Category Archives: Drafting Software

Planning Outdoor Living Space

After a long, cold winter, installing and planning outdoor living space is a very popular spring home improvement project. There are several things that a homeowner needs to do now to prepare for their outdoor living space plans.

CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, architects, and builders streamline their workflow while planning outdoor living space for clients and colleagues. Cad Pro is great for creating landscape design plans, outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces, pergola design plans, and much more.

When planning your outdoor living space, you will want to consider adding an outdoor kitchen area. There are many outdoor kitchen appliances and manufacturing companies to choose from. Here are a few we recommend; Masterbuilt, Vicking, AJ Madison, BBQGuys and Kalamazoo.

planning outdoor living space with popular outdoor living space plans

Popular Outdoor Living Space Plans

Steps for Planning Outdoor Living Space

# 1 – Set a Project Budget
Get your finances in order when planning outdoor living space so you know what you’re able to spend. The average wood deck cost can range from $30 to $50 per square foot, and a maintenance free deck will range from $50 to $75 per square foot. If you add stairs, they can add a lot depending on the length and complexity of the design. A full set of stairs with landings coming off a walk-out level home can cost as much as $6,800, so you need to be prepared for some sticker shock.

# 2 – Design the Outdoor Space
Have some idea of what you want to include in your outdoor living space plans. It’s important to plan for furniture, so a designer can make sure everything will fit comfortably.

By giving your designer a close range of your budget, they will recommend product choices or combinations that will fit your budget and the size of the space. Be sure to help your designer and be as upfront with them as you can, and you will save lots of time.

# 3 – Find a Contractor
Research builders who specialize in building and planning outdoor living space and the type of project that you’re looking to have built and who have the reputation and trust that you’re looking for to complete your project in a timely manner.

Too many homeowners waste so much time meeting with contractors that they would never consider hiring, just because they didn’t take the time to check them out prior to having them come out.

An experienced contractor will ask lots of questions about your outdoor project and you, so they can try to understand what you’re looking for and ensure that they can meet your expectations, so they don’t waste your time and theirs.

Finding true experts in the industry you’re looking for, such as deck builders or outdoor kitchen installers, will be very valuable to you because they will give you so much product information and ideas to make your outdoor space stand out from the rest.

# 4 – Hire Early
When planning outdoor living space start looking for your contractor before the season starts because good contractors’ schedules will fill up fast. When you find them, and they meet all your expectations, hire them. Don’t put it off to see if you can save a hundred dollars. You will regret it.

Ask lots of questions on the phone, so that you and the builder have a good idea what to expect when you are at the kitchen table, and you won’t be to surprised.

FREE Outdoor Living Design Plans
Simply open any of the CAD Pro do-it-yourself popular outdoor living design plans and projects, then customize them to fit your specific needs. This is one of the easiest ways for planning outdoor living space designs and project while adding immediate value to your home.

Do-it-yourself plans include; Garages/Shops, Outdoor Kitchens, Shade Arbors, Decks, Tree Houses, Lake House Plans, Vacation Homes and more.

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CAD Pro helps you plan and complete any type of versatile outdoor living space plans with intuitive smart design tools and symbols that will help you implement these outdoor living design ideas.

Share your outdoor living plans and ideas with clients or contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors and the NRCA roofing contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors as well as the National Association of Landscape professionals.

Best Outdoor Kitchen Ideas and Inspirations

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Popular Interior Design Tips

We’ve put together some very popular interior design tips that will provide the greatest impact with minimal effort and cost. Sometimes the smallest things make for great interior design ideas. It could be the addition of a mirror, a lamp, a painting or even a plant.

CAD Pro helps you plan and complete any type of interior design plans with intuitive smart floor plan tools and interior design symbols.

Share your interior design ideas and plans with clients or contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

Inexpensive and Popular Interior Design Tips

Inexpensive and Popular Interior Design Tips

Inexpensive and Popular Interior Design Tips

Paint smaller rooms in softer, lighter colors.
A small room has the tendency to seem cramped. So one of our popular interior design tips is to add larger windows, light colored walls and ample use of mirrors to reflect the natural light pouring in from the doors and windows but the use of mirrors also gives the optical illusion of added space, making the room seem larger than it actually is. Conversely, darker colors will make a room feel smaller. Even with the abundance of natural light and the strategic placement of mirrors.

Use decorative mirrors to add instant light to your space.
As mentioned above, for great interior design ideas mirrors can also be used to make a small space feel larger. For larger rooms, or any room with a more limited amount of natural light, mirrors placed directly across from the windows, will add instant light. Decorative mirrors can also be used in lieu of art to fill empty wall space. Large or small, mirrors add light and dimension to your living space.

Mix up patterns and textures. Mix up old and new, expensive and inexpensive.
There’s nothing wrong with placing family heirlooms alongside your modern couch and it’s one of the easier popular interior design tips. All good interior decorators will tell you that the most important aspect to decorating your home is that it reflects who you are, your personality and your style. The antique Chippendale desk that was your grandfathers tells a story. It tells the story of your past. The modern couch you fell in love with and simply had to purchase also tells a story, your present story, and there is no reason why the present and past can’t co-exist beautifully together. The same can be said for art. Now you might not want to place a painting by Salvador Dali on the same wall next to a painting, but there’s no reason why they can’t be in the same room together. With fabrics whether it be furniture, rugs or pillows, varied colors and patterns can bring warmth and texture into any living space.

Slip into something comfortable.
Slipcovers often get a bad rap for interior design ideas, but they are truly wonderful things. They can serve as a means of changing your furniture’s look to reflect the seasons. These easily removed coverings allow you to have a sophisticated look without constantly worrying about people soiling or spilling on your furniture. Slipcovers are ideal for rooms used frequently by children.

Wicker baskets and decorations.
Wicker baskets or other wicker decorations are one of the easiest to add of our popular interior design tips and they are an economical way to add storage and style to any room. Baskets can be used to store and display books, magazines, toys, towels and blankets to name a few. Place a couple of small wicker baskets on the counter-tops in your kitchen to beautifully display and store your fruit and vegetables.

Use what you already have for interior design ideas.
We all have items in our possession, probably packed up in boxes somewhere and haven’t given them a second glance. Instead of running to the store, take a good look at what you already have. Trays, wooden, acrylic, metal or silver can be placed on top of luggage racks, tea carts, trunks, bedside tables and coffee tables for extra texture and dimension. Arrange candles on them, frames or pile books on top of them. Plates can be hung to create wonderful wall art. Art from children’s books can be framed and hung in nurseries, children’s rooms or their bathrooms.

Hanging potholders are inexpensive and popular interior design tips.
Kitchens are meant to be warm and inviting. We spend much of our time in them whether it be for preparing meals, serving meals or entertaining. A hanging pot rack is useful elegance. Kitchens are meant to feel as though they are in constant use and a hanging pot rack certainly makes one feel this way. In addition to looking so wonderful, (there are many sizes and styles available) additional cupboard space below is now freed up to store other items.

Go green.
Add plants to your living space for one of our go green interior design ideas. Plants are an inexpensive means to accessorizing your space and adding color and texture. Not only are plants beautiful but many can clean household air and balance humidity. They can absorb pollutants and remove harmful gases from the air. No home should be without these wonderful green interior designs.

Paint or wallpaper your bookcases.
Perhaps the simplest and most inexpensive way to transform a boring space is to apply a coat of paint somewhere unexpected. This is one of our more popular interior design tips. The instant pop of color will brighten and re-energize any room. It’s amazing how something so simple as a coat of colorful paint can instantly energize and transform your space. Any built-in bookcase would be simple and ordinary without a bright blue interior color. Bookcases are an ideal place to start because you don’t need to paint a large area. Other fun places to add a pop of color include painting fireplace mantels, the insides of closets, hallways and ceilings.

Use area rugs to soften hardwood floors.
Throw rugs is the one of the quickest interior design ideas. Rugs give warmth and can add great texture, color and personality to your living space. Hardwood floors are beautiful and easy to maintain but they lack the comfort that carpeted floors offer. Area rugs can add fun and functionality to your living space. Use several of varying patterns and fabrics together to showcase your character. Or add several rugs of the same pattern and fabric, or different textures but the same color. The possibilities are endless. You can change your area rugs to reflect the seasons using warmer tones and fabrics for cooler months and lighter ones for the warmer days of the year.

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CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of interior plans and designs. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors and the NRCA roofing contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors as well as the National Association of Landscape professionals.

Interior Painting Cost

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Roof Replacement Cost Factors

How Much is Roof Replacement in Your Area?
Replacing a roof is one of the costliest upgrades a homeowner can make. Contractors in different regions charge different rates when calculating roof replacement cost factors. For example, in the North East and West roofing material cost ranges from $6 to $8 (per sq.) while in the South, they range from $3 to $3.50 (per sq.).

Some ballpark figures from roofing companies in California, say the average roofing material cost of a new roof runs as low as $5,000 for a basic asphalt shingle roof, the most commonly used roofing material in America to $25,000 and up for higher-end roof types.

Calls to contractors across the country revealed that roof replacement cost factors range from $4,000 to $11,000 to tear off and replace a roof with basic a shingle. Prices can also vary greatly depending on where you live.

CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of roofing projects. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors as well as the NRCA.

roof replacement cost factors and roofing material cost

Roof Replacement Cost Factors

What Are Roof Replacement Cost Factors?

Roofing contractors look at several variables to determine the roofing material cost of a new roof, including its size, pitch, accessibility and cost of materials. Because of this, prices for a new roof can vary drastically.

However, the roof’s size is one of the largest roof replacement cost factors. Roofers charge per roofing square. A 10-by-10-foot (100 square feet) area is equal to one roofing square.

For example, if you’re working on a roof that is 3,000 square feet, it’s broken down into 30 squares.

Does pitch or slope affect price?
The complexity of your roof design may require a little more extra materials and labor. Contractors also charge more for installing shingles to complex roof designs.

A large variable in your roof replacement cost factors is the roof’s pitch, or slope. Some roofs have a high pitch, while others have a low pitch or no pitch at all. All of these factors will affect the cost of the roofing project.

A roof with a pitch of about a 7:12 ratio, the first number represents the height and the second the length or higher isn’t walk-able and may require extra safety harnesses and equipment. A 7:12 roof, for example, means that for every 12 inches it runs horizontally, the roof rises 7 inches vertically. Your roofs pitch is one of the most important roof replacement cost factors you will need to consider.

A roof pitch of 7:12 or greater is a steep roof and will cost more money. The reason for the increased cost is that the work goes a lot slower with a steep roof. You can’t stack stuff on the roof, and you have to wear harnesses.

Roofing companies also charge more for pitches above 7:12 therefore increasing the roofing material cost and labor. This is because of the difficulty and the increase in insurance costs.

Is it important to factor in roof accessibility?
These are the roof replacement cost factors that need to be answered when considering roof accessibility. Can we get a truck in there [close to the house]? Can we back the truck against the house? If not, the roofers we’ll have to carry [the materials] all the way out to the trucks, and that can be more expensive. It’s also important to remember that tearing off a heavier roof can also increase labor costs.

How much do roofing materials cost?
It will cost from $1.20 to $4.50 a square foot to remove and replace the roof or $1,700 to $8,400 for a typical 1,700-2,100 square foot ranch-style home, with a gentle slope.

The roofing material cost per square foot for a wood shingle roof is between $6.50 and $8.75. That equates to about $1,300 to $1,800 per 200 square feet (or for two squares). The cost and labor for an asphalt roof for a 1,200-square-foot house in larger markets across the country ranges between $4,100 and $6,000.

Highly rated roofing contractors tell us that asphalt is the most affordable roofing option, followed by wood, metal, tile and slate. Roof replacement cost factors for metal roofs can cost upwards of $1,800 per 100 square feet. You can pay twice as much for a metal roof compared to asphalt shingles, and as much as five times more for slate roofs.

While a good asphalt shingles may last 30 or more years, metal, tile, and slate may last 50 or more years, which can play a role in determining the type you want.

Be sure to discuss the cost of removing the old shingles and installation of new shingles. This price range can be wide. New contractors of smaller companies have a lower quotation than big companies. Beware of low bids because they may come from weekend warriors who lack liability insurance. Contractors without liability insurance may cause damages to the owner.

The roof replacement cost factors on the higher side come from well-established companies with higher overheads. Some companies hire sub-contractors to do the job. Remember, expensive does not always translate to high-quality work.

What are other roofing cost factors?
Water damage can also add to the final roofing material cost of a roofing project. Oftentimes, water damage isn’t noticed until after the roofer has removed shingles and looked at the decking.

Significant water damage can also change the project from a roofing repair to a replacement.

Some of the important roof replacement cost factors that can affect the price is whether your home has chimneys or skylights. Having them can increase the cost of the project, as roofers must work around them.

The cost of repairing flashing around the chimney can range from $200 to $500, while repairing it around the skylight can average between $300 and $500.

You may be able to save money by overlaying an existing roof, instead of replacing it. However, doing so typically lowers the lifespan of the new roof and could void any warranty you’d expect on labor and shingle.

What is the cost of 3-Tab shingles?
The average cost for a basic 3-tab, the 25-year shingle is $150 to $200 per square foot. There are variations to the basic 3-tab shingle that may include ice-and-water shields, nails, ridge-vent, and roof flashing details. In some cases, the cost may include plywood, wood planks/boards, trash bags, tarp, permitting and ordering a dumpster. The cost ratio for installing a 3-tab shingle is 60% of the total cost.

What is the cost of dimensional shingles?
Roofing material cost for dimensional shingles will range from $225 to $300 to install. This is roughly $75 to $100 more than the basic 3-tab shingle. They cost a little bit more because they are thicker and last longer. Dimensional shingles can last up to 30 years. These shingles are mostly installed by contractors who drastically mark up the total price.

How much do premium shingles cost?
The total cost of installing premium shingles range from $450 to $700 per square foot installed. The premium shingles materials can total $200 to $250 per square. This is on the higher side when considering roof replacement cost factors but it’s worth it.

Do you need to hire a professional roofer?
Before hiring a roofing company, the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends checking that its workers are licensed and insured. Be sure to ask to see a copy of the roofer’s proof of insurance before hiring them.

The contractor may also need to pull permits depending on where you live, which can add several hundred dollars when calculating your roof replacement cost factors. A permit to repair a roof on a 1,350-square-foot home, for example, costs between $150 and $500.

The roofer should also be aware of any local building codes, which could include the types of shingles allowed in a particular neighborhood or rules about underlay.

Get several bids and don’t be swayed by price alone. Sometimes a bid that is too low could be a signal the company isn’t operating legally. Look at their online feedback. Bottom line make sure the company has a good reputation.

Many roofers offer guarantees for the work they do, which is often between five and ten years for their workmanship. This will typically cover leakage or total failure, but not general wear and tear or damage from hail or storms. Some companies offer 25-year warranties, but those typically apply to specific high-end roof products and require certain installation procedures when calculating roofing material cost and labor.

Even with the cost consideration, everyone wants to end up with a good-looking roof. The type of shingles makes for good roofing materials that have a wide range of prices.

Shingles possess the features of affordability, durability and low maintenance compared to metal roofs or flat roofs. However, flat roofs tend to last for a decade at most while slope roof shingles are cheaper and can last up to 25-30 years.

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Roof Design Software
Cad Pro is an affordable and easy alternative to other more expensive home design software programs. Cad Pro is great for creating custom home plans, building plans, office plans, construction details, and much more. Anyone can start their new roofing project with CAD Pro.

Share your plans and designs with clients, builders or professional contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

Popular Home Siding Options

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Most Common Deck Problems

When the weather is warm and pleasant, your deck may be one of the most popular areas of the home. But because decks are exposed to the elements, this can create the most common deck problems for any homeowner. Your deck can quickly deteriorate and wear down and possibly become a hazard rather than a retreat. So, we’ve put together some deck problem solutions and tips that will prolong the life of your deck.

CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of deck projects. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors.

Share your deck plans and designs with clients, builders or professional contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

most common deck problems with deck problem solutions and tips

Most Common Deck Problems with Deck Problem Solutions and Tips

Five Most Common Deck Problems

Fortunately, these most common deck problems have simple solutions that can keep your deck looking great so you can enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.

ONE: Deck Water Damage
Many homeowners have their newly installed deck sealed once and then neglect to ever do it again, leaving the wood exposed to the elements, eventually causing the wood to show significant signs of weather damage. Even the best sealant may wear off with time and need to be reapplied every few years. This is one of our number one deck problem solutions and tips.

The easiest way to test your deck, sprinkle some water onto it and if the water stops beading and instead just seeps into the wood, you’ll know that it’s time to reseal the deck. Remember to clean the deck thoroughly before sealing it and replace any pieces of damaged wood.

TWO: Structural Weakness
Decks are often installed by inexperienced homeowners, which can affect their structural integrity and create one of the most common deck problems and possible safety hazards. If your deck has any give or weakness to it when you walk on it, there’s a good chance your deck needs structural repair.

Check the support structure beneath the deck surface to ensure that the ledger boards, joist hangers and post connections are all complete and secure. If you’re unsure about any connections or support, call a professional deck installer to assess the situation and make repair work if needed. These types of deck problem solutions and tips will give you peace of mind and will be more than worth the expense.

THREE: Board Gaps
Certain types of wood will shrink over time as it dries out, which may create gaps in your deck. Unfortunately, the only way to correct this problem is to remove the boards and replace them.

FOUR: Fading Deck Color
Wood will lose its color over time, slowly turning gray as it ages and accumulates damage and debris. This is a visual problem, but one that you’ll want to fix if you like the look of your deck. Most wood cleaners will restore some of the original color by removing the grime that’s causing the discoloration.

Additionally, you could use a wood brightener as a quick solution for these most common deck problems. As always, be sure to seal the deck after cleaning or brightening the wood to ensure that it continues to look refreshed until the next treatment.

FIVE: Wood Rot and Splintering
Rot and splintering, where the wood is literally falling apart, is the worst-case scenario for an unprotected deck.

Not only is rot unsightly, but it can also undermine the integrity of the deck itself. If the deck has been sealed but still shows signs of rot, it’s important to check the area after the next storm to see where the water is coming from.

Gutters are one of the easy deck problem solutions and tips you should keep an eye on. Often, you may discover a gutter issue or a problem with a fixture that is funneling water onto a particular area of the deck. Rot is also a big problem around handrails or stairs, where it’s more difficult to effectively seal the area.

Rotting is one of the most common deck problems and fixing rot calls for repair, inspection and resealing. Repair any affected boards while inspecting the posts and beams to ensure the deck remains stable. Then, once only good wood is left, completely seal the deck so the rot doesn’t return.

Deck Plans and Design Software
Create professional and precise deck designs and deck plans with CAD Pro’s easy to use design tools. Design hot tub decks, pool decks, multi-level decks, deck railing, custom deck plans, landscape decks, commercial decks and much more.

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FREE Professional Deck Designs and Deck Plans
Quickly view and print professionally designed deck plans. CAD Pro includes some of the most popular deck plans built. Simply open any of the many CAD Pro deck plans and quickly modify any aspect to meet your specific deck plan or deck design requirements.

Cad Pro is an affordable and easy alternative to other more expensive deck design software programs. Cad Pro is great for creating custom home plans, building plans, office plans, construction details, and much more. Anyone can start their new deck project with CAD Pro.

Accurate Window Replacement Cost

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Popular Home Siding Options

Shopping for popular home siding options and innovative siding materials can be an overwhelming experience. Especially if it’s been 10 to 50 years since you’ve given any thought to your siding options. Within the last decade or so, there have been some significant advancements. Here’s a quick look at today’s most innovative and popular siding options along with some advice for making the right choice.

CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of siding projects. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors.

Share your plans and designs with clients, builders or professional contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

 popular home siding options using innovative siding materials

Popular Home Siding Options with Innovative Siding Materials

Types of Popular Home Siding Options

ONE: Insulated Vinyl
Vinyl isn’t a new material, but it has certainly seen a lot of change and has become one of the more innovative siding materials. And the feature that’s most in demand right now is built-in insulation. Insulated vinyl siding has built-in foam insulation that not only makes it more energy efficient but also more durable and impact resistant. It costs more than its uninsulated counterpart, but the potential energy savings stand to make up the extra expense. It has become one of the more popular home siding options and it comes in a variety of colors and it can flawlessly imitate real wood grain while requiring very little maintenance over its lifetime.

TWO: Fiber Cement
Fiber cement is one of the popular home siding options that gets more popular every day. It’s made of a blend of materials that includes cement and wood pulp, and it’s considered a sustainable building material. Most of these products imitate natural wood in styles like lap siding, shingles and panels. However, they won’t warp and rot like real wood does. They’re also available in an expansive variety of colors, they’re durable, they don’t require much maintenance and they’re resilient in storms and extreme weather. Plus, most fiber cement products will last over 50 years.

IMPORTANT: Here are few of the more popular fiber cement manufacturing companies; James Hardie, Allura, LP Building Solutions and Legacy Pre-Finishing Products.

THREE: Engineered Wood
One of the more realistic innovative siding materials is engineered wood siding. It replicates the beauty and natural aesthetic of real wood without many of wood’s inherent disadvantages. It’s a blend of materials that includes wood and resin with a wax coating for water resistance —a durable combination that should last up to and over 30 years. It’s more resilient against pests, mold, hail and extreme temperatures than solid wood – and it also comes at a lower cost. Further, it’s easy to cut and install, and it comes in styles like lap, shake and panel which makes it a favorite of the popular home siding options.

Choosing Wisely with Innovative Siding Materials

Ask these following questions to narrow down your options:

  • What material is popular in your region? If neighboring homes are sided with vinyl, vinyl should be in your top three for consideration. If they’re sided with high-end materials, you might want to eliminate materials that won’t perform as well or look as great comparatively.
  • What material of these popular home siding options will perform best in your environment? The climate should play a major role in your decision. Certain materials won’t perform well in humid or rainy environments versus dry ones.
  • What are your or your potential buyers’ priorities? If energy efficiency is top of mind for you, eliminate materials that aren’t great insulators. If you’re going for a natural wood look, narrow your options to those that fit that aesthetic. If you’re dealing with a small budget, look for affordable alternatives to high-end innovative siding materials.

Benefits of Hiring Siding Pros

If you’re struggling to make a decision on which siding you want and need, get in touch with a siding professional in your area. They will have expert insights that can only come from handling and repairing various siding materials on a daily basis. Plus, they’ll know the proper way to install both traditional and new material types so that they meet the manufacturer’s requirements.

Be sure you research siding professionals in your area to make sure the contractor you hire has great reviews and a trusted reputation. Proper installation popular home siding options will ensure that your warranty and the buyer of your home will be covered if something goes wrong after the contractor finishes.

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Home Siding Layout and Design Software

Cad Pro is an affordable and easy alternative to other more expensive home design software programs. Cad Pro is great for creating custom home plans, building plans, office plans, construction details, and much more. Anyone can start their new home siding project with CAD Pro.

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Landscape Plans Add Value

A well-landscaped home has a significant price advantage over a home with no landscaping. Therefore, well designed landscape plans add value. The advantage ranges from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent depending on the type of landscaping home improvement plans you implement and the home’s original value. That translates into an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home.

CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of landscape plans and designs. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors as well as the National Association of Landscape professionals.

CAD Pro allows anyone to share their ideas and plans with clients, colleagues or professional landscape contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

Landscape Plans Add Value with Landscaping Home Improvement Plans

Landscape Plans Add Value

People typically embark on home renovation projects with a mind toward increasing the value of their home for resale purposes. However, while changes to your home’s structure can depreciate through the years, landscape plans add value and increase in value over time.

The initial cost of installing plant material is directly proportional to the size and age of the plant.

Think of planting a small tree for around $80. As that tree matures over time and grows to 30 feet becoming a major lawn feature, its value (replacement cost) can grow to more than $1,000. This is an important part of why landscaping home improvement plans increase resale value.

If instant gratification is not an issue, there is tremendous value in installing well-planned, good-quality plant material to reap its value as the landscaping matures.

The American Society of Landscape Architects suggests that property owners spend about 5 to 10 percent of the home’s value on landscaping home improvement plans. This, of course, includes the cost of cultivating the gardens and installing plants, as well as hardscape features such as patios, lighting, shade arbors, paths and water features.

Why Landscape Plans Add Value

Given the magnitude of such an investment, homeowners should probably consider investing in a landscape plan. New homeowners typically set aside a budget for home improvements and renovations.

Landscape plans are often saved for “down the road,” but smart landscape plans add value and can take several months or even years to implement.

Therefore, it’s beneficial to have a professional evaluate the landscape, develop a master plan and provide advice on how to stage changes to the property at the very outset.

Ignorance about health and viability of mature trees on the property can have very costly and devastating effects, as terrible storms can have devastating results on landscaping home improvement plans.

In fact, the landscape industry includes subset niches for those who provide professional consultation about landscape plans or coaching.

Avoid Costly Landscape Plans
That large stand of bamboo shielding you from the neighbors could also be a landscape nightmare because certain bamboo is extremely invasive and quite costly and difficult to remove.

If you enjoy gardening, a trained landscape designer can guide your DIY projects so that you incorporate plants best suited to your area, cultural conditions and maintenance abilities.

Good landscape plans add value for homeowners whose intent is taking the landscape into their own hands. These landscaping home improvement plans can often fall victim to one of the biggest pitfalls of landscaping: proceeding without a coherent plan.

Their piecemeal approach often leads to a disorganized landscape with a hodgepodge of favorite plantings with no harmony, unity or polish. Implementing a coherent plan can enable development of a harmonious landscape while remaining within budget.

An attractive and interesting landscape, or curb appeal, is the first thing that potential homebuyers see, and it may govern their interest in looking inside.

But even if increasing the value of your property is of minor importance, the satisfaction and enjoyment of a nicely designed landscaping home improvement plans can and will improve the quality of your life and those who surround you.

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Cad Pro is an affordable and easy alternative to other more expensive landscape design software . Cad Pro is great for creating custom home plans, building plans, office plans, construction details, and much more.

Popular Landscape Trends

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Accurate Plot Plan Designs

Accurate plot plan designs are an essential part of any type of residential or commercial construction project. A plot plan will give the buyer a visual of the lot lines, the approximate location of the home and accessory structures, and any easements running through the land. CAD Pro is an easy-to-use computer-aided design site plan software that’s used every day for residential or commercial construction projects.

CAD Pro customers have created site plans in almost every jurisdiction in the U.S. and their plans meet or exceed their requirements.

Cad Pro is an affordable and easy alternative to other more expensive plot plan software. Cad Pro is great for creating accurate plot plan designs custom home plans, building plans, office plans, construction details, and much more.

CAD Pro allows anyone to share their ideas and plans with clients, colleagues or professional contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

CAD Pro’ site plan software has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of plot plans. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors as well as the National Association of Landscape professionals.

Accurate Plot Plan Designs using Site Plan Software

Plot Plan Design Software Diagram

Accurate Plot Plan Designs and Descriptions

Plot Plan Definition:
A plot plan is an architecture, engineering, and/or landscape architecture plan drawing—diagram which shows the buildings, utility runs, and equipment layout, the position of roads, and other constructions of an existing or proposed project site at a defined scale. These drawings or diagrams are created with site plan software or computer-aided design software like CAD Pro.

Certified Plot Plan:
Accurate plot plan designs can also be a certified plot plan, which is a stamped drawing, drawn to a measurable scale by a state registered engineer or a state registered land surveyor. It shows a piece of land, its boundary lines, total square footage, and locates all the existing structures on the land.

Plat vs. Plot:
A plat is a map of a land area, usually on the scale of a neighborhood or township, and a plot is a piece of land used for a single purpose (such as a park or a home). Essentially, a plat map shows the collection of plots that make up a neighborhood or township.

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Popular Landscape Trends

Keeping up with popular landscape trends can be difficult. So, we’ve put together the NALP annual forecast of what’s hot in the yard and landscape design plans.

Drawing upon the expertise of its 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals, the National Association of Landscape Professionals annually predicts trends that will influence the design and maintenance of backyards across America in the year ahead.

“Homeowners yearn for beautiful outdoor spaces without the hassle of upkeep. With the rise of multi-functional landscape design and automated processes, consumers can spend more time enjoying their landscapes than ever before,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “This year’s trends reflect current lifestyle preferences as well as innovations happening in the industry that are transforming landscape design plans across the country.”

Popular Landscape Trends and Landscape Plans

Popular Landscape Trends and Landscape Plans

NALP Predicts Five Popular Landscape Trends

  1. Two-in-one landscape design. Functional elements are no longer a perk, but rather a necessity in today’s landscapes, as consumers desire stunning outdoor features that have been cleverly designed to serve a dual tactical purpose. An edible vertical garden on a trellis that acts as a privacy fence, a retaining wall that includes built-in seating for entertaining, and colorful garden beds that divide properties all combine function and style in today’s popular landscape trends.
  2. Automated lawn and landscape maintenance. The latest technology and equipment allow tasks to be more streamlined and environmentally efficient than ever before. Robotic lawn mowers continue to rise in popularity among both homeowners and landscape professionals, and programmable irrigation systems and advanced lighting and electrical systems are a few ways outdoor spaces are becoming extensions of today’s smart homes. Homeowners relish knowing that these popular landscape trends and technological advancements afford them with more time to relax and enjoy their outdoor spaces.
  3. Pergolas. A staple of landscape design for years, pergolas constructed of wood or composite material are now becoming more sophisticated with major upgrades, including roll down windows, space heaters, lighting and sound systems. When paired with a luxury kitchen, seating area or fire feature, pergolas can become the iconic structure for outdoor sanctuaries and landscape design plans.
  4. Pretty in pink. Pops of coral and blush are anticipated to add a more feminine touch to popular landscape trends. With Living Coral named the Color of the Year by Pantone, a leading provider of color systems and an influencer on interior and exterior design, landscape professionals predict that this rich shade of pink could bring fresh blooms of roses, petunias, zinnias and hibiscus to flower beds. Experts also anticipate light blush tones to become “the new neutral” and another option for hardscapes and stone selections.
  5. Mesmerizing metals. Whether homeowners want a bold statement or whimsical touch, incorporating metals can bring new dimensions to these popular landscape trends. Used for decorative art, water features, or furniture and accessories, creative uses of metals including steel and iron can make for lovely accents or entire focal points.

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CAD Pro allows anyone to share their landscape ideas and plans with clients, colleagues or professional landscape contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of landscape plans and designs. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors as well as the National Association of Landscape professionals.

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Smart DIY Home Security Systems

If you’re looking to safeguard your home, then you will find many excellent and affordable smart diy home security systems currently on the market. In this article we have put together some of the best diy home security systems for your review.

If you want to protect your home, but you’re not interested in getting a hard-wired security system installed. Well then there’s never been a better time to invest in one of these smart diy home security systems. The market is filled with kits that consist of simple hubs and a combination of wireless sensors and cameras that you can easily install without worrying about running cables or ruining drywall.

These diy home security kits are typically (but not always) more affordable than a professional installation, while still giving you the necessary devices to protect any home. Plus, there are no long-term contracts to worry about. If you’ve been feeling that security around your home is a little lacking, these kits make the perfect starting place. Here’s a list of some of our favorites. And if you’re uncertain whether you want to do it yourself or have one installed for you, we also have a list of the best home security systems, which is a combination of professionally installed and smart diy home security systems to help you.

Easy Installation Smart DIY Home Security Systems

Smart DIY Home Security Systems

Top 6 Smart DIY Home Security Systems

#1 Simplisafe
SimpliSafe is one of the smart diy home security systems with a brand new (and much better) look and better functionality, including dual cellular and Wi-Fi connections, so the system won’t be disrupted by a power outage. The Knox is an excellent choice for larger homes where you already know you’ll need more than one or two sensors for full protection.

It comes with a base station and separate keypad, a key fob, six door sensors, two motion sensors, a siren, and a smoke detector, all in one package. Professional, no-contract monitoring is available for $15 per month, and you can add extra devices like outdoor cameras, smart locks, and more. It’s an excellent diy home security system if you want to start off big.

#2 Nest Secure
Nest Secure is the best example of what a home security starter kit should be: Simple, easy to understand, and unobtrusive while it’s working—but with plenty of options for expansion or additional features. The kit comes with the Guard hub, a round device with a number pad that tracks all the other sensors, but also incorporates a siren and motion sensor of its own. You also get two Detect motion sensors to set up where you please around the house, and two Tag key fobs that will let you pass through them. You can disarm the detectors with a code, or simply choose a silent mode to avoid triggering the alarm when necessary.

It’s one of the more expensive smart diy home security systems for three motion detectors and no cam, but Nest’s devices are state of the art, responsive, and minimalistic, so you really get what you pay for. You can add indoor or outdoor cams, video doorbells, and additional motion detectors whenever you want to expand the system. You can also arrange for mobile notification and enable professional monitoring via Brinks Home if you prefer.

#3 Abode
Abode is much like the Nest Secure. Abode’s starter kit includes a Gateway that acts as a hub (although the excellent app also allows for full control), a door / window sensor, a general motion sensor, and a key fob for access. Where Abode differs is in compatibility: While Nest Secure is designed to only work with a few Nest devices, Abode offers compatibility with Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Wi-Fi technologies, allowing for many different third-party integrations, including devices that you may already own.

Add in the many different sensor options you can buy from Abode, and this one of the best smart diy home security systems around for expansions or integrating with older devices. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands.

#4 Ring
Ring security kits combine a few more traditional elements of diy home security systems with a newer approach that works well if you are comfortable with a classic setup. The kit comes with a base station, a separate keypad to install on the wall, a contact sensor, a motion detector, and range extender (plus compatibility with all other Ring products, specifically their video doorbells and security cameras).

That’s an excellent array of products for a great price, and they are easy to set up and understand even if your experience with home security systems is limited. The keypad allows you to switch between Away, Home, and Disarmed modes, like traditional systems, but with useful features like programmable delays for arming, and push notifications for your phone app.

Ring also offers 24/7 professional monitoring and video recording for a fee, with no cancellation fees if you decide to go back to a simpler setup.

#5 Samsung Smartthing
Let’s explain this kit’s origins: ADT partnered with Samsung to create one of the new smart diy home security systems that is compatible with Samsung SmartThing devices, but primarily focused on ADT’s fledgling DIY-friendly smart security devices. So, the kit is a good choice for those who appreciate the historic work that ADT has done in home security…and want ADT’s professional management services to supplement their diy home security approach.

The kit itself comes with a large touchscreen hub, a motion detector, and two sensors for your windows and doors. Make no mistake, ADT intends for this system to be paired with its professional monitoring, which means monthly fees—but there is a “no monitoring” option you can choose. However, the system really shines when you see how easily it can become a whole house smart platform. ADT has sensors to monitor everything from carbon monoxide to water leaks, and SmartThings has devices to manage lighting, thermostats, door locks, and more. The kit gives you a hub to control everything from…as long as you’re willing to stick with these brands.

#6 OOMA
Ooma has one of the smart diy home security systems that’s priced in a much more affordable range. The kit includes the Telo hub and a motion sensor—which may not seem like much, but it comes with a big bonus: You get free home monitoring for the sensor, with the added ability to route a 911 call through your home phone for assistance if something seems wrong (the sensor will push notifications to your phone if the alarm is set to off). Ooma does let you add door, motion, and leak sensors to the system as needed, but the kit itself is better suited for an apartment or smaller home.

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Cad Pro is an affordable and easy alternative to other more expensive home security design software. Cad Pro is great for designing DIY home projects, smart home appliances, technical drawings, electrical drawings, construction details, and much more. Anyone can start their new smart diy home security systems installation diagrams with CAD Pro.

CAD Pro allows anyone to share their ideas and plans with clients, colleagues or professional remodeling contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.

CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of window designs. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors.

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Voice Controlled Smart Locks

Lockly’s Secure Pro voice controlled smart locks are compatible with Alexa and Google. Lockly has added two new home security products to its existing lineup of home voice-controlled security products: an upgraded smart lock, the Lockly Secure Pro, and the Secure Link, a Wi-Fi enabled hub and wireless door sensor.

The Lockly Secure Pro features a number of integrated unlocking options, including voice control through a virtual assistant, newly added with the Secure Link and Secure Pro series. Using their voice or an associated app, users can lock, unlock and check the status of their doors through a connection with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Voice Controlled Smart Locks and Voice-Controlled Security

Voice Controlled Smart Locks

Existing Options for Voice Controlled Smart Locks

PIN Genie Touchscreen: The patented PIN Genie keypad randomly generates a keypad order when anyone approaches the door. This ensures that codes cannot be accessed by anyone watching the user typing it in. This is a great feature for these voice controlled smart locks.

3D Fingerprint Scanner: A biometric module below the touchpad allows users to open the door using their finger.

Lockly App: The app allows users to connect to and control their voice controlled smart locks. The app can be used to generate offline access codes via Bluetooth without an internet connection and set activation periods for as little as a few minutes.

Key Lock: A traditional key lock is located inside a switch on the door handle or central panel.

The Secure Link, available packaged with the Secure Pro and as a separate accessory, enables Wi-Fi connectivity across all voice-controlled security product models, including the Secure and Secure Plus. This module enables virtual assistant connectivity, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity from anywhere in the world and real-time status updates.

“The availability of the Secure Pro and Secure Link is proof of our dedication to the development of new, innovative products in the world of home security and smart locks. We are excited to work with our national retail partners as we make Lockly products even more accessible to consumers seeking the most advanced smart lock solution for their home, office, or rental property,” says Lee Zheng, CEO and Founder of Lockly.

The voice controlled smart locks are available in Satin Nickel and Venetian Bronze finishes and deadbolt or latch hardware configurations. The lock operates on AA batteries, which last at least one year, supported by a backup battery. The Lockly Secure Pro starts at $299, and the Secure Link console starts at $79.99. The Lockly Secure Plus starts at $199.99. lockly.com

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Cad Pro is an affordable and easy alternative to other more expensive home security design software programs. Cad Pro is great for creating mechanical drawings, technical drawings, electrical drawings, construction details, and much more.

CAD Pro has helped thousands of homeowners, professional designers, builders and contractors plan and design all types of designs. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors.

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