Greensboro Home Improvement Company, Home Improvements of the Carolinas
336 271-3323

Avoiding Electrical Fires and Wood Damage from Holiday Lighting

With the holidays in full swing, things are lighting up around town, and many homeowners are getting into the holiday season by stringing up festive lights. The additional lights may add cheer, but they also increase the risk of electrical fire, which can damage wood, not to mention pose a serious risk to holiday enjoyment.

To minimize the risk of electrical fire it is important to follow safety guidelines and use best installation practices for stringing up exterior lights around your home.

  • Before stringing up any lighting measure the area so that you purchase the proper length of string lighting.
  • Be sure to use lights specifically designed for outdoor use. These types of lighting are specially designed to withstand the elements, such as temperature change and moisture from dew accumulation or rain.
  • Check the wattage requirements and how many strings can be safely connected. It may be wise to have more than one electrical outlet available for plugging in lights. Generally three strands can be safely connected and plugged in to one outlet, so it may be advisable to factor in an outlet for every three strands of lighting.
  • Inspect all strands individually before connecting them to see that all the lights are working properly and that there are no frayed or exposed wiring. Light replacement can become more of a bother once the lights are up.
  • When installing the lighting around the exterior of your home be sure not to puncture or attach them to the gutters. As an added protection from the elements, affix strands just below the gutters as they are designed to collect rain water and prevent it from running down the side of the home.
  • Some lighting come with specialized fixtures for outdoor installation that allow the lighting to be put up and taken down while the fixtures remain in place for future use without detracting from the aesthetics of your home. This is a better alternative than using a heavy duty staple gun to put up the lights, which will then result in tiny holes in your wood trimming once removed. Though these holes may be tiny they penetrate into the wood allowing for moisture to invade.

If an electrical fire should occur damaging the wood trimming or siding of your home, all is not lost. Restorations can be performed to restore the beauty of your home. Contact Home Improvements of the Carolinas or call (336) 271-3323. We provide home restorations from water, fire, and storm damage for residential and commercial buildings, servicing Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Burlington, Cary, Raleigh, Haw River, Mebane, Kernersville, Chapel Hill and in-between.

Fireplace Remodeling

A fireplace can be a lovely focal point for any living room or den. It has the potential to be as beautiful as it is functional without sacrificing one for the other, but over time its beauty can fade as décor changes. It may be time to consider a fireplace remodeling.

Remodeling the fireplace doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. If the masonry of your chimney and the hearth are in good shape as determined by a licensed chimney sweep then your only real concern is the mantel and fireplace dressing as viewed within your home.

Updating the masonry can be a bit tricky to ensure that the look you go with lasts, so it may be a better choice to go with a wooden mantel piece. Wood adds elegance and class, and with the variety of designs, finishes and paints it can lend itself to a longer lasting look. It can also be touched up.

When determining your fireplace remodeling it is important to consider whether the TV will be sharing the same room with the fireplace. If it is then you may want to consider a fireplace design with the TV above it in a recessed alcove or installing a flat screen. If you opt for an alcove you could install a portrait door to hide the TV when not in use.

Mantles can be designed as a shelf or as part of a frame for the hearth. This allows you to customize the look and feel of your fireplace to give the room either a more rustic feel with a rough wooden slab as a mantle shelf or a more classic look with a carved wooden frame mantle that affixes to the wall around the hearth. There are also other options to create more contemporary designs with tile designs and polished metal frames.

Contact Home Improvements of the Carolinas or call (336) 271-3323. We provide quality construction services by licensed professionals, servicing Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Burlington, Cary, Raleigh, Haw River, Mebane, Kernersville, Chapel Hill and in-between.

Lighting Things Up Inside This Winter

The colder weather that winter brings often means more time spent indoors, and with less exposure to sunlight with the increased cloud covering that comes with winter that can leave us a little gloomy. One of the easiest ways to counter act this is to maybe visit a tanning booth on particularly gloomy days or you could improve things with a little indoor lighting remodeling.

When it comes to improved indoor lighting there are several options that can brighten things up, provide focal points for décor, and add ambiance for romantic, cozy evenings. It is also good to plan your lighting improvements to account for the change in seasons over the course of an entire year with the installation of lighting fixtures with ceiling fans, and to take into account the natural lighting provided by windows. The main thing to consider is the purpose to which you will be utilizing the lighting in each room.

Accent Lighting such as track fixtures, sconces, or spotlights can be used to add focal points for the sake of aesthetics. This would be a great way to highlight particular paintings or the fireplace. It can also be used to create the illusion of separate spaces in a large open room such as a loft.

Ambient Lighting is typically provided by surface-mounted fixtures like those attatched to the ceiling. They can also include fixtures with ceiling fans which have the added benefit of increasing air circulation. Recessed down-lighting, floor and table lamps can also be sources of ambient lighting.

Decorative Lighting is more for special occasion and is chosen more for its beauty than the actual lighting it may provide. These can be additional to ambient lighting fixtures that can be used separately or in conjunction such as chandeliers, sconces, and hanging fixtures. They have quite a lot in common with accent lighting.

Task Lighting such as desk lamps, kitchen or bathroom pendants and other appliance based lighting is designed to be used when performing specific tasks in designated areas. Designing task lighting to enhance your productivity in the kitchen or to provide the best lighting in the bathroom for makeup or shaving can be one of the best investments you make with lighting improvements.

Once you decide on the overall purpose of the lighting necessary to enhance your living spaces the next thing to consider is the type of light bulbs you would prefer. Some lighting fixtures are specific to their requirements, while others provide you the option of standard traditional bulbs or compact florescent bulbs, not to mention the variation in wattage. You may also want to consider dimming options. Whatever the choice it may be wise to hire a contractor skilled in wiring.

Contact Home Improvements of the Carolinas or call (336) 271-3323 to assist you with your indoor lighting improvement. We are staffed with licensed professionals skilled in handling renovation projects large or small for residential and commercial buildings, in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Burlington, Cary, Raleigh, Haw River, Mebane, Kernersville, Chapel Hill and in-between.

Creating a Mudroom for Any Home

For the most part mud is not something people typically want in their homes, but in it comes regardless, mucking up the entry way. Since having a professional decontamination chamber can be impractical a mudroom is the next best thing if you want to reduce the amount of mess that can make things unpleasant. Creating a mudroom can be as simple as reorganizing an entry way or as elaborate as building a new space entirely.

A mudroom is simply a designated area—not necessarily an entire room—to store raincoats, umbrellas, galoshes, snow boots, work boots, and any other items that in their effort to protect humans from the elements tend to accumulate moisture, dirt, and mud that is best not trod through the house. However, it can also be used as the repository for items like backpacks, purses, wallets, and keys. When choosing the location of your mudroom, it is best to make it an entryway of your home—either the main entrance for everyone, or possibly a back entrance specifically for family.

Depending on how you plan to use your mudroom, there are some elements that are common in creating the ideal space.

  • Hooks: to hang up coats or bags.
  • Shelves: to place items you don’t want on the ground.
  • Baskets: to hold smaller objects such as keys.
  • Floor Mats: to wipe shoes before removal.
  • Shoe Racks: to store shoes for drying.
  • Umbrella Holder: to keep umbrellas easily accessible.

These features can be easily installed with materials available at virtually any home supply store. However, if you deal with excessive amounts of dirt and muck regularly you may want more than just a hook and a mat by the door. This is when you may want to consider remodeling existing space or building an additional entryway.

For those that go all out to create a mudroom proper, organizing is the key. It may even be possible, and ideal, to design your mudroom to also function as a pet safe room or double as a laundry room—this works best for mudrooms located at the back or side of the house, rather than the main entryway. Installing flooring that can be easily swept and mopped is best as muddy carpet tends to require extreme cleaning to maintain. Personal alcoves or locker type designs can provide each family member or guest with their own storage area.

Call Home Improvements of the Carolinas at (336) 271-3323 for help with constructing your mudroom or other building projects. Our professionally licensed staff can address carpentry, wiring, and plumbing issues related to remodeling projects often without resorting to third party entities. This allows us to provide personable, quality services for residential and commercial buildings, in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Burlington, Cary, Raleigh, Haw River, Mebane, Kernersville, Chapel Hill and in-between.

Remodeling Your Garage for Collector Item Storage

Many people use their garage as an extra place for storage for more than just their cars. This can lead to an overabundance of clutter without any consideration for the temperature changes of winter that can affect items in storage. That is why it is important to organize your garage for the winter.

Traditionally garages are not well insulated against temperature change. Being enclosed they can protect your vehicle from most weathering, however, though it is diminished there is still the change in temperature—the heat during the summer and the cold during the winter causing expansion and contraction. This is what can lead to plastics becoming brittle and cracking.

For this reason it is wise to organize what gets stored where. For instance, anything that is deemed a true collectible  storing it in a temperature controlled environment is better. Garages, attics, and basements do not always fit that description.

One way to get the ideal storage for your collectibles whether they be baseball cards, Barbie dolls, or action figures of any kind is to keep them in your home on special display. However, sometimes additional storage is needed. That’s when you can construct a storage room by sectioning off your garage.

Creating a room for storage doesn’t have to mean sacrificing all the space. By sectioning off your garage with a partition wall to be insulated you can build a storage room inside your garage and still have space to house your car. It need only be the size of a closet, but can be as large as you like.

Another option is to forgo the garage all together and convert it to a collector display room by adding insulation to the walls, proper ventilation, and replacing the garage door with either a wall or better sealed doors.

For constructing the ideal organization and storage design for your garage contact Home Improvements of the Carolinas or call (336) 271-3323. Our professionally licensed staff provides quality services for residential and commercial buildings, in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Burlington, Cary, Raleigh, Haw River, Mebane, Kernersville, Chapel Hill and in-between.

Storm Damage Prevention and Repair

With autumn comes the changing of temperatures and storms. Both can cause accelerated wear and tear on your home. It is important to weather proof to prevent storm damage as much as possible. However once damages occur proper repair becomes the priority to restore home integrity and value.

One of the simplest steps to take in prevention is weatherproofing doors and windows with weather stripping. There are various sealants on the market to accomplish this. Not only does this cut drafts, but also potential water leaks from storms. Any time water can leak in and pool the potential for damage exists, staining and weakening wood as well as rusting metal.

It is also wise to inspect your roof fairly regularly both before the season changes and after storms. Make sure that all roofing tiles or shingles are in good repair and properly secured. Check around the seams for gaps or signs of leaks. Wood may show discoloration and staining, while metal can show signs of tarnishing and rust.

If any wood staining from water leakage or metal rusting is detected it is best to attend to it directly. If left untreated too often small blemishes can become expensive restoration projects. If caught early many minor issues can be treated with sanding and well applied caulking. However, if the area effected is large more extensive methods may need to be employed.

Having a professional come out to inspect and evaluate the extent of any storm damage can prove a valuable service as many repairs and restorations from storm damage are covered under many home insurance plans. It is worth looking into to save money and ensure proper attention is paid to your home to maintain its value.

Contact Home Improvements of the Carolinas or call (336) 271-3323. Our professionally licensed staff provides restoration for water, fire, and storm damage and more for residential and commercial buildings, in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Burlington, Cary, Raleigh, Haw River, Mebane, Kernersville, Chapel Hill and in-between.