The Transformation

The Transformation

Dawn isn’t far off. The grayness of morn, the ability to distinguish shapes in the night, all signs that the first rays of sunlight aren’t far off. This trip to Tangent Lodge has been a revelation. Yesterday evening as we left the hustle and bustle of the city the exhaustion of the work week was taking it’s toll. Glad that we only had an hour to travel, we commented how the distance was about all we wished to endure. Mary commented “I can hardly wait until we get home”.

At the moment I didn’t make a comment, but those few words stuck in my mind. As I was laying in bed a little while ago I listened to the clock on the living room wall tick away and the refrigerator in the kitchen cycle on and off. Those are the only noises in this otherwise silent country setting.

There’s a peacefulness here, a sense of escape, a feeling of contentment that lets you exhale the concerns of the world. All week long the news bombards us with doom and gloom forecasts of pending peril. The economy’s on the rocks, the stock market’s in another downward spiral, there’s famine and unrest all over the globe.

Not here. Amongst the pines all is well. There is no noise, the sun will shine bright in an hour or so. Two loaves of bread dough are nestled in pans, rising on the counter. The thought of eggs, cooked over easy with crisp bacon on the side, accompanied by a couple slices of fresh bread toast and a tall glass of milk, makes my stomach growl with anticipation.

There is no TV, no morning news report, no newspaper on our stoop. There is no reminder of what we left just 12 hours ago. True the walls are unfinished drywall. Yes the woodstove sits unconnected in the corner waiting for the stove pipes to be installed. We must dodge around construction materials to navigate most of the house and the kitchen sink drain leaks like a sieve.

There is a mountain of unfinished work to do before our vision is realized, but it doesn’t matter. It already feels like home.

Yes, we’ve been city dwellers for the past almost 10 years. It’s been a good life, our residence is comfortable and chosen well for its convenience. We’ve considered it our home, and it still serves us well. But that’s different. How so you ask? That’s hard to explain.

Life as we know it requires you to be employed. To get up daily, go off to work, come home after so many hours and repeat the same cycle for years at a stretch. Tangent Lodge is a symbol of a completely different way of life.

Retirement, where the daily cycle of activities goes a whole different direction. It will be the time of our lives where we can decide for ourselves what we wish to do with the day. There is no time schedule, no deadlines, no company structure or productivity requirements to meet.

Not to say we plan on sitting in our rocking chairs on the front porch, and watch as the world passes us by. It will be the time for our desires. What do we want to do today, not what someone else wants us to do for them today.

Tangent Lodge symbolizes the point where our lives truly become our own.

It’s still a few years off before both of us can be totally separated from our careers. With a 5 year age gap, my retirement is closer at hand. Still we both can see light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. Every day we spend at our country retreat shortens our wait.

We work together to build this next phase of our lives. It’s expected it will be the last phase of our lives as well, I’ve already stated Tangent Lodge will be in our possession until the end. There’s a connection with this land, this cabin, that feels all important.

I sit, creaking back and forth in the old oak rocking chair, waiting for the first rays of sunlight to reach the picture window that looks out into the forest. Yes, we are transforming this neglected property into our home. I realize the transformation goes much deeper.

We are transforming ourselves as well. A closer couple, committed to building our home together. It’s good to have a place where we can escape the worries of the world and just be us.

Inferior Construction Repairs

Inferior Construction Repairs Leads to Home Owner Frustration

Have you ever heard the expression,” You can fix some of the things some of the times, but you can’t fix all of the things all the time.” Well if you haven’t, that’s because I took another saying and rearrange the words to create a new inspirational thought for the construction world.

Do poor construction repairs create problems in the future? You bet they do and sometimes they can create more problems than the ones originally repaired. I have seen termite and water damaged wood, simply covered up by plywood and repainted, only years later to find out that the damaged areas are creating structural problems and safety issues for the building structure.

I don’t know if this makes any sense, but would you hire a shoe repair man who doesn’t know anything about plumbing to re-pipe your home. Would you hire a handyman who has been doing home repairs for 30 years to build your brand-new home? Then there’s a good chance that were on the same page.

Year after year, I fix and I repair the homes that suffer from poor construction repairs or poor construction assembly and design. The sad part about this is that I was just talking to a homeowner the other day and explaining how the wood that I was repairing became damaged.

He wasn’t listening to me at first, until I got his attention with potential home repairs in the future that would need to be made if he didn’t correct the situation as soon as possible. I might not have got his attention, with my knowledge, but I surely got his attention when I mentioned the cost of repairing the damage in the future.

Try to use only experienced construction professionals who understand the house problems that need to be repaired. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask your construction professionals if there is anything that you can do in the future to avoid this type of damage from ever happening again.

You can pay me now or you can pay me later is a term that most contractors seem to live by. If you’re not interested in fixing the same repairs over and over again, make sure that the home repair man provides you with a solution to avoid future home repairs and damage to your home.

Home Building and Dealing with the Homeless

Home Building and Dealing with the Homeless

Here’s another story that’s been passed down the contractors pipelined from home builder to home builder and I’m passing it on to you. Some of the stories I’ve heard while working on new homes, truly are amazing and this one’s no different.

The construction crew had just started building the foundation when they noticed a couple of pieces of wood lying down in the shape of a cross. Any Christian would have known that this was a sign from God, but that wasn’t going to be enough to stop them from building their house.

The construction workers didn’t think anything of it until the next day, when they noticed the pieces of wood were laying in the exact spot again, in the shape of a cross. The construction workers figured that someone was coming to the job site after they left and wanted these two pieces of wood left alone. If that was all the damage these guys were doing, it was perfectly fine with the construction workers

They left the cross alone and nothing happened for about a week. That was when they finally got to meet the man who had built the wooden cross. He came running towards the construction workers like a wild man, yelling and screaming at them. He grabbed one of the workers and started punching him, until the other workers pulled him off.

The man ran back from where he came from, but hadn’t finished what he started. Every day around the same time, the situation would repeat itself, until the sheriff finally caught the man and took him to jail.

I’m probably leaving out the most important part of the story, the man was actually the same person who hired the contractor to build the home. He had talked to home builder into starting the project with out a down payment and the contractor did. The property owner was placed in jail for assault and battery and a lien was placed against his property by the contractor.

I never got a chance to hear any more of the story and I don’t know what ever happened to the contractor or the property owner. However, I would like to make a something clear here, the next time someone puts a wooden cross next to your project, it could actually be a sign from God.

Home Improvement Products

Problems with New Home Improvement Products

I’ve been a contractor for over 30 years and have watched some incredible products come and go. Maybe I should rephrase that last statement and say that I have seen plenty of so-called fantastic products, come and go.

Some of these products should have never made it to the market, but they did.

I’ve seen retaining walls, paint, exterior coatings, windows, garage doors, regular doors and the worst one of all, roofing materials, enter into the construction market and disappear within a few years. Whenever you see the word lifetime guarantee, limited lifetime guarantee or even the best guarantee you will ever get, don’t buy it.

I’m just kidding of course, but there are plenty of tricky companies out there who know how to manipulate and create the perfect illusion. If there’s one thing I can say about a lifetime guarantee, it’s this,” It’s only as good as the company.”

This is where consumers need to be careful, because it’s easy for a company to create a false illusion about their products. Guaranteed for life, usually means that the company will be going out of business.

Limited lifetime warranty usually means that the lifetime warranty has a couple of catches. Most limited lifetime guarantees don’t provide the consumer with very much protection.

One window manufacturer that I purchased products from guarantees your windows for life, as long as you own the home. Oh I forgot to mention, and as long as you have all of your paperwork and your original warranty.

Now when it comes to roofing materials, these people have created their own super limited lifetime niche, because someone comes up with a brilliant idea and actually finds a market for it. Some of these roofing materials are literally junk, but most homeowners, don’t know enough about them, to make an educated decision.

That’s when the super salesman comes in and clinches the deal, simply by using their charm and charisma. Uneducated homeowners are the ones that usually fall victim to inferior products, backed up by superior sales pitches

If I had a quarter for every home that I repaired, because of a material flaw or poor installation, I would have a lot of quarters. Even though things are starting to get better, we need to send articles like these to everyone we know, just in case.

It’s our responsibility to stop the scammers, before it’s too late.

The next time anyone tells you that you have any type of guarantee, either throw it in the trash can or read it and try to understand what type of consumer protection, they are actually providing.

Maryland Building Codes

How to Find Maryland Building Codes

The state of Maryland passes building codes at the state level. There is also some local involvement in the adoption of building codes for the construction, engineering and design industries. Maryland building professionals should first get familiar with the process of how building codes are adopted and become law in Maryland. They can then figure out how to find these Maryland building codes for use in their business.

Step 1:

Get familiar with how laws, rules and regulations related to building and construction come about in Maryland. At the state level, the legislature has the power to adopt pretty much any constitutional law. It can also delegate authority to pass rules and regulations to a Maryland administrative agency.

In the case of Maryland building codes and construction rules and regulations, the Maryland Codes Administration plays a large part in the Maryland administrative law for this industry. The Maryland Building Performance Standards Regulations prescribe which building codes and amendments are adopted for use in Maryland. You may see links to the regulations in the Resources below.

After these regualations are passed and codes adopted, they go to the local Maryland county and city building departments. The local government may then amend certain portions of the Maryland building codes.

Step 2:

If you are working on construction or maintenance in a Maryland county or city, the first thing you need to do is find out if there are any amendments to the state building codes in that local city or county. To aid in this step, the Maryland Codes Administration has a directory of local building departments. Use the link in the Resources below to find the local office. Get a copy of any amendments from that office.

Step 3:

Next, click on the “Maryland Building Performance Standards List of Adopted Codes and Standards” page in the Resources below. That document will tell you which building codes have been adopted. You then know which codes or standards to find.

Step 4:

From there, if you know the publisher, you can contact the publisher to get a copy of a building code adopted in Maryland. If you do not know the publisher because you are unfamiliar with that particular industry or code, then ask the Maryland Codes Administration how to access that particular building code. Use the following contact information:

Maryland Codes Administration

100 Community Place

Crownsville, MD 21032-2023

410-514-7218

You should also refer to the administration’s main page for additional information related to building codes in Maryland (see Resources).

Construction

Things to Consider Adding to Your Home During Construction

If you are getting ready to build a home or are in the middle of construction, here are a few luxuries to consider having installed by your builder.

Granite counter tops and tile back splash. If you already have it in the kitchen, why not the bathrooms?

Home theater with recessed wall speakers. Do you like sports, movies and engaging TV? Why not get that home theater installed before you move in? A decent home theater costs $5,000 – go ahead and get it rolled into that mortgage.

Double D’s – Do you have a dishwasher picked out? Is it top of the line? How about a second one? What? A second one? Redesign your kitchen to install one dishwasher on the right side of the kitchen sink and an identical one on the left. Sound crazy? You will thank me later.

Concrete walls. Did you know concrete walls insulate your home better than anything on the market right now? Sure it costs more but you will save money on your energy costs and you could receive a 20% reduction on your home insurance.

Attic or loft? Spend the extra dollars to make your attic an air conditioned loft instead of a hot, musty attic. You can organize your junk and put a pool table up there should you choose to do so in the future. Just ask you builder about the options available to you.

Halogen lighting is out – LED is in. Do you know what LED lighting is? You should. It is just as costly as halogen but you never have to replace the bulbs and your house will be cooler given that LED’s give off no heat whatsoever. This is the better bargain. Go with LED’s.

Heated hardwood flooring? Get the additional heating element installed under your hardwood. If you live in a climate that is subject to freezing temperatures, you will thank me in the morning when the temperature is 10 degrees outside.

An additional bathroom? Did you know that adding on a bathroom can cost about $8,000 during construction? That’s a little price to pay considering that it will add $15,000 value to your home for each additional full bathroom.

Security cameras. Call your local security company and ask how much it would cost to set up a six camera security camera system. It could be around $5000 but consider the peace of mind – whether your infant child made a noise in their crib or you heard what sounded like a door shut – just turn on your TV in your bedroom and search the cameras. This is my favorite luxury on the list.

Central Vacuum System? Install one and save yourself the trouble of replacing a bulky plastic contraption that is hard to move around the house.

LCD Skylights – This is a great feature. You can have skylights installed with LCD glass. It works with a remote control. If you don’t want light coming through, just click your remote control and the glass blacks out with LCD technology. Pretty cool.

Whole house music. Speakers in every room and controllable in each room. Let the entire house be filled with the voice of Frank , Dean and Sammy with a touch of a button.

Talk with your builder and see what can be done.

Super Tips for Your Deck

Super Tips for Your Deck

Decks are used by different families for different purposes. Some are used for entertainment. Some are used for play. Some decks are used for relaxation. Yet other decks are used for grilling food. Each family has a different use in mind when they decide to build a deck. No matter what your intentions are, there are some excellent deck tips to keep in mind during the construction process.

Decks and Trees

It is a huge dilemma: wanting a deck right where a tree is growing. This may mean you have a tree right outside your back door. Don’t fret if this is the case. Trees make excellent shade for your deck. If you want to save your tree and build a deck, simply build the deck around the tree. It look absolutely beautiful and provides nice shade during the summer months.

The Finish on a Deck

Some people debate whether or not they should paint or stain their deck. I am here to advocate for staining. It looks natural and fresh, while enhancing the wood’s inherent beauty. Also, staining a deck requires much less upkeep than paint. Paint chips and fades. Also, when you paint a deck you must prime it and do a little more work than with stain.

Privacy Deck

Many homes across the world have close neighbors. This leaves little room for outdoor privacy. However, if you build a deck, you can build yourself some outdoor privacy. Do this by simply placing lattice work or a trellis along the side where you would like privacy. Then, plant a flowering vine below. When the vine begins to grow and bloom, your outdoor paradise will be shaded from other viewers.

Cleaning Mildew from the Deck

Mildew on a wooden deck is unsightly. However, it is simple to clean. Use 1 cup of trisodium phosphate with 1 gallon of liquid bleach and 1 gallon of water. Mix the solution together and spray your deck with a hose. Next, use a scrubber brush on the worst hit areas. Rinse the solution off of your deck after 10 minutes.

There are so many people in this world who have decks. Some people enjoy them every day, while others enjoy them only on special occasions. Whether your deck will be used constantly or merely on special occasions, you want the best deck for your money. These simple deck tips will help you in your deck construction and maintenance.

Dormer Window

Making Space in Your Room with a Dormer Window

Dormer windows have an appeal to many homeowners because of the ability to inject unfiltered light into any room! Once a room has been lit it appears more spacious and open to the residents. Dormer windows are distinguishable by the addition of the window into the roof of a room increasing the size, space and light that is shed into the room.

The classic windows can be identified by the set into the wall look of the window. They increase the size of the room by allowing more space and additional headroom. Not only are they an architectural element but a dormer is a great way to add character to a room by incorporating it into a built in desk, shelf or window bench or seat. Dormers are most popular on the third floor of a home and are a great way to turn the attic into a functional and stylish living space.

Dormer windows are available at all window supply stores and should be installed by a professional. The installation of the windows is often more extensive than other types of traditional windows.

There are five types of dormer windows; the gable fronted dormer which appears at the front of the house and creates a point – one of the most popular dormers to add character to a house, the second, is a hipped dormer where the roof slips back to accommodate the dormer, and the third, in where the roof of the dormer is not pointed but flat. The fourth type of dormer is a shed dormer and is used in gable roofed homes at a shallower angle than the main roof. The fifth and the last type of dormer is a wall dormer which is used strictly to break up the differences in a wall of a building.

The cost of dormer windows varies but is comparable to traditional windows. Of course, it is important to take into account the extra costs that will come with the construction and installation of a dormer window. In many instances portions of the roof will have to be removed, which will leave the home exposed to the elements. This is why, when installing a dormer it should be completed as a summer project.

Many homes will look great with dormer windows and they are a favourite for those renovating a home. Many homes will encompass the use of Dormer windows to add character to the outside of the home – therefore the window is used solely for aesthetic purposes.