Author Archive for bostonconst

Home Additions

Southern Maryland Home additions: Up or out?

Homeowners in Southern MD need to consider whether to build up or out when they add on to homes.

new additon charles countyHomeowners hoping to expand their homes are faced with a number of choices. One of the first they will have to make is which direction to take their expansion. Homeowners can choose to expand horizontally, increasing the footprint of their homes, or vertically.

Professionals urge prospective remodelers to consider the pros and cons to each expansion option, including which direction to build.

One of the first considerations is land space. Building horizontally will cut into yard space that you may have already earmarked for a pool, shed or another feature. Proximity to neighbors and the dimensions of your property will also help to determine if expanding horizontally is a good idea.

Building codes and neighborhood requirements also must be considered before making any renovations. Some municipalities may have rules in place that govern renovations. Add-ons may not be allowed to exceed certain height limits, nor may structures be built within a certain number of feet of property lines.

Homeowners who choose to build upward will have to contend with work crews and other staff being in their homes. Raising the roof may require vacating the premises at a certain point. Also, extensive renovation work will be needed on the lower level of the home, whether it’s to shore up the structure, clean up after the renovation or repair ceilings, drywall and other components where levels meet.

It may seem easier to expand outward, but this requires laying additional foundation for the new building structure. Bringing in digging equipment and masons can be costly. When you build vertically, such foundation work may not be necessary if your home is structurally sound and can bear the weight of the addition.

Building out typically involves the least disruption to your life and the existing space. Homeowners should keep in mind that any renovation will require permits or variances. In addition, if the project increases the value of the home, home insurance costs and property taxes may rise. Only after all considerations have been weighed should a project begin.

Home Improvements Consumer Tips

Kick off home improvement season in Southern MD with easy maintenance projects

(MS) – By Scott McGillivray

attic insulation services in Southern mdAs the days get longer and the weather improves, this is the time to make sure that our homes or rental properties are well maintained. Here are a few do-it-yourself projects to keep your home in tip-top shape:

· Top up your attic insulation. Many older homes have inadequate levels of insulation in the attic that wouldn’t meet today’s building code. Topping it up will help reduce energy consumption and keep your house cooler in the summer months. A great product for this task is Roxul ComfortBatt insulation. It’s easy to install, cuts simply with a serrated blade or bread knife and protects against fire, moisture and mold. Aim for a depth of 16 inches or an R-value of 50. Insulating properly could also provide added benefits, such as improving the longevity of your air conditioner by reducing stress on the unit as temperatures rise.

· Inspect your roof and make minor repairs. Winter in Southern Maryland can be especially hard on a roof. Look for ice, hail or water damage. Replace any cracked or missing shingles and clear any debris.

· Clean your gutters. It’s not glamorous work, but your home’s gutters play an essential role in moving water away from your home and preventing damage. Consider installing gutter guards to ensure your gutters remain functional and free from debris.

· Inspect windows and doors and re-caulk where necessary. Because a proper seal is essential in both heating and cooling seasons, this job should be performed twice a year to protect against drafts and moisture, and to keep insects out. Worn weatherstripping should also be replaced.

Other simple jobs include fixing leaky faucets, repairing and resealing decks, inspecting the foundation and scheduling a checkup for your HVAC system. The key is being honest about what you can handle and, when in doubt, call in the pros.

Scott McGillivray is the award-winning TV host of the hit series Income Property, a full-time real estate investor, contractor, author, and educator. Follow him on Twitter @smcgillivray.

For all your home improvement repairs in Southern Maryland call Boston Construction.

Successful Basement Remodeling

How to ensure a successful basement remodel

Soundproof your Southern MD home

Southern Maryland residents continue to fuel remodeling spending, driven by upward growth in real estate prices and the rising cost to trade up to a larger home. Basement renovations are expected to be a hot trend, as buyers look to maximize available living space rather than move, and as young buyers look to offset the cost of homeownership with potential income suites.

While finishing a basement can be a great alternative to moving — especially if you love your neighborhood – there are some challenges homeowners must be aware of when tackling below-grade living spaces. Choosing the right products is vital to the comfort, safety and function of your new living area. Look for products that help to maximize energy efficiency and protect against moisture, fire and noise.

Here are the top points to consider to ensure a successful basement renovation.

Waterproof it. Check the interior foundation and floors to make sure there are no existing moisture issues, water damage or mold problems. Address any primary moisture issues before finishing the space. Examine grading to ensure water runs away from your foundation.

Insulation is key. Insulation plays a critical role in making your basement feel comfortable, while keeping it safe and dry. For the best results, install a rigid board insulation, like Roxul ComfortBoard IS, against the concrete foundation before you stud the wall. The board is mechanically fastened or adhered to the concrete foundation wall, which prevents thermal bridging through the studs, providing better thermal performance. Finish with a moisture-resistant and dimensionally stable insulation between the studs, like R14 Comfortbatt, to protect against common basement issues such as mold, mildew and rot.

Choose a functional design. Draw out plans, carefully taking into consideration any low ceilings or small windows. Try to incorporate structural features, such as attractive wood beams, into your design. Keep the space as open as possible. Select lighting that provides a bright, airy feel.

Don’t forget to soundproof it. Soundproofing is the ultimate solution to maximize your basement’s quiet and privacy. Whether your newfound space will function as a home theatre, music room, home office or playroom, it will benefit from quality acoustic insulation, like Roxul Safe ‘n’ Sound. Not only is it highly effective, but it’s also easy to install.

Consider fire safety. Since many basements are now being renovated as income suites, fire protection is also a vital consideration. Whenever possible, select building materials with a high fire-resistance rating and look for products that will not off-gas or contribute to toxic smoke in the event of a fire. Include additional exits in your renovation plan and educate yourself on your local fire code.

Before you start your renovation, be sure to check with your municipality to secure the right permits and to ensure that you’re complying with local bylaws and building codes. Finishing a basement can be a smart renovation, if done properly, adding to a home’s value, increasing its function and providing greater enjoyment or income potential.

Remodeler in Charles County MD

Are you looking a remodeler in Charles County MD that knows about basement remodeling?

How to ensure a successful basement remodel

Finishing a basement can give you the extra living space you’re looking for without moving.  For some a finshed basement is a way to supplement income by renting out the newly renovated area.

basement remodeler charles county mdWHY hiring a professional might be the best option

While finishing a basement can be a great alternative to moving — especially if you love your neighborhood – there are some challenges homeowners must be aware of when tackling below-grade living spaces. Choosing the right products is vital to the comfort, safety and function of your new living area. Look for products that help to maximize energy efficiency and protect against moisture, fire and noise.  This is sometimes easier said than done because there are many products to choose from.  Reading the fluff on the package may lead you to believe a product can do things it really can’t.  For instance wood flooring is wonderful in some homes but not all.  What these products don’t ask you is how much moisture is in the basement area you plan to use the flooring.  Not taking such things into account can be disastrous down the road.

Here are the top points from the pros at Boston Construction to consider to ensure a successful basement renovation.

Waterproof it. Check the interior foundation and floors to make sure there are no existing moisture issues, water damage or mold problems. Address any primary moisture issues before finishing the space. Examine grading to ensure water runs away from your foundation.

Insulation is key. Insulation plays a critical role in making your basement feel comfortable, while keeping it safe and dry. For the best results, install a rigid board insulation, like Roxul ComfortBoard IS, against the concrete foundation before you stud the wall. The board is mechanically fastened or adhered to the concrete foundation wall, which prevents thermal bridging through the studs, providing better thermal performance. Finish with a moisture-resistant and dimensionally stable insulation between the studs, like R14 Comfortbatt, to protect against common basement issues such as mold, mildew and rot.

Choose a functional design. Draw out plans, carefully taking into consideration any low ceilings or small windows. Try to incorporate structural features, such as attractive wood beams, into your design. Keep the space as open as possible. Select lighting that provides a bright, airy feel.

Don’t forget to soundproof it. Soundproofing is the ultimate solution to maximize your basement’s quiet and privacy. Whether your newfound space will function as a home theater, music room, home office or playroom, it will benefit from quality acoustic insulation, like Roxul Safe ‘n’ Sound. Not only is it highly effective, but it’s also easy to install.

Consider fire safety. Since many basements are now being renovated as income suites, fire protection is also a vital consideration. Whenever possible, select building materials with a high fire-resistance rating and look for products that will not off-gas or contribute to toxic smoke in the event of a fire. Include additional exits in your renovation plan and educate yourself on your local fire code.

Before you start your renovation, be sure to check with your municipality to secure the right permits and to ensure that you’re complying with local bylaws and building codes. Finishing a basement can be a smart renovation, if done properly, adding to a home’s value, increasing its function and providing greater enjoyment or income potential.

READ MORE FROM A REMODELER IN CHARLES COUNTY MD >>>

If remodeling your own basement is more than you choose to do give us a call at Boston Construction. We’ll be happy to give you a free estimate.

Home Improvement Company Southern Maryland

Home improvement company in Southern Maryland can help you…Make the Home You Have the Home of Your Dreams

home-improvement-company-southern-maryland

Boston Construction in Southern Maryland offers a complete line of home remodeling services, inside and out, so you can enjoy all the beauty and convenience of a like-new house while maintaining all the features you love about your current home.

ACT NOW TO BE IN TIME FOR SPRING!

Roofing

Windows

Doors

Siding

Gutters

Porches

Kitchens

Bathrooms

Additions

Add-a-Levels & So Much More

A GREAT IDEA FOR A SPRING HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT in Southern Maryland:

Add or upgrade outdoor living spaces. Outdoor living spaces also can set a property apart from others on the market. A recent study from the National Association of Realtors found that buyers would not hesitate to pay asking price for homes with outdoor living spaces. When adding or upgrading outdoor living spaces, try to depersonalize the spaces as much as possible, as buyers want to picture themselves, and not the sellers, enjoying these areas. Include some comfortable furniture, adequate lighting and a dining area in your outdoor living space as well.

Call Boston Construction if you are looking for  home  improvement company in Southern Maryland that offers expert craftsmanship with reliable service.

What is LEED?

New Homes Construction:  What is LEED?

frame work boston construction charles countyEmbracing an eco-friendly lifestyle is more than just recycling cans and newspapers or campaigning for endangered species. Smart environmental living also extends to our homes and offices. In recognition of that, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system, often referred to as “LEED,” was established to exemplify green building, maintenance and operation in offices, homes and neighborhoods.

LEED is essentially a rating system for the building and maintenance industry. Established by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED has become an internationally recognized mark of excellence. According to the USGBC, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions. Since the system was created in 1998, LEED ratings standards have been applied to more than 7,000 projects in the United States, as well as 30 additional countries, and more than a billion square feet of developed area has been LEED classified.

Various parameters must be met before a building can receive LEED certification. LEED requires a set of prerequisites and credits. Prerequisites include required elements or strategies that must be included in all LEED-certified projects. Credits are extra incentives that can be included in projects to work toward LEED certification. The ratings system generally uses a numeric scale of 110 points for buildings, while LEED for Homes has a scale based on 131 points. Credits are allocated based on the environmental impacts and human benefits of the buildings and operations. Projects can receive basic certification between 40 to 49 points, and Platinum status is reached at 80-plus points. LEED v4 is the next incarnation of the rating system and will focus even more on increasing the lengths to which projects go to employ green goals.

While the rating system was developed through an open, consensus-based process that involved USGBC volunteers and working groups, third parties are responsible for verifying that a building, home or community was created using strategies aimed at high performance in environmental health. These include, but are not limited to, water savings, energy efficiency, sustainable site development, and indoor environmental quality. USGBC says LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types.

LEED is also internationally known and accepted, and in 2003 the Canada Green Building Council received permission to create LEED Canada-NC v1.0.

Examples of LEED-certified structures include the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Penn., which has multiple LEED certifications, including the world’s only Platinum-Certified greenhouse. Shearer’s Foods plant in Ohio is the first food manufacturing plant to receive LEED Platinum status. Since 2011, Taipei 101 has been the tallest and largest green LEED Platinum-certified building in the world. Individuals can visit www.usgbc.org and search the USGBC directory of more than 64,000 registered and certified LEED projects to see how each achieved their certification.

4 simple ways to winterize your home

4 simple ways to winterize your home in Southern Maryland

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Trimming hanging branches and removing debris from their yards is one simple way homeowners can prepare their properties for winter.

As winter approaches, homeowners know they must do certain things to ready their homes for the coming months. Wrapping up the grill and closing the pool are no-brainers, but homeowners also must prioritize winterizing their homes to ensure homes withstand the winter.

Winterizing tasks range from small to big, but each can protect a home and its inhabitants and some can even save homeowners a substantial amount of money. The following are four simple ways to winterize your home.

1. Plug leaks

Leaky windows and doorways can cost homeowners money year-round, allowing cold air to escape on hot summer afternoons and letting cold air in on brisk winter nights. When such leaks aren’t fixed, homeowners are more liable to turn up their air conditioners or heaters, unnecessarily padding their energy bills along the way. Before winter arrives, check areas around windows and door frames for leaks, as well as any additional openings, such as chimneys, that may allow cold air in. Use caulk or weather strips to plug these leaks, and enjoy your warmer home and lower energy bills as winter weather gets colder and colder.

2. Inspect your chimney

If your home has a chimney, chances are you have not used it since last winter. During that time, the chimney has likely accumulated some dirt and grime, and may even have served as home to some uninvited critters. As the season for fireside chats approaches, have your chimney serviced by a professional so it’s ready for use and you are not greeted by some unwanted guests upon lighting your first fire.

3. Clear the yard

Autumn days, particularly late autumn days, can be gusty, and strong winds can cause branches to fall off trees. Branches big and small can cause damage to cars, siding and roofs, and smaller branches can get clogged in gutters, potentially causing gutters to back up and leading to leaky roofs that damage a home’s interior. Take a walk around your property at least once per week during the fall, clearing any fallen limbs and trimming branches that appear one strong gust away from falling off of trees. Remove any branches that are hanging over your home and driveway so they don’t pose a threat to your house or vehicles.

4. Turn off outdoor water supplies

When temperatures get especially low, pipes with water still in them can freeze and burst, potentially leading to significant water damage. When you no longer need to water the lawn and when temperatures get too cold to wash your car in the driveway, be sure to shut off the water supply to outdoor spigots and sprinkler systems. Once you do that, drain them so no water is sitting in the pipes when temperatures dip.

There are many ways to winterize a home, and homeowners should take every precaution necessary to ensure their homes are safe and warm as the cold weather season approaches.

For all your home improvement needs Call Boston Construction 301-848-0025

Get the 411 on flooring

Get the 411 on flooring in Southern MD

Custom Wood Banister

Custom Wood Floors & Banister

Hardwood flooring is a popular and traditional choice for homeowners replacing their existing floors.

Choosing the right flooring for a home is no small task. Flooring is expensive, so homeowners want to make the best decision possible so their choice of flooring is not one they regret and ultimately replace in the years to come.

When choosing flooring for their homes, many homeowners are overwhelmed by the options at their disposal. Each type of flooring can look great in its own way, which is why homeowners may struggle to find the right fit for their homes. Educating yourself about flooring is a great way to make the process of choosing your next floor much less overwhelming and more enjoyable. The following are some of the more popular flooring options you will no doubt encounter as your search for a flawless floor begins.

Hardwood

Nearly everyone is familiar with hardwood floors, which are durable, warm and a favorite of homeowners aiming for a traditional look. Homes with open floor plans often benefit from hardwood flooring, as it creates the feeling of continuity that homeowners hope to achieve with open floor plans. Various species, including oak, maple and cherry, of hardwood flooring are available, and they typically vary in price, with more exotic imported options carrying hefty price tags. More traditional hardwood flooring is less expensive, and solid wood flooring can be refinished several times to increase its lifespan.

Engineered wood

Engineered wood is less susceptible to temperature changes and humidity than solid wood, and some new varieties of engineered wood include substrates made from recycled wood fiber and stone dust, which may appeal to eco-friendly homeowners. Men and women who want to install their own floors may prefer engineered wood, which is now available in self-locking parquet or plank squares that can be installed without using glue or nails.

Bamboo

Bamboo is another flooring alternative that’s popular among eco-conscious homeowners, as it comes from plants that regenerate quickly and is therefore considered a sustainable material. Bamboo flooring is made of strands of bamboo that are glued together, forming engineered planks or solid strips. Bamboo flooring is strong and able to resist the negative effects of fluctuating humidity, which include swelling and contraction. Many people prefer the fresh, bright feel of bamboo flooring.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is among the less expensive flooring materials to buy and install. Homeowners who purchase laminate flooring have an array of options to choose from, and floating laminate flooring systems can be installed over existing floors without glue or nails. Some feel laminate flooring is indistinguishable from real wood, but the plastic coating that makes up the top layer of laminate flooring is often a giveaway that the floors are laminate and not real wood. Similar in construction to engineered wood, laminate flooring differs because its top layer is a photographic imprint on the face of each board, whereas engineered wood is made up of real hardwood veneer attached to several layers of plywood.

Cork

Cork is another sustainable flooring material that’s a favorite among homeowners looking to make their homes more eco-friendly. The appearance of cork floors is unlike many flooring materials, as it is speckled thanks to unusual grain patterns of the trees from which it is harvested. Cork flooring is popular in kitchens and bathrooms because cork tiles have a naturally nonslip surface that makes areas of a home where floors get wet safer. Cork flooring may need to be resealed every few years to guard against stains and potential moisture issues.

Flooring choices vary greatly, and it’s easy for homeowners to become overwhelmed by all of the options at their disposal. But taking time to understand each of those options can make the process of choosing a floor that much more fun.

If your home needs new flooring call Boston Construction Serving Southern MD, Calvert County, Charles County and St. Mary’s County,

Renovating an historic home

historic-home-remodelingHistoric-home renovations require additional planning and a bigger budget than newer homes in Southern Maryland.

Living in an historic home can be a labor of love. The history and the distinct architecture of historic homes draw buyers to such properties, but what historic homes have in regard to history they often lack in the conveniences of modern life, forcing many historic-home owners to make renovations to bring their homes into the 21st century.

Historic-home renovations differ from other types of modifications. According to the Victorian Preservation Association, renovation is getting a home back to where it may have been when originally built, but making concessions for today’s lifestyle. Preservation is the act of maintaining a structure in its current historic state, and restoration is returning a home to its original state. Unless a homeowner plans to use an outhouse or live without electricity, the majority of work done on historic properties is likely to fall into the category of a renovation.

Renovating an aging structure can be fulfilling and help to make a home more functional. But make no mistake, such a renovation is a major undertaking. Before beginning, it pays to hire a professional consultant with expertise in renovating historic properties. He or she can inspect the property to determine which areas of the home are safe and which will need to be upgraded. A professional inspection also can determine if any deficiencies lie hidden in the structure. Potential concerns can be toxic paints and other substances, building code issues, rotting, and structural settling. Professionals will know what to

look for and guide homeowners

accordingly.

Homeowners also may want to consult with a preservation association, community restoration group or general owner-builder group. These people can refer homeowners to the craftspeople and materials that will be needed for a job. Homeowners can request to see other historic properties in the area and learn what those owners did to maintain the integrity of a home when using newer materials.

Before any work is started, homeowners should find out if their home is listed with the National Register of Historic Places. According to the United States National Parks Service, property owners can do whatever they want with their property so long as there are no federal monies attached to the property. However, the property owner should also contact his or her state’s historic preservation office, or SHPO. The SHPO is the state agency that oversees historic preservation efforts in each state, and there may be state or local preservation laws that the owner should be aware of before renovating a historic property.

Craftspeople should have experience with historic homes and a sensitivity and appreciation of renovating older properties. Homeowners always should see examples of a craftsperson’s work and verify references from each contractor before hiring anyone to work on the property.

Homeowners who want to include traditional hardware and other period details in their homes may be able to find quality replicas of historic milling materials, while others may want to scour antique shops or salvage yards for era-appropriate materials.

Historic renovations can be costly and have a tendency to go over budget because of unforseen damage and hazards that have to be repaired so the building is up to code. Going into the project with this in mind can help soften the blow of extra costs down the road.

Historic homes can be beautiful and appeal to buyers who appreciate the one-of-a-kind nature of older properties. Renovating historic homes may take time and money, but the results may be well worth the effort.

5 signs your home insulation is not working

Brought to you by a Southern MD Builder:  Boston Construction Company / Charles County MD…  Some insulations can lose performance over time, sustain damage or simply no longer meet updated building codes.

attic insulation servicesIt’s an issue that can be costly, because if your home’s insulation isn’t doing its job, you could be wasting money and resources. You don’t have to be a trained professional to know you have a problem.

Here are several signs that your insulation is lacking:

1. Energy bills

— High energy bills are the biggest red flag, especially relative to the size, age or condition of the home. If you have a run-away energy bill, your insulation may need to be upgraded. This can be the case, even in a newer home.

2. Drafts

— Do you need to put on a sweater even with the heat on, or does your air conditioner run incessantly without making enough of a difference? That’s a sign of a deficiency in your building envelope.

3. Inconsistent temperatures

— Is it warm in one room, but cold in another? Are your walls or interior closets cold to the touch? It’s possible that while your whole home may not need attention, certain rooms may need to be addressed.

4. Condition of insulating materials

— Consider the age of your insulation. Would it stand up to today’s building codes? Is it in good shape or is it crumbly? If your insulation has degraded or isn’t performing, it’s time for an upgrade. But be careful, as certain types of older insulation, such as Vermiculite insulation, may contain asbestos. If you’re unsure, do not disturb it and hire a professional to conduct testing and/or removal. This should not be a do-it-yourself job.

5. You detect pests and/or moisture

— Insulation — and your building envelope — can be compromised by the presence of pests. Moisture is an even bigger obstacle to optimal thermal performance, as some types of insulation can sag or collapse when damp, leaving voids and causing air to flow in and out of the building envelope.

While some solutions may be more complicated, requiring the opening of the existing wall cavities, others can be addressed more easily. The best way to improve thermal performance and increase energy efficiency is to upgrade attic insulation. Laying Comfortbatt insulation over existing material to achieve a minimum depth of 16 inches, or an R-value of R50, is a simple DIY project that can generate immediate results.

To fully assess your home and explore remediation solutions, consider hiring a professional home energy auditor to evaluate your home’s energy performance. Even in a new home, the results may be surprising.

You probably searched for a home improvement company near me when you  found this page.  We hope it helped you to discover if you were having insulation problems.  For home insulation issues and any home improvement in Calvert County, Charles County or St. Mary’s County call Boston Construction Company.

 

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