Here is opened a possibility that ten years ago was nonexistent: The heat-proofing of a house for economy of fuel in the winter and the keeping out of summer heat, but more vitally for the elimination of drafts, and, as a result, the maintaining of even temperatures throughout the house during the heating season. Heat-proofing calls for storm sash, metal weatherstripping on all outside openings, and the insulation of roof and walls - that is, the incorporation within these of a layer of material that will check the passage of heat and of heated air. Storm sash is a known quantity, while with efficient weather-stripping the choice will be between several non-corrosive metals. With insulation the choice is wide in material, in form, and in position: Animal, vegetable, or mineral; in flexible blankets, semi-flexible and stiff sheets, or loose; to be beneath the outer finish, within the stud and rafter spaces, and partly or completely filling them, or on the inside walls. Selection of material and of method will depend on the construction of the house, and will be affected by the protection that is desired, by price, and by other factors. That his interests may be best served, an owner can hardly reach a decision without a fair knowledge of the entire situation.
The cellar of a house of ten and more years ago was strictly for practical needs; but the modern owner can make as good use of it as of any other part of the house. Through advanced methods of water-proofing a cellar can be tight and dry even with a swamp or running stream beneath, while condensation from the contact of damp air with chilled foundation walls can be prevented by linings of insulating materials.....
The only floorings that were formerly to be considered were of wood, and in small variety. Wood is still in greatest use, with an increase in the kinds that are available as well as in their treatment and finish. One advance is a process of impregnation through which wood, and especially oak, is rendered nearly immune to atmospheric changes; oak in wide planks, so greatly desired for certain period designs, but unsatisfactory because of shrinkage, can now be laid with good assurance of permanence. By another process, blocks for patterned floors are laid in a cement that remains plastic, and through which a floor gains a pleasant resilience. With improvements in grading, in seasoning, and in finish, wood flooring has been generally bettered in appearance as well as in resistance to wear. In addition there are new floorings, linoleum, tile, and plastic materials, which are possible candidates for almost any room in the house.
The introduction of quick-drying lacquer a few years ago has resulted in the speeding up of the drying and hardening of paints, enamels, and varnishes, the benefit to the owner being a saving of time that permits redecoration in hours rather than days. The length of life of paint, especially for exterior work, has also been extended through the use of a metallic first coat that protects against deterioration from light.
While the selection of materials and the making of specifications call for far more effort on the part of the owner than formerly, he is immeasurably the gainer, and finds his compensation in a degree of comfort, convenience, and service never before possible.