Best of Houzz 2016 – Best of Customer Service



Awarded Best Of Houzz 2016

 Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

 Harrisonburg, Virginia, January 24, 2016 – The Gaines Group of Charlottesville and Harrisonburg has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 30-year-old architectural firm was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of  their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.


“We have been very fortunate this past year to have incredible clients with fun projects. I am thrilled to have so many happy clients doing projects we are very proud to include in our portfolio” said Charles Hendricks. “Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize The Gaines Group, voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”


Follow The Gaines Group on Houzz 

About The Gaines Group, PLC

Named the “Best Small Architectural Firm” in a worldwide vote of USGBC members for the best of building awards, The Gaines Group is celebrating 30 years of service this year. With dedication to our clients we strive to create design that can provide a better future. We want to see that our work made a difference and the community is a better place for it.Why we do it? Because we want our clients to have comfortable beautiful healthy spaces to live, play, and work.

 About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit


Snow may help identify places you are wasting money

Snow may help identify places you are wasting money

Snow may help identify places you are wasting money

There was a time I enjoyed snow – that time has passed. To me now, snow is an interruption in my schedule, plowing a driveway, shoveling many hours, and dangerous roads. However, it is also an easy time to identify energy leaks in your home. Snow may help identify places you are wasting money through air leaks and poor insulation.

Timberville Snow Timberville Snow

For instance, in this house we used to own in Timberville had a major insulation problem in the bonus room. That room above the garage was always a few degrees different from the rest of the house. You can see the snow has melted at the roof / wall intersection from heat coming through to the outside. When we did an energy audit on this house we found that the wall did have insulation in it. It was just installed in a way that allowed air movement and in one case a bridge to the outside. This room’s comfort issues and thermal bridge was corrected by Elite Insulation adding a layer of foam to create an air barrier on the outside of the existing fiberglass insulation. The room comfort was considerably improved.

Timberville Snow

From the front of the house you can see the trusses in the roof over the garage. This indicated more air movement from the conditioned space. This attic space was not accessible so all we could do when we insulated was to fix the back half of the roof cutting down most of the air movement. You can see there is again warmth coming through the wall at the roof intersection above the porch. Not an area that is easily fixed after construction so make sure you get it right during construction. All in we spend $1,500 fixing insulation problems on this house and lowered our annual energy bills by $500.

broadway snow

At our new (old) house there is still much work to be done. See the melted snow in between the windows on the roof – that is air escaping out of the hood vent above the stove. We need to improve our insulation in the attic to fix this problem. Also you can see we have storm windows which traps the warm moist air escaping from the house in between the window and outside creating condensation. We have a LOT of warmth leaking from out windows. However, this is the last thing we will fix as it is the most expensive and has the longest payback period of changes we could make to the house.

broadway snow

With this particular storm the snow drifts are massive. Nothing you can do here other than hope they do not pull gutters down or worse cause a roof collapse. Our roofs here are designed for 43 pounds of snow load psf. We should be ok now that the snow has stopped, but I will remain nervous until it melts.

broadway snow

Finally, watch how the snow melts on your roof. This will tell you, compared to your neighbors with a roof facing the same direction if you are average or above average with your attic insulation. I know our house needs attention since we don’t yet have R-72 insulation in the attic. If you are building a new house this is the time to get these details right, it will cost you less and save you more. If you have an existing house, things can be fixed to work more efficiently, but there is only so much to be done. The best we have done on an existing home is a 65% reduction in energy use. Let me know if you want help identifying the problems that need addressed at your home.