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Are Manufactured Stone Exteriors the Right Choice?

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Faux Stone House Siding

More and more we are seeing faux stone exteriors added to houses to add to the look of the house, not to mention the lightweight and cost effective alternative to natural stone is quite alluring to many homeowners and builders alike. Due to the wide array of colors and styles the trendier stone veneer option is becoming popoular over the standard vinyl siding or paired with vinyl to spruce up the look of the home to the point stone veneer sales increases in recent years by double digits. However, home inspectors across the nation are cautioning homeowners about the possibility of water damage because of the poor installation techniques that are being used.

Scott Patterson, a home inspector out of Tennessee, has noted that 9 out of 10 homes he's inspected has had the manufactured stone applied incorrectly causing water seepage behind the siding which in turn leads to rotting walls as well as mold problems. Unfortunately, some problems don't become evident for many years after the manufactured stone is installed. The American Society of Home Inspectors is recommending members become familiar with faux stone siding and inspect the areas thoroughly because of the penetrable nature.

The good news is that not all homeowners that choose to have the manufactured stone installed have ongoing issues as long as the product is installed correctly. The price of the manufactured stone is $3-$8 per square foot before installation, although double the cost of vinyl siding it's only 1/3 of the cost of natural stone.

As a buyer you may want to consider hiring an inspector with specialized training in faux stone installation to know ahead of time what you're buying and to get all the information needed to make a decision on a home. The question is how would a buyer or homeowner know there's a problem? The answer isn't simple because there may or may not be visible signs of the problem. A severe example of when the stone was installed without the proper sealant and backer rods around a large window caused caused water to pour into the walls which damaged the interior wall and alerted the owner there was an issue.

Tapping the stone to see if anything is loose or if there might be water behind it is a good test to try as a homeowner looking for any suspect signs of problematic manufactured stone installation, unfortunately all too often the problem is masked behind the wall without a way to detect until the damage becomes visible on the interior of the home. Some home inspectors do have specialized equipment to assist in finding a problem including a moisture meter and infrared camera, the inspector can check that stone has been installed correctly up to windows and door frames as well as having the correct type of sealant. If the inspector does find damage related to the manufactured stone the homeowner may want to find a qualified structural engineer in order to find all areas of moisture which can help lead to the extent of the damage within the walls behind the stone. Replacing the stone can run anywhere from $30-$38/square foot of wall which wouldn't include the cost of labor or any additional damage done to the structure of the home.

Both buyers and homeowners alike are still being drawn to the new trendy manufactured stone. Remodeling magazine's 2016 Cost vs Value Report highlighted manufactured stone veneer as having the second highest ROI (return on investment) out of 27 home projects, with nearly 93% of the cost recouped at resale. Be vigilent in choosing your contractor to ensure the product is installed correctly and to avoid problems down the road.

The Surf District Rock'n Roll Restaurant Opening in Clear Lake

by Jane Fischer and Associates

North Iowans will have a new restaurant to try out SOON! The Surf District Rock 'n Roll Grill will be opening in the next week with many pieces of music memorabilia from the Surf Ballroom itself. It's located in the former District 619 building just across the parking lot from the Surf Ballroom owned for the past 16 years by Grant Maulsby who worked intensely with the Surf to create the new restaurant idea which started back in September 2016. The idea for the new restaurant was reviewed by the organization's board over a year ago; the Surf had so many pieces of music history that wasn't able to be displayed so Maulsby thought what better way to help showcase these pieces than at the restaurant! Within the new restaurant there are over 70 pieces of Surf Ballroom memorabilia.

The restaurant will have a stage for live music and memorabilia along with seating for 134 people and standing room for 190 people. The bar and grill will offer various foods including those named after songs and music legends like La La Bamba Chicken Avocado and Big Bopper Burger. Other foods offered on the menu include sandwiches, salads, burgers, shrimp, wraps, burgers and steaks along with a full bar. 

Some of the renovations Maulsby had completed in preparation for the new place are a stage, lighting, video system to play music videos which will help create a wonderful atmosphere for those loving rock'n'roll as well as a private room for events. The artists that have performed at the Surf have a plaque with a photo and additional details put together for display at the restaurant. Maulsby stated "Every piece of memorabilia has been played at the Surf and signed at the Surf. That's what makes us more unique." Guitars line one wall of the restaurant that have been used at the Surf and autographed by artists such as B.B King, Slash, and Willie Nelson to name a few as well as drums and other musical instruments used by music artists. The executive director of the Surf Ballroom, Laurie Lietz, said "we're very excited to expand our displays, we just don't have all the wall space to display everything."

Future plans for the new place include live music on the weekends in upcoming months. The grill will be open seven days a week opening at 4 pm daily. Next time you're in the area make sure to stop by and try out the new place!

To Remodel or Not to Remodel Your Garage

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Garage Remodel Poject

Who worries about remodeling their garage? It's the place to park the cars, collect clutter, tool storage, and overflow from the house, right? According to a new report from the New York Times more homeowners are turning their garages into showpieces for organization and getting clutter off the floor. A finished garage can add value to the property as a whole and can have a positive effect on buyer's interest in a property which can be a direct reflection of how well the homeowner maintains the entire home. 

The sellers who have the budget and remodeled a good portion of the home are continuing the trend of moving onto the garage as their next project. After they spend all the money to add value to their house they don't want to have a big clutter area in the biggest area of their home.

On average a garage renovation can cost from a few thousand to upwards of $50,000. For those that are wiling to spend the money you'll see remodels that include custom cabinets, floor to ceiling organizing cabinets, and installing drywall and insulation. Do you need to go full out demo to the bones and remodel like you would in the house? Probably not, however, the trend is remodeling the kitchen and using the old kitchen cabinets attached to the wall in the garage for storage. A few other budget friendly tips include using hooks for hanging items such as tools, ladders, patio furniture and bikes to keep the floor clear of clutter as well as using an epoxy to re-finish the floor. The appearance of cleanliness and organization in the garage can go a long ways for a motivated buyer.

The New York Times has titled the renovations as "the final frontier of remodeling." Buyers keep your eyes open for this added feature in homes and sellers take note of this hot new trend on the market!

Displaying blog entries 41-43 of 43

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Jane Fischer & Associates
Century 21 Preferred
2800 4th Street SW #3
Mason City IA 50401
Cell: 641-425-4900
Office: 641-424-9400
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