Uncovering the Hidden Problems in Your Home

Uncovering the Hidden Problems in Your Home

When you plan a kitchen remodel, you probably focus on utility and aesthetics. There is an added benefit that you may not consider. Your contractor can find hidden issues with your house that may have otherwise caused you trouble down the line. Most contractors will factor some contingencies in their bid so that you aren’t overwhelmed when problems arise.

No house is perfect. Even new houses have their flaws. An older home, however, may have more problems. In order to properly update the appearance of your home, you may have to update some of the structure. That’s why you should always have a contingency fund in case your contractor finds something that needs fixing or updating to meet the building code.

No matter how experienced the professionals you hire are, they can’t know what’s going on inside a wall without taking a look. While they may be able to give you an idea of the types of problems a home often has, they can’t know for sure until the work starts. Once a drill goes into a wall, a lot can be revealed.

If you’re having your bathroom remodeled, for example, your contractor might find water leaks. Because leaks can cause structural damage and lead to mold growth, you can be thankful they found the problem. While it may cost a little money to fix it now, it could save you the expense of more costly repairs later on.

Another issue that your contractor may run into in your walls is faulty wiring. That’s not something that can be ignored. It’s a fire hazard. So, even though it may cost you extra, it’s worth the expense. Replacing faulty wiring will help bring your house up to code and make it a safer place to live.

Walls may also have inadequate insulation. If you’ve noticed that your kitchen or bathroom is unusually cold in the winter or hot in the summer it may be because you need more insulation. Your contractor can fix the problem and that will save you money on heating and cooling in the long run.

Windows can also have their hidden problems. Dry rot around a window might not be apparent at first. Only when the work has started will your contractor find the dry rot in the wall. Fixing it will make your home more structurally sound.

Also, keep in mind that your subfloor is hidden until the flooring is removed. Your contractor has no way of knowing whether it’s in good condition until he sees it. Hopefully, only minor repairs will be needed if any. Having a good subfloor will help the rest of your remodel go more smoothly so it’s important that any issues are fixed properly.

When you have a contractor bid on your project, make sure he’s planning for contingencies.  A really low bid may not include any wiggle room for unexpected problems. Also, set aside more money than you think is needed for the project. At least 5% extra on hand could be helpful. While no one likes having to pay more than expected, it’s worth it to have your home fixed properly.

Replace Your Old Windows When Remodeling Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Replace Your Old Windows When Remodeling Your Kitchen or BathroomWindows are one of the four key factors that should be taken into account when rating your home as a shelter against the outdoors. (The roof, siding, and foundation are the other three.) They not only affect the appearance and cost of running your home, but good, modern windows can increase its appeal and its value if you are looking to sell. If you live in College Station, Texas, Windham Construction has professionals that can help you get the job done right.

Why You Want New Windows in Your Remodeled Kitchen

In terms of investment return, window replacement is one of the best home remodeling projects you can do. You can recoup up to 80% of the project cost in added home value according to Remodeling Impact Report. That doesn’t include the energy savings.

If your windows are more than fifteen years old, your home would almost certainly benefit from the installation of new, energy-efficient windows. And you won’t have to put up with drafts, stuck windows, and increasing energy bills any longer if the job is done right.

Windows that can be cleaned from the inside are available these days too, and that is a big perk if you live in a home that is more than one story tall. Some recommend that you install new windows early in your home renovation project rather than later to start seeing savings right away.

What are the Best Energy Efficient Windows to Buy for your Kitchen or Bath Remodel?

There are basically three types: aluminum, wood, and vinyl. Vinyl windows are usually the most energy efficient and are often preferred due to several other factors. However, wood can be more attractive so it’s worth considering.  Also, think about what windows will match the rest of the windows in your home. Talking to a design expert or viewing samples can help.

No matter what type of new window you end up with, it’s most likely going to save you money on energy costs in the future.

How Much Better are Modern Energy Efficient Windows over Older Windows?

If you currently have older, double-pane windows in a 2,600-square-foot house, then on average, you can expect to see about a 15% savings per year on heating bills after you install energy efficient windows with low-E coatings. That’s according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative, which is a coalition of government agencies, manufacturers, and research organizations that promote efficient window technologies.

Your savings can vary depending on the weather, but here in Brazos Valley, you should see significant savings once you make the switch. Energy Star labels can tell you how well a window will perform in your climate based on ratings from the National Fenestration Rating Council.

Of course, the most energy efficient windows are typically going to be the most expensive, but you don’t have to buy the highest-end products to see real savings and to improve the appearance of your home. Talk with a professional to see what the best option is for your home.

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodels – Which kind is best for you?

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodels – Which kind is best for you?

You may want a remodel for a number of reasons. Maybe your kitchen or bathroom just looks dated, but often there are more functional reasons to make a change. You might want to make room for new technology that the builders of your kitchen never considered. Space might be a serious issue with a poorly designed kitchen. Whatever your reason, here’s some information on choosing the right remodel for you.

DIY Cosmetic Makeover

If your kitchen or bath has everything it needs except the right color, you have cheap options. You can refinish the old cabinets and add new hardware yourself. There are even kits for refinishing your cabinets. This option is great for newer kitchens.

This option is cheap and tempting for handy homeowners, but they may not give you all of the change you really want. If all it really needs is a new finish, you’re fine, but if your kitchen or bathroom needs a lot of updating, this isn’t the option for you. You’ll put forth a lot of effort and end up disappointed.

Professional Cosmetic Makeover

Even the simplest makeover can turn complex. You can hire professionals to take care of it for you. Some kits to refinish your cabinets cost less than $100. That might seem like a good deal until you mess it up. Then you have thousands of dollars’ worth of cabinets looking less than beautiful. If you’re afraid of that happening, you can ask a professional what they can do to make your kitchen look and feel better.

Simple Replacement

If you don’t like your current cabinets and countertops, you can simply have them removed and replaced. This is a good option if you already have the layout you want, but you aren’t happy with the style of your current cabinetry. This can be the case if you have the cheapest cabinetry that the original homeowner could find.  Newer cabinets can improve your kitchen or bath drastically.

Replacing fixtures can also help. A new tub or sink can add a lot of utility. While it’s just replacing what’s already there, be careful. Your kitchen or bath may not be up to current building codes that are there to keep you safe. If you hire a professional builder, they can help you get your kitchen and bath up to code and safer.

Custom Renovation

Do you hate your kitchen or bathroom?  Is it difficult to use because of its poor design?  If so, this is your best option. Pulling out everything and maybe even claiming space from a nearby room can help you upgrade your kitchen or bath and make it usable.

A custom renovation is your chance to make your home more modern.  Small kitchens and baths are a thing of the past.

Hire a Professional

It cannot be emphasized enough that a major kitchen and bath remodel isn’t something that most homeowners can do on their own. Permits and building codes have to be considered. Then, there’s dealing with the electrical and plumbing issues that come with updating a kitchen or bathroom. If you want a custom renovation, hire an experienced builder that you can trust.

Maximizing Smaller Spaces when Remodeling

Maximizing Smaller Spaces when Remodeling

AT HOME MAGAZINE - 2017 ISSUE
{Home care & Decor}

Maximizing Smaller Spaces when Remodeling


by Alison Windham, Windham Construction

When considering a remodel of a smaller home, there are some things to consider that might help with functionality, budget and aesthetics.

Whether your house was built in the 1940’s or 1980’s, there are some universal floorplans seen in many. The rooms in common areas are mostly defined and closed in by walls or partial walls. Some people like the separation, others do not. The first line item in a lot of remodels is to open up the space. Barrier walls between kitchen and family room, dining room, even bedrooms are desired. These changes can help traffic flow, sight range and just makes things feel bigger. Keep in mind load bearing walls are just that, and you must make sure there is reinforcement before it can be removed. It’s always wise to consult with a reputable contractor that can advise for correct wall removal. If there is plumbing, electrical or duct work in the wall, it will have to be relocated. Sometimes this can be a cost deterrent. So what do you do if that happens?

If structural changes aren’t in the game plan, there are some things you can do to achieve more functionality in a remodel.

In the kitchen it’s all about organization and storage. New cabinetry with pull out shelves, spice racks, and corner drawers can open up dead space and allow for more storage. Built-ins in the eating area, or extending counters can also increase surface space. Sometimes reconfiguring the fridge, stove and appliances can create better prep and traffic flow.

The same premise can work in the bathroom. New cabinetry that houses more toiletries, towels and even laundry will free up cluttered space. Sometimes reconfiguring the shower and eliminating the tub will make a bathroom feel much bigger. The laundry room is another often neglected space that often needs some better cabinetry, cubbies or hanging racks to get things organized and manageable. Finding organizational answers will eliminate the clutter that can over power a house.

After those issues are solved, it’s time to consider color palate. Smaller homes need color that joins everything together. Different colors in the bedrooms are fine, but the common areas need fluidity and continuity. A good neutral color that’s warm, cool, or in between will make the house feel open and fresh. The pops of color can be integrated in the kitchen backsplash, countertops, flooring and your decorative touches. Creating a calm background color will allow for different colors from furniture, art and accessories to come into sight.

Remodeling a home involves consideration of the homeowners’ preferences, lifestyle and structure of the house. Choosing a contractor that can address all of these factors will help the client achieve the results they want. Sometimes it takes guided interviews and information impartation to help the client understand what the finished product will allow for in form and functionality. Once that understanding is reached it’s time to get started!

Who should Build Your Deck?

Who should Build Your Deck?While homeowners can make their own decks, it is no easy project. It can be difficult even for experts. Some designs are more ambitious than others. There are definitely times where a professional deck builder is needed. For example, look at this DIY Network article that shows the steps you’ll need to take to build your own deck. Here are some steps you can take to make building your deck go smoothly.

First, make some decisions. How big would you like the deck? It would be good to get some rough dimensions to tell your builder. Also, think about the style you would like and find pictures that will help your builder know exactly what you want. Granted, some things may not be possible on your lot or within your budget, but giving your builder an idea of what you want is a good idea.

Another thing to consider is whether you want features like a fire pit or outdoor dining. These things are better decided before your builder gets to work. The clearer the idea you have for your deck and the clearness with which you communicate to your builder will make for a better project with fewer delays.

Hiring a deck builder

Now you need to hire your deck builder. Here are some things to look for when you’re hiring a professional to do the work for you:

  • A good builder with have insurance
  • Choose someone that has been in business for a long time
  • Find someone that can get to your project in a timely fashion
  • Builders that have been working locally for a long time are better because they have more connections to other professionals you may need to utilize later on.
  • Look for someone that can give you a reasonable timeline for completion of the work
  • Find a builder that will give you lots of options when it comes to design and materials
  • Feel free to ask for references and even look at samples of the builder’s work. Then call the references. Ask the reference if they’re happy with the results they got and if the job was completed in a timely manner and on budget.
  • Make sure you hire a builder that will give you a written estimate

You don’t have to stick with the first builder you call. If you realize that they are uninsured or don’t have experience, move along to the next one. You don’t want your project to be someone’s first attempt at building a deck, especially if they’re uninsured.

A good deck builder will get all of the needed permits and take care of all of the work. All you need to do is be able to communicate what you want with your builder. Communication is key on both ends. Don’t be afraid to tell your builder what you want. Miscommunication can cause wasted time and money. No one wants that to happen. So, be ready to tell your builder exactly what you need and hire a builder that will listen to you.

Common Mistakes When Building a Gazebo

Common Mistakes When Building a GazeboHere in Brazos Valley, the weather is great for most of the year so having an outdoor space like a gazebo makes sense. However, when starting any new construction project, it’s important to make sure you’ve got a good set of plans.  Every aspect down to the correct hardware needs to be considered.  Here are some common mistakes you can make when building your own gazebo.

Buying the wrong materials

If you have good plans make sure you follow them exactly, even when it comes to the type and thickness of the wood you’re using. Don’t substitute one kind of wood for another unless you’re certain it will turn out the same. Not all wood is the same strength so if the plans call for a particular type of board, think twice before making a substitution.

Another thing to consider is getting the correct hardware. While two different screws might look basically the same, remember that plans call for certain types of hardware because they’re better for the job. Using screws and nails that are too short and fasteners that are too weak could reduce the integrity of the gazebo you’re building.

Failing to get a permit

Depending on where you live, adding a structure to your yard could require a permit. Even if you get a permit from the city you may need to think about getting permission to build from your HOA. When getting a permit, make sure you have good plans and are prepared for a possible inspection. When getting approval from your HOA, read your HOA rules first to make sure the building complies. Then, submit the plans for the gazebo to the appropriate committee, usually the architectural committee.

Taking on more than you can handle

When you try to DIY a project you may not have considered all of the work involved and the tools required to get it done right. Hiring an experienced builder will ensure that your project will be completed correctly and with the right tools. It’s better to have a builder from the start than hiring a builder to fix your mistakes. However, it’s never too late to call a professional for some help with any DIY project.

Crooked boards

While boards that aren’t laid properly may still be structurally sound, they detract from the appearance of your gazebo. An experienced builder won’t make that mistake. When you hire a builder to do the work, you can be sure that whatever pattern you’ve chosen for the floorboards will be executed properly.

If you hire an experienced professional, these problems can be avoided. Your builder will use the right materials, get permits, and install the floor boards in a correct and attractive fashion. While you may be able to build a gazebo yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional if you run into some problems. You don’t just want a completed gazebo, you want a gazebo that is built correctly the first time. That way you can get enjoyment from it for years to come.

Renovation – Where to begin

Renovation – Where to begin

If your home needs a lot of updating, it can be difficult to prioritize the work that needs to be done. While a coat of paint can make the place feel like new, you might want to hold off on painting any areas that might need new fixtures, like a bathroom. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Find out want needs to be done

While you may associate a home inspector with buying a new house, getting an inspection before renovation can help you decide where you really need to spend your money. An inspector checks the structure of your home and its systems like air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical. You’ll find out if there are any safety issues and if you have enough insulation. A home inspection is a great first step to home remodeling.

When you fix any major issues in the home it’s time to decide what sort of general remodel work you want done for your home.  You can do this by assessing your priorities and what areas of the home matter the most to you.

Hire a reputable professional to do the work

A good local builder can help your project move forward quickly and easily. If you have home renovation projects in College Station, TX hire a local construction company. Choose one that has been in business for a long time and knows the area. With that knowledge and experience you can get better deals than if you go with a newer company.

A professional can help you decide what work needs to be done and when.

Windows

Replacing windows can increase energy efficiency while adding light. Suntunnel Skylights add light to your space as well. Here in Texas, we have a lot of sunlight to take advantage of.

Adding living space

Adding additional living space doesn’t have to cost a lot of money if you add on a screened porch or sunroom.  Decks and pergolas also provide additional living space particularly in Brazos Valley, TX where home remodeling includes the outdoors because of the beautiful weather.

Updating your kitchen and bathroom

When someone is remodeling their home, the kitchen and bathroom are the targets of a lot of the work. Updating fixtures, replacing countertops, or gutting the whole thing and starting from scratch are all on the table depending on your budget. This is where working with professionals is key. They can help you decide what work will be within your budget and what you can schedule for another time.

There are some projects you can handle yourself with the right instructions if you like to DIY. Installing fixtures, painting, and installing new flooring are all options.  If you do it right, it can blend in with the professional work you had done in other areas of the house. If you’re not very handy, don’t fret. There are plenty of professionals willing to help. Home remodeling in Brazos Valley is popular right now, so hire someone you can trust to do the work.

11 myths about home renovations

11 myths about home renovationsWhile cruising around remodeling blogs, a wonderful article popped out at me. Not only does it provide some useful helpful tips for home remodeling, it also offers some great advice on how to view projects before they are tackled. Topics covered in this article on Curbed.com include:    
  1. Remodeling is Easy
  2. Remodeling is Inexpensive
  3. You Can Do It Yourself
  4. The Low Bid is the Best Value
  5. Products That Look the Same, Are the Same
  6. Remodels Always Take Longer Then Planned
  7. Remodels Always Cost More Than Bid
  8. Good Planning Can Outwit Surprise
  9. You Can Make It Up As You Go Along
  10. Fancy Trappings Make a Good Contractor
  11. You Will Be Bitter When It's Over
The author of the original article, Mary Joe Bowling, does a great job explaining important items to consider for your home remodeling and DIY projects.  Click here to read the full article.    

8 Home Renovation Mistakes You Can Avoid

8 Home Renovation Mistakes You Can AvoidWhen you decide to renovate your home, you can get in over your head fast if you don’t watch out for some common mistakes. Setting a budget that allows for overages, setting realistic expectations, and working with the style of your home are all important steps.  Here are some common mistakes that homeowners make when the embark on a home renovation
  1. Expectations that don’t match your budget

If you’re doing the work yourself or if you’re hiring a contractor, you have to work with the home and budget you have. It’s not going to look just like a picture in a magazine because that picture wasn’t taken in your home. You can, however, get close. If you’re reasonable and patient, you can feel good about your renovation.
  1. Choosing the wrong professionals

Whether it’s the designer or the construction company, you need to be sure you’re working with the right people. Hiring the first name you see or just taking the lowest bid will not always lead to quality work. Hire experienced professionals. When it comes to your home there’s never a good time to let someone that’s inexperienced take a shot.
  1. Gutting everything

A small job can get much bigger if you aren’t careful. With a good plan, you can make sure you don’t get in too deep. Hiring a professional to do the work will prevent some of the drama.
  1. Renovating for a future buyer and ignoring your own needs

Unless you can see the future and read minds, renovating for a potential future buyer is a mistake. If you think about what a future buyer might want, the renovation won’t work out as well for you. Design and build to suit your own needs.  If you are planning to sell in the next few years, you can keep the colors neutral to appeal to a larger audience, but don’t skip out on features that you like.
  1. Skipping important rooms

Opening up space in a bedroom and living area is a wonderful idea, but don’t forget other rooms that you use frequently. The kitchen and bathroom can often use remodeling to make better use of space than the home builder had in mind. A home remodeling project that doesn’t include the kitchen and bathroom is a missed opportunity.
  1. Not considering your location

Home remodeling in a sunny place like Bryan-College Station, Texas will often take a different turn than a home remodel up north. Here in Brazos Valley, TX home remodeling can include outdoor spaces like decks and sunrooms. There’s plenty of sunshine to enjoy in our part of the state.
  1. Ignoring needed renovations

Granite countertops are more fun and attractive than replacing moldy drywall, but if you have mold, you need to get that taken care of. Not all renovations will be apparent. Some things just need to be done for health and safety reasons.
  1. Trying to do it all yourself

You may be very good at DIY projects, but there are times when you need to bring in a professional. Hiring professionals can ensure that you get the right permits and that the job is done well the first time. Also, having a construction crew in your house will get the job done faster. Most of these mistakes can be avoided with the right professionals by your side. Hire a professional crew and your life will be easier.

Why It’s Easier for Professionals To Finish Projects

Why It’s Easier for Professionals To Finish ProjectsThere are many reasons why DIY can turn into a nightmare.  Your builder is prepared to deal with all kinds of bad situations. He has so many advantages it seems unfair, but that’s what you pay him for. What sort of advantages does a builder have over everyone else?

Knowledge

When you hire an experienced construction company, you know the work will be up to code and done correctly. He doesn’t have to keep checking the internet to see if he’s doing it right.

Experience

Your builder has likely seen a lot of strange problems come up over the years. Hiring an experienced builder means that your kitchen or bath renovation won’t cause any surprises he hasn’t seen before. It’s good to check on the qualifications of anyone before you hire them. A builder with a lot of experience is the safest choice.

Tools

The construction crew has the right tools for the job.  That includes tools that they think they might need in case something comes up. Most homeowners start a project with some tools but find they might not be up to the challenge. Construction companies have better quality tools and more of them.

People

Some jobs require more hands. Trying to do them yourself could get you injured. A construction crew is qualified to do the work and do it safely. Even if you get people to help you do the work, it’s much more helpful to have people that know what they’re doing.

Connections

How many people do you know in the construction related industry in Bryan-College Station?  If your builder has been working here for 20 years, he knows a lot of people. So, he can get the best professionals in Brazos Valley working on your kitchen remodel.

What kind of projects can I hire a construction company for?

Builders work on many types of home projects.  Kitchen and bath renovations are very common, but they do full home renovations, too.  They build decks, arbors, screened porches or sunrooms, and install new windows. They can even work on smaller handyman projects. Even if you only want to paint your home and not remodel it, you can still hire a construction company. The point of hiring a construction company is that the crew can do the work correctly and you don’t have to do it yourself. There’s a reason why jobs done by construction companies look so professional and clean. They’re also safe and up to code.  When you want a job done correctly, hire the people with the tools and skills to the job correctly. If you have a home project in the Bryan-College Station area that needs to get done and you aren’t sure you can handle it on your own, contact an experienced builder in College Station.  Leave the back-breaking work to a crew of professionals and spare yourself the doctor bills. The work will have a professional finish and you’ll know it was done right. You’ll rest easier knowing that experienced professionals are working on your project and it will add lasting value to your home.