Keeping Your Yard & Home Safe From Fires


With the recent wildfires that broke out in the San Diego area over the past couple weeks now is an opportune time to discuss how you can protect your yard and home from fires. You may never be able to fully protect your home, but taking these simple steps in the Fall & Spring will keep your home safer:

1) Get rid of all dead leaves: clean out your gutters at least twice a year (Fall & Spring) and make sure you rake up all dead grass and leaves. Dead, dry leaves can fuel a fire so make sure they’re picked up off the ground (or in a compost bin).

2) Trim trees and shrubs: it’s wise to create a “fire free” zone at least 30 feet from your home. Make sure all trees are trimmed, especially those near your home and chimney. Also, try to keep bushes and shrubs away from trees to a potential fire from jumping easily.

3) Use backyard fires cautiously: this is a no-brainer, but worth mentioning. You should use fire pits the are on top of non-flammable surfaces, such as stone patios. Make sure you adequately put out your fires and dispose of ashes in a metal container.

4) Plant fire-resistant plants: not only are agave and other succulents great drought-resistant plants to landscape your yard with, they’re also fire-resistant because of all the water stored inside them. Stay away from plants or trees that contain resin or sap as these are typically very flammable.

5) Be wary of where you store fuels: It’s wise to store all propane, gas, pain and solvents in proper containers at least 30 feet from your home. A dry, cool shed works best for storing fuel so take inventory of where you’re storing these items (including saturated rags).

By taking these five steps your yard will more sufficiently protect your home from a potential fire. It goes without saying that keeping matches and lighters away from children will help keep you safe as well. Keeping a fire extinguisher or two in your home and/or garage is also a good idea.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your home’s landscaping, as well as protect it from droughts and fires, talk to Greyhound General today. Just leave us a note here or call 800-568-7108.

Remodel vs Buy a New Home

San Diego kitchen remodelingIf you’re lucky enough to live in San Diego you know how important location is. If you’re happy about where you live but not happy with your living space you might want to consider some upgrades that don’t involve moving.

Before we address some solutions to common space concerns, I’ll highlight the benefits of remodeling vs buying a new home. First of all, real estate prices are on the rise, especially in San Diego. According to real estate agent John Ranco, the previous president of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, “remodeling away your house’s shortcomings can cost tens of thousands less than trading up to an already remodeled house, which commands a major premium now.”

Keep in mind that when you move you also have realtor fees and moving expenses. Plus, let’s be honest, no matter how “ready” your new home is, there will always be things you’ll want to modify to really make it yours.

Here are a few solutions to common spacing problems:

1) No first floor bathroom: This is a problem in many pre-war homes, and an inconvenience for guests (especially elder guests). However, if you have a large coat closet, pantry or under-stair area you might be able to add a half bathroom. You really only need about 15-16 square feet. The key here is to work with existing space, if possible, and utilize existing plumbing by building next to, above, or below the laundry room, kitchen, or another bathroom.

2) Small master “suite”: Does you master bedroom leave much to be desired. No walk-in closet of bathroom? Can you barely fit in that king size bed? Consider taking an existing bedroom. While you can certainly save money by knocking down a wall connecting the two bedroom (vs building out or up), this option can really vary in price depending on how extravagant you go with the bathroom. Also, be aware of how many bedrooms your neighbors have, as you don’t want to drop below the neighborhood average, or you could take a hit on your home’s value.

3) Too few bedrooms: So you’ve just combined two rooms into one huge master suite, or you have an unexpected new guest joining the family…what to do? Look up, as in the attic. First of all, you save by not building out, which requires adjustments to the foundation. Secondly, bedrooms do not require plumbing or other expensive appliances. That said, attic remodels can get pricey. You need to have a permanent staircase, and you typically need about 70 square feet of finished space at least 7 feet high. Talk to Greyhound about the latest code requirements.

4) Kitchen too small: This problem, combined with the kitchen simply being outdated, are two of the most common complaints. The simple solution? Knock down a wall. The first place to look is the wall between your kitchen and dining room, or any adjoining room. If you’d like to keep the dining room or living room “as is” consider a small kitchen addition.

These are just a few of the more common spacing problems we run into. Each home is unique and requires unique solutions based on your budget. If you’re considering remodeling your home talk to Greyhound General today. Check out our 5 star reviews on Yelp, or our video collection of beautiful San Diego remodeling projects. we’d be happy to provide a custom quote for you.

To learn more just fill out the form here or call 800-568-7108.

A Collection of Work by Greyhound General

The following video is a collection of several of the finished homes, kitchens and bathrooms by Greyhound General. For a free estimate, or to inquire about our services, please submit your information here or call 800-568-7108.

2010 is a great time to remodel your San Diego home

While the economy has shown some life in the first quarter of 2010, there is still a ton of room for recovery. Even the housing market, which in some areas of the country have improved, is still projected to bottom out over the next few years. While many speculate on when the economy will recover, one thing’s for sure, there are deals to be had if you’re looking to remodel your home.

In this economy, you can expect to find that most bids will be at least 10 percent lower than they were two years ago. It’s important to always get multiple bids when shopping for the right general contractor. If these are established companies, the bids should all fall between 5-10% of each other. Be wary of unproven or contractors who don’t have the following:

  • proof of contractor’s license
  • proof or insurance and workman’s compensation
  • a clean record with the Better Business Bureau
  • a clean history with sites like
  • testimonials with previous client’s phone numbers
  • photos, videos and addresses of previous work

2010 is a great time to remodel your home in San Diego. Contact Greyhound General today for a free estimate, or call 800-568-7108.

Importance of an architect when remodeling your home

So you’ve decided that you need to remodel your home. You’ve received several detailed estimates and met with many contractors about the project. However, you might have a lingering question looming over your head…Do I need an architect for this? The answer more than likely is yes! There are several reasons why architects are important.

For starters, architects are experts in their field. The are licensed professionals who have been thoroughly trained in their field. Their work must be held to a high standard because they are responsible for the safety of any project they approve. Architects also can help provide clarity for the project as a whole. Unlike homeowners, who can sometimes get caught up in various details, architects take into account everything: the homeowner’s needs, their budget, their timeline for completion, necessary materials, necessary permits, and space requirements. An architect can help you define your goals with the project and outline all the necessary steps to go from start to finish with any project. They have the ability to combine both a structural mindset with an aesthetic mindset. Utilizing an architect will ensure all permits and documents are secured and on time. Most importantly, architects help ensure that your vision is transformed into a reality.

An architect can help a home remodeling project run much more smoothly. When considering which general contractor to use for the project you should look to one that has architects on its team. If you’re in the greater San Diego area and in need of a home remodeling contractor with an architect on its staff then look no further than Greyhound General. Contact Greyhound General today for a free estimate, or call 800-568-7108.

How to make your San Diego home green

“Going green” has been the hottest trend for the past few years. We always hear about ways that we can “go green.” Whether it’s using paper instead of plastic at the grocery store, driving less, or simply recycling more, green is everywhere. For homeowners there are many opportunities to go green. Here are a few simple ideas to make your home greener:
1) Invest in CFLs: This is the first step in improving you carbon footprint, and reducing your energy bills. Switch out your light bulbs from standard incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Start by changing the most frequently used light bulbs and you’ll start to notice a difference in your energy bill within a year. They might be more costly than regular light bulbs, but they last longer and cut down on your energy bills.
2) Insulate your walls and attic: By preventing heat from leaving your house during the winter or entering your house during the summer you’ll use less energy to heat or coll the house. When considering installing insulation the installation itself is much more important that the material used. All types of insulation (fiberglass, cellulose and most foam) will reduce heat conduction of your walls, if installed properly.
3) Replace the windows: Old and leaky windows often allow heat to enter and escape, driving up energy bills. Consider installing new energy-efficient windows or at least upgrading your windows with weatherstripping.
4) Invest in energy-efficient appliances: Appliances count for a significant size of nearly every home’s energy bill. Consider replacing your old water heater, dishwasher and refrigerator. Older refrigerators are typically the least energy efficient appliance. Also, consider whether or not you need that second refrigerator.
5) Plant a tree (or two): Even if you have bad insulation, you can help save energy by planting trees in your yard. This will provide more shade and save energy. Consider using deciduous trees planted on the west side of the house.
6) Go solar…and get tax benefits: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides tax benefits for those who upgrade their home in 2010. The tax benefit can cover up to 30% of these home improvements. Consider a solar hot-water system, geothermal heat pumps, or solar panels to heat your pool.

While there are many simple things homeowners can do to go green, the process can be overwhelming. If you are considering remodeling a portion of your home and you are concerned about it being as energy efficient as possible then consider a San Diego green contractor, Greyhound General. Contact Greyhound General today for information about making your home green.

How to find the right general contractor in San Diego

When you decide to remodel any aspect of your home, whether it be your bathroom, kitchen or multiple rooms, you are likely to be faced with the tedious chore of choosing a contractor. To start you need to be sure that any contractor you’re considering has a valid contractor’s license, valid workman’s compensation and valid liability insurance. In order to verify this you need proof from the contractor. Furthermore, you’ll want to get as many references from the contractor as possible.

There are many important questions to ask these references. Here are just a few important questions to ask:

  • Did you have an opportunity to see and approve the plans prior to the start of the job?
  • Did the job start on time?
  • Did they clean the work area before leaving for the day?
  • Did the quality of the work live up to your expectations and what they promised?
  • Did the job get completed on time?
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Did they ever ask for money before the phase of work was completed and before they were entitled to be paid? Did workers or sub contractors make asides or complain they were not being paid on time or were worried about getting their money at all? This is a huge red flag.
  • For your next home remodeling project consider a well respected San Diego general contractor with an impeccable record.

    San Diego home construction ideas

    The first step any homeowner should take before remodeling their home is determining what their budget is. It’s a good idea to have a rough budget in mind before bringing out a contractor to give you an estimate. Often times a contractor may come out multiple times in order to fully understand the scope of the work. In fact, this is essential for almost any project. For many remodeling projects blueprints and permits are required. Once you do get an estimate from a contracting company make sure that they give you a fixed price and they take the time to clearly go through the scope of the work.

    The next step after determining your budget is to analyze exactly what you want upgraded. If you’re hoping to remodel your kitchen and you’ve determined your budget then you can think about the layout that you’d like, the materials that you want and appliances that you’d like. For counter tops you’ll want to consider granite, stainless steel, marble or engineered stone if you have a bigger budget or if counter tops are high on your list of upgrades. Even more inexpensive alternatives such as laminates, wood and tile can get pricey if they are customized. For any material used it is important to understand the pros and cons for its potential to chip, stain, scratch, or dent, as well as how much maintenance they require. The same thought process should be applied to the appliances that you choose. Make sure your contractor offers you a variety of choices of materials and appliances, and is well versed in the pros and cons of each.

    If you’re opting to remodeling your entire home or add on to it then you have many more options. One option to consider is whether or not to go solar. Any new room or addition will likely require a new roof. Placing solar panels on your roof will cost more up front, but will save you a lot of money in the long run. Another idea to consider if you’re remodeling your home is repainting the entire house. Often times construction companies will simply paint the newly built area, but neglect the rest of the house. However, there may be problem areas with paint chipping or peeling, stucco cracking or worse, wood rotting. Even if the last paint job was within 5 years you may want to consider adding another coat of 100% acrylic paint for wood or elastomeric paint for stucco.

    No matter how big or small your project, you’ll want input from the contractor you choose. If you are in need of a contractor who can help you through this process then look no further than Greyhound General. Contact
    Greyhound today for a free estimate.

    Home Remodeling Tips To Follow

    When you decide to make the move to remodel your kitchen, bathroom or your entire house, the next step is choosing the right contractor. Here are several tips to follow when selecting your contractor:

    • verify that the contractor’s license is valid (visit and enter their license number)
    • verify that the contractor has workman’s compensation and liability insurance (don’t just ask if they do, get proof)
    • ask if you can call any of the references provided (then go visit the property in person)

    Choosing the right contractor can be a daunting task. It is important to get at least 3 quotes. Don’t automatically go with the cheapest company, but weigh each bid with the service outlined and the reputation of the company. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints either.

    If you’re looking for a bid on your next home remodeling project in the southern California area, contact Greyhound General:

    San Diego Residential Remodeling

    Remodeling your home is one of the biggest financial deicisions you will ever make. Your home is your most valuable asset, and at a time when home values are dropping, investing in your home requires selecting the right remodeling contractor. You need a residential remodeling contractor that has a proven track record, highly skilled employees, and excellent customer service.

    Greyhound General has maintained a flawless record with the Better Business Bureau, and has yet to be invloved in any civil suit or arbitration. More importantly though, Greyhound General has established itself as an industry leader because of the relationships that they maintain with their clients, both former and current. No matter the size of the project, Greyhound will be there to walk the client through every step of the process, from the design phase to the permit processing to choosing the right appliances. Much of Greyhound General’s success is due to the fact that their clients come back to them for every future remodeling need. After all, when you choose Greyhound General you’re their customer first and their client forever.