Selecting new siding is one of the most important decisions homeowners face when building new or remodeling an existing home. Here are four key areas to consider:

Durability. Look for a siding option that is resistant to every element, including rain, wind and even the sun.

Design. According to PlyGem, there are seven primary siding material options available — vinyl, metal, wood, brick, fiber cement, stucco and stone — and countless color and style options within each material type. Ask a siding specialist like a contractor, builder or architect for help.

Maintenance. Seek siding that is low maintenance. Each siding material type has a different level of care and maintenance required.

Affordability. Do your homework on the options and secure estimates, then compare them with your budget. Investing a little more into the project up front may reduce issues and maintenance costs down the road.


How to choose an energy-efficient furnace

If it’s time to replace your furnace, you may be wondering if it’s worth the extra investment to buy an energy-efficient system. Or you may be unsure how to choose an energy-efficient system for your home. York and Chip Wade, HGTV expert, offer some guidance for choosing an energy-efficient heating system:

* The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) measures how efficiently a gas furnace converts fuel into energy. Generally, the higher the AFUE rating of a furnace the more energy efficient it will be.

* Be sure to right-size your furnace. A unit that’s too small for your home will have to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.

* Look for models that offer efficiency-enhancing features such as a modulating burner that continuously adjusts heating levels in small increments to match the precise degree of comfort needed.


Top apps for your home-improvement project

There’s an app for everything these days, including your home-improvement project. Get yours off on the right foot with these app suggestions from technobuffalo.

* Thumbtack. Thumbtack makes finding a professional contractor easy. Enter your needs and you’ll receive quotes from local contractors quickly.

* Clutter. Sometimes your home must get worse before it can get better. Use Clutter to hire professionals to remove items you don’t need now and transport them to a storage facility. They’ll also help you move them back when you’re ready.

* Home Design 3D. This one’s fun even if you don’t have a project that requires it. Use Home Design 3D to draw up plans for your next project in 2D or 3D. You can even go down to the wall colors and the furniture.


Use ecofriendly insulation for a healthier home

As homeowners become increasingly aware of the impact their homes can have on the environment — and on their health — making eco-conscious choices is as important as ever.

One way to do so is install eco-friendly insulation. Certain materials in your home, such as insulation, can be replaced with sustainable options that also improve indoor air quality. Consider replacing your existing attic insulation with sheep’s wool insulation. This renewable, high-performing and safe-to-handle material excels at managing moisture while improving indoor air quality through the absorption of formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide and other harmful substances.

— Family Features/Havelock Wool