Monday, 26 December 2016

Remodeling Your House : Making Big Savings

A grave apprehension you could have when it comes to remodeling your house is managing the budget! The first step would be to get good contractor references from your trusted contacts. You can shortlist the probable ones next and ask for their prices. After that, you may consider the ideas given below for you to cut down the expenses, and complete your home remodeling project at an affordable price.

Recycling your old stuff

Consider the possibility of reusing materials like wooden flooring, wooden cabinets, etc of the existing house when you go in for a remodel; with just a few minor alterations of all such materials, you can save quite a significant amount instead of buying a whole lot of new materials at high costs.

Moreover, some recycled antique pieces might add a unique touch to your furnishing. A golden rule of thumb in home remodeling is “Every little thing adds up”. Save a little here and a little there and soon you’ll be amazed at the good amount of money collected thus.

If it’s not possible to recycle any of the old stuff, dispose of the entire lot at a good price and save the money for buying brand new materials.

Smart use of space and light

Develop smart ideas about enhanced use of space already available, without creating new space that will dearly add to the cost. You can reorganize and re-equip the rooms for much enhanced utility. Put up in the existing space additional shelves and upgrade your cabinets with dividers instead of making entirely new shelves and cabinets.

Brighten up the space with more natural light with light tubes installed between roof rafters that funnel sunshine down the living space. That will be another big saving.

Pruning the estimate

Discuss with your contractor, work out efficient ways of pruning the budget estimate, and try to bring down the cost as much as possible. Tap your contractor’s sources and contacts to get better discounts on materials. Check with your sub-contractor for odds and ends stocks left over from other jobs. He may surprise you with a huge quantity of raw materials at a cheap cost.

Considering a few do-it-yourself jobs

You may consider whether you can undertake a few DIY jobs like knocking down the walls, painting the walls, assembling the cabinets, etc. That might save you some money and get a good result. However, take the advice of experts to prevent misadventures.

For example, you should not end up damaging vital fixtures while bringing down a wall. If you are not confident, or you do not have the skills and the experience required, let there be no experimentation; you should not be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Contractor’s guidance

Some contractors do offer consulting and mentoring services, depending on the scale of your project. This may involve multiple site visits, several sets of remodel blue prints etc. Your contractor will try to economize on all the major modifications like plumbing and wiring, and give the best possible blueprint for the remodel.

An experienced contractor with a good reputation will assist you in cutting down your expenses without compromising on the quality of the work undertaken.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Home Automation Wonders

Imagine how nice it would be to lock all the doors in your house by pressing a single button on your smartphone, or turn off all the lights and fans by giving a voice command. Wouldn’t it be very convenient for you to stay away from home and control everything at home? Home automation is all about making life that easier.

A professional remodeling contractor can help you transform your house fully automated and make it come alive by remote control from another part of the city, country, or even the world. Here are a few amazing tricks your automated house can do for you.

Enhanced security

You can install security cameras in your house integrated with your smartphone: you will be able to access any such camera in your house and view the live feed on your screen. Certain smart cameras can detect motion and rotate accordingly, and have night vision, live audio and video recording that can get uploaded to the cloud.

You can access the cameras remotely on your phone from any place in the world; the app that you have installed on your phone can do that for you. This is just a gist of the capability of your security automation system!

Comfort at any climate

Automating your climate controls in your house can give you the ultimate comfort at any season or time; be it summer or winter, day or night! Your house would have inbuilt sensors that can sense the temperature and climate outdoors and modify the temperature indoors accordingly. The sensors are placed at different parts of the house.

You can control the temperature changes remotely, or you may just let your home automation system decide what’s best for you. You can use your phone to control and set different temperatures at different rooms. Now your kids just cannot fool with the temperature settings you’ve carefully set!

Integrating your phone and your house

A major part of home automation is integrating your home controls with your phone. Once you get your home automation app on your phone, everything would be a click, touch or voice command away. Turn on your coffee maker, close your garage door, turn on machines, get your clothes or dishes washed and dried, surf between the channels on your TV – you just name it.

Automation through text messaging

Another feature your home automation includes is sending text messages to your devices to set a timer for the work to be done, or to your cooker to keep your food heated by the time you reach home. It’s that simple! You have thus the ultimate control of your home and the limitations are set only by your imagination.

Setting up a home automation system is a complex process and requires the expertise of an experienced professional remodeling contractor. S/He can equip your home with the best systems, sensors or cameras at the best available rate.

Home automation is a great step towards the futuristic world: it will cost a little extra, of course, but living a more comfortable, luxurious life is dream; you  shouldn’t hesitate to pay extra to live this dream, should you?

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Bathroom Remodeling: Common Problems

Bathroom is the place where you can have some peaceful and rejuvenating time of the day, and forget about all the worries of the world. If it is to be that way, it should have a serene ambience. A dark and dilapidated one serves only to add to your gloom and worsen your worries. Such a bathroom needs immediate attention in the form of a remodel.

The first step in remodeling your bathroom is to correct flaws in the existing design, which involves a series of irksome but essential modifications. Hiring a professional remodeling contractor will complete the project fast, to perfection and to your full satisfaction. You can expect your contractor to start the remodeling work along these lines.

Infested walls

You must have seen sometimes spots of black, white or green on your walls. Spots that look grainy give out a musty smell. These spots can be mold, mildew or fungus that might cause coughing, wheezing and other upper respiratory problems.  The contractor attends first to these harmful and dirty spots and clears out all the mold, mildew or fungus before starting any work.

Plumbing woes

Plumbing woes can make you feel miserable indeed: it may be blocked toilet bowl, dripping faucet, choked sink or clogged shower. These may all be due to rust/sediment deposits in pipes, worn out valves, regulators, washers and other plumbing fixtures or a more basic plumbing installation defect. Your contractor will attend to these problems before installing the new fixtures.

Drainage problems

Free flow of wastewater from your bathroom into the drainage system is of paramount importance. The contractor will check for blockages in your drains and stagnant pool of water on the bathroom floor. Stagnant water might seep under the tiles or into the bathroom walls warranting major repair work.  These problems too would be fixed before the actual remodel project commences.

Steam/Moisture vents issues

Every bathroom is usually provided with a proper steam and shower ventilation system of exhaust fans and outside vents. The contractor would test your ventilation system, run the shower with hot water and turn on the exhaust. If the function of your ventilation system is good, glasses and mirrors there wouldn’t fog, and the walls wouldn’t sweat. He would turn off the shower and see if the humidity is reduced within a short time. If these results were unsatisfactory, he would fix the ventilation system.

Electrical wiring flaws

Bathroom is a place, which is typically damp and moisture-ridden. The electrical wiring and fixtures there are worn out earlier than those in other places of your house are. Ventilation, heating and lighting appliances there become erratic in their function, exposing you sometimes to electrical shock; they do require pre-construction attention.

Your professional remodeling contractor would get all these jobs done at reasonable rates. You can count on the experience and expertise of his technical team of plumbers, electricians, masons and others. Moreover, they would finish their work on time so that you realize the full value of the money and time you spend on the project.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Remodeling your Bathroom

The bathroom should be a loveable part of your home: it is where you tend to bask in warm water, relax and forget the many cares of your everyday life for a while.

When you come out, you should feel utterly refreshed, ready for the activities of the day, however demanding they may be. It is not an exaggeration to say that great ideas leading to great creations can be born in the bathroom.

When remodeled, your bathroom should have all the cozy features possible – the ones you love most – the ones that can rejuvenate you and recharge fully your battery. Listed below are a few bathroom-remodeling tips for your consideration.

Planning the bathroom remodel

Jot down on a note-pad the new features and changes in the existing features you desire to have in your bathroom remodel. You need to focus on bathtub, washbasin, toilet, showers, flooring, mirrors, electrical fixtures, cabinets and so on. You should not forget to make provisions for the safety and comfort of seniors.

Sit with your contractor, discuss the feasibility of all your ideas and seek expert guidance. He can provide you with a satisfying blueprint, incorporating whatever is feasible and giving his own finer touches. The blueprint would of course be tempered by the budget you can afford.

Changes in the plumbing system

Better, ensure you do not think of major changes that would mess up the plumbing network too much. You can, if needed, change plumbing fittings and fixtures under the guidance of your contractor.

Changes in flooring

You can think of different types of flooring for your bathroom from tiles to marbles; you may need carpets in certain portions or even a fluffy, comfy flooring layer. The woes of maintenance will have a bearing upon the choice of materials. For example, hardwood would be a very bad idea as moisture and humidity would damage it.

However, you may use wooden flooring in the cabinet room that leads into the bathroom. Your cabinets too can be made of wood, as the moisture content there is limited unlike the bathroom.

Choice of mirrors

Without an exception, we all fall in love with our own ‘dazzling’ images in a mirror, especially in the bathroom. Surely, you need a gorgeous mirror in your bathroom remodel. You can have circular mirrors, planar mirrors or custom-made mirrors that match your tastes and the remodel.

The question of cost

The funds you can provide is the limiting factor that decides how much of scaling up or down the remodel design is necessary. The extent of changes you desire, the design, choice of materials, fittings and fixtures and everything else depend on the budget available.

It is crucial therefore to arrive at an affordable estimate, before you launch the remodel. Your professional remodeling contractor can help you with a reasonable estimate without compromising the quality or the aesthetics of the project.

You will naturally have many questions and difficulties in making your choices vis-à-vis reasonable prices. A professional remodeling contractor can help you in every possible way and make your dream come true.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

How to Keep your Remodel on Track (Part-2)

Delays in remodeling projects are a pain for everyone. Penalty clauses, fines or whatever will not make up for the frustration of not being able to resume your normal home life, as you expected to. Keeping this in mind, let us look at a few more things you can do to keep your remodel project on track.

Keep distractions away

Sure, people love children and pets and enjoy spending time with them; those working on your home remodel are no exception. Just remember that the time workers spend with your kids and pets is time they are not working – time that is added on to the project.

Additionally, and even more importantly, children and animals can easily injure themselves when surrounded by power tools and sharp objects. Keep workers away from all possible distractions on the work spot.

Can you move out?

A home remodel is not cheap, and moving out while the work is underway will only add to the cost. However, having the family around while the work is underway means that compromises have to be made, to accommodate the living needs of your family. This will interfere with the remodel work and add to the project time.

If you can’t move out for the entire duration of the project, discuss with the contractor the possibility of moving out for short periods which will facilitate  the progress of critical aspects of the remodel much more smoothly.

It’s not good to be too friendly

Treating your remodel workers politely is good. Offering them an occasional cup of coffee or cookies (if possible) and so on, helps establish a warm relationship with them. That kind of personal interaction is welcome as far as the smooth progress of the work is concerned.

However, asking too many questions, chatting with them and taking up their time by asking them to help you out with things not related to the remodel do distract them from their work and cause delays. Be nice but do not allow things to get in the way of the remodel.

Listen to expert advice

It is your home and must be remodeled the way you want. However, that does not mean the contractor’s expert advice and suggestions can be ignored. Your contractor understands the technical issues of the remodel much better than you do.

Listen to what he has to say on technical matters. If you don’t agree, understand what the implications of doing it your way are, and if that will delay completion. If it does, that is your decision and then it will no longer be a delay but a revised completion date.

The best way to keep your remodel on track is to use the services of a professional home remodeling contractor with the right qualifications and impeccable credentials.

That means he should be a member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI); have years of experience; employ a highly skilled crew; have testimonials to prove the quality of the work done. With such a contractor, you should have no cause for worries.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

How to Keep your Remodel on Track (Part-1)

Remodeling a home even with just one room can cause major disruption in your family life and routine. One of the main concerns for a homeowner is keeping the project on schedule so that life can return to normalcy as soon as possible.

A professional home remodeling contractor provides you with a realistic timeframe for completing the project; they build in provisions for the unexpected – which almost always happen. That being said, there is much you can do to keep the project on track; listed below are a few ideas that can help prevent avoidable delays.

Plan in advance

Work with a professional home remodeler, who is customer focused and has sharp design-build skills. Passionate customer focus enables them understand your vision of a remodel. All the details can be discussed in advance to avoid gaps in communication and the consequent costly mistakes during the execution of the project.

Design-build expertise means a firm commitment on the delivery of your remodel with a written promise of three integrated key features:  best value for your money, fastest completion and reduced cost. There can just be no misunderstanding, miscommunication, delay, default, shirking of responsibility, increased cost and compromise on quality.

Make your choices and decisions well in advance. Even a small thing like delayed choice of faucets can have a snowball effect, and might increase costs and inevitable delays.

Have no second thoughts

It is, of course, normal for anyone to have second thoughts about some aspects of a remodel, while the project is underway; one or two might even be necessary. Such a situation arises mainly because of a lack of informed discussion and decision prior to the commencement of the project.

Mid-execution changes will inevitably cause delays and increase costs. Remember that pre-execution decisions on choices are usually made at leisure and without pressure; those are more likely to be right than those made midway under pressures in general.

Invite not trouble by buying your own materials

It’s no secret that a contractor will mark up the cost of materials purchased for a remodel project. That is normal as the figure given to you includes escalation of prices of materials and compensation for their time and effort. You may be tempted to buy materials yourself to save on costs.

You must realize that the contractor is far more qualified and experienced than you are – to buy the right type of materials for the project. Those you might buy at ‘cheaper’ prices can be substandard and unsuitable, and could cause problems down the road, calling for replacement and thus causing delay and increased costs.

On the other hand, the contractor is responsible for the quality of materials they buy and their correct use/installation. Furthermore, the contractor usually has the knack of negotiating lower rates than you could: they have their own contacts of manufacturers and wholesalers. And so, you may actually end up with a bad bargain and unwittingly hike the project costs.

Don’t pressurize the contractor

Your home may have problems that you are unaware of, which could drive up the remodeling costs. If you trust the contractor, avoid arguing with and pressurizing them to ignore the work that they think is required, but you think otherwise.

Such a situation not only could delay the completion, but also drive up the project cost when the issues you ignored come to light ultimately. If you have doubts about what the contractor says, get a second opinion. Do not insist on having your way because you think you are right.

The next post will look at a few more things you can do to avoid delays

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Stay Secure While You Remodel Your Home

You don’t go out late in the evening, leaving the front door of your home wide open, do you? You will never ever think of doing such a thing, when there is no door to close, or a part of a wall gapes. This can happen during a remodeling, and it’s something that burglars love. How can you keep your family and possessions safe during a home remodel? Listed below for your benefit are a few simple ideas.

  • Remove valuables and small precious items that could get easily lost in the mess of the remodel. Leave them with a trusted friend or relative.
  • Make all payments for the remodel by credit card or checks. The less money you have in the house, the lower the risk.
  • Employ a trustworthy contractor. Everyone has had some experience with or has heard horror stories about bad or dishonest contractors. Finding a reputable and honest home remodeling contractor is not hard. Look for one that: has been in business for a long time; has great testimonials; is willing to put you in touch with people whose homes he has remodeled; is a member of an association like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). A contractor who is hesitant in providing his credentials is one to be avoided.
  • Keep your home brightly lit at night with both indoor and outdoor lights. Install outdoor lights, if you don’t have them. External lights with motion sensors are inexpensive to use, and they will provide additional security to your home both during and after the remodel. Integrate them into your remodeling project.
  • If yours is a major project, there may be different work groups doing different things all at the same time. Tools and materials may be left lying outside your home. It’s true that theft of any equipment is the contractor’s problem; but let it not tempt burglars to venture further into your home. Talk to your contractor about observing all possible safety precautions.
  • Keep your alarm company informed about the project. A remodeling project could possibly affect the operation of the alarm system, leaving your home vulnerable. If you are not going to be in your home while the work is going on, consider installing some security cameras so that you can monitor the house remotely.
  • Employ a design-build remodeling contractor. This will help reduce the number of subcontractors and strange workmen wandering around your home.
  • If all the members your family have to go out during the day, ask neighbors to keep an eye on your home, and report to you promptly suspicious loitering of strangers around your home.

The best way to keep your home and possessions safe during a remodel is to engage a professional home remodeling contractor, who is not only reputed but also client-focused. You can talk about your security concerns with such a company, and they will work with you to find the best solutions for keeping your family and your home safe during the remodel.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

New Trends in Kitchen Remodeling You Should Know

Your kitchen is the real working heart and most used part of your home; it is no surprise, therefore, it shows signs of wear and faded appearance sooner than the other parts. That is why kitchen remodels are among the most common of home remodeling projects.

Also your kitchen should be remodeled to acquire two vital features – trouble-free, high utility and refreshing look – both lasting for long and making your time there a pleasant experience. Here are a few new trends that demand your active consideration.

White is always right

Yes, a white kitchen is indeed traditional! But its popularity continues to trend: about 67% of the members of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) say that it is their top color choice.

The 2014 ‘Best in American Living Awards’ of the National Association of Home Builders highlighted layering white on white. This means fixing white cabinets on white counter tops with white backsplashes. 

Moreover, white appliances are easy to clean and blend with both traditional and contemporary kitchen decors. 

Gray is a great color

If you do want color in your kitchen, think of gray. It is the kitchen color growing fastest in popularity, according to the NKBA. If you live in a cold cloudy climate, use gray on wood to create warmth, or pair it with hot colors like yellow and red. In a warm climate, light gray is a cool and pleasant color on its own.

Small appliances

Appliances are shrinking in size without losing functionality. Look for appliances that have small footprints to increase the open area of your kitchen. You will be surprised at how much easier life is with more space to move in a kitchen. These small appliances have contributed to the growth of small secondary kitchens for adult children and elderly parents. Is this something your home needs?

Quartz counters

In the past, quartz and granite countertops were tied in popularity. The trend now is for quartz and with good reason. It is the toughest countertop material, and is resistant to chips, scratches and burns. And unlike granite, quartz does not have to be sealed every year to prevent staining. Available now are quartz countertops that look like granite, but are much tougher.

Modern lighting

LED lighting is the future. Not only do these bulbs consume far less electricity, but also last long – about 50,000 hours. That means you can install them in places where bulb replacement is not something you want to do often. Also, they emit almost no heat, and so do not burn cabinets or leave scorch marks on walls, if left on indefinitely.

Touch-activated faucets

Touch-activated faucets may be a little expensive, but they do: save water – a globally scarce commodity (for which you are billed); reduce the need for turning them on and off with dirty oily hands and then scrubbing them clean.

Keep things accessible

Plan to arrange the most frequently used utensils and appliances in such a way that it is easy for you to access and handle them. Reduce strenuous bending and stretching and possible tension, making your time in the kitchen less of a hassle.

Every home owner has unique ideas about how a remodeled kitchen should look and function. Engaging a professional with design-build remodeling expertise and experience will ensure that your ideas are translated into a real kitchen with all the dream facilities, and elegant features.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

6 Reasons Why You Should Remodel Your Home

Remodeling your home is definitely not an inexpensive proposition, and sure it will cause some disruption in your everyday life for a while. A time will come when you feel you should remodel your home: however, your family may not see eye to eye with you.

It may be hard for you to convince them of the need to do it. Here are six reasons you can put forth to sell the remodel idea to your family, and perhaps even to your own self.

Enhancing market value

Your home is an integral part of the future of your family. Remodeling your home will fix any deterioration that has occurred, and increase its market value as well. Whether you plan to sell it in the near future or not, any increase in its market value is always good.

Incorporating ‘go green’ measures

Utility costs are going to keep increasing forever. ‘Go green’ measures incorporated into the remodel, will reduce your electricity bills significantly.

The following are a few such measures: replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones, upgrading the insulation and electric wiring, and installing energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems.

In addition, getting rid of toxic old paint and insulation will make your home a healthier place to live in.

Getting more space

Needs of your family keep mounting, and any additional space is always welcome. Remodeling a basement or an attic can give you the gym, entertainment room, guest suite, home office or anything else that you need. You could also think of a room addition.

Getting ready for retirement living

Seniorhood is one of the major realities of life: that means a few major changes in your everyday life. You will need certain facilities then, which should be provided for in your home remodeling project now. Keeping your future needs in mind, and planning an appropriate remodel today will save you many a hassle later.

Giving your old home a facelift

It is normal for certain parts of your home like the kitchen and bathrooms to age faster than other parts. Humidity, temperature changes, oil in the air, etc. make these parts show signs of age. It does not mean that the rest of your home is immune from the inexorable marks of time.

These signs of aging are often immediately visible to the eyes of a visitor. You and your family, who live there, may not even notice them. It would be time for you to think of remodeling and giving your home a facelift, when you start feeling that it looks old.

Installing appliances for comfort and safety

You can plan to install state-of-the-art home automation and security systems as part of your remodeling project. That will make the life of your family quite safe and comfortable.

All of these are valid reasons why you should remodel your home. But none of them will benefit you, unless the remodeling idea is implemented to the highest standard.  The work done should justify the expenditure in terms of looks, quality and durability and also maximize the return on your investment.

The best way to ensure effective implementation is to assign the project to an experienced contractor with proper certification, affiliations, reference and testimonials.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Protect Yourself from Unscrupulous Contractors - Part 2

Here is the second part of the article on how to ensure that you have the right contractor for your home remodel.

Spend Time Interviewing

Do not be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly you are afraid they are. It’s your money being spent and you have a right to ask what you want. If the contractor is a good one he will not be offended by the questions he is asked and will give you clear answers. A contractor who tries to confuse you with jargon or brushes off your questions with impatient answers is at best one without a client focus and at worst, one with something to hide.

Information to Obtain

  • Check the contractor’s legal status. Is he registered with the Better Business Bureau and other relevant organizations? Is his documentation properly printed with details of his registrations etc.?
  • Ensure that you have the contractor’s complete physical address. A PO Box will not be of any use if he abandons the project and you have to serve notice on him.
  • Do not just get the business and cell phone numbers, email address and so on of the key personnel who will be on your project. Check to make sure that they are correct and the people can be contacted.
  • If the project requires that the contractor has a state contractor’s license, get the full details. A local business license will not suffice.
  • Get complete details of the contractor’s insurance and check to see if you are covered for any negligence or deficiencies on his part.
  • Get a detailed scope of work with complete information on the plans, materials and timeframes.
  • Obtain a written warranty for the work to be done and if in doubt, have it checked by a lawyer to ensure that you are fully protected.

Payment Precautions

  • Do not pay cash. Pay your contractor only by check or credit card. This will provide documentation and proof of payment if you should need it. Do not give him your credit card or give any information that is not required for making payment.
  • Do not pay for work upfront. No reputable and established contractor will ask for a large advance. Most contractors bill only after the project, or a predesignated stage, has been completed.
  • An advance maybe required so that the contractor can fit you in his work plans and start arranging for materials etc. This should not be more than $1,000 to 10% of the total project cost. In many states this is the maximum that a contractor can ask for.
  • If the contractor asks for money to help him fix a mistake he has made, do not give it to him. It is the contractor’s responsibility to fix errors and this should be made clear in the contract.
  • Do not sign a completion certificate until all the work has been completed as specified by the contract.

There is an element of risk in any business dealing. Take all the precautions you can. One thing, beyond all else, that will give you peace of mind and go a long way towards ensuring you get the home you want is the reputation of the contractor and his attitude towards you and the project. A contractor who goes the extra mile to work with you to give you the home of your dreams is one who is focused on his clients and can be expected to do quality work.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Protect yourself from Unscrupulous Contractors (Part-1)

You must have heard about the ‘National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud’ (NCPHIF). If not, search for it online: you will come to know that it has been set up to help homeowners protect themselves against home remodeling and renovation frauds.

Americans spend over $200 billion every year on home improvement. That much money will always lure the sharks.  The truth of the matter, however, is that there are more good and honest home remodeling contractors than crooks. But it is the bad ones who make the news and create fear among homeowners.

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from unscrupulous contractors. Here are a few important ideas for you.

Vital tips

  • Decide on the nature and scope of the remodel.
  • Have a budget in place.
  • Consider the timelines and the insurance options that may be available.
  • Spend time researching contractors and make a shortlist of those who appear to be the best.
  • Contact them and ask for reliable testimonials.
  • Once you are satisfied of their background, provide all the project details, and ask for estimates.
  • If you are asked for additional information, provide only what is relevant to the project, and nothing of a personal financial nature.
  • Do not provide the contractor with any personal information about any family member.
  • Ask all the questions you want to. Be cautious of a contractor who resents your questions or does not give you clear answers.
  • Do not choose a contractor based on cost alone. The lowest bid is often not the best one.
  • Know the lien laws before beginning a project.
  • Beware contractors who offer quotations that are too good to be true. Discuss the figures with trusted friends, who have some experience in such matters.

Pressure traps

Being pressurized is an easy way to make mistakes. Do not accept magical offers that come your way unasked. Such people who entice you are usually desperate for business. You need to ask yourself why. Would a good and reputable contractor act that way?

Be careful of “free” home inspections from unknown or unverifiable sources. This is a well-known trick to trap you into repairs and renovation that you do not need. Never let yourself be pressured into signing a contract. Take as much time as you need, and if required, consult a lawyer. If you are told a “special offer” will lapse in one day, it is an offer you can do without.

Find a reputable contractor

Every contractor will surely present an edited high profile; it may be true or not. There is only one way to evaluate the honesty of a contractor and the quality of work promised. That is to ask for reliable referrals.

After getting the contractor’s okay, contact the people s/he has worked for in the past; hear what they have to say. If possible visit them and have a look at the work completed. Of course, some customers can be unreasonable and will bad mouth a contractor who has done nothing wrong.

So, it is better not to expect every referral to be unequivocal in praise. However, at least 90% of them should be happy with the work that was done for them.

The next blog post will deal with a few more things you can do to protect yourself from home remodeling frauds.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Curb Appeal Remodeling: A few Ideas for Your Benefit

To put it simply, curb appeal is the overall impact your home makes when it is first seen. You do not, of course, want the whole world to visit your home to admire how beautiful it is. But it would be nice to know that everyone who passes by stops for a few seconds to look at it.

However, curb appeal is about more than just the pride you have in your home, which affects its value, and is a major consideration when time comes to sell it. For both these reasons, a major home remodel that ignores the exteriors is an incomplete one.

The scope of the work required for revamping the external look of your home will depend on the amount of change to be done, and the essential repairs that may be required. An expert remodeling contractor will be able to guide you on what to or not to do, and how it should be done.

That being said, here are a few basic issues of the curb appeal of a home you should be familiar with, which will be helpful when you toy with the idea of remodeling your home.

Clean up the clutter

Anything that detracts you from the architectural appeal of your home is clutter. This does not mean simply cleaning up the driveway and putting away toys spread over the lawn. The flowerbeds should be tidied up, and dead and dying shrubs and bad plants must be removed.

The best way to go about it is to identify everything that is non-essential; visualize without these things the look of your home. Then let remain a few of those features that you think will add to the basic look.

Remove the ugly

If yours is an older structure, there may be dilapidated or worn-out features. Because you have lived with them for so long, you may not notice them. But others, with keen eyes will. The most common problem areas are worn-out doors, rotted wooden shutters, rusty metal awnings, worn louvered windows, and window bars.

Since it will be difficult for you to recognize where the problems are, ask friends to help you identify the issues. Then talk to your remodeling contractor and get his expert opinion on what needs to change and what the new options are.

Remove danger

Walk towards your home from the sidewalk. Look carefully for anything that is broken, uneven or missing. A visitor can easily notice these things. Broken flagstones, uneven paving and damaged steps are common eyesores, and they are a potential source of danger too. Have these replaced for the sake of appearance and the safety of your family and visitors as well.

Let not your home stand out like a sore thumb

It’s indeed nice when your home stands out a little from others around you. Incorporate features in the exterior that achieve this effect. But be careful not to overdo it in such a way that your home stands out like a sore thumb. Besides looking odd, a home that does not fit in with the neighborhood will suffer in its value when you want to sell it.
The outward appearance of your home proclaims to the world that you really are, and the kind of family that lives there passionately. A remodeling contractor who specializes in whole-house design-build remodeling and room additions will be able to work with you to create both the kind of home you want to live in, and the one that the world will admire.