Archive for February, 2013

New Windows! Understanding the Home Energy Savings of Energy-Efficient Windows

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Shopping for new windows for your home?  Then energy efficiency is probably at the top of your list!  New, energy-efficient windows eventually pay for themselves and can help minimize your heating, cooling, and lighting costs.  You can gain as much as a 30 percent reduction in energy use and boost your curb appeal at the same time!  Some energy companies, such as Alliant Energy, even offer rebates for each new energy-efficient window you install.

Here we want to give you some details on what to look for as you’re shopping for new, energy-friendly windows.

1. How do we identify the efficiency of a window?Window

Windows can lose heat in 4 ways:

  • Conduction
  • Radiation
  • Air Leakage
  • Convection

Based on these factors, a window is assigned a U-factor to help you identify its efficiency.  The U-factor represents the rate at which the window conducts non-solar heat flow.  The lower the U-factor, the more energy-efficient the window.

2. How does the style of the window effect efficiency?
What parts of a window are most important in making it energy efficient?  All if it!  Glazing features used on the windowpane as well as the frame itself both make a difference.

Glazing reduces winter condensation and helps reduce solar heat gain.  Sophisticated technology has made glazing very dynamic over the last few years.  Glazing options may include:

  • Single glazed
  • Double glazed
  • Double glazed, low-E coating
  • Double glazed, low-E argon gas filled
  • Triple Glazed, two low-E coatings, argon-gas filled

Your window frames can make a significant difference as well!  Approximately 46% of manufactured windows are made with wood frames, 36% with Hollow Vinyl, and 17% with aluminum.  Choose your window frame material carefully.  Though wood windows are the most expensive, they aren’t necessarily the highest quality or best fit for you.  Wood windows often involve more maintenance and can be subject to rot, shrinking, and swelling in certain conditions.  Read more about the pros and cons of window frame options here.

3. Why does my climate make a difference in what windows I choose?
Don’t forget that you want your windows to be efficient in both hot and cold weather, based on where you live.  Here in Minnesota, we have both extreme summers and winters to think about.  Understanding the Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) will help you decide what type of window is best for your climate and window orientation.  High SHGC ratings are more effective at collecting heat during the winter and low SHGC ratings are more effective at blocking heat during the summer.

With so many options and variables to understand, it makes sense to weigh your options before making a final decision on which windows are the best fit for your home.  One thing is certain however, replacing your current windows with high-efficiency windows will ultimately produce home energy savings, benefiting the environment and lowering your energy bill!

Project Feature: Minnetonka Porch Remodel

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

We all long to bring the outside in — the fresh air, the sunshine, the spring & summer breeze!  These Minnetonka homeowners wanted that too.  Except their seasonal porch was literally withering away on the outside, limiting access to and use of the porch.

This 1985 single family home needed a new floating porch so it could welcome back that warm breeze before spring!

In just a few days we were able to remove the old floating porch that surrounded the seasonal room and add a brand new secure one.  We were able to size it to fit the porch correctly, unlike the previous one.  We also replaced the old, dim and damaged skylights and installed new ones –- welcome sunshine!

Check out the before-during-after photos below.  In a short period of time, we were able to change the way these homeowners will relax and entertain this summer.  Sometimes small projects can make the biggest difference.

At Sass Construction we know that remodeling and building projects are more than just construction – they make a difference in your daily life.  Contact us today if you want to talk about a remodeling project big or small – you still have time to cross it off your list before the warm MN weather arrives!

Feature Project: Chanhassen Garage Remodel | Reasons to Remodel Your Garage

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

We recently gave the garage of this Chanhassen home a little facelift.  The homeowners of this 1924 2-story home knew that they wanted better and larger access into their garage.  They wanted to take the space they had and be resourceful with it.  In about a week we were able to install this beautiful and spacious entry door to the side of their garage as well as build out the roof.  See the before and after pictures below!

Could YOUR garage use a facelift?  Do you want your garage space to be more useful, more convenient?  A finished garage can be used as a:

  • Workshop
  • Mechanic’s space
  • Organized storage area
  • Play space
  • Gardening resource space
  • Private den

Consider garage remodeling projects such as:

  • Adding blocking and framing: These are the foundations for adding shelves, hooks, or openings later.
  • Putting in an additional access door: This makes the space more accessible for storage and activity.
  • Adding outlets:  Most unfinished garages have the bare minimum of outlets and lights, so it may be a convenient option to add a few.
  • Ventilate and insulate:  An insulated garage will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter – better for projects and for pets!
  • Weather-strip doors and windows:  Seal out drafts and moisture (not to mention bugs) with garage-door weather stripping. Leaky doors and windows let in uncomfortable drafts and increase heating and cooling costs.
Sass Construction is your local, full-service remodeling team that has been in the business of completing affordable, safe remodels for over 30 years! We specialize in home and commercial remodeling in the Minneapolis area and western suburbs.

Selecting the Right Tile for Your Kitchen Backsplash (part 2 of 2)

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

So you’re trying to decide what kitchen backsplash tile is right for your home…  Last week we talked about the first three steps in narrowing down your backsplash tile:

1. Knowing your tile options…
2. Considering your tile needs…
3. Deciding on the overall look and feel you want for your kitchen backsplash…

This week we’re going to get further into the details, talk about patterns, and understand how to avoid mistakes.  Our final two suggestions for deciding on your kitchen backsplash tile are:

4. Consider Solid Repetition vs a Pattern
Do you want a fresh, monochromatic repetition of all the same tile, or would you prefer a pattern or accent border?  If you opt for a design, look for tiles that come with accent pieces and colors.  Sketch out the layout you want clearly, or borrow the expertise of your designer or remodeler to help you create a design that is impacting, balanced, and also practical in how it will be installed.  Some manufacturers, like Crossville, offer tools like their Backsplash Builder to help you layout your design.

5. Be Savvy with the Details
Whether you plan to order your own tile from a supplier or are connecting with your remodeler on the project, be aware of these potential issues:

  • Confirm that the tile you want to use is thick or thin enough to install on the wall you have to work with.
  • Don’t forget trim pieces  –  you may need a corner trim or edging.
  • Make sure your pieces coordinate in glaze and finish.  Try to purchase your tile all from one batch to avoid batch discrepancies.
  • Be prepared to wait if your tile is not in stock.  Set aside time to make your decisions and order far enough in advance that it won’t set your remodeling project behind.

Creating a beautiful kitchen backsplash, whether it be with neutral tones of natural stone or a colorful pattern of painted tile, is an exciting part of your kitchen remodel and ultimately reflects your own style and the style and needs of your home.  Choose what you love, plan ahead, and double check the details.  In the end you’ll have a successfully installed kitchen focal point that you will enjoy for years to come!

Sass Construction loves helping homeowners fall in love with their home all over again.  Whether you want to add a stunning kitchen backsplash or do a complete kitchen remodel, contact us today to get the answers you need to get started.