Replace and expand your patio sliding door to bring your backyard inside.

Replace and expand your patio sliding door to bring your backyard in.
by Terence Jochum

When searching for their dream home, I find many buyers are looking for homes where the indoor and outdoor spaces flow together and are well connected. This is most commonly achieved by having a home with an inside-out layout that has a large patio or deck sliding door connecting them. As we all know, most sliding doors installed ten years ago are small and do not really open up the space to the outside. That is, until recently. when slider and slider pocket doors were introduced.

Many updated homes and new construction now build with a slider system included that hides in the wall or has a partition style opening. When I purchased my home, it had an old patio door and the windows in and around it had become fogged from broken seals. I knew I needed a new slider system, especially given the backyard I purchased.

I researched manufactured door systems (regionally) and window installation companies in the Phoenix metro area.  I requested my usual three bids and was educated on the different materials and system options available. Most importantly, I asked to see their before and after work, which largely involved the competence and quality of their initial construction cut out and their finish work. Most window companies do not paint but that was not a problem for me to finish.

After considering everything, and with my budget in hand, I went with the partition system. Especially since adding a hidden slider is very costly in existing construction (versus new construction).  With my home having a contemporary build and style, combined with the fact that my large slider was facing north with very little sun exposure, I went with a very commercial looking black aluminum system to also match my newer existing windows. While it is true that aluminum conducts heat from the outside in, I felt like it would still be much more efficient than what I had and was not really interested in spending $20,000 on a wood product.

The result was much better than I imagined. I pushed the limits of my contractor and went with an 18-foot system, meaning it has a nine foot opening. Because it is a partition style the screen doors were included. Collapsing pocket sliders do not typically include screens and you have to purchase a separate product that mounts on the outside and works vertically.

Below are the before and after photos to illustrate how dramatic this change can be.

When buying a home, considering what you can do to connect your outdoor and indoor spaces is a good idea. In my case I needed to replace the windows anyway, so opting for a large slider in place of two vertical windows and a glass sliding door was an excellent decision.

For more information on this, or other projects, I would love to help. Call or email me anytime!

-Terence

Before Photos

After Photos


Posted on March 9, 2019 at 4:32 am
Terence Jochum | Posted in Uncategorized |

Gain Valuable Ceiling Space by Removing Your Soffit

Gain Valuable Ceiling Space by Removing Your Soffit
by Terence Jochum

When searching for their ideal home, I find that many buyers seek high ceilings and make it one of their secondary or even primary search criteria. This is understandable. After all, high ceilings provide the illusion of a larger space versus a room with the same square feet but with lower ceilings. And let’s face it, high ceilings give us a “living large” feeling when spending time in that space. But many homes with vaulted ceilings or higher flat roof ceilings come with a higher purchase price. Since they cost more to build it only makes sense that the cost per square foot would be higher too.

While there are a variety of homes with a mix of lower or higher ceiling heights, there are some homes built in the late 1970s that may have a partial high ceiling but chose to use a horizontal soffit to house the HVAC system duct work. Building homes with high ceilings during this period was not a priority to builders of non-custom and even custom homes. I bought one of these homes and it was quickly obvious to me that the soffit in the main living area of my home did not serve a structural purpose. Instead it only housed air duct. I verified this when I climbed on the roof to peek in the access area and found my truss to be a scissors truss, which is designed to be self-supporting across a large area.

My speculation was further tested by cutting a hole in part of the inside soffit to have a look. Indeed I was right. In my case, because the air duct was housed in the soffit and there was plenty of room up in the ceiling rafters of the truss design, I knew I could take the soffit out and relocate the air duct above the ceiling. This was going to give me several benefits:

1.    Higher ceilings in much of my main living space.

2.    Reduction of duct work air noise inside the soffit coming from the air handler, which was literally two feet above my head in the entry way and much of the living space.

3.    A place to add a chandelier or light fixture in the entryway giving my entry way a feeling of grandness.

4.   Ability to add more ceiling can lights (in my case LED lights) to provide more light to the room.

In order to really see what a drastic difference this made, I have provided before and after shots of the same space and a couple during construction to illustrate the area that changed. I did much of this work myself but also hired a very competent handyman to help. In the end, what I paid to have this done versus the value it added was well worth it and I now have a very nice space to dwell in.

With the appropriate inspection from a licensed contractor, making this modification can be verified and become a bonus if you have the willingness and patience to take on a project like this!

For more information on this, or other projects, I would love to help. Call or email me anytime!

-Terence

Before Photos

During Construction
After Photos

 


Posted on March 9, 2019 at 1:14 am
Terence Jochum | Posted in Uncategorized |

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