Thursday, March 22, 2012

San Diego Roof Replacement: How Do I Know if I Need a New Roof?

If your roof is damaged, you may be able to repair your roof rather than replace it. This is especially true with tile and shingle roofs when the problem is limited to one area. However, some kinds of roofs (especially on older homes) will have to be replaced.

To determine whether or not you need to replace your roof, you will need your roof inspected by a qualified roofing contractor. But if you would like a little background first, the following will give you some idea of what might need to be done to fix your roof and protect your home. If you have any questions about your roof, feel free to give me a call at (858) 537-6490.

Tile Roofs
Tiles are built to last a lifetime, but the underlayment is not. Because it is the underlayment that waterproofs your roof, it will need to be replaced every 20-25 years. This is called re-felting. Roofers remove the tile from your roof, replace the felt, and retile the roof. In most cases, unless the customer requests otherwise, the existing tile can be reused—saving you the expense of purchasing new tiles.

Ideally, roofing contractors should use 2 layers of 40 lb. paper. In San Diego we have found that many of the roofs that were built over 15 years ago don’t live up to our current standards and were installed very poorly.

Another type of roof we commonly see in San Diego, and the most predominant, is asphalt shingle roofing (more commonly known as composition roofing). This type of roofing system is far more durable than a flat roof or tile roof system. The most common asphalt shingle that we use here in San Diego is a dimensional 30-year or a dimensional lifetime shingle. Fixing loose or broken shingles is relatively easy, but if your roof is over 20 years old and most of the shingles are worn, you will want to look at replacing it.

Wood Shingle
Although they are rapidly disappearing in San Diego, occasionally we see old wood shingle roof systems. These wood shingle roof systems were used over 25 years ago and have not performed very well. They are also highly flammable. New local fire codes have made it so that there aren’t very many left. Given the susceptibility of our area to wildfires, you definitely want your home protected by a Class A fire-rated roof.

Flat Roofs
Flat roofs are not usually repairable. On older San Diego homes, it is common to see flat roof hot mop rock systems where gravel has been applied over tar. Unfortunately, we have found that things like wind, rain, and vibrations move the gravel over time. This exposes the roof to the elements and decreases its life expectancy.

We recommend torch-down roofing for flat roofs. With this roofing system there are embedded granules on the cap sheet that protect the roof and increase the life expectancy. Also, it makes it easier to track and fix leaks. When installed properly, the life expectancy of a torch-down roof is 15 years.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seven Ways to Get the Most Out of Your San Diego Bathroom Remodel

Anybody who has watched HGTV’s House Hunters knows that bathrooms and kitchens sell homes. An old, out-dated kitchen or bathroom can mean the difference between a "fixer upper" and a dream home. And even if you aren’t planning on selling anytime soon, why not remodel now, enjoy it now, and cash in on your investment later?

Although kitchens are now the focal point of any home, bathrooms are a great place to start if you want to increase the value of your home and don’t have the budget or time to tackle a complete kitchen remodel. Whether or not you are looking at completely remodeling your bathroom, here are some important changes you can make that will have the bathroom feeling more like a spa and less like Aunt Fran’s powder room.

Bathroom Mirror
Nothing dates a bathroom faster then that giant, old bathroom mirror glued to your wall. Instead replace it with a framed mirror or a set of mirrors that suits your style. You can even find attractive cabinet mirrors that double as medicine cabinets. This will allow you to get rid of that old recessed, mirrored medicine cabinet without losing storage.

Light Fixtures
We have all seen those old, chrome light fixture bars because almost every track home in San Diego has them. Changing them out for something a little bit more sophisticated and unique can make a tremendous difference. Consider adding a second source of lighting that you can dim while taking a relaxing bath.

Storage, Storage, Storage

Nothing zaps the Zen out of your bathroom faster than shampoo bottles, curling irons, bath toys, and toilet paper rolls. One of the most important keys to creating a spa-like bathroom is to hide away the clutter. Look into installing built-in storage or make sure your vanity has all the room you will need.

Sinks and Countertops

Sinks and countertops get a lot of use and over time they really begin to show their age. Avoid the expense of having your old counters ripped out by having a granite slab cut to fit and installed directly over your existing surface. Sinks are surprisingly inexpensive and can make a noticeable difference.

Top of the line fixtures look fabulous and can cost you a pretty penny, but it also isn’t hard to find economical fixtures that only look expensive. They also make a huge difference—especially if you still have those plastic crystal faucet knobs. If you are looking to splurge a little, fixtures are a great place to do it. They are one of the first things people notice.

When selecting fixtures, make sure everything matches, including doorknobs, faucets, towel racks, and the showerhead. And for some added indulgence, look into installing a new rainfall showerhead.

Paint and Moulding
Paint is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to update any room. Light colors like blues, greens, yellows, or earth tones can make the room look bigger. Bright or dark colors tend to make rooms look smaller. You can also add dimension to the room by adding baseboards, wainscoting, and crown moulding. Adding a bit of architectural interest to your bathroom can make it look less cookie cutter and more custom.

Outdated flooring sticks out like a sore thumb in a bathroom. Luckily new choices in flooring have made it easier and easier to update your floor. When it is in the budget, retiling your floor will last the longest and give you the best wear. But resilient vinyl (or luxury vinyl) is becoming an option that more and more homeowners are turning to. I know that vinyl is often a dirty word, but this new vinyl looks like the real deal. You can find resilient vinyl that looks like everything from tile to marble to wood. And if you always wanted a wood floor in your bathroom, but didn’t want to mess with the upkeep, this is the way to go. Resilient vinyl is super easy to install and can often be installed right over your existing floor.

If you are looking for some ideas for your bathroom and how much things should cost, calling a good San Diego General Contractor is a good place to start.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Five Reasons to Remodel Your Kitchen

People often call the kitchen the heart of the home, and with good reason. It is the place where families meet together to cook, eat, clean, plan for the day, and do homework. Having a kitchen that doesn’t work for your family can be frustrating. It is no wonder that most homeowners dream of remodeling their kitchen. If you are sick of walking into your kitchen, here are some good reasons to make a change.

Older kitchens take much longer to clean than newer ones. Old grout can take hours to scrub clean. Dingy sinks require serious elbow grease. Old faucets no longer shine the way that they used to and old caulking is much harder to get clean. Not to mention how much time it takes to scrub your stove! New surfaces are easier to keep clean and new advances in materials and products make things a lot easier to maintain. Remodeling your kitchen can save you a lot of time!

Increase in Value
An outdated kitchen can be a huge buzz kill for home buyers. Remodeling your kitchen will not only increase the value of your home, but will also attract more buyers. Why wait until you are ready to move to remodel your kitchen? Do it now when you can enjoy it!

Fit Your Needs

If you enjoy cooking and entertaining, a tiny little kitchen is seriously going to hamper your lifestyle. If you help your kids do homework while you cook, you are going to need some study space. If you can barely walk around your kitchen table, you are going to want to open things up a bit.

We’ve noticed that in San Diego many of the older kitchens are separated from the living room. Many homeowners have decided to open the space up so that they can visit with family and friends while cooking. It also helps if you need to keep an eye on the little ones.

It used to be that when your home wasn’t fitting your needs, many homeowners just sold their home and found one that did. But with the current housing market in San Diego and around the country, this is no longer a good option. Many homeowners are finding that it makes sense to simply remodel their current home.

Saving Money and the Environment

A new kitchen can save you money in two ways: rebates and a lower utility bill.

Companies and the government are starting to focus more and more on the environment. Because of this they are starting to create financial incentives to update outdated appliances. To find out more about rebates for San Diego homeowners, visit or for those living in the Temecula area.

New appliances can also save you money. New standards mean that many of the newer appliances use less water and less energy. Skylights are also a great option—they reduce the amount of artificial light you need to use.

And besides saving you money, remodeling your kitchen is a terrific way to feel great about your kitchen and about doing your part for the environment

Showing Off
We all want a home that we are dying to show to our friends and neighbors. A dumpy kitchen could mean the difference between inviting your neighbors over for pasta or blushing every time somebody comes to your house. Life is short and you ought to love where you live. If you don’t, then take a look at your budget and start making some changes. Skip the vacation you were planning and eat out less—then put the money towards something you can enjoy for years to come.

If you are looking for more design ideas for your kitchen, call us at (858) 537-6490. Our design team can help you make your dreams a reality.