Author Archives: kraken

Ever Lasting Materials

Consider Old School Masonry

If you’re building an addition to your property, such as a guest house, pool house or even a garage, you should consider implementing masonry. This is an old school method that has proven for centuries its ability to withstand the test of time. Masonry involves the use of brick or stone siding. This gives the structure a more solid state, which means a higher chance of it surviving strong storms and other adversities like fires and floods. It’s a good idea to consider masonry when you hire general contractors for the construction of a new home.

Don’t Overlook Tile

Tile has and likely always will be a part of modern home designs. Home owners that are having home remodeling done oftentimes implement tile into their décor. Tile can be made from concrete, clay and a host of other materials. The most durable options would be engineered quartz or ceramic. These options are long-lasting and easy on the pocket. You’ll just need to maintain the grout, which can become stained and dirty over time.

Hardwood Materials Are Still In

There are various areas of the home where remodeling contractors can install hardwood. You can choose to have it installed as flooring or you can use it for your kitchen cabinets. When it comes to longevity, hardwood really gives you a run for your money. You can save money by purchasing reclaimed or recycled wood. Or you can go with eco-friendly options, such as bamboo. Expect to pay more to have the reclaimed wood polished and refinished to look amazing. There are remodeling contractors that can perform this work for you.

Install a Metallic Roof

Traditionally, homes are built with roofs made of wood, vinyl and other types of materials. You would normally find metal roofs installed on commercial properties, but this concept is becoming a thing of the past. More and more homeowners are choosing metal roofing materials for their property. Why? For one, they are known to last for a very long time. There are countless old barns and structures with metal roofs that have survived for over a century. In the past, homeowners avoided them like the plague because they were known for being noisy during rain and didn’t have much insulation. Of course, with modern technology, metal roofs have improved tenfold with sufficient insulation and no noise. Plus, you can find more appealing options.

Go with Copper Gutters

The gutters are one of the most overlooked areas of the home. Keeping these in tip top condition is essential, since they’re needed to keep your home property from sustaining damage during rain. It’s responsible for sending away excess water, so your roof doesn’t have leaks. If you’re going to update the gutters on your home, consider going with those made from copper. The reason these are a better option is because it is more durable compared to other materials, such as wood, aluminum and vinyl. They may not look that appealing, but when it comes to functionality, they’re top of the line.

Renovate Your Basement

Make a focal point

Often, most basements don’t have a focal point, especially those basements that are long and narrow. So, what you need to do is create a central point, such as a fireplace, as this will help you define the space in addition to keep the space cozy and warm.

Pay attention to the windows

Generally, basement windows are not given the importance that they deserve. Most homeowners waste a lot of light. The primary living space should be placed near the windows to get the most out of the natural light.

Look for alternatives

If you have the wall-to-wall carpeting, you should look for an alternative. People tend to make use of wall-to-wall carpeting for the floor of the basement as it’s warm and comfy. So, what you should do is ask your installer about the subfloor materials for waterproofing and insulation.

Typically, under-floor heating works great to heat up the basements. You can also lay some vinyls on the heated floors.

Use the space

The free space below the stairs should also be used. Often, this space is wasted. You can use this space to make the area look great. For instance, you can turn the area into a wet bar, built-in storage or a kitchenette.

Condense bulkheads

You can condense electrical, plumbing and structural beams into just one bulkhead. You can consider certain areas, such as TV area and the seating area. Moreover, if you can use a certain area, go for it. However, you may want to paint the bulkheads as well, but make sure the color is the same as the ceiling color.

Choose modular furniture

Before you buy furniture, make sure you measure the turning radius, height and width of the stairs. After all, you don’t want to end up with a section that you can’t fit anywhere.

Consider laundry rooms

If you really need your laundry room in your basement, make sure you save some space by turning it into a pass-through galley area that features a pocket door.

Layer lighting

If your ceiling lights are not too high, you can add to the lighting with the help of recessed lights. Aside from this, you can also make use of the under-cabinet lights in the laundry and kitchenettes area. For mood lighting, you can install a couple of decorative fixtures.

Bathroom Flooring Options

Porcelain

When it comes to tiles for your bathroom, you should put porcelain at the top of your list. Made from clay that is fired and shaped at extremely high temperatures, porcelain is perfect for bathrooms. The material possesses hard exterior that resists water, bacteria, odors, and staining. Porcelain is also a great choice for your bathroom flooring as it is considered impervious to moisture. You will find porcelain tiles in a variety of shapes, including square, hexagonal and octagonal forms – this is a huge advantage if you want your remodeling contractors to personalize your bathroom and give it a unique look.

Natural Stone

If you want a stylish bathroom, consider natural stone tiles for the flooring. They offer a timeless look and feel, and if you maintain them properly, they can last a lifetime. Choose from various options like marble, limestone, and travertine. Each of these naturally occurring stones has its own unique tones, patterns, and textures, giving you a range of options to choose from. An experienced bathroom remodeling contractor will offer varied suggestions regarding which choice is best for the new construction in your home.

Vinyl

This is another popular choice for bathroom tiles and slabs as vinyl is both inexpensive and water resistant, making it highly practical. Vinyl is available in a wide range of colors and styles, so you can mix and match to create a unique look based on your personality and taste. Additionally, vinyl has a softer feel than other flooring materials imparting a comfortable feel to user’s feet.

Cork

One of the options that remodeling contractors recommend for bathroom flooring is cork. As it is made from the bark of a tree, cork is preferred choice among eco-conscious people. It is resistant to water as well as mold and mildew – characteristics that make it perfect for any bathroom. To keep water from seeping between gaps, you should choose unfinished cork and get the floor finished on-site.

Bamboo

This is another option made from a highly sustainable resource, making it eco-friendly. Bamboo is also an affordable option for bathroom flooring as it costs as little as half the price of hardwood floors. Engineered bamboo is the smartest choice for your bathroom because the planks are ideal for wet environments, easy to install, and extremely durable. When you choose bamboo, you can replace damaged pieces easily, which is another major advantage of using this material for bathroom flooring.

Wood/Laminate

This is a fantastic option that has been used since time immemorial by homeowners across the globe. Hardwood floors are fabulous as they create a classic and warm look in your bathroom. Engineered wood is made of a combination of real wood veneer and plywood and is more humidity resistant than solid wood. If you want wooden flooring for your bathroom, you will find many prefinished options that are water resistant and able to withstand heavy foot traffic.

Home Renovation Mistakes

One realtor told me, “Homeowners should reconsider a new wallpaper project. Wallpaper looks just great for about three months and then it’s dated. I hear prospective buyers say, ‘Uh, we will have to tear off that paper,’ almost every time they see flower wallpaper on a walkthrough. It’s a negative.”

Another item is when a homeowner knocks out a wall to expand a master bedroom by eliminating the bedroom next to it. “Sure, the master is glorious and wonderful, but now on resale you have a two-bedroom home instead of a three-bedroom home. Believe me, this will bring the home value down, even if you have three baths,” said the realtor.

Another contractor said, “Converting a two-car garage into a family room is one renovation project that we get that will cost more to do than you think, and on resale doesn’t add much. If the new room is in a garage without any windows, most code inspectors will not allow you to use it as a bedroom either. And folks do like garages.”

The one mistake that I saw a lot when I was a home inspector was homeowners deciding to do the renovation work themselves. I am not saying that qualified folks shouldn’t jump in and do some or all of the work, but make sure you are really qualified. Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. DIY renovations can be pretty obvious and disinviting to home buyers.

One example was a bathroom in a home where the homeowner had installed all the fixtures himself. The wrong plumbing traps, fittings, and couplings were used, the hot water line was going to the toilet (they did not notice it), and three faucets had slow leaks. The buyers liked the home but balked at a $1500 estimate to fix everything to meet code in that “upscale” bath.

“I’ve seen people spend a lot of money for a very swanky and upscale kitchen. While they really liked it themselves, when they went to sell they only got about 20% of that cost back. The reason was that the home just wasn’t on that price point or in an area with other homes that would have that kind of upgrade. So tell your readers to do a thorough analysis before they decide to spend a lot of money on the kitchen, unless they are going to stay in the home.”

The lesson here is this: research and planning are critical if you want to renovate. Find out what the return on investment is (the internet, contractors, and realtors can help) before you start, and get at least three proposals before you begin.

Successful Basement Conversion

Talk to your neighbors

You should talk to your neighbors. As a matter of fact, tons of reports about basement conversions have been reported. The objections include noise and disruptions, tunneling out a lot under your house and so on. As a matter of fact, most of objections are related to the hardships of inconvenience and sound pollution.

If you want to avoid these problems, make sure you let your neighbors know about what you are going to do. Your basement conversion may have a negative impact on the property of your neighbor, especially if the conversion involves structural or underpinning supports.

Call Professionals

Basement conversion is not a DIY project. What you need to do is hire specialists in order to get the reinforcement and excavation done. You may want to do your homework and get recommendations from your friends, family and colleagues. As a matter of fact, good contractors are always ready to talk about the pros and cons of the job with you.

Compared to the loft conversion, basement conversions cost more per square foot. However, the benefit of the conversion is that it can increase the value of your property by 20 to 30%.

Add Light

If you want to make your house more comfortable, we suggest that you let the natural light come into your basement. For an effective solution, you can opt for an outside light well; however, if you want to install one, make sure that it’s on your house and your neighbors have no problem with it.

Also, you can choose interior glazed panels in order to borrow light. To save space, you can opt for fiber optic systems or ducts and panels that make use of angled mirror for trapping and reflecting natural light. Without adequate light, your basement won’t look its best.

Brightness

If you use a bright, neutral color palette, you can boost the airy feel in your living space. What you need to do is keep things free of clutter and streamlined with lots of integrated storage.

Fixing Nail Pops in Drywall

To repair nail pops in your drywall, you will need a few supplies. You may have most of these materials on hand already, and anything you do not have can be found at your local home improvement or hardware store. Here is what you will need:

  • Stud Finder (optional)
  • Hammer (or nail punch)
  • 2 Drywall Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Drywall Mud
  • Drywall Knife
  • Sandpaper (200 grit is fine)
  • Paint and Primer

To get started, be sure you have all the necessary tools and supplies so that you don’t have to stop halfway through to make a trip to the store. Once you have everything you need, start by locating the framing around the area with nail pops. Use your fingers to tap the wall until you can hear a solid reverberation instead of a hollow one. You may also use a stud finder. Once you find a sharper sound, tap each side to ensure it sounds hollow. If this happens, then you have located the framing.

Next, use the drywall screws to re-attach the loosened drywall to the framing. Place each screw 2 to 3 inches above and below the nail pop. Then use your hammer to depress the nail pop back into the wall. Do this step gently as to not put a hole or dent in the wall.

Use the drywall knife to scrap away any excess drywall material that has flaked or crumbled off. Then use the drywall mud to cover the screw heads in the wall. Two coats should do the trick. Follow the instructions or look for online tutorials on how to apply drywall mud.

Repair Water Damaged Ceilings

Step 1 – Locate

The first step involves making sure you properly locate all areas where the leak may be coming from. This step is crucial for ensuring all possible holes are located to be taken care of. Otherwise the risk for leaks in the future increases.

You should be able to identify and stop the water source fairly easy. This step is very important. Failure to do so might increase the water damaged ceiling repair cost by a big margin. If a person is not able to identify the source of water, all the repairs will be in vain.

Step 2 – Drying

This next step involves drying the water damaged areas. Before commencing this procedure, ensure you protect both your furniture and floor by spreading tarps over them. A person can use a towel or a vacuum cleaner to dry the ceiling. It is advisable to clean both the interior and exterior of the ceiling.

This step might involve stabbing through the saturated ceiling for water to pour down. This process is very crucial as it helps prevents molds from both spreading and forming. The water cleanup process is very important as it helps eliminate the possibility of molds developing.

Don’t forget to remove the damaged parts of the ceiling. Damaged ceilings can be either loose or bulging. Such ceiling parts should be scraped out. A person can use various home equipment; ranging from knives and paint scrapers to remove the damaged parts.

After all water has been let to drip from the affected areas, use a couple fans and air dry the damaged ceiling until completely dry.

Step 3 – Repair

The next step involves preparing the ceiling for painting. Some heavy repair of drywall may be needed at this step. First cover all holes with the same material used for your ceiling if need be. Next apply any textures needed to blend in the ceiling pattern.

Use a sandpaper to smooth over the ridges between the clean and affected regions.

Step 4 – Paint

Lastly, a person should apply a primer coating on any repaired or stained drywall. You should give the primer coat time to dry out. Second coat might be necessary; depending on the visibility of the stain.

Now if this whole process seems beyond your level of expertise, or simply not worth the time and headache, call an experienced restoration specialist. They will have all the tools and qualifications to flawlessly take care of any water extraction, and renovations.

Costs of Repair

I’m sure you would like to know how much a renovation like this could cost. Before even mentioning ceiling leak repair costs, it is important to understand that this is dependent on the scope of the problem.

The damage and costs can increase dramatically the longer the water sits without repair. This can be due to the immediate formation of molds that occur with humid dark environments. It is therefore important to react quickly before the damages compound with the possibility of needing to purchase a new ceiling all together.

Wheelchair Accessible

• At each home entrance you need to build a wheelchair ramp. Some homes have sufficient room to make a ramp but if not you could hire a professional home remodeling contractor to install a vertical platform lift at each entrance. It is a good idea to include a cover over the ramp, a non-slip surface, and handrails.
• For stairways you should install a stairway lift. This is a great alternative if you live in a two-story house because it is cheaper to install the lift than it is to move. When installing a stair lift you need to make sure that it swivels so it is easier to get in and out of. There are stair lifts on the market that will even operate when you lose power in your home.
• Make sure that the thresholds and floors are easy to get over with a wheelchair. The main problem that homeowners see when have a wheelchair bound person in their home is the thick carpet. If it is possible your entire home should have hardwood or tile floors throughout the house. You could also opt to replace your carpet with low-pile carpeting. If the thresholds are the problem you could install short rubber ramps. If there are any exposed cords on the floor you will need to remove them
• Another home remodeling job that will need to be done is widening any doorways that are narrow. By doing this the person who is wheelchair confined will be able to remove freely about in any area or room in the house. Doing this could involve taking doors off, reversing how the door opens in some instances, and removing door frames. Every doorknob should be lowered to make them easy to reach. You can also install an automatic door opener. These should be done by a professional home remodeling contractor.
• You will also need to make sure that both your kitchen and bathroom are accessible. In the bathroom you may consider a walk-in tub or in a shower you may have to lower the showerhead. In the kitchen you have to make sure that the appliances and sinks are accessible and may have to lower the countertop.

Winter Maintenance For Vinyl Siding

Keep it Clean. Regular cleaning is an important part of winter maintenance. This does not mean you have bundle up in all your winter gear and bear the cold to clean it every week; instead, wash it once a month with a power washer. When using a power washer, be sure to always put it on a low setting to avoid any damage, and if the siding is already damaged, do not use a power washer at all. As for a cleaning medium, use a mix of Trisodium phosphate and soapy water. Simply apply, and then rinse from the top down.

Check for Damage. It is important to always keep an eye out for exterior damage to your home. However, on a routine basis, you need to closely inspect your siding for damages and defects. Catching a small problem early on can save you a lot of time and money. Weekly inspections are a good start, followed by a comprehensive inspection conducted by a professional roof and siding company. When inspecting your siding, look for cracks, gaps, and water damages; but also remember to check weep holes (holes punched in the bottom of siding for drainage purposes) for clogging issues and pest infestations.

Hire a Professional. You are not expected to be a siding expert, so it can be a challenge locating all the possible vulnerabilities and defects on your home. For this reason and more, it is very wise to hire professional siding maintenance on an annual basis to ensure your investment is well-protected. There are thousands of people and businesses that claim to provide this kind of service, but do not be fooled by fly-by-the-night or unqualified companies. Be sure to choose a company that has extensive experience and a good local reputation for quality service.

Choose A Siding Contractor

Experience. It may seem obvious but this is something you need to ascertain before making the big decision. The question to ask is how many years has the company been in business. Is the statement of 20 years of experience include when the owner was an apprentice? You need a company that has been in business for years and has worked on and managed many jobs. The experience of the owner is important but all things being equal I pass on a siding company that has been in business for two or three years.

Reputation. What is meant here is local reputation. It is time to be skeptical, no more how many good reviews, of a company that operates hundreds of miles away. You need to be looking for a company that has an office within a reasonable driving distance. It is easy to check the reviews on the internet and that is one method but you should also ask for references from jobs they have finished. A combination of checking online reviews and checking references will give you a feel for what kind of company you are dealing with.

Quality Materials. Lots of experience and a stellar reputation will mean absolutely nothing if shoddy or low quality materials are installed on your home. This is a long-term investment so long-lasting materials are crucial. You need to know the details about the manufacturer’s warranty. If the manufacturer offers a solid warranty then you can feel assured that quality materials are being installed on your home.

Reassurance. Are you ready to make a decision? If you do not have all of your questions asked and answered then you are not ready. You want to know that all of your questions have been answered in a straightforward manner. Do you understand what it will cost? Do you understand the process? Do you have a clear and concise time frame for completion? If there is a problem with getting straight answers then it is time to move on.

Properly Licensed. This will encompass a few things. It is wise to inquire that the companies you are considering have all of the proper licenses and insurance. You want to make sure that they will handle any needed permits. Do a little research and find out what is required and then verify that all is in order.