Monthly Archives: January 2017

Top 6 Home Improvement Investments

Considering a home improvement? Check out the top 6 home improvements across the country.

1. Bathroom Remodel/Addition
A bathroom remodel is a smaller, affordable remodeling project that can have a great impact on your everyday life. From updating tired fixtures to adding more storage to creating a relaxing haven, any changes you make to your bathroom are guaranteed to improve your daily routine.

Bathroom remodeling wish list: New cabinetry and storage, artistic sink fixtures, jetted tub, skylight

2. Kitchen Remodel
Today’s kitchens are at the hub of family life, often serving as a dining area, home office, and gathering place. Whether you choose a major kitchen remodel or just want to rejuvenate one aspect with new lighting, appliances, cabinetry or tile, updating your kitchen can make it easier to accommodate your busy lifestyle.

Kitchen remodeling wish list: Granite countertops, walk-in pantry, state-of-the-art appliances

3. Basement Remodel
Remodeling the basement is a cost-effective way to greatly expand your home’s living space. Suddenly you could have a guest room, a children’s play room, a home office, a recreation room. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Basement remodeling wish list: Media room, bar, soundproofing, plenty of natural light

4. Windows
New window installation offers a great opportunity to upgrade your home in style and resale value. Not to mention, with nearly 40 percent of central heating lost through windows and doors, quality window replacement with proper insulation ensures substantial savings on utility bills.

Window wish list: Custom windows, UV protection glazing, tubular skylights

5. Siding
One of the most overlooked home improvements, new siding will dramatically change your home’s appearance. In the past there weren’t many siding options to choose from, leaving homeowners few choices besides the often unattractive vinyl siding. But today there are a wide variety of options available, including the much improved vinyl options, not to mention metal, wood, brick, stone and stucco.

Siding wish list: Natural bark siding, natural stone siding, reclaimed brick

6. Roofing
For many homeowners a new roof is a grudge purchase. However, with all the many options available today, it certainly doesn’t have to be. Today roofing materials are available in wood, metal, tile, slate, and even asphalt shingles that mimic nearly everything else. And of these roofing materials offer a wide color palette to choose the best color to complement your home’s exterior.

Adding Dormers

Q: Hi, our house is a cape which has two bedrooms on the first floor and two bedrooms and a half bath on the second floor. At some point in the future, we would like to add dormers (the house is a brick exterior w/a slate roof). Would this project be very costly (can you estimate a range) and about how long would the project take to complete? Also are any permits/licenses required?

A: The best way to get your questions answered is to consult directly with some remodeling contractors in your area. Although laws vary among jurisdictions, in almost all areas, this kind of project would require permits and need to be performed by a licensed general contractor.

I recommend you visit our site at http://www.servicemagic.com and join as a member (it’s free!). Then Start a New Project, select Remodels & Home Additions as your project category, then Home Additions and General home addition. Answer the questions in that interview as best you can, describing what you want in the additional details box.

We will match you up with some qualified local remodeling contractors who can give you a general idea of how much this would cost and how long it might take. From there you can decide if the idea is feasible, whether you should hire an architect or building designer to draw your plans before putting it out to bid to general contractors, or choose a Design/Build remodeling contractor to handle the whole project, etc.

Identifying Potential To Enhance Home Improvement

There are many home improvement possibilities a person can reap the benefits of when attempting to enhance the appearance of their home and increase the price of their property. While appointing a specialist may offer a pleasant possibility with regard to convenience, the incredible expense associated with these services can usually persuade individuals to look for alternatives. When considering the possibilities that exist with alternatives for your housing improvement projects, make the most of the do-it-yourself opportunities which exist with landscaping, painting, flooring, and bathroom remodeling.

 

Landscaping

The appearance of a house is often directly associated with the common real estate expression of curb appeal. When you have a property that has vegetation, that is out of control or provides very little character, it can facilitate in deteriorating an individual’s opinion of your house, before they have even viewed the interior. When seeking to enhance your home’s curb appeal, the do-it-yourself landscaping home improvement solution can offer a great number of advantages, as you look to spruce up your existing environment and enhance appeal through cost-efficient projects which can complement the look and feel of your home.

When seeking to considerably change the interior or exterior of your house, one of the most effective methods you can take advantage of is found with do-it-yourself painting. This home improvement possibility can enable you to totally change the feel of your home. Simply by altering your color scheme you can give your rooms new, unique ‘personalities’. Whether you’re painting a room for a child or trying to create a welcoming living room environment, the resources of painting can provide you with several unbelievable opportunities.

Just like the possibilities that exist with painting, flooring indicates one more unique possibility which can help to completely change the environment this flooring exists within. If your home is covered in old carpeting, then a fresh change of wood or stone flooring can prove highly advantageous. If you have outdated linoleum, the do-it-yourself solution of ceramic tiles or stone can assist to accent a kitchen or bathroom.

Bathroom Renovations

Another extraordinary do-it-yourself resource which homeowners can make the most of, when looking to make the most of the objectives of home improvement, can be found with bathroom remodels. Bathrooms are usually environments that are extremely personal, and the difference a clean, bright look gives to the room’s ambiance should not be underestimated. A remodeled bathroom can prove very alluring to prospective investors, as they will get a better return for their investment due to the appeal of new features, instead of worn and obsolete materials.

Each of these do-it-yourself home improvement opportunities help to provide a homeowner with a unique possibility to save money, while increasing total home value.

BuildingChoice is a website created for Australian consumers in particular to freely access up to date information and prices on a wide range of building products and appliances. It features a Trades Directory to enable consumers to easily locate and contact the professionals needed to complete a building project – from architects and interior designers to plumbers and platerers.

Contractor Heating and Cooling System Guide

The heating and cooling systems you use in your home apply complex mechanisms in accomplishing those two important tasks. They, therefore, need to be maintained by a trained and experienced technician. You need to take the time to find the right contractor that will help you ensure these systems are functioning as they should. Here are a few tips on how to find the best heating and cooling contractors.

License

The first thing you need to check is that they have a license. The licensing requirements may vary from state to state. Sometimes, even municipalities may have their licensing rules. You contractor should be in a position to provide you with this information on request. Your local government website may have tools you can use to verify the authenticity of the information they provide.

Licenses ensure that your HVAC contractor has the necessary training and experience. For example, most licensing rules require technicians to have two and a half years on the job experience. The technicians are also required to have the experience working with refrigeration systems. Since 1992, the law demands that to operate an HVAC system one has to have refrigeration certification.

References

References can help you gauge the competence of your HVAC expert. The contractor should be in a position to provide a list of recent client’s. Go ahead and call these clients and find out what their experiences were like working with the contractor. You may call clients that have had a similar problem to get more relevant insights.

You may also want to check online reviews. There are many sites online that have reviews from clients with local contractors. Some of the sites include Yelp, BBB and Angie’s list. Pay attention to negative reviews and the specific things people are complaining about.

Provide Quotes

Sometimes repairing your home heating and cooling systems can be costly. You need to find quotes from several companies. You can get a fairly good deal this way. However, avoid making your decision based on prices alone.

Type Of System

Make sure your contractor has the training and expertise to deal with your specific system. If you are using the latest technology in cooling and heating, make sure the contractor has had experience working with the same system. This experience is necessary to ensure they can address the issue quickly and effectively.

Tax Rebates

Certain cooling and cooling systems may be eligible for tax rebates. Ask the contractor for more information. The company can outline the systems that qualify for rebates and give you an outline of what is required. Proper documentation on the part of the contractor is necessary for when you have to seek compensation from the federal government.

Additional Info

It is always important to ask questions and seek clarification. Do not be shy about asking as many questions as you need answers for. Ensure that the contractor can provide extra information. Some of the information you should have in writing includes; the start and completion date of the project, the payment schedule as expected by the contractor. The HVAC company should be in a position to outline their dispute resolution process. Check if the company has liability insurance and other necessary documents.

Contracts

Once the service provider provides all the necessary information, it is important that you both sign on the dotted line. Your contract should include the agreement you have with your contractor. Some of the terms should include things like the scope of the project and the completion date. Make sure the agreement includes all the applicable details for the sake of clarity in the event that you have a dispute with the company.

Written by APM Construction Services, a construction and home maintenance company that is the best choice for heating and cooling Columbia, MO has to offer.

 

Questions to Ask During A Siding Estimate

You have bought your home and upon looking at the exterior, you have decided to add value to it by having siding installed. When you want to install siding, you have first to make up your mind on the type that you want. There are various types of sidings available for your selection, such as; vinyl, hardwood, stone, stucco and aluminum. Your choice will be determined by several reasons, but most important are your budget, location, and preference.

Once the decision is made, you can proceed with your plans. Before you sign the contract binding you and the contractor of your choice legally, there are some questions you need to ask him.

  • How long is the process likely to take complete? Installation of sliding demands that you literally stop doing whatever else it is that you are. Therefore, you need to have a clear timeline for this project so that you know how to proceed with your daily activities. The timeline given should be what the contractor endeavors to adhere to without fail.
  • Does the company have insurance cover? The work likely to be undertaken in your home is quick risky and you need to be exonerated of any liability. Seek to find out whether the safety of the workers is covered in a workers’ liability claim. That way, in case of injuries, you are not liable for their compensation. You also want to know whether the company is covered for any damage that may result during the project. This will protect your property should something happen to your assets when installations are being carried on.
  • What brand of siding will be installed? You have selected your preferred type of siding. Now seek to know what type and brand the contractor will install and the costing for all of that. The contractor should also include in that budget the material that will be accompanying the siding so that you have one lump sum budget for everything.
  • How long has the contractor been in business and is he licensed? You want to be sure that the company undertaking the job is qualified to carry it out. Let them brief you on how long they have been in the business and what their line of expertise is. They should also have references who can attest to the work they’ve done for them. Let them give you a list of people who you can call and ask the relevant questions. Also, ensure that they are licensed to carry on this kind of business and that their licenses and permits are up to date. In this era where businesses are conducted virtually, I would feel safer and assured with good old brick and mortar. Let them have an office where you can go and make enquiries when you need to.
  • Do they grant a guarantee period? Anything can happen between the time the installation is done and the next few months. Ask them whether they have a period of safety when they can re-do the job or make repairs for free or at a subsidized price.
  • What is the expected schedule of payment? Different companies have different options of payment. Some require a percentage as down payments while some will be agreeable to completing the work then getting the payment. Whatever the preferred schedule, ensure that you are also comfortable with it. It is not advisable to pay the full amount upfront. You need some leverage and the unpaid amount could be it.

If the questions above are answered to your satisfaction, you are one step into making a deal with the siding company. Always make sure you get the deal that you deserve and that will be good value for your money.

Written by True Son Exteriors, the best contractors for siding in Columbia, MO.

Home Addition Prep Steps

So you’ve decided to add onto the house. You’ve talked with a designer or an architect. You’ve found a contractor or a group of subcontractors to do the work. They are coming in a week, and you are wondering if there is anything you can do to expedite the work and prepare in general for their arrival. Here in this article are tips and information that will hopefully guide you the rest of the way through your addition.

Preparing the Yard
In the case of a home addition where you are expanding into the backyard, front yard, or even in the side, it would help the contractors if you did a few things.

 

  • Remove anything mobile from the yard. This includes toys, water hoses, grills, outdoor furniture, and the like.
  • Consider removing any plants, trees, and shrubs that might either be in the spot where the addition is going or in the direct work path of the contractors. This might be more of a chore than some can handle, but if you’re up to it, it will help.
  • Call the water department, the cable company, and the gas company and have them mark the lines on the ground. This is an especially important tip before excavation or even foundation building and it will need to be set up by someone.Home Preparation for an Addition
    Let’s say you are going to add on a sunroom to the edge of the kitchen or just off of the living room. There are two ways this can happen. One, the walls are knocked out and new walls will be built around the addition. Two, the walls stay as they are and a doorway is made into the new room. Either way, there will be some debris and dust find their way into your home. However, you can reduce how much comes in and maybe even eliminate it altogether.
  • Buy some rolls of plastic sheeting and plan on hanging them from the floor to the ceiling as a way to block the dust. Be sure not to put these in the way of the contractors.
  • Buying carpet scraps from a carpet store is a smart way to control the amount of mud and dirt will get on your existing floor. Lay these down where there is potential for contractor traffic or dust flow.
  • Move all the furniture that you can from the rooms adjacent to the addition. Many unpredictable things can happen during construction, and everyone will be able to rest easy and work freely if there is nothing to be damaged in the contractors’ path.Mental Preparation is Key
    This remodel might take a long while, and if Holidays or bad weather fall during the addition, it is likely that it could stop for a while. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about. It happens in nearly every big remodeling project. The key is to stay calm, and just try to live normally. Sometimes contractors lose their workers to injury, to sickness, and various things, and the work just cannot be done without everyone there. Be mentally prepared for this to happen. Remember that you have a contract, that you are protected, and that it will be finished.

    Next, prepare yourself to have your home a mess for a while. It is part of the process, and much like having braces there will be some pain, some part of the home that looks different (perhaps worse) than it used to, but soon you will have a nice set of teeth. Click this link if you would like to read more about preparing your home to be a mess.

    Final Home Prep Thoughts
    Don’t let the process scare you off, the value of investment and the added space to your home will be more than worth the trouble of the remodel. After the remodeling process is complete, you will be delighted with the results.