Note: Since completion of the house I have also decided to allow guest bloggers to post articles related to remodeling. This continues the education process.
Architect Selection - December 2002 through January 2003
Getting a Permit - January 2003 through November 2004
Construction - November 2004 through September 2006
Post Construction - October 2006 through ???
Minimize the Chances of Home Flooding
The takeaway from this is that rainwater blocked by a house roof runs off the roof. The water that had been spread over a larger area gets consolidated into the perimeter of your house. Without preventative measures, a great deal of water will be landing on and around your foundation. When this large quantity of runoff starts permeating your foundation, you run the risk of a flooded basement.
As a homeowner, there are some proactive steps you should take to limit your risks.
The common solution for diverting water away from your house foundation is by those funky metal troughs we call gutters. Gutters are pretty standard on houses, but it is really easy to render them irrelevant.
A gutter should be depositing water a good distance away from your foundation. You're more likely to encounter a flooded basement if your spout is depositing the water right by your house. Extend the spout further away from your home.
You can have as many gutters as you want, but if they're full of leaves and other build-up, the water will slosh over the side rather than flowing down the spout. Regularly cleaning out your gutters is crucial for avoiding excess water on your foundation.
Unlike gutters, which are an exterior way to battle flooded basements, a sump pump is your indoor protection. Usually located in a pit, the sump pump gathers collected water and expels it either into the sewer system, or at a different location away from the home.
Before installing a sump pump, find out the regulations for your area. Many municipalities have regulations against pumping into the sewer system as it can create problems with the sewage treatment facility.
A backup sump pump is a good idea in case you encounter problems with your main sump pump or to help out if your main pump isn't keeping up with the incoming water.
Your sump pump is only as effective as its ability to stay on. While some sump pumps have a battery in case of power failure, you'll be more secure with a generator providing power. The back-up battery is likely to only have enough power for a couple of hours.
A portable generator, on the other hand, can run for much longer than that and, if the wattage output is high enough, can also keep your major appliances on.
Water damage resulting from flooded basements can create a nightmare scenario. Being proactive before the big storm will increase your chances of avoiding a nasty situation.
5 Energy Efficient Home Renovations
Before you get started, you may want to consider scheduling an energy audit. It is a great way to see where your home needs energy-efficient improvements. Once you know where you need to make improvements, there are a variety of eco-friendly options to make your home run more efficiently and have a smaller impact on the environment.
Buy energy-efficient appliances
If your renovations include upgrading your appliances, consider purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances, which meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. They will significantly reduce your energy use and could save you up to a third on your energy bill. Finding these efficient appliances is easy since many appliances now come backed by ENERGY STAR.
A renovation is a great time to beef up the insulation in your home. Keeping a well-insulated home slows the rate that heat and air conditioning escape, reducing the energy required to keep the house at a comfortable temperature. Many older homes typically have less insulation than newly built homes, however, adding insulation to any home could significantly reduce your energy costs.
As you are renovating your home, think of areas where you can use solar energy. Why not buy a hot water heater with a solar panel? It could reduce your energy usage and ultimately reduce your energy bill. Installing solar panels on your roof is another energy-efficient option. By using this alternative energy source you could eliminate or significantly reduce your energy bill.
If installing solar panels is not in the budget, consider switching to a green energy supplier. Green energy is generated from renewable resources, such as solar energy. Some suppliers allow you to purchase up to 100% renewable energy. While it may not save you money, it's certainly good for the environment. For example, if you live in Texas you can visit Energy Providers Texas to see if there is a green energy provider in your area.
A typical home can lose up to 25 percent of its heating or cooling through windows. A great way to increase your home's efficiency is to replace your old windows with double-pane, energy-efficient models. ENERGY STAR windows are said to be twice as efficient as older windows. As an added bonus, some energy-efficient windows are eligible for a federal tax credit.
Buy a programmable thermostat
Whether you are doing a big remodel or some simple fixes, be sure to save room in the budget for a programmable thermostat. Your air conditioner or heater has to work hard to keep your home at a constant temperature. This causes the unit to use more energy and cost you more money. Fortunately there are many types of programmable thermostats that can help you take control of your energy use. A basic model allows you to program your thermostat to turn on or off at certain times, and it is relatively inexpensive. Some more advanced models allow you to control the temperature in your home through a computer or smartphone. So if you are at work and need to stay later than you anticipated, you could reduce the temperature with the click of a few buttons.
If you want to go really high-tech, there are even models that can learn your heating and cooling habits. For example, if you go to work every day from 8 to 5, the system would learn this pattern and cool your home accordingly. When you leave for the day, the thermostat will turn itself off and before you return home, it will return the house to your usual, comfortable temperature.
Breaking Down Break-Ins
Turn off your landline ringer – it’s a giveaway that no one is home. Put lights on timers so that they turn on and off throughout the evening. Ask your neighbors to use your trash bins while you’re on vacation. Discontinue newspaper delivery, or have a neighbor pick up the mail.
Plant trees away from the home because they offer concealment and access to second story windows and balconies. Hide spare keys in a combination-lock key box instead of under doormats, planters and in gutters. Put security signage up around your home, to remind potential burglars that you’re not an easy target.
Use window locks and re-enforced glass to prevent easy smash and grabs. Use multi-paneled windows because they are harder to break and harder to see through. Drip solder on installation screws to prevent thieves from simply unscrewing whole windows and removing them. This can be as a retrofit or during new construction.
Use a deadbolt on all exterior doors because they can’t be opened with a credit card like spring latches (a technique called “loiding”). Seal any gaps in your door to prevent a burglar from prying it open. Install door hinges on the inside where a burglar can’t unlatch them. Replace sliding glass doors with French doors or at least update them with re-enforced glass.
Place a C-clamp on your garage door track to prevent a burglar from manually lifting it. Keep the garage door closed at all times. Frost garage windows to stop burglars from seeing whether a car is inside, allowing them to determine if anyone is home.
Do Your Bedroom Up With Style and Functionality!
Makeover Your Guest Bedroom
When making over your guest bedroom, keep it clean and simple. When guests are ready to settle in, they don't want to stay in a cluttered room that had a bed thrown in as an afterthought. Try to keep it uncluttered and neutral. A great piece of advice to everyone who has a guest room is to sleep in it yourself for just one night to see what changes need to be made. If you notice weird noises, annoying light or an uncomfortable mattress, chances are your guest will too.
Try to keep everything basic yet stylish by using the minimum amount of furniture — one table, one chair and one bed. Keep the décor uncluttered and try placing only two items on top of the dresser and only a lamp on the bedside table. Always keep the dresser empty, so your guests will have someplace to store and easily access their personal items after arriving. Also, don't forget to keep the closet cleaned out so guests can also use it to store their suitcases and hang wrinkle-prone clothes. Add a comfortable and classic-looking couch or set of chairs for a serene spot for your guests to relax.
New Paint for the Guest Room
Paint the walls a neutral color, and this doesn't necessarily mean a cream or tan color. Nowadays, many people think outside the box and have actually started to use black as the base color as well as an accent color to really make a bold statement. However, you shouldn't paint every wall black; Use it on a selected wall if so it won't appear too bold.
New Window Treatments
The idea of keeping it simple can also continue to window treatments. A great look that is a favorite among many is wooden blinds made of bamboo or woven wood, and popular plantation shutters. Many other styles are available, such as blackout shades, light filtering shades, Roman shades and honeycomb cell shades. Great deals with many different designs that match every kind of décor imaginable can be found online with the right research. You don't have to spend a fortune on designer brands to set up a fashionable guest room that is sure to impress.
Extra Items for Comfort
You should always keep certain things on hand for your guests so they stay comfortable. Some of these items should include:
- Books or magazines
- Alarm clock
- Clean towels
- New shampoo, soap and toothpaste
- Night light
- Clothes hamper
- Phone or computer charger
- Bottled water and light snacks
Keeping small items readily available will make your guests feel more at home. Many guests forget the small things such as shampoo or toothpaste, so having them readily available for use would be nice. Besides, you can purchase these items for as cheap as $1 each, or stock up for free next time you are at a hotel.
You will find that simplicity and these small convenience items will actually make a big difference for your guests.
Unique Ways to Decorate your Living Room
From asymmetrical walls and oddly shaped windows to a sunken floor plan, you need to look at these architectural details not as if they're decorating dilemmas, but as if they're interior highlights that need to be creatively accentuated. Here's an example of three unique living rooms features and what you can do to turn a decorating dilemma into an aesthetic showcase.
The style and shape of the windows in your living room can present dilemmas. Whether they're too big and letting in too much light, or oddly shaped, there are ways to incorporate them into your decor plan. If the sun is simply too much, you can add a glass darkening tint or go for custom treatments. Vendors today can provide made to order drapery, curtains, blinds or plantation shutters in a huge array of colors and materials. With this many options it shouldn't be hard to find a look and feel exactly like you want for your living-room windows.
However, the unusual shape of the window is a bigger aesthetic challenge. Instead of trying to seamlessly fuse the window into the rest of the living room's decor, why not make it the focal point? Look at the window as a painting. It's a free piece of art, however unusual or abstract it might be.
Popular during the '60s, the sunken living room is experiencing a renaissance. Whether you find it tacky or retro-chic, it's a unique and distinctive look. However, the biggest problem with this type of configuration is that people always forget there is a downward step into the living room, so trips and falls are common. In other words, when you have people over and they are unfamiliar with your house, a cocktail party can turn into a lawsuit.
One way to remedy the problem is to stain or paint the step, bringing attention to the room's sunken configuration. Once the safety measures are in place, concentrate on the living-room decor. When you have a sunken configuration, it's important to have tables, chairs, sofas and consoles of varying height, as this will create space and dimension. A variety of contrasting colors will help add depth to the room.
An Odd Shape
What do you do if you have an oddly shaped living room? For example, asymmetrical walls are common. It's not unusual to have three rectangular walls and one sharp, asymmetrical slant. There are several ways to highlight this feature. You could hang an asymmetrical drapery or a piece of abstract art that mirrors the slant of the wall. Use bold paint colors and patterns to accentuate the walls, or stick with beiges and cremes and use your furniture as the room's focal point.
Finally, buy furniture with upholstery patterns that match the angle of the wall. Once you have a few matching features in the room, an unusual detail will no longer stick out.
From octagon-shaped living rooms to eyebrow-curved windows, not everything on the market is cookie-cutter. At first, these unusual spaces might seem like a dilemma, but the joy of owning a home is figuring out the type of decor that will make these rooms shine.
10 Astounding, Inexpensive Remodeling Projects that Pay Off
Find a Balance
When it comes to houses, fix it like you plan to stay in it and pay attention to the market. Unless you happen to own that one faultless house that every U.S. citizen dreams about but never finds, selling your home will require some measure of home improvement. If you want to increase the profit, the remodeling must be balanced and well applied.
Start with a bit of observation. Consider the design points that make your home unique. Focus on the outside as well as the inside. Don’t overlook the importance of indoor air quality and don’t miss the value of creating enticing curb appeal. Also be sure to set an eye for basics such as curtains, blinds and other fundamental items that present the “feel” of a home.
When planning the modifications, think like a homeowner, but keep the mind-set of a real estate agent. Find a balance between what you like and what actually sells. Don’t get lost on a vanity trip.
Bone up on current home improvement concerns, finance plans and basic cost issues. Spend some time browsing the home improvement section of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website. It's not just about getting loans. The information offered by HUD ranges from how to fix a faucet to what you need to know concerning “the facts and the pitfalls of home improvements.”
Focus on Curb Appeal
According to Remodeling Magazine, the following ten projects – all focused on curb appeal – promote the best return on your remodeling dollars. These are simple, value-added improvements – not vanity makeovers:
- Exterior Siding – Replace old siding with high-end fiber cement. Cost: $15,000 or less. Payback:78%.
- Entry Door – Replace that cracked and discolored entry door with an inexpensive steel door. The payback: 73% on $1,300 or less.
- Attic Remodel – Turn the attic into an extra bedroom. Remove a dormer. Install a shower. Revamp the flow of heating and cooling. Add Insulation. Update the lighting. Put in four vinyl windows. Polish out the walls and ceiling. Average cost: $50,148. Payback 72.5%.
- Minor Kitchen Remodel – Put new hardware on the cabinets. Add some Blinds.com blinds over the sink. Install new faucets, a new sink and laminate countertops. Top it off with a quality selection of new appliances. Cost: $20,000. Payback 72.1 percent.
- Garage Door, Midrange – As a low cost improvement, a midrange garage door update can really pump up a home’s curb appeal. Cost: $1,500. Payback 71.9%.
- Garage Door, High-End – It’s all about curb appeal. The payback on a high-end garage door update performs just as well as the midrange counterpart. Cost: $2,994. Return 71.1%.
- Deck – New wood decks are not as expensive as composite materials, but the return on investment brings a healthy balance at a lesser cost. On average, a wooden deck runs around $10,350. Payback: 70.1%.
- Vinyl Siding – Foam-backed vinyl siding provides several value-added services. It helps maintain a steady temperature within the home and it lends a fresh look on the curb. Cost $14,274 for an average project of 1,250 square feet. Payback: Around 70%.
- Midrange Vinyl Siding – More expensive than basic siding and high-end fiber cement, midrange replacement vinyl siding provides stronger, longer-lasting protection for the home. Cost: $11,729. Payback 69.5%.
- Windows – For holding back the elements, you can’t beat the performance of double-pane vinyl replacement windows. They are easy to clean, double-hung and easy to install. Plan the project around using low-emissivity glass, insulated units and simulated wood-grain casings. Cost for 10 3x5 windows including installation: $14,328. Payback: 69.1.
5 Warning Signs That You May Need New Windows
1. Drafty Rooms
If your home's thermostat is telling you that your home is at an ideal temperature yet you still feel uncomfortable, chances are that your windows are drafting outdoor air into your rooms. Windows are strongly affected by the airflow around them. They require modern insulation technologies and techniques to keep them air-tight. You can check your windows for drafts by slowly moving a stick of incense or a smoke pencil around the interior frame. This test is most effective when it's windy outside.
2. Worn or Rotting Window Frames
If your existing windows were improperly installed, painted or maintained, inclement weather can cause frames and sills to rot and decay, potentially damaging your home's structure. Peeling paint and soft wood are clear signs that windows need attention. Frames and sills that are misaligned are another clear indication that replacement is needed.
3. Shakes, Rattles and Noise
Windows that rattle every time that someone in your household opens or closes a door are sending you a clear message that something is amiss. Loose windows can pose a real danger to you and your family. Old units also do little to block outside noise. New insulated windows are not only great at blocking drafts, but help muffle outside noise as well.
4. Rising Monthly Energy Bills
It's easy to assume that increases in your monthly energy bill are due to rising energy costs, but a closer examination may reveal an unaccounted-for increase that can indicate drafty or energy inefficient windows. Today's modern windows can be far more energy efficient than the windows that came with your home. Replacing old units with double-pane insulated glass windows can reduce your energy bills by as much as 25 percent.
5. Increased Maintenance
Sometimes, windows let you know that they need replacement by making increased demands on your time and wallet. If you find yourself having to caulk, seal and weatherstrip your windows frequently in order to keep drafts at bay, replacement may be a cost-effective solution. Modern windows feature materials and finishes that don't require much attention to keep them weather-tight and looking beautiful.
Brendan is the content editor for CalFinder, a free service designed to make window replacement projects as easy as possible, by connecting homeowners with licensed and insured local contractors. CalFinder contractors install major window brands, including Andersen Windows and many others.
How to Prepare Your Home to Be Remodeled
Remodeling your living room won’t be easy if the walls are lined with paintings and the floor is covered in furniture. You have to clear everything out of the rooms that are going to be remodeled. Before you clear everything out, though, you’ll need to organize it all and put smaller items into boxes. During this organization step, it’s a good idea to try to get rid of a few things you don’t use very often. Lightening your load a little bit will make packing and finding a place to store your belongings easier. After you’ve lightened your load, it’s a good idea to start sorting all of your small belongings according to type to help ensure that they stay organized as you pack them up.
Once you’ve organized everything based on type, you can start packing things up into boxes. Be sure to label all the boxes you pack up, so you’ll have an easy time finding everything you need when you unpack. Remember to label boxes that contain fragile materials with the word “fragile” as well, especially if other people will be helping you carry and transport the boxes.
Once everything’s packed up, you’ll need to clear it out and find a place to store it. You may want to consider renting a storage pod you can put in your driveway or backyard, especially if you want to store your things close to your home. You may also want to consider signing a short-term lease for a storage unit, especially if you’ll be storing antique furniture. You have the option of renting a climate-controlled storage unit that will keep all of your antique furniture and temperature-sensitive items like musical instruments safe.
Once you’ve successfully and efficiently transported everything out of the rooms that are going to be remodeled, the project can begin. You’ll be amazed by how great your old things look in your newly remodeled home when you transport them back out of storage!
Author’s Bio: Lisa is a writer at SelfStorageDeals.com, your price-focused search engine for finding deals on storage units in Colorado Springs and storage units in McAllen.
Build a Better Bathroom for Your Kids
Occasionally, I will allow a guest blogger to write here in the Craftsman Remodel blog if they have good information to share. Read this blog about bathroom remodeling.
If you’re planning a bathroom remodel, you may want to take your children into consideration, particularly if they have their own bathroom separate from the master bath. However, kids’ bathroom ideas aren’t limited to décor; you need to take their needs into consideration when designing and remodeling the bathroom as well.
Smaller People: If you have several children and are planning to live in your house for a while, it pays to remodel with shorter arms and legs in mind. You can install towel bars, shelves, and cabinets at a lower height for easier reach and put more room around the toilet so parents can help children who are potty training. You may find a handheld showerhead more convenient for washing small bodies. Choose semi-gloss paint and fixtures that don’t show fingerprints. Plan for toy storage with holders in the shower or shower curtains with built-in pockets.
Design for Growth: By all means have fun by decorating with frogs and ducks or whales, but try to make this décor easy to change. When your children are ten, they may be embarrassed by frogs on the wallpaper. However, if you limit the childish décor to trashcans and shower curtains that are easily changed, you can update the look as they grow. Many manufacturers also make stick-on decals that are easy to hang on the wall and simple to remove. Remember, too, that as they grow children will need more drawer and shelf storage for things like hair dryers and acne medications, so plan accordingly.
Shared Bathrooms: If you have two children’s bedrooms next to each other, it’s great if they can be adjoined by a shared Jack and Jill bathroom with two sinks. It’s great if the décor in the bathroom is compatible with that in both bedrooms. Plus you want both children to be happy with the design choices. If need be, go with something neutral that nobody would object to.
Getting Kids Involved: Children will love to contribute to the design and remodel of their bathrooms, so you can consult them on colors and décor elements. They might even be able to contribute artwork or paint some of the tiles. However, remember that parental guidance is still important. If they want neon green, you might be able to talk them into a softer shade or substitute a Spongebob trashcan for Spongebob wallpaper.
Safety: The tub and shower should have a slip resistant surface. If you’re remodeling, think about smaller tiles on the floor; with more grout they are less slippery than bigger tiles. You can install a scald guard faucet in the tub to ensure that water doesn’t get too hot. If you have very young children, cover the bathtub faucet with something soft and put a lock on the toilet.
Themes: You can have some fun with the décor in a kid’s bathroom. However, this doesn’t mean that you are stuck with baby ducks. Think about a nautical theme, with ship-based designs and colors. Marine life is another option as is a beach theme. All of these decors can be updated to look more grown-up as the children age.
Author Joaquin Erazo Jr. leads all marketing, advertising, and public relations strategies for Case Remodeling and Design. His team handles all client acquisition and retention efforts for the Case brands. With an MBA from Averett University, Erazo has over 18 years of experience in senior marketing positions.
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