Ask the Experts

Q. Do I need two air conditioning systems if I’m living in a two-story home? If not, what’s my best option for optimum cooling?
A. Silvia Almazan, Manager with Lovotti Inc., says not necessarily. “It is best to have two systems in a two story home for optimum cooling but there is not always room for that additional system, and the cost might not be feasible. Another option for optimum cooling in a two story home with an existing single system would be to install a two zone system by Zone First. We can separate the upstairs and down stairs ductwork with zoning dampers and add the Zone First zone board. We install two Venstar seven-day programmable thermostats; one upstairs and one downstairs to ensure optimum comfort control in all locations of the home.” She adds that some central heating and air conditioning systems might not be capable of this installation (zoning), so if your system is more then 15 years old, Silvia and the experts at Lovotti Inc. recommend a new central heating and air conditioning system. “Right now PG&E has rebates of up to $6,500 for Energy Upgrades. Please give us a call at 209-931-2100 for a free comfort analysis.”

Q. If you love the look of natural stone, but the option is outside of your budget, what’s the next best thing?
A. Sergio Morales, Manager with Big Bob’s Flooring of Stockton, says that a great alternative to natural stone is Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. “It has the look of a wood floor,” he adds, “The vinyl is water friendly and very resistant. It is also very popular.” As an innovative and popular material, this type of flooring has a great look for a fraction of the cost.

Q. What’s the scoop on your solar powered gate systems?
A. Dana Buck, General Manager with Alamo Alarm Company, explains that the business which focuses on high definition camera and custom alarm systems, also offers solar powered gate systems for rural homes and environments. “The solar powered gates are really slick for those who have a ranch, winery or a place in the country where they don’t have power at the gate location, but they want to be able to control traffic coming in and out of the property. The gate systems run exclusively on solar, which charges the battery, including a keypad and/or wireless remotes which can be used to open and close the gate. These solar powered gates are self-contained and don’t need a track, therefore they can even be installed on a dirt or gravel driveway, which may not be a smooth or level surface.”

Q. What’s trending for kitchen counter-top material?
A. When it comes to choosing counter-tops for your kitchen, Paradise Designs owner Larry Diggs says that materials such as Granite or Quartz remain popular for their “constant durability, beauty and variety of colors. These surfaces work well in environments with heavy pots, pans and metal items, while also withstanding heat well. Counter-top materials have converted from darker colors like browns, to lighter colors like whites and greys which are trending. Also trending are relaxed, square edges instead of complete round, bull-nosed edging.”

Q. What types of cabinets are popular for today’s kitchen remodel project?
A. Because every client and every kitchen is unique, Classic Design Floor to Ceiling offers both custom and pre-fabricated cabinets in both framed and frameless design. We partner with the best manufacturers in the industry: Decora, Kemper, and Belmont and offer only plywood (as opposed to particle board) construction. In this way, we can design a kitchen (or any other room) for every budget and lifestyle that will be built to last. Although custom cabinets sound like they would offer the most choices, the opposite is actually true. Manufactured cabinets come in a huge variety of door styles, wood species, finishes and stains thereby providing unlimited design options. Sample doors are available so you can see exactly what you are getting and the factory furniture finish can’t be replicated by any other means. However, sometimes our clients may want to match existing cabinets and that’s where the custom option comes in. The most popular features today include soft-close drawers and doors, full-extension adjustable roll-out trays, recycle centers, and lazy Susan’s to take advantage of hard-to-reach corner cabinets.

Q. What carpet is best for withstanding the abuse of pets and kids?
A. Erik Pequeno, Manager with Knights Carpet Flooring, says “Each company has their own stain fighting technology such as Shaw’s R2X or Mohawk’s Stain Master. However, it is not all about the carpet, but also, what is underneath it. You need a moisture barrier pad. You can have the best stain fighting technology around, but if you don’t have a moisture barrier pad, it’s pointless.” He explains that without a pad underneath your carpet, the stains can pop back up after a cleaning. In addition, to help fight stains from kids and pets, both Erik and carpet manufacturers recommend having your carpet professionally cleaned every 12-24 months.

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