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Great Garden and Patio Gadgets

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With warm weather just around the corner the patio and garden will be waiting!  Spending time outdoors is even more enjoyable with the following nifty gadgets that compliment life in the garden.  The following are gadgets you may want to consider for your own patio or garden or to give as gifts.


The E-Light is a terrific gadget for enjoying those spring and summer evenings.  This cordless umbrella light, powered by an LED light, will transform your gatherings by brightening up the patio or deck.  Additionally, this affordable gadget features a built in jack so you can plug in your iPod and bring music to the party.  The light is perfect to read by or to sip drinks along with family and friends.


Another stylish light is made by Mathmos and is called the Aduki Bling.  This indoor/outdoor light boasts a cool metallic sheen that can add up to eight hours of light to any setting in the garden.  While not in use, the light appears like a gorgeous golden bean.  Once the light is powered, it will cycle through one of three great colors.


If you live in wooded area and want pest-free yard, consider the Ultra Sonic Cordless Repeller.  This helpful device prevents unwanted pests like dogs, rodents, deer and others from roaming the grounds and getting into the garden!  When the motion of these animals is detected, the repeller humanely emits ultrasonic tones to send them away.


The SunCalc is a great device for novice gardeners who may need help with plant placement.  Before planting your new plants, place the SunCalc in the desired spot for twenty-four hours.  After a full day, the SunCalc will tell you whether the spot is ideal for plants that need full sun, partial sun, partial shade or full shade.


The Lay-Z-Spa allows you to bring place the hot tub almost anywhere in the patio or garden.  This portable jacuzzi is a British import that can be toted anywhere.  This spa holds 240 gallons of water and its pumping system and heater can have the water at an ideal temperature within a day.  The spa even features a filter to ensure clean water.  Bring it to the campground or place it out on the balcony or deck; the Lay-Z-Spa brings the fun and relaxation wherever you want to take it.


For patios that see a lot of entertaining around the grill, consider the Electronic Venus Flytrap, a useful gadget that rids your eating area of pesky flies.  Your friends and family can enjoy their burgers and chips without swatting insects away throughout their meal.  Without the smelly fumes of sprays, this gadget acts just like a carnivorous Venus Flytrap collecting flies in its belly.  Great for patios and porches, this gadget also makes a nice inexpensive gift for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors.


The Viteo Garden Shower is a cool gadget that allows you to take a fountain-like shower before getting into the pool.  Just step on the simple white platform that hooks up to a garden hose and experience an outdoor shower from the ground-up.  A great gadget for pool parties, this device is also useful for rinsing off sweat after a morning of gardening.


Glow in the Dark Pebbles look like ordinary pebbles during the day, but at night they light up with beautiful outdoor displays of color.  These pebbles can make walkways and garden paths safer for strolling, but they can even highlight special plants of flower beds in your landscape.  During the day, the pebbles accumulate stores of sunlight to provide up to six hours of light in the evening.


Outdoor Misting Systems are ideal for those sweltering summer days or for people who live in extremely hot climates.  Perfect accompaniment for outdoor gatherings, your system can be set up to mist along the patio to provide a cool climate for your outdoor parties.  Such systems can cool your space by as much as twenty degrees!


The Misting Fan Cooler is not as extensive as a misting system, but it is a portable misting center that is guaranteed to cool you off after a spell in the sun working in the garden.  It has the ability to reduce the temperature of a space by twenty-five degrees.  Covering 950 square feet, it is perfect for a patio, deck or porch and can really help your guests beat the heat while waiting for the barbeque to cook up lunch or dinner.


All these gadgets can easily be found online and some may even be found at your local mall.  Such gadgets are useful for making the most of outdoor life and complimenting your patio and garden activities.  Be sure to include some as gifts for other outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate interesting devices.


Do I Need A New Roof?

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As important as the roof is to our house, we need to pay special attention to it as it starts to age. But, how do we tell when it is maybe time to have a professional inspect it for replacement. Below are some tips to help you decide.

1. Have you now, or in the past found shingles or pieces of shingle in your yard. A good strong wind can pull whole shingles, or parts of the shingle, loose from the roof. If in the past after any wind storms, you found these in your yard, it is a sign that your roof needs to be inspected.

2. Water spots on the ceiling in your house. This is a tell tale sign that your roof is leaking and needs repair or replacing.

3. Discoloration on the roof. From the ground can you see spots on your roof that seem to be discolored or look different than the rest of the roof.

4. Buckling shingles

5. Rotting shingles.

6. Consider the age of your roof. The average life of a roof is 20 years. If you area at 20 or more years, have your roof inspected by a professional.

7. What are your plans for the future? Are you going to be selling in the near future? Having a new roof on the house will be a big plus for a potential buyer.

With these simple inspections, you will have  a good idea if it is time to be considering a new roof. If you are suspicious at all that your roof may be going bad, call us and we will be happy to come inspect your roof.


Five Good Reasons To Go Green With Your Roof

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It’s easy to surmise that a green roof is something that’s good for the environment. However, besides being ecologically-friendly, it can also be an effective way of regulating indoor temperatures and helping homeowners save a considerable sum of money on heating and cooling costs.


Green roofs first became popular in the 1960s when German homeowners took to using them as a standard component of their houses. However, studies show that the concept of green roofs had already been in practice many centuries ago in some parts of Europe. Today, a steadily growing number of home owners are having green roofs installed.


If you’re still on the fence as to whether to install a green roof for your house or not, here are 5 good reasons to do so:


1. Green roofs come with substantially greater insulation than regular roofs. In one Canadian study, it was found that during the summer, green roofs help lower cooling needs by 25% and during the winter months, they help lower heating needs by 25%. This means lower energy costs.


2. Green roofs last up to three times longer than ordinary roofs. The special components of the green roof give it a high level of protection against extreme heat, making it very durable even during the hottest summer months. With regular roofs, constant exposure to temperatures of more than 176 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius) can cause fissures and brittleness, but this is not a problem at all with green roofs.


3. Green roofs retain much more water than regular roofing materials. In fact, only 25% of rainfall that hits green roofs will eventually run off into the streets and drainage systems below. The 75% is retained by the green roof, to be released naturally into the atmosphere once the weather clears up. The main advantage of this feature is that a lot of floods can be prevented and drainage congestion will be avoided.


4. Green roofing is heavily supported by most governments because besides being effective in regulating indoor temperatures, these special roofs can reduce the extreme heat reflected onto the surrounding areas. This benefit is most greatly felt in congested urban areas where houses are built very closely together. When the sun’s rays strike the roofs, a lot of the heat is reflected to the environment and this can cause overheating of nearby power grids.


5. Green roofs make a house look much more aesthetically appealing. They also provide a much-needed sanctuary for birds, insects, and other small animals especially in busy cities where gardens and parks are hard to find. In addition, having a green roof on your home will also increase your property’s value by a considerable margin, making it much easier to sell in the market when the need arises.


To go green with you roof, give us a call!


Easy Ways To Go Green In Your Yard

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The environment is a hot topic nowadays and everybody seems to be on the green bandwagon. From recycling soda cans, to using canvas grocery bags, to hanging clothes out to dry in the sun, conservation of our natural resources is a daily part of the new century. So what if you have good intentions but not enough motivation to follow through? Are you a lazy environmentalist? Here are some relatively simple tips that will make you feel like you are doing your part to save the earth, with minimal effort and time. Go green!
Place a bucket, pail, or barrel outside your house to collect rainwater. After your receptacle has filled, you can water your indoor plants for free. Or use it to rinse off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. You could even wash your dog! In order to not attract mosquitoes, don’t leave standing water outside for any length of time. Those pesky bugs lay their eggs in stagnant water, so make sure you use what you’ve collected right away. After trying your hand at rainwater collecting a few times, you might want to peruse the many commercially available rain barrels and purchase one. These barrels can attach to your down gutter and typically hold 40 to 80 gallons of water. If you are really ambitious you can purchase multiple barrels to collect rainwater from different spots around your house and water your entire landscaping.
If you are a coffee drinker, you may be throwing away a valuable garden nutrient every day. Used coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, magnesium, calcium and potassium. While organic coffee is best because it hasn’t been treated with pesticides, you can still get the same benefits from non-organic. As a lazy environmentalist, just toss the coffee grounds directly on top of your soil. This is an excellent and free year-round fertilizer. Tomato plants, blueberries, roses and evergreens all thrive on coffee ground fertilizer because of its acidic nature, which also makes them a great deterrent of slugs and snails. So use them around plants that are being eaten alive by these pests. Coffee grounds can be added to composts piles too if you’ve got one started.

Along with coffee grounds, banana peels, fish bones and egg shells are also great organic matter for your garden and rose bushes. Bury banana peels a few inches in the soil around roses for more vibrant blooms. Roses love fish bones, but be sure to bury these a little bit deeper – at least a shovel head’s depth to keep dogs and other animals from digging them up. Egg shells provide needed calcium to your garden. Wash them out and crush before burying in the soil. You can also circle egg shells around a vegetable plant to deter slugs and snails.
If you read your daily newspaper while drinking your morning coffee, you’ve got another cheap and handy garden helper. Layer newspaper under mulch and it becomes a weed barrier. The newspaper will slowly decompose and fertilize your flower beds in the process. Newspaper is a wonderful, and natural, substitution to the plastic weed barriers available for purchase from your garden store. Newspaper can also be used to get rid of unwanted sod when starting a new flowerbed or vegetable garden. Simply layer four or five sheets of overlapped newspaper directly on top of the sod, water it down, cover with mulch and wait until spring. You will then have a grass-free area to start planting.
Vinegar is a great option to buying toxic, commercially made weed and pest killers or cleaners. White distilled vinegar is cheap to buy and most households already have it on hand. Use a vinegar and water mixture to soak away clay pot stains, spray a mixture of vinegar and compost tea onto plants to protect against disease, or use full-strength on weeds that grow between the cracks of your sidewalks and pathways. A spray of vinegar along door thresholds or windowsills where ants gather will stop them in their tracks. Acid-loving plants flourish with a douse of vinegar and water mixture every now and then. And if you have a cat that likes to use your child’s sandbox as its personal bathroom, vinegar can discourage the practice.
So even if you are ho-hum about saving our natural resources, incorporate one or all of these tips into your daily routine. With little effort, you might surprise yourself and become greener, along with your garden of course!


Winter Home Improvement: Tackle That Closet!

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Is getting more organized on your to-do list for the year 2015? You can start with your messiest closet…and have a fun winter home improvement project! There are tons of things you can do to customize your closets for your needs that are fairly inexpensive with high impact. To start, consider adding shelving or and over-the-organizer so that everything has its place in the closet.


This is also a great time to pare down your belongings and donate things you no longer use or need to a local charity.

Check out this blog for some great ideas for this project!



Prevent Ice And Snow Damage This Winter

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The last winter was epic in its generation of ice and snow storms. Ice and snow accumulations bring the potential for headaches beyond those associated with white-knuckle driving: it can also damage a home’s roof and gutters.


Damage from ice and snow can occur for two reasons. The first is that the sheer weight of snow can dislodge gutters from a building. Several inches of snow on a fairly flat roof can also carry enough weight to collapse the roof. A roof that is under stress can make the doors and windows of the house difficult to open, or the homeowner will hear popping or creaking noises.


The second, and more prevalent, cause of roof and gutter damage is the formation of ice dams. An ice dam is created when heat emanating from a home’s attic melts snow on the roof, which then refreezes after it trickles into the gutters. The ice buildup prevents melt water from flowing through the gutters and out the downspouts. Ice dams can cause melt water to back up and go under the roof’s shingles, that leads to leaks and water damage to the roof, fascia and soffit. An ice dam can also cause water to spill over the side of the gutter and soak into the ground next to the home’s foundation. In turn, this leads to foundation damage or water seeping into the basement or crawlspace.


Excessive snow on the roof is easily removed using a roof rake. This tool is available at most hardware stores. It is normally made of lightweight aluminum, has a telescoping handle and allows the homeowner to stand on the ground and pull snow off the roof. Removing excess snow is one way to prevent ice dams as well.


There are three more ways a homeowner can do to prevent ice dams. First the home should have good attic insulation. A well insulated attic prevents heat loss that leads to the formation of ice dams. Attic ventilation should also be considered, as a poorly ventilated attic is likely to trap ambient heat. Second, cleaning leaves and other debris out of guttering in the fall keeps the paths open for water to flow freely. Third, in areas where heavy snows are routine, adding heating cables to the roof prevents the buildup of snow and keeps water from refreezing in the gutters. Heating cables are only appropriate for roofs made of noncombustible tab shingles and inclined roofs, however.


Preventive measures may not be part of a homeowner’s routine in areas that are normally snow-free. Once the snow and ice are gone, be sure to inspect the roof and guttering for any damage it may have left behind.


Siding Color Confusion?

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When choosing colors for your new home exterior, having so many great options can be overwhelming. Our partner and vendor James Hardie has a great article on how to choose your home colors wisely.



Click here for more details!


Is Stamped Concrete The Right Choice For You?

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If you are looking for a unique, durable flooring material stamped concrete may be right for you!  In the past, homeowners could only choose between hardwood floors, tile, or carpet.  Today, there are a host of products on the market to suit your needs.  Stamped concrete offers a variety of patterns and an unending list of possibilities.


What is stamped concrete?  Stamped concrete involves using patterned stamps that are applied to wet concrete to produce the design of your choice.  Some popular pattern choices are brick, flagstone, slate, and tile.  While the concrete is wet, Sela will apply the stamps in a set pattern over the area.  When the stamp is lifted from the surface, it has imprinted the concrete with the design.  Multiple stamps can be used to create any combination you can imagine!


Where can this product can be used?  The most common areas for stamped concrete involve outdoor areas such as driveways, patios, decks, and walkways.  However, the technique is being transferred to indoor areas as well.  Kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms are popular choices.  In some instances, homeowners are using stamped concrete throughout the home.  The product provides an easy to clean surface, does not stain, and does not harbor allergens.  If you are building or remodeling a home, consult with your contractor and manufacturer on approved installation guidelines.  Each manufacturer will have specific recommendations on suitable substrates that can be used with their product.  For example, concrete overlays can be easily applied to already present concrete slabs.  However, applying it to plywood surfaces may require specific deflection ratings.  A deflection rating measures the amount of “bounce” produced with live and dead loads on a floor system.  If the floor “moves” too much, it can produce cracks in the concrete overlay and create problems.


Once the stamping is complete, the area can be colored to any color scheme you choose.  The contractor will apply acid or water-based stain products to the floor.  Multiple colors can be applied in two or three stages to create depth within the stamp.  The tools required to color stamped concrete are relatively simple: sprayers, brushes, and the stain itself.  If you have never worked with concrete stamps and stains, it may be advisable to hire a trained professional.  However, if you are a true do-it-yourselfer, a little practice can help you create an amazing floor!  Consider stamping a walkway in the backyard or patio before proceeding on the home.  This will allow you to perfect the techniques required to produce a custom flooring pattern


Sela Awarded GAF Master Elite Awards From GAF

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We are proud to announce that Sela Roofing was awarded the GAF Master Elite and Master Select Awards for Business Excellence for low slope and steep slope roofing.



As one of only two contractors in the Midwest to receive the awards, we are proud of our incredible team!