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Around the House

by Lindsey Getz

Home improvement time? What you should know before you start shelling out big bucks.

We know you often have a lot of questions when it comes to your home. Being a homeowner comes with its own share of many challenges. When problems arise, is it better to repair or replace? When looking to add some value to your home, what areas can lead to the greatest return on your investment? To make things just a bit easier on you, we’ve reached out to some of the area’s leading experts in landscaping, interior design and roofing to get a few of your key questions answered.


If you had to focus on just one interior room, where will you get the most value?
The family room—where people spend so much of their time. It makes sense to focus on rooms that you spend most of your time. These days most homes aren’t even built with a living room because people don’t use them. Homeowners are actually knocking down walls and opening up their homes to get rid of un-used rooms such as the living room and have bigger kitchens and family rooms. The family room is always a great space to give your attention, as people enjoy hanging out there. The big trend in the family room is leather. It just wears better and the typical longevity is much better than your typical cloth sofa. Most people need some education on leather—which we’re talking about top-brand cowhide. There are a lot of products out there that are much lesser quality and very overpriced.
—Bob Deniken, owner, Unique Interiors in Cherry Hill


How can landscaping cut my energy bill?
There are a couple ways landscaping can reduce a home’s energy cost. However, first you must understand the orientation of your house in regard to the path of the sun in the sky. Mid to late summer months produce the hottest late afternoons, with the sun shining from the south/southwest direction. Properly positioned shade trees will help block the hot afternoon sun from shining in the windows. In the winter, these same trees are defoliated and allow the sun to shine through the windows, heating up rooms. In addition, lawn areas and garden beds along the foundation provide a cooling effect by absorbing heat rather than hard surfaces that retain and reflect heat. Also, with proper planning and your desired needs, the use of native plant material and synthetic turfs will cut down on water usage.
—Mark DelPrato, Landscape Designer, Young’s Landscape Management, Inc. in Moorestown


What are the warning signs I need a new roof on my house?
For a shingle roof: Missing or broken shingles, shingles that have lost their granular surface, multiple shingles that have separated, deteriorated pipe and chimney flashings, shingles that have curled, and the obvious, leaks. For a flat roof: membrane cracks and separation, water below the membrane, deteriorated flashings, membranes that have lost their surface beyond the ability to perform as required, membranes that have lost adhesion and, of course, leaks. There are many different types of roofing systems for both flat and sloped roofs, all systems have various life expectancy. When a roof can no longer perform consistently and is beyond its useful life, it is always best to have a complete new roof installed by a professional roofing contractor.

We found roof tiles or shingles in our yard after a storm. Do we need a new roof?
Again, there are various factors to consider. How old is the existing roof? What is the condition of the flashings? If a repair is done, will it stand out as an eye sore? What is the life expectancy of the repair? Is there a warranty available with a repair? Is the same product still available? How extensive was the damage and is it worth it to do a repair and not a full replacement?
—Eric Meller, president, M. Rosenblatt Roofing, serving all of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 3 June, 2014).
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