Irvine Construction Blog

Damaged plaster walls?

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When to Repair and When to Replace Lath and plaster walls and ceilings were a commonplace construction technique in the United States until the 1950s, when drywall became available. Although plaster has fallen out of favor as the go-to choice for your average contractor, there are still many homes in America that utilize this material, and for good reason. Compared to drywall, plaster provides better sound dampening, insulation, fire protection, and is a more solid, thicker material. Knowing that you love your classic plaster walls, if you encounter cracks or damage, you may how best to deal with the situation:…

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Best Flooring Types for Historic Renovation Kitchens

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Renovating any kitchen can be a major project, but creating the feel of a specific time period brings a whole new collection of challenges. Picking the right floor material can be key to pulling all of the elements of your renovation together. Here are some of the best options available for your historic kitchen renovation. Stone Stone is labor-intensive to install, but can last a long time with proper maintenance. Stone naturally provides a unique look and feel and can be assembled in a near limitless number of patterns. One thing to keep in mind: stone is porous, and it’s…

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Is Replacing your Historic Home’s Windows Worth it?

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James R. Irvine Construction company specializes in historic home restorations in Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania.  We love being able to breathe life back into older homes, but we always hear the same things from homeowners: ‘First thing is to replace those old windows.’ We agree that older windows can be drafty and inefficient, but there are a few reasons why we think keeping those old windows are a better option. Aesthetics There is a reason the older windows make the home look beautiful. Those windows were the originals, with the proper proportions and delicate, unique touch that you lose when…

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Have a crawl space? Seal it to protect your home from mold and mildew

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Crawl spaces, cellars, and sub-cellars have been used in buildings for centuries. They began mostly as areas for storing food and household items, especially produce that needed to keep from fall until the next summer. Now, with the popularity of basements used as additional living space, crawl spaces construction has begun to decrease in new homes. However, there still are many older homes that include crawl spaces, cellars, or sub-cellars, and keeping them well-maintained is important for the overall value and safety of your home. Crawl space walls are part of your home’s foundation, sometimes resting on a footing. These…

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Keep Your Historic Home Cool This Summer

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Maryland’s weather can be extreme, and May has had some extreme cold and hot days so far. This week especially reminds us that the summer heat is starting to officially set in. Many homeowners, especially those who live in historic homes, are looking for ways to stay cool without paying their entire paycheck to the utility company. Here are some low-cost ways to turn your historic house into a cool, energy efficient, and relaxing space. Provide Some Shade Keep your blinds down, window shutters closed, and curtains drawn! The California Energy Commissions estimates that 40% of heat buildup in homes…

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4 Affordable Home Renovations That Make a Big Statement

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Not all home improvement projects need to involve large-scale changes or lots of money. There are many smaller, less expensive things that can be done to keep your home feeling fresh without breaking the bank. Even a few small changes can give you – and your home – the boost that you need. Fresh Paint A new color and/or some freshly painted walls can quickly transform any room. If you’re craving a big change, choose a bright, bold color to add some new life. Or, give your current color a fresh coat and choose some new decor to add to…

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Spring Home Maintenance Tasks

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Nothing feels better than being outside after a long winter cooped up indoors. Even household chores, when done outside, feel refreshing. Check these simple maintenance jobs off your to-do list and you can be on your way to a trouble-free summer.   Clean Gutters Check the bottoms of your gutters for any loose granules that could indicate your asphalt roof may need to be replaced. If you find dirt debris in the downspout gooseneck, flush it out with a hose. Put the hose into the downspout as far as you can to push the rubbish out of the gooseneck bends….

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Steps to Take Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

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Maybe your kitchen is outdated. Maybe there’s just not enough room for everyone. Or maybe you just want a change. Sound familiar? Kitchen renovations are perhaps the most popular project for homeowners, but also one of the most elaborate and stressful.  It’s important to know what you need before starting any renovation. Don’t start ripping out cabinets or tearing up the floor just yet! Here are a few necessary steps to take in the preparatory phase of remodeling your kitchen. Organize your wants, needs, and desires. The first step before your remodel is to think about your priorities. Ask yourself…

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Deck Upgrades in 2017

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Come spring, everyone wants a backyard deck to extend living space outdoors. Once you have the structure built, there are plenty of ways to customize it to fit your needs and design aesthetics. Here are 10 ideas to make your deck more beautiful and functional this year. Give your wood a quick makeover with new stain. Before you add anything to your deck, you must first create a solid foundation. Even well-planned cosmetic changes can’t hide a deck in disrepair or dirty, grimy boards. Set time each year to clean and re-stain your deck flooring to ensure it stands up…

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Make your Old Home More Energy Efficient

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When your house is older than your grandparents, you may assume you’re destined to live with high energy bills. However, with the right updates, an old house can be just as efficient as newly constructed homes. These five updates range from quick fixes that can be completed in a day to major projects that require more time and a greater investment. 1. Replace lightbulbs and light switches If your home is still lit with incandescent bulbs, the easiest and cheapest way to make your house more energy efficient is to swap those out for CFL or LED ones. They are…

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