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Cabinets

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

cabinate
Are you looking to install new cabinets? Are you confused about what type to get and what material to use? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this article is for you. Below you will find a helpful guide on the types of cabinets as well as the most common materials used.
Cabinet types:

 

Ready to Assemble-

These cabinets are readily available and constructed with cost in mind. They are purchased already boxed, the selection is narrow in style, size and material, and they require assembly. You can save a significant amount of money on ready to assemble cabinetry. However, these cabinets don’t have very good long term durability. If you are considering purchasing ready to assemble cabinetry and installing it yourself make sure you are well versed in constructing and installing cabinetry which can be very tricky, even for a skilled professional.

 

Stock-

Stock cabinets are purchased pre-sized from their manufacturer. These cabinets are a basic and economical option. They are mass produced, available in fixed sizes and cannot be altered. However this also makes them less versatile for existing spaces because they are size specific and measured in 3 inch increments. Stock cabinet materials range from plastic laminates or melamime to solid wood, depending on the manufacturer. Thoughtfully purchased stock cabinets can offer attractive and affordable style without sacrificing quality.

 
Semi-Custom-

These cabinets offer a broader selection in both style and material, and semi-custom cabinetry generally marks the mid range option in terms of price point. Semi-custom cabinetry allows for some size adjustments and usually offers better quality cabinet construction. Semi-custom cabinetry has an extensive selection of styles, finishes, storage solutions and decorative enhancements. They consist of everything from stock cabinets fitted with custom doors to made to order cabinets selected from a catalogue of featured styles, materials and finishes.

 

Custom-

On the high end custom cabinets  are completely made to order. They offer the most diversity when it comes to style, material, finishes and accessories. Custom cabinets are one of a kind with tailored sizes and innovative design to fit even the most unique spaces. While the design options are endless, these high price cabinets can quickly exhaust a budget.

 

 

Primary cabinet materials:

 
Solid wood –
Solid wood cabinets are solid homogeneous wood all the way through. The only variation might be boards or panels that are several pieces of solid wood joined together.

 

Medium density fiberboard (MDF) –
MDF cabinets are a engineered wood product that is made up of wood fibers. The fibers are combined with an adhesive under pressure and formed into boards and panels. It’s used in cabinet doors, shelves and cabinet boxes.

 

Stainless steel –
Stainless steel is used to make complete cabinets although it is much less common than wood cabinetry. There are whole cabinets made from stainless steel and there are also some manufacturers that will produce stainless steel doors for wood cabinets.

 

Plastic laminate –
Plastic laminate cabinets virtually use the same material that’s used on laminate countertops although it is usually thinner when used on cabinets. It is basically a plastic product that is formed by fusing paper and plastic resin together under heat and pressure. Laminate is used for covering cabinet boxes and cabinet doors to provide a easy to clean surface.

 

Melamine –
Melamine is another plastic based product that’s also used to cover cabinet surfaces. It is a popular material for covering particle board panels that are used in making cabinet boxes. One type of construction you may see involves cabinet boxes made with melamine and wood veneer over particle board. The melamine is on the inside part of the cabinet and the wood veneer is on the outside of the cabinet box.

 

Thermofoil –
Thermofoil cabinets have a very thin vinyl film covering the boxes, doors and drawer fronts. The vinyl usually starts as a rigid film that is heated and formed over the substrate material. Thermofoil  simply implies that the cabinets are covered with the thermofoil material. The base material will usually be one of the engineered wood products.

 

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about purchasing or installing cabinets.

 

 
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 Jul 20, 2015 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.

Exterior door locks

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

door lock

Are you trying to decide on the best type of exterior door lock for your home? Protecting your home is extremely important and when it comes to locks there are lots of different options. By following this breakdown of the different types of door locks you can choose from will help you better understand what’s right for your home.

 
– Entry lock set

This is for two doorknobs that can be locked from both the inside and the outside. One type locks from the inside by turning or pressing a small button or knob, while a key must unlock the outside. Some models must be locked with a key on both the inside and the outside and in other models only the inside knob can lock or unlock both sides of the door. Lock sets provide medium security and some may come with a quality feature of a dead-latch.

 
– Deadbolt lock

Deadbolt locks provide maximum security on a door. They are called “dead” bolt because there are no springs to operate the bolt. It is only operated manually from the inside. The bolt locks the door to the frame and helps prevent someone from prying the door open. A single cylinder deadbolt is operated with a key from the outside and a turn button on the inside. It is mostly used with solid metal or wood doors. A double cylinder deadbolt is operated with a key on both the inside and the outside. This is best used with a door that had glass in or around it as it prevents someone from breaking the glass, reaching in and unlocking the door. However, double cylinder deadbolts can pose a danger during an emergency. If the key is missing or not available people could be trapped inside a locked house. In some areas codes may also not permit this style of deadbolt.

 
– Surface mounted deadbolt

This type of deadbolt is squarish in shape and mounted on the surface inside the door. The bolt may be turned with a key or a turn knob and instead of sliding into the door frame the bolt slides into a surface mounted strike. Surface mounted deadbolts are easier to install but they are not quite as secure as internal deadbolts are.

 
– Mortise lock

This lock consists of a flat, rectangular box that fits into a recess in the door. It also has two faceplates that include the knobs and keyholes. It is available in right or left handed styles. The latch can operate from either side except when the outside knob is locked and the deadbolt operates by a turn of the inside knob. This type of lock is very common and is used on many types of doors, ranging from heavy entrance doors to apartment buildings.

 
– Night latch

A night latch is installed on the inside surface of the door and has an automatic locking feature. The large spring loaded latch automatically locks whenever the door is closed. This latch is for light security and is usually used in combination with another lock.

 
– Keyless entry system

A keyless entry system is for advanced home security. Audio and visual indicators confirm the lockset is activated. Some models will even sound an alarm after the incorrect code has been entered more than three consecutive times. Anti theft rolling code feature ensures the same code is never used twice and some systems are compatible with garage door openers so the homeowner only needs one remote.

 
– Handle set

A handle set combines a lockset with a deadbolt. The deadbolt is located just above the knob or handle and can be a one or two piece unit. It’s available with both single and double cylinder deadbolts. Styles of lock sets are also available in a variety of styles and finishes.

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about purchasing or installing front door locks.

 
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.

Interior doors

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

interior door

Are you building a new home, remodeling a room, or replacing an old or damaged interior door? There are several options available for interior doors and choosing the right one can sometimes be difficult. Below  you will find some information to help you decide which door style and material will help you add to the existing charm of your home.

 

Interior Door Style

To start it’s good to understand your options when it comes to door styles. Interior doors come in hinged panel, flush, bi-fold, French, sliding, pocket, and other styles. Below you will find a description of the most popular door styles so you can start to become familiar with the options that are out there.

– Panel Doors

Panel doors are the most commonly used interior doors for homes. They have square or rectangular patterns that can range from one single large panel, to eight or more small panels. The patterns can also include rounded tops, decorative finishes, and glass inserts. Selecting a door from this category simply comes down to personal taste. Panel door styles that are currently trending in new homes include: the three panel mission, the five panel equal and the standard whole panel door.

– Flush Doors

Flush interior doors offer a clean and classic look for your home. This door is completely flat and offers an affordable price tag for most home owners.

– Bifold Doors

Bifold doors are a set of interior doors that are hinged together, fold into each other, and are mounted and hung from a track. Bifold doors are most commonly found in areas like bedroom closets, laundry rooms and pantries. You should use this type of door in small spaces or in areas where you’re hesitant to place a full swinging door.

– French Doors

French doors add a dramatic touch to any entryway. This door configuration contains two hinge-hung doors mounted on either side of the opening that swing towards one another. French doors commonly use glass inserts or decorative panels to add a touch glamour. These doors are commonly used in areas that you want to put on display, such as music rooms, offices, living rooms, master bedrooms, etc.

– Sliding Doors

Sliding doors are a less commonly used door. Hung by two or more interior doors mounted to a track. They do not swing so they are useful in areas without much floor space, however they do require space to either the left or right of each door to ensure the doors can move freely back and forth.  While these doors are not extremely common they can be used to provide a unique option for rooms that may originally have been constructed for a French door opening.

– Pocket Doors

Pocket doors are a old style style that has recently come back with a bang. These interior doors are similar to a sliding door, but are usually just a single door mounted to a rolling overhead track.  New versions of the pocket door now allow double doors to be stored in spaces on either side of the doorway. An added benefit to the pocket door is that the wall basically hides any door part, making it a great option for rooms where the door rarely needs to be closed. Pocket doors are great to use in small spaces such as toilet rooms, closets, music rooms, etc.

 

 
Interior Door Material

Selecting a door material usually comes down to two factors: personal taste and budget. There are three common materials for interior doors. They are wood, solid core and hollow core.

– Solid Wood Doors

Solid wood doors have the most weight to them. They are extremely sturdy, have resistance to cracking and chipping, and have a aesthetic appeal. While they are generally the most expensive option, many buyers consider solid wood to be a good value due to their long lasting ability. Solid wood interior doors also offer great insulation and provide a natural sound barrier.

– Solid-Core Doors

Solid-core doors are made from plywood or molded composite exterior, with a filled-wood-fiber interior. Solid-core doors generally look and feel similar to that of a solid wood door and maintain the same feel. They offer good insulation and a quality sound barrier between rooms. These doors like solid wood are heavy and may contract with heat and moisture levels which may cause issues if extreme weather conditions are a factor in your home.

– Hollow-Core Doors

Hollow-core is usually the least expensive of the three materials. These doors are constructed from a wood frame, plywood or hardwood surface and filled with rigid cardboard to maintain their shape. While lighter and less expensive than solid wood or solid-core doors, hollow-core doors are not as durable or fire-resistant. The sound barrier is also weaker due to the door’s composition. However if heat and humidity in your home is a concern these doors are a great option as they do not warp from these conditions.

 

 
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about purchasing or installing an interior  door.

 
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.

Exterior doors

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

door

Are you considering installing a new exterior door? Did you know that replacing your front door can pay for itself by increasing your home’s value, plus if you choose an energy efficient door you can reduce your energy bills by as much as 10%. If you have an annual utility bill of $2,000 that’s a savings of as much as $200 a year.

So how do you know which door is right for your home? Select a door by comparing the three main materials available for exterior doors which are steel, fiberglass, and wood.

 

– Steel

Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, although its advantage over fiberglass and wood is only slight.
Steel’s typical life span under stress is shorter than both fiberglass and wood. A steel door exposed to salt air or heavy rain may only last about 5-7 years. Despite steel’s reputation for toughness it actually didn’t perform very well in “Consumer Report’s” testing against wood and fiberglass for normal wear and tear.
With heavy use it can dent and the damage can be difficult and expensive to repair. If your door will be heavily exposed to traffic or the elements you may be better off choosing a different material.

 

– Fiberglass

Fiberglass doors come in a wide variety of styles many of which have the look of real wood. Plus if limited maintenance is your ideal fiberglass may be your best bet. Fiberglass doesn’t expand or contract as the weather changes. In a reasonably protected location a fiberglass door can last 15-20 years. Although fiberglass feels light to the touch it has a very tough coating that’s difficult for an intruder to breach plus its foam core offers a good amount of insulation.

 
– Wood

Wood is considered the go to choice for high end projects. It’s luxurious look and substantial weight can’t be flawlessly duplicated. If your looking for for a stunning entry way with a handcrafted touch, wood may be the best bet for you. Wood is usually the most expensive choice and requires the most maintenance, although it’s easier to repair scratches on a wood door than dents in steel or fiberglass. Wood doors should be repainted or refinished every 1-2 years to prevent splitting and warping. If you would like a wood door but are concerned about the environmental impact as well as its energy efficiency, you can purchase a solid wood door certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which assures you that the wood was sustainably grown and harvested.

 

*Note
Choosing a energy efficient door depends on several factors besides the material a door is made of. Make sure you look for the Energy Star label when comparing doors.

 

 
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about purchasing or installing an exterior door.
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.

Shopping for a new water heater?

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

water heater

Trying to find the right water heater can be a bit over whelming these days. When you are trying to decide on a new water heater for your home you will want to choose one that not only provides you with enough hot water but also does so as energy efficiently as possible saving you money. This task includes considering the different types of water heaters that are available and determining the right size and the fuel source for your home.
When you are selecting the best type water heater for your home make sure you consider the following:

– Fuel type, availability and cost.

The fuel type or energy source that you use for heating your water will not only affect the water heater’s annual operation costs but also the size you need and it’s energy efficiency.

– Size.

To make sure you provide your household with enough hot water and to maximize efficiency you need a properly sized water heater.

– Energy efficiency.

To maximize your energy and your cost savings you will want to know how energy efficient a water heater is before you purchase it.

– Cost.

Before you purchase a water heater it’s also a good idea to estimate its annual operating costs and compare those costs with others that are less or more energy efficient

It is also important to consider what fuel type or energy source you will use. This also includes the availability and the cost. The fuel that is used by a water heating system will not only affect annual operation costs but also the water heater’s size and energy efficiency. The following is a list of water heater options by fuel or energy source:

– Electricity

As you may already know electricity is widely  available in the United States to fuel conventional storage, tankless or demand-type, and heat pump water heaters. It also can be used with combination water and space heating systems which include tankless coil and indirect water heaters.

– Fuel oil

Fuel oil is available in some areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage water heaters, and indirect combination water and space heating systems.

– Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is available throughout the United States to those who will have or already have a geothermal heat pump installed in their homes for space heating and cooling.

– Natural gas

Natural gas is available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage, tankless or instantaneous water heaters, and combination water and space heating systems.

– Propane

Propane is available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage, tankless or instantaneous water heaters, and indirect combination water and space heating systems.

– Solar energy

Solar energy is available throughout the United States but is most abundantly available in the Southwest for solar water heaters.

 

Last you need to consider the type of water heater that is best for your home. The following is a list of each water heater type:

 

– Conventional storage water heaters

This is a single family storage water heater that offers a tank from 20 to 80 gallons of hot water. It operates by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. To replace that hot water that was released cold water enters the bottom of the tank making sure that the tank is always full.

Since water is constantly heated in the tank energy can be wasted even when a hot water tap isn’t running. This is called standby heat loss. Only tankless water heaters such as demand type and tankless coil avoid standby heat losses. Some storage water heater models have a heavily insulated tank which will significantly reduce standby heat losses and lower annual operating costs. Look for models with tanks that have a thermal resistance or R-Value of R-12 to R-25.

 
– Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters also known as demand type or instantaneous water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When the hot water tap is turned on cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element will heat the water. As a result tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water and you don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. However, a tankless water heater’s output limits the flow rate. A tankless water heater provides hot water at a rate of 2–5 gallons per minute. Gas fired tankless water heaters can produce higher flow rates than electric ones but sometimes even the largest gas fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous multiple uses in a large household. For example taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a tankless water heater to its limit. To overcome this problem you will need to install two or more tankless water heaters connected in parallel for simultaneous use of hot water. You could also install separate tankless water heaters for appliances such as a washing machine or dishwasher which use a lot of hot water.

Tankless water heaters can save you a good bit of money though. For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily it is 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. They can be 8%–14% more energy efficient for homes that use a lot of hot water about 86 gallons per day. You can achieve even greater energy savings of 27%–50% if you install a tankless water heater at each hot water outlet. ENERGY STAR estimates that a typical family can save $100 or more per year with an ENERGY STAR qualified tankless water heater.

The initial cost of a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional storage water heater, but tankless water heaters will typically last longer and have lower operating and energy costs which can offset the higher purchase price. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. They also have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years. In contrast storage water heaters only  last about 10–15 years.

 
– Heat pump water heaters

These water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore they can be 2-3 times more energy efficient than conventional water heaters. To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse. While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dispenses it into the surrounding room, a heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and dispenses it at a higher temperature into a tank to heat the water.

Heat pump water heaters require installation in locations that remain in the 40º–90ºF (4.4º–32.2ºC) range year round and provide at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater. Cool exhaust air can be exhausted to the room or outdoors. Heat pump water heaters will not operate efficiently in a cold space and because they remove heat from the air any type of heat pump system works better in a warm climate.

You can also install a geothermal heat pump  which draws heat from the ground during the winter and from the indoor air during the summer for heating and cooling your home. For water heating, you can add a desuperheater to a geothermal heat pump system. A desuperheater is a small auxiliary heat exchanger that uses superheated gases from the heat pump’s compressor to heat water. This hot water then circulates through a pipe to the home’s storage water heater tank.

 
– Solar water heaters

There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t.

There are two types of active solar water heating systems:

– Direct circulation systems

Pumps household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.

– Indirect circulation systems

Pumps a non-freezing, heat transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. They are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than active systems, but they’re usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer.

There are two basic types of passive systems:

– Integral collector-storage passive systems

These work best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. They also work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot water needs.

– Thermosyphon systems

Warm water rises as cooler water sinks as it flows through the system. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank. These systems are reliable, but are usually more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.

 

– Tankless coil and indirect water heaters

Tankless coil water heaters provides hot water on demand without a tank. When a hot water faucet is turned on water is heated as it flows through a heating coil or heat exchanger. Tankless coil water heaters are most efficient during cold months when the heating system is used regularly but can be an inefficient choice for many homes especially for those in warmer climates.

Indirect water heaters are a more efficient choice even though they require a storage tank. An indirect water heater uses the main furnace or boiler to heat a fluid that’s circulated through a heat exchanger in the storage tank. The energy stored by the water tank allows the furnace to turn off and on less often which in turn saves energy. An indirect water heater if used with a high efficiency boiler and well insulated tank, can be the least expensive means of providing hot water.

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about purchasing or installing a water heater.

 

 

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.

Window materials

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

window frame

 

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.

Low E Glass vs. Window Film

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

low e

Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Energy 25% to 35% of energy is wasted in buildings due to inefficient windows. Imagine the annual savings you could have by installing energy efficient windows! Below we will explore both low E glass and window film to help you decide which one option is best for your home:

 
Low E Glass

When deciding on energy efficient windows, make sure you look for two key performance indicators: the U-factor and the solar heat gain co-efficient. The U-factor is what  indicates a window’s overall insulating value; and the solar heat gain co-efficient is what measures how well a window deflects incoming solar heat. An efficient window should be rated at 0.30 or below in both measurements. A rating of 0.30 would mean 70% of the room’s heat is reflected back into the room during the winter and during the summer it reduces non solar heat gain.

The low E glass products that use an argon gas filling in between the glass are the best options. For hotter climates it is suggested that you install window glass with three low emissivity coatings already built in. With LoE3 the triple stack coating goes on the exterior plate of the inside surface of the glass. This protects the window from the elements and prevents it from tarnishing.

Although this glass is pricey experts say the investment will pay for itself over time with the energy savings you will have.

 
Window Film

When compared to low E windows, the cost of installing tinted film on clear glass is less expensive overall. However heat blocking window film won’t provide the efficiency of the newest LoE3 coatings that are sprayed onto the glass at the factory and then cooled to create a bond.

If you are considering applying a film. Note that when applied to single pane glass it works fine to block infrared and ultraviolet light, but it’s not a good idea with dual pane glass because the film is applied to the inside of the window. Because of this the heat energy that is passed through the dual pane glass is reflected back inside the insulated glass which can cause excessive heat buildup resulting in condensation. Also be aware that applying film to a window may void the glass manufacturing company’s warranty because the film can sometimes cause seal failure in the glass.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about installing low E glass windows or window film.

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.

Window brands and ratings

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

 

window
When shopping for new windows how do you know which brands are best? Below we have complied a list of the most popular  brands, the styles and materials they offer, and the 2014 J.D. Power ratings to help you narrow down your search for the right brand.

American Craftsman by Andersen

American Craftsman windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: double hung, single hung, gliding, casement, awning, hopper, bay, bow, and speciality.

J.D. Power rating 2 out of 5

Andersen

Andersen windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, and vinyl. These styles include: casement, double hung, bow, bay, picture, awning, gliding, and speciality.

J.D. Power rating 3 out of 5

Champion

Champion windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: double hung, casement, sliding, picture, bay, bow, garden, and shaped.

J.D. Power rating 4 out of 5

Jeld-Wen

Jeld-Wen windows and are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles include: double hung, single hung, awning, fixed, sliding, casement, bay, bow, garden, and tilt and turn.

J.D. Power rating 2 out of 5

Kolbe

Kolbe windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles include: casement, awning, double hung, single hung, sliding, tilt and turn, folding, and shaped.

Did not make the J.D. Power rating list in 2014.

Lincoln

Lincoln wood windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood. These styles include: casement, awning, double hung, gliding, bay, bow, and speciality.

Did not make the J.D. Power rating list in 2014.

Marvin

Marvin windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood and clad. These styles include: double hung, single hung, casement, awning, gliding, bay, bow, tilt and turn, hopper, shaped, and round top.

J.D. Power rating 3 out of 5

Milgard

Milgard windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, fiberglass, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles includes: awning, bay, bow, casement, double hung, single hung, garden, sliding, picture, skylight, and round top.

J.D. Power rating 4 out of 5

Pella

Pella  windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles include: casement, awning, double hung, single hung, sliding, bay, bow, and speciality.

J.D. Power rating 4 out of 5

Ply Gem

Ply Gem windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles include: casement, awning, double hung, sliding, bay, bow, and speciality.

Did not make the J.D. Power rating list in 2014.

Reliabilt

Reliabilt windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: single hung, double hung, and sliding.

Did not make the J.D. Power rating list in 2014.

Simonton

Simonton Vinyl windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: picture, awning,double hung, sliding, casement, shaped, garden, bow, and bay.

J.D. Power rating 4 out of 5

Weather Shield

Weather Shield windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood clad. These styles include: double hung, casement, awning, sliding, and speciality.

J.D. Power rating 3 out of 5

Window world

Window world windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: double hung, sliding, casement, awning, bay, bow, hopper, picture, and garden.

J.D. Power rating of 5 out of 5

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about window brands and styles.

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.

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.