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Looking to add curb appeal?

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Are you looking to upgrade the outside of your home or add some curb appeal without a complete remodel? If so check out these simple improvements:

 

 

– Restore your front door.

A new front door can look impressive, plus it might be able to pay for itself in added resale value.

 

– Renew siding and trim.

Although it can be expensive updating siding is one of the best ways to add value to your home. An exterior facelift automatically transforms the look of a home. Periodic maintenance of the exterior surface is the best way to keep your house looking its best. Any obvious defects such as cracked or rotting material can downgrade your home.

 

– Freshen up the front porch.

A front porch is a key point on your home. Keep the porch floor and railings in good condition and add comfortable furniture to make the porch inviting.

 

– Consider outdoor lighting.

Outdoor lighting is an effective security feature. Plus exterior lights can also give your home a dramatic and attractive look at night. Fixtures can add accent lighting to trees, the house, or can illuminate a pathway. If you aren’t able to use lighting that requires wiring, install solar fixtures instead.

 

– Fix what’s broken.

Repair cracks in sidewalks and the driveway. Patching is an affordable alternative to a complete resurfacing job.

 

– Replace old hardware.

House numbers, a exterior lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, exterior door handles, and an overhead light fixture can add style and interest to your home’s exterior. If they’re out of date or dingy your home may not be as aesthetic you think it is. These elements add the most appeal when they function together rather than as mix-and-match pieces. For example bronze finishes should not be combined with brushed nickel, etc.

 

– Add shutters and replace windows.

Shutters and windows add a welcoming layer of beauty and appeal to your home’s exterior. Shutters and windows can also control the light and indoor temperature. Exterior shutters can be made of wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, or fiberglass.

 

– Replace gutters and downspouts.

If your home has an old gutter system odds are it’s also suffering from peeling paint, rust spots, and other problems that can convey a sense of neglect.

 

– Tile your doorstep.

Create a permanent welcome mat by installing tile or painting a design that contrasts with the porch or front stoop. Not only will you not have to worry about replacing the mat when it gets dingy but you can also impress your visitors with your creativity.

 

– Dress up the driveway.

– If your driveway is cracked, stained, or has vegetation sprouting from it you can upgrade it without doing a complete redo. First repair the cracks and stains, and kill the weeds. Dress it up by staining the concrete or affixing flagstones. If you need more room to move your car or park you can add stone, brick, or pavers to the sides of the drive to widen it with flair.

 

– Build a walkway

A well designed walkway can make your home feel inviting. For a dramatic improvement to a straight concrete path replace it with a contoured one made of stone or brick. For a less dramatic upgrade you can apply a colored concrete resurfacer to the old walkway, then edge with brick or stone borders.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about upgrading your homes exterior.

 

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.

Low flow toilets

Posted by on Mar 18, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

low flow toilet

If the toilets in your home are from the mid 1990s or earlier you should strongly consider installing new ones to save big on your water bills. All new toilet models are low flow. The current Georgia code according to The National Energy Policy Act mandates that all new toilets have to be low flow toilets using no more than 1.28 gallons per flush. Low flow toilets are a smart addition to your home as they can save you money and help the environment at the same time. It is estimated that a family of four could save up to 22,000 gallons of water per year by using a low flow toilet which Home & Garden Television Network equates to as much as a $100 annual water savings.
All toilets have two basic functions the intake of water from the toilet tank and the discharge of waste. There are three basic toilet designs to consider before installing a new toilet:

 

Gravity feed tank

This is the most common type of toilet. It relies on the weight and the volume of water in the tank to flush waste. This type is also relatively inexpensive.

 

Two button flush

This is a gravity fed tank with two amounts of water. One is a half-flush (.8 gallons per flush) for liquid and the other is a full-flush (1.6 gallons per flush) for solids.

 

Power assist or pressure assisted

This system uses compressed air to force the water to flush the waste. There is no freestanding water in the bowl as the water is held in a pressure tank which is inside the toilet tank. This system gives a powerful flush but it is more expensive and noisier than a gravity fed system.

 

 

Feel free to contact C&H Construction with any questions you may have about installing a new low flow toilet in 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.

Stamped concrete

Posted by on Mar 18, 2017 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.

The importance of hiring a licensed and insured contractor

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Are you thinking about or have you hired a contractor to work on your home? If so is that contractor licensed and insured? You might think that just hiring any contractor will do. If this is the case you are very mistaken. It is extremely important that the contractor you hire is licensed and insured! Below we will discuss the importance of contractor insurance and licensing:

 

 
Contractor’s insurance
There are two types of insurance that a reputable contractor should have. Those are liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.
Liability insurance along with a bond covers certain situations such as unexpected damage to your property or work that was done incorrectly.
Workers compensation insurance provides  a payment to workers injured on your property for lost wages and medical care regardless of who was at fault. You wouldn’t want a worker to try to sue you because they were injured.
Making sure a contractor is insured is also insurance that you will be satisfied with your project in the long run. Make sure you ask the contractor for certificates of insurance and check to make sure their policies are current.

 

 

Contractor licensing
When you’re hiring a contractor it is also very important that you check to see if they are licensed. In many states if a contractor is not licensed they may not be able to be insured or bonded. On top of that a building inspector may stop work on a project if it’s being done by a improperly licensed contractor.
In short making sure you hire a licensed, insured and bonded contractor may seem like a lot of work, but in the end it all helps to ensure that you are protected, and working with reliable, reputable professionals.

 

 

 

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

Upgrade your kitchen on a budget

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

Custom Kitchen
Everybody wants a designer kitchen, but unfortunately not everyone can spend $40,000 on a remodeling project. The good news though is that there are some affordable ways to update your kitchen. Did you know that experts say that kitchen upgrades can generally return between 80-105% of their cost when your home is resold? Below you will find some affordable upgrades you can do to your kitchen now without breaking the bank:

 

 
Cabinets

New cabinets can take a big chunk out of your budget and hiring a custom cabinet maker is expensive. However, pre-manufactured, modular kitchen cabinets are very affordable and they have drastically improved in recent years.

Some high quality modular cabinets even now come with warranties. If installing new cabinets is not up your alley you can also get a fresh look by painting your current cabinets and/or changing the hinges and pulls on all your cabinets and drawers.

 

 
Countertops

While almost everybody loves the look of granite not everybody loves the price of granite. Engineered stone is an option, but it can still be quite pricey. Ceramic tile, laminate, and solid wood are the best options for a kitchen with a budget.

 
Ceramic tile- Ceramic tile comes in almost any color or style you can think of and costs about 1/10 as much as stone.

 
Laminate- Laminate is very easy to install and the costs are about the same as tile.

 
Solid wood- Solid wood can be cut, sanded and treated as required. It comes in a variety of wood types and provides a warmth to the kitchen that some other materials simply can’t.

 

 
Kitchen appliances

This might surprise you, but experts say there isn’t much of a difference in reliability between high end appliances and the less expensive ones. You may not get all the bells and whistles on less expensive appliances, but you will get sturdy, functional appliances. Be sure to also look at the details of the different warranties to get the most for your money.

 

 
Flooring

When it comes to flooring less expensive options can often be a better choice than more costly ones. The reason is that no matter how expensive your flooring daily wear and tear will still happen. Some of the best options are ceramic tile, plastic laminate, and vinyl flooring.

 
Ceramic tile- Ceramic tile resists wear, moisture, dents and stains and costs far less than wood.
Plastic laminate- Laminate flooring is one of the most affordable options. Like ceramic tile, laminate is cheaper, easier to install and wears better than solid wood.

 

Vinyl flooring- Vinyl is affordable, stain resistant, easy to install and long wearing. You can even get vinyl that imitates the look of more expensive materials such as wood or even marble.

 

 

 

 

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

Adding curb appeal

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Are you looking to upgrade the outside of your home or add some curb appeal without a complete remodel? If so check out these simple improvements:

– Restore your front door.

A new front door can look impressive, plus it might be able to pay for itself in added resale value.
– Renew siding and trim.

Although it can be expensive updating siding is one of the best ways to add value to your home. An exterior facelift automatically transforms the look of a home. Periodic maintenance of the exterior surface is the best way to keep your house looking its best. Any obvious defects such as cracked or rotting material can downgrade your home.
– Freshen up the front porch.

A front porch is a key point on your home. Keep the porch floor and railings in good condition and add comfortable furniture to make the porch inviting.
– Consider outdoor lighting.

Outdoor lighting is an effective security feature. Plus exterior lights can also give your home a dramatic and attractive look at night. Fixtures can add accent lighting to trees, the house, or can illuminate a pathway. If you aren’t able to use lighting that requires wiring, install solar fixtures instead.
– Fix what’s broken.

Repair cracks in sidewalks and the driveway. Patching is an affordable alternative to a complete resurfacing job.

– Replace old hardware.

House numbers, a exterior lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, exterior door handles, and an overhead light fixture can add style and interest to your home’s exterior. If they’re out of date or dingy your home may not be as aesthetic you think it is. These elements add the most appeal when they function together rather than as mix-and-match pieces. For example bronze finishes should not be combined with brushed nickel, etc.
– Add shutters and replace windows.

Shutters and windows add a welcoming layer of beauty and appeal to your home’s exterior. Shutters and windows can also control the light and indoor temperature. Exterior shutters can be made of wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, or fiberglass.
– Replace gutters and downspouts.

If your home has an old gutter system odds are it’s also suffering from peeling paint, rust spots, and other problems that can convey a sense of neglect.
– Tile your doorstep.

Create a permanent welcome mat by installing tile or painting a design that contrasts with the porch or front stoop. Not only will you not have to worry about replacing the mat when it gets dingy but you can also impress your visitors with your creativity.
– Dress up the driveway.

– If your driveway is cracked, stained, or has vegetation sprouting from it you can upgrade it without doing a complete redo. First repair the cracks and stains, and kill the weeds. Dress it up by staining the concrete or affixing flagstones. If you need more room to move your car or park you can add stone, brick, or pavers to the sides of the drive to widen it with flair.
– Build a walkway

A well designed walkway can make your home feel inviting. For a dramatic improvement to a straight concrete path replace it with a contoured one made of stone or brick. For a less dramatic upgrade you can apply a colored concrete resurfacer to the old walkway, then edge with brick or stone borders.

 

 
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about upgrading your homes exterior.

 
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 new home

Posted by on Jan 30, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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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.

Carpenter bee damage

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Spring is fast approaching which also means carpenter bees will be coming out. Carpenter bees are large black and yellow bees. They can frequently be seen in spring hovering around the eaves of your home or the underside of a deck or porch rail. The carpenter bee got its name from its habit of excavating tunnels in wood with its strong jaws. Carpenter bee holes are usually found on the underside of a board and about a 1/2 inch in diameter.  The tunnels typically run 6-7 inches but can exceed 1 foot! Wooden decks, overhangs and other exposed wood on houses are prime targets. Painted or treated wood are less preferred but they are by no means immune to an attack. Unpainted or stained cedar, cypress and redwood shingles and siding can also be attacked despite of their pest resistant reputations.

If you have damage from carpenter bees give us a call today!

 

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.

Vented vs Vent less fireplaces

Posted by on Jan 15, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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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

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.

 

Pros- 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.

The importance of cleaning and changing your air filters

Posted by on Dec 24, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

filter

Your air filter is dirty but it still does the job right? Wrong! Not only does a dirty air filter not clean the air but it can cause major problems in your home leading to costly repairs.

 
Did you know that dirt and neglect are one of the leading causes of heating and cooling systems failing? A clogged air filter can cause major damage to your heating and cooling system possibly costing thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs. By simply changing the air filter in your system you are ensuring that it stays working properly and that you are getting cleaner and healthier air. This is particularly important for children, the elderly, and those suffering from allergies and asthma.

 
A clean air filter means you are not circulating dust, dust mites, pollen and other small particles throughout your home. With a clean filter your system will be able to purify the air leaving it clean and healthy.

 
Aside from unnecessary damage to your heating and cooling system and cleaner air cleaning out or changing a clogged air filter will also save you a significant amount of money on operating costs! Did you know a dirty air filter uses much more energy than a clean air filter? This means if you have a dirty air filter you also have a higher electricity bill. By keeping your air filter clean and in good condition you can save up to 15% on utility costs!

 

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.