Overused electrical outlets, traveling, extra guests, items being moved in and out of storage… The holidays can be stressful on your home, too! Did you know that nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage?

Here are our quick tips for making sure your home stays safe through the holiday season.

Choosing A Safe Christmas Tree Or Other Greenery

  • Select greenery that is as green and fresh as possible. The needles shouldn’t break and should not fall off easily.
  • Cut a fresh inch or two off the bottom of the trunk before putting it in the treestand to allow water to soak into the tree more easily.
  • Be sure to keep your tree stand filled with fresh water to prevent the tree from drying out.
  • Do not place your tree or other greenery (or any decorations) close to fireplaces, radiators, or space heaters.
  • If you’re choosing an artificial tree, be sure to select one that is marked as “fire resistant.” And, if it comes pre-lit, then check the box for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval to make sure the proper wiring was used.

Lighting Safety

Holiday lights can present a fire hazard, in addition to a tripping hazard, choking hazard, and the risk of electric shock. Keep these tips in mind when you’re putting up your holiday decorations:

  • Select only lights that have been tested by a reputable testing lab (such as Underwriters Laboratory) to be sure they conform to safety standards.
  • If they have been improperly used in the past or are damaged, forgo the risk and buy new ones for your home.
  • Check each strand thoroughly for broken bulbs, cracked sockets, or frayed wires. If damage is apparent, discard the lights.
  • If you need to replace any bulbs on the strands, be sure to unplug the strand before messing with the bulbs.
  • If you need to use extension cords, make sure they are not overloaded. Cords and light wires should not be warm to the touch.
  • Keep pets and small children away from cords and lights.
  • Make sure that lighting used outside is recommended for outdoor use.
  • Turn off all the lights before leaving home or going to bed. If a timer is being used, make sure it is set correctly and working properly. If it’s not, discontinue use.
  • Do not hang lights in the vicinity of power lines.

Fire Safety

  • Do not use lit candles to decorate your Christmas tree.
  • Keep candles away from flammable decorations.
  • Don’t leave lit candles unattended.
  • Don’t leave lit fireplaces unattended.
  • Remove stockings and other combustible decorations, such as garlands, before starting a fire in the fireplace.
  • Do not use wrapping paper or pine boughs in the fireplace. Their floating embers can escape your chimney and could ignite your own or a neighbor’s roof.
  • Make sure your fire extinguishers aren’t expired and are ready for action, if need be.

Miscellaneous Home Safety Tips For The Holiday Season

  • Make sure all of your smoke detectors, radon detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are working correctly. According to the American Red Cross, having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.
  • If you need to use a stepladder, make sure all four legs are firmly on the ground, and don’t stand on the top step or on top of the stepladder.
  • Cook with care. Kitchen equipment is the leading cause of home fires year-round, not just at the holidays.
  • Have a plan. Make sure your family (and any guests staying with you) know what the escape plan in case of fire, or any other scenario that you may need a plan for.
  • Make sure you’ve done a winter inspection on your home to examine your fireplace, your insulation, and other areas of your home.

Getting Started on Kitchen Remodeling

Home Builders In Corpus ChristiYour kitchen is the center of your home.  It is the space where your family and friends come together over delicious foods and lively conversation.  It is the room you want to compliment your personality while also adding value to your investment.  Finding small kitchen remodeling ideas that will brighten up the room and increase the resale value of your property is a fun and rewarding experience.

Remember that function is the key element of good design. Before running to the store to begin picking out new cabinets it is important  to consider the layout of the room.  You will want to have easy access to the appliances that you use most and be able to move about the room with ease.  So the first step to finding small kitchen remodel ideas is knowing the square footage and layout of the space you are working in.

There are a lot of ways to give your room a more spacious look and feel.  Finding compact appliances and using light color schemes will open the space up and make the room feel bigger.  Lighting and color will set the mood of your room.  When contemplating new small kitchen remodel ideas think about how you use the space.  Is it the room where there is a lot of lively activity?  If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen consider colors and lighting that compliment your personality and make you feel good.

The surface of your countertops and cabinets is an important part of the look  of your kitchen.  Choosing complimentary surfaces and colors will unify the room, but you also should consider surfaces that assist in function.  For example, if you do a lot of chopping, you want to consider counters that look good, but are also easy to wipe down and don’t chip easily.

The thing to remember is that there are many small kitchen remodel ideas to ponder and dream about, but don’t get overwhelmed.  Take the time to consider your space, its use, and what parts of your personality you want to stand out when you are standing in the kitchen.

How to Enjoy Your Home Building Process

Having a new home built can be a magical time for you and your family, as the residence of your dreams takes shape. It can also be a time fraught with tension, with worries about cost overruns or missed deadlines.

To ensure your home building experience is more pleasurable than worrisome, here are some tips you should follow.

The First Relationship You Build Should be with a Builder

One of the most important relationships you create in the home building process is with the builder you choose. The builder or builders you are considering should have the correct state licenses. They should also be able to provide references and have lots of experience, especially in building your kind of home. You don’t want them learning on the job.

Make sure the potential builder clearly lays out what is included as standard features for the job, and what are considered options and upgrades. Also, talk about schedules and warranties. Make sure your builder is a member of the local home builders association.

Make Budgets and Expectations Clear

The best surprises are no surprises. Lay out everything you need to know with the builder. Who is your contact for questions and updates? How often do you expect to be updated? When can you visit the job site? And so on.

Make your budget boundaries clear at the outset. Excitement during a project might lead you to agree to expensive upgrades you later regret. Settle in your mind where you are willing to make compromises if needed (better kitchen cabinets instead of, say, travertine stone for flooring). And if work needs to be done not in the original budget, get an outline that spells out in detail what you will be getting.

Plan, Plan, Plan

It is better to spend a lot of time at the front end of the building process planning than to correct issues later, during the building process, which can cost you extra time and money. The more information you can give your builder about your requirements, prohibitions and vision, the better your chances at getting a true dream home.

It is very important to keep an open line of communications with your builder, raising every question you can think of and talking about every detail of the project. There are no stupid questions, only sad regrets.

Contact us today for a consultation to start getting the home of your dreams built. We are known for our quality new home construction. Our commitment is to always operate with a quality foundation of unwavering ethics and quality workmanship. We want your home building experience to be one you enjoy from beginning to end.

Why Remodeling is Best in the Winter

When the winter months hit South Texas, a lot of residents stay inside and enjoy the warm fireplace, cozy blankets, and Netflix. But winter is actually a great time to freshen up the old homestead and make it a more enjoyable place to spend time—now and for the rest of the year.

Why winter? For one thing, building contractors often see a bit of a slow-down in activity when the weather gets colder. People are doing less building during the winter months. That means as a homeowner, you have a better chance of getting the builder you want to work on your projects. On top of that, you may have a better chance of getting the work done more quickly—again, due to the fact that there’s less competition for your remodeler’s time.

So what projects make sense to tackle in the cold winter months? Here are three you might want to think about.

1. Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling the kitchen in your Corpus Christi-area home is a smart move. There’s a reason it continues to rank as one of the most-requested remodeling tasks across the country. We use our kitchens for so many things: cooking, entertaining, eating, school projects, family meetings, and more. If you choose to remodel your kitchen, you’ll be improving a room where you’ll definitely reap the benefits. That’s probably a big reason why kitchen remodels recoup such a high percentage of investment should you ever sell your house (another good reason to do it!).

 2. Master Bathroom Remodel

Another room that’s extremely popular to remodel (and gives you a great return on your investment) is the master bathroom. Your guests may never see it, but you’ll see it—and use it—every day. It’s a room that helps set the tone for your entire day as you get ready. And it’s the room that helps you wind down at night.

 3. Add a Deck: Why put on a deck in the winter?

Again, this is one of those projects that pays a high return for the money you invest. But why do it in the winter? Nobody sits around on the deck in the cold. Ah, but come spring time, when everyone wants to be out on their decks, it can be hard to find a builder who has the time to build one. If you start your deck (or start looking for a builder) in the spring, you might be well into summer before someone can get to it.

So take advantage of the winter lull in building activity to refresh your South Texas home—and to improve the home features you’ll enjoy all year long!

5 Fall Maintenance Tips for Your STX Home

corpus christi home builder

There are certain seasonal rituals that we go through every year that can help us get the most comfort and enjoyment out of our homes. And while none of these things are rocket science, it’s good to be reminded of them before it’s too late. Here’s a look at five fall maintenance tips for your STX home to prepare for winter.

1. Disconnect Garden Hoses and Drain Sprinkler System

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to remove any garden hoses from outdoor faucets before we get any warning of a hard freeze. Burst water pipes can do a whole lot of damage. Not only will you need to replace the plumbing, but you also may be looking at drywall and carpeting damage, too. If you have outdoor vegetation that still needs watering, disconnect the hose after each use. It only takes a minute and can save you a lot of heartache and trouble (not to mention money). It’s also a good idea to turn off and drain your sprinkler system so that you don’t run the risk of broken pipes and sprinkler heads. If you have an older system you may want to hire someone to blow out the pipes. It’s not that expensive—and much less costly than replacing the system.

2. Clean Out Your Gutters

This may not be anyone’s favorite job but it can keep your gutters from clogging, if your gutters freeze, when ice on your roof melts occasionally, it can run off onto your doorstep and create a really dangerous situation. By the way, make sure your downspouts are directed away from your foundation. You might even want to add downspout extensions that you can pick up for $10 to $20.

3. Give Your Roof A Glance

While you’re checking your gutters, check on the condition of your roof. Look for the normal warning signs of roof problems such as shingles that are missing or cracked. If you see rust spots on the flashing you may want to have the flashing checked to be sure water can’t work its way in. If you see lichen or moss build-up, you’ll probably want to have a roofer check things out because that could be a sign of decay under the shingles.

4. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises).

This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings — and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.

5. Check Out Your Fireplace

There’s nothing quite like a warm and friendly fire in the fireplace on a cold winter night. Of course, there’s not much winter in STX. And there is nothing worse than a fireplace that backs up and fills your house with smoke (or worse, yet, causes a fire). Use a flashlight to check out the inside of your fireplace flue and to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Make sure the flue is free of obstructions (such as birds’ nests, or branches and leaves). You’ll also want to check your firebox to make sure there are no cracks or missing bricks/mortar. It’s worth having your fireplace inspected and serviced every few years just to be safe.