Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cooking up a Hot Kitchen for the Outdoor Chef

So, you love to cook but cooking indoors seems so secluded and restrictive.  When you have guest over, you want to entertain them in a nice setting while you prepare the food but you feel like you can't do that in your indoor kitchen.  Maybe it's time to do a little home improvement, and build an outdoor kitchen, filled with all the necessities and more to give your backyard the attention it deserves.  To get started, here are some important things to keep in mind during the planning process.

Floor
First things first, you have to start from the ground up.  Establish what type of layout and material you want to be the foundation of your kitchen space.  Be conscious of the weather climates and situations you live in.

Utilities
Knowing where your gas and electric lines are is critical for choosing the location of your outdoor kitchen.

Location
When thinking about where your outdoor kitchen should be, take into account these factors:

  • Views: Keep away from windows or doors that face the backyard, be considerate of your neighbors, and make sure your guests' view from the sitting area isn't unpleasant.
  • Wind: You don't want smoke from the grill blowing into your home so check for wind patterns and orient your cooking space accordingly. 
  • Sun and Shade: Depending on where your house faces, you want to make sure you prepare for the amount of sun or shade your kitchen space will get.  To help hide your space from too much sun, add umbrellas or canopies or simply build your kitchen nearby the trees in your backyard. 
  • Traffic flow: You don't want to build your kitchen in an inconvenient place where people will be moving in and out of the house.  Build it off to the side and out of the way from heavy traffic areas and play areas.
Appliances
Decide on what appliances you want in your outdoor kitchen.  Depending on the size of your space, you may not be able to fit everything you want, so chose the most important appliances.  Take into consideration that the appliances you choose will have to be able to withstand rain and sun.  Choose reliable appliances with easy maintenance so you won't have to stress out if something goes wrong.

Storage
Depending on how much space you have, you'll want to include some storage options in your kitchen.  They also must be waterproof and temperature durable.  You'll want to add enough counter-space and hide0away storage so you don't have to keep running inside to prepare something or get something.

Entertaining space
If you're planning on having guests over often, you'll need to set aside a place for them.  Make sure you'll have room for patio furniture, d├ęcor or whatever else you want to add to create a touch of ambiance.


Wardell Builders | info@wardellbuilders.com  | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075

 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Potential Moisture Barriers, Issues in your Home


We are living in the age of “tight” homes. Homes today do not naturally breathe in the ways that the homes of the 50’s and 70’s did. For energy savings we now ensure that thermal transmission through the walls, floors and roofs our homes are minimal.  We typically use plywood and OSB (Oriented Strand Board) sheathing on all of the exterior walls of our homes. These type of products guaranty little air transmission even if we use the most modern and “breathable” house wraps. Windows and doors are installed to keep any air or moisture from passing around the assembly. Our roofs are tight and are floors are typically concrete slabs poured over a 15-mil vapor barrier.

What are potential issues that could arise from our modern methods? Moisture generated within the home has no where to go unless it is planned for. Bath exhaust fans are not there just for odor control. Their prime purpose is moisture removal. Laundry rooms rarely have exhaust fans yet they contribute greatly to the moisture load of your home. Ever walked into a laundry with the dryer running and noticed a little extra humidity?
In the old days, mopping a wood floor with a damp mop was not a bad thing. Today – if some of that water finds it way under or between the boards – a warped floor could easily result. That spilled glass of water really does need to be wiped up quickly! This is not to scare you into never having your floors mopped – rather to make sure the mop is not too damp and the floor is able to dry off quickly.

When you travel and leave your home closed up little or no fresh air will exchange within your home. During the summer, if you are running air conditioning your windows will be closed and the air in the home will not be able to mix with any fresh air.  In the winter, when running the heating system with all the doors and windows shut – the same lack of fresh air occurs. The moisture build up in the home can increase leading to potentials for molds and mildew.
What can we do? As builders we need to be aware of the juxtaposition of building systems in the home. We need to be aware of how we live in our homes and what potential problems we may be creating. Making sure that exhaust fans are automatically running (usually controlled by motion detectors) in critical rooms of the house. The ability to use those fans wisely. The fan for the bathroom can stop running ten or fifteen minutes after you leave the shower. The fan in a laundry should run for an hour and a half after you exit. Enable the home to bring in fresh air when it needs it. This can be passively with the use of a fresh air intake port for the home. This will balance the pressure of the home. When the bath fan or dryer is pulling air out of the house the vacuum created pulls in new fresh air from a controlled location. New fresh air ventilation systems are available. The two typical systems are  the heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) or an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV).

The link below can provide more depth on the subject http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/hrv-or-erv.  These are very effective at creating a positive pressure within the home. The benefits are cleaner, less toxic air and control of in home humidity lessening the possibility of molds and mildew.
In this day and age we are creating the most energy efficient homes ever seen. They are great to live in if you keep in mind the potential issues and deal with them right up front in the design and construction of your home.


Home Ventilation | Healthy Homes | Mildew | Mold Exposure | Mold Removal | Home Exhaust Fans | Moisture Absorber | DIY Home Exhaust | Eliminate Home Moisture | HVAC | Automatic Exhaust Fans
 
 

Wardell Builders | info@wardellbuilders.com | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075

 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How To Keep Your Home Maintenance On Track

Like anything else, cleaning and repairing your home once isn't going to make it last forever.  It's the consistent upkeep that keeps a house in good shape and extends its life.  In order to keep your home in prime condition, make sure to do these tasks regularly throughout the year:

Winter Home Cleaning
A lot of damage can come from wet winter conditions, so it's important to make sure all aspects of the house are in top shape.  Therefore, the main focus will be on heating and waterproofing. 

For the exterior of your home:
  • Put your window screens into storage (check the condition of your home's window screens as well to make a note of how many more seasons they will last).
  • Seal windows and doors of your home with weather stripping
  • Inspect the roof of your home for any leaks and damaged and/or missing roof shingles
  • Make sure your home's roof area is pest-free
  • Inspect your home's outdoor faucets for water leaks, drain them and turn them off
  • Clean your home's gutters and downspouts
  • Clean and store any garden hoses, patio furniture or garden tools
  • Have your home's chimney cleaned by a chimney professional
For the interior of your home:
  • Inspect your home's attic for leaks, insulation and pests
  • Inspect your bathrooms and the kitchen for leaks.  (Make sure to look in all areas, including cabinets and doorways).
  • Re-caulk or re-grout tiles and countertops in the home if needed
  • Clean refrigerator coils
  • Inspect smoke detectors, inspect carbon monoxide monitors and check fire extinguishers
  • Bleed radiator
  • Have your home heating system and heat pump serviced by a HVAC professional
Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning involves checking to ensure that the items in your home are still fully functioning and can be used in the warmer months to come. Spring can be the ideal time to take any clutter that you may have out of your home.

For the exterior of your home:
  • Wash all windows
  • Inspect your home's gutters and downspouts for any necessary cleaning
  • Inspect the exterior of your home for any damage to the paint, wood, brick or stucco exterior components of your home
  • Power wash your home's deck and inspect for any damage or deck stains
For the interior of your home:
  • Inspect your home's smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors and check fire extinguishers
  • Inspect bathrooms and kitchen for leaks. (Make sure to look in all areas of your kitchen and bathroom(s), including inside of cabinets and doorways).
  • Re-caulk or re-grout tiles and countertops in the home if needed
  • Clean the clothes dryer vents of lint
Wardell Builders | info@wardellbuilders.com | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075