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  • 26 Jun 2014 4:59 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    Your home doesn’t need to look like a hospital or nursing home to be accessible to folks with mobility issues. And you can ease the burden of mobility challenged loved ones with some planning.

    Grab bars are important to have so that light headed or teeter tottering individuals don’t fall down as they navigate the home. And they can look nice and stylish. 

    One thing we tend not to think about as fit and able adults is the difficulty  of stepping into a bathtub for someone who has knee problems or is otherwise restricted in movement. When restrictions come, we have an “ah hah” moment. If we can preempt those moments with some timely planning so that a low curb shower unit is available at the time of need, like after knee surgery, we can greatly ease the trials of the rehabbing surgical patient, for example.

     

    The shower is not a bad idea for anyone. Most of us with our lifestyle do not use bathtubs except for bathing kids, grandkids and pets, so as long as there is one tub in the house, we can benefit from switching out a tub unit for a shower unit.

    If you find it necessary to install a ramp for access into a home and can put in a garage, give that possibility consideration. Granted, you may give up storing a vehicle in the garage by adding a ramp, but a garage is a great place to tuck away a ramp if you can do it. Hidden from sight can save having everyone notice the existence of a ramp, which besides being  comforting to know gives the homeowner a more secure feeling since you are not “making a statement” to the public about who lives in the house. And it is protected from the weather. This allows bad weather use of the ramp.

    Good lighting for not-so- strong eyes and fragile bodies is not unsightly, and provides huge dividends in safety and comfort.

    So if you are considering building or renovating to accommodate the mobility challenged, don’t hesitate to incorporate accessibility features into your design and construction. It can look good, and add value.

    -Jim Maust, Venture Builders.  June 23, 2014


    Universal Design features don’t need to be unattractive!

    Your home doesn’t need to look like a hospital or nursing home to be accessible to folks with mobility issues. And you can ease the burden of mobility challenged loved ones with some planning.

    Grab bars are important to have so that light headed or teeter tottering individuals don’t fall down as they navigate the home. And they can look nice and stylish.

    One thing we tend not to think about as fit and able adults is the difficulty of stepping into a bathtub for someone who has knee problems or is otherwise restricted in movement. When restrictions come, we have an “ah hah” moment. If we can preempt those moments with some timely planning so that a low curb shower unit is available at the time of need, like after knee surgery, we can greatly ease the trials of the rehabbing surgical patient, for example.

    The shower is not a bad idea for anyone. Most of us with our lifestyle do not use bathtubs except for bathing kids, grandkids and pets, so as long as there is one tub in the house, we can benefit from switching out a tub unit for a shower unit.

    If you find it necessary to install a ramp for access into a home and can put in a garage, give that possibility consideration. Granted, you may give up storing a vehicle in the garage by adding a ramp, but a garage is a great place to tuck away a ramp if you can do it. Hidden from sight can save having everyone notice the existence of a ramp, which besides being  comforting to know gives the homeowner a more secure feeling since you are not “making a statement” to the public about who lives in the house.  And it is protected from the weather. This allows bad weather use of the ramp.

    Good lighting for not-so- strong eyes and fragile bodies is not unsightly, and provides huge dividends in safety and comfort.

    So if you are considering building or renovating to accommodate the mobility challenged, don’t hesitate to incorporate accessibility features into your design and construction. It can look good, and add value.

    -Jim Maust, Venture Builders.  June 23, 2014

  • 23 Apr 2014 1:17 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)
    How Ventilation Affects the Health of Your Roof and Your Wellbeing

    Insulation and ventilation impact your energy bills.

     

    Over time as insulation settles it can become too thin, allowing too much air to escape through the attic and driving up your heating and cooling costs. Valley Roofing checks the R-Value of your attic insulation to determine effectiveness for the local climate and the appropriate levels of ventilation required for maximum performance. R-Value is a measure of insulation's ability to resist heat traveling through it.[1] As standards rise and products improve, performance also increases with regular maintenance and updates.

     

    Trapped air in the attic can bake your roof.

     

    Your attic temperature should be within 10 degrees of outside air. If your roof isn't properly ventilated, the sun cooks your roof from both the outside and the attic.  This trapped heat causes shingles to blister, compromising the integrity of your roof, many times the roof may fail within 5-10 years.

     

    Scientific research shows that indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than the air outside.[2]
             

    Your attic insulation may be keeping your home climate controlled, but what is it doing for your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)? Over the years as insulation has been improved to maintain greater airflow control, the concern of air quality has increased. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health.[1] However, proper ventilation and air circulation can maintain air quality to actually improve the health of those inside.

     

    Ventilation matters because the average American spends approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. [1]
             

    Asthma and allergies impact over 60 million Americans, that's 1 out of 5 people. [3] Controlling indoor air quality can reduce allergy and asthma symptoms. Your insulation and ventilation work as a team to control and move the air around, either helping or hurting the people inside. Identifying that your system is working properly and efficiently is an important step to maintaining health. Resolving an attic insulation or ventilation issue can be a simple fix requiring a few hours of work. If you are replacing your roof, installation includes proper insulation and ventilation for your attic. 

     

    It's not too late!

    Valley Roofing can perform a thorough inspection and analysis of your attic ventilation to ensure that you have proper air flow for the health of your roof and your family or business. And if your attic needs repair, we can help with that too! 

    _________________________


    [1] EnergyStar.gov

    [2] United States Environmental Protection Agency

    [3] The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America

     

  • 23 Apr 2014 12:55 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    The 2014 SVBA Home and Garden Show has come and gone. What an incredible event that supports our community in so many ways! We are tired beyond belief. Hope you enjoyed the show.


    Students from Massanutten Technical Center had a chance to show off their skills, United Way of Harrisonburg Rockingham hosted a tricycle race, Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA offered puppies for adoption, and the SVBA helped build community. The event continues to grow and evolve to be a destination event for the entire Valley. From the car show, beer garden, bouncy houses, food trucks to the experts in the residential construction industry, there was something for everyone at the show this year.

      

     

    Want to keep track of what happened and events planned for next year, like our facebook page for updates!

  • 25 Mar 2014 7:25 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    In the age of electronic information, the SVBA Home and Garden show brings a new level of importance. If you are thinking of building or renovating your dream home, the Home Show is an essential stop for success. From remodeling, construction, design, to landscaping experts – all the information you need can be found under one roof.  This face to face opportunity allows you to judge character, learn about personality, and interview multiple experts all at one event. You can find information online about construction, but you cannot judge personality or start a personal relationship.

    So whether you are a new homeowner or someone that has lived in your home for years, the home show can give you the successful network needed to build a better home.  From new products to expert advice from the pros, the home show will certainly inspire your next project.

    Attend the Home Show and … 

    • Shop and compare experts at one time.
    • Save time by meeting a wide range of companies under one roof.
    • Discover new ideas and interesting products for your home.
    • Find the best resources in home improvement, landscaping, and design services.
    • Meet face to face and get build a trust before you hire someone.
    • Get advice from the experts and learn the right steps to take for success.
    • Get inspired about the countless possibilities to make your home a dream home.
  • 05 Mar 2014 2:07 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)
    10 Steps to Building your Dream Home

    1.      Establish your budget
    a.      Meet with a loan officer that works with new construction and get a pre-approval letter stating your qualification. Make sure your budget is comfortable  - don’t forget furniture, moving costs, window treatments, taxes, realtor fees…
    2.      Form a team for success
    a.      You should establish a team that you trust, architect, contractor, landscape architect, realtor, banker – all depends on the scope of your project
    3.      Plan your Home
    a.      Design matters – set your goals, establish your program, develop an aesthetic – this is your chance to dream. With good design comes a dream home.
    4.      Select the finishes
    a.      The devil is certainly in the details. From light fixtures to door hardware, there are hundreds of decisions to make along the way.
    5.      Budget
    a.      You need to establish a budget up front and check and double check as decisions are made through the design process. A solid plan in place will reduce unknown issues during construction and keep the project on track. Through the design project pricing should be verified and re-verified to keep things on track.
    6.      Arrange for Financing
    a.      Once plans are done and a budget is established with the contractor – it is time to go back to your banker to finalize loan details.
    7.      Hire your builder
    a.      Budget established, contract negotiated, time to sign on the bottom line with your contractor so construction can begin.
    8.      Pull permits
    a.      The contractor’s first step is to pull a permit which involves a code review by the official having jurisdiction. Once this last review is completed and fees are paid, the dirt starts moving.
    9.      Communicate weekly
    a.      During construction it is prudent to hold weekly or bi-weekly site meetings with the owner, design team, and contractor to make sure the plan is being executed as expected.
    10.   Punch List
    a.      The last step for completion of the home is the final walk through, sometimes called the punch list. This is a time to document any remaining items that need to be completed. 

  • 26 Feb 2014 1:43 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    Mother Nature threw us a bone this past weekend with spring-like weather, moving our thoughts away from fire-lit evenings to those of firing up the grill. While now is the time to consider cleaning gutters, pressure washing your siding, and planting grass, how about that one room inside that you blocked off during the holidays. The one that you journeyed guests upstairs and through your bedroom just to avoid? Yes, that outdated bathroom. It is still there, with the peeling linoleum floor, calcium deposits and old-fashioned countertops, just waiting for attention.

    While you may think a bathroom renovation is not in the budget, the good news is small spaces don’t need to cost a fortune to update.  This Old House estimates DIYers can update this space, adding value to your home, for as little as $1,000 depending on the projects you want to undertake.

    To freshen up your space on the cheap, consider the following tips gathered from around the web:

    • 1)     Use tile sparingly, sticking to high-impact areas like the floor, using instead high quality satin-finish paint to avoid mold and mildew, or by incorporating other materials in hidden areas like the shower.
       
    • 2)     If granite is your choice for countertops, widen your color options to save on the expense of this season’s most popular colors or look at imperfect countertops that the sink basin will cover. White is always a classic color choice that goes with everything and gives you freedom to play with paint color or seasonal linen changes.
    • 3)     Update light fixtures, sink faucets, showerheads, towel racks, and drawer pulls. These relatively small investments can provide big bang for their buck. Water-efficient fixtures will help you save money in the long run and are also good for the environment, too.
    • 4)     Pay attention to detail. Updating window treatments, bath linens, re-caulking the tubs or adding a fresh coat of white paint to moldings can make quite a difference.
    • 5)     Make it your own. Be on trend by buying used dressers or overstocked plumbing features from yard sales, flea markets, Etsy, eBay, or your local retailer. You can build your own vanity or construct unique towel racks at a fraction of the cost and make your remodeled space completely you own.
    • 6)     Don’t be afraid of sweat equity. Minor projects can be done over a weekend but remember to call in a professional if structural changes, complicated electrical or plumbing work is required.


      As warmer weather draws us out of hibernation, spending a little bit of time on your bathroom now will prevent you from detouring guests during summer cookouts, and even better, will be one less thing you have to worry about once the holidays roll around again.

      If your bathroom is an eyesore, share your photos for a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate to Valley retailer, Randy’s Do It Best Hardware, sponsored by Farmers & Merchants Bank and VBS Mortgage.



      Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 414464, 275173

    Visit www.fmbankva.com or www.vbsmortgage.com for complete rules and regulations.
  • 22 Jan 2014 5:29 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    The Mercy House Building Supply Store is requesting  that you consider making a tax deductable donation of  your excess building materials to us.  We will be accepting donations of kitchen cabinets, plumbing supplies, doors, windows, sinks, lavatories, tubs, excess lumber, paint, masonry products, roofing, dry wall, fasteners, wire, pipe and more. We will pick up your donations at no cost.

    As new building materials increase in cost the demand for used affordable building materials is skyrocketing.  In addition to greater affordability, putting used and recycled building materials into remodeling/repair projects recycles materials otherwise destined for landfills.  

    The expansion benefits the Mercy House Mission to feed, clothe and house homeless families with dependent children in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County by increasing our revenue stream in a time of uncertainty of other sources of funding such as grants.  This helps to make us more self sufficient, independent and sustainable for the long term.  Another great benefit is providing additional opportunities for employment and training for residents of the Mercy House as they transition from homelessness.  For more information visit www.TheMercyHouse.org.  

  • 02 Oct 2013 1:28 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    Our society, as a whole, is at the beginning stages of an awakening. In the last number of years there has been an increase in our collective awareness of the connection between human actions and the impact it is having on the planet upon which we reside. Although there is still debate about the specifics of this planetary impact it seems the majority has agreed our collective actions have created negative results and a new direction is required. Recently, energy costs have risen sharply, which has only fueled this awakening.

     

    Decreasing the energy that is utilized by our homes can be a critical component in our strategy to reduce energy usage. During Presidential political debates we have heard a great deal about re-defining the way we generate energy by utilizing wind power, solar power, clean coal, and other energy sources. While we wait for these macro-strategies to be implemented, the homeowner can do his or her part to reduce energy consumption. Reducing energy in our homes has two major positive impacts; a reduction in the amount of money we spend on utilities, and a reduction in the amount of energy needed by our society as a whole.

    It seems like a forgone conclusion that the fossil fuel era of energy production will give way to a renewable energy generation era. Energy efficiency and conservation will be the bridge during this transition period as renewable energy technologies are developed and produced.

    Home energy efficiency can be improved whether you live in a new or existing home. Improving the energy efficiency of your home usually includes at least one of the following strategies:

    1. Education of the occupants as to energy efficient practices. Occupant behavior is a major influence on energy consumption.
    2. Repairing, adjusting, or replacing energy-using equipment in the home; for example, heating and cooling system, light fixtures, and appliances.
    3. Making thermal improvements to the house shell, including insulation improvement and air sealing.

    A home energy audit can assist homeowners by targeting specific problems in a home which may be contributing to the overuse of energy and develop a strategy to reduce home energy costs. Each individual homeowner who reduces their energy consumption will in turn help our country reduce its dependency on a diminishing supply of fossil fuel. 

    By Benjamin Meredith with Building Knowledge

  • 24 Sep 2013 1:47 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)
    Thanks in large part to NAHB efforts, remodelers this year are able to take advantage of the Existing Home Retrofit Tax Credit (25C). The 25C tax credit provides consumers a tax credit of up to $500 for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products. The 25C tax credit supported almost 140,000 jobs in remodeling in 2009. Government data indicates that the tax credit will support an estimated $4.08 billion of remodeling in 2013 with a typical energy-efficient remodeling project costing a little more than $2,800. NAHB estimates that nearly 18% of these remodeling projects would not have occurred without the credit. Thus, the extension of the 25C credit for 2013 will result in an additional $727 million in remodeling for the industry. Following a year-end push by NAHB, the 25C tax credit was retroactively renewed by Congress through 2012 and extended through the end of this year. Read about how NAHB actions on the 25C tax credit will support 140,000 remodeling jobs and other ways that your NAHB membership pays you dividends right here.
  • 06 Jun 2013 2:40 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    We’ve all seen a stunning hillside mansion and dreamed what it would be like to raise our families there. Or envied the amazing renovation makeovers depicted on television shows that give the home owners a sense of pride and accomplishment. But how does your dream home compare to what home buyers across the country are looking for in their new home?

    A recent study from the National Association of Homes Builders, What Home Buyers Really Want, shared the results of a survey of the preferences of thousands of home buyers. On average, home buyers are looking for a home that is 17 percent larger than their current home, a median of 2,226 square feet. But, likely as a result of the ongoing challenges of the economic downturn, that size is 13 percent smaller than the average size of homes started in 2012.

    The layout of the home is more important than the location to most buyers. Living space and number of rooms was ranked the most influential characteristic by 65 percent of buyers, while only 33 percent ranked proximity to locations they need to go as tops. A sense of open space continues to be popular, with about three-quarters of home buyers wanting a kitchen that is open to the family room, and nearly two-thirds looking for ceilings on the first floor that are 9 feet or more tall.

    Some of the most wanted features in a home involve saving energy. Energy Star-rated appliances were rated as essential or desirable by 94 percent of respondents, and 91 percent wanted an Energy Star rating for the whole home. In fact, nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 percent to 3 percent less.

    Convenient organization and storage is another home buyer favorite. More than 80 percent of the respondents said they wanted walk-in pantries and pull-out shelves in the kitchen, a laundry room and storage in the garage.

    Today’s home buyers want the latest technology. While only 15 percent of home owners currently have a wireless home security system, 50 percent want one. Similar gaps in “have” versus “want” occur with security cameras, lighting control and wireless audio systems, and multi-zone HVACs.

    The most unwanted home features include elevators, a location in a golf course, high density or gated community, and having only a shower stall and no tub in the master bath.

    So whether you’re planning or dreaming about what your next new home will look like, or you’re making renovations to your current home so that it will appeal to its next owner, keep these home buyer preferences in mind!

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