Fire Safety/Defensible Space
Erosion Control/Water Quality BMPs
Fire Safety/Defensible Space
Request Construction BidMake Your Home FIRE SAFE - Create a "100 FT. DEFENSIBLE SPACE ZONE"
Why 100 Feet?
- A Defensible Space of 100 feet around your home is required by law in California. The goal is to protect your home while providing a safe area for firefighters. Following these steps can dramatically increase the chance of your home surviving a wildfire!
- First 30 feet "Lean, Clean and Green Zone"
- Clearing an area of 30 feet immediately surrounding your home is critical. This area requires the greatest reduction in flammable vegetation.
- Remove all build-up of needles and leaves from your roof and gutters.
- Keep tree limbs trimmed away from chimneys and roofs. The law requires a screen over your chimney outlet.
- Next 70 feet "Reduced Fuel Zone"
- The fuel reduction zone in the remaining 70 feet will depend on the steepness of your property and vegetation.
- Spacing between plants improves the chance of stopping a wildfire before it destroys your home.
- Create horizontal and vertical spacing between plants. This space will slow the progress of a fire.
- Large trees do not have to be cut and removed as long as all of the plants beneath them and the lower limbs are removed. This eliminates a vertical "fire ladder."
- Log on to www.fire.ca.gov and search: "100' defensible space" for more details
Contact a Sub-Contractor for more information.
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Erosion Control/Water Quality BMPs
Best Management Practices, referred to as BMPs, are methods to help developed properties function more like natural, undisturbed forest and meadows. In many natural settings, more than 95% of rain and snowmelt soaks into the ground. In developed areas, pavement, rooftops and other hard surfaces cause water to run off the surface rapidly, carrying soil particles and other contaminants into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes.
BMPs are so useful for protecting water quality that many regulatory agencies such as the Town of Truckee and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) require some form of implementation on developed properties.
Some permanent BMPs include the following:
- Vegetate or mulching of all bare soil areas
- Pave driveways and parking areas with the installation of a swale or slotted channel drain
- Installation of prefabricated drywells
- Installation of drip line infiltration trenches
- Gravel under decks
- Parking bollards
- Retaining walls, erosion control blankets and vegetation to stabilize slopes
Temporary BMPs are methods used to prevent or minimize erosion and sedimentation before and during construction and until permanent BMPs have been installed. Temporary BMPs are installed before the onset of construction and must be maintained until all construction activity is completed and/or until permanent BMPs are installed. Temporary BMPs include the following:
- Boundary fencing
- Traffic control
- Stabilized construction entrance
- Dust control
- Protection of trees and other existing vegetation
- Installation of fiber roll barriers, filter fencing and drip inlet barriers
- Use of pine straw mulch and other mulches
Construction activity has a high potential to pollute our waters with soil particles and other contaminants but through the implementation of BMPs, this type of pollution can be prevented.
Contact a General Contractor or Sub-Contractor for more information.
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Changing the siding on your existing house can completely change its look and feel with minimum inconvenience to you. There are a number of different siding patterns readily available. The most popular are T&G (or Shiplap), Cove, Shingles, and Rustic Log siding.
- T&G or Shiplap are tongue and grove patterns that allow the siding to slide together and be used either horizontally or vertically.
- Cove is a horizontal siding that has an extra detail of an 1-1/2" concave cove on the bottom.
- Shingles are mainly used to accent pop outs or distinguish sections of your home.
- Rustic hewn and circle sawn Log style siding is picking up steam in the area because it is an affordable way to get that log cabin feel without the hassles and expense of a conventional log house. It can be installed on any sheathed/stick frame home.
It is becoming more and more poplar to mix and match sidings. This gives your house a distinct look and allows you to vary the exterior texture.
Thinking about your roof shouldn't happen only when a leak appears. A homeowner should keep his or her roof in mind as part of a whole house exterior maintenance program. A homeowner should also be aware that at some point, replacement, instead of repair, might be necessary. Finally, a homeowner may want to add a unique finishing touch or special feature. These are all good reasons why your roof merits some consideration.
Preventive Maintenance - It is a good idea to have your roof inspected every year or two for signs of trouble:
- Metal Roof - Tightening and/or replacing exposed fasteners or screws is usually necessary every other year or so
- Composition (asphalt) Roof – Check for lose, worn, or missing shingles, especially if you live in a wind- prone location
- Storm Collars on Stovepipes – These need to be recaulked every year or two due to our harsh climate
When is it time to replace?
- Request Construction Bid Wood Shake – As the result of recent catastrophic wildfires, requirements for a fire-rated roof (known as a Class A roof) are now in place for new and replacement roofs in forested areas of California and the Nevada side of the Tahoe basin. Your insurance company may require a change from wood shingle to a better-fire rated roof when your homeowner's policy is up for renewal.
- Composition Roof – A "30 year" comp roof will see more climate here than roofs elsewhere so be cautious of the "lifespan" of your roof – when you see multiple areas with water intrusion or roof failure, it's time to replace your roof!
- Metal Roof – The protective paint/baked on enamel will fade due to extreme ultraviolet sun exposure. Aesthetically, the look of the roof will degrade even if the steel part of the roof lasts a life time.
Other things to keep in mind:
- Spanish Tile/Cement Tile/Slate –These materials are rigid and may be affected by the freeze/thaw cycle more than comp or metal roofing. From a cost perspective, a slate roof is probably the most expensive, both in labor and product costs.
- Copper – Some homeowners have gone for this special look in different widths (also called panels). Be aware that the surface will gain a weathered patina but won't get the "green" look common at the ocean.
- Metal Panels on a Comp Roof – A comp roof can be retrofitted with metal panels only on the eave line where ice dams have caused damage. This gives a classy look to a functional fix.
- Synthetic Roofing Materials – These are relatively new and resemble slate in appearance but offer high performance compatible with our climate.
- Skylights – Let the sun in! Skylights are a great way to add natural light but a word of caution – find an experienced roofer with a proven track record who knows how to install skylights. Sloppy work can make the difference between your roof retaining its integrity or your roof prematurely failing.
- Photovoltaic (PV) Cells – Reports of high initial costs have scared away some homeowners. Today, some tax credits are available and a thin "film-like" panel is being marketed as an alternative to rigid framed panels. This translates into less weight on your roof and less cost, so your rate of return is quicker. Some utility providers will even buy back "excess" electricity from residential PV panels – it's worth a call to find out.
- De-Icing System – This amenity helps decrease the danger and liability where you have snow shedding or falling icicles. The cost for this option may well be worth it where your roof lines overhang high traffic areas, such as walkways, stairs, and decks.
Landscape enhancements have become more popular with homeowners in our area over the last few years.
For a fraction of the cost of a home remodel project, new outdoor living environments can be created with the implementation of landscape enhancements, either to help a home on the market sell faster or to make the exterior more desirable to the existing residents.
Landscape enhancements also serve as a means to upgrade outdated landscaping as well as change existing landscaping. Outdated landscaping describes a landscape that was installed many years ago and usually incorporates irrigation components that do not function properly, overgrown planting areas, or a lawn whose health has declined. Enhancements can be made to an outdated landscape in order to improve health of existing plant material, conserve water through proper irrigation techniques, and to "spruce up" the appearance of an older landscape.
Some examples of landscape enhancements are:
- Pruning, basic clean up, and maintenance
- Lawn treatments for improved health
- Annual and perennial flower plantings to add color
- Irrigation services for water conservation
- Patio and fire pit installations
- Water feature installations
- Natural privacy barriers
- Gazebos and outdoor kitchen spaces
- Complete landscape remodels
Landscape enhancements are ultimately implemented to make the exterior of a property more appealing to the eye and more user friendly, but as with any landscaping (new installation or enhancement), one must always remember the importance of a solid foundation in order for the enhancement to be sustainable in the future.
Looking for a quick change in your home's environment? Just as Mother Nature changes color simply and efficiently each season, homeowners can change their color environment as easily and beautifully as well. Paint and stain are the number one tools to use to make a quick change in your home's appearance.
Why paint and stain for a quick change? There is no need to remove walls, rewire, or replumb - it's simply easier to paint for a fresh look in the home. Whether you pick a paint color for an entire room, or just to accent a wall, paint can transform a room's decor in a day. Hire a professional or do-it-yourself - paint is the easiest way to create a new view for you.