Month: February 2013

21st Century Building Trends

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Where form meets function:

The rise of new building methodology and technology has created a host of exciting trends in building. From multi-function living space, to home automation, all the way up to allowing your home to work in-sync with the surrounding environment, have all improved not only the quality of general home construction, but the functional aspects of the home. Here are 7, current building trends, that can be used when building, renovating or adding on to your existing home.

  1. Accessibility:

This can be linked, sometimes, to factors associated with aging or a general second look at current space. Highly accessible bathrooms, living spaces and especially kitchen/dining areas, are becoming the norm. It’s amazing how much open space is created, simply by taking a revised look at existing space, re-fitting in key components and opting for often more energy efficient and functional modern equipment. Fewer stairs, larger doorways, and cleaner/modern design spaces are all linked to the accessibility puzzle. In a recent American Institute of Architects (AIA) survey, nearly half of the design professionals who responded, said that accessibility was key in today’s home design market.

  1. Large Garages:

The garage has become more than just a docking bay for cars these days. They offer extra storage or even a hangout for hosting social events. In an area like Deep Creek Lake, where often boats, kayaks, ATVs, snow skies, etc are a normal item for homeowners to have, a large garage can be a perfect place to store all your outdoor accessories, along with your car.

  1. Multi-Function rooms:

As homes change in layout and size, according to the AIA, rooms designed solely for one purpose, are going to the wayside. To replace them, all-purpose rooms are taking over. Kitchen/dining area combinations, living room/play area combinations, are a great way to maximize the flexibility of space, especially in homes intended to accommodate guests.

  1. Home within a home:

Deep Creek home owners are often entertaining family, friends or other groups. The layout of a home can be modified, or designed, to offer literal homes within a home. Here various design aspects can work together, tailoring each section of the home with a different function and feel, making it almost like a harmonious single, yet separate, living space.

  1. Energy Efficiency:

Many people associate green with expensive. While some green alternatives cost more upfront, many are simple changes that can save a lot in the long run. From properly sealing the home, to the use of energy star appliances all the way into the application of solar and geo-thermal technology – where efficiency was once an option it’s quickly becoming the norm.

  1. Home plans for today’s lifestyle:

Laundry areas have evolved to offer easy access, from a variety of points within the home. Some owners even install laundry chutes, allowing quick drop off from any desired point. What is dubbed a “Costco pantry” is a large pantry, right off a garage, used for storing bulk items for the kitchen, without cluttering up the rest of the house.

Finally, drop points are areas, where upon entry into the house, gadgets such as cellular phones, ipods, keys, etc can be dropped, for quick and continuous access.

  1. The open plan:

While nothing new, in the realm of home renovation or construction, the open plan is becoming increasingly popular. The open plan not only makes a home’s interior seem larger, it offers open line of sight, less hallways and a continuous flow. According to AIA, a 3,200 square foot, open floor plan today can appear larger than a 4,000 square foot floor plan, of 20 years ago. A visitor would feel like they are in a larger home, when in fact the home is 20% smaller.

If you are interested in taking a fresh look at your current home, contact us today to schedule a consultation.


Ice Damming … A potential winter time disaster

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Ice Damming:

Often, the feeling created by a home laden with icicles, brings back fond memories of wintertime and the holiday season. In reality those beautiful pillars of ice could be signaling a major problem brewing on top of your home, ice damming. An ice dam is a common home maintenance issue in colder climates, like what we experience at Deep Creek Lake in the winter. These occur when snow accumulates on the slanted roof of a house with inadequate or failing insulation. As heat rises, it conducts through the inadequate insulation and warm air bypasses through the attic warming the roof. Often snow that has accumulated on the roof above living spaces melts, but the snow on overhangs does not. Melted water flows down the roof, under the cover of the un-melted snow. Eventually this allows ice to accumulate along the eave and in the gutter. As the snow above heated living spaces continues to melt, the water cannot drain properly through the ice created on the eave and in the gutter. This water has nowhere to go and is indiscriminate in its infiltration of the home, often damaging ceilings, walls, floors and the result in an unoccupied vacation home, can be a disaster.


To make matters worse, if an untrained person attempts to remove the snow and ice that has resulted in a dam, it can cause further damage to the roof.

There are a variety of ways to prevent and manage an ice dam. One is simply getting onto the roof and removing the snow and ice build-up, though as mentioned above, this can cause further damage to the roof. The best way is to increase insulation, sealing and ventilation in the attic space, thus eliminating hot air from warming the roof above living spaces, and allowing heat to escape via ventilation. Another option is to install heat cable in gutters and along the eaves of the roof, melting the ice that accumulates as snow melts and preventing the dam.


Over the years tough winters in Garrett County have resulted in various ice dam related problems for our clients. To stay on top of ice damming and prevent it from happening, we have found two products that work very well when installed correctly.

The first is Grace Weather Shield. Grace weather shield is a premiere waterproofing membrane, constructed of two waterproof materials – aggressive asphalt adhesive backing backed by a layer of high density, cross laminated polyurethane. The back of the shield applies to a roof or decking surface and the rubberized surface seals around nails, preventing water infiltration through nail holes from ice damming or wind driven rain.

The use of two water proof materials creates a dual barrier blocking water infiltration into the home and functions well underneath asphalt, cedar shakes, tile, slate and metal.


As I mentioned above, heat cable is often used to combat ice damming by melting the ice in gutters and on roof eaves. The problem is, heat cable can be unreliable. Often small animals such as squirrels can chew the cable’s coating, causing it to fail, or heavy snow can push the cable out of place or damage it. Also, many homeowners don’t like the appearance of heat cable installed on their roof.

To combat all of these issues at DCL HomeWorks, we utilize a product called Thermal Tech or engineered roof de-icing. They create ice damming solutions that use traditional heating technology encased in a permanent aluminum housing, even creating sloped eave covers that allow water to drain. These are outfitted to match your current roof color and are not only attractive, but act as a permanent fix to ice dam related water leaks.



To contact us for a consolation regarding an ice dam related problem at your home, feel free to contact us via email, or phone (301) 533.0111

For information on the products described in this article, visit: and