when attaching electrical boxes between studs and door frames. You may also find it easier to attach trim moldings around doors and windows if they have been framed with wood rather than steel. 

However, if you plan to a lot of stud framing work and hope for your projects to last for a long, long time, it may be work learning how to work with steel studs, since they will never bow, warp, or rot.

 

Prefer Wood to Steel? Let us know why in the comments below!