Riverview Contracting

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Does Energy-Efficient Window Glass Help with HVAC Costs?

In this post, you will learn…

  • Why window glass makes all the difference in home energy costs
  • What to look for in energy-efficient windows
  • What is a U-Factor and which type is best for your climate?

Does the Glass Really Make a Difference?

With so many options out there, it’s difficult to know what to look for in a quality, energy-efficient window. One of the most important aspects of a replacement window is the glass used to make the windows. While all window glass may seem the same at first, there are several factors that differentiate glass that can affect the performance of your window and your overall HVAC costs.

LOW-E COATING:

Low-E is an energy-efficient coating that will minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through the glass and into your home. Low-E coating helps either retain or reflect heat into your home while reducing energy costs throughout the year.

INSULATING GASES:

Argon and krypton gases add enhanced energy efficiency to your windows to help minimize heating and cooling loss through glass. Both gases perform as an insulator and work with the Low-E coating to give you a comfortable home. Here are some helpful facts about argon and krypton gases to help you choose which is right for your windows.

  • Argon gas is colorless, odorless and denser than air. Argon gas increases R-values and noise control and is best used when there are larger gaps between window panes.
  • Krypton gas is the more expensive of the two insulating gases, but it acts as a better insulator. Krypton gas is also colorless, odorless and can significantly reduce outside noise.

Panes of Glass

Triple Pane Glass – Triple pane glass is made up of three individual panes. Coupled with Low-E coating and argon or krypton gas, triple pane glass windows are the most energy efficient.

Double Pane Glass – Double pane glass is made up of two individual panes. This is the most common type of glass used in windows. Double pane glass windows are good insulators when Low-E coating and argon or krypton gas is added.

Single Pane Glass – Single pane glass is made up of only one glass pane. Other than keeping the elements out, single pane glass does very little in terms of insulating.

What Do I Look for in an Energy-Efficient Window?

When shopping for energy-efficient replacement windows, make sure that each window you plan to buy has been independently tested to meet the necessary performance requirements and has the certification label affixed to it. Here are a few certifications to look for in quality energy-efficient windows.

THE NATIONAL FENESTRATION RATING COUNCIL (NFRC)

The NFRC is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide accurate information and labels so customers can compare energy-efficient performance in windows, doors and skylight products. The National Fenestration Rating Council® independently tests and certifies each window and door to educate a consumer on the window’s U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Visible Light Transmission.

THE NATIONAL ACCREDITATION & MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE® (NAMI)

NAMI specializes in fenestration and building envelope products which include windows, skylights, patio doors and entry doors. This agency provides Certification Inspection and Quality Assurance Services to the building industry.

ENERGY STAR®

ENERGY STAR certifications are based on the minimal standard for performance a window must meet in a specific climate to ensure low energy costs.

Companies that have had their windows tested, certified and labeled are assuring you that the products being installed in your home meet all the necessary performance requirements.

What is a U-Factor (U-Value)?

When purchasing a new window, it’s also important to look at the U-Factor, but what does that mean? A U-Factor is the measure of heat transfer from the entire window including the frame, sash and glass unit. A lower U-Factor means the window has a greater resistance to heat flow and higher quality insulation.

When you choose a window, it should include an NRFC label that displays key energy performance ratings of that specific window as well as an energy-star label. Make sure to discuss the labels with your window replacement company to learn more and find a window that fits your specific energy efficiency needs, based on your climate.

Basements with Flair

Looking for space to put an exercise room, entertainment center playroom or office? Go underground! If your home has an unfinished basement, remodeling might be a great way to transform this commonly under-used space.

When considering a basement remodel, start by making a list of how you want to use the space. Be sure to think about the location of your furnace, washer and dryer, electrical panel and any other large appliances. There are items that can be moved and some we will have to work around.

Take note of:

  • Access to basement from upstairs and outside.
  • Location of existing plumbing if you want an additional bathroom
  • Location of vertical support columns
  • Location of windows and doors
  • Floor/ceiling/wall materials.
  • Amount of water the area gets.

Given their constant contact with the earth, basements are vulnerable to dampness, which makes basement remodeling a bit more complex than first meets the eye. Riverview Contracting will help you take appropriate measures to ensure a room free of moisture.

Most basements in older Northen Neck homes have low ceilings and few windows. There are many creative ways to make your basement light and airy. Talk to us about the variety of wall and ceiling lighting options available. We’ll make sure to provide appropriate electrical lines and outlets.

 Here are some tips of the trade we ask clients to think about when making their underground space first class.

  • Stay away from dark wood paneling and instead consider drywall painted in light tones to make the room brighter. Semi-gloss paint will gently reflect even more light into the room.
  • Open up the visual space. Double doors – even glass double interior doors – take away the typical cubicle look. Or, how about a rounded archway or pass-through area from one room to another?
  • Check to see if exiting windows can be enlarged. Or, consider installing a small boxed window for a mini-garden to grow herbs or start plant seedlings. In some case we may even be able to cut a new window into the existing foundation wall.
  • Built-in books cases and entertainment units add richness and depth to a room. Light them with interior lights or from the top to cast a light downwards.
  • Disguise vertical support beams and horizontal ceiling pipes for floor joists by boxing them in. Or, you might decide to actually use pipes and beams as interesting accents by painting them with bold colors or subtle earth tones.

An unfinished basement is much like a diamond in the rough – unexplored splendor awaiting your discovery.                    

Our team has been working with families like yours for over 20years. And it is important to us that everyone works together to create the best possible experience. If you have questions about your home improvement project please let us know. 

Phone: 804-436-3463

 

5 Renovations to Consider this Fall.

As we get closer to the end of fall, many people’s attention starts to turn to their fall home improvement projects. Now is the time to start planning because whether you are thinking about windows & doors to prep for the upcoming cold weather, a basement so the kids have a place to play when its snowing, or kitchen and bath renovations in time for the holidays it takes time to get the contractor, plan, permits, and materials all ready to go.

According to Remodeling Magazines 2016 Cost versus Value report, “For the first time in six years, the overall average cost-value ratio has improved, reaching 60.6%…Cost-recouped percentages were up for all 35 projects in the survey, a complete turnaround from the 2014–15 report, when percentages dropped in all but three projects, some precipitously.

The biggest gainers this year were mostly replacement projects, which have always outperformed discretionary remodeling projects, more so in recent years as the economic recession brought price to the forefront for homeowners making remodeling decisions.”

The report lists these as the top 5 renovations in the Northern Neck area for recouping your investment in your home.

  1. Entry Door Replacement
  2. Minor Kitchen Renovation
  3. Garage Door Replacement
  4. Vinyl Siding
  5. Vinyl Windows

So as you start to plan your fall improvements consider whether these projects are on your list. Also take the time to consider Riverview Contracting, a professional contractor, who is licensed, and insured and who can get your project done right.

TODAY’S NEW HOMES COULD BENEFIT FROM EXTRA STORAGE SPACE

The Value of Attic Storage and Access

Brought to you by Jesse

When deciding whether or not to incorporate an attic space, consider the advantages:

  • Relatively low cost
  • Added value for the homeowner
  • Easier and safer access
  • Energy saving & code compliant products more readily available
  • More living space is created

For homeowners seeking to offer high-value feature at a relatively low cost, the answer is just overhead.

With today’s new homes being constructed somewhat smaller than even just a couple of years ago, the value of increased storage space is becoming more important. This is evident by the ever-increasing and somewhat expensive, offsite mini storage facilities popping up on almost every corner. (A typical 5 x 5 space rents for anywhere from $35 to $80 per month depending on the city). This additional attic space in every home can be as little as just a few square feet or as large as the entire attic area. Other than storage, the space can also be utilized to house the mechanical equipment of the home such as air handler units, water heaters, etc. This frees up valuable living space down below.

Whether the space is used for storage or not, the IRC still requires an access to that space. The access can be through a scuttle hole or an attic stairway. The reason is to provide access for building inspectors, fire fighters, electricians and any of the trades that might need to gain access during the life of the home. Granted, not all areas of the country nor all styles of homes lend themselves to utilize this space, but for those that do, it is a marketable, value-added feature… storage space.

While many builders in various parts of the country take advantage of this opportunity, many do not, here at Riverview Contracting we emphasize what additions and new construction add to your home. Whether omitting this useable space is just a regional habit, a structural fear or energy compliancy concerns, these issues have been resolved over the past several years. The simplest and most cost-effective way to incorporate this space and its access is at the time of construction. The cost is minimal, usually less than $400, which includes the cost of truss design, the materials and can include the cost of the attic stairway depending on its placement within the home. This load bearing attic cavity can be created whether the roof is of truss construction or site built and whether or not the attic is considered conditioned or unconditioned space.

For those with energy code compliancy concerns, many new attic stairway products have been developed. There are stairway units on the market with R-5 to R-50 insulated doors that are weather-stripped and air tight. The use of an attic stairway makes access to the attic much easier and safer than going through a scuttle hole using a step ladder. There are also aftermarket products that can be utilized as well to eliminate energy loss. The products developed and available today are not the same products as 5 years ago.

As always contact us to review this particular topic or anything related to new home construction, additions or remodeling. 

Remodeling with Investment in Mind (Part 2) 

In our last blog we talked about how much value a kitchen remodel can bring to your home.  If you’re excited to remodel, but are not sure how long you plan to be in your home, you might want to approach your remodel with a slightly different angle.

Minneapolis Kitchen Remodeler | Kitchen Remodeling Twin Cities

Here are a few tips for remodeling with investment in mind:

Value —  You’ll want to create a kitchen that reflects the value of the area you live in.   Be careful about designing an elaborate kitchen for a neighborhood that won’t reap it’s value.  But it’s equally important that you don’t cut-corners on a kitchen in an otherwise luxurious home and neighborhood!

Style —  It can be tempting to pour your own style and personal touches into a kitchen.  And this is not a bad thing!  But if you’re concerned about selling, select a refreshed updated look that still suits the style of your home.  If a new buyer falls in love with the arts and crafts style of your home’s exterior, they might be surprised to find the overly-modern kitchen inside.  Don’t design separate rooms with styles that clash.  When in doubt, go for a transitional style that merges traditional with more contemporary looks.

Energy — Invest in energy-efficient appliances.  Not only do they save you money as they use less energy, potential buyers see them as a wallet-friendly bonus when shopping for a new home.  Read what energy star has to say about saving big with appliances on their fact sheet here.

Functionality – Whether you’re thinking of yourself or future buyers, organizational elements are a big hit with everyone! Invest in features like drawers for your cabinetry and pantry, soft-close cabinets, waste-recycling cabinetry space, and other organizational aspects.  A well organized kitchen never goes out of style.

Ready to get started?  Check out these Top 8 Kitchen Remodeling Trends and see if any of them might be good fits for your new, improved kitchen!

Get remodeling! Connect with us here at Riverview Contracting to start talking about your new kitchen today. Serving the Northern Neck Area, including Northumberland, Lancaster, and Northumberland Counties and the Middle Peninsula.

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