Avoid these deck nightmares! by chris zagyva

These photos will leave you speechless!


An old or improperly built deck can be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!  It can put you or your family in harms way or could potentially lead to a costly lawsuit. 


Call 907.441.8121 today to have your deck inspected to make sure that it's safe for the upcoming summer months.

A beautiful deck that's improperly attached to the house can collapse during a big party without warning sending family and friends injured or worse.

A beautiful deck that's improperly attached to the house can collapse during a big party without warning sending family and friends injured or worse.

Decks that have been compromised by rot and water damage can weaken areas that are connected by improper fasteners and improper supports.  Especially if you have excessive weight like a hot tub that isn't properly supported below.

Decks that have been compromised by rot and water damage can weaken areas that are connected by improper fasteners and improper supports.  Especially if you have excessive weight like a hot tub that isn't properly supported below.

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Again, a deck that fell away from the house because of improper construction.

Again, a deck that fell away from the house because of improper construction.

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Every parents nightmare.  Make sure your deck is up to code and safe!

Every parents nightmare.  Make sure your deck is up to code and safe!

Even ground level decks can lead to injuries if they fail.

Even ground level decks can lead to injuries if they fail.

Rotten joists that are cantilevered from inside the house can cause major damage that will also lead to rot within your home to go with a failed deck outside.

Rotten joists that are cantilevered from inside the house can cause major damage that will also lead to rot within your home to go with a failed deck outside.

Another failed deck that was probably attached to the house by a few nails and nothing more.  There's plenty of seemingly beautiful decks that are extremely unsafe.

Another failed deck that was probably attached to the house by a few nails and nothing more.  There's plenty of seemingly beautiful decks that are extremely unsafe.

Gorgeous well built decks retain their value and can add to the overall value of your home.  Lionheart Const. incorporates the key components that make it safe and durable.  This makes all the difference in the world.

Gorgeous well built decks retain their value and can add to the overall value of your home.  Lionheart Const. incorporates the key components that make it safe and durable.  This makes all the difference in the world.

Prevent those horrible scenarios shown previously and relax and enjoy your new deck with confidence and peace of mind.

Prevent those horrible scenarios shown previously and relax and enjoy your new deck with confidence and peace of mind.

Our company consistently meets or exceeds industry standards and current residential building codes.

Our company consistently meets or exceeds industry standards and current residential building codes.

Your long term investment is your home.  Our long term investment is you.    Welcome to a new level of customer care.   Lionheart Construction LLC 907.441.8121

Your long term investment is your home.  Our long term investment is you. 

 

Welcome to a new level of customer care.

 

Lionheart Construction LLC

907.441.8121

"Crazy just might work.": Be deliberate and be bold. Inspired by a client with a beautiful vision for something well beyond "normal" and "ordinary" and in need of a long overdue change. by chris zagyva

Maybe we've become just a little too calculated when we entertain the possibility of a new adventure or chapter in our lives.  Ofcourse, as responsible adults (especially when there's a family involved in the equation) it's in our best interest to make sure that we have a well laid foundation for our plan before we do anything daring and (hopefully) we've considered most of the possible outcomes to minimize potential disaster, regardless of whichever "new idea" has a stranglehold on our attention at that very moment.  But I think alot of us pass up incredible opportunities when they're unfamiliar and unlike anything we've ever done before.  Perhaps some of us calculate the risk to such a degree that we successfully squeeze the life out of whatever excited us to begin with and then continue to subdivide this once brightly colored passion into a subdued gray scale of acceptable rates of change to prevent disturbing our own calm waters too much.  If that last gem hit home then keep reading for a much needed boost to your PMA (Positive Mental Attitude).     

As a disclaimer I'll start by saying that I strongly believe that any poorly planned and executed decision with little foresight isn't useful to anyone and will (without fail) put any one of us on a fast tract to creating our own special brand of chaos (this is not what I'm advocating).  I do, however, personally think that it's incredibly easy for most of us to talk ourselves down from acting on anything that falls outside of our own comfort zone and that might be perceived as "new", "unknown" and "scary".  Most people have incredible ideas and visions that deserve to be transformed into realities and would most likely benefit from having their world turned upside down (and perhaps the rest of us too) by seeing it come to fruition.  So instead of folding up that amazing little concept that you've been kicking around (for who knows how long) and filing it away to be forgotten maybe you should pull the trigger and give it life. 

STOP WAITING FOR THE "PERFECT" (FILL IN THE BLANK); time, plan, moment, day, month, year, idea, etc.  It'll never come, so stop overlooking the good plans that you already have.

Any new plan or idea just needs to be "good" to be set in motion and eventually it'll become "great" once you get it off the ground and give it some fine tuning.  There's no "perfect" plan because "perfect" isn't some 2 year journey to a far off place, it's a perpetual state of change and improvement that takes alot of hardwork and among other things, patience, attention to detail and a consistantly sincere effort.  This applies to everything from a good concept for a new business (regardless of how small or ambitious it might be), a good plot outline for a new book idea, or a good interior design idea that might be completely different from what's popular.  A little "crazy" might be necessary and all that's needed to give a good plan a jumpstart.  A little "crazy" might be the one thing that changes your life forever.  

Naturally, everyone's sense of adventure is tailored to their own life experience and circumstance but nonetheless one thing holds true; the greater the risk, the geater the reward.  Stop thinking about "what if?" and start thinking "what next".  Go publish your e-book, finish writing that song and get your own Pandora Station, start a blog and tell everyone your thoughts, go invent, design and create.

Whether it's something that could benefit the entire community or just your own little sphere of influence, you're truly remarkable and deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated for your ideas and talents but it's impossible if you keep them hidden.  

Let everyone else love what you love.  Leave your mark on the world.  Be deliberate and be bold.            

          

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Winter's coming: Drafty dwellings, wet windows and some DIY fixes that are making matters worse. by chris zagyva

  This particular topic sounds dry, dull and boring and I'm sure it seems like you'd have a better time examining the back of your eyelids, HOWEVER, IF GETTING A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP, MINIMIZING ALLERGENS, ELIMINATING MOLD GROWTH IN YOUR PLACE OF ZEN AND NOT HAVING TO WEAR A PARKA INSIDE IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, THEN PLEASE READ ON, MY TIRED CHILLY ASTHMATIC.    

If the inside of your windows look like this please stop reading and call 907.441.8121

If the inside of your windows look like this please stop reading and call 907.441.8121

  It's getting colder and most homeowners are becoming more and more proactive when it comes to cutting energy costs, improving air quality and hunting down frigid drafts that sweep across your toes while you're waking up and drinking your coffee at 6 am on an early Monday morning.  Unfortunately, some of these DIY remedies are either temporary fixes or they're misguided efforts and only treat the symptom and not the real root of the problem.  I'll go over a few of these pitfalls, give you a brief idea of what's causing each particular headache so you have a better understanding of what's really going on inside your house and then I'll tell you how to correct it so you don't end up with even bigger issues down the road.  

   You'll notice a reoccurring theme here in regards to what's needed for your home to operate best as a system and in all honesty how you and I operate best in everyday life: BALANCE AND EQUILIBRIUM.  Everything in this world seeks a state of balance.  Your body knows when its had too much sleep or not enough and will seek a point right in the middle based on your specific needs at that time to find its balance.  Your house operates the exact same way.  Depending on the outside variables at any given time (i.e. temperature, air pressure (or barometric pressure), the time of day/month/year, etc) and the needs of the home inside, it will seek out a perfect equilibrium in any way that it can so you might as well make it easy and comfortable for the both of you.         

  Air quality is HUGE!  You need fresh air circulating in a home to get rid of the gross warm moist stale air that's typically loaded with pollen and dust.  Areas in the house that get rid of air have exhaust fans such as your bathroom ceiling exhaust fan and your range hood above your stove in the kitchen.  These fans are essential in moving warm moist air out of the house before it condenses on the cooler surfaces and you end up with dripping wet walls and mirrors like in a steamy bathroom after a hot shower.  If it's not expelled it will slowly evaporate inside your home which increases the overall humidity level (while damaging your walls and cabinets) and will most likely show up on your windows throughout the house as it trickles on down to your sill where it'll pool up and soak into every dark nook and cranny to eventually break down any organic material it comes in contact with (wood window casing, paper backing on drywall, etc) and contribute to feeding your little mold colony.  The next area to address is the actual ducting Itself that starts at the exhaust fan housing and leads to the open air outside.  Most mid-90's and older homes used a plastic flex ducting which no longer meets code requirements.  This uninsulated flexible ducting collects condensation and water vapor from your steamy bathroom every time the fan is turned on and since it's not stiff and rigid like galvanized metal ducting that's used today, the flexible ducting eventually sags from the weight of the large pools of water and over time the plastic sleeve breaks down and releases its contents resulting in a large random mystery leak that eventually makes its presence known with small signs like bubbled paint and peeling joint compound on your ceiling.  The other problem in having stagnate water in your ducting is that you might be unknowingly cultivating Legionnaires' Disease which can be spread everytime the stagnate pool is atomized during a hot shower allowing it to migrate throughout your humble abode getting everyone sick.  

LESSON 1:  Make sure you have a properly ducted, properly insulated, and properly WORKING (operative word) bathroom fans that exhausts warm moist air outside and remember to USE IT DURING AND AFTER YOUR SHOWER!  I personally recommend the Panasonic WhisperGreen Ceiling fans.  They're quiet, come with multiple options (night light, dehumidistat, delay timer, etc), are energy efficient and move alot of air in a short amount of time (Note: your bathroom air should be exchanged with fresh air 8 times every hour, and this fan will accomplish that for you).  Or...you could just stick with the one you have from 1982 that sounds like a sqeaky hamster wheel with an inch of protective surface dust that's most likely improperly ducted and just pumping warm moist air into your attic adding to your mold empire.    

  Remember all that talk about balance and equilibrium?  Now your house needs balance because we're sucking ALL of the air out of it with your new exhaust fans and you're in serious need of clean fresh air.  This is called "make-up air" or "clean air intake".  In a nutshell, by using your exhaust fans to force air outside you've created a negative air pressure inside compared to the positive air pressure outside and both the inside and outside want, more than anything, to be the exact SAME.  This is why when you spray foam, caulk and seal up every crack and crevice in every door frame, window casing and behind every outlet cover you minimize an efficient way for your house to "breath in" after you've forced it to "breath out" completely.  Now every tiny pinhole that you can't see and didn't seal up will have cold air rushing in in an attempt to create that pressure balance and since there's such a gross imbalance between the two, your house will just continue "breathing in".  This is where an HRV system (heat recovery ventilation) or HVAC system (heat ventilation and air conditioning) allow you to intruduce temperature regulated (warm) fresh outside air into your house to achieve that air pressure balance and to continually exchange old air with new air which will drastically improve your homes air quality.  The other option is to bundle up, leave a window or door open year round and become one with nature.  

LESSON 2:  To acheive your homes Zen-like air pressure balance, the amount of air leaving and entering any given space must be the same.  You can't have one without the other otherwise unregulated cold "fresh air" will force it's way into your house by any means necessary and wherever you have cold air meeting warm air you'll have CONDENSATION and MOISTURE that'll (once again) break down organic materials in your walls and feed your ever growing mold colony.  Make a point to call a ventilation specialist to assess the needs of your home to insure that you and your family continue to breath clean healthy air.  

(Note: I want to mention that a slightly positive pressure inside the house is not necessarily a good solution to our negative pressure scenario.  A slightly positive pressure will actually drive warm moist air into your walls in an effort to equalize the pressure and, once again, you can end up with warm inside air meeting colder outside air creating...you guessed it CONDENSATION=mold, damage, sickness, remediation, $$$$).    

This is a pretty good illustration of heat loss in tandem with a house that has a slightly negative pressure.  

This is a pretty good illustration of heat loss in tandem with a house that has a slightly negative pressure.  

  I think for right now the plethora of information that I've touched on so far is more than enough to put most of us into a glossy eyed coma but it's all very important and should, nonetheless, be considered by every homeowner for your own health and the health of your loved ones.  Time after time I tear into walls and ceilings to find major issues contributing to poor health that have been waiting to be discovered and corrected by a professional contractor.  These issues play a big part in allergies, asthma, sleepless nights, and reoccurring sicknesses ESPECIALLY in infants and the elderly.  Make sure that you address all of your home's needs and not just certain limited aspects with "band-aid" fixes that could realistically cost you a lot more in the long run.       

  Your home should be one of your most important assets but it can become an uneccesary liability if it's contributing to poor health and preventing you from finding your own healthy balance.  Take care of your home and it'll take care of you.      

  Please feel free to share this post and let us know if you have any questions that you'd like to have answered in an upcoming article or feel free to leave a comment to tell us your thoughts.  

 

Lionheart Construction LLC

Homeowner help: Initial consultations and the "ballpark estimate". by chris zagyva

Every General Contractor and professional remodeler has been asked to provide a potential client with a quick "ballpark" estimate for their big project (i.e. custom bathroom remodel, master chef's kitchen renovation, or a nice little addition) and typically this question comes up during the initial consultation while the contractor is looking at the job for the very first time.  

"So...what's your ballpark estimate for the project? Just give me your best educated guess.  I won't hold you to it."

So what's the problem with throwing out a quick estimate?

In short...everything.  

If the contractor decides that after 15 or 20 minutes of chatting and checking things out that he or she can give you a pretty good ballpark cost, one of two things will inevitably follow.  

    1.  The estimate will be way too high.   This is to make sure that if they end up getting the job they're covered 100% for all of their operating costs (labor, materials, all direct and indirect job costs, overhead, profit, and any unknown variables they might run into along the way) ...plus another 350% (or whatever mathematical equation seems to move them at the time) just to play it safe. 

                              Or 

    2.  The estimate will be far too low. This is the outcome that sneaks up on the client and the contractor later on after the project is already underway. In this scenario the contractor discovers (unfortunately, much later) that they underbid the job and they're losing money each day before the project is even finished.  Now survival mode kicks in for the contractor.  At this point quality goes downhill at record speed, cheap materials are substituted for the good stuff wherever possible, cheap subcontractors take the place of reputible tradesman, and don't be surprised if you start seeing additional charges for everything (which will be one of the only things that'll save your contractor from financing the rest of your project out of his own pocket).   

The end result of either one of these easily avoidable outcomes are grim at best.  You're now left feeling:

A:  Taken advantage of for a service and finished product that was grossly (understatement) overpriced.

                              Or  

B:    Utterly let down.  Your dream kitchen or bathroom is now a very real nightmare.  You're left with poor quality, a rushed job and another possible renovation down the road.  In the mean time, you feel obligated to volunteer an explanation to every dinner guest about what went wrong and why your "new" renovation looks the way that it does. 

   At this point you probably lay awake at night with dreams of finding a pit bull for a lawyer and devoting way more time and treasure than it's worth just to ensure that your contractor is reduced to a menial job that hopefully involves scraping old gum off of park benches and public handrails with a putty knife.  

   Avoid all of this by hiring a reputable contractor that cares about you and your home from the very beginning  (This is a wonderful place to start.)

   Your home is probably one of your biggest assets and deserves far more care and consideration than can be achieved or understood in 20 minutes of looking around.  Your contractor should be dedicated to providing you an accurate estimate AFTER he or she has considered every aspect and variable that will play a part in your project.  This is the best start to a new business relationship and the only path that leads to a desirable outcome for both parties.  

  Remember that your contractor is your guide when it comes to reinvesting in your home and in every aspect of the construction process you should expect; high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.  

Just make sure the contractor you hire is qualified to meet your expectations. 

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Keep this little app CLOSE BY to help pick the perfect colors for your new space. by chris zagyva

This is one of the greatest apps (Sherwin Williams Colorsnap) that I recommend to my clients when they're trying to decide on paint colors that work with the materials they've picked for their project such as tile, cabinets, countertops, etc. It allows you to take a picture of anything and it finds the Sherwin Williams paint color to match it along with possible accent colors and color schemes.
Combine this app with the 60-30-10 rule to help in determining how much of your new colors to use. Think of a men's business suit. As the dominant color, the suit makes up roughly 60% of the picture; the secondary color of the shirt, 30%; and the punch color in the tie, 10%. The percentages just look and feel right. You can use the same formula when outfitting a room.
For smaller rooms your colors should be dark to light, low to high to draw the eyes upward and give the perception of a larger space.
An example for a room using neutral tones would be: dark mocha floors, beige walls and a white ceiling.  Warm neutrals allow you to explore when it comes to your pop of color which can be anything from mint greens and light yellows to rich blues or deep reds.

 

Paint Color Matching App: ColorSnap® Paint Color App - Sherwin-Williams

Pick paint colors, app style, with Sherwin-Williams. The ColorSnap® paint color matching app uses...

www.sherwin-williams.com|By Sherwin-Williams