Preparing Your Home for the Holidays This Year

Preparing Your Home for the Holidays This YearIt’s hard to believe, but it’s almost the holiday season. If you take a look at many retailers and websites across different industries, it might seem like they’ve already been here for weeks. While that’s not technically the case, we can’t fault anyone for wanting to celebrate anything early. The AHH team takes pride in celebrating wins whenever possible, so we completely empathize. We’re lucky to do it often, given that our team is famously prolific in the space of building your dream home – thanks to decades of experience and an ongoing commitment to learn and grow. One of our favourite lessons to learn and grow upon is preparation. When we properly prepare for a job, we show up better, we communicate better, we execute faster and with greater efficiency. All of those add up to a better experience for you – our most valuable asset.

We obviously want to take care of our most valuable asset. And we know that the holidays can be one of the toughest times of the year, especially in a year where nothing has been certain or expected at all. There are many reasons that the holidays can be tough, and most go into them with a certain expectation that something will go wrong. We can’t necessarily promise that your meal won’t be overcooked or that there won’t be surprise guests from the other side of the family. But we can make a point every year of reminding you about the ways that you can prepare your home. Let’s just call it one less thing to worry about! Read on for more information in advance of the 2020 holidays:

  • This is something that should be done more regularly – quarterly if possible, but here’s a good reminder to check it off. Take 20 minutes to walk around the exterior perimeter of your home. Look for all of the key signs of any sort of damage, especially to your home’s foundation. Don’t worry, they’re simpler than you think. Cracks? Time to call us. Excess moisture or a soggy lawn? Definitely time to call us. Neither of which are necessarily major causes for concern, but if we find issues with the structure of your home earlier, it’s a much easier fix and we can point you in the direction of experts who will be happy to help.
  • Clean your gutters. Time to get out that ladder and climb on up. Even though the weather should (hopefully) be mild, you may have leaves up there from many months ago. These can cause stress on your gutters and sometimes even on your roof in places. Block out an afternoon and you’ll feel great validation in completing this task.
  • Power wash any patios, verandahs or decks. We’re guessing that anyone with outdoor spaces may likely use them for parties or get-togethers. You may have gotten used to faded wood, tiles or cement, but you’ll be pleased as holiday punch once they’re cleaned. Not sure how to get started? Here’s a good article to check out.

We’re looking forward to a great end of the year and hope that you are as well! Cheers from the AHH team.

Expert Tips to Fix a Leaking Roof of Your House

The Need-to-Know When Repairing Your Roof

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So that crack is the culprit? No wonder I have a leaking roof!

Contributors to a Leaking Roof

Having a properly functioning roof is every house owner’s desire, but not everyone might enjoy this luxury. There can be a couple of signs that might convince you that it’s in bad shape, but have you ever wondered why roof leaks happen? Some of the primary reasons you can be having a leaking roof include people, weather, negligence, seams issues, and inadequate equipment.

To break it down further, the exact causes are;

  1. Fallen, displaced, or blown off shingles
  2. Punctured valleys
  3. Low quality during the installation process – enough reason to follow a HomeMakerGuide
  4. Obstructed water flow
  5. Poor room ventilation
  6. Aging.

Indicators that You Have a Bad Roof

If you’re worried that you might have a leaking roof, you should check out the possible red flags. Some of the indicators include;

  • Water stains on the ceiling, rafters, and sheathing
  • Damp spots on the ceiling
  • Moist, bubbling, and peeling paint
  • Unusual dripping sounds
  • Moisture on walls
  • Musty smell
  • Loose, curled, buckled, totally discoloured, and degraded shingles.
  • Loose and exposed nails
  • Damaged or cracked flashing on vents
  • Cracked sealants
  • Debris piles
  • Loose or clogged gutters and downspouts
  • Growing mould and moss.
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I hope that I’ll get it right!

Tips to Solve the Problem

There are several tips that you should always use when faced with a leak. They typically are more of an assessment and taking action to ensure that you maintain the quality as you make repairs. So what should you do?

  1. Upon noticing any signs, take immediate action to avoid later consequences.
  2. Know which situation requires a repair or replacing an entire part.
  3. Bring in a pro when roof leaks are noticed to give you an expert take on the roof’s condition.
  4. Do your research. Get to know how roof tiles are laid and the way to do repairs on your discoloured ceiling.
  5. Do not entirely rely on one sign; check out other potential indicators to avoid any other leakages.
  6. Get the required repair tools if DIY roof repair tips can fix the problem.
  7. Always secure the working scene and ensure that you drain the water in the area to provide an excellent working condition.
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Hopefully, there’ll be no more leaks!

Procedure to Follow

If you were in a situation where your negligence got you to repair an entire room, then you might know why roof maintenance is important. Moreover, you can take action the way you want. There is a systematic way to ensure that you properly fix your leaking roof. The steps involved include;

  1. Notice an indicator. A sign of a leaking roof is enough for you to be worried.
  2. Assessment. After you have a sign, it will inform you of the kind of situation you have at hand and the proper action to take.
  3. Preparation for the procedure. Getting the required tools and materials should be your next move if you are into DIY roof repairs or calling in a pro to analyse the situation.
  4. Get your hands dirty. Taking proper action should follow. Whether it is realigning the shingles, repairing the curls, or even replacing some parts, it all depends on your situation. Some of the common repairs are fixing the gutters, flashing, shingles, vent boots, old mounting holes, dormers, roll roofing, wood shakes, and debris.
  5. Perform a water test. You have to pour some water on or wait for the rains to check if your repairs were significant.

Conclusion

All homeowners should be cautious about their roof as it plays a significant part in providing shelter from many weather conditions. Upon noticing any defects on there, you should be quick to take action after proper assessment. Dwell on the permanent solutions rather than opting for temporary ones that might prove costly later on. It is essential always to consult to get a professional opinion of the condition, and issues such as – can roof tiles be painted after repairs.

Do you have a leaking roof? What action are you willing and planning to take? Any tips in your bag? Please reach out. The Australian Heritage Homes team is here to help.

About the Author

Archie was a builder for more than 40 years. Mainly after his retirement the enthusiastic electrical works in garden and writes for a blog Homemakerguide.com to keep himself occupied. His many years of experience can get you the right tool reviews whether it is a drill, welding machine or so. An impressive fact to note about him is that almost everything in his house is a representation of his skills made by his hands.

Plant Life at Home

Plant Life at HomeThere are so many benefits to plant life. In the most basic of explanations, they’re enjoyable to look at, they can provide more health benefits than you realize and they can add value to your home. You’re probably thinking, “how can a series of succulents or a potted plant or two possibly do that much good?” We get it; in the greater scheme of things, there are far bigger things to plan for your next dream home. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of them all. As aforementioned, some are really big chores to take on – things like window style, fixtures, floor materials and more. But we pride ourselves on taking care of those things in a swift and seamless fashion, reminding you that designing and constructing your home is supposed to be fun and exciting! For a big part of our clientele that only starts to kick in once the home starts to take shape and they get to start adding their own enhancements. Enter, plants.

Here are the high-level, scientifically proven benefits:

  • They boost your mood significantly, maximizing creativity, productivity and concentration.
  • Conversely, they reduce fatigue, remove stress and can even tackle colds and sore throat maladies.
  • By absorbing toxins in the air, producing oxygen and increasing humidity, plants can help clean the air inside your home.

And tongue in cheek… with their therapeutic nature, plants can be significantly more cost-effective than therapy.

Which plants do you choose? All of the below are air-purifying plants:

Snake Plant

The snake plant is no-fuss, so if you’re someone who likes low maintenance additions to the property, look no further. It’s a tropical plant with thin and upright leaves. Its irregular banding makes it a unique addition to your household, with strong resemblance to skin of a reptile. Not that we’re hoping this happens to anyone anytime soon, but if there is a drought on the horizon, the snake plant will do just fine.

Pothos

Prospective plant purchasers can be easily deterred by what experts call “the brown thumb” or less than optimal environmental conditions tend to gravitate towards plants like the pothos. The pothos has long trailing vines – they can reach more than 10 feet. As with most of our air purifying plant recommendations, the pothos will filter toluene, xylene, formaldehyde and benzene right out of your immediate spaces.

Rubber Plant

The rubber plant is a popular houseplant no matter what size or shape of household you have. It hails from the ficus family with famously glossy and oversized leaves. Did you know that these leaves can store water if a drought occurs? (We swear, we’re not aware of any upcoming droughts).

Plants and foliage are just a couple of elements of what can really turn your current or prospective home into not only one that’s safe and comfortable (that’s a no-brainer for AHH), but more importantly, one that’s a good decision for you. Questions? Reach out to our team. We’d love to talk to you.

Home News for October

Home News for OctoberHow is everyone doing? The Australian Heritage Homes team doesn’t ask that enough, and we should. We care so much about our customers, our community, our friends, and if we can’t check in with you all on platforms like this one, then we’re not doing our job as the best in the business when it comes to your dream homes. Don’t worry, we’re totally doing our jobs (and we’re doing them well), but there is always room for improvement – and for right now, that means truly caring about you and your needs wherever and however we can. If you are a regular visitor to the AHH blog, then hopefully you’re only continuing to notice that we love sharing what we love… with you. So, for today, that’s the October round-up of home news. Read on for more information:

Prefab construction is definitely having a hay-day. It probably has been for a long time, but it bears revisiting. This Fast Company article takes a different angle and approach – why isn’t prefab fixing all of the problems that have and will continue to plague the construction industry? As this article shares, in construction and building, there truly is no easy fix. Unfamiliar? Prefab homes take much of the guesswork out of the situation. The AHH team loves having creative conversations with prospective customers, but for those who are averse to extensive planning like this, we recommend that you read this article.

Home hacks are some of our favourite things once your home is designed. They not only make the home more unique and yours, they easily consolidate the time that it would normally take to tidy and clean your property. No matter what size or type of household you have, we’re guessing that everyone could use some time back at the end of the day to relax, or you know- not focus on cleaning! Enter this wonderful article. In its own words, “Overhauling your living spaces? There’s no need to bring in a designer to revamp your home: we’ve got all the tips and tricks of the trade to transform your interior into something special. From brightening dark corners and breathing new life into old décor to creating heritage charm in a new house, scroll or click through to discover the best home design hacks out there…”

While the AHH team focuses on the construction and design of your home, we’ll never stop reminding you that landscaping holds significant value- both now and later. The tricky thing can be the almighty question, “where to start?” This bears especially true if you’re dealing with a completely blank lot and you’re concerned about how the landscaping will complement your ultimately completed home. Don’t fret, this is where the experts come in. They’ll be able to help with parallel timelines, trade-offs you can make for cost and more. Read this article for more information.

Questions? Please reach out. The Australian Heritage Homes team is here to help.

Different Types of Walkways

Different Types of WalkwaysAfter having decades of experience that the Australian Heritage Homes team has in designing and constructing your dream home, we start to look at properties with a different lens. We notice the small things that need to be changed and the amazing things that many would gloss over. We have both critical and appreciative eyes, and it’s important that we have both, no matter what project we’re embarking on. It’s vital because we won’t gloss over anything, but we’ll also point out what makes your home very special. So, some of the topics that you find on the AHH blog may seem a bit out of the ordinary – today is a perfect example. A walkway up to the front door is most likely something that you don’t even notice, but it’s also another blank canvas where you can make design decisions that properly represent you. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas (part one):

Gravel

The easiest and least expensive material possible is probably gravel, but you still have a variety of types to choose from. We’ve noticed that when you select the different stones, the smaller ones are optimal because you’ll be able to walk on and to pack them in more tightly. What does the process look like? Pinpoint where you’d like to place your walkway, make sure that you lay down landscape fabric, install edging like plastic edging and pile that gravel on the land.

Clay Bricks

This is an oldy but a goody – an option that’s been used for hundreds of years. You see them all of the time in the yards surrounding historical homes. Designers love them because they’re elegant and speak to a timeless essence of the home. But don’t worry, you’re not giving up durability and flexibility – bricks are one of the least likely materials to crack or break under pressure of Mother Nature or life in general. While you might have the colour red in your mind, you can actually find these in all sorts of hues. Bonus? They’re easy to install, even if you’re just looking for an update to your current walkway.

Natural Stone

When you think of natural stone, you may be thinking of a more premium looking home and landscaping scheme. It works with all sorts of different styles of architecture and is another option that comes in different shapes, designs and colours. The trade-off here is that natural stone can mean a bit more maintenance, especially if you go the route of stone like slate. The reason is that natural stones like this can chip, especially if they see a lot of excess moisture on a regular basis. You’d think that any sort of walkway would see a lot of moisture, right? That’s correct, but the mitigation step is sealing it frequently.

More to come on this topic. In the interim, reach out to the Australian Heritage Homes team with any questions related to your dream home.

Where We’re Finding Inspiration This Season

Where We Find Inspiration This SeasonInspiration is huge to the Australian Heritage Homes team and it changes all of the time. It should, we hate complacency and love to not only be ahead of the curve but also constantly encouraged and motivated to be the best in the business and build you the most beautiful home possible. As with any industry, what’s in and trendy one day can be completely unpopular the next. Separately, we know that we work with a diverse and unique base of customers, so what appeals to one customer may be very unappealing to another. And that’s fine! That’s great! You keep us on our toes and we appreciate each and every one of you. While you can have these conversations with us in person, throughout the entire process of designing and constructing your next dream property, an added bonus is checking out our AHH blog and really joining in our conversation about our lifelong passion.

Spring has definitely sprung, and before we know it – the sun will be high in the sky and the temperatures will be soaring. That means that there are necessary specifics to the homes that we design so that you’re ultimately comfortable. So, let’s cover the basics of our inspiration first:

  • You need to proof your home for ventilation. You can start to open your windows as the weather allows and we’re inspired by this article that really puts your windows front and center. Just ensure that if you have pets or small children that those windows aren’t open all of the way.
  • Next, let’s go inside and have some fun with your interior design. The AHH team is prolific at bringing the vision of your dream construction to life, but we also love to help inform what works well inside. There are some items that are timeless, but there’s a lot of joy in switching out highlights and accessories each season. That said, it can be overwhelming to decide what you need and why. This article is here to help.
  • Take a look at your different paint colours – both inside and outside of your home. Painting isn’t as stressful as you may think, and it can completely change your mood. Whether it’s a room that has needed it for a while, or a personal challenge to try something new, we support you.
  • Finally, there are fewer things more spring-like than a blooming garden outside. You may have been planning well-ahead, in which case, certain flowers and plants are probably already in full bloom. There are many psychological benefits to a successful landscape – not the least of, a sense of calm as well as a sense of pride. But where to start? We know, it can be very stressful. You’re not alone and you’re not too late. Check out personal reading like this article that has a full look at not only what works, but also what doesn’t work.

As always, we’re here to help. Reach out to the Australian Heritage Homes team – we’re happy to help.

What to do at Home Before You Travel

What to do at Home Before You TravelVacations long-distance may be in short supply this year, but that doesn’t mean that you and your loved ones shouldn’t be able to escape somewhere nearby for a couple of days. The psychological benefits of a vacation, when planned properly, are exponential and can have insane effects on your health and productivity when you return. As we launch spring, it’s time to be new people – complete with our houses in order and all of our relationships in check. That said, the Australian Heritage Homes team knows how difficult it can be to leave on a vacation. Especially if you have younger household members or planning complications – there’s a reason why many say, “it can easily turn from a vacation into a trip”. The planning complications we mention frequently involve your home, especially what to do when you’re about to leave. Here are a few of our recommendations:

  • Don’t broadcast that you’re leaving broadly on social media. Social media has become both a blessing and a curse in this day and age, but when it comes to travel – it definitely falls more heavily on the curse side. There have been far too many instances of criminals breaking into homes, based on posts that they’ve seen on different peoples’ profiles. This is the easiest thing to possibly avoid. We recommend that you tell a neighbour that you’re leaving and maybe a couple of close friends. You can post all of the fun videos when you return and would-be burglars would be none the wiser.
  • Look into automated security systems, especially if you have items that you’d like to keep secure. It’s amazing how much these have evolved even over the past ten years. Now you can watch all of the security right from your home, virtually eliminating stress when you’re on your trip and you’re wondering if you really did close the garage. In fact, they extend further now. You can lock your car from afar, time your coffee machine, and – in our mind, vital – turn on a light or two at night, so that it always looks like you’re at home.
  • Clean out your kitchen before your trip. It may just be a weekend, but some of our favourite meats and vegetables can deteriorate during this time. The AHH team is never a proponent of throwing away good food – believe us, we’ll share all sorts of food-related celebration posts, come the holidays – so, we have a couple of thoughts for you. Number one, freeze. Google is your friend here, but almost all vegetables, fruits, meats and perishables can be easily frozen when packaged properly. Then you can enjoy them just as much when you return. Unless your trip is incredibly spontaneous, look at the week prior and have some fun making meals with the ingredients whose expiration date is coming up.

Best of luck. Where are our readers traveling in the upcoming weeks? Let us know. And be sure to let us know any questions related to your dream home.

How Australian Heritage Homes Prepares for the Future

There are a lot of reasons that the Australian Heritage Homes team members love working with each other. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t share the same level of passion and enthusiasm that we hope our readers see in each blog post. It obviously starts with foundational skills. We don’t let just anyone work for us – because we don’t let just anyone work for you. Our team members are a direct reflection of the Australian Heritage Homes brand, one that’s riddled with important values and over 20 years of construction experience building your dream home. That’s just the starting point. You want to like who you work next to each day, right? Luckily there’s no problem with that here. The experience and values are baselines, the personalities are the next level. But we’re not quite done. The other component of a successful team is a fluid and ongoing desire to be better, to look forward. In an economy where there’s so much uncertainty and so many questions, our creativity in these conversations really comes in to play. We respect our heritage; today, let’s look at the future and how the AHH team is looking at life and business beyond 2020.

We’re taking stock in our experiences. That means that we’re looking at lessons we’ve learned and doing exactly what you’re supposed to do with lessons – learn from them. We have by no means been perfect; as we learn how to build in different terrains or with different sorts of customers, each time there’s an ‘aha’ moment that we get to stock away in the constructive feedback bank. In our minds, it’s absolutely vital to have a positive attitude while doing this, because the exercise only makes us better and more knowledgeable.

We’re making memories with each other. Some of us may be socially distant right now, but that won’t stop us from finessing our communication expertise… especially with each other. In the same way that it’s important to work to improve, it’s equally necessary to celebrate all of the wins – big and small. We’ve gotten creative about it, but we’ve never faltered from giving a compliment to a teammate or sharing with each other when a customer has been especially happy. This is a great way to look to the future because we keep giving each other support and incentives to do our best work.

We’re staying ahead of the design curve. It’s been so cool over the years that we’ve worked to see the evolution of architectural styles that our customers have gravitated towards. In a sense, things have been cyclical – you never know when a style of home will re-emerge as the popular choice. But, on another note, there are so many fixtures, additions, materials, processes, and styles that are yet to be uncovered. And it’s our job to not only be aware of these but to be the experts in them. And that, our valued customers, is the future.

Home Renovation Items You Should Invest in

Home Renovation Items You Should Invest inYou’re probably groaning even just reading the title of this Australian Heritage Homes blog post. More costs? What could I possibly have to spend money on? After all, you’ve just bought or rented your home, you’ve dealt with the movers, and chances are good that you wanted to do some decorating after you crossed the threshold. All of these are costs that you hopefully planned for and budgeted for. If not, we have a future post for you. That said, home renovations are going to happen. They may happen by choice if there are things about your home that you want to change, and they may happen by force if there are things that impact your safety or your comfort. You have two choices here – hire a contractor to get the work done for you or complete it yourself. Granted, there are some projects that are too large or dangerous for you to accomplish solo, and we’ve written about those before. But today, we’re setting you up for success on the projects you can complete by yourself – with a short and sweet shopping list of necessities.

Let’s start small. Everyone should have a tape measure. If you’ve visited this blog in the past, you know what huge proponents we are about doing your homework. The biggest piece of that is knowing exactly what you’re working with. You want exact specifications or specs of the area in which you’re doing the work so that you can buy the right amount of product to help you get the job done.

Ladders aren’t just necessary for homes of multiple storeys – although they definitely are necessary there. Even if you don’t have stairs in your home, you most likely will need access to your roof. You’ll want to get up there to check the shingles, clean out gutters (especially when the leaves start to fall), and accomplish any window cleaning. Ladders are also optimal indoors for things like changing light fixtures or paint jobs.

Claw hammers aren’t just regular hammers. They really get under the surface of whatever you’re trying to break through or break into (just make sure you only use them in your home). Even if you’re not tackling a home renovation, claw hammers can help with tasks like opening lids on paint or tapping in a nail to hang a favourite picture.

Power saws are something that you want to be careful and diligent with, but they’re a wonderful thing to have around. We recommend cordless power saws. They save you a tonne of time because you don’t have to spend hours and hours with regular saws. That said, if you’re adding any sort of power tool to your list, best to throw in gloves and protective eyewear, so you can focus on the project at hand and not be worried about unsafe conditions.

We enjoy helping you fill your future toolbox, but if you have any questions, be sure to reach out to the Australian Heritage Homes team.

Building With a Pet in Mind

Building with a pet in mindWe love our furry friends, believe us, there are many who think that they’re paid members of the Australian Heritage Homes team (and half of that audience IS the furry friends). Pets of all shapes and sizes hold a really special place in our hearts for many reasons, as do all of our prospective customers and their families. We talk about pets on a fairly regular cadence on the AHH blog, because we’ve noted that it’s an important topic of conversation for many that we hear from and work with. Pets can be an easy hurdle to set up in front of yourself if you’re on the fence about designing and constructing your home. You were probably already looking for reasons that you didn’t need to move forward with your next home project, but we’re here to dissuade you from using your four-legged (or any sort of) friend as an impediment to your next amazing house.

All that said, it’s very important to work with an expert or a team of experts like those at AHH. We’ll keep you comfortable and looped in throughout the entire process and most importantly – we’ll listen to all of the questions that you have. Some of the common ones that we receive related to pets include:

  • Does my home need to only be one storey?
  • Do I need to have a certain height of fence if I have an outdoor fence?
  • Do I need to look into additional layers of security and where do I start there?
  • Do I need to explore double-paned windows or additional insulation?
  • What if my dog sheds a lot of hair?
  • What if I really want a pool in my backyard?

Now let’s dive into the answers:

Does my home need to only be one storey?

  • No, it does not. If you have a pet that has issues navigating different levels or it’s a pet that you want to keep in a confined space, then these are both things to keep in mind, but there’s no universal rule as long as your pet is comfortable and the design is what you were looking for.

Do I need to have a certain height of fence if I have an outdoor fence?

  • If you have a particularly rambunctious pet, it’s something to keep in mind. This isn’t a huge cost increase, but it will change the look and feel of your home, so keep that in mind.

Do I need to look into additional layers of security and where do I start there?

  • If it’s already on your mind, chances are good that you were planning on looking into it anyways. Start with experts like our team and we’ll be able to point you towards multiple options in your area so that you can fully educate yourself on available options.

Do I need to explore double-paned windows or additional insulation?

What if my dog sheds a lot of hair?

  • Luckily, you won’t have to worry about this as much until the end of the process, given the multitude of options available for materials that limit your weekly cleaning time and allow you to just enjoy time with your pet.

What if I really want a pool in my backyard?

  • Then, the AHH team recommends that you should get one and we can talk about exactly what it looks like. The trick here will be a safe and supportive fence or barrier around the area and we have many recommendations.

Bottom line, the AHH team builds dream homes for all of your loved ones and that includes pets. Questions? Reach out!