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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Know These Backyard Privacy Ideas

fences# Fences

Fences will always be the ideal way to block unwanted sights and wandering eyes. The traditional privacy fence is 6ft+ tall. Be sure to check with your city’s current ordinances as many have maximum height requirements. These privacy barriers are made of solid wood fitted together with few gaps in between for optimal blockage of sight and sound.

Wood fences are the popular choice for privacy in many neighborhoods. When built well and with taste, they provide required privacy without being intrusive or obtrusive to the homeowner or neighbor. Styles, wood types and finishes are plentiful and can include a gate if need be.  Major styles include trellis, slat, stockade and basket weave. The most used wood types include cedar, cypress, redwood and treated pine. While other exotic woods are increasingly being used for modern fence designs such as the x-frame, louvered and horizontal board styles.

Vinyl and PVC are terrific materials for fencing as they are long wearing, durable and easily maintained. As with wooden fences, many styles are available from white Victorian with ornate finials to simple faux wood slats.

Willow in vertical strips bound by wire attach nicely to an existing fence, such as chain link, provides a terrific solution and a more organic, natural alternative to traditional fences. These fences can be made ornate with a wrought iron decorative frame.

Eclipse™ Privacy Fencing from Ultra Fencing & Railing is another option to consider. It features 3/4″ x 5″ x .080 Tongue and Groove boards as well as PowercoatTM technology for a more durable and private fencing solution.

# Plantings

There are many types of plantings that when fully grown provide an excellent natural backyard privacy option. If privacy is imperative immediately, many shrubs, trees and greenery can be purchased in more mature states of growth.

Bamboo gives the backyard a beautiful look while providing dense covering for privacy as well as shading. It can grow prolifically and quite tall dependent on the variety. It can also be used as thick coverage of the whole property line or grouped for single areas of the yard. Note, it grows quite vigorously and needs to be planted with careful planning.

Trees, shrubs and hedges are a traditional planting approach to backyard privacy with varieties such as Japanese/Texas privet, red tip photinia, podocarpus, junipers, evergreens, viburnum, myrtle, rhododendron and boxwood. When considering plantings for privacy go for greenery that is fast growing, evergreen, dense leafed, and tolerates trimming well.

# Walls

Walls can be another essential way to add privacy although they are not as easily accomplished as fences and some other privacy options. Wall materials include concrete, plaster, plastic and wood panels and come in custom styles and heights.

# Garden Structures

The backyard can be enhanced, activities accommodated and privacy provided by substantial outbuildings in desired areas. These include the modern pergola draped with growing vines or ivy. A latticework enclosed outdoor living structure such as an elegant sitting area will provide a terrific outdoor activity area along with much needed privacy. Gazebos are highly popular and built in many styles and materials to match your home’s exterior and interior decoration. Garden arbors abloom in flowering vines, made from wood or wrought iron, provide privacy while looking beautiful doing it. Simple or elaborate greenhouses also obstruct the neighbor’s view while giving the gift of gardening pleasure.

# Screens

Privacy screens can be used to create a room-like feel on patios, decks and other outdoor spaces as well as camouflaging necessary appliance units such as the AC and the neighbor’s unattractive tree or roof line.

Wrought iron skeleton structures, chain link and lattice in basic square or rectangular shapes or more ornate ones work well as framing for growing lovely climbing vines such as trumpet, wisteria and other perennial climbers. When fully fledged, the vines provide dense privacy and cool shade.

Other screen types include bamboo, wood and vinyl or PVC and can be bought in panels or in sections ready for installation.

No matter the privacy option you choose for your backyard, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can enjoy the outdoors directly from the comfort of your own property without having the whole world or the next door neighbors having the experience along with you.

About Fiberglass

Fiberglass insulation is by far the most common type of insulation and is known by the fluffy pink or yellow material seen in attics, crawlspaces/basements, and stores across the country. As the name suggests fiberglass insulation is made from glass. The glass, which is made up of at least some recycled glass, is melted and then cooled, dyed and spun to create strands of glass fibers or fiberglass. The fiberglass is sprayed with an adhesive and layered upon itself to create the thick cotton candy like battings that are commonly seen. Most battings have a paper/plastic backing that acts as a moisture barrier preventing moisture buildup in the walls.

# How is it installed?

Fiberglass insulation typically comes in long battings (although there is also loose fiberglass insulation available). The battings typically need to be cut to fit in whatever cavity they are being installed in and, are, in the case of walls and crawlspaces, stapled or held in with thin metal rods. When installing them in the attic the insulation is cut to proper length and laid out. Fiberglass insulation can be a little more labor-intensive then blown-in cellulose since you need to move around and cut the insulation. But, fiberglass batting needs no special equipment or tools to install and can be done fairly quickly. Fiberglass battings are not nearly as messy as cellulose insulation.

# What is fiberglass’s value?

Fiberglass batting insulation has an R-value of approximately 3.14. The cost of fiberglass will vary depending on R-value, length, vapor backing and manufacturing. But for an example, Lowe’s sells R-38 precut in 48” length for approximately $45 and will cover approximately 43 sq. ft.  To cover a 1000 sq. ft. area would cost you approximately just over $1000 USD.

# Cons of fiberglass

Fiberglass is not nearly as messy as cellulose insulation and doesn’t require special tools to install but there are still cons. Fiberglass is more expensive per sq. ft. compared to cellulose. Also because it is made of small strands of glass it can be an irritant. If you have ever handled it before you know that your arms and hands feel scratched and raw afterwards. To avoid this you should wear long sleeves and gloves as well as eye and respiratory protection when working with it.

Roofing?, Here Its Tips

roofing# Homebuyer’s beware. A great time to start with any roof assessment is before your closing date. Getting a professional roof inspection before that future home is officially yours will save you a lot of time and costly repairs down the road, which can also be a plus if and when you decide to sell your new home.

# Ensure the roof is built to breathe.Without proper ventilation, heat and moisture can cause sheathing and rafting to rot, roof materials to buckle and insulation to lose effectiveness. This will cause your overall roofing system to be ineffective.

# Include insulation. The best way to achieve appropriate ventilation and good airflow is through proper insulation. To protect a house from heat gain or loss, it’s ideal to include a gap-free layer of insulation on the attic floor and a vapor retarder under the insulation next to the ceiling to stop moisture from rising into the attic. Having open, vented spaces that allow air to pass freely with at least one inch between the insulation and roof sheathing is also ideal.

# Check for attic aftermath. In addition to having a well insulated attic, it’s a good idea to check for water stains and weak shingles after a heavy storm.

# Safeguard against streaking. Make sure to pay close attention to the color of your roof. Roof areas, generally the northern part, exposed to shade during long periods of time in humidity will eventually become streaked with mold, algae or even fungus. And if left unchecked, will eventually deteriorate the roofing material shortening the life of the roof, which could lead to leaks and other signs of trouble.

# Trim troublesome trees. When admiring your home and surrounding landscape, it’s important not to overlook leaning branches seeking companionship with your roof as they can scratch and gouge your roof materials. To prevent damaging or puncturing your shingles, simply trim back and remove any branches getting too close to your roof.

# Clean the leaves and other debris. In addition to bothersome branches, leaves and other elements can clog your gutter system and cause water to backup into the attic, living areas or behind the fascia boards. To ensure your drainage system is free flowing, it’s recommended that you clean your roof at least twice per year. Also, be on the lookout for sagging gutters or damaged drain components and repair or replace as needed.

# Check for signs of shingle damage. Being exposed to everyday wear and tear from various elements can cause shingles to become dilapidated and get torn off, making a roof structure and interior space vulnerable to water seepage and rot. Thus, it’s highly advisable for homeowners to examine roof coverings each year to ensure their integrity.

# DIY roof repairers. Those bold enough to attempt roof repairs themselves need to bear in mind that it’s dangerous up there. It’s advisable to stay on a firmly braced ladder equipped with rubber safety feet when possible. If you do decide to walk on the roof, it’s best to wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping.

# Quality roofing quotes. When repairs go beyond a DIY project, you should make sure to do some homework before calling in the cavalry. It’s advisable to get at least two quotes so you can determine the best combination of quality and price. Think long-term and not cheap when choosing a roofing company and it’ll save you a lot of repair costs down the road.

Bottom line: It’s important to remember the roofline. Taking a top-down approach with yearly inspections and utilizing these quick tips and tricks will help preserve and protect your interior living space for many years to come.