home renovations

Home Improvements For Safety, Comfort And Home Value

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you 5 home improvements that boost safety, comfort and the value of your home

Home improvement season is in full swing, and homeowners across the country are deciding which projects to tackle this year. By taking a strategic approach to selecting home improvements, you can go beyond adding value to your property – you can also boost your comfort and safety as well.
“Many homeowners select stylistic updates when deciding which projects [they want] for their house, but some of the most valuable home improvements aren’t visual,” says Ed Del Grande, home improvement expert, author, TV host and spokesperson for Kohler. “Things that add comfort and safety to a home typically have the best return on investment, as well as the most pull with today’s savvy homebuyers come resale time.”
Del Grande recommends five home improvements to enhance the value, safety and comfort of your home:
1) Standby Home Generator

A standby generator is installed outside your house (like a central air-conditioning unit) and comes on automatically within seconds of a utility power outage to keep your property up-and-running whether you’re home or away. Standby generators are connected to existing gas lines in your home (propane or natural gas), so there’s no refueling necessary. A standby generator like those from Kohler can power critical appliances and systems in a home, including lights, heating/cooling systems, refrigerators/freezers, sump pumps, security systems, office equipment and sophisticated electronics. Adding a standby generator not only increases your comfort and safety, it’s a sound investment. In addition to preventing losses due to power outages, a backup power generator recoups 67.5 percent of its cost at resale, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. To learn more, visit www.kohlergenerators.com for educational videos, sizing calculators and more.
2) Lighting

Updating lighting can have a dramatic effect on a home’s aesthetic, but beauty is just one benefit of redoing light fixtures inside and out. Lights highlight architectural features plus add a safety element to the property. Properly lit paths, stairs and entranceways make it easy to navigate throughout the home. Use solar light to brighten pathways, stair lights to illuminate steps, wall sconces to light functional areas within the living room or bathroom, and under-cabinet lighting to illuminate kitchen surfaces for safer cooking.
3) Front Door

In addition to properly lighting your entrance, there is another simple and affordable update you can make to boost curb appeal and home security: a new steel front door. Doors that feature decorative glass might look nice, but they make it easy for criminals to break into your home. Give your home’s facade a facelift and added security by replacing your entry door with a steel option. With a 96.6 percent recouped cost, it is the number one remodeling project for resale value, according to the Cost vs. Value Report. Plus, steel front doors can be purchased in a variety of colors or easily painted to match your home’s existing color palette.
4) Security System

A security system assures owners that their family and property are secure day and night. Whether you hire a company to install it or you go the DIY route, there are numerous options. Smart security systems go beyond cameras, fire alarms and motion detectors; they allow homeowners to monitor their homes online so they can see when children come home, packages are delivered, or whether they forgot to shut the garage door. Adjustments to locks, lighting and temperature can all be made remotely. Plus, adding a security system often qualifies for a discount on homeowner’s insurance, so ask your agent.
5) Sump Pump

With the recent storms in the Northeast and across the country, flooding has become a major concern. If your home has a basement, it should have a functioning sump pump. Often located under stairways or in basement utility spaces, a sump pump is a special pump that is only activated when water reaches a certain level in a basin that collects water and enables proper drainage around the home. Sump pumps are critical to prevent basement flooding, and they reduce dampness around a home’s foundation. The upfront cost of a sump pump is easily justified when you think about the thousands of dollars in damages it prevents: the average cost of a flooded basement is $21,000 according to FloodSmart.gov (2-inch flood in 2,000 square-foot home).

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

You can view last weeks post here.

Home Inspection Seattle Company Shares Garage Door Safety Tips

Your home inspection Seattle WA home inspection company, The Home Detective, shares garage door safety information.
The garage door’s role in the home has changed dramatically over the last 30 years and most people don’t realize it. Consider this: garage door openers have been installed in 35 million homes across the United States, making them one of the most widely used appliances. In fact, more than 70 percent of today’s homeowners use their attached garage as their main entrance to their home.
While the garage door is one of the most convenient aspects of your home, it is also the largest, heaviest moving object in your home. This means homeowners need to ensure it is working safely. Industry professionals estimate that one out of 15 garage door openers lack the latest safety features.
To combat this trend and increase knowledge about garage door safety, the professionals at LiftMaster – the number one manufacturer of professionally installed garage door openers in the world – have announced the “Don’t Chance It. Check It. Garage Safety initiative.”
Here are some safety tips you can follow to make sure your garage door is safe.
* Safety checks. In 1993, Congress passed legislation that required all new garage door openers sold in the U.S. to come with a set of photo-eyes. These sensors, located near the floor along the sides of the garage door opening, alert the system if anything crosses their path and stops the door from descending further. It’s easy to determine if your system is operating properly with a quick 3-Step Safety Check.
First, make sure the photo-eyes have been installed no higher than 6 inches above the garage floor.
Second, block one of the eyes with an object over 6 inches tall and try to close the door. The garage door should not close.
Third, lay an object at least 1.5 inches in height across the door’s path and press the button to close the door. The door should reverse upon sensing the object.
If your garage door opener fails these safety tests, it may be an ideal time to reach out to a LiftMaster Dealer.
“With every seasonal change, your garage remains a hub of activity – from parking your car to extra storage for the holiday decorations or sporting equipment. No matter the season, it is always the right time to instill good garage safety habits,” says Lou Manfredini, National Home Improvement Expert.- “Start with the door and work your way inside. Participate in LiftMaster’s Don’t Chance It. Check It. Safety Initiative to make sure your garage is in gear with everything from the door to the floor.”
Of Seattle home inspectors, Reid Guthrie guarantees the quality of the inspection you receive. http://www.thehomedetective.net/
* Keep your garage door in tip-top shape. Garage doors, much like cars and other machines, require maintenance in order to run their best. You can keep your garage door running safely and smoothly by making sure all the moving parts are clean and lubricated, especially hinges and rollers.
* Find the right balance. Ensuring your garage door is properly balanced will lead to safer use. To check the balance, close the door and pull the opener release mechanism, allowing you to maneuver the door by hand. A properly balanced door should lift with minimal effort and stay open 3 to 4 feet above the floor.
* Have a backup plan. Much like the rest of your home, your garage door can also be the victim of bad weather. Severe storms can cut power to your garage, making your garage door useless. A battery backup system available on LiftMaster garage door openers guarantees you another 40 successful up-down cycles.
Make garage safety a good habit as it continues to grow into one of the most integral aspects of the home. To learn more about the Don’t Chance It. Check It. Safety initiative and how you can keep your garage door opener running safely, visit www.liftmaster.com/garagesafety or contact your local LiftMaster Dealer.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!
The home inspection Seattle you are looking for, where you are helped to find the best money for your home, is with Reid Guthrie at The Home Detective.

Garage Space

Isn’t Just For Cars Anymore
The word garage, when looked up in the dictionary, has a simple meaning: a building or indoor area for parking or storing motor vehicles. By and large, this definition sums up exactly what comes to mind for most folks when they hear the word. But for some folks, garages are so much more than a space to park the family minivan and store the cumbersome and unattractive trash and recycling bins. Instead, they are functioning spaces of the home that, in the eye of the homeowner, serve just as much purpose as a kitchen or a bathroom and deserve just as much attention to detail.
More and more, people are using garages as space to actually live in. It isn’t just extra room anymore. Since the 1950s, most garages in North America are of the “attached” variety, meaning that they are part of the actual main home and not a separate building on the property. From music studios to man caves, art spaces to playrooms, garages are quickly becoming more integral parts of the family home. They are heated and cooled. They are equipped with cable and Internet capabilities. They are accessorized with attractive lighting and flooring choices.
While wall cabinetry units may still house things like a yard rake and a collection of tennis racquets and lacrosse sticks, they are also being chosen to integrate in such a fashion that the garage is truly seen as another room in the home, no matter what the intended end use of the square footage.
The gateway to the garage, of course, is the garage door. Garage doors, even though they impact the exterior look of the home, have not always been given as much careful consideration, as a design element, as the rest of the house. But now, more than ever, garage doors are getting special treatment in the design arena – both from the exterior and interior perspectives. A consumer using garage space as an art studio may choose a door with more window panels, as to increase and enhance the natural light that comes into the space. The parents of a budding rock band musician who uses the space as a performing and recording area might need to take into account the ability of the door to reduce the noise carrying to other parts of the house. Garage spaces can even be beautifully appointed to serve as living rooms, sunrooms, and a variety of other entertaining spaces that integrate seamlessly with the design and decor of the rest of the home.
A ground-breaking addition to the garage world is the new Trento Collection, distributed by Amarr, a company that has been a leader in the garage door industry with decades of innovation and design. Available in an almost unlimited number of looks, doors in the Trento Collection can be customized to fit the architecture of any home. Unlike traditional garage doors that operate via a series of springs, rails and tracks along the ceiling, Trento Collection garage doors showcase revolutionary technology and Italian design, featuring a patented overlap design that allows the door to open by folding neatly in half without any ceiling hardware to clutter the overhead space in the garage. This allows for a Trento door to take up far less space and appear significantly sleeker on the inside and outside than the traditional garage door.
So give your garage another look. It is a fine space for doing the things that traditionally make us think of garages, of course, but take a look at your garage space with a fresh eye. The space can be so much more. Entertaining space, work space, a space for a personal hobby that you’ve always wanted in your home but could never figure out how to have. The possibilities are endless.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Easy-To-Update Items To Make Your New Home Yours

This year more than 5.4 million homes were sold by the end of August, according to the National Association of Realtors. Are you one of these millions of new homeowners? If so, you’ve most likely felt the urge to settle in immediately. However, before making any major renovations, it’s a good idea to live in a new home a while to see how the space is meeting your needs. Here are a few swift swaps that will have a big impact in making that new house feel like home sweet home.
Personalize with paint
It may be the most obvious update but painting is an easy solution to change the look of a room in an instant. Whether you paint an entire room,-create a bold accent wall or incorporate glossy white trim, paint is an affordable fix for any home.
You can easily and quickly bring your design ideas to life with Shape Tape from FrogTape. Available in three on-trend patterns: Wave, Chevron and Scallop, Shape Tape makes it simple to achieve unique, repetitive decorative painting styles. Each roll of tape features a pre-cut repeating pattern, so all you need to do is simply unroll, apply and get painting to create your desired look. From delicate, narrow waves throughout a bathroom or nursery, to bold, wide chevron patterns in the living area or bedroom, this tape can be used in any room of the house.
Fabulous frames
When moving into a new space, the things you love should take center stage. Once your home reflects who you are, the rest will slowly fall into place. Photo frames are the ideal choice to add a decorative and personalized touch to any room. Bring this common decor pick into the modern age by creating a personal gallery and displaying frames of varying shapes and sizes. To do this, plan the layout of the frames before hanging, either with paper on the wall or by arranging them on the floor. Or, you can simply purchase pre-arranged frame galleries at home decor retailers.
Faucet focus
Kitchen and bath makeovers tend to have the biggest impact on a home and its resale value. However, new homeowners who are strapped for cash may not have a large budget for a full-scale bathroom remodel. Fortunately, there are several basic swaps that can quickly change the look and feel of a bath.
The easiest way to remodel your bathroom is to replace its hardest-working fixture – the faucet. This is a project new homeowners can tackle themselves at a reasonable price. Moen offers a wide variety of faucet options like the new single-handle Boardwalk bathroom faucet, to add a fresh, elegant look to the sink. Available at Lowe’s, Boardwalk fits almost any decor and comes in Moen’s Spot Resist Brushed Nickel finish, which resists fingerprints and water spots, so the faucet will stay looking clean as you show it off to family and friends. For a polished look, swap out old hardware with affordable, coordinated accessories including robe hooks, towel rings and towel bars.
Energy-saving essentials
Wasting energy means wasting money. When you go from a renter to a home owner, it’s important to recognize and fix energy-draining areas before bills pile up. Caulking around windows and spaces between the floor and baseboards in attics and sun rooms will help prevent drafts. Consider purchasing a draft stopper for the bottoms of doors so wind or heat doesn’t slip through. Additionally, service your furnace annually, so it produces more heat while using less energy.
Let there be light
Lighting is a great way to add warmth to a sparse space. If you’re looking to create an intimate atmosphere, place several table lamps throughout the room. -You can also amp up energy savings by switching to LED bulbs – these bulbs don’t cause heat buildup and last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents and 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
It’s very easy for decorating to become overwhelming for new homeowners. By starting with these few swift home decor swaps, your new home will be a comfortable and welcoming environment in no time.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Three Home Improvement Tips To Help You Breathe Easier

One in five Americans suffer from allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). As the 2013 allergy season begins, experts warn that it may be one of the worst in recent years, with people experiencing an unusually strong reaction due to increased tree pollen.
But little attention is paid to the impact of indoor air on allergies, asthma and general health. We spend an average of approximately 90 percent or more of our time indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA reports that “indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher, and occasionally more than 100 times higher, than outdoor levels.”
How does this impact your next home improvement project? A survey by Angie’s List revealed Americans spend more than $300 billion annually on remodeling projects. Yet these endeavors typically focus solely on a home’s aesthetics while ignoring one important consideration: Is your home healthy?
Start at the bottom
We all want beautiful floors in our homes. Many people, however, don’t realize that some new flooring can threaten your indoor air quality. When flooring is installed, you may notice an odor for a few days or even weeks. The odor might mean noxious gases are emitting from the materials used during installation. And these emissions, particularly those resulting from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), could potentially have serious, long-term effects on your health – as well as an immediate impact on the health of family members with asthma or allergies.
The good news is gorgeous flooring options are now available that are certified “asthma and allergy friendly” by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In 2010, Tarkett Flooring committed resources toward developing flooring solutions which help people breathe easier. The company’s FiberFloor is the industry’s only residential flooring currently certified by the AAFA. To earn this certification, the flooring underwent rigorous testing by the AAFA and successfully met the following criteria:
* Installation of the flooring does not result in elevated levels of chemicals.
* The flooring has a low capacity for retaining allergens.
* The recommended cleaning of the flooring will not result in exposure to airborne allergens.
Additionally, other flooring options offered by Tarkett, such as its luxury vinyl tiles and planks and laminates, are FloorScore-certified by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) together with Scientific Certification Systems for better indoor air quality.
Tarkett’s “iSelect” program simplifies flooring options and introduces customers to an interactive, multi-faceted shopping experience.- The system begins with six inspirational color families: Champagne Celebrations, Hushed Conversations, Earthy Connections, Evening Receptions, Fireside Chats, and Warm Gatherings – each offering its own feel and color space to help you find the perfect floor to meet your design, durability and health needs while also coordinating with your existing furnishings and adjoining floors.
Spring for PVC-free accessories
Did you know that your shower curtain can be one of the greatest sources of noxious gas in your home? Many homeowners purchase PVC shower curtains and liners because of their functionality and ease of cleaning. However, according to “Practically Green,” a website for people interested in green living, a recent study “found that 108 different volatile organic compounds, including those known to cause developmental, liver, nervous system, respiratory and reproductive damage, were released into indoor air by PVC shower curtains.” Replacing current shower curtains and liners with PVC-free products are quick and inexpensive fixes that will make your bathrooms healthier for the whole family.
Manage mold and mildew
If you’re noticing moisture or mold building up on your windows, have your home checked by an energy rater or a building analyst. To prevent moisture from getting in your windows, select windows made with double pane, insulated glass to create an insulating barrier and keep moisture, mildew or mold from developing. For added energy savings, you can opt for a Low Emissivity or “Lo-E” coating to keep heat from radiating beyond the side of the window where it originated. You’ll save on your heating and air conditioning bills while also minding your health.
Home improvements should be a proud reminder that your home is your castle and you treat it well. This year, consider investing in simple projects that can also improve the health of the castle’s residents.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Do-It-Yourself Weekend Warrior Survival Guide

It’s the do-it-yourself dream: deciding on the perfect DIY project just as the weekend finally arrives. All the supplies have been purchased and you’re ready to dive right in. However, the enthusiastic start of the project doesn’t always end in completion.
“Knocking out a big home improvement or do-it-yourself project in one weekend can be a rewarding task, but it is also challenging and can be taxing on your knees, feet and back when standing in the same position for several hours,” says Mark Clement, home improvement expert and co-host of the national radio show MyFixitUpLife.
Whether you are woodworking at your workbench or staining a piece of furniture in the garage, Clement offers these tips to make the most of your DIY weekend projects while also feeling comfortable enough to successfully finish them:
Focus on form and technique. When learning a new technique, go slowly, step by step, until you’ve mastered it. Allow your body to become accustomed to the various motions required. Moving efficiently is one of the best ways to avoid injury.
Stay hydrated. Make it a priority to drink at least 125 ounces of cold water each day. Staying hydrated is important when exerting DIY energy, especially in the summer heat. So whether you’re digging up the garden, roofing the shed, or wrenching in a no-AC garage, keep a water bottle or sports drink close by.
Create a comfortable workspace. Be conscious of how long you are standing in the same spot working on your project and how your back feels. To relieve pressure and soreness on feet, knees and back, use a durable mat like the Stanley Utility Mat that is engineered with an optimal balance of cushion and support.
Dress appropriately. Flip-flops and sandals do not offer the balance, protection and support that a sturdy closed-toe shoe or work boot does while tackling home improvement projects. Even if you have the grace of a ballerina in the workshop or yard, it is remarkably easy to drop things on your feet and it only takes a small distraction to create a big problem.
Know your limits. When you only have a weekend to finish a big project, you might be feeling the pressure. Before the project even starts, accept that it may not all go according to plan. Plan for a few different scenarios and remember that you can always ask for help.
Have a first aid kit. Even if you are being extremely cautious, accidents can happen and it’s best to be prepared. Keep a first aid kit with all the essentials (antibiotic ointment, bandages, burn cream, etc.) near you at all times and seek professional medical help if necessary.
For more information about the Stanley Utility Mat, visit stanleyutilitymat.com/ and to tune into MyFixitUpLife visit http://myfixituplife.com/DIY/.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!