Lancaster PA Remodeling Tips & Tricks

March 29, 2010

Sizzling Summer Decks

Filed under: Decks — Tags: , — MBCremodeling @ 7:53 am

Planning on installing a new deck or sprucing-up an existing one this season? If so, you’re not alone. Decks are still among the most popular home improvements. So, what’s hot in decks this summer? Here are some of the top deck trends for summer 2010:

Railings – Once merely a functional safety element, railings are now doing double duty as design statements. Railings are often the first thing one notices about a deck, so manufacturers are offering more aesthetically pleasing, architecturally interesting options. Hot railing trends include decorative balusters of aluminum, iron or even cable, glass panels and railing systems that combine materials for durability, as well as visual effect.

Multiple Levels – Designers are using multiple levels to create virtual rooms for outdoor use. A main deck might function as living and dining space, while a smaller, lower level addition serves as a kitchen area, and another level might host a hot tub. Multi-level decks facilitate multiple uses and add visual interest to the overall deck structure.

Indoor Luxuries, Outdoors – Homeowners want to bring the same luxuries they enjoy indoors outside onto their decks. In response, builders are adding touches like built-in fire pits and fireplaces, full kitchens with professional grade gas grills, spas, built-in benches and cabinets, shade structures and lighting to deck designs.

New Shapes – Piano-shaped, arrowhead and even oval shapes are appearing in back yards across the country. Modern materials, improved building methods and the creativity of designers and homeowners have permanently changed the shape and size of the great American deck. For added pizzazz, you can incorporate a pattern, such as herringbone or checkerboard, into the deck surface.

Composite Materials – While some homeowners prefer wood, composite materials continue to gain popularity. Not only are they durable and often eco-friendly (as many of them are made from recycled materials), composites can now mimic the much-loved look of wood.

-Mike Blank, CGR CAPS

March 16, 2010

Insulate Your Attic to Save Money this Year

Spring’s here… well at least on its way, and there’s one part of the house that’s often overlooked when people are getting their homes ready for the heat of summer or the cold of winter: the attic. Proper insulation will help keep the heat out and the cool in during those dog days of summer. On the flip side, heat rises of course, and for this reason having a good bit of insulation in the attic of your home can save your furnace a lot of work, and you a lot of money, during the winter months also. Also, particularly in older buildings, this measure will help keep upstairs bedrooms cooler or warmer at night, depending on the season.

It’s true that a lot of recently built or remodeled houses already have insulated attics, but living in one of these homes doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. The insulation that was sprayed into your attic could be a variety of different materials, some of which work better than others, and over time, the insulation in your attic can settle, and begin to lose its insulating properties. Also, many newer materials provide a great deal of flame resistance, which is something many of the older insulating materials did not do. This all means that even if you have insulation in your attic, it might be time for an upgrade, and that this upgrade could save you a lot of money on your energy bill, and can make your house more resistant to house fires. In the long run, it’s greener, cheaper, and safer to have the insulation in your attic done or redone sooner rather than later.

Another point to consider is that although fuel and energy prices are relatively low compared to the huge spike we saw in recent years, the prices won’t always be this low, and you can bet that as the cost of electricity and cooling/heating a home goes up, the cost of upgrading a home’s insulation will also go up. The smart thing would be to insulate your attic now while it’s cheapest, and in time to start saving money on your cooling bill this summer.

Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Mike Blank, CGR CAPS

March 1, 2010

Give Yourself a Present: Get that Kitchen Organized

Filed under: Kitchen Remodeling & Renovation — Tags: , , , — MBCremodeling @ 1:35 pm

A kitchen can be a wonderful place to work but, at times, it can also be a bit of a nightmare. Trying to juggle stacks of skillets or dig around for potholders when something is already burning is no fun, but it happens, at least occasionally, to anyone who uses a kitchen. Fortunately, there is hope for lasting and substantial organization to be brought into a kitchen. This hope comes primarily in the form of kitchen cabinet organizers.

Kitchen cabinet organizers are pieces of hardware that can be installed in a cabinet or cupboard to make it easier to get things in and out of storage. The organizer often takes the form of a pull-out shelf or rack, which is mounted to a rail in the bottom of the cabinet, so that items in the cabinet can be set or hung side by side, rather than stacked. In this way, it becomes possible for you to pull out a pan that’s all the way in the back of the cabinet, and rarely used, without having to move all the other pots and pans in the cabinet.

One great thing about kitchen cabinet organizers is that they can be installed in the existing cabinets in your kitchen.

The installation can be completed quickly and easily, and your kitchen cabinets can go from a frustrating mess to an easy to use, well-organized storage system at surprisingly little cost to you. This new level of organization can be particularly helpful as the holidays approach – it will be much easier, and much more fun, to entertain friends and family this holiday season if all your pots, pans, platters and plates are in easy reach, even if you haven’t used some of them since the last holiday season.

All the best!

MBC Building & Remodeling, LLC

The Shocking Blue Green Theme. Blog at


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