Outside of the home itself, remodeling is typically one of the largest investments you can make as a homeowner. Consider these tips to help you make an informed decision when hiring a remodeling contractor.
Starting a Home Remodeling Project
7 tips for choosing a qualified contractor
(Family Features) Outside of the home itself, remodeling is typically one of the largest investments you can make as a homeowner. While some projects can be tempting to tackle yourself, many larger-scale projects may require hiring a qualified professional.
Because remodeling your home is a big undertaking, it’s important to take steps to ensure the professional you hire to perform the work is qualified to complete it to the highest standards of quality and integrity.
Consider these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to help you make an informed decision when hiring a remodeling contractor.
Follow Your Design Aesthetic
Ask for Licenses and Insurance
Search for Violations or Complaints
Compare Apples to Apples
Find more tips for selecting a contractor at remodelingdoneright.com.SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
When it comes to tackling a backyard makeover, there is no time like the present to start planning. Unless you’re planning to build your own deck, one of the first items on your “to-do” list should be hiring a contractor. To help ensure you find the right professional for your project, consider these five often overlooked questions.
5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Decking Contractor
(Family Features) When it comes to tackling a backyard makeover, there is no time like the present to start planning. Unless you're planning to build your own deck, one of the first items on your "to-do" list should be hiring a contractor.
Quality deck builders can book up quickly and often have waiting lists by early spring. By doing your research in advance, you can ensure a spot in the project queue and have a brand new deck in time to make the most of outdoor living season.
While many questions are obvious, such as costs and timelines, homeowners sometimes overlook other key considerations when vetting contractors. To help ensure you find the right professional for your project, consider these five often overlooked questions:
1. Are you and your company licensed and insured? Make sure the contractor you choose has insurance and the required licenses to obtain permits by calling his or her insurance company for verification. Without such coverage, you could be held accountable for property damage or injuries that occur on your property.
2. How will the permit process be handled? Nearly every deck building project requires a permit. If you build without the necessary permits, you may have issues with paperwork or have to pay a fine when you try to sell your home. Most deck builders handle the permit process but be sure to obtain a copy for your records.
3. What decking materials do you work with? Your deck is a permanent addition to your home that affects its value, so it's important to choose a contractor who is skilled and comfortable working with your preferred material. If you want to build with composite, for instance, Trex Company, a leading brand of wood-alternative decking, has an international network of pre-screened and hand-selected contractors, known as TrexPros, who have completed specialized training in working with high-performance, low-maintenance composite decking.
4. Can you provide references? It's one thing to read online reviews, but to personally speak with a previous customer offers another level of reassurance. Once your preliminary questions have been answered and you feel comfortable with the contractor, take the time to contact a few references to ask questions about the quality of work and overall experience to help ensure you are making a good hiring decision.
5. Do you offer a warranty? Typically, contractor warranties only cover structural damage related to the construction of the deck. Reputable builders should provide a written statement that spells out the type and length of time they will guarantee their workmanship. Be sure to also inquire about any manufacturers' warranties on the products being used. For example, Trex decking is backed by a 25-year limited fade and stain warranty.
Find more information and other common questions at trex.com.SOURCE:
Apprehension and inexperience keep many homeowners from pursuing renovation projects that would make their homes more functional, enjoyable and comfortable. Getting your hands dirty on the front end – with some planning and preparation – is the best blueprint for a successful home remodeling project. To help you start your remodel on the right track, consider these tips.
A Handy Guide to Starting a Home Remodel
(Family Features) Apprehension and inexperience keep many homeowners from pursuing renovation projects that would make their homes more functional, enjoyable and comfortable. Getting your hands dirty on the front end – with some planning and preparation – is the best blueprint for a successful home remodeling project.
To help you start your remodel on the right track, consider these tips from Gary White with JCPenney Home Services.
Start with a plan
Although it may sound obvious, the first step really is to decide what you hope to accomplish with your renovation. At the least, begin to outline rough ideas to discuss with an expert. Reaching out to contractors before you’ve determined a basic idea for your project can waste time and money. Spend time listing the features you must have, as well as some nice-to-haves if budget allows. Also think about overall functionality, design and layout. If you get overwhelmed or need ideas, don’t hesitate to turn to online showrooms or magazines for inspiration.
Set a budget
If the sky is the limit, skip ahead, but if you’re like most homeowners, money matters. Have a clear idea of what you can afford to invest in your renovation before you get started, and if necessary, research the financing options available to you. Look for financing that provides deferred interest or low monthly payments to help manage the project cost. Setting a clear budget can help keep your contractors accountable, and it goes a long way toward ensuring you can enjoy your finished project without regret.
Draw up the plans
To help set your plan in motion, there are numerous online tools you can utilize to simplify each step of the process including design, budgeting and more. If you’re planning a home remodel, a comprehensive resource like JCPenney Home Services offers a one-stop-shop for bathroom remodeling, countertops, custom window treatments, flooring, heating and cooling, water heaters and whole-home water treatment. You can find unique landing pages for each service that provides product information, complimentary in-home consultations and online pricing quotes at JCPenneyhomeservices.com.
Involve a professional
Unless you have the time and skills, you’ll want a licensed and insured contractor to lead the project when you’re ready to get your renovation in motion. It can be wise to solicit multiple bids, not only to ensure you get the best value, but also to find someone whose work, style and experience is most in line with the needs of your project. After all, this person will be a big part of your life during a fairly stressful time period. Always check references and verify the contractor’s standing with local associations.
Get ready for work
Remember that you’ll need to create a work environment that is safe for your contractors and protects your valuable possessions. Establish a clear path to the project space for easy access and removal of debris. Furniture, appliances, room furnishings, valuables and breakable items should be removed from both the path to the work site and the work site itself. If your renovation project will involve an essential room, such as the kitchen or a bathroom, make alternate arrangements such as creating a makeshift kitchen with the bare necessities in another part of the house.
Kitchens and bathrooms are among the most common renovation projects, and countertops are often a focal point of these redesigns. However, choosing the right countertop can be overwhelming. To help make the difficult decision a little simpler, JCPenney Home Services experts offer insight on two of the most popular choices:
Granite countertops have long been the mainstay of a beautiful kitchen or bathroom. Granite is a natural stone, quarried from large stone deposits around the world. It can have many different variations of patterns and colors, giving each slab a unique appearance that is visually rich and dynamic.
In addition to its distinctive beauty and classic elegance, granite is also extremely durable. Granite is highly resistant to heat and scratches and, with proper sealing, offers good water and stain resistance and is easy to clean.
Granite typically needs to be sealed, both prior to installation and at least once per year. If properly maintained, a granite countertop will last for as long as you own your home, making it a potential long-term investment.
Quartz is another popular choice for countertops due to its durability, stain resistance and ease of maintenance.
Quartz is one of the most durable countertop materials and one of the easiest to maintain. It is highly resistant to heat, water and stains, including stains from coffee, wine, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and more. Unlike granite, quartz does not need to be sealed, making it easier to maintain over time.
To aid in the planning process without the need for a salesperson, a resource like the Countertop Wizard at JCPenneyhomeservices.com lets you scope out the project and order samples online. Simply enter measurements, browse and select materials and options to get instant quotes.SOURCE:
JCPenney Home Services
As a homeowner, there is nearly always a laundry list of projects with time and budget constraints when it comes to a home remodel. This step-by-step guide can help ensure you get the maximum return on your investment and make the most of your remodel.
5 Steps for a Home Remodel
(Family Features) This step-by-step guide from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) can help ensure you get the maximum return on your investment and make the most of your remodel.
Step 1 – Identify Reasons for Remodeling
Step 2 – Set Your Budget
Step 3 – Hire the Right Team
Step 4 – Understand the Plan
Step 5 – Complete the Project
Remodeling a space can be a major project, but with the right help, resources and information, you can make your dream home come to fruition.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family looking at paint swatches)SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
(BPT) - Kristen Johnson* loved her home, her family and their active lifestyle. She’d never want to change a thing — except for her foyer and adjoining dining room. When she and her husband first moved into their home, they had intended to refinish the hardwood floors in those areas in a darker stain to better fit their style, but life got in the way. Twelve years, two boys and countless birthday parties, pets and indoor soccer games later, their floors were covered in scuffs, scratches and stains, and some of their walls needed repair. To complicate matters even further, they had a wraparound staircase with a wood-tone banister that would also need to be refinished if they decided to change their floor.
With their big family reunion and a house full of people just weeks away, Johnson and her husband knew it was time to make a change. However, they couldn’t afford to disrupt their busy schedules, and they didn’t want to deal with the hassle of renovation dust getting all over their ceiling fans, cupboards or worse — especially with their son’s dust allergies. They knew if they decided to take on this renovation project, they’d need it finished quickly, and they’d need the entire project to be as dust-free as possible.
What’s the big deal about renovation dust? Beyond creating a huge mess, renovation dust is also a health concern. As any homeowner who has embarked on an interior renovation project knows, the resultant dust gets everywhere — even inside closed cabinets and in adjacent rooms. However, as problematic as the mess is, dust-related health hazards are of even greater concern, particularly to allergy sufferers. Traditional methods of mitigating dust usually involve extensive prep work, like hanging plastic sheeting and taping off doors, or doing a thorough post-renovation top-to-bottom cleaning. Both options are extremely time-consuming.
Is there a better way to handle renovation dust? There is a better way to handle renovation dust: by collecting it right at the source like the pros do. Professional contractors are used to dealing with renovation dust, and given the volume of work they do, they create dust far more frequently and in much greater volumes than the average homeowner or DIYer. Rather than spend valuable time on prep work or post-project cleanup or suffer through the use of uncomfortable dust masks, they use dust collection tools that capture and contain dust immediately as it’s created, before it can become a mess or airborne health hazard.
How Johnson tackled her dust-free renovation. Because of their tight timeline, Johnson and her husband decided to take on some of their renovation themselves using supplies purchased at their local hardware store, but they let the professionals handle the tricky floor/banister redo.
To repair their drywall, they patched the damaged areas using joint compound and a drywall sander, which together cost about $130. To make the sanding process dust-free, they added a Dust Deputy, which they connected directly to the drywall sander and to their wet/dry vacuum. They found that this combination captured virtually all the dust generated by the sanding. They noticed no dust in the air, and the Dust Deputy prevented the fine drywall dust from clogging their vacuum filter.
Even though they had the flooring contractor tackle the floor and banister, they saved a few dollars by removing the varnish from the banister and other hard-to-reach areas themselves. To do this, they applied a gel varnish remover using a brush (together about $20), then scraped the wet varnish residue using a Viper Scraper attached to their Dust Deputy and wet/dry vacuum. The scraper captured the residue, and the Dust Deputy contained it for disposal, without it ever reaching, or damaging, their vacuum.
Their big splurge was on the floor refinishing, which they left to the pros to tackle (about $2,500). To keep that process dust-free, they selected a dust-free contractor in their area who used a cyclonic Oneida Vortex dust collection system with HEPA filtration. In the end, they finished the project virtually dust-free and just in time for their family reunion, and they were very pleased with the results!
*Kristen’s last name has been changed for privacy.
Being safe and comfortable at home is a large part of living well. Home modifications and repairs can help everyone, especially older adults and people with disabilities, maintain an independent lifestyle and prevent accidents. Here’s how you can get started making your home more accessible.
Improvements for Independence
Modifications to make your home more accessible
(Family Features) Being safe and comfortable at home is a large part of living well. Home modifications and repairs can help everyone, especially older adults and people with disabilities, maintain an independent lifestyle and prevent accidents.
Many older adults prefer to stay at home for as long as possible, but too often don’t think about whether their homes will meet their needs as they age. Making improvements for independence before they are needed is a good way to ensure that a home is ready for aging in place. Forward-thinking improvements may also help prevent falls, which often cause the need for long-term care.
Many changes, such as adding grab bars in bathrooms, can be done without a major redesign or full-blown renovation. Depending on your circumstance, it may also make sense to consider things like widening doorways and lowering countertop heights for someone who uses a wheelchair.
Here’s how you can get started:
Cost and contractors
More information about home modifications, including financial assistance, can be found at eldercare.gov.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Administration for Community Living
Interested in Publishing on The Home Idea?
Send your query to the Publisher today!