Monday, February 25, 2013

What Do Home Buyers Really Want? Learn Here From NAHB


The housing downturn of the last few years affected not only the number of new homes that are built each year, but also the characteristics, features and size of the ones that do get built. Builders and other industry professionals now have an opportunity to find out what home buyers really want and will not give up in today’s market, as well as which features they are ready to leave behind in light of current economic realities with a new publication from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

NAHB’s publishing arm, BuilderBooks, recently released What Home Buyers Really Want, a study which outlines home buyers’ preferences for home type and size, room layout and design, kitchen and baths, windows and doors, accessibility and outdoor features, electronics and technology in the home, energy efficiency and choosing a community.

The study was conducted by NAHB’s Economics and Housing Policy Group in 2012, based on a survey of home buyers nationwide. Results from the study are available by age, income, race and Census division, among other demographic characteristics.

“This survey is a great resource for building professionals, as it provides an inside look at the things home buyers really want or don’t want in their homes,” said Rose Quint, NAHB’s Assistant Vice President for Survey Research, and one of the study’s authors. “With the housing market beginning to recover, and more consumers in the position to purchase a home, it is more important than ever for builders to be armed with this information.”

What do home buyers really want?

• First and foremost, energy efficiency. Some of the most wanted features involve saving energy, i.e. energy-star rated appliances and windows, and an energy-star rating for the whole home. Nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 percent to 3 percent less.
• Home buyers also want help with organization and storage. Large majorities want a laundry room, a linen closet in the bath, garage storage and a walk-in pantry.
What do most buyers not want?
• An elevator – 70 percent would be unlikely to buy a home with this feature.
• High density communities or golf courses.
• Only a shower stall (no tub) in the master bath.

On Wednesday, March 6 at 2:00 pm EST, NAHB will host a webinar to discuss the findings of the survey. What Home Buyers Really Want is available only as an e-Book at for $149.99 Retail or $49.99 for NAHB Members.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Turning Your Bathroom Green Is a Good Way to Help The Environment

Bathrooms hold a surprising number of opportunities to green your home, including reducing water use, protecting indoor air quality through moisture control and ventilation, purchasing environmentally preferable building products for bathroom renovation, and using environmentally preferable cleaning and personal care products.

Below are ways to green your bathroom:

Green Practices for the Bathroom
  • Use reusable products instead of on-time-use disposable products (e.g., paper towels, disposable toilet scrubbers, disposable facial cleaning towels). This can save you money, and reduce the environmental impacts related to producing, transporting, and disposing of single-use products. For cleaning chores, try to use durable and reusable items such as mops and reusable rags or sponges, rather than disposable (one-time-use) products like paper towels.
  • Buy Recycled. "Close the loop" by choosing products that have recycled content, such as toilet paper and paper towels. These materials perform as well if not better than virgin materials and buying recycled content products helps sustain the market for recycled materials.
  • Choose products with minimal packaging. Packaging materials account for a significant amount of the trash we generate, and consume resources and energy to produce. Consider buying items in bulk or those with minimal (or no) packaging, or products in concentrated form.
  • Choose recyclable products. Identify items and/or packaging that can be recycled, and then be sure to recycle them! Our landfills are full of recyclable products that were discarded.
  • Use less-toxic and non-toxic cleaning products, personal care products, and pest control products. When using a toxic or hazardous product, read the instructions on its label carefully, and use the smallest amount necessary. 
  • Purchase a low-VOC shower curtain and shower liner. The "new" smell of plastic, vinyl-based shower curtains is actually the scent of volatile organic compounds that can harmful to your health. (Source: EPA)


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Incredible Renovations Wants to Help You Conserve Water: 5 Bathroom Maintenance Tips

Did you know that even though 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water, our supply of fresh water is diminishing? ]

Americans use more than 148 trillion gallons for all purposes, including agriculture, manufacturing and other uses.

Below are bathroom maintenance strategies and everyday household practices to help you conserve water. By making just a few small changes, you can save a significant amount of water, which will help you save money and preserve water supplies for current and future generations.

 5 Tips include:

• Fix Leaks. You can significantly reduce water use by simply repairing leaks in fixtures (faucets and showerheads), pipes, and toilets. A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day. That would be like flushing your toilet more than 50 times for no reason!

 • Do not let water run unnecessarily. Letting your faucet run for five minutes while shaving or brushing teeth uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours, and uses up to 8 gallons of water a day!

 • Take short showers instead of tub baths. A shower only uses 10 to 25 gallons, while a bath takes up to 70 gallons! If you do take a bath, be sure to plug the drain right away and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub.

 • Don't pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. For instance, when you give your pet fresh water, reuse the old water for your houseplants.

 • Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks. (Source: EPA)

 For more information on household water conservation, go to:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mayor Annise Parker Says "One Bin for All" Houston

Idea Summary: One Bin for All is a revolutionary idea for residents to discard all materials in one bin, treating "trash" as valuable assets and dramatically increasing recycling using game changing technologies. Click here to vote for this idea.

Mayor Annise Parker announced Houston has been selected as a top 20 finalist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition created to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities across the nation.

Houston was selected based on its innovative idea to tap game-changing technology for a new “one bin for all” plan that makes recycling easier for every Houstonian and diverts 75% of all waste.

The innovation, entitled “Total Reuse—One Bin for All,” aims to eliminate source separation at the household level, achieving high waste diversion and recovery through technology and new process systems.  Residents will place everything in one bin, allowing access to all materials, recyclables, food waste, yard trimmings and eWaste thus maximizing reuse.

By working to develop the first total material resource recovery and renewable energy facility in the US, Houston has the opportunity to improve the health and quality of life of its citizens, divert more municipal solid waste than any other large City in the nation, improve air quality, save money, change the way citizens think about materials, reduce extraction of raw materials and influence other cities to embrace this transformation. 
Houston will now compete against 19 other cities across the country for the $5 million grand prize as well as one of four additional prizes of $1 million each.

“I am ecstatic that we are a finalist in the Mayors Challenge,” said Mayor Annise Parker, “The Challenge tapped into Houston's innovative spirit, asking us to find new solutions to persistent problems. We are an entrepreneurial City—if you can dream it, you can achieve it here. We look forward to Ideas Camp to help turn our dream of full reuse and recycling and improved public health into reality.”

A team from Houston will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering in New York City in November during which city teams will work collaboratively with each other and experts to further refine their ideas. Coming out of Camp, the Houston team will have access to additional technical support to prepare their ideas for final submission. Winners will be announced in spring 2013, with a total of $9 million going to five cities to jumpstart implementation of their ideas.

“Congratulations to Mayor Parker and the City of Houston for becoming a Mayors Challenge finalist. The response to the Mayors Challenge was extraordinary: bold and innovative ideas were submitted from every corner of the country – but this idea was one that really stood out.  We look forward to welcoming the Houston team to Ideas Camp,” said James Anderson, who directs the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The 20 finalist ideas were rated on four key criteria: vision/creativity, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication. A specially-assembled selection committee, co-chaired by Shona Brown, Senior Vice President and head of, and Ron Daniel, Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and Former Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company where he is still active, helped select the finalist cities.

About the Mayors Challenge
Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete in the Mayors Challenge. 305 cities representing 45 states across the country submitted applications by September 14, 2012.

The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers.

To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit

Mayors Challenge Finalist: Houston 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hardwood Floors vs. Ceramic Wood Floors

 So… what do you think? Would YOU trade in your hardwood floors for ceramic wood floors?

5 reasons why to choose hardwood floors

  1. Hardwood floors can withstand nicks and scratches if maintained properly.  Wood is also a natural renewable resource that can be refinished when worn. 
  2. Wide plank wood floors are available in most budget ranges today.
  3. Hardwood floors are compatible with radiant heat flooring systems.
  4. Hardwood floor are easy to clean and maintain.
  5. If maintained properly, Hardwood flooring will last as long as the home is standing.  Most hardwood flooring is rated as a lifetime material.

5 reasons why to choose ceramic wood floors

  1. Ceramic Wood Tile resists moisture, allowing a wood look on decks, around pools, or in baths or kitchens.
  2. More sizes to choose from with widths of 8″, 12″, 16″, or even 20″.
  3. Ceramic Wood Tiles stay cool, which is a blessing over summer months or for those who live in warm climates.
  4. Ceramic Wood Tile provides less noise.
  5. Ceramic Wood Tile doesn't scratch or dent.

What ever your choice may be, make sure that you keep the above factors in mind before you decide on the most suitable flooring option for your home.

At Incredible Renovations we have a variety of both hardwood flooring and ceramic wood flooring to choose from when remodeling your home or business.  We always let our customers know which one will fit their needs the best. 

For more information:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters: The Good and The Bad

Here is a quick and simple comparison between tank and tankless water heaters from Incredible Renovations

The Good
  • Tankless water heaters are about 10 to 20% more energy efficient than traditional tank water heaters.
  • Tankless water heaters can take up less space than tank water heaters.
  • Tankless water heaters typically outlast tank water heaters.
  • Tankless water heaters don`t use energy until hot water is being used.
The Bad
  • Tankless water heaters cost roughly two to three times more than tank water heaters.
  • Due to the initial high cost of buying a tankless water heater, it could take about 20 years in order to start saving money when switching from a tank water heater. By then, the heater will need replacing.
  • Tankless water heaters work best when only one water tap is using hot water.
  • If water taps are far apart from each other, it is recommended to buy another tankless water heater.
  • Water does not instantly heat up when using a tankless water heater, but does with a tank heater.
  • With tankless water heaters, water may not heat up if water is only trickling out of the tap.
  • Tankless water heaters require yearly maintenance in order to remain efficient.

For more information:

By John Pustelnik


Monday, February 11, 2013

Incredible Renovations Tip of the Day: Carbon Monoxide Safe

"Prevention is the Key to Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning"

Incredible Renovations Tip of the Day: Carbon Monoxide “The Silent Killer”

It is important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home because carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless gas and exposure can be fatal.

Environmental Protection Agency’s Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO have your fuel-burning appliances - including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves - inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of every heating season. Make certain that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good condition, and not blocked. 
  • DO choose appliances that vent their fumes to the outside whenever possible, have them properly installed, and maintain them according to manufacturers' instructions.
  • DO read and follow all of the instructions that accompany any fuel-burning device. If you cannot avoid using an unvented gas or kerosene space heater, carefully follow the cautions that come with the device. Use the proper fuel and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Crack a window to ensure enough air for ventilation and proper fuel-burning.
  • DO call EPA's IAQ INFO Clearinghouse (1-800-438-4318) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (1-800-638-2772) for more information on how to reduce your risks from CO and other combustion gases and particles. 
  • DON'T idle the car in a garage - even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up very quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
  • DON'T use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
  • DON'T ever use a charcoal grill indoors - even in a fireplace.
  • DON'T sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
  • DON'T use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces.
  • DON’T ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing.

To find out more about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, visit EPA


Sunday, February 10, 2013

3 Reasons to Change Your Home A/C Air Filter Once a Month

By Judyth Piazza

Incredible Renovations helpful tip of the day:  "Change your air filter once a month to cut down energy cost and prolong the life of your heating and air unit."

Reason #1: Air filters prolong the life of your A/C unit.
Air filters keep harmful particles away from the motor and coil. The blower motor will burn out if not kept clean and could cost you more than $200 to replace and if your coil freezes up it could cost you a whopping $1000 or more for a new compressor.

Reason #2: Air filters cut down on your energy bill
A dirty air filter makes your A/C unit work harder and longer causing your energy bill to increase by 35% or more each month.

Reason #3: Air filters promote better air quality in your home
Changing your air filter one a month will cut down on the airborne particles that cause allergies and viruses..

According to the EPA, “Filters are used to protect the HVAC equipment from the buildup of unwanted materials on the surfaces such as fan motors and heating or cooling coils, and not for direct indoor air quality reasons. They have low efficiency on smaller airborne particles and medium efficiency on larger particles, as long as they remain airborne and pass through the filter. Some smaller particles found within a house include viruses, bacteria, some mold spores, a significant fraction of cat and dog allergens, and a small portion of dust mite allergens.”

A good rule of thumb is to make sure you change your air filter every time you pay your energy bill.

To learn more great tips from Incredible Renovations, visit,

Indoor Air Quality Key Factor When Remodeling Your Home

While remodeling or improving the energy efficiency of your home, steps should be taken to minimize pollution from sources inside the home, either from new materials, or from disturbing materials already in the home. In addition, residents should be alert to signs of inadequate ventilation, such as stuffy air, moisture condensation on cold surfaces, or mold and mildew growth. These issues should be addressed either before or during the remodeling process. For a discussion of basic indoor air quality in homes and how it can affect your health, see EPA's The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality.
Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate or control sources of pollution, or to reduce their emissions. Another important approach that goes hand in hand with controlling pollution is using mechanical ventilation to lower the concentrations of pollutants in your home by increasing the amount of outdoor air coming inside. A third strategy, air cleaning, complements source control and ventilation.
In general, you should address the following issues when remodeling your home.
Test your homes for radon. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. You can't see or smell radon, but it's not hard to measure the level of radon in your home. Testing is easy and should only take a little of your time. For more information, see EPA's Radon Page, the publications A Citizen's Guide to Radon, the Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon and the Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction.
EPA recommends fixing your home if a test shows radon levels in your home exceed the action level of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). If you are building an addition (or a new home!) there are radon-resistant new construction techniques you can use to help prevent high radon levels.
Old lead-based paint is the most significant source of lead exposure in the U.S. today. The dust and chips from lead-based paint are dangerous when swallowed or inhaled; children and pregnant women are especially at risk. Harmful exposures to lead can occur when lead-based paint is improperly removed from surfaces by dry scraping, sanding, or open-flame burning, or by demolition. A home built before 1978 is likely to have surfaces painted with lead-based paint. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family from exposure to lead.
Moisture Control
Too much moisture in a home can lead to mold, mildew, and other biological growth. This in turn can lead to a variety of health effects ranging from more common allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, to death. Excess moisture can be in the form of high relative humidity, leaks in the roof, walls, or plumbing, air moving from the inside or the outside into the walls, or from the basement or crawlspace. Methods to control moisture include fixing any water leaks; providing ventilation in the home; air-sealing; properly using vapor barriers in wall construction, roofs; and preventing soil moisture from entering the home through basements and crawlspaces. Read more about moisture control.
Good ventilation is important because it protects both your health and your home. Good ventilation protects you and your family from unpleasant odors, irritating pollutants, and potentially dangerous gases. Well-planned ventilation also helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause allergic reactions and aggravate lung diseases such as asthma. Ventilation is important both during renovation and also as long as you occupy the home. Remodeling may present an opportunity to ensure your home has adequate ventilation.  Read more about ventilation.
Asbestos is the name of a group of naturally-occurring minerals that separate into strong, very fine fibers. The fibers are heat-resistant and extremely durable, and, because of these qualities, asbestos became useful in construction and industry. In the home it may or may not pose a health hazard to the occupants, depending on its condition. When it can be crushed by hand pressure or the surface is not sealed, to prevent small pieces from escaping, the material is considered FRIABLE. In this condition fibers can be released and pose a health risk, such as lung cancer from inhaling the fibers. However, as long as the surface is stable, not damaged, and well-sealed against the release of its fibers and not damaged, the material is considered safe until damaged in some way.
To learn more about asbestos, including how to identify it, and how to protect those in your home during a remodeling project, read EPA's Asbestos in the Home: A Homeowner's Guide (EPA 910-K-92-001, 1990). This booklet responds to frequently asked questions about asbestos and provides information to help the homeowner make informed decisions about its care and maintenance. See also
Combustion Appliances
Combustion appliances are those which burn fuels for warmth, cooking, or decorative purposes. Typical fuels are gas, both natural and liquefied petroleum (LP); kerosene; oil; coal; and wood. Examples of combustion appliances include space heaters, ranges, furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters, and clothes dryers. These appliances are usually safe. However, under certain conditions, these appliances can produce, and release into the home, combustion pollutants that can damage health or even kill. In addition, unvented or improperly vented appliances can add large amounts of moisture to the air, potentially resulting in both biological growth, and damage to the house. Proper sizing, installation, inspection, and maintenance of combustion appliances are extremely important. Providing good ventilation can also reduce exposure to combustion pollutants. Read more about combustion appliances.
Air Ducts
Ducts should be tightly sealed to reduce air leakage. This is achieved by carefully sealing all duct seams and joints. (Note that standard cloth duct tape is not a suitable duct sealant material.) This can save energy and prevent contaminants from entering ductwork and circulating through the home. Air-sealing of ductwork also helps to balance the pressure of airflow through the ducts, preventing unplanned negative or positive pressures in the house that can lead to other problems. For example, leaky return ducts can create negative pressures which may lead to radon problems or combustion equipment backdrafting (see information on radon and combustion safety). Remodeling may present an opportunity to seal ducts that would otherwise be difficult to access.
During the actual renovation work, air duct registers in the area being renovated should be sealed during activities that will generate a lot of dust or debris. This can be done by taping plastic over the registers. Before the project is started, you should decide on a ventilation strategy to remove pollutants from the work area and prevent them from moving to other areas of the home (see good work practices for more information).
Some people consider cleaning air ducts either as part of a renovation, or because they may be "dirty". Knowledge about air duct cleaning is in its early stages, so a blanket recommendation cannot be offered as to whether you should have the air ducts in your home cleaned. EPA urges you to read Should You Have the Air Ducts In Your Home Cleaned if you are thinking about having your air ducts cleaned.
Energy Efficiency Improvements
Tight energy-efficient homes save energy and money. And with proper mechanical ventilation, they can have better indoor air quality than a leaky home. One reason is reduced condensation which could lead to mold growth. Another reason is control. In a leaky home, outdoor air enters the house — through cracks, unsealed joints, and penetrations, for example — intermittently, depending largely on the weather. Some times there will be too much leakage, resulting in a drafty house. Other times there won't be enough, resulting in a stuffy house. Mechanical ventilation in a well-insulated, well-sealed house, however, can exhaust pollutants and bring in outdoor air in a planned way. This makes a house both comfortable and energy efficient. For more information see EPA's Energy Star Home Improvement Program.
Pest Control
Pests can be a health hazard to you, your family, and your pets. For example, cockroaches and dust mites have been associated with asthma. However, pesticides can also be problematic. Fortunately, there are effective pest control methods that don't rely on heavy pesticide use. Pests seek places to live that satisfy their basic needs for air, moisture, food, and shelter. The best way to control pests is to try to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. You can do this by removing the elements that they need to survive.  Remodeling and renovation offer opportunities to take the actions to prevent indoor pest problems. Read more about Integrated Pest Management.
There are many factors to consider before beginning a painting project, including whether existing paint is lead-based, the type of paint selected, providing ventilation while painting, and clean-up and storage of paint and painting supplies.Read more about painting and remodeling.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Pressed wood products, adhesives, and many finishes (such as paints and varnishes) contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which off-gas in varying amounts over time. Minimize the use of building products containing formaldehyde or other VOCs within the conditioned space of the house. Read more about Volatile Organic Compounds.
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top Kitchen Remodeling Trends for 2013

By Judyth Piazza

“Gone are the days when a kitchen was just a kitchen”

Have you always dreamed of a bigger kitchen with more cabinet space, a kitchen that is much more than just a place to prepare your next meal?  If so, you are not alone.

Kitchen renovation is slated to be one of the top remodeling projects of 2013 nationwide.

With these 2013 kitchen remodeling trends, your dream kitchen can now become a reality.

A touch of modern architecture is all you may need.  It could be as simple as adding an island, new cabinets or LED lighting.

More homeowners are adding an island, which makes the room more functional with a larger prep space for cooking as well as creating a gathering place for family and friends. Rather than a traditional square island more people are choosing a variety of shapes such as rectangular, oval or pentagon.  Altering the island shape creates interest, drama and energy in the kitchen.

Another great redesign is to create large free flowing cabinets that extend all the way to the ceiling while at the same time creating 40% more storage space.

Twenty years ago, kitchen cabinets were considered well equipped if they had a lazy susan or room for plants at the top.  Now kitchens with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry offer more space with built in shelves and bread boxes and can be designed to house everything from your everyday dishes to your appliances. When it comes to today’s kitchens, cabinet manufacturers have made it easy to hide almost any appliance, trash compactor or wine cooler behind a matching cabinet door, creating a cohesive look throughout the kitchen.

To modernize your new 2013 kitchen don’t forget the LED lighting. Not only is it energy efficient but it is becoming more and more important because according to the kitchen is the most used and most important room in your home.

2013 is the year of built in LED lights, so look for under-cabinet LED lights and appliances that come with ambient lighting. Light fixtures with an easily changeable feature when you’re in the mood for a different color.  2013 kitchen design trends say no to lighting that’s merely functional, and yes to ample and mood lighting creating an inviting living space.

For more information about remodeling your Kitchen, please contact Incredible Renovations at or call 713-532-2526.

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