Mixed Materials in New Builds

Since construction is done in certain ways over time, contractors making changes in how it’s done can be a drawn-out process. Contractors may be leery of anything new or untried. So most contractors when building, say an apartment building, often would rather select materials that they are comfortable with, know are reliable where they are sure that the pricing will stay affordable. However, there are new products made from mixed materials which may do the job even better. Below are some of these new products:

  • Bricks made using wool: These bricks are non-toxic and more sustainable. When making the bricks, a natural polymer which is removed from seaweed. Wool is added in too. The brick dries hard and is resistant to cold, wet climates.
  • Sustainable concrete: Recycled materials such as wood chips or crushed glass are added to the concrete which reduces the CO2 emissions associated with concrete production. This helps to reduce the carbon footprint.
  • Insulation from the paper: Paper based insulation is made from recycled cardboard and paper. It’s fire-retardant and resistant to insects because of the boric acid, borax and calcium carbonate mixed with it. It can be blown into anywhere insulation is needed.
  • Triple-glazed windows: These windows help prevent heat from escaping a building because of the triple layer of glass. Krypton is injected between each layer, plus low-emissivity coatings are added for further heat escape prevention. If the window frames as also insulated, this will add to the insulation factor.
  • Solar tiles: Most roofing tiles are made from concrete or clay and are used for protecting roofs from the elements. But, many companies are now taking advantage of the sun’s energy by using solar tiles. These tiles not only protect the building from the weather but can help generate power.

As you can see, new mixed materials can be used in construction to help with saving energy.

Neutrals That Are Dominating the Design Space

When you think of neutrals, you may think of white, off white, beige and tan. However, for this year, neutrals are a shade different. If you’re thinking of repainting your rental property, multi-family dwelling or apartment building, you need to check out the new shades.

What’s hot?
One of the new neutral shades which are so popular is called Greenery. It’s a bright yellow-green which can make a person think about foliage, rejuvenation and fresh starts. This bright mix is perfect for rental units because tenants who move in are starting over. This shade of green can be used with other colors for different looks. It also can be used as accents or the base of other color schemes.

Also, some other neutrals are getting warmer. These colors range from creams to browns to beiges. With the tones of various shades of these base colors, other colors can be brought in to brighten up a room. Another interesting hue is blush pink. It can work be paired with different shades of browns, creams, and grays for a unique look.

The color camel is a neutral tint which adds a richness to space it’s used. It could be mixed with an assortment of various textiles, woods and leathers. Camel can add refinement and elegance to an area.

What about clashing?
With the softer color palette, it blends nicely with the geometric shapes, patterns, and textures. When you paint one of your properties with one of these quieter colors, it will give your tenants something to work with instead of the same old white walls.

Be bold, be different and add a little pizzazz and soft color to your walls. You may be surprised at the quality of tenant you bring into your rental properties just by changing the hue of paint on your walls.

Different Types of Shingles for Your Rental

condo-rentalIt’s important when considering having your roof redone on a rental property the different types of roofing shingles. You need to consult with a roofing contractor also to figure out which type of shingle will work best on your property along with the costs of installing the right type of shingle on your roof. Below is a list of commonly used shingles:

  • Asphalt shingles: These shingles are pretty inexpensive compared to other shingles. In addition, if you buy asphalt shingles which are coated, the Energy Star standard may be met, and you could get a rebate. The three-tab shingles are a little less expensive and are thinner than an architectural asphalt shingle. The life span of these shingles is about 20 to 30 years. The very expensive asphalt ones last longer than this. Additionally, there is an expense to disposing of asphalt shingles later when reroofing because they are oil based.
  • Tile shingles: These shingles are the most expensive shingles to buy and install. However, they are durable and long lasting; lasting up to 50 years. But some homes may not be able to support the support the weight of these shingles structurally according to the National Roofing Contractors Association.
  • Wood shingles: These are more expensive than the asphalt shingles, but usually are more aesthetically appealing. The natural hardwood shingles such as redwood or cedar should last up to 30 years and even up to 50 years in some instances. The runoff water from roofs shingled this way is the most environmentally friendly.
  • Slate shingles: These shingles have a life span of up to 50 years being extremely durable. The Northeastern portion of the United States favors these because the slate is quarried there. If your budget can’t afford real slate shingles though there are synthetic slate shingles with shorter life spans which are less expensive.
  • Ceramic roofing tile: This type of tile shingle can give your home character and is durable. The advances in the way the tiles are processed make the tiles fade resistant. These tiles are fireproof and last about 50-70 years. However, these tiles aren’t suitable for climates that have fluctuating weather. The cost to install this kind of roof is expensive.

Talk it over with your roofing contractor to see which shingles will work best with your building.

Why Recoat a Roof on Your Rental

tenant-damageA roof is made up of at least four layers. These layers consist of insulation, a waterproof membrane, some type of roof adhesive and the materials that make up the roof like plywood and shingles. So why bother doing a roof coating to the roof of your rental unit? The reasons are listed below:

  • It costs less to restore a roof: If you have to replace a complete roof, it’s expensive in materials and in labor. Depending upon what roofing you choose for your multi-family dwelling, it can cost between $18 to $20 a square foot on average to reroof. But if you restore your roof, it requires less in materials and less labor. This would cost about $6 to $9 a square foot on average.
  • You can extend your roof’s life by restoration: Restoration can add about 10 to 15 years onto the life of your roof. A commercial roof lasts about 20 years so if you restore it, you can make future plans for replacement in your upcoming budget then.
  • It’s more sustainable to restore: Because you’re reusing your existing roof where you can, restoration is a much friendlier environmental option. It helps to keep roofing waste out of landfills which you pay to haul away additionally. As another bonus too, it will make your building much more energy efficient and could help you to qualify for LEED Certification or ENERGY STAR credits.
  • Catastrophic loss can be prevented with restoration: Your roof will only get worse if it’s ignored. The potential for damage and the cost to restore it will only rise as time goes by, along with the damage a bad roof can do to your rental property. So, if the roof isn’t dealt with in a timely way, the only option will then be for total replacement of the roof and perhaps extensive repairs to the interior of your rental property. The damage you deal with also may be from a pest invasion of insects and rodents because they have been given access ways into the dwelling place because of property deterioration. All of this can put your tenants and business at risk.

Having your roof checked by a professional roofing contractor is the smart thing to do.

Fences and Rental Properties

Fences have a lot of uses for a rental property. It can provide the tenants of a multi-dwelling apartment with security, help keep children and pets safe and boost curb appeal. But choosing the right fence isn’t always easy without doing some research first. To help you choose the right fence, below are some different types of fencing and their uses:

  • Wooden fences: One of the reasons wooden fences are used is because they are inexpensive and attractive. Fences made from wooden slats are great for privacy also. Picket fences give protection without blocking out everything visually. Most wood fences are between 4-6 feet tall. They can be made bigger, but you need to make sure that they don’t contravene regulations on height if taller. Always checking on regulations is a safe bet.
  • Chain link fences: This type of fencing is durable and cost effective which offers great benefits for property owners. Because it’s flexible it can withstand different types of stress. The downside is that chain-link doesn’t provide much in the way of privacy. But if combined with landscaping or privacy slats, it is a viable option.
  • Wrought Iron fences: Wrought iron fencing is not only strong, but beautiful too because it comes in an assortment of designs. Additionally, this fencing can be customized for a one of a kind detailed beauty with an elegant and classic look. This is the perfect fence for property owners who are concerned about safety issues.
  • Aluminum fences: Aluminum fences have the look of iron, but not the price or the weight. It’s strong enough to close in an area without ruining the view too. Another benefit is that is can be installed on just about any type of property, even on steeper land grades.
  • Vinyl fences: Vinyl fencing has a sleek modern look which is durable. It comes in a range of textures, colors; heights and styles and is the most diverse of all the fencings.
  • Brick and stone fencing: These fences are strong and long lasting, but not as popular as they once were. The fencing comes in a range of stones and colors and is one of the most expensive options on the marker.

A landlord needs to consider all the factors when considering the installation of a fence on rental properties.

Why Have Your Roof Professionally Cleaned

Sometimes on your roof shingles, algae and moss which appear as dark streaks will form because there isn’t enough natural light. A lot of homeowners may think that this is weathering and that the roof will need to be replaced. However, your roof may just need a good cleaning. Also, when there is an alga or moss build up, besides the roof damage this can cause, this can cause the roof to retain heat. This means that it will cost more to run your air conditioner to cool down your home. So when you have your roof professionally cleaned it will save money and save your shingles.

Hire a pro

There are three factors which weigh-in which will determine how much it will cost to clean your roof. How much time it will take is one. The size of your roof and how much algae and moss is present are others. Additionally, the reputable contractor you use should adhere to the techniques for the removal of algae and moss of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association and Roof Cleaning Institute of America. The RCIA also recommends that professional roofing contractors use the soft washing process. This process helps to prevent damage to the roof.

The cost of a roof cleaning

A typical roof cleaning usually takes two to five hours. The cost of doing this can range from $250 to $1,000 for an average home. This is approximately 5% of what it would cost for a roof replacement at the low end of the cost for cleaning given. If you’re thinking that you’d save money by cleaning the roof yourself, you may want to think twice about it though. A DIY roof cleaning kit which you can buy at a local hardware store may hasten the deterioration of your roof. Most of the DIY products contain a chemical which can harm shingles which are petroleum based. In addition, you just pressure washing it without the right skills can damage the roof.

It’s also advisable that you choose a company that carries Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This would cover any injuries to workers. Make sure liability insurance is additionally carried by the contractor to cover any accidental property damage. It’s advisable to ask the contractor if there is a warranty or any kind of guarantee on the roof cleaning too.

Roof cleaning is done best by the professionals.

Why Should There be Stair Safety Railings in Multi-Family Dwellings

Sound stair railings in multi-family dwellings are a necessity. Because if a tenant falls or is otherwise injured going up or down a set of stairs in your building, not only will your tenant be hurt, but you could be sued. However, if your stairs are up to code, then there can be room for debate on who’s fault the accident was which also gives you a clear conscience. To help with this, the International Building Code provides a code of construction and design for all buildings and different structures which fall under this code. It addresses both the design and the installation of commercial railings which emphasizes the required performances of the products used. This is the code you would follow when installing the needed railings for your rental properties.

For example, each exterior and interior flight of stairs which has more than four risers needs handrails. The handrails should be on one side of the stair and on every open portion of a stair. This would include landings, balconies, decks, ramps or any other surfaces where people walk that are more than 30 inches above the floor. For more safety, a handrail can be installed on both sides for extra grip.

Commercial railing is used specifically for commercial properties. These properties would include multi-family dwellings, apartment buildings, motels and condos. Anywhere there would be a balcony that requires a safety barrier also. So, if your building has a balcony, commercial safety railing must be used so that the person in the apartment or condo is safe when venturing out onto a balcony.

Safety railings don’t just protect the people using them too, but they also protect the property owner as well from legal action. So, if you’re buildings are up to code, then you can know that you’ve done everything that you need to do to be within the law which makes you a good landlord.

Keeping your buildings up to code is one way to avoid accidents.

How to Keep Parking from Being an Issue with Tenants

One of a tenant’s biggest gripes is a lack of parking. So in areas where parking is at a premium as an example, coming home from work late and not having a parking space can cause volatile problems. As a multi-dwelling property owner, it’s up to you to have the parking situation sorted out then before it ever becomes an issue. So below are some suggestions on how to do just this:

  • Posting signs: Have signs posted everywhere and in the correct places. Since every municipal area is different, find out where you need to put the signs up then, and what they need to say. This is in case cars need to be towed which don’t belong there. You can cover yourself in this way with the correct sign postings.
  • Clear markings: Be sure that the parking spaces are properly designated for your rental properties. Have the lines repainted regularly so that the parking stalls are clearly marked. Hiring a construction company to do this will mean less of a headache for you too.
  • Make sure that you know the law: There are laws dealing with people who park in parking spots unlawfully for and against. You must make an honest attempt to find the owner of the car before you can have it towed for instance. This means that you can’t watch people pull in and park when you know that they don’t belong there either and then have the car immediately towed when they walk away. This is illegal.
  • You must be consistent: This means if your policy is to have cars towed which are parking illegally, you have to do it. Whether someone is parking there because of a party or someone is there because they’re visiting, they still get towed if they don’t follow rules for this type of activity. This also applies to handicapped parking spaces too being used illegally.
  • Have numbered spaces: Another idea is to have as assigned parking space per tenant. This way every tenant has a parking space. If you have room, you can offer spaces for tenants with more than one car or visitor parking additionally.

Keeping parking from being an issue is only common sense.

Safety Tips for Rental Properties in the Winter

Before and when winter arrives, there are some things that you need to do to keep your rental properties safe for your tenants. Also, not only could you have significant repairs eventually if you don’t, but if a tenant or tenants in one of your multi-family dwellings falls or is injured, the results could cost you because of lawsuits. So below are some suggestions to keep your tenants safe through the winter and prevent an oversight from turning into major repairs from unintentional neglect:

  • Turn off any exterior faucets on your property: The water in undrained pipes can freeze and burst. This not only would cause damage in your building, but could cause damage the outside as well. So drain all the garden hoses and outside lines after you shut-off the values inside your building.
  • Check the furnace filter: Getting a phone call at 2am in the morning because your tenants are freezing is bad enough. However, knowing that it could’ve been prevented by something as simple as changing the filter is even worse. By changing the furnace filter too, this cuts down on higher fuel costs, overheating and the shutdown of a furnace. Also, scheduling maintenance is wise. This is one way to catch small problems before they turn onto big ones.
  • Inspect the roof: It’s much easier to repair the roof if there’s an issue when the weather is halfway decent than to have a roofing problem in the middle of a blizzard.
  • Arrange for snow removal services: By setting up the service earlier, you won’t be the last one on someone’s list. It’s better to have everything ready than to try and negotiate when the snowflakes are falling and no one is taking calls.
  • Inspect all the doors and windows: Check where heat is most likely to escape and then either caulk it or use weather stripping where the problem is. It’s easier to do it now than when the snow is flying and your fingers are freezing.

Keeping your property winter safe is the smart thing to do.

Tips on Renovating Your Rental Properties

When you own multi-family dwellings, there comes a time when repairs need to be attended to because some tenants can be hard on your property and leave a mess when they move out. In other instances, it’s just time to replace or improve somethings in a rental unit. So below are some suggestions which may be helpful to you:

  • The floor: Of everything in your rental property, the floors are what really take a beating. This is because the floors take the most wear and tear from tenants moving in and out. If you have carpet in your unit and its worn out, consider having it replaced with something that is more durable and easy to clean. This could be linoleum, commercial grade tile or hardwood. This type of flooring does cost more upfront, but it also can last up to 20-30 years, unlike carpet.
  • Remodeling: When you’re remodeling or having the rental unit remodeled by a professional construction company, only remodel one unit at a time. You want to do things slowly and not go into debt over renovations if this can be helped. Also, if you remodel in smaller stages, then you can rent the remainder of your units while you’re remodeling the one that needs it the most first.
  • Invest in energy efficient appliances: When redoing bathrooms in your property, have low flush toilets installed. These toilets save on the monthly water bill by using less water. In addition, replace shower heads with water efficient ones as well which also lowers energy costs for heated water. Energy efficient appliances too are a good investment. These not only save on energy, but increases rental appeal.
  • Remodel areas that will get you more for your money: Because you own property, the return on your investment is always a prime concern. Now some of the improvements that will do this are updated hardware and lighting fixtures. These can change the look of a unit additionally with very little monetary investment. Also, giving the walls a fresh coat of paint every five years can do a lot to improve a dwelling place’s appearance.

Making well thought out improvements on your property can be a smart way to make money.