Author: Janice Riley

Helpful Tips On Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

Kitchen Remodel with modern touches

During a remodel, the kitchen countertop is arguably the first thing that any person sees. Similar to flooring, choosing your kitchen countertop should go beyond just physical appearance only. You should consider greatly also maintenance, dependability and of course budget. In the same vein, kitchen cabinetry should be planned accordingly based on functionality, storage and aesthetic appeal.  Here are some tips to help you choose the best options for your remodeling project.

Countertops

Natural Stone

There is nothing like natural stone that exudes opulence and beauty. Among the different selections available, granite is still the number one choice. The reason mostly lies in its natural beauty. It features a very hard surface that is not only very strong but requires periodic sealing in order to minimize staining. Other options available for kitchens include: limestone, marble and soapstone but these are more sensitive materials that need more tender loving care.

Wood

Wood is a classic material that you can use for your kitchen remodel. The prime example is butcher block countertops. These are easy to clean and may be easily maintained with wood oil but is sensitive to water damage. Wood is the ideal material to use for specific work around the kitchen.

Concrete

Considered as the most durable, cost effective and one of the most dependable materials for kitchen countertops. It is scratch and heat resistant. It is highly adaptable and can be made to look like the most expensive natural stone available. It does require sealing in order to prevent moisture absorption.

Engineered Stone

Quartz is considered the most common material for engineered stone. Quartz has even overtaken granite as the most popular material for use in kitchen countertops. Similar to granite in price, quartz countertops consist of rock fragments bound with resin and provide better overall consistency and lesser maintenance requirements if compared with natural stone. Moreover, quartz is known to be more resistant to staining and does not require sealing unlike granite does.

Plastic Laminate

Among the different materials available, laminate is considered the most affordable option. It is available in a range of different designs and colors. The downside being is it can be damaged by hot pans and pots.

Kitchen Cabinetry

There is no doubt that tearing down your old kitchen cabinetry and replacing them with brand new ones can create a big hole in your pocket. If you have a limited budget, try kitchen cabinet refacing instead. Refacing lets you keep your existing cabinets and just augment the exterior with a nice veneer. Replace the doors and voila, your cabinets look like new again.

Painting your kitchen cabinets is also another avenue to take when remodeling your kitchen. While it looks and sounds simple enough, it does require a lot of planning and patience. Aside from the significant prep time, melamine cabinets will need paint that will actually stick to its surface. If you have wood then there is no problem. If you think this option is not for you, then it might be best to just do some good research on kitchen cabinetmakers to help you in your remodel. Keep in mind though that kitchen cabinets are divided into two groups namely the base where the countertop is situated and wall cabinets, which is normally screwed into the wall for storing plates, pans, and glassware and food stuffs. When remodeling your kitchen cabinets, do not go cheap on space so you can save on money. Select base cabinets that offer deep drawer space and consider also wall cabinets that go all the way up your ceiling. Do know that storage is one of the most important aspects of a kitchen remodel.…

Should I Use Natural Stone For My Bathroom Remodel?

Should I Use Natural Stone For My Bathroom Remodel?

Bathroom remodel with stone a large soaker tub

As far as history tells us, marble and stone have been known as status symbols of power and influence and is the go-to material used in flooring for many a residential dwelling. Ancient civilizations like the Greeks used manual labor that involved quarrying, cutting and polishing the natural stone for its richest citizens as they were the only ones that can afford such opulence. Today, the use of modern equipment and transportation have made this material more accessible to more people it has never lost its air of regal mystery. If you are planning a remodel of your home and planning to use natural stone, here is some information you should know about to help you in your decision.

The Making Of A Stone Tile

There are minor differences in how different kinds of natural stone are quarried and molded into tiles, countertops and others. Nevertheless, the process is almost the same for all the different kinds of stone regardless if it is marble, granite, slate, limestone or travertine. In the case of marble, it is normally found in a remote mountainous site and special equipment is needed to drill access holes through which diamond wire cables are run, much in the same vein as a chainsaw cuts through wood. The process is done until a large chunk of rock, weighing several tons separates from the surrounding stone in the quarry area. This large block is next cut down into smaller blocks, each weighing thousands of pounds and is then lifted by heavy cranes and transported into hulking trucks that move it into a cutting yard. In this area, the stone is further cut into smaller slabs or narrow strips for making into tiles. The strips are then passed through equipment that polishes the stone. This is done with the use of coarse diamond abrasives and then moving into very fine abrasives. Once the amount of polish is achieved, the strips or slabs are then moved to distribution warehouses and then shipped to different destinations all over the world.

Benefits of Natural Stone

The main advantage of marble and other natural stone materials for the bathroom is that it evokes a bold statement and exudes an aura of style and elegance. However, there are a bevy of other construction materials that offer better value, dependability and durability and even lower cost. One particular material is concrete that can be molded to look and feel like natural stone. Why still choose marble or natural stone? Its exclusivity and classic style.

From an aesthetic standpoint, every quarry in the world features a slightly different stone, even if they came from the same quarry. Slabs of stone will have different veining and coloring as evidence of this. For a typical bathroom countertop for example, will have a uniquely different look that is completely unique from every other one in the world. That is what you are paying for when it comes to natural stone. This is the reason why using natural stone almost guarantees an instant increase of resale value for any property. A lot of prospective buyers always see this as a plus factor.

Limitations of Natural Stone

The number one limiting factor why people choose other materials than natural stone is its sheer cost. This exclusiveness has a price tag. Depending on the kind of stone you end up choosing, be ready to pay one hundred to three hundred dollars per square foot for both material and labor cost of stone floors, walls and showers. A typical 6x8x7 foot tall shower that is lined with rare marble can cost somewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars alone. Stone is also slippery and walking on bare feet in a bathroom lined with marble can be quite unpleasant unless you can afford to have radiant floor heating system installed as well.

Should you still choose natural stone for your bathroom remodel? It really depends if you can accept the obvious limitations of the material. Natural stone is a material that commands an air of exclusivity. If this is something you want then it is the right one for you.…

Home Additions: Patio Designs For You To Consider

The patio is one area of your home that is best suited for entertaining friends and family. It should be a place that provides good aesthetic value to set the mood and good functionality to comply with the needs of the area. Thinking of a home addition or remodel soon? Here are some patio designs for you to consider.

Texture and Safety of Patio Surface

The experts at Silverton Custom Homes say you need to consider what your patio generally will be used for. For instance, flat, even areas are a necessity for a dining area, living rooms and for good access. Whereas, rough cobblestones and textured aggregate concrete pavers may cause a guest or family member to trip or may disrupt the movement of a person with disability. On the other hand. A very smooth surface such as polished granite or concrete can become extremely slippery when wet. The application of resistant-slip coatings is a necessity for high traffic areas of your patio if that is the case.

Try Concrete

Concrete offers a durable, dependable, attractive and cost effective surface for your patio. Concrete pavers may be cast into a variety of different sizes, colors and shapes. On top of that, different finishes and textures can be applied to it such as aggregate, faux finishes, etchings, stamping and hand carving. Textural surfaces can be created from something as simple as rakes and brooms to make your patio look truly unique.

Stone

You can check out a local supplier to know what type of natural stone is present in your area. Choices include: cut stone, veneer, cobblestone and flagstone. Both concrete pavers and stone are spaced apart and with loose materials like gravel or sound it can fill in the gaps.

Paver Pathway

You could envision a stairway on a slope that provides sexy curves that exude a sense of mystery and intrigue as opposed to a simple straight up and down design. Concrete steps may be used to align with a low retaining wall in order to establish a straight line before the curve of the steps and then switch to ipe wood risers. You can use simple concrete square pavers that are evenly placed in a bed of pea gravel to create a modern look. Create a warm hue using a mahogany wood stain on the ipe.

Divide Space into Zones

When designing a backyard patio try to create multiple seating sections for lounging, gathering and eating. This can help divide your patio into sections to provide better space and functionality.

Lighting

When remodeling your patio it is a must to pay attention to the lighting. Ambience is an essential element to any backyard entertaining. To make the most out of your patio you should be able to create the right mood for the area. You can take your backyard from day to night with the use of overhead lighting such as string lights and task lighting like lanterns, lit cubes and planters. Add the right music into the mix and you have the perfect patio setup.

Go Beyond Grass

While it is true that a well maintained lawn always has a place in landscaping, the maintenance needed such as watering, pest control etcetera can hinder homeowners from truly taking advantage of this concept. Replace the lawn area of your patio with some low maintenance plants that can improve the appearance of your home as well as offer year-round interest.

The patio is the area of the home where you entertain your friends and family. Choosing the right materials can make it more functional and aesthetically pleasing. Blending elements that complement the overall design of your home is key to any backyard patio remodeling project.…

Helpful Advice On Building A Deck For Your Home

deck overlooking the ocean

Decks are a wonderful means of extending your living room space to the outside. This is especially good if you have a favorable climate for most of the year. When it comes to building a deck, more planning and consideration goes into it than an indoor bathroom. Aside from knowing whether you want an actual deck as opposed to a patio, you will need to consider budget, space to build it and the right professional contractor to do the job. Here is some helpful advice on how to build a deck on your home.

It’s all about Location

As in any remodeling or home construction project, location is key to ensuring you get the desired outcome. When it comes to building a deck, more often than not a limited property size will determine its size and location. If you have more space to spare, then you are blessed with more options on where to build it. Regardless, the location of your deck will be determined by the following factors: size of the lot, microclimates, presence of sun and shade, wind conditions, rain and snow conditions, relation to view, privacy and of course closeness to the main house. Nevertheless, if you have a home with a stunning view then that is where you should build the deck. Decks are great additions to any homes but a deck with a scenic view is so much better.

Budget

When it comes to constructing your deck, your budget to build it plays a role. Here are some of the factors that will affect the quality of your deck based on your available budget: size of the deck, intricacy of the design, presence of extras such as additional seats, railings, space for flowerboxes, quality of contractor services and selection of type of lumber used. One way to go around your budget constraints is to get creative. You can add a small deck next to an existing patio made of concrete, brick or other materials. This can drastically cut down your expenses but at the same time provide you with the look and functionality of a deck.

Materials

Wood is the original and preferred material for decks but there are other variants out there such as weather resistant woods like cedar, cypress and redwoods. There are also pressure-treated wood like treated lumber that feature wood with preservatives. Hardwood like teak and Ipe as well as the Brazilian hardwoods are also popular choices. There is also composite decking material, which is made from recycled plastic and wood fiber. You can also opt for plastic and aluminum that both utilize recycled materials.

Size, Shape and Design

The size of your deck will be determined by its location and of course your budget. If you have a small space then you get a small deck and so on and so forth. The shape of the deck is determined by the design of your home. It is recommended to follow the natural lines, proportions and architecture of your home so it looks like a natural extension or a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors. Aside from being a functional area outdoors, an excellently designed deck should complement the beauty of your home. It should complement the architecture and coordinate well with the landscape design that surrounds it.

Added Railings, Privacy Fencing

The easiest to construct are the simple platform decks as they have a clean and timeless appeal. However, if the deck is more than a few feet off the ground then building regulations dictate safety features in the form of railings. If the deck is in a convenient area but most of the time hot due to the sun, some form of roofing might be necessary to add comfort and convenience. Privacy is also an important factor to consider when building your deck. Don’t want nosey neighbors prying on your family activities; privacy fencing does the trick quite well of preventing the view from a certain vantage point.…

Advantages and Limitations of Flat Roofing

The roof is one area of the house that takes the most abuse from wear and tear. It is for this reason that it takes high priority when it comes to remodeling. For instance, sloping and pitched roofs assist in shedding water and reducing snow accumulation. Examples are: shingles, tiled, asphalt and wood shake variants. These look like fish scales that overlap one another in order to let water down. Flat roofing on the other hand is different. They are designed as a monolithic roof surface and require the capability to handle some standing water for a limited time.

EPDM Single Ply Membrane Roofing

EPDM is made from recycled rubber materials, which makes it a friendly environmental option. It can also insulate your roof and attic and therefore can lower your cooling and heating bills. They come in a wide variety of textures and colors for you to choose from.

Advantages

EPDM is waterproof and it allows you to encase the entire roof. Repairing the system is relatively straight forward and inexpensive. Some homeowners can even attempt DIY repairs if they are knowledgeable enough. They last a long time about thirty to fifty years and is quite good against water, fire and wind. Moreover, the roof deck does not need to be reinforced, as the EPDM material is lightweight. It is quite durable and does not scuff or scratch or scuff that easily.

Limitations

While some repairs can be done by homeowners themselves, installation of the roof system should only be done by a professional contractor that is well versed in this type of roof. The labor cost is also higher as it requires special technical know how. Also, any exterior pieces such as pipes, HVAC and chimney pose a threat to the roofing system and can cause leakage if they are not properly flashed. The rubber roofing may also be damaged by fallen branches, foot traffic during install or severe storm damage.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

The built-up roofing system previously was the most common type of flat roof system until it was overtake by single-ply roofing and the modified bitumen. BUR makes use of tar and gravel in order to establish a watertight layer over the roof. Some of the primary advantages of this kind of roofing system are thick roof coverage and high damage resistance. However, it is an expensive roofing choice for a residential home, and some of the odors that come with gravel and tar can be quite distracting.

Advantages

This type of roofing system can last from 10 to 15 years as long as there is regular maintenance and repair done. There are several types of built-up roofing such as smooth asphalt, asphalt built-up, ballasted asphalt built-up and cold built-up to name a few. The system offers amazing protection versus water, ultraviolet rays and bad weather. It is extremely low maintenance and therefore the cost of upkeep is very little all throughout is operational life. It is easy to remove layers when repair or resurfacing the roof. The presence of gravel makes it highly resistant to normal foot traffic.

Limitations

Installing the BUR is complicated and takes quite some time due to the involvement of a number of materials like asphalt, coral, tar and gravel. Due to the complexity of installation it has high labor costs. It is susceptible to damage from strong winds and high levels of moisture. It is very heavy and needs roof joists that require strengthening prior to installation. Finding the source of leakage can be quite difficult and at times require the dismantling of the entire roof. It is not adaptable to cold temperatures, which make it susceptible to damage if exposed.…

Concrete Driveway Dos and Dont’s

Concrete driveway for the home

Without a doubt, concrete driveways provide a strong impression in the front portion of your home. More often than not, it is the first thing visitors’ notice as they approach the house. If you are looking to upgrade an existing one or planning to put a new one in your home, here are some helpful tips to guide you.

Curb Appeal

A upgrade of concrete driveway can increase the value of a home

The reason homeowners upgrade their driveway is to increase curb appeal thus increases the market value of the home. According to concrete driveway specialist, Staincrete, upgrading an existing concrete driveway can be as simple as placing a saw cutting in a decorative pattern using a masonry skill saw blade and then adding some nice decorative concrete stains. If you feel that your driveway has seen better days, consider giving it a facelift using stamped concrete or some interlocking pavers. It can come as a surprise how your home looks much nicer with just a simple driveway upgrade.

Concrete Driveway Sizing

Have an ample concrete driveway

Check with the local Building and Safety office to determine local codes prior to settling on a design. There are instances, where the local HOA or homeowner’s association seems to have an opinion on this aspect as well. Check also for fire truck access and turn around ability especially for lengthy driveways.

Standard Length

concrete driveway should have ample length and width

According concrete driveway experts, plan the driveway using 18-20 feet of length for each vehicle and allow at least 22-24 feet for full size pick up trucks that feature extended cabs and oversized mini-vans. There should be some walk around room at the bottom of the drive of at least three to five feet.

Standard Width

concrete driveway should have ample width

Design concrete driveways with a minimum of ten feet of width for each car. If there is still space left, use wider spacing for more convenient walk-about space between vehicles. Factor in the space in instances when kids remove their bikes from the garage and make sure there is enough space between cars to avoid denting or scratching.…

Kitchen Remodeling : How To Select Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets for kitchen remodeling

If you are looking to save money on your kitchen remodeling project, purchasing stock cabinets can definitely do that for you. Here are some helpful tips to guide you on how to go about it with ease.

Why Stock Cabinets?

Stock cabinets are great options for kitchen remodeling

Stock cabinets allow you to save money, you would have otherwise used to pay for a custom cabinet and therefore put that resource somewhere else. Stock cabinets also save you time as you do not have to wait for them to be constructed by your woodworker. While you are in fact saving money using stock cabinets, it does not mean you are giving away some quality as long as you know how to go about it.

Things To Look For During Kitchen Remodeling

Solid Wood and Plywood Cabinets – they provide the best in terms of longevity and they offer crisper details compared to pressed wood.

Walls should be ½ inch in thickness – to provide sturdiness.

Consistency in the finish – cabinets of lesser quality more often than not have irregular finishes and colors from one cabinet to the other.

Full Extension Hardware – this feature allows you to open drawers all the way and also open doors to about 180 degrees in order to make access easier for the user.

Dovetail Joinery – remember that drawer sides and backs that are stapled together is not very durable.

Installation and Cost

Good quality stock cabinets for kitchen remodeling project will cost you around $8k to $10k. Double the price if you want semi-custom ones. Full custom would run you triple the amount.

If this is a bit high for you, the option is to try IKEA kitchen cabinets, which is somewhere, around $2,500. The problem however is the hassle of assembly that will test your skills and patience. If you do not want the trouble of a DIY, then just simply hire a professional like Milano Dezign to install them for you. Expect to pay somewhere between $100-$300 per cabinet to have a professional installation.

Limits of Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets can be limiting when doing kitchen remodeling

Limited color choices and finish – the most popular options you can get with stock cabinets include: natural wood, cherry, stained maple and classic white.

Only 36 Inches in height – if you prefer to have taller cabinets then you are better off going semi-custom as that can go up to 42 inches.

Lost Storage Space – more often than not, you will find filler strips being used to cover gaps created when the stock sizes are unable to fill the space. Using custom cabinets can be measured to exact specifications so you can utilize all of the available space.…

Choosing the Right Window Blinds For The Home

Window blinds as long as it is appropriately chosen for the room can serve to complement its design and place an element of style. From roller to Roman to Venetian blinds, there are a number of different materials  that Blind Installation & Repair, Inc. can offer in order to achieve the desired effect. Privacy is one of the main reasons why many homeowners install blinds. The great thing about it is you can adjust how much you want people to see. Just enough so that outsiders are not able to peep through. Binds control the amount of light and are perfect for homes with large windows. Blinds are perfect insulators as they can hold heat within while exterior blinds can prevent your home from heating too much.

Right Material For Window Blinds

Blinds as you might already know are available in different styles, colors and materials. As a matter of fact, the material used to manufacture them is one of the primary factors that determine their functionality. There are some materials that are best used for the kitchen while there are others that are best for living spaces.

Roller Blinds

Examples of roller window blinds

If you are looking for something more cost effective then this is a good choice. Roller blinds feature a roll of fabric that can be moved up or down depending on how much light you want to let in to your room. They are quite effective at controlling sunlight and helps in providing insulation during the cold season.

Cellular Blinds

Examples of cellular window blinds

Similar to roller blinds, this type of window blind is also retractable. Cellular blinds are composed of honeycomb shaped cells that extend when they are open and then stack up when closed. You can choose from an array of different patterns and colors that can work best with your existing décor. Also have the freedom to select an opening style, which can either be from the top or from the bottom or if you want both. Have the option to let light in via the top or bottom half of the window while at the same time keeping some level of privacy. Cellular blinds are quite easy to maintain as all you need is a feather duster and a damp cloth to remove dust.

Vertical Blinds

Examples of vertical window blinds

These blinds are very popular for homes with large windows or those with windows that can be challenging to install window treatments such as bay windows. Vertical blinds are also a cost effective means to create privacy in a space. It features vertical slats that can be adjusted to control the amount of light that enters the room. They can be cut down blinds too, as the materials used are wood, fabric and plastic which means there is room to customize depending on window size. Vertical blinds add visual height to a room making it look bigger than it is.

Venetian Window Blinds

Examples of venetian window blinds

Venetian blinds are very popular and run horizontally. Although it can not completely block light, closing the slats can dim the light to allow rest and relaxation without the annoying glare of the sun.

Choosing Window Blinds for Your Home

The functionality of the room is the primary factor to consider when looking for blinds.

Kitchen Blinds

window blinds for kitchen

For the kitchen you will need blinds that block out harsher light if you spend a lot of time there. Also, you need to select easy-to-clean materials like vinyl or engineered wood.

Living Room Blinds

window blinds for living room

The living room is where you relax and entertain guests. A window treatment that gives the space a refined and sophisticated appearance. It is recommended to use wooden blinds particularly darker wood blinds due to their versatility to match almost any kind of décor.…

Guide To Choosing A Residential Plumber You Can Trust

When you found a great residential plumber, keep him for life

Choosing a residential plumber is easy. Choosing a residential plumber you can trust is another thing altogether. You probably have heard a lot of horror stories regarding people’s experiences hiring so-called “skilled professionals” but somehow ended up spending more money than what was required. Many homeowners often choose not to think about the how until they are faced with a plumbing emergency and then just hire who is available immediately without thinking about the consequences.

My Residential Plumber Story

Residential plumber making an assessment

My story began 4 years ago when we bought our first home. Naturally, worrying about the plumbing was the farthest thing in our minds until one sunny day about 3 2 years ago when my 6 year old shouted that there was water already in the hallway. I discovered that our water heater had gotten a leak. After panicking for a couple of seconds I immediately decided to ring the only residential plumber, Ramsey MN I knew, who was in another city about an hour away for some advice. It was a good thing that he was able to refer me to someone local and would get me in touch with him.

Luckily, the problem was solved quite painlessly, the plumber came and fixed the issue right away, with good skill and without burning a hole in my pocket. Once the repairs were done, I took his contact information. Knowing a local residential plumber was, obviously very important and the water heater leak did gave me my first rude awakening about emergency plumbing issue. Unfortunately, the same leak happened two more times and strangely in the same location.

Emergency plumbing issues can be avoided when you have a reliable residential plumberThis time I decided to call an established residential plumbing company located in town. At first, I was quite hesitant to do so as I was worried I would be paying more for their name and bran but not necessarily for the quality of service. However, I also knew I cannot suffer the same experience of having to undergo endless water heater leak repairs. While speaking with them I was able to learn that they had already worked at our home from the previous occupants. The rep was able to give me right away an estimate for what fees would be charged. Right then and there I knew the repair would be documented so if the same problem occurred once more everyone would have specific information as to what was done. I knew the basis where the fees for the repair would come from which gave me relief.

If I have to undergo the same process all over again I will not wait for an emergency in order to familiarize myself with my plumbing options. The best advice I can give you is to plan ahead and do some research before the emergency happens so that if and when it does you will have more confidence on whom to call and trust. Here are some quick pointers:

Ask for References

An experienced and trustworthy residential plumber service should easily be able to provide you with names of recent customers in your part of town.

Ask for Quotes

Get a couple of written quotes or estimates from different plumbers. Insist on documentation so if something goes wrong it is easy to track what went down.

Licensing & Insurance

A reliable residential plumber is a licensed and insured plumber

While it is true that not every state require their plumbers to be licensed, all plumbers should have updated insurance information should there be injuries that happen while on your property.

History

Inquire how long have they been providing services to their customers. Are they established in your area or just starting out? Perhaps you have already seen them around your neighborhood. This means they have a reputation to keep and will work to provide you with excellent service to keep customers happy.…