Lancaster PA Remodeling Tips & Tricks

January 28, 2010

Tax Credits Continue for Homeowners

The Federal Government has announced that it will be continuing to grant tax credit on energy saving devices this year, as long as the devices are installed and working by December 31, 2010. This extended deadline means that a number of people will be installing better insulation, more efficient heat pumps, new windows, and a host of other improvements this year. Now is the perfect time for you to join in these savings.

First off, you don’t want to wait until the last minute. As the deadline approaches, everyone and their brother is going to be installing all kinds of energy saving devices, so towards the end of the year, you should expect to see these devices get more expensive and see longer waits to have them installed. Besides, going green saves you money, and you’ll be getting the tax credit anyway, so why wait? You can start saving now, and have the same tax credits as people who waited, plus all the money you’ll save on utilities in the meantime.

Of course, many people already knew that you could get tax credit for a more efficient water heater, but did you know that you can have your roof redone? That’s right; certain types of roofing reflect more of the sun’s rays away from your home. Come summer, this will save you a great deal of money on your air conditioning, and you can get a 30% tax credit. You can also replace your windows and doors with the same credit. Upgrades to your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are also given the tax credit.

Here’s the one that blew me away: you can get a tax credit on wood stoves. That’s right; the Federal Government is now willing to give you a tax credit on that fireplace that you’ve always wanted. It will have to meet certain thermal efficiency requirements, of course, but talk about home improvement! The provision also includes pellet stoves, which are more compact than wood stoves and just as cozy in the winter. Of course, the fireplace you install will have to be the real kind – there’s no tax credit on having a natural gas burner with fake logs around it.

There are also tax credits available for people who want to go big, people who are serious about saving the planet and saving money. The installation of a fuel cell generator, wind generator, or solar panel qualifies homeowners for tax credit. If you’ve ever been without electricity because of a winter storm, having an on-site winter or solar system will sound like a very good idea.

2010 is the year to go green.

And remember, Going Green also means SAVING Green!

Until next time,


January 15, 2010

2009-10 Cost vs. Value Report Analysis & more

Hello again! This time around I thought I’d share Remodeling Magazine’s 2009-10 Cost vs. Value Report. This annual report provides consumers with a very valuable resource for finding out how much return they will see from various home improvement projects. First off, it can help you get realistic cost figures for a large number of the home remodeling projects you may be considering. You are also able to compare this to the resale value the projects will add to your home.

The interactive widget* below was provided directly from Remodeling Magazine. Via the widget or on their site you can “compare national and regional averages for 33 popular remodeling projects; you can also download a PDF with project data for any one of 80 U.S. cities.”

Additionally, there are articles about how the Remodeling 2009–10 Cost vs. Value Report was compiled and analysis of this year’s results.

Feel free to leave a comment or email me at if you have any questions.


*For more information on what exactly a widget is, you can go here.

January 7, 2010

Your home needs attention and it’s time to ‘Spring’ into action!

It may be hard to believe but spring is just around the corner. That means that this is the perfect time to plan for your spring home improvement projects. Spring is the most popular time for projects such as replacement windows, kitchen and bath renovation, new siding and new gutters. It’s easy to understand why, after being cooped up in your home for several weeks you’ve had plenty of time to come up with a healthy to-do-list!

Let’s take a look at some additional home improvement projects that are ideal to have done before summer.

Your Driveway — Once the flowers and buds have fallen off of the trees and overnight temperatures stay well above freezing, consider having your asphalt driveway resealed. This job is a small investment that can prevent an early breakdown and adds curb appeal.

Your Lawn — Invest in your lawn early and you’ll enjoy it through the Fall. Professional aeration, fertilizing and reseeding, will make you the envy of the neighborhood. In the long run you’ll also benefit financially because you’re watering will go further and you’ll have fewer problem areas to deal with the rest of the year.

Your Wood Deck — Having a sealant applied on your deck is important, especially if you haven’t done this in years. It will extend the life of your favorite outdoor gathering spot and by having a professional do it, you can have repairs performed before they become full blown issues.

Your Garage — Do you hate clutter? Of course you do! Then again, the garage is the usual place where all of our stuff tends to gather. Have your garage overhauled with rugged cabinets, shelving, and other organizational helpers. You’ll be amazed at how a professional can turn your garage into one of the nicest rooms in your house.

Your Attic — It’s so easy to forget about your attic until there’s a major problem. Have the flooring, walls and roof checked to see if anything was damaged over the winter. This simple preventative investment saves wise homeowners thousands of dollars.

Your Home’s Exterior — Have your gutters cleaned and covered with gutter protection. Have a professional touch up paint under the soffits, around the windows and shutters, and your doorways. If your home has siding, examine for damage and replace panels as needed. Consider repainting the home if it hasn’t been touched up in years; this is another preventative measure that has the fringe benefit of adding curb appeal.

Your Home’s Interior — Have rooms painted throughout the house or consider repainting every room. If it’s not time for a major bathroom renovation; how about a minor one? Have your shower and tile grouted to keep your bathroom watertight. Have new light fixtures and accessories installed. Have your windows and doors examined. Make sure that they are still doing their job before the summer heat arrives. Arrange an inspection of your central air-conditioning system to make sure that it is ready to go when the first heat wave rolls in.

If you’re tired just reading this article, call us now to discuss your needs! We’ve got the know how to get the projects done right. We’ll do all the heavy lifting and you just get ready to enjoy the summer!

-Mike Blank, CGR CAPS

The Shocking Blue Green Theme. Blog at


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