Archive for September, 2010

September: Prepping for the Coming Cold

Posted on 27 September 2010 | Category: General

We’re not excited about it either, but winter’s on the way. Now’s the time to take stock of maintenance issues you can’t — or don’t want to — address when the weather turns chilly.

Here are some fall tips that will have you ready when the leaves, and then the snow, start falling.

tips5Paint Where Necessary

With wetter weather and cooler nights, your window of opportunity for handling touch-up painting is getting smaller. Look for areas where the paint is looking worn or beginning to crack. Now is the time to protect those places with fresh paint before the water and ice can do their damage.

Power Wash the House

Spring and summer moisture can leave a lot of dirt and grime on your home. tips6Washing the house before winter sets has become a “must do” for many homeowners looking to get their houses looking their best before the first freeze.

Repair Gates and Fences

Once the ground freezes, fence and gate post repairs are difficult — and sometimes just impossible — to do. A good November storm will bring down a lot of loose fences and cause additional damage and neighbor complaints. If you have repair issues with your gates or fences, get to them now.

tips3Exterior Watershed

We say it time and again: The biggest issue a house faces is water. If the roof, gutter, downspout and drainage system and is not 100%, you will have issues, and they can cause pernicious problems for your home. From peeling paint to rotted wood to those middle-of-winter ice issues, watershed flaws are difficult to address once winter sets in. Address them now.

Grading and Drainage

tipsIf water pools appears near your foundation during or after a rain, this is the time to address this potentially costly issue before the ground freezes and your foundation experiences cracking.

At Get Dwell, we know how to prepare a home for the coming cold. If you’d like a winter-weather assessment, or need specific pre-freeze maintenance, call us today.

News from the Remodeling Show

Posted on 27 September 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

pom7This year’s National Remodeling Show was held in September on the harbor in downtown Baltimore. The weather was beautiful and the blue crabs were plentiful. We have compiled what we think was the best of the show to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest products and innovations in remodeling.

Experts from all across the country were saying the same things: Most homeowners are looking to maintain their current homes. And the most popular remodeling focus, by far, is the bathroom. But there were lots of newsworthy developments in building products in general.

Here are some:

pom8First of all – bathrooms. The  emphasis is on planning; change orders are out. Have the all potential issues been thought out? And should anything extra, like a towel warmer or a mirror defogger, be considered consider before determining final design? Upfront planning saves money and time.

At Get Dwell,  we fix a lot of towel holders or toilet paper rollers that have come out of the wall. The best fix is to include a solution in the upfront design — a solid backing so the hardware has something to secure itself onto before the walls go up. Another common issue is ventilation systems.  We see a significant number of bathrooms where ventilation is an afterthought — or not a thought at all. That leads to mold and mildew-conducive environments where caulk and grout have to be replaced constantly.

pom9Accessibility has now become an integral part of the design process. Today the focus is on a design that can eliminate curbs and other barriers, leaving the bathroom more open and accessible. That adds to a sense of well-being and to a measure of safety for an aging in place population. Companies like AKW ( are doing this in a dynamic and beautiful way.

In the bath category there were two notable new products: First, the product chosen “2010 Best New Product” is Bondera, a tiling product that transforms the way bathrooms are built and makes it easier for the homeowner to do tiling work themselves. Instead of laying tile in a bed of adhesive, which must be correctly troweled,  tile can now be stuck to a two-sided adhesive mat and grouted immediately. This will cut down on tiling time significantly while providing a quick, clean, durable solution with no odors or VOCs. Learn more at

pom5As always, the complete bath systems by Schluter Systems are impressive, and this year was no exception. With Schluter products, there is no need for caulk and grout at the seams, eliminating the most costly and aggravating bathroom maintenance issue for homeowners. This year, Schulter introduced a new substrate system called Kerdi-board, which further reinforces their high-quality and complete water management system. More information about Schluter’s elegant,  maintenance-free bathroom systems is at

pom6How’s your basement air quality? Particularly in older homes, the basement air quality can effect the entire home. Beyond any health issues this may cause, a “basement smell” is simply unpleasant both for you and your vistors. The smart EZ Breathe system solves the problem by removing the stale air in the basement (

One of the most common repairs we perform is fixing a bi-fold door that isn’t working. The majority of the time it’s because of a hardware / installation issue. With the magnificent hardware from Johnson Hardware, that wouldn’t be an issue. Johnson is an Indiana company specializing in bi-fold and pocket-door hardware manufactured in the USA to an exacting standard that provides a lifetime guarantee. This much-needed and well-thought-out product is designed to last a lifetime (

pom3Marvin Windows and Doors is once again on the cutting edge of what we think a window can be. Some of the latest advancements include a casement window that looks like a double-hung window with a revolutionary wash mode that lets you easily clean both sides of windows from inside. It can come with a retractable screen for wide-open views. And don’t miss the tax credits you deserve if you purchase a qualifying energy-efficient product from Marvin before the end of the year ( and locally can be purchased from Evanston Lumber (

Ninety percent of deck failures and a lot of deck repair work we do involve the ledger connection, where the deck meets the building. A practical and ingenious preventative solution is Everflashing. Ranked #34 in 2010 Building Product Magazine’s top 100 products, it is designed to eliminate the possibility of water intrusion (

pom2Another tax-credit-qualifying product is one that helps homeowners keep their attics cool in the summer. Radiant barriers by Enerflex can reflect up to 96% of the radiant energy back toward the roof and they are easy to install. Find out more at

While we’ll miss the blue crabs, next year’s National Remodeling  Show is right here in Chicago, from Oct 12 –14. If you can’t make it, we’ll be sure to report back on the latest innovations and trends in home care.

Give Yourself Some (Tax) Credit

Posted on 27 September 2010 | Category: General


The rush is on: You have until the end of the year before the home energy-improvement tax credit expires.

Doors, Storm Doors, Skylights, Windows

Time is running out as suppliers are trying to fulfill orders before the end of the year. Many homeowners are realizing that they could save up to $1,500 in energy-improvement dollars for upgrades made before New Year’s Eve. As the rush is on, many suppliers are worried they will not be able to deliver and install products before the year’s end. If you are considering a new door or window, now is the time to do the work as you can save one-third of the product purchase price as long as it’s purchased and installed before the end of the year. If you would like a free estimate and tax-credit estimator please let us know.

general2A typical replacement window cost can average  $300–$700 per window, for a tax credit earned of $100–$230 or more per window. Energy efficient doors average $125–$600 per door for a savings of $38–$200. If you are not installing them yourselves, the tax credit can certainly help pay for the labor involved. If you are replacing them yourself, make sure the products you purchase qualify for the tax credit.

There are many window and door companies offering a lot of great products but the one company that we feel stands out is Marvin Windows and Doors. Click here for a list of qualifying Marvin products. Locally you can find Marvin Products at the design center at Evanston Lumber.


Attic insulation and air sealing typically gives you the biggest energy savings in our climate. In older attics the trick is to understand where and how to seal the house, then to add adequate insulation and ventilation. In newer homes the idea is to seal the unsealed areas (can lights, boxed ceilings, pipes, and chimneys) and to make sure proper ventilation has been added to eliminate mold growth. We estimate a full 20% of all new or renovated attic spaces we see contain mold due to a lack of proper ventilation.

generalBecause of the tax credit — and the time of year — now is the ideal time to check your attic and see if it’s fully insulated and ventilated.

For these and other energy-saving ideas, give Get Dwell a call and let us see if we can help save you energy dollars and earn up to $1,500 in tax credits.

50/50 Referral Program

Posted on 01 September 2010 | Category: General


At Get Dwell, our business is built on referrals from satisfied clients, and we’re deeply appreciative of that fact. So we’ve introduced the 50/50 Referral Program to say thanks to you and welcome to your referrals.

It’s simple: Refer any new client to Get Dwell and upon starting their project we’ll give you — and them — a $50 credit.* There’s no limit on the number of referrals you can make. The 50/50 Referral Program is our way of saying how grateful we are for the trust and confidence of our clients. Thank you!

* Credit applies to jobs of $200 or more for new clients.