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Showing posts from 2014

Tips on getting your home ready for winter

Winter is here. Is your home ready to take the cold? There are quite a few things you need to do, to ensure that your home does not get damaged during the cold weather. You need to take steps to make sure that all your equipment is maintained and protected throughout the winter months.
Here is a checklist of things to take care off for the cold season:
Keep the cold outMake sure that your home is sealed well. A small crack or an unevenly fixed window could make a difference. If there is a crack or chip, you would already feel the draft and your home wouldn’t be getting as warm as it should. Get someone who has experience in the construction business to fix it. They will know what to look for. If you find multiple cracks and your windows and doors are very old, you may need to consider doing a minor remodel to get your home in shape.Insulating your homeSometimes, just sealing all the cracks may not be enough. Especially in large, big mansions, it can get quite draughty. Insu…

Remodeling the home for a growing family

When you built your house, you would not have had any idea on how large your family would turn out to be. A couple of kids later, you would have to seriously start thinking on how and where to add those extra bedrooms and provide them with their own privacy. With remodeling design options available these days, you can be sure that you can find a number of ways of making your home bigger to accommodate your growing family.
Apart from extra bedrooms, you may need a den, a bigger kitchen, more bathrooms and additional storage space. For some families, just moving to a bigger house is an option, but many can’t afford that and will have to remodel their current home in as aesthetically pleasing a manner as possible, and on a budget.
Some remodeling ideas for extra space
You could take an existing large bedroom and split it in two so that your kids can have their own space.If you have an attic, you are in luck. The attic can be used in different ways. They could be turned into a c…

Remodeling the Family Bathroom

Every home has a family bathroom. It may be called the hallway bathroom, the main bathroom or something else. But it is the one place that is put to the most use and so it is the one that sees the most wear and tear. That means that it ages faster than the other bathrooms. Bathrooms are places we take for granted and since we use them so often, the signs of wear and aging are often not noticed until one day the depressing nature of the room becomes inescapable. That’s when you realize that it’s time to remodel the bathroom.
Bathroom remodeling is not cheap and because of the plumbing and electrical connections, any mistakes in the remodeling process will be hard and expensive to fix. To be sure of getting the best results from the remodel, you should plan it down to the last detail, keeping in mind the needs of all those who will be using it.
Questions to Ask Yourself
How many people will be using the bathroom? Are there any elderly folks with special needs? What about ki…

Remodeling Precautions or Mistakes?

With all the remodeling horror stories going around, it’s natural that when you plan your remodel, taking precautions to protect yourself and your family from contractors who let you down and work that is substandard is probably the uppermost thing floating in your mind. Being careful and taking steps to protect your family, your home and your money makes a lot of sense. But there are times when the precautions you take could backfire on you and turn a smoothly progressing home remodel into a maze where you, the contractor and your money can get lost.
What You Should Not Do
What follows are the kind of things that magazines and online articles tell you are the things you “should” do to stay in control of the project. As the client, what you want should be what you get and ensuring that you are getting what you are paying for is the right thing to do. But often the unintended consequences of these actions can face far reaching negative implications. Here are some things, rela…

Reclaim Space by Remodeling

Sooner or later most families find their homes are running out of space. The obvious solutions are to either add to the home or move to a bigger one. Both are expensive and moving can disrupt the lives of all those who live in the home. Before contemplating such extreme steps, why not look at making better use of the space that is already available? The three areas of a home where space is most often wasted are the basement, attic and garage. Remodeling them can be a convenient and cost effective way of getting the space you need.
The Basement

A typical basement is a dark gloomy place where things that are unwanted or rarely used are stored. Cleaning out all the junk that has accumulated there can be expected to reveal a significant amount of free space that can be used productively. A basement as some inherent limitations such as a lack of natural light. But creative thinking can often turn these limitations into advantages. For example, a dark space is ideal for a home theater.…

Questions to Ask a Remodeling Contractor

When interviewing potential home remodeling contractors, the first questions that spring to a homeowner’s mind are usually “When will you start? When will you finish the job? How much will it cost?” These are all important issues but they are far from being enough. As a homeowner you want to be sure that you are getting the best people for remodeling your home. Starting when you want, finishing on schedule and sticking to a budget are great, but they do not mean that the remodeling will be done properly or the way you want.
As the client you have the right to know all that is relevant to your home remodel. That means that you are entitled to ask any questions and get all the information that you need to enable you to choose the contractor who you think is right for the job. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (the industry association of the remodeling industry) has a list of questions that a homeowner should ask a contractor before giving him the project.
Th…

Bathroom Remodeling Basics

Yes, it is the smallest room in the house. Yes, people may spend less time in it than in other rooms. But this small room can be one of the most difficult ones to remodel. It is also the room where so many DIY home remodelers come to grief. You may be able to fix a leaking faucet or unclog a blocked drain. Those are repairs, not remodeling. Bathroom remodels can range from the simple renovations and freshening up to a complete makeover that give the home a completely new bathroom. It’s important to know what you want to do and to have your budget in place before you begin. Most importantly, you need to be sure of your abilities – if you have not done this type of job, on a similar scale before, it’s advisable to seriously think of calling in a professional. You may think that doing the job yourself will save money. But if it is too much for you, the end result will be a bathroom that no one will want to use. Alternatively, getting in a remodeling contractor to do the repa…

Remodeling an Old Home

Older homes often have a lot more character than newer ones which is why so many people prefer them. But the years do take a toll, and even the best maintained of old homes usually need remodeling sooner or later. There are 2 aspects to remodeling old homes – renovation which add new spaces, features or functionality to the home and restoration which repairs and restores those parts of the home that are not going to be changed. Striking the right balance between renovation and restoration can be a huge challenge. For example, there may be a beautiful sitting room that needs to be restored. But a gym has to be created and the only place is next to the sitting room. It’s not going to work. And restoring the old room involves a lot of specialist work like getting molds or blades made to exactly replace damaged ones.
The best thing the owner of an old home can do is to have the remodeling done by a contractor with design-build capabilities. This will ensure that space utilizat…

When not to Remodel Part 2

Who are you keeping up with? Does your home really need a remodel? Or are you planning on one because people you know are doing it? Look at your home objectively – not in comparison with those of other people. You are going to live in the home, not others. It has to be the way you want it. If changes are to be made to it, these should be because they are what you want, not because it is what others are doing.Increasing your equity is an important part of home remodeling. Are the changes you plan purely cosmetic? Or will they add to your home’s value? Even if you have no plans at present to sell your home, things may change in the future. Moving and buying a new home is a huge expense. If you will not be able to recoup the money you have invested in the remodeling when you sell, how will you be placed financially? If you are sure that the cost of home remodeling will not have a negative impact on your financial fut…

When not to Remodel Part 1

The temptation to remodel your home is great. TV, internet, magazines and “lifestyles of the rich and famous” all conspire to encourage us to continually look at ways to improve our homes. There is nothing wrong with this – a home is the biggest investment and improving, upgrading and enhancing its value are always good things to do.  But it is important to be sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Remodeling just because it is “the” thing to do is a mistake. You could end up with a home that is better than when you started. But it will probably not be the best you could have done. At worst, the end result could be a home that you are not happy with.
So what are the reasons for not remodeling? Ask yourself these questions and answer them as honestly as you can. The answers you give will allow you to see if your remodeling is being done for the right reasons. Remodeling or a trip to Paris? You may have put the money aside but what do you really want to use it for? Wha…

Ways to Estimate your Room Addition Cost

There comes a time when most families find their home is too small for them. An addition to the existing home is better than moving to a bigger house. But it’s important for you to know how much the room addition is going to cost you, so that you can plan your budget and arrange for the finances accordingly. Keep in mind that additions, on a square foot basis, are usually about 30% more expensive in comparison to new construction. This is because the existing building needs to be modified to accommodate the additions both in terms of structural safety as well as aesthetics.
While the size of the room is a major issue in determining the cost of additions, there are three other factors that you need to know about. The figures given below are approximations and the actual cost will vary depending on the region you live in, the complexity of the job and the amount of designing required.
The Type of Room
The cost of the addition will depend to a large extent on the type of room b…

The Advantages of Design-Build Remodeling

One of the biggest problems during a remodel is coordinating and mediating between the designer and contractor. The designer will have specific ideas on what should be done and these are usually conceived in association with the homeowner. Similarly, the contractor will have his own ideas on how the work should be executed and what the end result should be. These are normally based on his experience on what will work and what won’t, Engineering/Construction issues, cost and time considerations. Unethical designers and incompetent contractors do exist and if you should fall into the clutches of one or both you will have major problems. But even if you have an honest, experienced and skilled designer and contractor, they will not be in agreement on many issues.
The Homeowner’s Headache
Both the designer and contractor are specialists in their fields. You probably have only a layman’s understanding of both. But you are the one who has to mediate between the two and find a solu…

How to Avoid Home Remodeling Disasters

The horror stories of home remodeling disasters are a legion. It’s enough to put people off even thinking about renovating their homes. Sure, folks will tell you that for every disaster there are 9 plus successful remodels. That’s nice to know, but how do you make sure that you are among the successful ones? Keep the following points in mind and you will have a remodeled home that will be the envy of your friends and neighbors. The Contractor: This is the first and most important aspect of the remodel to consider. You could have a large remodeling budget, the best of designs and materials and be ready to spend months on the project. That’s all great, but the wrong contractor can ruin everything. It’s important to understand what is meant by the ‘wrong’ contractor. It need not be someone who is out to cheat you or one whose work is substandard. The wrong contractor is one who is not on the same page as you in regard to the kind of remodeling you want done and the type of ho…

Future Proof Home Remodeling

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age of the American home is 36 years. In other words, the average American home is rapidly approaching middle age. That is a time when major remodeling is often required. Remodeling is a good investment and it can add quality to the lives of the people living in the home. An important aspect of home remodeling is planning for the future. Today, no one wants a house with sagging fiberglass insulation, power guzzling appliances and leaky doors and windows. 10 years ago these were not major issues and ‘green’ building and ‘energy efficiency’ were terms used only by ardent environmentalists. Today it’s an integral part of any new construction and remodeling. No one can predict what the next 10 years will bring, but if the possibilities are not considered, your remodeled home could be out of date sooner than you ever expected. And if you should have to sell it, its market value will not be all that great. So what can you do to fu…

Home Improvements that Pay Off – Part 2

It is important to keep in mind that the same home improvement project can affect the value of a home differently depending on not just the region but the neighborhood. For example, in some parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, installing a swimming pool can increase a home’s value more than in others. In places with a cooler climate, a pool may be installed by a person with special exercise or health needs. But it may not add in any significant manner to the value of the house as the utilization of the pool by the average homeowners may be little to nothing because of the low temperatures.
Conversion Vs. Addition
It is often assumed that additions to a home will result in a significant increase in value. This is not necessarily so. How the addition fits into the existing structure, the way it affects aesthetics and other factors work to determine the market value of the additional space that has be gained. Keep in mind that a buyer looking for a 3 bedroom house will not ca…

Home Improvements that Pay Off – Part 1

Bringing in a new front door will increase the value of a home by 96.6% of the cost of the door. So why is this important? A homeowner or family starts to think about home remodeling when the home begins to look stale and dated, when it no longer meets the occupants’ needs or when more space is needed to meet new demands. These are all valid reasons for remodeling a home but there is one aspect of this major project that is often overlooked. How much will the renovation add to the value of the home?  This may seem like a redundant question to those who are not considering selling their homes. But the house forms a huge part of their equity and anything that adds to its value works to their benefit. And suppose for some unforeseen reason there is a need to sell the house. Will the tens of thousands of dollars spent of remodeling it be translated into a higher market value?
Increasing the market value of a home is not the sole reason for home remodeling – a home is more than…

Home Remodeling Trends in 2014

In home remodeling as with everything else in life, blindly following trends and fads is not a good idea. As a person and as a family, you are unique from everyone else and your tastes and needs are your own. No good will ever come from doing anything just because others are doing it. Having said that, there is no harm in being aware of what the current trends are. There may be something that does appeal to you and which you can adopt. Here are a few home remodeling trends that are big this year. 21st Century Kitchens. Surveys among home remodeling contractors show that over 60% of them expect to do complete kitchen remodels this year, more than any other room in the house. And the majority of these remodels are expected to be of creating modern kitchens. Till recently, kitchen design was based on a traditional look and feel. Warm colors and lights, wrought iron hardware and a ‘cozy’ atmosphere were the major considerations. Today people are looking at minimalist designs w…

Home Remodeling Fads that Failed

Home remodeling is no exception to fads, styles and crazes. There is nothing wrong with picking up good remodeling ideas from wherever they can be found. But to incorporate something into your home remodeling plans just because everyone else is doing it is often a huge mistake. Often a fad has no foundation of quality, style or utility. It just seems to create itself and continue to generate followers who do not realize the mistake they are making until it’s too late. A look at some of the popular home remodeling fads of the past will show that what seemed like good ideas at the time turned out, in retrospect, to be big mistakes The Open Plan Home of the 80s. The open plan (or Great Room) was based on the idea that there was no need for the kitchen to be cut off from living spaces. And what was the need to separate the den from the dining or living room? All rooms are equal and a home without these divisions is a more spacious and open one. Not so. What happens when cookin…

Post Remodeling Stress Disorder

Everyone knows what PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is - in the simplest terms it is the mental, physical and emotional after effects of a traumatic incident or experience. What is not so well known is PRSD (Post Remodeling Stress Disorder). This may sound like a joke, but it is not. What it refers to is the period just after a home remodel has been complete. No matter how much planning and thought has gone into the project, at the end there will always be things that were left out, things that are not as they were supposed to be and things that have just plain gone wrong. And fretting over these minor irritants to the extent of not being able to enjoy the newly remodeled home is PRSD.
20-20 Hindsight
A home is a family's most valuable possession and its equity. Obviously a home remodel, whether a whole house remodel or a smaller kitchen or bathroom renovation is given a lot of thought. Everyone wants the end result to be perfect as the budget permits. Days, weeks…

What's Your Remodeling Style?

Once you decide to remodel your home, the next thing to do is to decide on what your remodeling style is going to be. This can be a problem if the family is a large one made up of strong minded individuals - even kids can have strong feelings on the subject. What needs to be done then is to have everyone sit down together and talk about what they want and why and evolve a compromise that, even if it will not make everyone happy, will prevent some people from blowing their tops and sulking.
A word of caution here; compromise, in the context of home remodeling styles, does not mean that a room or a house should have a little bit of everything. A contemporary designed living room with old fashioned furniture in it may keep the members of the family happy, but the look is going to be really odd. How the right solution is found depends on the family dynamic, but whatever it is, the end result is a home that must reflect a certain theme or style in a smooth and integrated mann…

Remodeling and Health, Part - 2

Walls
Take care when plywood wall paneling, particleboard, fiberboard and insulation are being used. These can contain chemicals that could be harmful the health over a period of time. Avoid the use of glass-mesh cement backer boards as they often contain urea, phenyls and other volatile chemicals. In addition they tend to leave a lot of dust and particles floating in the air. Many of these dangerous chemicals are of the type known as volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and the material that commonly contain them include: Organic or rubber solventsPutty, sealants and caulksWallpaperVinyl floor coveringsSynthetic carpeting, padding and adhesivesPlaster and drywallManufactured wood products (particle board, plywood, composite board, etc.)Paint, resin and varnishDraperyAnd some cleaning compounds
The most common of VOCs found in materials used in home remodeling are: TolueneTrichloroethaneChlorobenzenesPolychlorinated biphenylsAldehydeBenzene and related compoundsXylene
These che…