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Alure Home Improvements Teaches How To Properly Clear A Gutter Ice Dam

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Some homeowners may never have heard of an ice dam—especially if they’re from Florida—but as Long Islanders know, it’s an all-too common concern during winters up here, because it can cause serious damage if left unchecked.

An ice dam occurs when a large hump of thick ice forms at the edge of a roof after prolonged freezing temperatures. As the snow and ice on the roof melt and refreeze over time, it can look like a mini-glacier sliding over the gutter armed with rows of icicles.

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The more ice and snow there is, the heavier the load on the roof, the gutters and the downspout. It can damage trim, too. More seriously, it can lead to interior flooding, threatening the upstairs rooms or the attic when melted water seeps through the roof shingles, saturating the insulation and then soaking through the dry wall or plaster ceilings and walls.

If a thaw comes, the ice dam may break free suddenly, pulling off shingles, and the gutter, when it goes over the edge.

As your friends at Alure Home Improvements can tell you, an ice dam can form on any style of roof.

You must attack these dams, but you have to use common sense. It may require standing on a ladder—and that’s no fun in a snowstorm, so it’s not recommended. Be careful up there. Don’t swing at the ice with an axe, because you’re almost certain to leave a hole in your roof. Tap gently with a blunt mallet so the chunks of ice remain small enough so they won’t dislodge the shingles.

Don’t use rock salt on your roof, because that could damage paint and metal when the salty water drains. Instead, use calcium chloride. Some New Englanders recommend kitty litter. Fill a tube of cloth—a leg from an old pair of panty hose is ideal—and lay it across the ice dam. The contents will melt the ice slowly, clearing a path for the snow melt to run off.

You can also try using a snow rake, a broom, or a plastic shovel to sweep away the snow piled above the ice dam. You don’t want to damage your shingles, so be careful. Also, you could set off a mini-avalanche that might bury you in snow, or worse, hit you in the head with ice chunks.

The underlying reason that ice dams form is because the interior ventilation is inadequate. The roof is too warm, causing the snow to melt and build up when it freezes.

Prevention requires forethought, and a good contractor—that’s where Alure Home Improvements can come in.

One method is to seal all the points where warm air leaks from the inside living spaces. Insulate the living space to prevent heat conduction through the ceiling and the walls. Ceiling fans and recessed lights are major culprits.

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Sal Ferro, president and chief executive officer at Alure Home Improvements, recommends replacing old-style recessed lights with sealed “IC” fixtures, because you can cover these new lights with a layer of insulation without creating a fire hazard. Ventilate the space between the insulation and the roof sheathing so any heat that does get out of the living space doesn’t get trapped under the roof. The more insulation you can add to your attic floor, the less heat will escape from the rooms below, and your roof won’t warm up as much. If you spot any cracks in your ceiling or walls, definitely plug them up. If you spot dark stains on the walls or ceilings, it’s a sign of water leakage. You may need to consult a contractor to assess the damage. Alure Home Improvements can help you with that, too.

Alure Home Improvements knows how to get homeowners through every season. Taking major preventive steps to improve your house’s infrastructure could be costly at first, but the money you save on energy costs over time will help pay for them. And there’s an added benefit. Your home will feel more comfortable, too, especially when the winter weather piles up the snow outdoors.

Get Rid Of Those Winter Blahs With Help From Alure Home Improvements

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Being housebound in the winter months naturally compels homeowners to take note of their surroundings and start to wonder: Is this the best there is? Can we do something to improve the looks of this place?

If you find yourself stuck indoors this time of year, you’re not alone. But if you think you can’t do some timely projects without breaking the bank or running out of precious time to make a difference, you’re wrong. You can do a lot if you take a minute to plan ahead.

So, if you need inspiration, just check out the ideas on display at your Alure Home Improvements center.

Here are some ideas for you to consider that run the gamut:

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First, check out your kitchen. You’re probably spending a lot of time there happily over a hot stove, especially if it’s freezing outside. But the recipes we’re talking about here involve doing something for your eyes and your mind, not your taste buds, although good design is a matter of good taste. Thinking big, you might want to contemplate redoing your kitchen. That kind of remodeling project can run from $19,000 on the low-end to more than $100,000 if you’re going top of the line and over the top.

Now you don’t have to consider either extreme if you just want to make some small aesthetic changes that add up to a big difference. To fit your budget, you might just want to replace your drawer or door handles and pulls with matching new ones. Then you might want to repaint your ceiling and walls, because those projects are easy on your piggy bank. Next, see about updating your kitchen lights, especially the ones over your kitchen table, the counters and the stove. Try new cover plates over the electrical outlets, too. Little things can move mountains.

If your budget allows, consider installing a new backsplash for the walls behind the counters and the stove. Ceramic tiles are great for wiping up grease that splatters from cooking. There’s also glazed porcelain tiles and stone mosaics, if you’re so inclined. They can get pricey, so be forewarned. Next up, maybe it’s time to replace the kitchen sink, or at least the plumbing underneath the sink. Now is the time to fix any leaks and get rid of those rusty old drain pipes. Maybe there’s been some mold under the sink that you never knew was there because all that junk was in the way. Get under there and clean it all out on a Saturday afternoon. You’ll be glad you did!

But without a new coat of paint to accompany a new sink, you might not make the big splash you’re anticipating. You may have to think like an interior decorator to get the full effect you’re after. Bring your paint samples home before you dip your brush into an open can of paint. You don’t want to be stuck with the wrong color.

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Sometimes you can change the look of your room just by changing the lighting. And colors change indoors whether the sun is shining or it’s nighttime. Also, the wrong paint color may cast undertones on the surfaces of a room, and that could make your white cabinets seem gray or even shades of green. Experts say that lighter surfaces reflect undertones more readily. So go to the paint store and come back with handfuls of color cards. Then just remember that the time of day matters how the color will play out. The same principle applies to your bedrooms and living rooms, too.

Anything you do to banish those winter grays will make you feel better!

And if you need guidance, don’t forget that your friends at Alure Home Improvements are ready to help!

Alure Home Improvements: Home Remodeling Guaranteed To Inspire

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Alure Home Improvements jazzes up the remodeling world with its Annual Design & Planning Show!
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It’s back and it’s bigger, better and bolder than ever! That’s right—Alure Home Improvement’s 9th Annual Design & Planning Show will open on Jan. 16th, 17th and 18th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at our fabulous showroom at 1999 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, NY.

Everybody is invited, so bring the family! Admission is free. There will be lots of raffles and tons of prizes, free seminars on a range of inspiring subjects, plus fun and games for kids, too. Did we mention food and refreshments? Yes, there will be plates overflowing with delicious hors d’oeuvres.

If you’re contemplating a remodeling project for your home or you’re wondering about the latest trends in home improvement and interior design, this is the perfect opportunity for you to satisfy your curiosity.

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Like last year, we’ll be offering people a chance to see their home transformed right before their eyes, thanks to our complimentary 15-minute Design Imaging Session. We’ll have sessions conveniently running all weekend. All you need to do is provide a photo of your existing house and our software will do the rest. To fit everybody in, each household is allowed only one session. In order to register, email a front-facing photo of your home to [email protected] with a preferred date and time you’d like your session scheduled. If you can’t email a photo before the show, bring a photo with you and let someone know at check-in that you have a picture for your design-imaging session. Indicate what you’re looking to do with the exterior (siding, roofing, different windows, portico, porch, etc.) and if you have any color preferences or styles in mind. The results could amaze you!

We’ll also offer more than 10 free educational seminars on a fascinating range of home improvement topics and related subjects for today’s homeowner, such as protecting your gutters, preserving your privacy and pairing wines and chocolate!

And that’s not all! If you bring your “honey-do list” to our Handyman Home Services seminar, our experts will offer you some creative ways to save money as you fix your home. Grab your pen and paper and go through every room of your house. Make a list of what you really, really, really want to have done, and see what we suggest. This is one of our most popular seminars because you walk away with answers you can put to use as soon as you get home.

Our seminar called “Basements: The Underground Revolution” will teach you how to transform your wasted space into more suitable living space by using the Owens Corning Basement Finishing System. It’s the quickest, safest and healthiest way to redo your basement. You’ll also learn about the different standards required for below-ground construction.

These two seminars are perennial favorites at our show: “Bathrooms: Making the Dream Bathroom” exposes you to the latest trends in the business—what’s new, what’s hot and what’s not—in the world of bathroom remodeling. We’ll teach you about top-quality cabinetry construction, fabulous design concepts and so much more. There’s more to it than just swapping out sinks and bathtubs. At “Kitchens: What’s Cooking?” you’ll find out how to make your kitchen work for you. We’ll show you what you need to know if you want to redo your kitchen but don’t know where or how to start. It’s more than knocking down walls and expanding. You’ve got to understand the “work triangle,” that special area between the sink, the counter and the stove. Your kitchen is the heart of the home—we want to help you make sure it never skips a beat!

For the kids, they can play under the big tent all three days of the show, where there will be games, snacks, arts and crafts, balloon twisters, skee ball and a video arcade!

Every attendee is automatically entered into our Alure raffle, offering many chances to win some truly great prizes!

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The 9th annual Design & Planning Show, Jan. 16th, Jan. 17th and Jan. 18th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. So, come one and all!

Remember what we always say here: “At Alure Home Improvements, we go to extremes to build your dreams!”

New Year’s Resolutions From Alure Home Improvements To Make Your House A Dream Come True In 2016

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New Year's Resolutions from Alure Home Improvements can make all your home renovation dreams come true in 2016!
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As 2015 comes to end, now is the perfect time to make New Year’s resolutions for your home. And thanks to your friends at Alure Home Improvements, we’ll be sure to help you make those resolutions come true!

Whether it’s a big project like raising the roof, or a small touch-up job such as adding a new coat of paint, we’ve got it covered. Let us suggest some projects to start you thinking in the right direction.

Here’s a suggestion that won’t cost you anything more than your time. Take a good, hard look at everything around you because with the dawn of a new day comes the opportunity to throw what you don’t need away—and to do it without guilt. Begin the New Year with a bang. Don’t cling to the past! Get rid of that clutter and you’ll feel better. You’ll see. From the attic to the closet to the basement to the garage, we’ll help you decide what you can truly live without.

For starters, try taking some daring décor risks with your interior decorating. You’ll want to add some color, some charm, something to liven up the space.

Step one is to approach your living room and remove everything that’s not nailed down. Put these items on your kitchen table where you can sort through it later. Get rid of all the accessories. Move the furniture so you can dust underneath them. You’ll appreciate that fresh scent.

Now you have the chance to reconfigure the space when you replace them. Swap your table lamps, move your bookcases to another wall, if you can. Change the curtains. Rearrange the sofas and couches. Put the TV somewhere else. If you have the energy, repaint the walls and the ceiling, especially if it’s cracked and the paint is peeling. At least, add a plant—the green will do you good.

Before you’re done, look at all that stuff you piled on the kitchen table with a very critical eye. If you don’t know where it came from, toss it in the trash. If it’s dusty or broken, what are you waiting for? Get rid of that stuff. If you need moral support, you’re not alone. There’s a reason that one of the hottest self-help books on the bestseller lists this year is Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Having a well-organized home can improve your mood as well as your physical and mental health.

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To think big, we suggest you consider replacing your front door—or your back door—because this well-used portal wears out fast. If it’s old and cracked, it’s an energy-waster, too, besides making a terrible first impression for your visitors. Maybe this is the year to upgrade your kitchen—we’re experts at Alure Home Improvements, with advice to fit every budget—and satisfaction guaranteed.

If your family has grown, why not turn your attic into a bedroom? The remodeling construction costs aren’t prohibitive, because you’re just gaining space under the same roof. Looking outdoors. What about getting a deck or a patio in 2016? This way you can expand your home’s living space more economically than by adding a new addition. But if you want to go that ambitious route, we’re there to help.

If you want to increase your home’s curb appeal, replace that old garage door. For that matter, why stop there? Consider new siding, whether vinyl or fiber-cement, because it’s low-cost, durable, simple to install, and easy to maintain. There are a host of options just waiting for you to choose from.

For the hottest ideas, here’s what’s trending in 2016, according to top designer Robin Wilson, author of Clean Design: Wellness for Your Lifestyle. Quartz stone countertops are increasingly popular because they’re durable, antibacterial and easily maintainable. Setting up an entry foyer bench lets people remove their shoes and outwear when they just come into your house, which confines dirt and toxins.

Replacing your kitchen sink with an undermount model can reduce the amount of bacteria that’s usually trapped around the lip of your sink. Since the kitchen is recognized as the “heart of the home,” think about opening up that space so family and friends can easily come together for good times and happy meals. And if the kitchen table has become someone’s de-facto office, it’s time to create a better home office space.

Speaking of space, the trouble with buying bulk items from big box stores like BJ’s and Costco is: Where do you put that stuff when you come home? Maybe it’s time to add a pantry off your kitchen where you might also put another refrigerator or freezer for more food storage. If you’re high-tech at work, maybe you want to bring your home into the space age with remote controls that let you manage security, temperature, lights, mechanical window shades and other features from your smart phones when you’re away.

High-end construction folks are installing curbless showers to improve accessibility for those who might be in a wheelchair so they can maneuver themselves right into the stall and use a handheld fixture to take a shower. And, last but not least, these days, many people are exploring all the shades of white—they’re at least 96 tints—to do something subtle for a change when a bright color is too bold to feel right.

Whatever you resolve to do, remember, we’re here to help at Alure Home Improvements. May your house be a dream come true in 2016!

Get In The Holiday Spirit With Helpful Tips From Alure Home Improvements

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Alure Home Improvements spreads the Yuletide cheer with several helpful holiday home improvement tips!
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At Alure Home Improvements, we welcome the holidays because we like to spend this time of year with our families and loved ones enjoying the good times and reliving the best memories of years gone by. We take special pleasure when our surroundings are just the way we like them.

We all know this is the time to let the holiday spirit take over a home joyously and wonderfully. You can spread good cheer without going broke. There’s a lot of innovative ways to decorate your home that are inexpensive but no less imaginative. Maybe you already have your home decked out the way you like, and all you want to do is sip a nice mug of nutmeg and hear the jingle of sleigh bells to make your December night come true for those on your gift list. We’d like to offer you some food for thought to make this holiday really special because ‘tis the season to bring out the best.

For those without a fireplace, you can create a faux mantel in several ways. A book shelf will suffice if it’s properly decorated—especially with a friendly little elf. If you’re more enterprising, you could make a simple towel rack the place to hang Christmas stockings. You can mount it on the living room wall or somewhere else that’s prominent. For a unique, natural look, get a sturdy dry tree branch about a yard long, a can of white craft paint and another of water-based sealer. Peel off the bark, then brush on a couple of coats of paint, making sure each coat is dry before you add the next one. Finally, wait 24 hours, and then brush on the sealer so the paint will set firmly and won’t crack or chip. You can use 3M Command Hooks on the living room wall to mount it or suspend it from the ceiling with colorful ribbons. It’s perfect for stocking stuffers. To simply create a lovely display, just attach a nice colorful string or ribbon firmly on the wall between two thumbtacks to hold all your holiday cards.

Another colorful, creative idea is to take green felt or even artificial turf and cut out the letters to spell “Joy” or “Noel” so you can display a special greeting on your front door. Why not get a foam wreath from the supermarket and wrap sequin ribbon around it for something sparkly to hang on your front door or your wall? To help your guests get off on the right foot, paint triangle-shaped evergreen trees on your doormat, using durable exterior paint. Oil-based paint is better than water-based or latex paint if the surface has already been painted because it won’t peel, but it is harder to clean up and takes longer to dry.

If your holiday lights go out, there’s a simple check list to consult first that could offer the remedy. If the power outage is larger than just a string of lights, you might want to check the circuit breakers in your electrical panel to see if a breaker was tripped or a fuse blew. Then check your connections carefully. If the string of lights suddenly went dark, it could be a fuse in the light set itself. Within the plug-in are a couple of fuses usually hidden behind a small cover. Unplug all the lights on the tree, slide the cover to expose the fuses, and check them out one by one. If they’re bad, they should be replaced. Sometimes the light bulb itself is the culprit. Maybe the bulb was loose or it just went dark because it was old and worn-out. Trouble-shoot the problem and replace the burned-out bulb. Be sure to keep your tree well watered to prevent a fire hazard. If you enjoy inflatable decorations on your lawn, make sure the electrical connections are secure, the outdoor socket stays dry, and your all-weather extension cord is in good shape, without any holes or cuts or exposed wires. Beware of rodents that might nibble on the line.

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Here are some tips for holiday entertaining and hosting. If you have little kids, don’t set your table with your finest linen table cloth so you won’t have to worry about those unavoidable, inevitable spills ruining something priceless. And if the kids are curious toddlers, don’t leave your irreplaceable family heirloom decorations within reach. You’ll want to treasure them for years to come.

If you’re expecting overnight guests, make sure the guest bed is comfortable and clean, the sheets are fresh, the blankets and quilts are dust-free, and the pillows smell nice. Always make sure you have extra sets of bed and bath towels and linens on hand and ready to go. Set aside some space in the guest room for a luggage rack, a small table, a bench, or even a chair to hold a suitcase, so it’s not resting on the floor.

Remember, the more space you provide, the more welcoming the spirit. So clear the dresser and shelves of unnecessary doodads, knickknacks and tchotchkes. Keep it simple so your guests have room to relax. If the guest room allows, definitely furnish it with an upholstered armchair or a comfortable chair and a side table with a lamp nearby. A good reading light is a thoughtful addition, especially if you can install it over the guest bed. If your guestroom is normally deployed as your home office, then make sure there’s space in the closet for your guests to hang their clothes—and include half a dozen hangers. Add a hook on the wall or behind the closet door that could hold a bathrobe, an overcoat or even a purse and a handbag. An empty bureau drawer or two will go a long way to making your guests feel right at home.

Of course, if you want Santa to help make your remodeling dreams come true—whether it’s a new guest room or a redesigned kitchen—then maybe you should put Alure Home Improvements on your wish list. Of course, we won’t slide down your chimney, but we are a lot closer than the North Pole.

Alure Home Improvements Wins Top Honors At CotY Awards

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Alure Home Improvements earned one “Platinum” and four “Gold” awards for its excellence at the annual National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Contractor of the Year Awards!

Press Patron Alure Home Improvements recently won five top honors at the 2015 Contractor of the Year (CotY) awards gala, held Nov. 20 at Larkfield Manor in East Northport.

The annual event, sponsored by the Long Island chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and currently in its 20th year, recognizes NARI members who have demonstrated outstanding work through their remodeling projects. Titled an “Evening of Excellence,” the reception is held on Long Island each November and nationally each March.

East Meadow, NY-based remodeling company Alure Home Improvements earned one “Platinum” and four “Gold” awards for its excellence in various categories.

Alure Home Improvements won the Platinum award in the Residential Kitchen category, for projects in the $30,000 to $60,000 range, along with Gold awards for Residential Bathroom, $25,000 to $50,000; Residential Kitchen from $60,000 to $100,000; Residential Bathroom for projects between $25,000 and $50,000; and Residential Bathroom projects from $50,000 to $75,000.

Contractors honored included: Christina Piekut, Mike Kelly, Sherry Gossett, Joe Russo, Dave Weber, Mary Lotardo, and Joseph Capobianco. According to Seth Selesnow, marketing director for Alure Home Improvements, “Remodeling is a team sport.”

“The CotY awards recognize NARI members who have demonstrated outstanding work in their remodeling business,” said Barry Goggin, chairman of the awards committee. “Each entry is scored by a panel of judges for design, overcoming difficulties, meeting clients’ needs and use of innovative products and building techniques.”

Alure Home Improvements is a Long island home design and remodeling institution. Founded in 1946, in what began as a paint company, Alure has evolved into a full-scale construction business with a wide range of expertise, from kitchens, baths, and windows to siding, basements, sunrooms and roofs. Alure has been featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Long Island and in the New York metro area, as well as contributing to projects in Baltimore and New Orleans. Alure’s commitment to community, under the direction of President Sal Ferro, has been unwavering, whether donating and delivering food and water in the wake of weather disasters or donating time and resources to the expansive list of recipients for their community service.

Alure Home Improvements is also a premier member of Syosset, NY-based digital design and inbound marketing company Morey Publishing’s Press Patrons program, an innovative advertising, marketing and underwriting relationship exclusive to readers of the award-winning online investigative news and cultural arts organization Long Island Press.