How to Choose a Garage Door Company

Because garage doors have become a well-known part of the façade of new homes, garage door manufacturers are now offering more styles, materials and color options more than ever before. For those in the market for beautiful new garage doors, here are a couple of options to consider.

Decide on Which Material to Choose

When researching different options, there is a lot to consider such as maintenance, durability, cost, design. Wooden doors are known to take much more abuse than metal doors, which show dents and dings and can start to rust and get pierced. When it comes to choosing wooden garage doors, the most popular choice is cedar. Mahogany is also a popular choice; a homeowner can get anything they want as long as they have the budget. There is also the issue of aesthetics, some homeowner like to match the style of the garage door to their house windows. Having a white door and white trim is a traditional look. With modern homes, homeowners can go a little crazy with materials such as glass doors and attractive wood designs.

Material Types

• Comes in a variety of styles, designs and colors
• Offers low to zero maintenance
• Anti-rust feature – this is a good choice for home owners who live in humid or salty environments
• The material’s lightweight makes it less taxing on the garage door’s operating system, the door’s tracks and openers. It is also easy to operate manually.
Disadvantage: This material is less durable than steel. It also dents easily.

• Stronger than aluminum
• Comes in different colors, styles, and finishes
Disadvantage: Can start to rust when it is dented or scratched

• A great choice for the traditionalist, comes in a variety of custom designs
• Overlays or veneers provide the look of wood at a cheaper price
Disadvantage: Needs regular maintenance (staining or painting)

Fiber Glass/ PVC Overlay
• A variety of styles and designs
• Much more durable than metal and woods, but it can crack if it hit hard
• Considerably new to the market and is not as popular as metal and wood
Disadvantage: Typically, costs more than metal and is less solid than wood garage door.

Choosing the Right Color
• Generally, the color that is chosen for the garage door should complement the home and blend seamlessly with the general structure instead of standing out like a sore thumb. Vivid colors and extreme contrasts should be avoided.
• The door should be matched to the home’s window trim instead of the front door. A color that blends in with the home’s brick or sliding should also be considered.
• Some homes feature red bricks, for less contrast with red bricks, tan or beige color should be chosen. These colors match the mortar in the brick.

After choosing the right door, it is also important to contact a reputable and reliable garage door company to have the door installed properly. Many companies also offer repair and maintenance services as well.

Design Process – How to Write a Design Brief

A brief overview

If design is, indeed, a problem solving discipline then great design must start with the designer developing a complete and thorough understanding of the problem to be solved! Insight and enlightenment is best found in the design brief. It’s fair to say that most clients have some understanding of the necessity for a complete and useful design brief. However actually putting one together can be a lot more difficult and time consuming than expected.

What is a design brief?

There is no single right way to format your brief – it’s OK to compose a ‘narrative’ with paragraphed text, although a ‘bullet point’ list will work equally as well. On the whole the format you adopt will reflect the complexity and depth of the information it is designed to convey.

There is only one golden rule – the brief must be ‘written’ and never verbal! Despite common belief a well written, extensive brief will not only save time on production but it will also enhance and focus creativity!

Does every project need one?

Not at all. Many projects could be considered ‘ongoing’ or ‘routine’. Minor changes to existing documents, price list revisions etc, wouldn’t require a full brief as it might take longer to write and process than to actually complete the entire job!

How long should a design brief be?

Again, it depends entirely on the complexity of the project however one should never produce a short, simple brief at the expense of information.

A good brief is as long as it needs to be!

Who is responsible for it?

Writing the brief is entirely down to you – you are the expert at what you do and nobody knows more about your business than you and your colleagues. However we are experts at what we do and so, when it comes to ‘developing’ the brief we believe there should always be a commitment to ‘co-ownership’.

As design experts we see it as our responsibility to highlight any potential design, production or time issues that may arise from the specifics of the brief before the actual work begins.

Essential elements

Having identified what a brief is and why it is necessary, the next point is to ensure that all of the essentials are included. Here is a list of the most important information to be included within the brief:

The project overview and background.

Why we are here and what events have brought us to this point – a change in direction, a need to review the brand, falling sales, increasing sales, a new venture…

Remember, the more information available, the more creative and focused the solution will be.

Category review.

What industry ‘category’ is your business involved in?

On the face of it this may sound like an overly simple question but your company’s activities might fall into more than one category by design or straddle two by default, for example Hotel and Conference Facility or Fast Food and Childrens Entertainment. At this point it would be worth including information about your main competition and how they promote their business.

Try and include as much information as is available on how your current strategies/products/services compare.

Target audience review.

One of the most important and, equally, the least detailed factors of most design briefs is how the target audience is described. For a design team to truly understand who they are aiming to connect with, it’s essential that audiences are described in as much detail as is possible. If nothing else this exercise should provide you with confidence in knowing that you truly understand your target market.

Company profile.

Depending on the size and complexity of your company, compiling this information might take some considerable time and effort on the part of the author. However, please do percevere. This information is invaluable to the design teams overall understanding of what makes you (corporately) tick. Don’t forget that, once you’ve developed this part of the brief you can use it in future documents so never consider it to be more hassle than it is worth.

Business objectives and design strategy.

For a design solution to be truly effective, it must truly answer the brief! This section is probably the most important of the entire brief. It is here that you’ll need to define exactly what the primary aim of the project is and what effect it should have on your business objectives.

Now is the time to expand on the information offered in the ‘overview and background’ section whilst formulating the action plan and strategy for approaching the design process. For all intents and purposes it will become the “contract” under which we will all be working.

Project scope, timeline and budget.

So that everyone concerned understands all of the various aspects of the project, this detail is critical to developing a ‘road map’ to success. Projects will often require different levels of involvement – the ‘routine’ jobs with historically proven scope, time lines and budgets may only vary if a review is required. Other more complex or “phase” structured projects will have ‘deliverables’ for each phase and so must be defined in advance.

With production organised it is then very easy to allot a budget for that particular phase, and so on.

Avoiding scope creep.

The single most compelling reason why it is essential that project scope, timeline and budget are the list of ‘Essentials Elements’ MUST be addressed in advance of production starting is so that we can all steer clear of the dreaded ‘scope creep’.

Unless there is a properly structured schedule that covers the agreed production for the agreed budget, there will always be the potential for the project to, quite literally, ‘creep’ out of its projected time line and aportioned budget.

Easy Home Decorating Tips for the Holidays

When the holidays roll around, it is time to start looking for some great home decorating ideas that will help to spread the holiday cheer while still keeping your home looking great.

One of the first home decorating tips you need to keep in mind for the holidays is the art of simplicity. There are so many wonderful decorative items available for the holidays that it is easy to go overboard. If you attempt to cram all of your holiday decorations into your home, they may overshadow one another and create a cluttered look. Choose a few items and allow them to each stand on their own and take center stage.

Since the holidays are a warm, cozy, and loving time of the year, you should strive for décor that will help to cultivate this feeling. Therefore, some home decorating ideas you might want to keep in mind for the holidays include selecting decorations that project love and holiday cheer. Happy snowman, hugging children, and jolly reindeer are all great decorative elements to add to your holiday décor.

Choosing the right colors is always key to implementing great ideas for the holidays. Traditionally, green, gold, red, and white have been important colors for the holidays. Increasingly, other colors are becoming more popular. For example, for a classy look, you might want to consider using black and silver for your holiday décor. These colors are becoming more popular for the holiday season, so they should not become too difficult to find.

Think outside of the box this holiday season. Decorate with vintage glass ornaments and ornaments that were given to you by family and friends over the years. They bring back lots of memories and add character to your decorating theme.

Time is well spent by creating or purchasing a stunning centerpiece that can be used before, during and after Christmas. Homemade napkin rings are fun to make and can be quite simple. Look for ideas on the Internet and in craft stores.

Make use of the columns, posts and pendant lights inside and outside of your home by wrapping them with garland or greenery. Adding string lights completes the look.

After you have decorated the inside, you might want to turn your attention outdoors. There are many different lawn ornaments and lights to choose from when decorating outdoors. As with the home decorating tips for inside, however, be sure that you don’t go overboard. A cluttered lawn will be unattractive while one with a few simple lights and items will be the talk of the town!

Home Improvement Construction Project Planning

The first task before hiring a contractor for home remodeling is laying out the details on what exactly you want done. This will ultimately save you time and money, as you will be able to choose the perfect contractor for your construction job, and get the job done correctly the first time. Personally, I have always found that writing out every detail initially will help you think of the task more clearly in your mind. This will also aid in your description of the job to the contractor, and will allow for a better estimate of time and cost, which are coincidentally the two most important things to consumers.

Sketches can also prove useful. You do not have to be an artist to amply describe your wants and needs via drawings. Just grab a ruler and a pencil, and draw out the area you want to do work on. If you have a scanner or copy machine, make a few copies of this so you can further draw on this base, and if you entirely mess up, just start over. Often times, I like to use different colors of ink for the construction procedures that I want accomplished. I use red for things I want removed, and green for things I want added. Blue ink I reserve for notes and arrows, of which there are sure plenty.

When drawing up your plans, make sure to include every thought you have, even if it seems unimportant at the moment. Remember, the ultimate goal here is complete communication between you and the contractor you’re hiring. Put all of your thoughts on paper, and let your contractor decide what is and what is not important to your construction work. If you provide too much information, then you have succeeded.

One pitfall that home owners often make is that of assumption. The thought process goes something like this: “The contractor has probably done this type of work dozens of times, I’m sure he knows what I want.” While this might be true 90% of the time, you do not want to be in the 10% of construction projects that go wrong. This can cost you thousands of dollars, and you will be right where you started, or worse.

Just follow the following steps to a successful construction project, and you will be totally satisfied with your contractor’s work.

1. Decide the type of work you want done. Set a goal for this, and always keep the goal in mind.

2. Carefully plan out on paper how you wish to obtain this goal. Be sure to include every thought whether or not it seems necessary at the moment.

3. Start shopping for contractors. Explain every detail to them so they might provide an accurate estimate of time and cost.
4. Find at least two qualified contractors who can do the job within your budget and time frame.

5. Upon arrival, reconfirm your expectations of the project.

Follow these steps and it is almost certain you will be satisfied with your home construction project.