Best Flooring Options for Your Fireplace Hearth

Best Flooring Options for Your Fireplace Hearth

Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Whether you already have a stone fireplace/stone fireplaces in your home or you’re planning to have one installed, you need to consider the flooring for your fireplace hearth. The hearth of the fireplace begins with the floor of the fireplace and extends into the living area in front of the fireplace itself, plus the fireplace surround. The hearth is the area where you would keep your extra wood and kindling, and any other accessories you have to build and maintain your fire.

 

Fireplace Hearth

What Are the Safety Concerns With a Fireplace Hearth?

Since the fireplace hearth is directly in front of the fireplace and surround, you need to be careful about safety hazards that can happen on or near the hearth area. No matter how safety conscious or careful you are, accidents happen to the best of us. Some of the safety concerns that you should be aware of with your fireplace hearth are:

Sparks and Embers

Sparks and embers from the fire can fly out unexpectedly from a fire. Although it’s more common from fires with wood that is partially wet, these sparks can happen with any fire. It has very little to do with the skill of the person who built the fire, so sparks are almost uncontrollable.

Fireplace Hearth
If these sparks land on carpet or other textiles, however, there is a danger that damage or an unplanned fire can occur. A spark can land on the carpet or textile, smolder, and then build into a dangerous fire hazard.

Tripping and Falling

Some fireplace hearths cause another kind of home safety hazard, and that is the danger of tripping and falling. If you have a hearth that is raised above the natural level of the room’s flooring, the sudden change in elevation can cause visitors in the home to trip or fall, because they are unaware of the step up. Homes with small children face a similar problem, as youngsters tend not to be as aware of uneven flooring as adults.

Why Hearths Make a Home Safer

In most cases, though, the hearth makes the home safer. Hearths provide a natural area around the front of the fireplace and surround that signals to the residents and visitors that the fireplace is there. The hearth truly is the heart of the home, and having a custom stone fireplace and hearth is one of the most satisfying ways to make your home cozy and warm for your family, friends and guests.

What are the Best Flooring Options for a Stone Fireplace Hearth?

There are certain flooring options that help to make a fireplace hearth safe, beautiful and functional. These are all qualities that will work to bring value and style to your home. You obviously want to make your hearth safe, but you also want the hearth area to complement your home’s décor. Of course, the hearth also needs to perform the function that it’s intended for.

 

Fireplace Hearth

Slate

Slate tile is a natural flooring solution that goes with just about any living area flooring. Slate is a natural type of thin rock that lends itself well to home décor. It does not burn or singe easily, and can withstand extreme wear and tear. It’s available in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Concrete
Concrete is a fantastic hearth flooring solution for those who are eco-minded. Concrete hearth flooring is safe and protective for any potential sparks coming from the fireplace, as well as offering a decorative flooring option.

Stone Veneer/Manufactured Stone
For the discerning homeowner who wants a natural look, there is perhaps no better choice than manufactured stone or stone veneer for the hearth. Stone Veneer is beautiful, functional, safe and affordable for the fireplace hearth.

Brick

Brick can also serve as a fireplace hearth. They also will prevent accidents from happening around the fireplace, but brick may not suit every home décor due to the lack of color options.

Whichever kind of flooring options you choose for your fireplace surround, be sure to consider all the issues mentioned above to ensure a lifetime of satisfaction. Learn more about our stone veneer and take a look at our stone fireplace galleries and see how we use stone veneer to make fireplaces beautiful.

Get What You Pay For!

Get What You Pay For!

Inspiration Stone Colors Stone Fireplace Stone Veneer

You know that expression you get what you pay for?  It’s true. 

 

stone-wine-celar

 

Once our customers find out that we custom color every batch of stone to their specifications they start to understand we are doing something special at North Star Stone. Clients will bring in a sample of paint, flooring, fabric or window coverings to help create the perfect color of stone. Then we discuss the shape of the stone to create the mood of the room. You don’t get this level customer service at Home Depot, Lowes or most of the specialty stone yards.

 

Schaumburg_stone_veneerNorthbrook_stone_veneer
 

When it comes to installation some potential customers will hire contractors that are a handyman and assure the client they can lay the stone. Just make sure they know the proper methods of preparing the work surface and use the proper adhesive. (Yes, the DIY’er can install the stone but the trick is taking your time).

diy-stone-veneer-34

 

diy-stone-veneer-2

 

Our masons have been laying stone for many years and typically only lay stone with a focus on stone veneer. The skill the masons bring to the project includes blending the proper color, shape, texture and size in a pattern that is random, not in a straight line and is not splotchy.  Each mason has a slightly different way of laying stone and that is why no two fireplaces will ever look the same, but they will all look beautiful when completed by our masons.

Additionally, we pay our masons a fair wage so they can live comfortably, the crews are all insured and a certificate of insurance can always be issued if there is a customer request.

Dry Stack Stone Fireplace 23

 

When you are reviewing your estimates for a fireplace, review our past projects and customer reviews. Did you know that North Star Stone has an A+ rating from the BBB and over 65 FIVE Star Ratings  on Houzz? We are proud of our custom made stone and the men that install the stone and the unusually high level of customer service.

Kildeer Long_Grove

Please call us at 847-996-6850 and let us help you with your next stone project.

 

Renovate Your Home the Eco-Friendly Way

Renovate Your Home the Eco-Friendly Way

eco-friendly-homes Home Improvements Stone Exteriors

Green is all the rage, and the good news is that many eco-friendly approaches can actually help you save that green … money, folks. Money. If you’re looking to do the environment a solid and pad out your wallet at the same time, the following tips will help you do just that.

 

1. Leave Asbestos Alone

Asbestos, a mined mineral that forms in microscopic threads, is incredibly dangerous to human health, causing multiple kinds of cancer. It was used extensively in the middle of the last century, and still exists in many homes built before the 1980s. You should be incredibly careful with asbestos when doing any home renovations; in fact, it’s recommended you just leave it where it is to avoid disturbing it and releasing the damaging shards into the air.

The good news is that there are many renovations that don’t involve exposing asbestos. For instance, when you apply exterior stone to your house, you don’t have to rip out any existing walls, insulation or facades. Instead, all you do is attach the stone to the front of the house, leaving everything underneath intact. This is also a great way to save money.

 

2. Buy Low-VOC Paints

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that not only lead to cancer, they make the air more toxic for plants and wildlife and get into groundwater, damaging our aquifers, rivers and oceans. While in previous decades paint contained high levels of VOCs, you can now find many low-VOC options, especially good for homes that contain children and not costing any more than regular paint.

 

 

3. Use Eco-Friendly Stone Veneer

Whether you’re outfitting an exterior chimney with some lovely red or gold fireplace stone, or revamping the entire outside of your home with new stone veneer, it’s important to ensure it’s the eco-friendly kind. Source your stone from a company that mines responsibly, uses a minimum of chemicals in making the stone aggregate, and avoids removing exterior walls – which, as stated above, can expose asbestos and other toxic chemicals.

Stone veneer is also more eco-friendly than other kinds of stone in that it requires no renovation to the existing home. While real stone requires a brick ledge on which to rest, exterior stone needs none. Plus, it can be applied to any surface, saving you time and money on preparing the underlying layer before application.

 

4. Landscape with Water-Wise Plants

Water is an increasingly critical resource, and everyone should use as little of it as possible. One of the ways you can do this is to plant species that adapt to your area, tolerate drought and don’t require constant watering during dry months. Succulents, grasses and herbs are all excellent options, and you can ask your neighborhood nursery about tips for others that will thrive in your climate.

succulents

 

5. Choose Eco-Friendly Roofing Options

While lots of shingles and other roofing options use unhealthy glues, chemicals and toxins that run off into your yard and leach into groundwater, you aren’t limited to such options. Instead, you can explore eco-friendly roofing options such as recycled shingles, wood shakes, clay tiles, metal roofing and even green roofs – which feature living plants and succulents adapted to your particular climate.

The latter approach makes excellent use of water and helps the bees out by providing the flowering plants they love. Any approach other than the conventional will be better for the world, though.

Mother Earth does a lot for us; isn’t it time you did something for her as well? Truthfully choosing a few eco-friendly ways to approach home renovations isn’t rocket science, and given it can save you money in the long run, is just the smart thing to do.

Eco-Friendly Landscaping & Stone Veneer Ideas That Will Help You Rock Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Eco-Friendly Landscaping & Stone Veneer Ideas That Will Help You Rock Your Home’s Curb Appeal

eco-friendly-homes Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplace

Stone is all the rage these days. Recalling the old-time carriage houses and mansions of the East Coast and the Old World, many people are turning to exterior stone to give their homes an instant facelift and the charm that comes with all things antique.

Paired with this emphasis on the antiquated is an equally strong desire to be forward-thinking and protect our Planet Earth. One of the best ways to marry these two values with your home is to design an ecological landscape that matches your home’s outward appearance. If you would like to match your landscape to your home the “green” way, here are five environmentally friendly ideas to help you do it.

1. Match Existing Siding to Exterior Stone

Cobble Stack Stone 11

Our Cobble Stack Stone Veneer

Exterior stone is one of the best ways to give your home an instant makeover without requiring demolishing parts of it and using a bunch of chemically treated building supplies or other toxic materials. Instead, you can simply install stone veneer which can be applied right over a rigid surface like plywood, concrete block or brick. Siding that has ridges would have to be removed first.

Once you do, it’s easy to match any stone you use in your hardscaping to the color of your home. You can either choose to match very closely (we custom color stone veneer!), or you can use colors in the same tonal range – think beige stone with hints of burgundy paired with the off-white colored slate on your patio.

Check Out Our Stone Veneer Color Sample Boards HERE

2. Pick Plants That Complement Stone Color

exterior siding 01

You can also complement your stone veneer siding with plants in the yard. If you opt for blue tones, for instance, then planting Mediterranean herbs such as sage, rosemary and oregano will always look beautiful and be easy maintenance (just water them every day to every other day and pick/trim them every once in a while and they will keep growing!).

When it comes to trees and bushes, evergreens such as blue spruce, arbor vitae and juniper all have dark and cool tones that will offset your stone, no matter what color you choose for your stone. For flowers, you really can’t go wrong no matter what colors! Pick the colors that make you feel happy and will complement your exterior all summer long.

ECO TIP: Use Rain Barrels To Collect Water! More on that and other water saving tips for your home here

3. Opt for Water-Wise Herbs, Grasses and Succulents

Plants that don’t need a lot of water accomplish multiple goals. For one thing, they reduce the impact of using a precious resource. For another, they save you a lot of time and trouble, because once established, they can survive with only the rainwater available in your region. Hardy herbs, grasses and sedges, and succulents and cactuses are all great options.

Check Out Our Large Selection Of Stone Veneer Styles HERE

4. Use Stone Veneer for Outdoor Accents

unnamed (19)Once you’ve picked the exterior stone you love on your house, you can always match your other outdoor installations to it. Using the same shade and style of stone veneer on your shed or mailbox is a beautiful effect. On the other hand, if you have a visible chimney on the outside of your home, you might consider covering it with fireplace stone that stands in contrast to the rest of the exterior stone on your home: a nice dark brown color stone veneer for the chimney, say, paired with blue or tan stone on the rest of the home.

Take A Look At Some Of Our Indoor Stone Veneer Fireplaces To Match Your Home’s Exterior Stone

5. Match Landscaping Rock to Your Facade And Rock Your Curb Appeal

stone veneerLandscaping with gravel, rocks and pebbles is a great way to reduce the amount of water and time you need to devote to your yard. Choose rocks that work well with the color of your home’s exterior, to create a visually appealing effect from the street. You could even line a fountain with stone pieces or scatter natural river rock around the outside of a pond. As long as the shades are in the same color family, the effect will be beautiful.

See? Who knew it could be so easy to plan an environmentally friendly yard that looks beautiful and helps the planet? Now you’ve got tons of ideas for your next eco-friendly outdoor update. Stay tuned for the next in our latest Eco-Friendly series coming soon!

Are you thinking of adding stone veneer to your home? We can help you get ideas. From updating your fireplace with stone to adding to updating your home’s exterior siding with stone, we can help. Contact us here! 

How to Make Your Yard More Eco-Friendly … and Save Money Too  

How to Make Your Yard More Eco-Friendly … and Save Money Too  

eco-friendly-homes Stone Exteriors Stone Veneer

Your yard is an extension of your home, and making it a beautiful, family-friendly place to hang out is a major goal of many homeowners. However, environmentalism is definitely making headway on the home improvement priority list for homeowners … so finding ways to improve that outdoor space without sacrificing the Earth is a definite must. Add to that the priority of cost-effectiveness, and you’ve got quite the tall order!

Today, we’ll talk about 6 ways to make your yard more eco-friendly and more enjoyable to hang out in. Plus, you can save greenbacks while making it greener. It doesn’t get better than that, right?

1. Be Water-Wise

If the experts are to be believed, water will be the great commodity of the 21st century. That makes it crucial to respect this most valuable of resources to the best of our ability. What can you do? Become water-wise. That might mean installing drip hoses in your vegetable garden, or letting your lawn go brown in the summer. You can also plant low-water species like cactuses and succulents, which require much less moisture to thrive.

2. Plant Native Species

Native species are much more likely to do well in your area, which means they will require less water, less fertilizer and less overall tending. Usually this means using less total resources to keep them alive, and adding fewer chemical inputs to groundwater. You can check online or quiz your local garden center to see what’s native to your area.

3. Install Stone Exteriors

While you might associate stone veneers with fireplace stone, it can be used for many different purposes. Putting stone veneer on your home not only gives your home a cheerfully updated look, it also insulates your home. Exterior stone keeps rooms cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, lowering your bills and reducing your impact on the environment. If you buy the right stone veneer, manufactured in an eco-friendly way, which reduces quarrying and the environmental impact that brings, even better.

4. Use Rainwater

Rainwater is a much more available and replenishable resource than groundwater. Any time you water your yard from the hose, you’re drawing on aquifers that take a long time to refill. Any time you use rainwater, however, you’re leveraging a renewable resource. Install rain barrels under your downspouts to collect water during rain, then use a watering can or a siphon to water your yard with it. Many communities in the Northwest Suburbs are offering FREE rain barrels or reimbursing residents for the purchase of rain barrels.

Libertyville Rain Barrel Reimbursement Program

Arlington Heights FREE Rain Barrel Application
Mount Prospect FREE Rain Barrel Application
Greater Chicago Rain Barrel Program

Know of more rain barrel programs in the Chicagoland area? Post in the comments or on our Facebook page and we’ll be sure to add it to the list!

5. Make Up-cycled Yard Décor

Up-cycling is all the rage. Perhaps you solder cute faces to metal watering cans, plant a water lily garden in an old claw-foot bathtub, or use toy wagons as planters. Using otherwise useless objects instead of buying new items at the store or online is always the green – and frugal! – way to go.

6. Prevent Erosion

The washing away of topsoil due to rain and wind is a serious ecological problem, but halting this problem can start right in your front yard. Plant cover plants that spread across the top of the soil and anchor it in place. If you have room, plant trees with wide-sweeping canopies, which indicates they will have equally wide root systems, which also help keep soil in place. Avoid leaving graded surfaces like hills and embankments bare, because the rain will just wash the soil right off of them.

Greening up your yard is pretty simple, in the end. Next time you’re wondering how to do Planet Earth a solid and make your outdoor living space even better, try one of these tricks and watch the magic happen.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly ideas for your home & yard and some more great tips on how you can use Stone Veneer in and on your home. And don’t forget to take a look at the first article in our latest eco-friendly series: 5 Environmental Benefits of Exterior Stone Siding

5 Environmental Benefits of Exterior Stone Siding

5 Environmental Benefits of Exterior Stone Siding

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

Exterior stone siding is a trend that has caught on in recent years, offering homeowners a beautiful and affordable way to improve the curb appeal of their homes without substantially renovating. But many folks these days are concerned with making sure that not only do their homes look nice, they also don’t impact the environment.

If this describes you, we’ve got good news: Stone siding is not only lovely, it’s a great way to update your house without contributing nearly as much toxic byproduct to our ecosystem. Plus, it brings plenty of other benefits as well. Let’s talk about five of the best.

1. Stone Is Insulating

Insulation is a big deal. If your home is properly insulated, you’ll expend less energy (and spend less money!) keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Stone, which is naturally resistant to shifts in temperature and doesn’t respond to changes in weather as quickly as other types of siding, is a great choice for natural climate control.

2. Manufactured Stone Reduces Quarrying of Scarce Natural Resources

Many types of “real” stone are quarried, which leads to chemical runoff, leaching of toxins into groundwater and ecosystem disruption. Our stone, made from concrete, requires much fewer quarried inputs than other types, and is therefore much better for the environment as a whole.

3. Stone is Fire Retardant

One of the biggest dangers with chemical-heavy siding such as plastic and treated wood is that they will release toxins into the air in case of fire. Stone, however, is fire retardant, decreasing the chances that a fire will release those unhealthy toxins into the air. Even if your house never catches fire – which is unlikely, of course – treated lumber or plastic used as siding can still release chemicals, which we will discuss in a moment.

As an additional benefit, there’s often no need to remove many materials in order to install stone siding. Unlike with some other renovation projects, where you might have to remove many parts of the home (potentially exposing harmful minerals such as asbestos), we can often install stone right on top of preexisting facades. The two main instances where the siding would need to be removed are if it is lapped or if the siding is Dryvit- however, the stone veneer can be applied directly over brick or non-lapped siding.

4. Stone Siding Uses No Unnatural Pigments

We use no unnatural pigments in our stone siding, instead taking our color from natural stones. You may see major color variation in quarried stones in showrooms, our stones are consistently colored and molded using a reliable process that produces beautiful results every time. This leads to a very natural-looking material, with some eye-pleasing variation, and it also makes for a streamlined look and overall appeal.

5. Great Replacement for Chemical-Heavy Wood or Plastic Siding

Many types of siding have to use a great deal of chemicals to make them resistant to weather or to reduce the chances of warping and fire danger. Stone doesn’t require treatment to protect it from weather, to reduce shrinking or expansion or to protect from fire. Plus, far fewer chemicals are used in the manufacture of stone than in plastic or treated wood.

Take the Eco-Friendly Approach

If you’ve been thinking about updating your home, stone veneer may be just the ticket. They’re not only beautiful, they’re incredibly eco-friendly and easy to install. Here at NorthStar, we love helping customers improve the look and value of their homes through the application of stone veneers. Although a popular use of stone is for the exterior of houses, we also offer veneers for fireplaces and mailboxes in many different styles. Call or visit to learn more about us and our stone veneer today.

How Woodpeckers Can Damage Siding and or Dryvit and What You Can Do About It

How Woodpeckers Can Damage Siding and or Dryvit and What You Can Do About It

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

If you have ever noticed an annoying drumming noise on the outside of your house or found holes in your siding, you might have a woodpecker problem. This is no small issue, as woodpeckers can cause substantial damage to the exterior and siding of your home. Don’t worry though; we have solutions for you that will help you protect your siding and dryvit from a woodpecker. We decided to see why those pesky woodpeckers are eating your siding, and explain how to use stone veneer to replace your house’s siding that’s been damaged by woodpeckers.

What Kind of Woodpecker Might be Visiting?

There are a few species of woodpecker that are native to Illinois. Some of these species stay year-round, while others only show up in the warmer months. The following information will tell you about the various species you might see:

Downy Woodpecker: This is the most common woodpecker in our neck of the woods. It is small, measuring only 6 to 7 inches. The back of the male woodpecker’s head has a very distinct red patch. The Downy Woodpecker has a solid white belly and black wings, which are marked with white stripes.

Hairy Woodpecker: This is slightly bigger species of woodpecker. They measure 8 to 9 inches. The Hairy Woodpecker’s bill is longer and larger than the smaller Downy Woodpecker.

Northern Flicker: This species of woodpecker is significantly larger than the Downy Woodpecker. It measures 12 to 13 inches. Their bodies have black spots on the back and belly region and they have a large black patch on their chest. Their bodies; however, are mostly brown.

Why Do Woodpeckers Peck At Your House?

Another issue to consider when dealing with a woodpecker invasion is determining why woodpeckers are targeting your house in the first place. The following are the most common reasons why woodpeckers peck:

Food: If your home has wood shingles or siding, it can harbor insects, such as ants, spiders, caterpillars or larvae. Consequently, sometimes, woodpeckers will peck siding to find these insects as they are a common food source for them.

Territory: If your home doesn’t have wooden siding–if it instead has stone veneer– and you are still dealing with a woodpecker, they might be marking their territory. Woodpeckers use their drumming to attract a mate and to mark their territory.

Nesting: The final reason you might be hosting unwanted guests in the form of woodpeckers is nesting. Although woodpeckers prefer large hollowed trees with softened centers to make their nests, they will drill into the siding of a house to make a home if they cannot find a suitable location.

What to do About Woodpeckers Eating At Your Siding:

Now that you know what type of woodpecker has invaded your home and the reasoning behind the invasion, you likely have just one more question, that being what to do about it. Unfortunately, that question isn’t easily answered. Due to the fact that getting rid of woodpeckers is a notoriously hard task, there have even been studies created just to find a solution. One such study was completed by Cornell Lab. It tested common deterrents to determine which prevented woodpecker damage the most efficiently. The methods tested included the use of life sized plastic owls, reflective streamers, roost boxes, plastic eyes on fishing lines, suet feeders and a sound system that broadcasted woodpecker distress calls and that of a hawk. According to this study, only one method worked consistently as a deterrent, that being streamers. The shiny coating and constant movement of the streamers seems to deter the woodpeckers more effectively than any other method.

Another great solution is to replace your damaged siding with stone veneer. Birds are likely to want little to do with stone veneer siding. Stone is a versatile, easily installed option for homes. Our stone veneer can be custom colored, and there are many, many stone veneer styles to choose from. Stone can often go right over the existing siding, stopping woodpeckers from the start. Stone veneer is durable, weather resistant and can be installed often in just a few days.

Finding your exterior siding or dryvit damaged as a result of a pesky bird can be very frustrating. Let us know if we can help you decide if stone veneer could help you stop damage from woodpeckers on your home’s exterior. Fill out this form and send us a message or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate for your exterior stone siding.

Adding Value To Your Home With Stone Veneer

Adding Value To Your Home With Stone Veneer

Stone Fireplace Stone Interior Stone Veneer

As a homeowner, you probably look for ways to add to your home’s value and your overall satisfaction with your home on a regular basis. Not all “home improvement projects” are created equal, though, as some are more worthwhile than others. One home improvement project that will yield the most return on your investment is adding stone veneer to your home in some form. According to Yahoo Real Estate, you can yield up to a 92.2% return on your investment when you incorporate veneer siding into your home’s facade. Now that you know it’s a worthwhile investment, you might wonder how to go about adding stone to your home. Thankfully, we can help you with this. Read below for some ways to incorporate stone into your home:

Exterior Stone Siding:

In most cases, you can easily have stone installed on the exterior of your home. This creates a rich look that exudes class and luxury, while dramatically improving your home’s curb appeal. It will also help your home stand out from the others around it that feature plain vinyl or clapboard siding. Moreover, it creates the illusion that your home is built out of stone, increasing its value and appeal.

Keep in mind, exterior stone doesn’t have to be only in the form of siding. You can instead use veneer stone as an accent on your home’s exterior. You can do this by creating stone pillars on the porch, having a stone accent wall added to the front of your home, or use it to cover up unattractive foundation. The idea is to incorporate stone into your home’s exterior in small amounts. Doing this will break up the long lines of a ranch or add style and flair to an otherwise dull exterior. In other words, it gives the exterior of your home a little boost.

Fireplace Stone:

Another way to incorporate stone into your home is adding a fireplace and using stone veneer to cover the visible parts of that fireplace. You can install beautiful fireplace stone in your living room or can create an outdoor patio fireplace using stone. This trend of creating an outdoor fireplace is extremely popular right now. Of course, you could add both versions for even more appeal. Just imagine yourself sitting alongside a crackling fire enjoying a pleasant evening at home. What is more relaxing than that?

A fireplace will also give you the benefit of heating your home without the use of electricity, and in Chicago, that is a huge selling point. However, if the idea of a true wood burning fireplace doesn’t appeal to you, you can always add an electric or gas fireplace that provides warmth and gives the illusion of a fireplace.

Veneer stone is ideal for electric or gas fireplaces, as it gives it a more authentic look. This will make your electric or gas fireplace easily mistaken for a real, wood burning fireplace, but you won’t have to deal with the hassle associated with those units. Furthermore, adding a fireplace, whether it be wood burning, gas or electric, is a good move when it comes to increasing your home’s value, since according to a National Home Builders report, fireplaces rank in the top three desired amenities by homebuyers.

Adding stone to your home in some form or fashion is a great way to improve your home’s curb appeal and to increase its overall value. It also will ensure you love your home more than you ever have before. Therefore, the next time you are thinking about improving your home, consider adding stone through one of the methods listed above.

Exterior Stone Veneer Q&A With A Valued Customer

Exterior Stone Veneer Q&A With A Valued Customer

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Veneer

We had the wonderful opportunity to ask some questions about an exterior stone veneer installation we recently completed in Gurnee, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Read on to see what was involved in this homeowner’s decision making process about choosing and installing stone veneer on his home’s exterior and find out how his home has gained value within the neighborhood. 

 

Question No.1:

What was your thought process about changing the look of your home’s exterior?

After living here for the pasted 23 years Donna and I thought through the process of possibly moving to another home with a more modern exterior look. After much debate we decided to stay here and give our home a much needed face lift. We love our 1/2 lot, the cul-de-sac location, our proximity to the toll road and all off the local services.

When we built our home it was the typical tract style approach where you picked from a number of models and had one build. As a result most of the homes in the area ended up looking pretty much the same. This new face lift has definitely set us apart from the other homes in the area.

 

Question No. 2:

Why did you select using stone veneer versus say a different color siding, stucco or maybe brick?

We wanted a more modern look. When we drove through the newer neighborhoods with the up scale homes we could see the use of stone building materials rather than the typical aluminum siding and brick facades. As you know we aren’t finished yet. We plan to have you wrap the remaining lower portions of our home and we plan to change the remainder of our siding to the new wood styled cedar shakes. Once completed, we hope to have a much more craftsman styled exterior look.

The stone has given our home a custom look. It certainly set us apart for all the other homes on our street, all of which used the more traditional aluminum siding and brick facades.

 

Question No. 3:

Why did you select North Star Stone to supply and install stone for your project?

After extensive research, we discovered that your quality of materials and expertise in this field were second to none and once again you’ve confirmed all the great reviews I’ve read.

 

Question No. 4:

Please share any comments about the installation process and the final outcome.

As you know I’ve owned my own industrial contracting business for the pasted 30 years and I tend to watch the quality of the installers very closely as I do my own people.

Your installers were very professional, very courteous and most of all they were extremely clean. Even though they worked very late in the day and they still had to drive a great distance all the way back to the shop, they didn’t seem at all to be in any hurry to run off!!!  I’ve experienced this with other installers and I know that feeling when someone just wants to finish the installation and leave as quickly as possible.

I might also add that they’re to a very large degree “artist”! This is a very specialized type of installation. This isn’t like stacking bricks with the same mortar line, etc. This requires much more of artistic approach and your guys do it as though they’ve been doing it for years!!!!

 

Question No. 5: Would you recommend North Star Stone to others considering an exterior facelift?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

If anyone is looking to break away for the typical cookie cutter look this is the way to do it! If you love your home, your location, not to mention the hassle of moving and you really don’t want anything more than a fresh exterior look “THEN WHY MOVE”!

We are the talk of the neighborhood! I still can’t believe I’m driving up to the same house and I can’t wait to finish the process!

 

Seven Things You Should Do To Vet a Contractor Before They Work On Your Home

Seven Things You Should Do To Vet a Contractor Before They Work On Your Home

Home Improvements Stone Fireplace Stone Veneer

Remodeling your home and (like getting a new or updated stone fireplace) is an investment, but it’s one that will pay off over the long-term. Your property’s curb appeal increases, making the whole street more appealing. If you ever decide to move out, the improvements made could increase your home’s resale value. However, the difference between a gorgeous residence that should be on the cover of a home improvement magazine and one that looks shoddy and poorly-done is the contractor who does the work.

If you plan on hiring a contracting company to give your home a makeover, you have to be careful. You want to ensure that the work is quality and something that you can proudly show off for years to come. By asking the right questions and doing some research, you can find a reputable contracting company renowned for its work.

Here’s Seven Ways To Vet A Home Remodeling Contractor

1. Create a Plan of Attack — Home remodeling can be a project that goes on for weeks or months. Your life is going to be somewhat disrupted in the middle of the work. However, no one needs to be woken up bright and early at 6 a.m. on a Saturday because the construction workers are here. Make a plan. Ask whether your contractor will work during weekday mornings, afternoons, and nights and whether they will be here on weekends.

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate — The contractor themselves won’t always be on-site working on your property. They have other clients. However, you should always be able to reach them. Before any work begins, ask if it’s best to contact the contractor by phone, email, or even text message. Communication should occur regularly, daily if not weekly, to let you know how the work is progressing.

3. Keep the House Safe — In the middle of the work, walls, floors, fireplace stone, and other parts of the home may be exposed. Besides that, you don’t want your family breathing in dust or tripping over debris. The contractor should have a good plan in place for keeping exposed items covered and your family safe.

RELATED: 4 Great iPhone Apps For Home Improvement

4. Get an Early Quote — You shouldn’t have to nervously guess how much your home construction will cost once the project is underway. Your contractor should offer you a quote before any work begins so you can decide whether this project is within your budget.

5. Plan for Emergencies — Even if you never have an emergency situation on your hands, you should be able to get in touch with your contractor once their company has closed up shop for the day. Don’t forget to give them your personal phone number if they ever have to call you. There were no Copyscape matches found.

6. Ensure There’s Room on the Street — Do your next-door neighbors work from home each Tuesday and Thursday? Does trash day clog up your street? If there’s going to be a reason the contractor and their team can’t get their truck on your street, you need to let them know so they can figure out an alternate parking situation.

7. Discuss Access When You’re Not Home — You can’t possibly be home for the duration of the project. How will the contractor get inside? Maybe create a spare keypad access code or let them know where you keep your extra key.

Source
http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/25030494/list/10-things-to-discuss-with-your-contractor-before-work-starts, http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/14602570/list/10-things-to-ask-your-contractor-before-you-start-your-project