4 Driveway Materials That Aren’t Concrete or Asphalt

Today, there are a limitless number of driveway options available. However, it seems that concrete and asphalt driveways are the most common driveway materials in the majority of residential areas. This is because these materials are affordable and relatively easy to install. While concrete and asphalt are good options, there are many others on the market. Here are four driveway option ideas:

Brick Paver Driveways

driveway driveways contractor
Photo: The Spruce

Brick driveways give off a classical feel and are perfect for colonial, craftsman, and other architectural styles; however, they can be a beautiful addition to almost any home. Brick paver driveways are extremely durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions and frequent use. This driveway material is durable and should last at least 25 years.

Cobblestone Paver Driveways

driveway driveways contractor
Photo: Unilock

Cobblestone paver driveways are notorious for their “Old World” appeal and are usually composed of granite. Cobblestone driveways may be one of the most expensive driveway options; however, a well-built cobblestone driveway can easily last over a century. One major advantage of cobblestone is that wear and tear will only accentuate the cobblestone’s character.

Macadam Driveways

driveway driveways contractor
Photo: Pinterest

Macadam driveways, also referred to as “tar and chip” driveways consist of aggregate layers of stone and a binding agent. Unlike asphalt, macadam driveways are low maintenance since they don’t require a yearly sealing. In addition to being low maintenance, they are also affordable. Macadam is slightly cheaper than asphalt to install. Furthermore, macadam driveways can last around a decade and can provide good traction, even in the rain.

Concrete Paver Driveways

driveway driveways contractor
Photo: The Spruce

Concrete pavers is a very versatile driveway option since it is available in a variety of shapes, colors, styles, and patterns. Concrete paver driveways can last anywhere from 25 to 50 years. The biggest downfall of concrete is that it can stain easily; however, choosing pavers over large slabs is a huge advantage since you can easily replace individual pavers.

Benefits of Double Pane Windows

Due for a window replacement? If you are looking to maximize the energy efficiency in your home, it may be time to consider installing double pane windows.

double pane windows

Double pane, or dual pane, windows are windows with two panes of glass as opposed to single pane windows, which one have one pane of glass. In double pane windows, there is a small opening between the glass pane to allow for better, more efficient insulation.

Some double plane windows just have plain air sitting between the glass panes; however, the more energy efficient double pane windows have argon gas between the glass panes. Argon is chosen for double pane windows because it is inexpensive, non-toxic, and odorless. Double pane windows with argon gas offer better insulation because gas is heavier than air. Argon gas also helps to prevent frost from forming on the bottom of the window in cold weather.

Did you know that windows account for approximately 50% of your heating and cooling bills? This is why it is so important to have good quality windows installed in your home, specifically dual pane windows. Perhaps the biggest and most noticeable benefit of installing double pane windows is the increased energy savings. While single pane windows may cost less initially, dual pane windows will eventually save you money due to the increased energy savings. Some estimate that double pane windows can save 20%-30% on annual energy bills.

replacement windows richmond

Another benefit of dual pane windows is that it helps in noise reduction because of its insulating abilities. While it does not soundproof things completely, it does help to keep a quieter home. This is especially beneficial for those who live on a busy street or for those who work at home.

For those who are due for a window replacement in the near future, we recommend double pane windows. They are available in many popular window styles, including casement, double-hung, and sliding and provide the most energy savings. Interested in a window replacement? Contact us today!

Composite Decking for Your Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor decks are a great way to add an entertainment area to your home. What many people do not know is that there are many available decking materials for you to choose from. The available materials include wood, plastic, aluminum, and composite. Composite decking is a great option because it is low maintenance, has an attractive appearance, and it is durable.

 

composite decking
Photo: Pinterest

Low Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits that comes with composite decking is that it does away with the burden of constant upkeep. Wood decks need to be re-stained, power washed, and sanded regularly to maintain their appearance. Composite decking doesn’t require re-staining or sanding.

Additionally, wood decks also require the addition of pesticides and metals during the pressure treating process. While this helps to prevent pests, it is bad for the environment and can be dangerous to children and animals as it deteriorates over time. Composite doesn’t require these harmful additives since it is naturally resistant to insects, mold, and decay.

 

Durability

Composite decking is comprised of waste wood, plastic, and other recycled materials. Since it combines wood with plastic, it lasts longer in the elements than wood decks. Wood decks are known to rot, mold, and splinter. On the other hand, composite decks don’t experience these problems. The only thing that you need to look for in composite decking is the occasional surface mold and discoloration. This can be easily taken care of with a household cleaner and a brush.

 

 

Appearance

Many homeowners choose to go with composite decking because of their consistent coloring. Since they are manufactured, each board will look identical to the next. On the other hand, wood decks are known to fade to a dusty gray after a few years if they are not properly maintained.

 

composite decking
Photo: Pinterest

Since composite decking is manufactured, it is constantly improving with advancements in technology and the manufacturing process. Although composite decks are a great option, they are a little more pricey than wood decks. However, a composite deck doesn’t require much maintenance – which means more time can be spent enjoying your outdoor living space with your family.

Outdoor Living Ideas – Planning Your Outdoor Living Space in 3 Steps

Outdoor living spaces are a great way to add value to your home and create an inviting space for family and friends to come together. By creating an outdoor living space, many homeowners are able to create a space that would otherwise get used infrequently, or not at all. Some of our outdoor living ideas include:

outdoor living ideas contractor
Photo: Custom Home by Balducci Builders, Inc.

Outdoor Living Ideas – #1 – Define Separate Outdoor Living Areas

One of the best ways to create an outdoor living space is to define it through a structural element. This can include anything from a pergola, trellis, or fence. By including a structural element, it will inform guests that they are entering a new space that is separate from the rest of the home. While you want your outdoor space to be separated from the rest of your home, you do want your outdoor space to flow from the rest of your house. The best way to create a harmonious flow from the indoor and outdoor living spaces is to continue the same style of your indoor decor with the outdoor spaces.

Outdoor Living Ideas – #2 Create an Easy Entry Point to the Outdoor Living Space

A great way to mingle the indoor with the outdoor space is by including a way to easily access the two spaces. A simple doorway may do the trick; however, we believe that the larger the entryway, the better. The easier it is to access the two two spaces, the more seamless the transition. We recommend installing large French doors or ultra-wide sliding doors. If this is not feasible, it might be a good idea to include a couple of windows around the doorway to let in extra light and a clearer view to the outdoor living space. As a bonus of having a clearer view to the outside, you’ll want to spend more time in your outdoor space.

outdoor living ideas contractor
Photo: Screened Porch by Balducci Exteriors

Outdoor Living Ideas – #3 Define the Purpose of Each Area in the Outdoor Living Space

Once your outdoor living space is clear and defined, it is time to decide what areas will serve what purpose. Some of the most popular outdoor living ideas include outdoor kitchens, dining rooms, and living areas.  You may choose to include all of these options, or any combination of the three (depending on the size of your outdoor living space and your personal preferences). Some other ideas include zen gardens, basketball courts, and bocce ball. The possibilities are endless!

outdoor living ideas contractor
Photo: Custom Outdoor Kitchen by Balducci Builders, Inc.

Outdoor living spaces can be the perfect entertainment area for family and friends; however, planning an outdoor living space can be overwhelming. We hope that these outdoor living ideas will help you plan your home’s outdoor space. Of course, after your outdoor living space has been planned out, it is time to choose the finishing touches of the space. This includes items such as lighting, seating, appliances, and materials. If you have any further questions regarding outdoor living spaces, don’t hesitate to contact Balducci Exteriors.

How Much Does a Bay Window Cost?

Bay windows can add an instant upgrade to any home. They are simply defined as windows that protrude from the exterior of the house. Bay windows can be a relatively inexpensive option to upgrade your home.

roofing companies richmond bay window cost

How much does a bay window cost?

The cost to install bay windows can vary greatly. Some factors that affect the final cost of installing a bay window include size, material, and angle to which it protrudes. Typically, bay windows are available in angles of 90, 130, and 150 degrees.

While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how much installing a bay window will cost you, fixr.com estimates that a new, full bay window of 4-foot, 8-inches by 4-foot, 6-inches costs about $3,060 (according to their national average). The cost of installing a bay window will also depend on your geographic location.

It is important to note that bay windows cannot be installed on every area of the home. In addition to choosing a location that would be large enough and aesthetically pleasing, bay windows must be installed under an eave. An eave is the part of the roof that overhangs the exterior wall of the house. The reason why an eave is required for installing a bay window is because bay windows require extra support since they protrude away from the house. The size of the eave determines what angle your window can protrude. In the event that there is no eave present, one will have to be constructed (which will increase the costs of installing a bay window).

vinyl windows richmond bay window cost

The four major material choices for bay windows include vinyl, wood, fiberglass, and aluminum. The least expensive of those options is typically vinyl, while fiberglass is on the pricier side. Each choice of material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to do some research.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of bay windows is that they can make a room appear larger and brighter on the inside. On the outside, they can enhance the home’s curb appeal. How much does a bay window cost? It will overall depend on the size, angle, material, and personal taste. In addition, any seating or storage options below will cost a little extra, but will be well worth the investment.

Manufactured Stone Veneer: Boral Versetta Stone

Manufactured stone veneer is a beautiful choice to add some character and interest to your home’s exterior facade. With current technologies, manufactured stone veneer now looks extremely similar to that of authentic stone. According to the 2017 Cost vs. Value report (www.costvsvalue.com), installing stone veneer was ranked as the project with the highest return on investment in the Richmond, Virginia area for 2017. This project is expected to have an average return on investment of 102% in metro Richmond, which is much higher than the national average of 89.4% return on investment.

manufactured stone veneer boral versetta stone richmond roi
Custom Home by Balducci with a Stone Veneer Column

For manufactured stone veneer, Balducci Exteriors recommends Boral Versetta Stone. Boral Versetta Stone is a beautiful cement-based manufactured stone that can add value and character to any home. Here are some key points on Boral Versetta Stone:

  1. Boral Versetta Stone is available in two styles: Ledgestone and Tight-Cut. The Ledgestone creates a rugged look with its irregularity to suggest a “worn-in” and “original” look; while the Tight-Cut offers a more traditional look that is similar to “rural 19th century American architecture.”
  2. It is easy to install since it has a panelized design that can be installed using screws or nails.
  3. This quality product is made of lightweight materials that are 1/4 the weight of full-thickness stone, which allow for its versatility of interior and exterior use. Some interiors ideas include adding the stone to a fireplace, kitchen backsplash, or on an accent wall.
  4. The Versetta Stone color palette is inspired by nature and incorporates colors from around the world. Color options include Plum Creek, Terra Rose, and Sterling.
  5. It is relatively easy to maintain since it doesn’t require additional painting, coating, or sealing.
  6. The stone is cast in a mold, then it is hand-painted with iron oxide pigments to mimic the look of authentic stone.
  7. Boral Versetta Stone is a quality product that will outlast time. It comes backed with a 50 year limited warranty.
  8. One of the factors that Boral Versetta Stone prides itself on is sustainability. Boral Versetta Stone is made of a minimum of 50% recycled content.
manufactured stone veneer boral versetta stone richmond contractor investment
Custom Home by Balducci with a Stone Veneer Fireplace

Manufactured stone veneer is a great home improvement option for any home. It can add value to your home for resell purposes, as well as add beauty to your exterior facade. Consider Boral Versetta Stone for your home and call a qualified installer such as Balducci Exteriors.

© 2017 Hanley Wood Media Inc. Complete data from the Remodeling
2017 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com

Outdoor Upgrades with the Highest Return on Investment

Do you plan on moving in the near future? Many homeowners who prepare to move within the next few years often feel overwhelmed at the amount of home improvement projects that they feel their home needs. Since most people don’t have unlimited budgets, it is good to know which projects will give you the best bang for your buck. Your home’s exterior is the first thing guests will notice about your home; thus, it is important to keep your curb appeal updated. Even worse, it can steer potential buyers away.

 

Whether you plan on moving in the near future, or you simply want to upgrade your curb appeal; researching the return on investment for home improvement projects is a must, especially in the metro Richmond area. According to the 2017 Cost vs. Value report (www.costvsvalue.com), here are the top three outdoor upgrades with the highest return on investment in Richmond, Virginia:

 

3. Wood Deck Addition

wood deck addition roi home value richmond
Photo: remodelingcalculator.org

A wood deck addition is a great way to add some outdoor living space and value to your home. Wood deck additions have an impressive ROI of 62.7%. Although there are many options for wood decks, the most popular choices are lumber and cedar. One of the major drawbacks with wood decks is that it requires lots of maintenance.

An important question to ask yourself is whether you plan on hiring someone to do the maintenance, or will you be doing the work yourself? The cost of hiring someone to keep your deck in good shape can get costly quick, which is why composite decks are a popular option. Although composite decks require less maintenance, their high costs cause their lower ROI.

2. Steel Entry Door Replacement

steel entry door roi home value richmond
Photo: Pella

A steel entry door replacement has an ROI of 81.5% in Richmond, Virginia. Steel is durable, weather resistant, and doesn’t warp or rot like it’s wood counterpart. Compared to wood and some fiberglass options, steel entry doors are relatively affordable. Since wood doors require routine sanding and re-coating, steel entry doors are a good option for homeowners who prefer an entry door with low maintenance. Additionally, they provide good insulation (because of their foam core) and can even save you a couple of dollars on your heating and cooling bill!

1. Manufactured Stone Veneer

stone veneer ROI richmond home value return on investment
Photo: Boral Versetta Stone

The project with the highest return on investment in Richmond, Virginia for 2017 is manufactured stone veneer with an ROI of 102%. This is even higher than the national average of 89.4% ROI. Stone veneer creates a feeling of ageless character and aesthetic. In addition, it is manufactured to withstand time; most manufactures offer a 50 year limited warranty.

Manufactured stone veneer is one-third the weight of full-thickness stone; thus, it can be adhered to most wall surfaces. Since the product is manufactured, it comes in a variety of colors and textures-which closely resemble the look of authentic stone.

 

These are the top three home improvement projects with the highest ROI for the Richmond, Virginia area. However, you should choose your next home improvement project based off of what you believe would be the best value for you and your family. As always, call an expert for any questions on home improvement projects.

 

© 2017 Hanley Wood Media Inc. Complete data from the Remodeling
2017 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com