Remodeling Lingo Decoded

When you’re reading over a construction company’s qualifications or getting a quote for your remodeling project, sometimes it seems as though they’re speaking in a different language. If you’re not an expert, it’s easy to feel lost and confused by the conversation. However, you want to be sure you know what you’re signing up for, both in the company and the project itself. So let’s break down some of that remodeling lingo today.


If a construction crew or contractor is “certified,” it means that they’ve been approved by a registered organization in their industry. One of the main organizations in the remodeling industry is the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (“NARI”), who certified Windham Construction. There’s also The International Code Council (ICC). The ICC shows that this contractor or construction crew complies with international industry codes, while NARI goes into more specifics. NARI certifications are given out to contractors and construction companies who show a high level of professionalism and expertise and who are specific to the remodeling industry.

Licensed, Insured, Bonded

Often, you’ll hear these three terms in conjunction with one another. Licensed means that the construction employees or contractors are licensed to work in a particular area. Texas doesn’t license contractors at the state level, but often a license shows a degree of respectability for the business. Insured means that the construction company has insurance so that in the event of an accident on the project, you won’t be held liable and won’t have to pay for it. Ideally, they should have personal liability, property damage coverage, and workers compensation. Bonded means that there’s a bond in place to protect the project, by guaranteeing that any damage or construction defects will be repaired or the client’s money will be reimbursed.

Construction Manager/General Contractor

A general contractor is a little different from a construction manager. The construction manager works for the construction company on the whole and is there from the beginning of the project. They’re a go between for the owner and the contractor. The general contractor, on the other hand, is independent and hired by the construction company through a bid process to oversee the day-to-day of the project. They most likely bring with them subcontractors and oversee their work. The construction manager will likely work with many local contractors to find the right person for your job.


Typically, there’s your budget and then there’s the allowance. The budget is what you’re willing to pay provided everything goes according to plan. However, that rarely happens in construction, so it helps to have a supplemental budget or amount of money set aside called an “allowance.” This covers any decisions made after the project begins or any unexpected obstacles that might arise over the course of the project.

Change Order

Sometimes it’s not until the project starts that you realize something you want to add, or want to remove. In that case, a change order is written out to adjust the original order — and the cost of the original order — to the new specifications. As with most things in construction, it has to be in writing.

If there’s ever a term that a construction or contracting professional throws out that you’re unsure of, don’t be afraid to ask. At Windham Construction, we have over 20 years of experience in Brazos Valley, which means we know all the terminology and we’re happy to clarify whatever you need to know. Simply contact us for more information.

The Best Time of Year for Different Remodeling Projects

When remodeling your home, timing is everything. You have to coordinate them with your own schedule–will you have time to be home when needed, or better yet, to get away from home when needed? But the time of year is also a key factor. The idea of doing outdoor work in the coldest part of winter or hottest parts of summer never seems ideal, but might also cost less than having similar projects done in milder months.

The truth is, the perfect time of year depends on a combination of the work you have in mind, your own schedule, and your climate. That said, certain projects and certain times of year just fit together. Here’s the best time of year for some common remodeling projects:

Adding a Sunroom – January

The whole concept seems wrong: why would you have a sunroom installed during one of the darkest, coldest months of the year? The idea having all that work done in the cold might sound uncomfortable, but winter is the best time of year for home additions like a sunroom. You can beat spring with all of its rainy days, which means the remodeling may take less time.  If you plan to build a new room, rather than convert an existing room into a sunroom, the lack of humidity makes for easier digging. And because winter is a slow period for most construction professionals, you may even be able to get a deal.

Replacement Window Installation – April or September

Most homeowners have replacement windows installed in the summer or winter, partly because that’s when they notice the need for replacement windows. They may notice that their windows are letting too much air in, that there’s a draft during the winter, or that the windows are hot to the touch during the summer. But the best plan is actually to have replacement windows installed in the spring or fall, and not just so that you can enjoy the benefits of new windows all summer and winter. It also tends to be cheaper, since again, there’s less demand for energy efficient windows in spring and fall.

Bathroom and Kitchen Remodels – July

Interior home remodels can be distracting, so it helps your peace of mind to get away from home as often as you can while the work is being done. That’s why it’s a good idea to have bathroom and kitchen remodels done in the summer. Whether you go on vacation or just spend the day out while construction is going on, it helps you to stay sane and the workers to do their work undisturbed (though keep a phone on you in case the contractors need to reach you). Also, any roof work requires a certain amount of heat to seal it in, so often contractors prefer to do this kind of work in the summer.

The most popular time to have remodeling projects done is not always the best time. Often, you’ll benefit from the savings and efficiency of having the project done before the other work orders start to flood in. The right contractor can make sure that any home remodeling project is finished efficiently and comfortably, no matter what the time of year. Windham Construction has been in business in Brazos Valley for over 20 years. We’re home remodeling experts and we’re happy to share our expertise with you as you plan the perfect time for your remodeling projects. Contact us today for more information.

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?

The Psychology of Remodeling

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.

4 Reasons to Remodel Your Bathroom

4 Reasons to Remodel Your BathroomIf you’re getting tired of living with the same bathroom that you’ve had for years, you might be thinking about remodeling. A remodeling project is a great way to breathe new life into a room that hasn’t been updated recently. If you could choose one room in your home to remodel first, the bathroom might be your best choice.

Home remodeling in College Station, TX can turn your bathroom into a room that you’re proud of. Let’s face it, it’s one of the most used rooms in your home and you want it to look great for your family as well as your guests. Changing just this one room can make your entire house more comfortable. Here are the top four reasons that you should consider remodeling your bathroom.

#1 – Extra Space

Of all the rooms in your house, the bathrooms always seem to attract the most clutter. Finding storage space for towels, laundry, cosmetics and cleaning supplies can be challenging in a small space, especially in a shared bathroom.

Adding extra cabinets or replacing bulky fixtures can really free up some space in your bathroom. Installing a new shower or bathtub can make a huge difference in terms of comfort and cleanliness. After all, it’s the one room we spend time in every day so it’s important to make sure that it looks great, functions well and provides space for all your essential items.

#2 – A Better Design

Some bathrooms are not very visually exciting. If you live in an older house, dated fixtures and color schemes can make you feel like part of your house is from another decade. If you find yourself cringing every time a guest needs to use your bathroom, it’s time to make a change.

Jutting countertops with sharp angles can be replaced with modern, sleek fixtures that allow easier movement while creating a uniform look. Even the cleanest bathroom tile can look faded after years of use. Making the switch to wood flooring can give your bathroom an elegant appearance.

It only takes a few changes to give your bathroom an updated, functional design.

#3 – Lower Utility Costs

You may not realize it but your outdated bathroom could actually be costing you money. Older toilets, shower fixtures and faucets use water inefficiently, driving up the cost of your water bill. You can actually experience a more enjoyable and more cost-efficient shower by replacing old fixtures with newer versions.

The same applies to toilets and faucets. Old faucets can leak, wasting gallons of water. Newer models of toilets can provide the same performance with much less water usage compared to older models. Home renovation in College Station, TX can make your bathroom a more enjoyable place to be while also taking a slice out of your utility bills.

#4 – More Relaxation

Some of us are so busy that the only time we get to ourselves is when showering or bathing. All other things aside, this alone is a good reason to consider remodeling your bathroom. Adding a new shower with stone floors and sliding glass doors is an investment in your relaxation.

Soaking in the bath is one of the most relaxing things you can do in your home. That experience can be even better with a deeper tub or a Jacuzzi. A bathroom remodeling project can give you so many ways to relax and enjoy your private time at home.

Home remodel professionals in Bryan, TX can help you find the perfect solution for your updated bathroom.