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Window materials

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

 

Trying to decide which type of windows to install can sometimes be overwhelming. To help you take the confusion out of window shopping we listed the pros and cons of each type of window material below:

 
Fiberglass

Pros:
Fiberglass windows are very durable with good thermal performance. They are low maintenance and can be painted to any color you desire.

Cons:
Fiberglass windows don’t have many drawbacks except for cost as these windows can be a little bit pricey.

 
Vinyl

Pros:
Vinyl windows are low cost and low maintenance. They also offer good thermal protection.

Cons:
Vinyl windows are not very strong and don’t have good expansion and contraction abilities. They are also not able to be painted so your choice of color is limited.

 
Clad wood

Pros:
Clad wood windows have the look and feel of real wood and have many color choices. The interior is also paintable so it can match your decor and has low exterior maintenance.

Cons:
Clad wood windows can be pricy and the quality can vary. Even though this material has low exterior maintenance it does require interior maintenance.

 

Wood

Pros:
Wood windows have a good thermal performance. The exterior can have architectural detail and there are a wide variety of color choices.

Cons:
Wood windows can have a high cost if you want good quality. They also require exterior maintenance.

 

Composite

Pros:
Composite windows are unique in that they combine different strengths together. They have a wide variety of color choices and are low maintenance.

Cons:
Composite windows do have a high cost. There are a limited number of manufacturers and durability may vary.

 

Aluminum

Pros:
Aluminum windows are very strong and durable. They are low maintenance and have a variety of color choices.

Cons:
Aluminum windows have a very low thermal performance and the quality of the window can vary.

 

Steel

Pros:
Just like aluminum steel windows are extremely strong and durable. They have a variety of color choices and narrow sight lines.

Cons:
Steel windows have a low thermal performance and a high cost. They also have a commercial look and can often feel cold.

 

 
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about window frame material.

 

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.

Do you have woodpecker damage?

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

With all the wood used to build log cabins and homes up here in the North Georgia Mountains it’s only natural that sometimes woodpeckers can be attracted to your house. Woodpeckers can be very damaging to your home. Holes can be drilled into wood siding, window frames, and trim boards. Woodpeckers prefer cedar and redwood, but will damage pine, fir, cypress, and other types of wood when the choices are limited.

 

Woodpeckers peck at homes generally for three reasons.
1) A male woodpecker is drumming to make as loud a noise as possible to attract a mate and to announce to other male woodpeckers that this is his territory. Hollow branches are generally preferred but sometimes a gutter or siding can serve as a substitute.
2) A woodpecker is searching for insects. If you see holes drilled or chipped away not only do you have woodpecker damage, but it can also mean you have insects living in your external boards that the woodpecker found. Often, carpenter bees will drill holes into wood and tunnel through, laying eggs that you don’t even know are there. Woodpeckers open up the tunnels from the outside and eat the hatched larvae.
3) Woodpeckers can use your home as a site for a nest or roost hole if the woodpecker seems to be making a round hole big enough for it to enter. If it has decided this is a good place for a nest it may be hard to get it to leave so it may be easier to install a woodpecker nest box on the side of your house so that it uses the box instead of making holes in your home.

 

 

There are also a few things you can do to prevent woodpecker damage:
– Place fake owls or hawks near your home.
– Loud noises can deter them away if you see them near your home.
Once the woodpecker is deterred from your home if there is any damage is should be promptly fixed so that woodpeckers are not attracted to the damaged site in the future.

 

Do you need repairs to your home caused by woodpeckers? If the answer is yes we can help!

 

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.

Controlling erosion

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

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Erosion control is not just for keeping water away from your house. Did you know that when water from rain or sprinkler systems travel down slopes it will erode soil and wash pesticides and fertilizers into waterways? It can also ruin your landscape design by carving out gullies and uprooting your plants, not to mention causing water damage to your home! There are several erosion control strategies that will help keep your yard intact and looking beautiful:

 

Rain gardens

A rain garden is a garden that rain water is diverted to. Rain gardens help to detain the water while allowing it to soak into the ground where it will water your plants instead of eroding soil.
*Be sure to install plants that can sustain temporary periods of flooding. If you are unsure which plants are suitable give us a call and we will be more then happy to assist you.

 

Mulching

Mulching can help to control erosion on moderate slopes. These are slopes that are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as less than a 33% incline. Applying 2-3 inches of mulch helps to protect the soil, increase the surface area and improve water penetration. Mulching flower beds and around shrubs and trees also provide additional landscape erosion control. You should also place stone, gravel or river rocks in areas that have forceful rainwater to help protect the mulch and anchor the soil.

 

Plants

Plants help to keep the soil firmly in place when water runs across your yard. You can also apply jute netting or coconut fiber mats underneath the plants to help keep the soil from washing away until the plants roots have been established.

 

Retaining walls

For yards that have a severe slope of a 50% incline or greater plants and mulch by themselves are insufficient for erosion control. It is strongly recommend that a retaining wall is installed to control the water flow. Retaining walls are an extremely effective method for erosion control and also a very attractive solution.

 

Do you have water damage to your home caused by erosion? If so we can help!

 

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.

Swimming Pools

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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The Summer is just around the corner and you might be considering getting a pool to keep you cool in the Georgia heat. There are two types of pools to choose from above ground and in ground. So which one is best for you? Below we will discuss some of the major differences to help you decide.

 
Installation-
Above ground pools are able to be installed fairly quickly, and in some cases they can even be installed in one day although most will take several days as you have to clear and level the area, erect the pool, and install the liner and fill it with water.

In ground pools however, will typically take a minimum of 6-8 weeks to install once the work has begun.

*It is important to note that there are very few if any companies that offer pool installation unless you buy the pool from them. This means that a pool purchased online may require a DIY installation.

 

Cost-
Above ground pools are typically priced anywhere from $800-$3000. Online DIY above ground packages typically range from $4000-$8000. The price generally depends on size of the pool, optional equipment and the quality of components. More expensive above ground pools are deeper and thicker, with more durable materials and have options such as in pool lighting, safety ladders and/or steps, pool cleaners, and a more effective filtration system.

In ground pools are typically priced anywhere from $5000 and up. Like all pools the price depends on the pool type, size, options, and features.

 
Landscape-
Many homes have sloping yards, some slope up and some slope down. In both these cases retaining walls need to be used to extend the usable area by cutting into an up slope, or building out over a down slope. There is usually always a way to make a pool work, but it comes with a much higher price tag when significant landscaping and retaining walls are needed.

 

Safety-
No matter which type of pool you choose pool safety is always a concern especially if you have children. Above ground pools are typically considered safer than inground pools. This is because without a surrounding pool deck falling into the pool or hitting your head on the cement is less of a possibility. However, the safest pool is one that surrounded by a 4-sided pool fence during the summer and a safety cover during winter both of which require a solid pool deck to anchor to.

 
Maintenance-
Above ground pools are generally considered easier to maintain than inground pools, however this is only due to smaller size and water volume. It truly depends on the pool equipment and on the care given to the pool. Many above ground pools are sold with small pumps and filters in an effort to keep the cost down and some pool owners don’t run the pump long enough or give the water chemistry enough attention.

In ground pools are more often easier to keep clean given that the pump, filter and cleaning equipment is much larger and more effective then that of a above ground pool.

Another type of long-term maintenance cost is repairs. In ground pools will cost much more in this area than above ground  pools will because above ground pools are simpler, with less things that can go wrong, and fewer products with lower price tags. In the long run an in ground pool can cost several times the amount that a above ground pool will cost.

 

 
Pool Permanence

Aboveground pools are sold in two types, Portable and Permanent. Portable pools are the Intex style pool, used for just a few seasons, perhaps 5 years at the most. “Permanent” aboveground pools last much longer, but their permanence is questionable. I have seen 25 year old aboveground pools, but others may befall some calamity.

Permanence has a reverse benefit for some people, that it can be removed in the future, if one so desired. In-ground pools, especially concrete pools have an easy 50 year lifespan, if not longer, and are difficult to remove.

Inground pools are usually refurbished every 25 years or so, with new tile and coping, plaster and equipment. Vinyl and Fiberglass inground pools also can last for decades, if not 50 years, with new vinyl every 10 years or fiber resurfacing every 20 years.

 
Features-
Some above ground pools can come with  in-pool lighting, heaters, automatic cleaners and salt chlorine systems, but unless you build a custom concrete pool above the ground you are limited to only these basic features.

In ground pools however, can have attached spas, fire features, waterfalls and other features. You can also build an in ground pool in any shape you want not just round or oval or square and  in any color palette you want, not just light blue.

Inground pools can be built with vanishing edges that seem to flow into the horizon, or be equipped with automatic safety covers. They can have tanning ledges, benches and swim-up bars. Anything you can dream up can become a reality with a in ground pool.

 

 

 

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.

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.