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Shopping for a new fridge?

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

fridge

Refrigerators are often thought of as boxy and boring, having no style and serving no purpose other then keeping your food cold. Times have changed though and manufacturers are now thinking outside the box to try to redefine what the modern refrigerator is really capable of. Today you will find an increasing range of color and style options, cleverly designed units designed to disappear into your kitchen decor, and a wide variety of new smart features.

With the reinvention of the refrigerator finding the perfect model to fit your needs and budget is no easy task. Fortunately we have an overview that is designed to assist you in narrowing down the countless options. Finding the right refrigerator is all about understanding your needs. So let’s get started:

What type of style do I need?

Style wise you have four options to choose from and figuring out which one is best for you is the first step towards making a final decision.

Top freezer

Chances are good that this is the style that immediately pops into your head when you hear the word refrigerator. The bottom two thirds are dedicated to fresh food storage and the freezer is sitting on top. Tastes have changed since this style was first created, so if you’re looking for something modern and high end then a top freezer model probably isn’t for you. However, if style isn’t a big concern then you will find that top freezers offer some of the best bargains on the market. Plus there are still enough of them being made to offer a solid variety of choices.
Bottom freezer

If you’re looking for something more on the simpler side and want a little better access to your fresh foods, then a bottom freezer model might be right for you. Bottom freezer models aren’t much different from top freezer models except for the fact that the freezer is located on the bottom. This means that you won’t have to bend over while looking for commonly used food. However, it does mean that frozen foods will be located around your ankles. Although a majority of models now come with drawer style freezer doors which can make getting frozen food out a little easier. Bottom freezer models do tend to be just slightly bigger than top freezers, but there is also less variety of models to choose from.
Side-by-side

Side-by-side units split your refrigerator in half, offering you frozen food on the left and fresh food on the right. Some models offer equal space for both sections and others allow an extra couple of inches for the fridge. This can make for a narrow freezer section, so if you need a wide freezer space you might want to consider something a little less limiting. Side-by-side models come in a wide variety and tend to showcase more features than horizontal ones. Many of these features are aimed at saving space, especially when it comes to the shelving inside the doors. Side-by-side units also require much less clearance to open the doors, making them ideal for narrow spaces.

 
French door

The very popular french door models combine the drawer of a bottom freezer with the low clearance doors of a side-by-side model. This means that you will have a full width, double door refrigerator with plenty of storage space. Some models come with two separate freezer drawers with the top one located about waist level. This will keep you from bending down not quite as far as you would with a bottom freezer. With the high demand for French door refrigerators you’re sure to find a huge variety of options, including models with top of the line smart features that you won’t find with other styles. You can also upgrade the look of your refrigerator to match your decor or even camouflage it entirely among your cabinets.

 
What size refrigerator do I need?

This can vary but a general rule of thumb is that you will want about 4 to 6 cubic feet of refrigerator space per person in your household along with a little bit of extra room. Full size refrigerators range from 10 to 32 cubic feet so this means that a family of four probably won’t want anything less than 20 cubic feet, and might even prefer something a little bit bigger. That being said a bigger refrigerator means a bigger energy bill so be careful not to splurge on extra space that you won’t actually need as you will be paying more both upfront and down the line. If you are looking for something on the smaller side you will probably want to stick with a top freezer model as none of the other types of refrigerators come in sizes much smaller than 20 cubic feet.

 
Do I need a cabinet depth refrigerator?

Cabinet depth refrigerators are simply refrigerators that are designed to align perfectly with the edges of your cabinets, leaving only the refrigerator door sticking out. This gives your refrigerator the appearance of an expensive, custom made unit that’s built directly into your cabinetry without it actually being custom built. It won’t give you any extra storage space but they are more fashionable than standalone units.

 
What features do I need?

Refrigerators have come a long way since the days of the egg holder and the butter bin. These days you will find a wide variety of features designed to bring a whole new level of functionality to your refrigerator.
Take care of your food

Do you always want a variety of fresh ingredients on hand? Many models offer sectional climate controls for the different compartments in your refrigerator that can help you keep your foods fresher for longer. For example LG’s Push & Seal Crisper Drawer goes so far as to vacuum the air out of your produce bins whenever you close them.

Do you live off of frozen food? Look for advanced defrosting features such as GE’s Frost Guard which is designed to help eliminate freezer burn.

Do you love a nice glass of Chardonnay? Look for a refrigerator with a built in wine rack.
Multitasking  features

Some features are designed to make your refrigerator more functional. Just look at in door water dispensers for example.  Refrigerators have been dispensing water for years but now GE boasts a PreciseFill smart dispenser on several of its models that will dispense the exact amount you need or automatically detect when your cup or water bottle is full. Other models have water dispensers designed to easily accommodate tall or bulky containers. Some will even dispense hot water. Samsung recently teamed up with SodaStream unveiling a refrigerator capable of dispensing fresh seltzer water. LG has started producing models with blast chillers capable of making  your warm drink icy cold in minutes and if you’re constantly making runs to the gas station to pick up a bag of ice for your cooler look for a unit with an ice maker capable of dispensing ice in bulk.

 
Other extras

– Quieting models  that make for less humming and buzzing

– Anti bacterial interior coatings to help keep your food germ free

– LED lighting

– Steel reinforced hinges to support heavy  storage in your door

– Spill proof shelving to help keep messes from dripping through your refrigerator

– Touch screens and built-in Wi-Fi
Should I get a smart refrigerator?

Simply put smart refrigerators are not cheap and whether or not the cost is worth it is really up to you. For some people smart technology gives refrigerators a whole new cool factor and the fact that we use our refrigerators every day makes these features an investment.

Smart energy efficiency

If you are looking for a greener kitchen and lower power bill you will likely enjoy smart features that are aimed at making your refrigerator more energy efficient. Many new models can track their own energy consumption and some even go a step further delivering the information straight to your smartphone and even allowing you to monitor usage or change the temperature remotely. If energy efficiency is an important factor in your buying decision but a top of the line smart refrigerator doesn’t fit within your budget don’t worry there are plenty of other features available that will help you go green without breaking the bank. At least one model comes with a sensor that detects when the door isn’t fully shut and others will allow you to access commonly used ingredients without ever opening the refrigerator at all using a door within a door compartment or a sliding panel. Features like these are small but a big difference when it comes to your energy usage.

 
Communication

Smart refrigerators don’t just share usage data with you. Some Whirlpool models are equipped with 6th Sense Live technology that will send you texts letting you know when the water filter needs to be replaced or alerting you to a power outage. Other models are equipped with intuitive features  that kick in whenever something isn’t working helping you to identify the problem and troubleshoot a solution. There are even models that will offer suggestions on what to make for dinner if you’re willing to take the time to tell your refrigerator what ingredients are inside of it.

 

Entertainment

Some of the most talked about smart features have been focused on entertainment. More than one manufacturer has introduced models with Wi-Fi, integrated speakers, and LCD touch screens built  into the door. Samsung has even incorporated popular apps like Google Calendar and Twitter into its high end models. Do you want to check the weather? Know what’s happening on the morning news? Looking for step by step recipes? Want to stream your favorite Pandora station while cooking? With an entertainment minded smart refrigerator all of this is possible with just a tap.

 

If you decide that a smart refrigerator might be something you would be interested in make sure to shop around. Different manufacturers have different visions for where smart technology is headed so you’ll want to be sure to find a brand that emphasizes the specific type of technology and features that you are looking for. So far it seems that Samsung has focused almost exclusively on entertainment, while Whirlpool’s features are geared more towards energy efficiency. LG has taken a broader approach with its high end refrigerators offering a mixture of smart technology. Other brands such Kenmore and GE are more conservative focusing less on entertainment and connectivity and more on subtle design and engineering upgrades. Though your choices might be limited to two or three models per manufacturer, the variety is definitely there. Whatever your decision is do a little homework, shop around to get the best deal, then buy with confidence.

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about finding a new refrigerator.

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Fiber cement d log siding

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

Fiber-cement-siding

Fiber cement siding is a cost effective material that can look just like wooden d log. It is low maintenance, termite proof and provides fire protection too. This siding offers several advantages over wood and will add value and elegance to your project.

When compared to other siding materials fiber cement siding offers superior resistance, stability, moisture resistance and it is pest resistant too. One of the most important attributes of the fiber cement siding is that it can withstand many variations in weather conditions such as snow, ice, heat and freezing temperatures without decaying. Fiber cement siding requires little to no maintenance when compared to vinyl siding which needs to be cleaned and washed and wood siding which needs to be painted and treated to maintain its beauty.

Fiber cement siding can also be combined with weather barriers and insulation to increase the energy efficiency in your home.  This product has also been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council for its durability and sustainability.

Fiber cement siding is not affected by localized heat, that normally melts or damages vinyl siding. Fiber cement siding holds paint very well and trim board is available in several sizes. It has the durability of cement and usually offers a class 1A fire rating.

Wood insects will not eat or damage it, it does not rot, and is resistant to deterioration from salt and ultraviolet rays. Most companies will warranty their product for about 50 years which is proof of its durability.

Fiber cement doesn’t have many drawbacks unless you are considering using vinyl siding as fiber cements installation and handling costs are higher when compared.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or you may have about installing fiber cement siding.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Septic tanks

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

septic tank Septic tanks are an alternative treatment of wastewater compared to sewer. Septic tanks are often used in rural areas such as the North Georgia Mountains in order to deal with the small amount of sewage created by a single household. The septic tank is part of a septic system. The way the septic system works is one line will enter the tank on one end and exit on the other. By the means of bacteria breaking down the solids, almost everything turns into a liquid. The liquid then flows into the drain field and is absorbed into the groundwater and is cleaned naturally. There is only a little sludge that sinks to the bottom of the tank and stays there. It’s almost like sand.

Installation

The supernate from a septic tank is not as clean as the water released by wastewater treatment plants.  This supernate would pollute streams and the groundwater if it came in contact with them before trickling down through the soil.  As a result soil permeability must be carefully tested before installing a septic system. The term permeability refers to how easily water can trickle down through soil. Septic systems do not work well in clay soils since clay is a relatively impermeable soil and does not allow the supernate to soak in.  So if a septic system is installed in clay soil the supernate often rises to the surface of the ground producing a very unsanitary situation.  The Health Department has established soil testing procedures which must be followed before a septic tank can be installed.  These procedures test the permeability of the soil.  The procedure is outlined below:

1. A 2 feet deep hole is dug in the soil.

2. The hole is saturated with water.  Then the hole is filled with water to a known depth.

3. The water is allowed to sink into the soil for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes the depth of the water in the hole is then measured. Once the soil has been tested and the Health Department has issued a permit the septic system can be installed. The first factor to be considered when you are ready to install is the size of the tank.  The size you need depends upon the size of the family and the type of use.  For example a larger family will create more waste and will require a larger tank. Households which use their tanks for garbage disposal will also require a larger tank. The amount of available land will also influence which tank size is chosen.

In non permeable soil up to 60% of the water can come to the top of the ground and will be dispersed through transpiration or breathing of plants.  The other 40% will become groundwater.

The last consideration when installing fill lines is that the supernate must be distributed evenly across the ground. When the ground is sloped  then the lines should be connected in parallel or in series to provide efficient removal. The lines should also be placed so that they are perpendicular to the slope of the land.  Another way of saying this is that the fill lines should be parallel to the contour lines of the land.

Maintenance

The need for only minimal maintenance is one of the major benefits of having a septic system. Preventing plant growth on the septic field is the most intensive maintenance required after installation. Trees must not be allowed to grow over your septic tank system as the leaves can clog the septic lines. Grass must be mowed above the septic field.  This prevents brush and small plants from growing in the field as the plants could sink their roots down into the septic lines and break them. Also don’t allow anyone to drive or operate heavy machinery over any part of the septic system and don’t build anything over the septic field. Good septic system operation and maintenance include conserving water, being careful that nothing harmful is disposed of through the system, and having the system inspected annually and pumped regularly. By educating everyone in your household about what is and what isn’t good for septic systems you can begin to develop good maintenance habits.

What is harmful

What you put into your septic system can greatly affect its ability to to its job properly. Remember that your septic system contains living bacteria that digest and treat waste. As a general rule do not dispose of anything in your septic system that can be just as easily put into the trash. Your septic system is not designed to be a trash can and solids can build up in the tank and will need to be pumped. The more solids that go into the tank the more frequently the tank will need to be pumped and the higher the risk for problems to arise.

In the kitchen avoid washing food scraps, coffee grinds, and other food items down the drain. Grease and cooking oil can contribute to the layer of scum in the tank and should also not be put down the drain.

The same approach used in the kitchen should also be used in the bathroom. Don’t use the toilet to get rid of plastic, paper, towels, facial tissue, tampons, sanitary napkins, cigarette butts, dental floss, diapers, kitty litter, etc. The only things that should be flushed are waste-water and toilet paper.

When used as recommended by the manufacturer most house hold cleaning products will not affect the operation of your septic system. Drain cleaners however are an exception to the rule and should not be used as they can kill the bacteria and disrupt the operation of the septic tank. Cleaners such as bleach, disinfectants, and toilet bowl cleaners are ok as long as they are used in moderation and in accordance to the product label.

In order to avoid permanently damaging your septic system do not dispose of hazardous household chemicals such as paint, varnish, paint thinners, oil, anti-freeze, pharmaceuticals, antibacterial soaps, gasoline, pesticides, etc. Even a small amount of these chemicals can destroy the helpful bacteria and pollute the ground water. If you need to wash paint or stain from brushes and rollers squeeze out all the excess paint on several layers of newspaper and get as much out as you can before rinsing.

While many products out there claim to help septic systems work better the truth is that most engineers and sanitation professionals believe that commercial septic additives are at best useless and at worst harmful to your system. There are two types of additives: biological (bacteria, enzyme,and yeast) and chemical. Biological additives are harmless but some chemical additives can harm the soil in the septic field and contaminate the ground water.

Appliances

A few appliances can also harm your septic system. They are garbage disposals, hot tubs, and water softening systems .

Garbage disposals can increase the amount of solids in the tank up to 50% and should not be used at all. Because a garbage disposal grinds kitchen scraps into tiny pieces once they reach the septic tank they are suspended in the water and get pumped out with the liquid waste into the soil. It also significantly increases the amount of sludge and scum in your septic tank. Many states require a larger minimum size tank if there will be a garbage disposal in the house.

Hot tubs are very common to have today and while the soothing waters may be good for your body the large amount of water that drains from the hot tub is harmful to your septic system. Emptying large amounts of water into your septic system can cause an overload, stir the solids in the tank causing them to be pushed out into the septic field, and eventually cause the system to fail. Instead of draining the water into your septic system the hot tub water should be cooled and drained on to grass or other areas of your yard away from the septic system.

Some water softening systems pump hundreds of gallons of water into the septic tank all at once. This again can stir the solids in the tank causing them to be pushed out into the septic field, and eventually cause the system to fail. Water softeners also remove the hardness by using a salt to initiate an ion exchange. This flushes pounds of used salt into the septic system and can affect the digestion in the tank and reduce the permeability in the soil of the septic field. If you are going to use a water softening system you should have alternative routing installed.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about installing or maintaining a septic system.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Using a two-way mirror to conceal your TV

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

two way mirror

Are you tired of seeing your TV when it’s not in use? Do you want a TV in places like the bathroom but think you don’t have the space? That’s where two-way mirrors come in! TVs can be concealed behind two-way mirrors and only show through the mirror when the TV is on. The only downside to using a two-way mirror though is that when the TV is off the mirror isn’t quite as reflective as a traditional mirror would be and when the TV is on it is behind the glass so it might not have quite as clear of a picture.

Below you will find the necessary steps to take in order to conceal your TV behind a two-way mirror:

1) Find a place to hide your TV which should be a flat screen model. The best place is a wall that has enough depth to hold your TV.

2) Cut a hole in the wall that is large and deep enough for your TV and place the television inside. Make sure the inside of the hole is completely dark. It is recommended to add venting before sealing the TV inside the wall. This will add ventilation and keep the TV from over heating.

3) Run the wire from your TV off to the side through another hole or cut a hole through the back of the wall and run the wires out there. How you hide the wires depends on how your room is situated and how neat you want it to look.

4) Install an ordinary two-way mirror or a specially made television mirror. (Companies such as HiddenTelevision.com have mirrors made specifically for TVs.) Put the mirror inside a frame and mount it over the hole.

5) Make sure you take extra care that the TV can be seen through the reflective part of the mirror. Turn on the TV and make sure the light from it will pass through the mirror. When you turn off the TV the mirror will bounce light off of it again becoming reflective and hiding the TV from the rest of the world.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about mounting TVs and installing two-way mirrors.
C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Home Security

Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

security

Did you know in 2014 the property crime rate in Blue Ridge Ga was 33.47% while the national average was 27.3%? What is most alarming about these numbers is that the crime has moved from the streets and other public areas into more suburban and residential areas. This implies that the places which should be kept safest for us and our families are now targets for home robberies.

A residential security system is becoming extremely important due to the increasing rate of crime and theft. Security cameras are able to provide us with video footage either live or recorded of our property. In fact the presence of surveillance systems have led to the incarceration of many criminals and have helped in deterring crimes and theft.  Through the years security surveillance cameras have become a lot more affordable. For this reason more and more households and businesses are being equipped with security cameras with the hopes of protecting their properties.

Home security cameras are one of the most popular gadgets that people can equip their homes with these days. Having a security camera in your home may not always prevent your home from being robbed but it does offer a certain level of ease knowing that everything happening in your home is being recorded. With a home security camera no one can go in and out of the house unnoticed and no movement goes undetected and unrecorded. Installing a home security camera in full view can also be one way of warding off and discouraging robbers as security camera footage can be transmitted to local security receiving stations and monitored by people who can immediately respond to unwanted incidents. Furthermore it can also discourage robbers from pursuing the crime as security camera footage can now be used in court as evidence of a crime.

Due to the advancements in technology security cameras now come in many different shapes and sizes. There are also wired and wireless versions of these security systems as well. Security cameras that are internet ready are a good way of monitoring your home while you are away. They can be viewed from almost any location that has a computer with a internet connection. There are also surveillance systems that can notify you through email when movement has been detected in your home. Security cameras that are equipped with motion sensors give them the capability of detecting movements. Even the slightest movement can trigger these motion sensors to start the video recording process. They also have digital security surveillance cameras which are much smaller then normal security cameras.  Despite their size these cameras are capable of recording video for long periods of time. The images and videos they record can be saved and edited in your computer. They have gained in popularity because they have eliminated the need for video tapes to record.

You might be asking yourself how many security cameras do I need in my home?
The specific number of cameras that you will need can depend on many factors such as:
– The size of your property.
– The size of your home.
– The number of rooms.
– The number of entrances and exits.
– How extensively you want every corner monitored.
The number of cameras that you have monitoring your home should not be your one and only consideration though as your home’s security does not stop there. Keep in mind that four home security cameras per room would still be useless if these cameras are not backed up by a solid home security system with people who can monitor and respond appropriately to incidents should the need arise.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about installing a new security system or adding surveillance cameras to your home.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

House site and erosion control

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

grading

Do you have a damp basement, musty smells in your home or even mold or mildew on the walls? These are all indications of moisture getting into your home! The cause of this is likely poor drainage around your home allowing moisture to build up and remain in the soil around your foundation eventually working its way into your home. Fixing drainage problems around your home can be relatively inexpensive as it often comes down to a couple of issues: how rainwater is handled and the grading or slope of your property.

Rainwater

Gutters are a extremely important part of the drainage system around your house. If your gutters are nonexistent, in poor condition, or if the downspout empties right beside your house they could be causing the problem. Gutters need to be installed properly so they will catch the water coming off your roof and direct it away from your house and foundation. Gutters should have a downward slope of 1 inch for every 2 feet of run to ensure they drain completely. They also need to be firmly attached. Screws are best for this as they wont come out as easily over time. If you have seems in your gutters make sure they are well sealed and water doesn’t leak through. Gutters that leak are a problem because the drips land close to the foundation. A downspout diverter directs water from the downspout onto the driveway where it can’t seep into the ground around the foundation. The minimum size for a downspout should be 2×3 inches, but a larger size such as 3×4 inches is better. The larger size makes it less likely that anything will be able to block the downspout. At ground level the water from your downspout should be directed at a minimum of 5 feet away from your house. It’s best to have the water flowing onto a hard surface like a driveway or a splashguard designed to spread the water and stop it from forming puddles on the ground.

Grading

How your house sits on a lot and how the land slopes around it is key in keeping your home dry. Improper grading that doesn’t correctly slope away from the foundation can allow excessive amounts of groundwater to collect in the soil around basement walls. The ground should slope away from the foundation of your house for several feet at a grade of at least 1 inch per foot. It is improperly graded if it is level or angles toward the house. All of the following can easily affect grade around your home.

– Improper landscaping.

Foundation beds should follow the original grade of the site, not slope toward the house.

– Compacted soil.

The soil used to back fill around foundations settles over the years. As it does grading can flatten or even begin to slope toward the foundation.

– Soil erosion.

Wind and water can cause erosion resulting in flat or negative grades.

It’s very easy to check the grade around your house. All you need a level and a flat, thin, straight piece of wood or metal that won’t sag. This is what you do:

1. Remove any decorative rock or mulch from near your house as you want to take the measurement on bare ground.

2. Put the piece of wood or metal on the ground next to the house.

3. Place a level on the wood or metal perpendicular to the house. Raise the lower end of the level until the bubble centers on the indicator.

4. Measure the height between the end of the level furthest from the house and the ground. This will tell you how many inches of drop there is from the house.

As mentioned earlier the ground should slope away from the house for several feet at a grade of at least 1 inch per foot. For example if you’re using a 3 foot level, there should be a 3 inch difference between the two ends of the level. This may not seem like much but it’s all you need to keep water away from your house.
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about grading or installing new gutters.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Steps to take before you build a home

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

Huntcliff

So your thinking about building a new home? What do you do first? When you first starting thinking about building a home it might be tempting to just start designing your dream house. There are however some key steps that you need to take before you start designing.

1) Know your budget.

Your budget will determine all of your decisions. It is essential to understand what you can afford and to be honest when it comes to the numbers. In addition to figuring out the mortgage payments you can afford and qualify for you also need to include, home owners insurance, property tax, and HOA fees if any. Also consider any down payment funds that you have and any other money that you’ll get during the time the house is being built.

2) Select a location.

Selecting the general area where want to live is just the start to finding the perfect location for your new home. Make a list of all the facilities that you need to have access to, such as schools, shopping and public transport, and check the list against each location you’re interested in. If you want to build in a older neighborhood make sure you check the local municipal guidelines about knocking down old houses and building new ones. If you’re looking at a new subdivision make sure you know the architectural guidelines you will have to abide by. Also consider the shape of the of land you want. Do you want a corner lot, a pie-shaped lot with a large backyard or one with a large front garden space? If you have a young children or are planning to have children then look for a location that attracts people with children and have green spaces or playgrounds. One important consideration that also links to your budget decision is how much the taxes in each location are.

3) Buy land.

Buying the land with a land loan or cash allows you to take the land off the market so others cannot buy it before you do. It also allows you to have plenty of time to pick out house plans, submit the plans to the county for approval and obtain a building permit all while obtaining the best construction loan. Construction loans can also include the land into the loan but only if you already own the land and have a balance to add into the construction loan.

4) Create a plan for your house or hire an architect.

There have some great house plan resources on the internet. Just go to Google and type in “house plans” for your local area and you will have more sources than you can handle. If you choose go with a house plan from the internet you will probably still need to make some small modifications for your local building codes and type of land plot. To do this it is best that you hire a local architect.

5) Hire a general contractor.

You can hire a contractor who will organize everything for you and deliver a completed house, or if you choose to you can run everything yourself. However this involves all stages of the house building process from the initial budget and schedule through design to the actual building of the house. You will also have to schedule and interact with all the trades, buy the materials at the right time and perform quality control of adherence to building standards.

6) Know what goes into the estimated cost.

This is the breakdown of each particular cost of construction of the home. The foundation, lumber, framing, plumbing, heating, electrical, painting, etc. The builder usually completes this form to show you exactly what it will cost to build your new home. The most important thing to remember here is that you do not want to underbid any line item and you do not want to overbid any line item. You want accurate numbers from real bids. A Good builder will send out the house plans to their contractors for specific bidding on each main item or can estimate the home themselves. When all the numbers come in the builder will fill out the cost breakdown and come up with a total cost to build your new home.
7) Get construction insurance.

There are three types of insurance needed to build. All banks require the first two types, course of construction and general liability. Workman’s compensation is only required if your contractor has employees.

– Course of Construction Insurance. This policy is an all risk policy to include, fire, extended coverage, builder’s risk, replacement cost, vandalism and malicious mischief insurance coverage.

– General Liability Insurance. You or your contractor can provide this policy. This policy is a comprehensive general policy or a broad form liability endorsement. The minimum amount of $300,000 for each occurrence is required. If the builder provides the insurance a general policy of $1,000,000 or a broad form liability endorsement is required.

– Workman’s Compensation Insurance. If your builder owns his own company and has employees that are helping to build your home, workman’s compensation is required. If the builder simply subcontracts out the work and does not have employees per se, they will need to write a letter acknowledging that they do not have employees and are not required to have workman’s compensation.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about building a new home.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Stamped concrete

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

 

stamped concrete

Stamped concrete is a home remodeling trend that seems to be growing quickly and for good reason. In the past only expensive commercial applications looked decent, and sometimes that was a stretch. Recently though new trends in texturizing and pigmenting allow homeowners to introduce it to their exteriors. Stamped concrete involves pouring slab concrete for driveways, walkways, patios, etc. Then patterns are pressed into the wet concrete to create a textured finish. The patterns are made using large flexible polyurethane stamps. The stamps are about a 2×2 feet square and an inch or two thick. This newer type of stamped concrete imparts textures that can duplicate many different surfaces such as cobblestones, brick, pavers, wood, seashells, and more. Pigment is also usually added to stamped concrete to further duplicate the look of these patterns. Brick, pavers, and cobbles do look great but since they form a surface of many interlocking pieces they can be susceptible to changes in the underlying surface.  Also bricks, pavers, cobbles, etc. allow for weed growth through the cracks. Since stamped concrete is a solid, continuous surface nothing can grow up through as it as the “cracks” in stamped concrete are just impressions in the concrete that only partially go through the surface. A stamped concrete patio will also give you the look and texture of a stone patio for a lot less than the real thing. Up to 50% less! That’s not all a stamped concrete patio is low maintenance as it won’t settle over time creating uneven surfaces. You can also add a stamped finish to an existing concrete slab as long as your old slab is in stable and good condition. You will be raising the height of your old slab by an inch or so, so you will want to make sure the higher level doesn’t interfere with existing steps or vents in your foundation walls. Like anything there are just a few drawbacks to stamped concrete:

– Deep depressions.

Although stamped concrete is a good choice for ADA accessibility, be cautious of deeply embossed patterns. All the texture may be tempting, but it creates uneven surfaces that can make patio furniture wobble and may be hazardous for those with limited mobility. Accessibility guidelines require bumps and ridges on walking surfaces to be no more than 1/4 inch in hight.

– Color.

Although you will have more color options with surface colorants they can flake off over time. A better option is to have your concrete dyed while it’s being mixed for a more permanent solution.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding installing stamped concrete.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

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Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in blog_commentary, Uncategorized | 0 comments

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Vented vs ventless fireplaces

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

 

gas fireplace

There’s something comforting about having a fire crackling on a cool evening in the North Georgia mountains. Not everyone has a chimney though or wants to renovate their home to add one, especially when traditional fireplaces use more energy and release fumes harmful to the environment. That’s where gas fireplaces come in! They’re easier to use, more straightforward to install, and better for the environment. If you do choose to install a gas fireplace the next thing you need to decide is whether you want a vented or a ventless fireplace. There are advantages and disadvantages to using both. Understanding the differences between the two can help you determine what’s best for your home.

Vented Fireplaces

Pros- As the name suggests vented fireplaces require a flue or ventilation pipe to keep combustion by products out of your home. Traditional vented fireplaces have ductwork routed through your chimney. However, if your house doesn’t have a chimney you can install a direct vent fireplace that routes combustion by products out of your home through ducts in your wall. The biggest advantage of a vented fireplace is safety. You don’t have to worry about sparks, hazardous particles, or combustion by products getting into your home as all exhaust fumes are removed. The flames look natural and realistic and certain direct vent models can be great heaters having efficiency ratings up to 80% plus.

Cons- Vented fireplaces are more expensive to install than unvented ones, and installing a vented fireplace in the lower level of a two story house can sometimes be a difficult task because there’s not always a convenient place to run the venting. If your considering a vented fireplace in the lower level of your home C&H Construction can help you determine if it is possible.

Ventless Fireplaces

Pros- Ventless fireplaces are less expensive than vented fireplaces, and sometimes there the only option if you want to add a fireplace to an existing two story home. With a ventless fireplace heat can not escape through a chimney or duct so they also make very effective heaters.

Cons- Ventless fireplaces have caused some controversy because of the fear that they release harmful combustion by products into the home if they aren’t installed and maintained correctly. Since they don’t have a vent they can release measurable levels of carbon monoxide and other chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide into your home as well as large amounts of water vapor. To be safe manufacturers recommend keeping a window partially open when a ventless fireplace is in use or even installing separate ductwork if you don’t have enough cubic feet of space compared to the amount of BTU’s. If you are unsure if you have the proper amount of cubic feet for the fireplace that you want C&H Construction can help you determine if you will need to install separate ductwork.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding installing vented and ventless fireplaces.