Top Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Whether you’re looking for someone to redo your kitchen or install new window shutters on your Elk Grove, CA home, you need a good contractor. After all, a contractor has a big impact on both your home and your wallet. Helping a project go from a plan or a dream to reality is tough, and you need the right person for the job.

Here are top tips for hiring a contractor to help make sure your job is done right:

  • Come Up with a Detailed Plan – Make a list of your plans and expectations so any contractor you speak to has a clear idea of what you want and need. This plan should also include a clear, set budget. You can’t find a contractor until you know how much you want to spend.
  • Consider the Type of Work – Not all contractors do the same thing. Do you need a builder? An architect? A handyman?
  • Talk to Friends and Family – Your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors have probably hired contractors in the past. Ask them for recommendations.
  • Review Experience and Examples of Work – Experience really does matter, especially when it comes to contractors. The more projects someone has done, the more they will know about how to deal with your project and any issues that may arise. Ideally, you want a contractor with at least five years of experience. Don’t forget to look at examples of their past work, including those that are similar to your needs.
  • Check Insurance and Licenses – Accidents can and do happen. It’s imperative that any contractor you hire has personal liability insurance, property damage coverage, and worker’s compensation. Also, look up contractor licensing requirements for your area. Each state and county differ slightly, but your local building department should have all the information you need. If your area does require a license, make sure any contractor’s is fully up to date.
  • Talk About Timeline – It’s always a good idea to enter into a project with a clear idea of how long it will take. Do some research as to how long the type of project usually takes and then talk to different contractors to get their estimates. It’s a safe bet to add about eight weeks onto a timeline for delays. Also, don’t forget to ask if they’re doing any other projects at the same time as yours as this might delay things further.
  • Bring Up Payment – Enter into any contractual relationship with clear expectations on how much the project will cost and how they expect to be paid. Never pay the full amount upfront.
  • Go With Your Gut – The most important part of choosing a contractor is going with someone who makes you feel comfortable. This person and their team will be in your home, and you need to trust them and feel safe enough to bring up any concerns.

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Want more home renovation tips? The Shutter Source is here to help. We offer expert Elk Grove, CA window shutter services and are happy to help you make your home the best it can be. Call or visit us today.

Make Your Dream Beach House a Reality

Who doesn’t dream of owning a beach house? If you’re moving from the dreaming stage of a beach house to the buying or renovating one, you need to be aware of how you can make your beach house exactly the way you’ve always wanted. Include these important finishes, like easy-to-care-for-flooring and modern window shutters on your Elk Grove, CA beach house to make sure it looks exactly the way you’ve always dreamed:

  • Expansive Windows – There’s nothing like gorgeous beach or water views to make a beach house great. Make sure that you always have a great view by finishing your beach house with expansive replacement windows. Have as much window space as possible by adding picture windows with upper transoms, sliding kitchen windows, sliding glass doors, and even a few block windows for light in the bathroom. You should also make sure most of the windows are easy to open so you can enjoy that fresh sea breeze whenever you want. Casement windows are great as they crank wide for an open feel, while awning windows offer both fresh air and protection from the elements. Finally, be sure that no matter what kind of windows you choose, they’re tough enough to hold up against rough ocean weather. Impact resistant windows are the best choice when it comes to protection against heavy wind and rain.
  • Modern Window Treatments – Finish off your expansive windows with window treatments that are both stylish and functional, like window shutters!
  • Airy Interiors – Enjoy that indoor/outdoor vibe even more by ensuring your beach house has an airy interior. Besides adding big windows, you can achieve this by painting the walls white or off-white.
  • Easy-to-Care-for Flooring – From sandy feet to saltwater and humidity, beach house floors take a beating. But the last thing you want to do on your vacation is worry about cleaning the floor. Make sure the flooring in your beach house is durable, warp-resistant, and easy to care for. Laminate hardwood or ceramic tile are great options, while wall-to-wall carpet or true hardwood is probably not the best choices. If you love carpets, opt for lots of rugs that you can clean and care for as needed.
  • Outdoor Shower – While it feels like the ultimate luxury, an outdoor shower will also keep the sand, salt, and dirt outside where they belong.
  • Comfy Furniture – You don’t want to be worried about ruining are caring for your beach house furniture. Choose upholstery that resists stains, or opt for slipcovers that you can toss in the wash. For that breezy feeling, go for light colored fabrics for the big pieces and add color and interest with accents like throw pillows, rugs, art, and blankets.
  • Durable Dinnerware – You’re going to be eating outside a lot at a beach house, so make sure you have plates, glasses, cups, and silverware that won’t break easily, even when taken out to the beach for a bonfire.

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Are you ready to make your beach house dream-worthy? The Shutter Source is here to help! For more design or décor tips, or if you have questions on Elk Grove, CA window shutters, call or visit us today.

What is a Professional Energy Audit?

Your windows – and the rest of your home – might be drafty, leaky, and inefficient, which can cause you to lose lots of money on heating and cooling You love the windows and window shutters on your Elk Grove, CA home. But are they efficient?

That’s where professional energy audits come in. In fact, professional energy audits can help you save between 5% and 30% of your annual energy usage.

Professional energy audits can be anything from a visual inspection of a heating system to a thorough diagnostic test with infrared cameras and thermal imaging. They go a long way towards not only discovering energy problems around the home but also offering solutions for those problems. The ideal time to get a professional energy audit is before you buy a home. That way, you can know exactly what you’re getting into before you make a purchase. But it’s also important to monitor your home’s energy efficiency throughout your time of ownership. It’s generally recommended to get a professional audit during a period of high energy use, like in the summer when the AC is running a lot or in the winter when the heat is always on.

Most audits begin with a general inspection of the home exterior to make sure it has enough protection. The auditor will usually look for gaps in the walls, windows, doors, or eaves. Next, the auditor will inspect the insulation in the roof, walls, and house frame to make sure that there are no gaps and that the insulation is in working order. Next comes a thorough inspection of the heating and cooling system, including the hot water heater and any ductwork. Following the visual inspection, most auditors will perform a blower door test.

Making sure that all doors and windows are closed, the auditor depressurizes the home and then uses infrared cameras to see if any outside air is leaking into the home. The most common spots include around doors, through light fixtures, and around windows. When the inspection is done, the auditor will give you a total home energy score that rates your house’s overall efficiency based on size, age, and the types of systems. Most will also provide suggestions on how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency, like new replacement windows, window treatments, or energy-saving appliances.

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The right window shutters will go a long way towards increasing your home’s energy efficiency, even if you don’t get a professional energy audit first. Most modern window shutters come with a range of features specifically intended to boost efficiency. Plus, they’re incredibly stylish and convenient.

Getting a professional energy audit for your home is an absolute must, whether you are buying a new one or are looking to improve your long-term home.

The Shutter Source is here to help if you want more tips on energy efficiency or home improvement. We offer expert Elk Grove, CA window shutter services that will surely make your home more efficient, functional, and stylish. Call or visit us today!

Tips for Creating the Perfect Home Office

Working from home is the new norm! As companies get more and more comfortable with their employees working remotely, you get the chance to ditch the commute for good and work from home. However, this also means that you need to set up a good home office. That’s where these tips, like adding new window shutters to your Elk Grove, CA home, come in.

Here are tips for creating the perfect home office:

  • Choose the Right Room – You need to find a room or area in your home in which you can create your office. While working on the couch or in bed might be tempting, it’s best to have a space that’s dedicated to working and one that can fit a desk and a chair, at least. Don’t forget to consider foot traffic, too, as it will be tough to work if everyone in the family is constantly walking by your desk or stopping to chat. Extra bedrooms, corners of the kitchen, basements, playrooms, or sunrooms are best.
  • Find a Good Desk – There are two main kinds of desks, standing, and sitting. If you choose to go the standing desk route., be sure you find a good mat to stand on so your feet don’t get sore or tired. But no matter if you choose standing or sitting, be sure your desk has enough workspace. You need to have enough room for all the items you use on a daily basis like a computer, phone, monitor, paper, and pens, plus all those extras that always seem to pile up.
  • Have Fun with Accessories – If you’re working from home, why not have some fun? Pick out accessories like wastebaskets, wall art, desk décor, or even a basic pencil cup that makes you smile or make you happy.
  • Focus On Organization – It’s always smart to create a good organizational system right from the start. Plus, the right organization will make even the smallest space seem a lot bigger. Look for shelves, cubbies, baskets, and bins to help you stay organized.
  • Access to Power – You need to plugin, and you really don’t want to be annoyed every time you have to cross the room to reach the nearest outlet. Try and organize your office in an area with easy access to power or at least run an extension cord to give yourself a simple place to plugin. Also, cord organizers are very helpful when it comes to preventing wires from getting tangled.
  • Great Light – Lighting is also very important. It’s great to have lots of natural light in your office space to keep you energized and awake, but it’s also good to be able to customize that light when needed. Window treatments like shutters are excellent for offices because they allow you to personalize how much light you get throughout the day.

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Want more tips on how to decorate your home office or make your house great? With years of experience in the Elk Grove, CA window shutter industry, The Shutter Source is here to help. Call or visit us today.

Window Trends for 2021

Now is the perfect time to update your home. After all, the warm weather makes it easy to give your house the maintenance, care, and attention it needs. But where should you start? Try the windows and window shutters on your Elk Grove, CA home.

If you need some inspiration for updating the windows on your home, here is a list of the top window trends for 2021:

  • Floor-To-Ceiling Windows – It’s no wonder these expansive windows are trending! Floor-to-ceiling windows allow tons of beautiful natural light into your home, reconnecting you with the outdoors and even boosting your mood. Plus, they’re incredibly dramatic and always make a stylish statement. Try large picture windows to achieve this look or go for a mixture of single-hung or double-hung windows in combination with lower or upper transoms so you can open some of the windows for fresh air.
  • Energy Efficient Windows – Going green is very in right now, and for good reason. Not only are many people looking for ways to help the environment, but they’re also searching for easy ways to cut costs. Energy efficient windows accomplish both. Look for high-quality windows made from wood, vinyl, or fiberglass to help seal in your air-conditioned air and keep out the outside air. This will help make sure your home is at a comfortable temperature, helps save you money on energy spending, and reduce your energy usage to help the planet.
  • Bow Windows – Bow windows feature three or more windows in a curved arc, adding a feeling of extra square footage as they extend just beyond your home’s wall. Bow windows might feel retro, but they’re making a big comeback right now. They not only help you take advantage of the extra summer light but also add value, space, and style to your home. Imagine all the things you can do with the extra space, from and bench for reading and storage to the perfect place to let your houseplants get the sunshine they need.
  • Impact Windows – The weather is getting nutty, so impact windows are trending. Even if you don’t live in an area that gets hurricanes or tornados, they are also very helpful for extra security and sun protection. Impact windows are made with laminated glass that filters 99% of UV rays. In the summer months, when the sun is shining at its peak, that filtration effect can help protect your furniture, drapes, and carpets from fading and can help keep your home’s temperature at a comfortable level.
  • Practical and Stylish Window Treatments – People want their window treatments to be more than just pretty these days. That is why treatments like shutters are very popular. Shutters are not only stylish, but they’re also incredibly functional, convenient, secure, and energy efficient. Explore shutters made from various materials like wood and vinyl to find the type that works best for you and your home.

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Ready to improve your home this summer with new windows and Elk Grove, CA window shutters? The Shutter Source is here to help. Stop by and visit us or give us a call today.

The Most Valuable Remodeling Projects

Remodeling is expensive, but some projects, like adding window shutters to your Elk Grove, CA home, can increase the value of your home or, in other words, offer you a return on your investment (ROI). The money you can recoup in home value varies from project to project, but there are certain ones that offer more bang for your buck.

Here is a list of the most valuable home remodeling projects according to the Cost Vs. Value Report for 2021:

  1. Garage Door Replacement – A new garage door will recoup 93.8% of your investment. This number is so high because garage doors are relatively easy to replace, and the work can be completed usually in just one day.
  2. New Windows – While the value of a window replacement can vary based on the type of replacement windows used, they generally come out to 68.6% recoupment. This is because replacement windows not only help your home look better, but also can dramatically lower your energy usage and costs. While you’re replacing your windows, don’t forget to invest in new window treatments, like window shutters. After all, you don’t want to put up old shutters or shades on top of your brand-new windows.
  3. Roof Replacement – A brand new roof might be on the pricey side, but it will recoup 60.7% of that initial cost. Roofing can be pricey because it’s a big, messy job that requires professional help in order to make sure that it’s done safely and correctly. But, once completed, a new roof will have a big impact on the overall look of your home and can also make your home more energy efficient so you can save money on heating and cooling.
  4. New Siding – If you want a major makeover for your home without all the work or mess of a big remodel, new siding is the way to go. New siding will dramatically improve your home’s outdoor appearance and function. This project will also recoup 68.3% of the cost!
  5. New Entryway – First impressions are important, so refreshing your home’s entryway will recoup 60.9% of the cost. Redo your entryway by investing in a new door, sidelight windows, and a fresh coat of paint.
  6. Bathroom Remodel – The second most redone room after the kitchen is the bathroom. This is because a bad bathroom can be really, really, bad, but just a few small finishes can make it really, really, nice. Plus, bathroom remodels can recoup 60.1% of the initial investment. This is generally seen in the resale value of your home as homebuyers love to see redone, updated, and attractive bathrooms.
  7. Small Kitchen Remodel – The kitchen is usually the most used and the most popular room in the house, which is why even a small remodel, like replacing hardware or countertops, can recoup 72.2% of the investment.

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Sometimes it’s the small home remodeling projects that can make a big difference in your home and recoup the most of your investment. The Shutter Source is here to help if you want more home renovation or Elk Grove, CA window shutter tips. Call or visit us today to learn more.

Make Your Home Feel Like a Vacation Home

Instead of buying a separate house for vacations, why not make your actual home feel more like a vacation home? Then you can be on vacation all the time! After all, everyone dreams of owning a vacation home. Use these tips, like installing window shutters on your Elk Grove, CA house and turning your bathroom into a spa, to help make your home feel like a vacation home.

  • Create an Outdoor Oasis – Make the most of your outdoor space by treating it as an extension of your home. Break it into rooms like a dining area, entertainment spot, cooking area, and lounging area. Also, be sure your outdoor furniture is comfortable and clean as no one will want to relax on dirty or hard furniture. Don’t forget the outdoor pillows, fountains, torches, fire pits, or bistro lights for ambiance.
  • Turn Your Bathroom into a Spa – There’s nothing better than the full relaxation and rejuvenation that comes from a spa visit. Make your bathroom echo that experience with a few small updates. First, clear away that clutter! Put away personal hygiene products, haircare tools, and medicine in the medicine cabinet, drawers, or in a basket so the counter is empty and calming. If you want to leave things on the counter, make sure they’re attractive like potted plants, perfumes, or bath salts. Second, invest in some new linens like super fluffy towels and an ultra-plush bathrobe. Finally, scented candles and incense are your friends as the smell is incredibly powerful when it comes to transporting and relaxing.
  • Let in the Light – Most vacation spots have a very indoor/outdoor feel with huge doors and expansive windows. Bring that to your home by investing in windows that will let the natural light shine into and brighten your home. You can also invest in a new patio or sliding door for easier access to your outdoor space. Don’t forget to finish your new windows with stylish and functional window treatments like window shutters.

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  • Transform Your Bedroom into a Hotel Room – Hotel rooms are strictly for relaxation and rest. Make your bedroom at home the same way! First, your bedroom is not an office, laundry room, or gym, so get rid of everything that isn’t geared towards rest and relaxation. Clear away clutter off dressers and bedside tables so you aren’t distracted when it’s time to sleep or relax. You can also repaint the walls a soothing, subtle color like dove grey or soft white and update your bedding to match. Finally, upgrade your window treatments to make sure you have ultimate light control – darkness when it’s time to rest and soft, warm light when it’s time to relax.

While owning a vacation home is nice, you won’t need one if you use these tips to make your home feel like a vacation 24/7. The Shutter Source is here to help if you want more tips on home improvement or Elk Grove, CA window shutters. Call or visit us today!

Outdoor Living Trends for 2021

Ready to spend some time outside? The summer weather is calling, and this means you need to make sure your outdoor space is up to snuff. If you need some inspiration for your deck, backyard, or patio, here is a list of outdoor living trends for 2021, including installing new window shutters on your Elk Grove, CA home.

  • Transitional Patio Doors – Patio doors are in right now, especially large ones that open wide. The right patio door will not only give you great views of the outdoors, but it will also help you create a seamless, simple transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Outdoor Kitchens – If you’ve got the space and the budget, an outdoor kitchen is a must-have for your home. Adding a grill, fridge, prep sink, stove, countertop, and even fun extras like a wood-fired pizza oven can make your outdoor space the blocks biggest party spot.
  • Transitional Window Treatments – Make your indoor and outdoor spaces even more synchronized by installing simple, functional window treatments like window shutters. Shutters make it easy for you to let natural light and fresh air into your home, mirroring your trendy outdoor space.
  • Outdoor Technology – There are all kinds of cool gadgets you can get for your space that will take your outdoor living to a whole new level. Look into smart lights, speakers, video projectors, and outdoor TVs so you can move all the movie nights, family games, and any other event outside. You can even bring your Wi-Fi outside with an extender.
  • Comfortable Furniture – One of the simplest upgrades you can make for your deck, patio, or yard is adding comfortable furniture. Luckily, outdoor, weather-proof furniture is trending hard right now, making it easy for you to find pieces that match your style and space.
  • Fire Features – Sure, fire pits are fun, but trendy fire features are even better. Unlike traditional fire pits, these trending pieces are heated with gas so you can turn your fire on or off with the touch of a button. Can’t afford a fire feature? You can’t go wrong with some well-placed tiki torches or even some bistro lights for ambiance.

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  • Pergolas – Pergolas are the answer to your yard’s shade, privacy, and style needs – and they are super in style right now. In fact, some might even call 2021 the year of the pergola! What’s more, pergolas are incredibly easy to install so you can start enjoying benefits right away.
  • Edible Gardens – Edible gardens are full of plants that are not only beautiful but also edible, like if a vegetable patch and a flower garden had a baby. Great for adding greenery and color to your yard and tasty, fresh vegetable and herbs to your kitchen, it makes sense why edible gardens are so popular. Just be wary of treating anything with harmful pesticides or herbicides.

Want more tips on outdoor trends or Elk Grove, CA window shutters? The Shutter Source is here to help. Stop by and pay us a visit or give us a call today.

How to Get Your Home Ready for Your Vacation

While most people have stayed at home recently, it’s now time to get back out there and go on vacation! As you prepare to head out of town on a trip, you need to make sure your home is ready, too. Keep your house sealed and safe while you’re out of town on vacation by following these tips, like hiring a house or pet sitter or installing safe and efficient window shutters on your Elk Grove, CA home:

  • Hold Your Mail – Ask your local post office to hold your mail while you’re away. This way, your mailbox and front porch won’t be full of tempting packages and mail for people with bad intentions to see or steal.
  • Hire a House Sitter – Hire someone or ask a friend or neighbor to stop by your house while you’re gone. They can water your plants, bring in packages, and turn the lights on and off.
  • Lock Your Windows – Deter theft by making sure all your windows and doors are locked. You can even take it a step further and invest in window treatments that also lock, like window shutters.
  • Clean Before You Leave – Not only is it great to come home to a nice, clean home, but the more you clean before you leave the less likely it is that you’ll come home to odors, pests, or other nasty surprises. Clear the fridge of leftovers and other perishables, run the garbage disposal with some ice cubes and lemon rinds, and wipe down all your kitchen countertops to clear away bits of food. Make sure you don’t leave any wet towels, clothes, or sheets in the washing machine or laundry basket, either.
  • Take Out the Trash – Nothing gets smellier than trash left inside while you’re on vacation. Don’t forget to take out the recycling, too.
  • Put Your Car in the Garage (and Close the Door!) – This will help deter theft and will help keep your car safe in case of inclement weather. Plus, your car will stay clean.
  • Unplug What You Can – Unplug appliances like TVs, computers, toasters, and coffee makers to save you on power usage and to keep them safe in the event of a power surge.
  • Leave a Light On – A dark house is a dead giveaway that no one is home. If you can, set a light on a timer to turn on when it gets dark out. If you don’t have a timer, just leave one or two lights on in the house.
  • Set Your Thermostat – Make sure your home is set to a reasonable temperature, like 80 degrees in the summer or 50 degrees in the winter. This week keep your home safe and comfortable and will also help you from wasting energy while you’re away.

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It’s easy to have a fun, worry-free vacation if you follow these tips and prep your home. Want more home ideas or information on Elk Grove, CA window shutters?  The Shutter Source is here to help. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you and your home.

The Benefits of Cleaning Your Windows and Window Shutters

Adding window shutters to your Elk Grove, CA home is a great way to enjoy more comfort, higher energy efficiency, more convenience, and even a higher home value. While windows and shutters have come a long way from what they used to be, they still need regular maintenance in order to perform and look their best. And this maintenance includes regular cleaning.

Why should you clean your windows and shutters? Here are some of the benefits of regular cleanings:

  • Protection from Damage – Dirt and other buildup can actually damage your window glass. Even if your windows aren’t visibly dirty, grime and dirt can create tiny scratches on the glass that will ruin your windows permanently. Not only do these scratches look unsightly, but they also cause even more dust and debris to cling to your window.
  • Aesthetics – Dirty windows and shutters are unsightly, there’s no way around it. From dirt and dust to grime and cobwebs, dirty windows look bad from both the inside and outside of your home.
  • Increased Energy Efficiency – The dirtier your windows and shutters are, the less energy efficient they can become. This is because tiny scratches in the window glass from dirt and debris can make the window glassless insulative, and therefore reduce the window’s overall efficiency.
  • Protection for Window Accessories – Regularly cleaning your windows will also help protect your window accessories, like flower boxes, shutters, and other coverings, from damage. The more cobwebs and grime cover your window, the more cobwebs and grime will cover your accessories.
  • More Natural Light – Grime, dirt, and other buildups on windows and shutters can block sunlight from entering your home. Not only is natural light beautiful and comforting, but less natural light also means less natural heat when it’s cold outside.

Now that you know how important it is to clean your windows and shutters, you need to figure out how often you should perform the task. The common rule of thumb for residential windows is cleaning twice a year. But this number can go up depending on if you live on a busy street with lots of dust or there are lots of trees with pollen in your yard. You also need to consider your climate and environment when scheduling window cleanings. Think about these key things when planning how often you will clean your windows:

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  • Do you live close to busy streets?
  • Are there lots of trees and pollen in your vicinity?
  • Is there often high wind in your area?
  • Did you remodel your home?
  • Is there new construction in your area?
  • How often do you clean your screens?

Cleaning your windows and shutters regularly will help keep them beautiful, efficient, and well-functioning for years to come. Plus, this chore will also help your home seem cleaner, brighter, and more pleasant. Want to learn more about window and shutter cleaning, maintenance, or Elk Grove, CA window shutters? The Shutter Source is here to help. Stop by and visit us or give us a call today.