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An Overview of Home Insulation

Home InsulationHave the energy bills for your home gone up dramatically over the last year? It could indicate a problem with your HVAC system. It could also be a sign that it’s time to consider replacing your windows and doors. However, more often than not, rising utility costs are closely tied to an issue with a home’s insulation. The insulation in your home might not be doing a good enough job, which is forcing your HVAC system to run all the time to heat or cool your property. Here is a quick overview of home insulation.

What is home insulation?

Insulation is a barrier that’s placed in the walls, ceilings, and floors of homes to prevent both heat loss and heat gain. Insulation can be made using a bunch of different materials, including fiberglass, mineral wool, polystyrene, cellulose, natural fibers, urea-formaldehyde foam, and more.

Why is it important?

Home insulation is important because, without it, air from inside your home will work its way through your walls, ceilings, and floors and end up outside. This will prevent your home from ever getting as hot or cold as it could be when you’re running your HVAC system. You could potentially cut your energy bills by more than 30 percent with the right insulation.

How often does it need to be replaced?

Because home insulation can be made from several materials, there is a chance that your insulation could last anywhere from just a couple years to more than a decade. But it’s important for you to remember that insulation doesn’t last forever. It may wear out over time and stop doing its job. It may also get damaged if it’s ever exposed to moisture and need to be replaced right away.

How can you check your home’s insulation levels?

It’s usually not possible to check the insulation levels in your home’s walls and floors. Nevertheless, you can climb up into your attic to see what kind of condition your insulation is in. Generally speaking, home insulation should be approximately 10 to 16 inches deep for it to function properly. You can also call on a contractor to come out and look at your insulation if you’re unable to do it yourself.

At Scott Merle Builders, we understand the importance of home insulation and strive to provide our clients with the best insulation in the business. Call us at 315-409-4124 today with any questions you might have about insulation or home renovations as a whole.

How to Prepare for a Home Renovation

Home Renovations Scott Merle Builders builds homes in Central New York. The company also handles home renovations.

If you’ve been thinking about having some work done at your home, what are some ways to prepare for a company like Scott Merle Builders to come to your house and make your dream a reality?

Plan for Finances

First, you’ll want to figure out your finances at the moment. What does your budget look like and what can you do to save and/or get more money to “get what you want?” Perhaps you might apply for a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit to help finance the home renovation(s). Other options include taking out a reverse mortgage, dealing with contractor financing, or applying for a FHA Title 1 loan. You might ask a relative, like a parent, for a loan. Or, if you want to save up money over time, commit to putting away a certain percentage of your paycheck toward the home renovation project each week or two… that way you’ve got a goal to work toward to, with the money all in one spot.

Iron Out the Details

Next, you’ll want to figure out what you really want done at your house, down to the details. For example, say you want to have your kitchen remodeled. Ask yourself, “Yeah, but what does that mean for me?” Maybe it’s something simple like, “Well, I just really want brand new granite countertops put in. They should be black and white.” Or it could be more elaborate, as you make a list of wants/needs, and come up with specific details including colors and materials. Do some research online and in stores to see prices for items you’re interested in, such as new lighting, cabinets, and appliances.

Is DIY a Realistic Option?

Okay, here comes the interesting part: what can you do yourself versus what should you hire someone else to do? For some people, the physicality of renovation work is too much– especially if they have bad backs. Others will tell you, “I wish I could but I am clueless about electricity, carpentry, and such– I can’t even read a ruler right!” So depending on how much you can handle, some of the work can be “do-it-yourself,” while other parts of the work should be done by professionals like Scott Merle Builders.

Finally, it’s important to be flexible. Rather than get your mind and heart set on something, it’s best to leave room for “leeway.” Just like life, expect the unexpected and do your best to roll with it.

 

Should You Remodel Your Home or Build a New One?

Home Renovations Vs. Complete Rebuilds Do you want to improve the look of your current home or wish that it functioned better? If so, you might want to think about remodeling it. During a remodel, you can give your home a much-needed makeover and fall in love with it again. Or, if you don’t want to go that route, you can also consider building a brand new home from scratch. It’ll give you everything on your wish list and deliver the perfect home. So, which is the better option for you? Here are some things that’ll help you decide.

Which is more affordable?

There are some people who would automatically assume that a home remodeling project would be way cheaper than a new build. However, that isn’t always the case! If you think you’ll need to do a major remodel to turn your home into what you want, it could end up costing you as much as it would to build a new home. It all depends on the current condition of your home, the ideas you have, and more. A contractor can talk to you about how much each of your two options could cost.

Which is more convenient?

A new home build will usually take longer to do than a remodel. Therefore, if you’re looking for the quicker fix to your current problem, you might want to go with remodeling. However, you should remember that you’re going to need to live in the middle of a construction zone while your remodel is going on. It could limit your lifestyle for a little bit, which is something you won’t have to worry about when you’re having a new home built elsewhere.

Which will give you what you want?

A home remodel and a new home build can both give you what you want. It really all comes down to how much you like the current location of your home. If you love the area and don’t want to move somewhere else, a remodeling project might work best for you. But if you wouldn’t mind moving or want to get out of the neighborhood you’re in now, a new build might be your best bet. Either way, you can get the home you’ve always dreamed about.

Undoubtedly, there are pros and cons that come along with both home remodels and new home builds. Scott Merle Builders can help you with either option and make sure you love the end result. Call us at 315-409-4124 to set up a consultation.

Is Winter a Good Time to Refinish Your Basement?

Basement Renovations

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Most people tend to think of Buffalo or Erie, Pa., as the nation’s snowiest cities, but the truth is Syracuse is. If you check the Golden Snowball Award page on wikipedia for snowiest city, Syracuse keeps winning that title year-after-year.

During a cold and snowy Syracuse winter, it’s a good time to refinish your basement. Think about it: contractors like Scott Merle Builders don’t do as much exterior work in the winter, so they have time to focus on indoor projects, like your basement. They can replace floors, update lights, reroute plumbing pipes, do some painting, and more. Winter months also offer some discounts on things like appliances, lumber products, windows and cabinet lines since January and February are pretty slow at retail, right? Before Christmas, there are sales. After the Christmas rush, businesses get a little desperate for sales in the winter doldrum months, which can benefit a person even more with “rock bottom prices.”

Also, government agencies don’t have as much to do in the winter months, so you’re likely to obtain necessary work permits faster than other seasons of the year.

What are some reasons to have your basement refinished this winter? How about improved storage, creating more rooms you can use (such as a third bathroom or guest bedroom), adding value to your house (especially if you plan to sell it within the next few years), and getting some energy savings as insulation can be added, cracks can be sealed, etc.

For many people, a basement is wasted space, full of some clutter and not much else. But a basement can be so much more. Turn yours into functional space where things are better organized, the rooms are cleaner, better lit, and more attractive, and, if you want, gain extra “rooms” in your house where you can actually spend time doing things you love– basements make for great movie rooms, man caves, tool workshops and kids’ playrooms.

In Central New York, when you want to work with a company that’ll do a great job refinishing your basement this winter, call Scott Merle Builders of Liverpool at 315-409-4124 or email scott@merlebuilders.com.

The Benefits of Adding Stone Peaks to Your Home

Stone Peaks Are you interested in improving the curb appeal and overall appearance of the exterior of your home? One of the best ways to accomplish that goal is by adding stone peaks to your house. It’ll instantly improve the visual appeal and the functionality of your home as the project is complete. There are many other benefits of adding stone peaks to a home, too. Check out a few of them below.

They make your home more durable.

Stone is one of the most durable building materials on the market today. Any time you use stone on the outside of your home, it’ll make your house resistant to everything from wind and rain to snow and ice, which is ideal for Central New York homes. Stone will also hold up well when it sits in the sun all day long and won’t show signs of fading over time. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about insects doing any damage to stone; it’s just about as durable as it gets.

They last for a long time.

Because stone is so durable, you won’t have to think about replacing it anytime soon once it goes into place. Unlike vinyl siding and some of your other options, your stone will hold up for many years to come. In fact, there’s a good chance you won’t ever have to change up the exterior of your home when you decide to go with stone since it’s been known to last for decades and decades on end.

They can help increase the value of your home.

Stone has become a very attractive selling feature for homeowners in recent years. Many are finding ways to incorporate more stone into the interior and exterior of their homes because of it. Stone will make a good first impression on home buyers if you ever decide to sell your home.

If you’re thinking about adding stone peaks to your home, Scott Merle Builders can talk to you about the different ways you can do it. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to set up a consultation for any home renovations you want to do.

Renovation Ideas for a Growing Family

Home Renovations for Young Families Is your home starting to feel too small for your growing family? You could put it up for sale and start looking around for something bigger. However, if you really love your house and don’t want to move, you also have the option of renovating it to fit your needs. Check out some great renovation ideas that will benefit your growing family and allow you to stay where you are most comfortable.

Find a place to put a new bathroom.

As your family grows, it’s going to get harder and harder to find a free bathroom in your home. Rather than spending your mornings yelling “Hurry up!” as you wait outside the bathroom, try to find an area where you can put a new bathroom in your home. It might seem like a small renovation to make, but it’ll make a big difference for your growing family.

Open up your living area.

Does your living area feel extremely cramped when your family sits down to watch a movie or just hang out? See if you can knock down a few walls to make your living space more open. It would be great if your entire main floor could be one open area where everyone can see one another without being on top of each other. It’ll give your family to chance to spend quality time without forcing them to pile into a small living room.

Finish off the basement.

If you have an unfinished basement, now might be the time to finish it like you said you were going to do when you first bought your home. You can add a bathroom to a finished basement, put in a couple more bedrooms, and even create a large play area for your kids to enjoy.

Add an addition and create more square footage.

In some cases, adding a bathroom or opening up an existing living area just isn’t going to cut it. If you need additional square footage to make your home big enough for your growing family, an addition might be exactly what you’re looking for. You can add more rooms to your home and make your home large enough for your family to stay in it.

Regardless of which renovation ideas sound best to you, Scott Merle Builders can handle home remodeling and renovating for your family. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to speak with someone about your renovation options.

Mistakes to Avoid When Determining Room Layouts

Room Layouts Are you going to be renovating your home or putting an addition onto it soon? If so, you’re going to have to come up with the perfect layout for the portion of your home that you’re going to be changing. It’ll allow your home to function in a whole new way. Nevertheless, before you create a new layout, there are some common layout mistakes you should aim to avoid. Take a look at them below.

Creating pockets of space with no clear purpose.

There is nothing worse than having a room in your home that has a pocket of space without a clear purpose. That wasted space will cut into your home’s square footage without offering anything in return. When you are coming up with a layout for a room, make sure you identify what each part of the room will be used for. It’ll allow you to avoid creating space that won’t serve any purpose later.

Failing to work enough storage into the mix.

Every room in your home could always benefit from additional storage. It doesn’t matter if you’re mapping out a bedroom, a living space, or a kitchen. Find as many ways to incorporate storage as you can. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to install new closets. However, it might mean working a bench or another feature that can double as storage into your plans.

Forgetting to consider where your furniture will go.

Your home’s furniture will undoubtedly change over the years. Therefore, you don’t want to plan an entire living area around your oversized sectional. Nevertheless, you should obviously keep it in mind and plan out where you’re going to put it. The last thing you want to do is complete a bunch of home renovations only to find that some of your furniture looks out of place within the new layout.

These are just some of the room layout mistakes that homeowners make. Scott Merle Builders can help you steer clear of them and talk to you about other layout mistakes. Call us at 315-409-4124 today for all your renovation needs.

When Do You Know a Renovation is in Order?

Home Renovations Do you have the most outdated home on your block? Do you cringe every time you pull up in front of it and see how outdated it looks? Do you wish you could do something about it? If you answered yes to these three questions, then there’s a good chance a home renovation is for you. There are other signs that will let you know it’s time to renovate as well. Take a look at some of those signs below.

Your home isn’t as energy efficient as it could be.

The first thing most people say when they start to consider a home renovation is “I can’t afford to do it.” However, the truth is that you can’t afford not to renovate your home if it’s not energy efficient. You could save yourself hundreds and potentially even thousands of dollars every year by replacing your home’s windows, changing your home’s lighting, and doing a bunch of other renovation jobs. It’ll make your home more energy efficient in no time and cut down your energy bills dramatically.

You have old fixtures that don’t look good or work well anymore.

If the sink in your kitchen is more than 20 years old and the lighting fixture hanging over your dining room table has been in place since your home was first built a few decades ago, it’s time for a home renovation. These fixtures are making your home look outdated, and they’re also probably not working as well as they should. You can replace sinks, toilets, lighting fixtures, and so much more when you do a renovation.

You hate the way certain rooms in your home function.

Do you have a kitchen that only allows one person to be in it at a time? Or a master bathroom that is entirely too small? If you don’t like the way spaces in your home function, you can change them by having a home renovation done. They’ll allow you and your family to live more comfortably and make your home more valuable at the same time.

Want to see how a home renovation could benefit you in a big way? Scott Merle Builders can speak with you about home remodeling and renovating and show you ways you could improve your home. Call us at 315-409-4124 to get started.

The Importance of Flexibility When Building a Custom Home

Building Custom Homes Are you planning on building a custom home for you and your family? If so, you’ll want to work with a builder that is experienced when it comes to customizing homes. You’ll also want to work with a builder that will utilize the best materials when putting your custom home together. However, maybe most importantly, you’ll want to work with a builder that knows the value of flexibility. Here are a few reasons why you should try to work with a flexible builder.

You likely have a very clear vision of what you want your custom home to look like.

You’ve probably spent months, if not years, dreaming up the perfect custom home. Therefore, the last thing you want is a builder who is inflexible as far as making your dreams come true. Your builder should be capable of taking your dreams and turning them into a reality, rather than looking for shortcuts. A builder should help inject as much character and personality as you want into your home.

You might change your mind once your custom home starts coming together.

While you might think you know what you want your custom home to look like, there’s always a chance you’re going to change your mind during the process of building it. If you realize that you want to make changes, your builder needs to be flexible enough to make those changes for you on the fly. The last thing you want is for your builder to refuse to make a specific change and give you something other than what you actually want.

You won’t always love specific aspects of your custom home once they’re finished.

It’s going to be impossible to change certain aspects of your home once they’re finished. For example, a builder can’t pick up your custom house and move it if you realize you don’t like the positioning of it. However, if a smaller thing is bothering you, a builder should be prepared to work with you to make the necessary changes and make sure your home is at

Scott Merle Builders has been building custom homes for years now. We understand the importance of flexibility and work to be as flexible as we possibly can when customizing homes. It allows us to produce homes that are unique to our clients. Contact us at 315-409-4124 today to see how we can bring your custom home dreams to life.

Can You Add a Gazebo to Your Deck?

Attaching a Gazebo to Your Deck Are you thinking of ways to enhance the exterior of your property? If so, you may consider attaching a gazebo to your deck. Having a gazebo attached to the deck in your backyard will provide you and your guests with a covered place to sit. It’ll also provide you with more space overall, which will mean that you can throw bigger dinners and parties. But before you attach a gazebo to your deck, you should consider a few things. Check them out below.

Do you have enough space to attach a gazebo to your deck?

The first thing you’re going to want to think about before attaching a gazebo to your deck is whether you actually have enough room to do it. You don’t want to try and stick a big gazebo into a small space since it’ll look silly once it’s done. You also don’t want to build a gazebo if your deck isn’t very large as is since it’ll swallow your square footage right up. You need the room to attach a gazebo to a deck comfortably.

Is it going to be safe to attach a gazebo to your deck?

The next thing to consider when deciding if attaching a deck to your gazebo is a good idea is safety. You shouldn’t try to attach a gazebo to your deck on your own if you’re not familiar with deck building. You could end up overloading your deck and causing it to tip. You could also do other damage to it and make it unsafe for people to sit in the gazebo or on the deck. Safety should be a major concern for you.

Will the gazebo attached to your deck fit the style of your home?

The last thing you’ll want to ponder when considering a gazebo for your deck is the style element. Is it going to look right in your backyard and fit your home’s overall style? You don’t want to have your gazebo sticking out like a sore thumb. Therefore, if you build it attached to your deck, it should match the deck and incorporate some small style touches and colors from your home into the mix.

Attaching a gazebo to your deck can be a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, you can do it with the help of Scott Merle Builders. We can show you several options and help you pick out the right gazebo for your specific deck. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to get started.