Choosing the Right Siding for Your Home

by Gail Brumfield

When it comes to choosing siding for your home, there’s a lot more to consider than you might think. First, you have to choose siding made of high-quality material that will last a long time. Once you choose the material you want, you have to pick a brand that has great reviews and a great reputation. Then, you have to make sure you’re working with a trustworthy company that will install your new siding flawlessly. What may have seemed like a fairly simple project quickly turns into a confusing headache, but with these tips, you’ll be sure to choose siding you’ll love.

Types of House Siding

The first thing to think about is what material you’re going to choose. If you didn’t want to spend a ton of money on expensive materials like brick and stone, there used to be only two main choices for siding: wood and vinyl.

The use of wood-based siding is declining in the United States, mostly due to the fact that it’s not particularly durable or long-lasting. Wood-based siding can rot when exposed to excessive moisture, causing your home to look worn down and neglected. Moisture can also cause wood-based siding to shrink and swell as the humidity goes up and down, which will then make your paint to crack and flake off. Because so many pests are attracted to organic material like wood, wood-based siding will attract more pests to your property than other materials.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is still an extremely common option because it’s affordable, easy to install, and usually requires little maintenance over time. However, vinyl siding does have its disadvantages. Vinyl melts and burns when exposed to extreme heat or flame, and in cold weather, it becomes extremely brittle and is more likely to be damaged by hail or debris from winter storms. Plus, you won’t be able to change the color of your vinyl siding after it’s installed. If your vinyl siding ever needs repairs, you’ll have to make sure the new material matches perfectly, which is made even more difficult by the fact that vinyl siding fades extremely quickly.

James Hardie® Siding

Blue Ridge Exteriors wanted to offer a better option for house siding in Richmond, VA, which is why they carry James Hardie® siding. It’s flame-resistant and non-combustible, so you won’t have to worry about your siding melting or burning due to exposure to extreme heat. James Hardie® siding can be painted any color you want, and it resists shrinking and swelling, so the paint stays looking new and fresh longer. James Hardie® siding from Blue Ridge Exteriors is weather resistant and won’t attract pests to your property like wood-based siding will. If you’re looking for long-lasting, durable, beautiful house siding in Richmond, VA, Blue Ridge Exteriors will work with you to help you choose the perfect siding for your home.

How I Keep An (Almost) Spotless Carpet

by Gail Brumfield

I’ve always been comfortable with the idea of spilling things on the carpet. Spills, I think, are part of a life well-lived with kids and get-togethers with friends and family. But while I’m comfortable with spills, I’m a lot less comfortable with the idea of a stained carpet. So, I’m always ready to deal with stains as soon as they happen. Despite the occasional spill, my carpets look (almost) spotless. Here’s how:

First of all, I don’t wait to take care of spills. If I have guests over for a party, I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to attend to the spill right away. My plain white paper towels are always ready to come to the rescue. And so is my trusty carpet cleaner. I’ve been using the same type for years, and I know that it won’t discolor my carpet. Before you use any carpet stain remover on your carpet, be sure to test it first.

Given the number of spills I’ve picked up, I’d say my technique is spot-on. (Pun intended.) I work outwards in. I blot gently, so as not to push the spill deeper down into the carpet. In fact, I try to keep the liquid on top of the carpet as much as possible.

My carpet cleaning solution doesn’t always work. While it’s great for most liquids (and yes, dog accidents), it’s not the most effective cleaner for dry or especially greasy spills. In these cases, I’ll use warm water with a little dish soap. Most of the time that works well.

That said, you should probably have a professional cleaner in your rolodex that you trust to handle any spills that you can’t remove. I prefer my local Chem-Dry. I’ll call them the same day the spill occurs to arrange for a stain removal; attending to stains before they set is one of the most important things anyone can do to make sure that they can be completely removed.

Here’s another trick: Have your local professional cleaner refresh your carpet stain protection. Over time, your carpet’s factory-applied stain protection will wear off. Any spill will soak in more quickly and will be harder to remove. My local Chem-Dry applied a new coat of stain protection to my carpet, and it helps. Liquids don’t soak in as quickly, and you’re able to blot more liquid away with your towel.

Enjoying Your House For Years

by Gail Brumfield

Did you just move in to your “forever home” or know a loved one that did? Perhaps you are still finishing renovations, but it will be completed in a few years. However, as humans we keep aging. Why do most people leave their beautifully renovated homes to stay at a nursing home? There is a solution to age peacefully at the comfort of your own home. That is with in-home caregivers. From specialty nurses, to trained individuals there is someone out there available to come help you or a loved one.

Depending on what obstacles or health issues you may come across, senior care agencies can provide someone to assist. For example, Seniors Helping Seniors is a franchise that offers senior in-home care by seniors! It provides a comforting feel knowing that an elder person has a companion, and the caregiver can understand more closely what they are going through. Not only is it beneficial for the senior, but also for the caregiver to be helping their community and helping them accomplish their day to day activities.

Some of the services that Seniors Helping Seniors provides is, light housekeeping, cooking and shopping, pet care, medication reminders, escort to appointments and events, and running errands. For more severe patients, they also cover Dementia and Alzheimer’s care, overnight stays and 24 hour care, and respite care. Lastly, this location provides personal care and help with daily living activities including dressing, eating, bathing, etc.

Regardless of the degree of help needed, it is a wonderful thing to consider calling a senior care agency so you can forever enjoy your home. Having the comfort of your hard work, renovations, own bed, etc. is always a perk when trying to balance the difficulties of aging. You can continue taking care of your garden, or sit on your favorite chair while you enjoy a good book. Don’t forget about your beloved pets who can’t come to a nursing home with you. Having an at-home senior caregiver allows you to keep your fur friend as your companion.

Decorating Your Home Windows

by Gail Brumfield

Congratulations on being a home owner! You may know how expensive owning a house can be. Whether you were able to get replacement windows mentioned in a previous blog post, or not.. your windows may look a little bare without blinds or shades. Luckily, there are companies, like Mann Kidwell, out there that are specifically designed to help decorate your home and provide the best solutions for each individual room you have. Depending on the amount of sunlight that comes in those windows, you may need a lighter or heavier shade to enjoy that space.

Here are a few of their products and services that may be beneficial to the next step in your house project to-do list. Your local window treatment dealer should be able to provide the similar help when it comes to costs and products available.


Plantation Shutters

Wood Blinds

Hunter Douglas Window Treatments

Horizons Natural Shades

Solar Shades

Porch and Roller Shades

Drapery and Soft Treatments


In-Home & After Hours Consultations

Repair Service & In-Home Repair

Ultra Sonic Cleaning

Take Down & Rehang Service


Ship Direct

No matter what type of window treatment you are looking for, or the degree of help you need with choosing and installing, companies will be willing to help you. Fortunately, most of these companies provide free estimates as well, so you can see what it takes to hire them vs. installing them yourself. Some people may be able to sew their own valances or curtains, but no one can DIY solar shades and benefit from these specially designed window treatments that places like Mann Kidwell offer.

Kitchen Cabinets – Reface Or Refinish?

by Gail Brumfield

A kitchen is a special place in every home. An organized kitchen is defined by the look of its cabinets, and it’s nice to give the kitchen a makeover every several years. With cabinets, you can choose to reface or refinish. But before we look at which of the two cabinet renovation methods is right for you, it’s important to first understand what these options mean. Cabinet refacing, also known as resurfacing, is a process where you maintain the old framework of your cabinets while completely changing the doors. In short, you are able to update your cabinet’s face, without changing the rest of its physical structure. On the other hand, refinishing involves keeping all the components of your old kitchen cabinets and simply changing the finish or paint. Normally, the stripping is done using chemical strippers or sand, after which you apply a new paint. You can either try and do refacing or refinishing on your own, or you can contact a professional cabinet refinishing company like N-Hance of Tacoma.

Pros and Cons of Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet refacing is often an ideal kitchen renovation solution for homeowners because of the following advantages:

  • When compared to new installations, this method can save some time. Typically, it can take about 3-5 days to reface cabinets.
  • You don’t need a permit to do the cabinet remodeling.
  • You can save roughly 50% of the total cost of installing new kitchen cabinets.
  • You have the freedom to add new cabinets anytime you want.
  • Old cabinet drawers and doors are removed to give your kitchen a new look.
  • Other than the drawers and doors, the other parts of the cabinet remain the same. You don’t have to remodel your entire kitchen.

On the downside, however:

  • This is very difficult to do on your own, so you will need to hire someone.
  • Your cabinet boxes stay, so you stick with them for better and for worse. The interiors of the boxes do not change, and it’s up to you to do the updates.
  • This method can be wasteful as the old materials will need to be disposed.

Pros and Cons of Cabinet Refinishing

In some situations, this method is referred to as cabinet painting because you’re mainly changing the paint or finish. Ordinarily, this method offers the following advantages:

  • The application is cheaper than refacing since your only need a new paint, a stripping agent, and less manpower.
  • You can work on the cabinet on your own schedule, as the application can be a DIY project.
  • You can change the look of your cabinets according to the way you want. The application allows you to stain and color the cabinets with the paint that you prefer.
  • The method is fast, and you can finish the application within a day.

The cons of cabinet refinishing include:

  • Some cabinet finishes such as particle boards swell whenever they are exposed to moisture.
  • Materials such as thin veneers can peel off if you use a chemical stripper.
  • The application may be mess if you are not careful or sure of what you are doing.

Deciding Between the Two

When deciding between refacing and refinishing your kitchen cabinets, you should consider a few things. One, laminate cabinets are best remodeled by refacing. This is because the finish cannot be stripped or sanded, so it might be difficult for the paint to adhere. Two, if you dislike the style of your kitchen, cabinet refinishing is the ideal option. Lastly, if the budget is your major concern and you want to change the look of your kitchen, the smarter choice is still refinishing. This is because it’s cheaper and fast. You won’t spend a lot of effort and money in the remodeling.

Final Thoughts

Whether its cabinet painting or refacing that your kitchen cabinets need, updating them once in a while is a smart move. A renovated kitchen is inspiring and attractive to the user. You’ll always find pride in a smart-looking kitchen, and the process starts with changing the cabinets.

How Replacement Windows Can Increase The Value of Your Home

by Gail Brumfield

You’ve likely heard that replacing the windows in your home will increase it’s value. At face value, it just makes sense – replacing aging things like roofs, siding, or windows in your home with newer ones will certainly increase it’s value, but some might be worried if it’s really worth the effort before selling their home. Here are some ways that showcase why replacement windows are a sound investment when selling your house.

replacement windows

You’ll Be Able To Increase The Asking Price

If you get your windows replaced, you will be able to recoup much of the initial investment by adding it to the asking price of your home. Most people ask for 70-80% of the costs associated with replacement windows and include it in the asking price for their home. For example, if your new windows cost you $14,000, you could add $10,500 to the asking price of your home. This is a pretty solid return on investment, and one of the best ways to increase the value of your home before you move out. You’ll need to ensure you work with a recognizable, quality brand in your area though. To find some of the best ones near you, load up Google and do a search for window replacement companies. For instance, if you live in Richmond, VA, you’d enter “window replacement richmond va” to get local results. Make sure to research each result, look at reviews, certifications, accolades, and other qualifiers on their website. Most legitimate window replacement companies will offer a free quote and consultation, too.

New Windows Dissuade Buyers From Lowballing You

Lets face it – it’s rare to get 100% return on investment for adding new windows to a home before selling it. However, if your home is stuck with old, dated windows or worse yet, ones that need to be repaired, potential buyers will take notice of this. They’ll use this as leverage against you and will ask you discount the asking price since they’ll need to replace the windows themselves. This means they might factor in the full price of replacement windows in their offer, resulting in an offer that would be $14,000 (or potentially even more) under your asking price if we use the previous example.

Replacement Windows Save Money on Energy Bills

Replacement windows will absolutely affect the costs associated with heating and cooling your home. How much is dependent on the quality of the windows you buy, as well as the quality of the installation. However, many people see about 20% difference in the cost of heating and cooling their home after replacing their windows. This information can be included in your listing to appeal to potential buyers.

New Windows Give Your Home A Makeover

New windows will be a great upgrade to your home’s exterior façade, making your home look better overall and dramatically increasing it’s curb appeal. The look of a home is important to a buyer, and while an aesthetic upgrade might not add monetary value to your home, it will certainly make it stand out in the marketplace and attract more buyers. This could be the change that makes a buyer choose your home over another one in the same area.


Specialty Oriental Rug Cleaning

by Gail Brumfield

The outside of your house is preparing for Spring Cleaning, but what about the inside? Do you have carpets, upholstery and rugs that need cleaning? To ensure your home pieces stay beautiful, and looking new make sure you do your research before scheduling a cleaning. For those oriental and area rugs that are expensive, you probably shouldn’t find the cheapest option around the block and you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg either. Let’s look for a middle ground on price, but have high experience and knowledge regarding your specific materials and type of origin for your oriental rug.

Searching For A Rug Cleaning Company

When looking for a rug cleaning company, check to see if they have an off site cleaning facility. This will ensure proper care and handling, as well as quality dry time. If you clean a rug at a home obviously you’re only getting a surface cleaning and NOT getting the entire rug cleaned. If a rug was getting thoroughly cleaned, the middle and backing would be wet and then would do serious damage to the floors in a home. Having a proper facility allows the professionals to do their job to the full ability without household items in the way, and damaging not only the rug but the home.

At Heirloom Rug Cleaning of NC, they pickup your rug and take to a specialized facility for proper dusting, pre-treating, cleaning and drying before we return it to the rug owner. Their customers can sleep well at night knowing their beautiful rugs are taken care of in the proper way.

Oriental Rugs are expensive and treasures from traveling around the world, passed down from family members, or the perfect accent in your home. Don’t let just any company handle your rugs. Call an expert rug cleaning company today to properly clean and return your rugs so your home is clean and ready for Spring. The outside of your house can’t be the only thing that looks good!


Roof Maintenance For The New Year

by Gail Brumfield

The winter months will be over before you know it. As the colder months turn into spring, you should review the outside of your home to check out it’s condition, especially if you experienced heavy snowfall or inclement weather. Once things have warmed up a bit outside your home, it’s time to check things over and handle some light maintenance to ensure your home is in good shape for the spring. Use the list below as a checklist for your review.

Clean Your Gutters

In order for water to run off your roof to the ground, you’ll need to make sure your gutters are clear! If they’re clogged up, it can mean standing water on the rooftop, which can lead to a variety of problems like leaks and water damage.

Get a Checkup from a Professional

Many roofing companies will come inspect your roof for a relatively low cost. It’s easy to find one, simply pull up Google in your favorite web browser and type in the service you’re looking for followed by the closest major city. For instance, if you live in Atlanta, Georgia, you’d type in “roofing atlanta” to see some of the best roofing companies in your area. A professional roofer will conduct a thorough analysis of your roof and let you know if there are any urgent repairs that need to be made, as well as any problems that might grow into larger ones over time. Preventative measures could save you big in the long run, so make sure to carefully consider the feedback you receive from a roofer.

Roof Repair - Replace missing shingles before the spring

Replace Loose Shingles

If your roof has missing shingles, make sure to replace them! Rain is common during the spring, and you’ll want to make sure your shingles are in good shape before your house is getting soaked in water. More rain means less days where someone can safely work on your roof, so you’ll want to ensure to take care of this problem ahead of time.

Check on Your Siding

Your siding might not seem like a component of your home’s exterior that you’d normally check on when examining your roofing, but problems with your siding can affect your roof, and vice versa. When reviewing the condition of your roofing, make sure to check on your siding as well. Take note of the condition of your siding near the roof line and look for any areas that may be water damaged or cracked, or for spots where the siding is coming away from your home. Many professional roofers also offer siding services as well, so you can often work with one service provider to address both issues.


Window Replacement – Things To Consider Before Making Your Decision

by Gail Brumfield


Are you thinking about replacing your home’s windows? There are lots of great reasons to do it. Old windows may be in bad shape, which can mean drafts in your house and increased energy bills. If they’re in really poor condition, they could lead to leaks, pest infestation, or even structural damage to the surrounding walls in your home. They also might just look bad! Old windows can severely date a home, and upgrading them will instantly improve the look of your house. Upgrading your home with a window replacement can also boost your home’s valuation. Below are some things to consider before replacing your home’s windows.


Aesthetics are likely the first thing you’ll think about when choosing new windows for your home. Consider the current design of your house – would your home look best with traditionally styled windows, or will modern styles better match your façade? When choosing replacement windows, consider both the exterior and interior of your home. What will best match the existing architecture? What kind of features and accoutrements do you want the windows to have? What about the color for outside? Inside? All of these are important considerations to make when thinking about how you’d like your windows to look. A good window replacement company will have a variety of window types available in many styles, finishes, and colors, as well as hardware and grille patterns. The best ones will offer completely custom windows cut to shape for your home, so they’re a perfect fit and unique.

Long-Term Benefits

All windows are not created equal. Some windows simply will not have the build quality, energy efficiency, styling, or staying power of those from other manufacturers. When shopping for replacement windows, consider different types of materials for the frames. Vinyl replacements are popular, but they might not as look as good as traditional wooden frames. Frames made from wood may look great, but they can have problems with durability, and often require a lot of maintenance and upkeep. Newer types of composite materials like Fibrex combine the great appearance of wood, with the durability of vinyl. This type of frame-material is truly the “next generation” of window frames, combining the best qualities of other types of materials. They look amazing, provide superior energy efficiency and insulation, are stronger, longer lasting, and require less maintenance than frames made from other types of materials. When shopping for windows, ask your window replacement company if they offer frames made from Fibrex.

The glass in your windows is also important. You’ll want to make sure the windows you purchase come with double panes at a minimum. If you truly want to save money on your power bills, shop around for windows that come with energy efficient glass, that’s suitable for both cold and warm climates. This can greatly reduce the cost of your monthly energy bills, and the savings will offset the initial investment overtime. The best types of glass also block out UV rays, keeping your furniture, walls, and most importantly your family, protected from the sun during bright days.

If you’re ready to replace your windows, start by doing a quick Google search to find companies in your area. For instance, if you live in Charlotte, NC, you could type “window replacement charlotte nc” into Google to pull up some window replacement companies in your area. Check out a couple different ones, read their reviews, and give one of them a call! The best ones will offer a free in-home consultation and will give you a lot of free information so you can make an informed decision. Happy window shopping!

Everything You Should Know About Subcontractors

by Gail Brumfield

A subcontractor is an individual or company that carries out certain tasks on behalf of the main contractor. The need for a subcontractor may arise due to a number of issues including a lack of tools or expertise by the main contractor. Some examples of subcontractors that can be hired include electricians like Robertson Electric, plumbers, landscapers, painters and roofers. For subcontractors to remain relevant in a competitive world they must ensure that they build a good reputation.

It is vital to use a reputable sub-contractor in order to protect your investment. With the recent ravaging scenes left behind by natural disasters, like wild fires and hurricanes, the crucial role played by sub-contractors is front and center. When you hire a sub-contractor you are putting your business in their hands. Ultimate confidence and trust is placed in the hands of these craftsmen. It is imperative to hire qualified sub-contractors to ensure the quality of the numerous construction projects for which they are hired.

There are a myriad of jobs that are hired out to sub-contractors. Almost every aspect of construction has a different contractor that carries out that particular task. There are electricians, plumbers, framers, dry wallers, painters, landscapers and the list keeps going. A handyman might know how to repair a little bit of any part of your structure, but for large and detailed jobs, you need a specialist. Since there are so many skill sets involved in construction be sure your contractor has specific experience in the particular job you need accomplished.

When completing an entire structure, one contractors ability to complete a job usually depends on another’s ability to complete a job. An example of this is the job of an electrician. The electrician needs to install the electric lines completely and accurately before the dry wall can be installed. There are several different instances of this during an entire build. It is another reason to verify the company that you hire. The work they do can create a negative chain reaction if there are quality issues. Costs to repair a botched job quickly escalate if it negatively effects other aspects of the build.

Electrician Installing SocketUsing experienced workers is another way to conserve costs and stay on budget. Someone experienced in doing a particular job has prior knowledge about problems and issues that tend to arise. They will also have experience in what materials and tools best accomplish the task at hand. Both of these aspects equate to money saving decisions. There is no need to experiment with materials or techniques that are unfamiliar. Short cuts and money saving decisions are more easily made when the contractor can predict how the job needs to be completed.

The more experienced a sub-contractor is chances are they have been in business for a longer amount of time and are more reliable to rectify a mistake. Mistakes do happen and problems do arise. When you use someone who has been in business longer, there are better chances that they are properly insured to cover liabilities. There is also a better chance of that person having the capital and means to rectify problems. In the unfortunate event that financial compensation is a part of fixing the problem, a more established business typically has more financial backing.

A more established business has worked hard to gain and maintain a good reputation and they will not want it tarnished. It is not easy to earn a good reputation. It is difficult to get people to vouch for a business. It is even more difficult to get someone to personally refer someone to use a particular business. A contractor or business that worked hard enough to have this kind of reputation will work just as hard to maintain it. When a problem or issue does come up, that contractor will usually go out of there way to rectify or fix the issue. They understand how they deal with problems is just as important as the final product. After they have spent years working on building a good name it is certain they will not be willing to let one issue on one job destroy that time investment. Happy clients only equates to more work and an experienced sub-contractor understands this point. Fly by night contractors do not have reputations to defend. This type of contractor usually works in several different states, traveling to a different state for new clients instead of relying on referrals.

It is easy to select the lowest bidder that will complete the job in the least amount of time. This is particularly true after a natural disaster when you are facing homelessness or joblessness. However, do not succumb to this potentially financially devastating risk. Take the time to shop around for a sub-contractor. Check references, credentials and insurance coverage of the sub-contractor before you even ask for a bid. When you do select a few companies, get more than one bid to be certain that you are getting a fair price. All of this ground work might sound like a big time investment and often it is. However, this time investment will secure the substantial financial investment made in hiring a sub-contractor. It is easy to find reputable sub-contractors if you are prudent.