Understanding Energy Efficiency Terms

Here at Merle Builders, we know the words used to describe energy-efficient homes can be very confusing to home owners. Here are some simple definitions to help you understand some of the energy saving options for your home.

 

Energy-Efficient Home

An energy efficient is a house that uses less energy than a traditional home without reducing the functionality of the house.

You can make your home more efficient through things such as closing gaps in the thermal envelope (the ‘skin’ around your home), building with solar generated electricity in mind (whether it be solar panels or facing the house to make best use of daylight), low-e windows and, new energy efficient appliances.

To achieve energy efficiency in your home you will reduce or eliminate services and/or energy usage to save energy.

Living in the Central New York/Syracuse/Baldwinsville area it is important to know how your home stacks up. Learn how efficient your home is currently and ways to improve your home’s efficiency with ENERGY STAR’s Home Energy Yardstick .

 

Net Zero-Energy Home

A home in which energy production and consumption are equivalent.

This simply means  that the amount of energy you produce in the home equals the amount of energy you use in the home. Solar panels are perhaps the most common way for homes to produce energy.

 

Net Positive-Energy Home

A home that produces more energy than the household needs.

It may be possible for a home owner to receive credit from their utility company for returning the excess energy they have produced in their home to the grid. Contact your local utility company to learn more about this possibility.

 

For information in planning your Energy Efficiency upgrades please feel free to contact us today!

Luxury Townhome Vs. Luxury Country-Style Home

Luxury Townhome Vs. Luxury Country-Style HomeWhen you move, you’re faced with numerous decisions.

Should I rebuild an older home or build new?

Luxury Townhouse Or Single Luxury Country-Style Home?

If you find yourself going back and forth with these questions, you aren’t alone.

Here are the facts about townhomes and country homes to help you make your decision.

A Matter Of Preference

When it comes to a single Luxury country-style home that is all yours, you own everything from the building to the land.

You are also able to create some privacy for yourself, but that’s at your discretion.

Along with that, you will be able to build your home any way you choose.

The catch is every repair or necessary maintenance falls solely on you.

But that’s something that is universal, as any time you choose to build a new home, you will have freedom, but all responsibility falls on you.

In the case of a constructing a luxury townhome, things are a little more uniform.

It’s quite possible that if you construct a townhome, that it will have to be built very close to all of the other townhomes if you live in a complex.

In addition to that, there more rules you will need to oblige to.

That’s because the gated communities are typically run by a Homeowners Association.

They make every rule for the area including the colors of the home and what size your pet can be.

So if you want to build a new townhome, it might have to look in uniform just like everyone else’s.

There’re no real downsides to either, as building yourself a new home can be quite stress relieving from the opposite, which might be repairing an older home that is falling apart.

Merle Builders specializes in building custom luxury homes and townhomes.

We design and construct each house according to your lifestyle to give you the luxury home you have always dreamed of.

For more information on our services, please feel free to contact us today!

Patio Home Necessities

Patio Home NecessitiesBuilding a new home is a very exciting process, especially if it’s a patio home.

But if you haven’t built one before, chances are you might not be sure what you need to include.

Now you may know to have it include things like a kitchen or bathroom, but there are a few amenities and renovations you may want to consider adding before you lay the first brick.

Make Sure You Have A View

To many, our bedroom is our domain.

If that’s how you feel, then it’s important to give it a great view.

Whether that is a massive window or a sliding door, make sure that the master bedroom has the best view in the house.

Or if you want a great view no matter where you are, you could have tall windows installed all along the home.

That way, no matter where you are, you can take in the beautiful view in front of you.

Now if the outdoors suits you better, it would be a good idea to have a concrete patio put in.

That way, regardless of the time of day, you would be able to step outside and enjoy the view.

It would also be very valuable if you were to have neighbors, friends or family over.

Merle Builders specializes in building custom homes according to your exact needs.

We will work with you every step of the way to help create your new home just as you’ve envisioned it.

If you would like more information on our services, please contact us today!

Renovate Your Home For Curb Appeal

Renovate Your Home For Curb AppealPeople watching, we all do it whether we admit it or not.

Most of us are conscious of people watching but are we aware that we are just as likely to “house watch”?

Whether driving down a street or walking the neighborhood we observe the “curb appeal” of the homes we pass and pick out what we do and do not like, sometimes we take the ideas we get from admiring others’ homes and we apply them to our own.

To many homeowners, the outside appearance of a home is just as important as the inside.

Hours are spent each week mowing the lawn in perfect lines, weeding the flower beds and sprucing up the landscaping.

Structural renovations to the outside often include siding, shutters, a new garage door, the possibilities are endless.

One project that is sure to change the look and heighten the curb appeal of your home is adding pillars to the front porch.

Columns not only help define the style of your home but also make your porch more inviting.

There are many things to consider when you change the structure of a porch, make sure before you start planning anything you check with the local building department to ensure you are following all building and structural codes.

Careful consideration needs to be given to the location, size and a number of posts and/or columns your porch needs.

Matching your columns to your porch’s architectural style can dramatically improve your overall curb appeal.

Not only are columns and posts aesthetically pleasing but they can also provide privacy, creating an inviting outdoor room to relax and drink your morning cup of coffee, enjoy company or dive into a book.

At Merle Builders, our expert staff is able to assist with everything from obtaining a building permit, assuring codes are met, drawing up plans, finding materials and doing the work.

Contact us today to discuss your latest project idea.

Reinvest In Your Home With A New Roof

Reinvest In Your Home With A New RoofAny home improvement job brings on an instant headache and questions of “is it really worth all the time, stress and money?”

Depending on the project the answer could range but if you’re looking into a new roof then the answer is most likely a “yes”.

If your current roof is in rough shape the amount of potential damage from a leak is insurmountable. Leaks can lead to water damage, mold and mildew. The cost to repair and replace attic support beams, ceilings and drywall could easily become more expensive than if you had replaced the roof in the first place.

Value

Reportedly, a new roof can add between 15 and 40 percent to the value of your home which means a $100,000.00 home can easily become a $140,000.00 with a new and modern style roof. Depending on the style you chose for your new roof, from traditional to tin to solar, the more you will pay initially but the payout can be worth it in the long run.

Resale

When selling your home the roof situation can be a deal breaker if it is in need of repair or replacement especially if the buyer is looking to use a government-backed loans such as FHA and VA loans. Curb appeal is another advantage but advertising the energy efficient feature a new roof brings and you’ve got a winner.

At Merle Builders, located in Syracuse, NY, we use only top-quality roofing materials. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you accomplish giving you the roof you desire.

Hire A Professional For Your Home’s Renovations

Hire A Professional For Your Home’s RenovationsThere are a lot of “Do It Yourselfers” out there who are up for taking on most projects with a do or die attitude, and then there are those of us who need some outside help when it comes to home renovation projects; big or small.

Unless you designed your home, there is always something about your house that you would like to change or add. Your project list could be endless, from replacing the tile in the bathroom to a complete kitchen overhaul. Before jumping in head first on a home renovation project, there are plenty of things to think about and plan for – from your budget to the level of difficulty.

Why Hire A Professional

Unless you are a contractor, there is a good chance you will need some professional advice at some point, plus there are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself if you plan to do any of the work on your own.

Motivation

How motivated are you to see the entire project through from start to finish without giving up?

Plenty of people start a project and then months, even years, later there is still some unfinished business. Are you going to look back later and think to yourself, if you just hired a professional this renovation would all the done and over with? Probably…

Budget

Labor costs are always a concern. We think that not only can we find a better deal on supplies and fixtures, but sometimes we watch a YouTube video and instantly think “Oh I can do that!” While that is the feeling at the start of the renovation process, there are plenty of times when you create more work and spend more money on unseen variables, putting your project cost up there with the amount you would have spent on a pro.

At Merle Builders, we treat your projects like our project with respect and dedication.

Contact us today and we will gladly answer any questions you may have and we will guide you through the process of designing a space that fits your lifestyle, choosing the materials and making sure the project stays on time and on budget.

The Resale Importance Of Remodeling Your Backyard Deck

The Resale Importance Of Remodeling Your Backyard Deck

The term “stay-cation” became popular in the early 2000’s, each year more and more families were choosing to use their vacation money to stay home, update and remodel.

New television stations, like the DIY Network and HGTV, started cranking out reality shows starring homeowners and designers. These home designing stars would then be working together with the homeowner to create more out of their “home spaces.”

One of the most popular renovations includes outdoor spaces.

What better way to spend a cool Syracuse summer nights, then grilling dinner on your newly designed and renovated deck?

 

A wooden deck addition/renovation places fifth on a list of the most popular remodeling projects that keep value in 2015 remodels and better yet can produce an 80% return on your investment when selling your home.

One of the most sought after features for a home buyer today is a deck, many have it on their “must have” lists. But like any remodel unless you work in construction, the first question is “Where do I begin?”

This is where Merle Builders is able to assist from ideas and blueprints, obtaining building permits and even providing onsite management.

At Merle Builders, we treat your project like our project with respect and dedication.

If you live in Syracuse, NY or the surrounding areas, contact us today and we will gladly answer any questions you may have and we will guide you through the process of designing a space that fits your lifestyle, choosing the materials and making sure the project stays on time and on budget.

Rebuilding Your Garage For Additional Bedroom Space

 

Rebuilding Your Garage For Additional Bedroom Space

A garage is an integral part of a house. Not only does a garage serve as a spot to park a vehicle, a garage also provides ample storage space. For some, a car garage is an ideal project for turning an outdoor space into a livable indoor place.

Garages that are not used for the intended purpose or for those that are an unsafe space, why not transform it into a functional part of your home. By converting your garage, you are adding usable square footage and value to the home.

Transforming a garage is a large project, especially if your current garage is not attached to your home. However, the first decision you should be making is what you plan to use the converted garage space for. Some people choose to rebuild a garage and build the space on top of the garage for living purposes.

This idea allows you to still park in the garage while creating a bedroom loft above. You can also choose to build more than one room with a bath or just a hangout space when you or your family.

The foundation and framework are already in place as well as electrical, so they process of building up should be a straightforward job, as long as the structure is sound. A professional homebuilder can take your vision of creating bedroom space and build a multi-purposeful place for both you and your vehicle to rest.

Aside from building a new structure, some of what you can expect from a garage conversion includes:

  • Insulating the walls and ceiling
  • Either tie into the home’s heating and cooling system or installing a brand new HVAC unit
  • Upgrade and add electrical to accommodate the new living space
  • Open the wall between the house and the garage, if attached, to allow for an open floor plan
  • Add new windows and doors

With a converted garage, your garage space no longer looks like a separate part of your home, it will be one cohesive look. Merle Builders is capable of converting your garage into usable bedroom space. We can help you devise and execute your design vision. Contact us today!

Finishing Your Basement For Added Rooms

Finishing Your Basement For Added RoomsYour home is a large investment, that’s why it’s important that it is perfect and everything you want. Finishing your basement can open up many doors for your home, literally. Remodeling your basement is the least expensive way to add square footage to your home, increasing the value.

When you finish your basement you will enjoy dry storage space and lose the musty, moldy odor, but the benefits don’t stop there.

Here are several options that you’ll have when you finish the basement:

Get work done in your own home office. A home office will offer a quiet place for you to be productive and get some work done.

Additional guest room for family and friends. Need more room for guests? Add a spare room for guests to have a private room to stay. Consider adding an additional bathroom or even a basement apartment.

Your favorite movies right at home. Enjoy movies in your own home movie theater. You won’t have to worry about crowds and sharing an armrest with strangers.

Basement Bar. You won’t need to go to a local bar to watch your favorite sports team. Turn your TV to a sports channel and add a pool table and dart board for your own bar.

At Merle Builders we treat your home like our own and make you a priority throughout the entire process. From blueprints to building permits, we will help you build your ideal home. If you would like more information or you’d like to discuss a renovation project for your home, please contact us today.

Invest in Your Home – Renovate!

Invest in Your Home – Renovate!Renovating any part of your home can seem like an immense project to take on, especially if it is going to be expensive. However, patchwork for the most part has a time limit and letting something continue to deteriorate can lead to more issue with your home.

The truth is renovations will not only save you from a headache later on, but it will actually end up paying you back in a big way.

Don’t Delay, Fix It Today!

 

Putting in a new garage door is a great way to add curb appeal to your home and the normal price for it very reasonable. Fixing your exterior siding is another great renovation as it will make your home a new, fresh look. It’s such an awesome move as it will return about 87 percent back on the total project costs.

When it comes to the kitchen, you don’t need to fix everything in it. Simple upgrades to counters, cabinets and appliances will give a lot back to you in terms of return on the investment. One over looked renovation is new windows for your home. Installing these will help lower your heating and cooling bills, which will in the end save you quite a bit of money.

Speaking of the weather, a backup generator is also a great addition to any home as its benefits will outweigh the money you spend to obtain it.

Merle Builders believes in investing in your home and will take on any renovation you decide you want for your home. We treat each project as if we were working on our own home to make sure you get the best product possible. For more on our services or to discuss a renovation project, contact us today!