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Archive for the Remodeling Category

Should I Keep A Bathtub In My Master Bathroom?

Should I Keep A Bathtub In My Master Bathroom?

If you find yourself asking the question, “Do I have to keep a bathtub in my bathroom?” then you might be in the middle of a great tub debate. Many homeowners find themselves wondering what to do about a massive bathtub within their master bathroom, and inevitably the question arises, “Do we have to keep it?” There’s isn’t one perfect answer for everyone, so let’s explore four ways to consider this choice that will help you make the right decision for you and your family. Do You Want One? This may sound too obvious, but if you’re not a tub person, why spend money on one? We’re not suggesting you throw caution to the wind (see the rest of this blog); we’re just not a fan of encouraging our clients to spend money on a bathtub that you don’t even want and aren’t likely to use. If having a tub sounds like just another thing to keep clean, we suggest to seriously consider getting rid of it. Still not convinced? Let’s move on to our next consideration. Do You Have Another One? If you’re remodeling your master bathroom and have another bathroom in your home with a tub, your decision […]

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Is It Safe to Remodel During COVID-19?

Is It Safe to Remodel During COVID-19?

If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times; COVID-19 has changed our world in undeniable and unexpected ways. You may be wondering if it is even safe to remodel your home during a global pandemic.  The key to your success will be finding a remodeling company that takes COVID seriously, and will work as hard as you to keep your family safe. Keeping Your Home as Germ-Free as Possible The best way to protect against COVID-19 is to be proactive in disinfecting and keeping everything clean. During a remodeling project, this can seem hard to do with the amount of your home that may be impacted.  Be sure your contractor has a detailed plan to clean and disinfect all areas of your project. A detailed daily checklist will help everyone be more thorough, and there should be several additional COVID-specific tasks such as disinfecting tools, iPads, doorknobs, and other often-used items. Know Who’s Coming & Going Even when there isn’t a global pandemic happening, knowing who is coming and going from your home is vital for safety. Now with COVID, it’s even more critical than ever. Ask your contractor how they track who is coming in and […]

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These Are the Kitchen Remodel Details That Matter, Don’t Leave Them Out

These Are the Kitchen Remodel Details That Matter, Don’t Leave Them Out

Undertaking a kitchen remodel is no small task and can quickly become overwhelming when faced with all the details. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Below might be four of the most essential elements of any kitchen remodel. We’re going to dive into each and give you the tools and information you need to make the right decision for you and your family.  Lighting Your Kitchen The lighting within your kitchen is not there to simply get you in and out of a space. As we’ve explored more in-depth in another article, Lighting Options: How to Create a Stunning Home Remodel with Lighting, excellent lighting design is all about layers. To boost your kitchen remodel’s functionality and beauty, you need to include all three of the different layers of lighting design.  General Lighting This lighting gets you in and out of a space and usually comes in the form of canned lights or recessed lights in the ceiling.  Task Lighting This type of lighting is placed strategically within the kitchen to assist with specific tasks such as over a sink for washing up or under-cabinet lighting for meal prep.  Mood Lighting While this type of lighting could be […]

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Can I Use Hardwood in a Basement Remodel?

Can I Use Hardwood in a Basement Remodel?

Basements are notorious for being moisture magnets, and wood and moisture do not get along. Physics is working against us when it comes to our below-ground living spaces. However, this does not automatically mean we should avoid using hardwood in our finished basements. Let’s go over the things to consider before making this decision. When It Should Be Avoided As we said before, wood does not like moisture. Not only does wood not like it, but your wallet will also cringe if you have to replace your hardwood flooring because of a leak. If the basement needs a constant dehumidifier running to keep the walls dry, hardwood probably isn’t a great idea. Most homes house their water heaters in the basement. If a heater should leak or have a problem, you now have water-soaked hardwood flooring that is ruined. Another issue unrelated to water is the smoothness of your basement floor. If it’s a newer home, you’re not likely to have this issue. However, if you own an older home, sometimes those basements floors can be very uneven. This does not mean it will be impossible to put hardwood flooring down, but it could make it more difficult and more […]

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Lighting Options: How to Create a Stunning Home Remodel with Lighting

Lighting Options: How to Create a Stunning Home Remodel with Lighting

All the details of a home remodel come together to create a beautiful space, and lighting can make or break it. Incorrectly lighting a room can make it feel dull or dark. To avoid that, let’s dive into the aspects of lighting to consider before making your decision. Types of Lighting Lighting comes in many forms and can be divided into three categories. Each of these serves a purpose and will be applied in different ways. Excellent lighting design typically uses all three types in every room. Lighting your space in layers will give you a full range of options when flipping switches and setting the mood. General Lighting General lighting gets you in and out of a space. This typically is in the form of recessed lighting or large overhead lights. When you walk into a room and flip the switch, that’s the general lighting for that room. Task Lighting Task lighting is designed and placed precisely for a specific task. Whether that be under-cabinet lighting to help during meal prep or vanity lighting for morning routines, task lighting is a great way to make these everyday to-do’s easier. Mood Lighting Sometimes the light we use during the day […]

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Everything You Need to Know About Cabinet Finishes

Everything You Need to Know About Cabinet Finishes

In the vast world of cabinetry, there are two main categories of cabinet finishes; stained and painted. Both can be modified by adding a glaze to the mixture. You can even go as far as adding some distressing and aging, to make those cabinets look like they have been in your home for 100 years. Stained Finishes There are a couple of things to think about with a stained finish door. The major one being the wood species that it’s applied to. Stain on a maple door will look quite a bit different than it will on a cherry door. Another thing to consider when it comes to wood species is how much grain will be visible. On a cherry door, there will be more grain in the wood than on a maple door. On both stained and painted doors, the wood species also impacts the density of the cabinet. A maple door will be a little harder, and the cherry will be softer and more likely to get dings and chips in it. An advantage with a stained door over a painted door is you’re not going to see the hairline fractures that happen in the joining of the […]

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Know Your Options: The Ultimate Shower Glass Buying Guide

It can seem like there is an endless amount of decisions when it comes to remodeling your bathroom, but we want to make this as easy and fun for you as possible. Here is everything you need to know about shower glass so you can confidently make the right decision for you and your family. Clear Glass Being the most commonly used glass type in showers, probably this is what you’re accustomed to seeing. It’s simple, elegant, and easy to maintain. With high clarity (but not the best), you can see into your shower and your perfectly designed tile. There will be a green tint to the edge of the glass, and this will get darker the longer and thicker the glass gets. Low-Iron Glass Quite similar to clear glass, low-iron glass is manufactured with reduced iron content. Because of this low iron, the clarity in the glass is exceptional. The authentic colors of your shower tile will shine through. The edge of the glass will have a jewel-like blue-green tint and won’t get darker the thicker the glass gets. Of course, this type of glass is higher in value and might bump your budget up a bit. Frosted Glass […]

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Should I stay or should I go when remodeling my home?

Should I stay or should I go when remodeling my home?

As an architect for over 37 years and a contractor for over 33 years, I have continually been asked this question.  My quick answer is that it is always desirable from the contractor end to have the Homeowners away from the house while the project is going on. There are a number of benefits to this decision: One reason for the homeowner to leave, for me as the contractor, is that I do not have to factor in major dust containment for set up and tear down each day.  I can just install containment once at the beginning of the job and one teardown at the end.  The next reason is that the workers do not need to do a major cleanup each day for their work.  This normally involves allowing for 2 to 3 man hours of savings each day.  Over the course of the job, that can equate to big savings that I can pass on to the Homeowners. Probably the biggest reason for the Homeowners to leave is dust.  I can truly say I speak from experience on this one.  I recently did some work at my home.  My crews put up what I considered a very […]

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Matching the right Contractor to your Remodeling Project

Matching the right Contractor to your Remodeling Project

I have often told my clients that you would not go to a foot doctor if you needed brain surgery. Both are “Doctors” but obviously do totally different things and require very different skills to professionally do their jobs. It is very much the same in remodeling. The most common misconception is that new home builders can be remodelers. Nothing can be further from the truth and the people that choose home builders usually find out the hard way that their decision was a bad one. Home builders generally subcontract out all aspects of a project. This is historically why home builders have lower profit margins when pricing a remodeling project. They are used to having a client that lives away from the project. When you start with a piece of dirt with nothing to worry about damaging, you can afford to hire people that have no concern for the client’s day to day activity. When you are a home builder you also don’t feel you need the control over your subcontractors so that the job runs smoothly. It is very easy for a home builder to cover his/her mistakes without a client ever being aware of a problem until […]

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How to deal with your Insurance Company on a property loss to your home

How to deal with your Insurance Company on a property loss to your home

This is a follow up on my blog on how to deal with your Insurance Company on a fire loss. (See May 25th 2011 Stan Better’s Blog). I received a huge response on my previous blog on how to deal with your Insurance Company, especially after hurricane Sandy.  I hope it was helpful and informative to my readers.  I now want to expand on some issues I left out of the previous article: Water mitigation and mold This issue is becoming increasingly important and one that the Insurance Companies have tried to back away from.  Let’s assume from your fire, or your flood that you have lots of water inside your house.  The emergency people are now gone and your home is soaked.  The initial amount of money the Insurance Company will pay for on your behalf is what is referred to as “emergency services”.  This means that a 24 hour contractor service can be secured immediately to not only protect the home from vandalism, but also from water being allowed to sit and cause even more damage.  Virtually all insurance companies have this in their policies because they want to protect the home from further damage while the process […]

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What is an Architectural Feasibility Study for a residential remodeling project?

What is an Architectural Feasibility Study for a residential remodeling project?

Stan Better Architects is a part of the Stan Better Family of Companies which also includes Stan Better Construction.  As a Design Build firm our approach to the design build process is unique.  Many times I have been asked “What does an Architectural Feasibility Study include and not include?”  My hope is that this article will answer these questions. When someone initially calls me about some remodeling they want to do to their house I first determine the scope of work the person is asking me to do.  If the project is comprehensive enough that it would require the services of a design professional like myself, then I schedule a meeting at no cost or obligation to go out and meet with the Owners and see the actual existing conditions.  At this initial meeting I discuss the wants and needs of the Owners; observe the existing conditions affecting those wants and needs such as zoning issues, structural issues, budget constraints  etc..; and determine if this project is a candidate for an Architectural Feasibility Study. The difference between offering an Architectural Feasibility Study versus a full service Architectural contract is that full service contracts require much more comprehensive Architectural details and […]

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Basement Water Leakage Problems

Basement Water Leakage Problems

I am sure everyone has been experiencing our historic amounts of rain for this April.  As a consequence of all this water, we have been getting numerous inquiries about water in basements.  I thought I would dedicate my discussion in this newsletter about this topic. Most people see water in their basement and immediately blame the foundation construction.  This sometimes is justified, but in many cases it is not.  Here are some helpful hints to stop and analyze what problem you actually have and how to go about solving the problem.  First, identify where exactly the water is coming from.  This can be very difficult sometimes.  You may look and see water on the floor and immediately assume that is where it came in when in fact it may have been a number of system failures.  Here are some possible candidates you can use as a check list: The roof gutters:  If you have gutters that are stopped up due to leaves or other things, this could be where the water in the basement originates.  Clean your gutters so they are free flowing to the downspouts. The gutter downspouts:  The downspouts channel water to a particular pipe in the ground […]

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Testing for Lead in Home Remodeling

Testing for Lead in Home Remodeling

Today’s main topic is lead.  Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to make lead a major priority when it comes to home remodeling.  As of April 22, 2010 any house built prior to 1978 and is having renovation performed greater than 6 square feet MUST be tested for lead before work can commence.  Moreover, an EPA Certified Renovator is required to test.  If the test is positive only an EPA Certified Renovator is allowed to do the demolition work necessary and apply the proper protections in the home to avoid lead poisoning.  Also beyond that, only an EPA Certified Renovator is allowed to “clean up” after the demolition has occurred.  Rick Boyle my associate and I are both licensed EPA Certified Renovators and are qualified to perform this work.  This legislation will have a major cost impact on our industry, and the consumer.  So if you are thinking about doing some additional work in your home, or if you know someone that is planning some remodeling, please let them know about this.  Rick or I would be happy to guide them through this process.

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How to deal with your Insurance Co. on a fire damage loss

How to deal with your Insurance Co. on a fire damage loss

One of the most horrific things that can happen to a Homeowner is fire damage.   Equally horrific is after the fire, the ordeal that a Homeowner is put through to get their home and life back together.  Unfortunately, there are more horror stories on this subject than all other aspects of home ownership.  After over 30+ years in this business, I have had my share of dealing with good and bad Insurance Companies when it comes to these types of losses.  I have even set up a separate company “SBC Restoration “ to specifically deal with these kinds of insurance issues.  So sit back, relax, and let me tell you what you are in store for if you are the victim of a fire loss. I will use, as an example, a project I did a few years back.  The names are not important, but their story is very typical of what can, and generally does happen.  The Homeowners were out of town when a lightning bolt hit their two story home and caused the second floor to catch fire.  A neighbor called the fire department, and after the firemen flooded their second floor with water, were successful in saving […]

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Home Remodeling Permits

Home Remodeling Permits

The last time we talked we discussed the new EPA Lead Safety rules that went into effect on April 22, 2010.  These rules have been a big pain for the contractors and the Owners.  They have added, in most cases where they apply, significant cost to projects.  There is legislation that has been recently passed by the Senate to delay implementation of the program (even though it is currently in effect) until next year due to the fact there is so much confusion about the new rules and given the fact that there are so very few contractors that are licensed to do this work.  Stay tuned for updates.  If you want further into go to the EPA web site  www.epa.gov. Today’s topic is permits.  There is so much confusion about when a permit is required and when it is not.  In the past, each municipality was free to choose which building standard they wanted.  This created a mess because I would have to review different building codes depending on the place and code that was approved for that district.  As of April 2009 the State of Ohio said enough is enough and created one residential code for the entire […]

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LVL Beams

LVL Beams

Hi Everyone My last newsletter was on the business side of remodeling as it related to the state of our economy. This time, I would like to get back to some of the nuts and bolts issues of remodeling. If you were to ask me…Stan-what has been the greatest technological advancement you have seen in your thirty years in the remodeling industry? My answer would be simple and to the point, “LVL”. What the heck is LVL? LVL stands for laminated veneer lumber. What is laminated veneer lumber? Well…let me explain. In the past, we contractors and architects used to only have two alternatives when structurally designing for a remodel job. Our choices were either steel beams or dimensional lumber (meaning 2X solid wood). Both of these alternatives are still very much being used today. The problem was that if you wanted to keep prices down you would choose wood, but wood had a significant drawback. It was very difficult to use to span large distances (say over 10 feet) without getting a very sizable beam or even worse you would need to sandwich multiple beams together to achieve the strength you needed the beam to carry. Also you didn’t […]

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