What Kind of Windows Should You Use In Your Remodel?

Most of us don’t think about the kind of windows we have until we need to. We just look through them. Then a window breaks, or we add a room to our house, and suddenly we’re shopping for new windows. With all the options available, it’s easy to wonder, “Does it matter?”

The answer is yes. The right windows will help insulate and protect your home, even in the coldest and hottest times of year or the biggest storms. The right window will add value to your home, while a poor window will make you pay in utilities to make up for the poor insulation. Here are some ways to ensure your windows are airtight and prepared for everything.

Choose Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows have two sashes that are both movable. The top sash moves down while the bottom sash moves up. Double-hung windows are known for their airtight quality. The limited latches allow you to open the window just enough to enjoy the breeze on a nice day without any danger of small children getting out or unwanted guests coming in. The double sashes and full screen strengthen the insulation of these windows, keeping cold air out in chilly or windy weather.

Go Vinyl For Your Frames

Vinyl is a great option for your window frames for several reasons, the first being that it’s more affordable than most other window frames. Vinyl window frames also include UV stabilizers to protect them from the most harmful rays of the sun. They have better moisture resistance than wood frames and don’t conduct heat in the way aluminium frames do. There’s also room in the cavities of vinyl frames to include additional insulation.

Keep Your Windows Low-E

With so many attempts to be “energy efficient,” the fact that technology has given us energy efficient windows shouldn’t be a surprise, but it’s certainly a welcome advancement. Energy efficient windows will help your carbon footprint and help you save money on your utilities. Look for advanced low-E insulating glass to keep your home cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and avoid any annoying drafts.

If you’re installing new windows, make sure to talk to a local professional construction group first. They can give you all the best tips for windows that will add value to your home rather than discomfort and a higher utility bill. Windham Construction has served the Brazos Valley area for over twenty years and they’re committed to excellence. Contact them today for a free quote.

Watching the Night Sky in Brazos Valley

Watching the Night Sky in Brazos Valley

On August 21, the whole country will be able to view the first solar eclipse in 99 years. The eclipse won’t reach complete cover over Texas even at the maximum view, but it will still be a beautiful thing to witness (provided you have the right glasses). You can view this once-in-a-lifetime wonder from your own deck between the hours of 11am and 2pm. But even after the eclipse, you can still find beautiful night sky views in Brazos Valley, if you know where to look.

Lake Bryan

One tip for getting the best view of the stars is to get as far away from the bustle of the city as possible. Streetlights, bright signs, and even house lights, all contribute to light pollution, which distorts our view of the stars. Simply put, the further you are from manmade lights, the more stars you’ll be able to see. For this reason, Lake Bryan is a favorite spot for stargazers. It has a relaxing atmosphere, perfect for driving the RV up and camping out for the night. Just spread out a blanket and enjoy the sky full of beautiful stars. You may have to wait until late at night, however, as Lake Bryan has the Lakeside Icehouse & Grill which can cause some commotion and light pollution.

Attend a Star Party

This is the perk of living in or near a college town: Mitchell Institute and the Texas A&M Astronomy Club frequently host star parties for stargazing enthusiasts. These events are held in Simpson Drill Field Review Stands, so you can still see the stars as we see them from the ground, but the astronomy groups also provide computerized telescopes for a closer view. These parties offer a chance not only to look at far away galaxies, but also a view of our moon’s craters and Jupiter and its 67 moons. “This gives people an opportunity to look up and appreciate the sky because everyone takes it for granted,” says physics major, Caitlin Campbell.

Your Own Deck

You don’t have to leave home and find high-tech gadgets to appreciate the stars. Sometimes the best view is the one from your own backyard. Just dim the lights of your home and step outside with a glass of wine or beer and look up. You can familiarize yourself with the constellations that you see every night, have friends over to stargaze with you, or just enjoy a quiet moment between yourself and the much larger universe.  There’s no pay to view, there’s no waiting for the perfect time or place. The perfect time or place is your deck at the back of your own home.

When you’re ready to have a deck installed, find a local construction group who are experts in the area that you can count on to create the perfect deck for outdoor relaxation. Take a look at some of the decks constructed or renovated by Windham Construction. If you like what you see, call them for an estimate of the cost and the time it will take to construct.

Style Ideas for a Multi-Level Deck in Your Backyard

Ideas for a Multi-Level Deck in Your Backyard

If you want to improve the look and function of your backyard, I’m convinced that nothing beats a deck. These have been popular for decades as places to relax after a day’s work and entertain friends on the weekends. A single-level deck provides a sturdy floor to do that, but a multi-level deck increases use even more. Before finalizing plans with your deck builder in College Station, TX, I would like for you to consider everything a multi-level deck has to offer.

Multi-Level Deck Perfect for Sloping Back Yards

If you have a backyard that changes elevation at all, a multi-tier deck is practically essential. If you have a flat deck installed, there will be open, wasted space underneath. While I’m aware this could be covered with boards or lattice, it would still not be as attractive as another section of usable deck.

Start with a level of decking next to the house for easy access through a sliding glass door or another exit. Wide stairs can invite people to step down to the lower level and, then, on to the grass of the backyard to explore the gardens.

Separate the Private Deck from the Party Deck

This style idea is most used when there are both upstairs and downstairs decks on the back of the house. Many people enjoy having an outdoor spot right next to the master bedroom for early morning relaxation and late-night star watching. You may not want your friends and family to head up there during a barbecue, however.

Gated stairs can separate the upper tier from the lower tier in an attractive way that also improves safety if small children are present. This does not affect the style of the cohesive deck system.

Incorporate Pools, Hot Tubs, Pergolas and Gazebos

Backyard pools and hot tubs are often installed near the house and have their own deck, paving or stone surrounds. If you have a deck built at the back of your house, I would recommend extending it to go around the water feature as well. It not only gives a more unified look to the backyard but also makes using the pool or hot tub easier and more accessible.

These same rules apply to any gazebo or pergola you have in your yard. Whether your deck is one level or multi-tier, these additions make it so much nicer. In the hot Texas summers, having a spot of shade and more seating is always welcome for family and friends.

A gazebo could be built either below the level of the regular deck or above it. Pergolas frequently extend directly from the home’s roof line so they would be on the top tier of a multi-level deck setup. Sunrooms and screened porches are other options for us to consider.

Whether you love to entertain tons of family and friends with Texas-style barbecues all summer long or simply want more space to enjoy quiet moments outside, multi-level decks are great options. With the right style, they can give you plenty of room for any activity and improve the overall style of your home’s exterior.

Adding Modern Style in an Old Bathroom Remodel

Adding  Modern Style in an Old Bathroom Remodel

Bathrooms in older homes are usually coated with colored ceramic tile, have a single sink and feature a combination bathtub and shower unit. Not only is this style less attractive than many modern options, but it can also considerably lower overall property value. In College Station, TX, bathrooms are one of the most popular rooms in the house to get the professional touch.

Lose the Pink and Avocado Tilework and Countertops

Gutting an old bathroom is your best bet for bringing it up to date. Removing all the old ceramic tile from the floor and walls is necessary in most cases. Out-of-date molded countertops should also go out with the trash.

Current bathroom styles use stone, glass and ceramic tile in neutral tones, plain white or with colorful accents. Subway tile is still popular on the walls and shower surround. One popular bathroom remodeling update is to use pebble-sized tiles or stones on the shower floor. Floors can even be hardwood if treated to be more waterproof.

Install Elegant Cabinets for Storage

Under-sink cabinets only in older bathrooms left homeowners trying to find storage solutions for towels and toiletries. While this cabinet style is still the most common, other styles are also being included in newer bathroom designs. For example, installing tall or corner built-ins provides more storage without taking up too much floor space.

Very dark espresso brown and black cabinets can often be found in modern bathrooms, but white and pale neutrals are more common. Some people also choose to paint cabinets bright blue, pale aqua or another vibrant color that matches their chosen décor.

Maximizing the Size of Old, Small Bathrooms

One common problem with older bathrooms is that they are quite small. The trend these days is to have more square footage for bathrooms so more cabinetry and fixtures can fit inside. The right home renovation expert in Brazos Valley, TX can come up with a plan to best utilize every inch of the bathroom or can even knock down a wall and expand.

The master bath, for example, could be enlarged if it shares a wall with a large closet the homeowner is willing to sacrifice. During a more extensive home renovation, knocking out unnecessary walls and doing away with separate hallways can provide extra space to extend bathrooms.

Most Popular Features in Today’s Bathrooms

Many people want a separate nook or room for the toilet. This essential fixture can be hidden behind a narrow wall or completely enclosed behind a door like a public restroom.

A walk-in shower much larger than the stalls of years past is a feature many people want. These frequently include built-in tile seats or benches along the side. Multiple shower heads can create a relaxing rain shower.

One optional feature for current bathrooms is the soaker tub. These deep basins offer plenty of relaxation for those who use them, but they require a considerable amount of floor space. So, you should be aware that an older, smaller bathroom may not have enough room available.

Homeowners have different ideas about the perfect style or layout for their bathrooms, but some options are chosen more often than others. Your personal choices will not only provide a more relaxing and rejuvenating experience for everyone in the home but may also increase property value.

Landscape Design Tips for Arbors and Pergolas

Landscape Design Tips for Arbors and Pergolas

When you hire professionals for home remodeling in College Station, TX, leave some money in the budget for arbors and pergolas. In the hot Texas weather, these structures provide shade without restricting air flow to windows and doors. They also provide wonderful opportunities to improve the look and feel of your backyard. No matter what size or style pergola or arbor you have built, these landscape design tips can help you create the most attractive and useful style.

Pergolas Attached to the House

Although this type of outdoor renovation is more complex than building freestanding pergolas in College Station, TX, it can provide extra benefits as you will read below. This type of pergola must be attached to the beams of the house and the roofing material matched.

When it comes to landscape design, a pergola with a solid roof that flows directly from the house roof gives the impression of more living space and a larger home. It also breaks the backyard up into different sections suitable for entertaining or just relaxing after a hard day.

Stand Alone Arbors and Pergolas

Most pergolas and arbors stand away from the house and shade a patio, outdoor kitchen or area around a pool. Many of these are surrounded on three sides by gardens. Low shrubs and flowering perennials make for a beautiful landscape design that will not block air flow.

Under a pergola, arrange outdoor seating and a small table or simply include a couple of benches and some potted plants. Arbors are often used where one part of the yard transforms into another, such as at the entrance to a garden spot or a secluded hot tub nook. If privacy is the goal, larger bushes and climbing vines are a great option.

Great Texas Vines to Grow on Arbors and Pergolas

Vines not only provide beautiful flowers and foliage to look at, they can also increase privacy and shade for anyone sitting under the arbor or pergola. Texas weather allows for several attractive vines to grow.

Purple wisteria is always a favorite flowering vine to grow over landscape structures. This hearty plant provides thick coverage and beautiful blooms. Another flowering option is coral honeysuckle with bright orange-red blossoms. It climbs readily and attracts hummingbirds. Mexican flame vine can also attract these jewel-like birds as well as butterflies. It is particularly hardy and has bright orange flowers.

No matter what type of arbor or pergola you decide to add to your landscape design, it will provide plenty of interest and good use for your entire family. In the grand scheme of a home renovation in Brazos Valley, TX, adding one of these outdoor structures is relatively low cost. Added beauty, backyard use and an economical way to improve cooling in and around your home are all great reasons to have a pergola or arbor installed.