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Stan Better’s Blog

8 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Harsh Winter Weather

8 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Harsh Winter Weather

The temperatures begin to drop, the leaves start to change, and we all know the seasons are changing. While this means the end of summer BBQs and warm sunshine, it also means the beginning of the holiday season and cozying up to the fire. This, of course, means it’s time to pull out your sweaters and change your sheets to a warmer set, but it also means you should be preparing your home for winter as well. Winters are harsh on houses, and there are many ways you can prepare to avoid damage from deep snow, fridge temperatures, and icy conditions. It’s best to start these now before the weather get’s too bad, and it might be too late for some. Heating Systems Checked All summer, we’ve been relying on our AC to get us through those scorching days, but soon you’ll be wondering how your heating system has been while it’s been dormant. Before those chilly nights get too intense, it’s best to have a professional come out and inspect your system. They’ll be able to run tests to ensure that your heater is up and ready to go, and you won’t have any surprises that could lead to […]

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7 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in a Fence

7 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in a Fence

Right next to apple pie, a white picket fence is part of the American dream. They keep pets in, unwanted visitors out and can create a sense of privacy for your backyard. But, unfortunately, fencing can be a hefty investment, and not knowing how to go about it might hold you back. So we will equip you with the tools you need to make an informed decision and ensure that your fence is exactly what you need. What to Consider Before Building a Fence Before hiring anyone or digging anywhere, there are seven elements of building a fence that you should consider. Property Rules There are a few ways that the property you own might affect putting up a fence. First, some Homeowner Associations have specific rules regarding the type of fence you can put up, or if you can even put up a fence at all. Second, property lines are not always clear. To avoid taking down an expensive fence, be sure that where you’re thinking of putting one won’t cross property lines. Budget Sometimes people avoid the subject of budget because they are afraid that salespeople might take advantage of it. However, talking over what you are comfortable […]

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7 Reasons Why You’ll Love and Electric Cooktop in Your Home

7 Reasons Why You'll Love and Electric Cooktop in Your Home

Do you cringe when you hear ‘electric stove?’ You’re not alone, but not all electric cooktops are created equal. While the older models are ugly, unpredictable, and hard to cook with, newer electric cooktops are sleek, elegant, and have functions that make life easier. It’s also important to note that not all cooks are the same, and not all lifestyles are the same. What works for someone else might not work for you. So just because a friend swears by gas cooktops doesn’t mean that electric cooktops aren’t for you. Many elements come into play when deciding on the best cooktop, and we’re here to explore why electric may or may not be suitable for you. Why You Might Love an Electric Cooktop As mentioned above, the electric cooktop your great aunt had when you were a kid is not the electric cooktops we are talking about here. Newer models are a totally different animal, and they can now stand their ground when up against a gas cooktop.  Electric cooktops are often easy to install, especially for a home without an existing gas line. If your home doesn’t already have one, that can add thousands of dollars and extra days […]

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5 Ways to Stop Dreaming and Start Planning Your Home Remodel Project

5 Ways to Stop Dreaming and Start Planning Your Home Remodel Project

It’s easy to stand in your kitchen and know you want to remodel, but it can be challenging to know where to start. Home remodeling projects can be intimidating between hiring a professional, deciding what you want to do, and figuring out how to live without a section of your home. However, you can avoid all those scary unknowns and maybe even have some fun with your remodel with the right amount of preparation. Hate List and Love List At this early time, think about what you would like to do in the space, and don’t let perceived obstacles hold up your dreaming. Start a brainstorming list and jot down anything and everything that comes to mind. Talk to your spouse or family members who will also use the space and get their input and ideas as well. You may be thinking, My home works fine, it’s just that my cabinets are hideous, and that’s fine too; put it on the list.  It’s also essential to list the things you hate about your current space. These details can help build a picture of your ideal design and avoid making the same mistakes you hated in the original space. For example, […]

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How to Keep Marble Tile Looking its Best

How to Keep Marble Tile Looking its Best

There are very few things that will look fantastic and in style for decades, but marble tile is one of those things. This timeless material is classy, simple, and elegant in almost every setting. So it’s easy to see why it’s crucial for homeowners to care for and clean this delicate material to ensure it remains stain-free. Unfortunately, the cleaning aisles at big department stores are filled to the brim with special cleaners, harsh chemicals, and products that claim to be gentle on all services. However, many of these are not only damaging to your health, but they can also damage a delicate material like marble. What You’ll Need We like to recommend keeping your cleaning routine simple. The simpler the products you use, the less likely you are to damage the marble and the more likely you’ll do it more often if it’s quick and easy. Here’s what you’ll need: • gentle dish soap • warm water • spray bottle • microfiber cloth • clean soft towel How to Clean Marble Tile Marble is one of the more delicate tile materials and shouldn’t come in contact with harsh cleaners or chemicals. Cleaners you might have used with success on […]

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Skyrocketing Lumber Prices, and What They Mean for Your Remodel

Skyrocketing Lumber Prices, and What They Mean for Your Remodel

There’s a long list of things we’ve seen during this pandemic that many of us thought we would never see. New York was looking like a ghost town, people were stashing away toilet paper, and masks were on all the faces around you. The prices of lumber are on that list, and many experts and long-time veterans of this industry never expected what happened over the last 14 months.   Why are lumber prices so high? We could point the finger at several factors that caused the lumber prices to skyrocket. As the country began to shut down, sawmills expected a housing slump; unfortunately, the opposite happened. So as people were sent home for quarantine, they spent more time in their homes and realized what improvements they wanted to make. More people wanted to take on DIY projects, and working from home made many homeowners want to create a better work environment for the foreseeable future. Rather than a housing slump, we ran into a lumber shortage. As demand started to rise and production was put on hold, the prices of lumber climbed higher than ever. Some lumber prices more than quintupled in the last 14 months. Sawmills have been […]

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Here are the Questions You Should Be Asking Your Contractor

Here are the Questions You Should Be Asking Your Contractor

Choosing the right remodeler for your home can be an intimidating quest. After all, you will likely be giving this company the keys to your home and trusting them to respect your property, your time, and your family. As ominous as that sounds, it does not have to end in disaster if you make the right choice, it can actually be very enjoyable. You don’t have to be an expert to hire the right contractor. What you do need to know is what to look for and how to ask for it. The Little Things When conducting the interview, pay attention to the little things. Did they show up on time? How did they dress? Did they listen to what you want, or did they just try to sell you their ideas? A good contractor knows that they’re building your project, not theirs. They not only want you to get to know them, but they want to get to know you as well. The relationship you’ll build is the foundation of your success while working together. Finding out if it’s a good fit is perhaps the most crucial goal of your interview process. The Way We Do It Here A professional contractor […]

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The 4 Important Details You Need to Know About Windows

The 4 Important Details You Need to Know About Windows

Do you see the waves in the glass of your old windows? Or do you have a minor heart attack when you see your energy bill? Buying new windows might not be the most exciting thing you purchase as a Homeowner however, they can pay for themselves in energy efficiency and resale value. Figuring out what to buy and what all those terms mean can be confusing and might even cause you to push off purchasing this valuable upgrade.  So before you go shopping, educate yourself on the crucial details that can help you choose the ideal windows for you and your home.  Types of Window Frames Important features to keep in mind while looking into window frames are aesthetics, durability, energy efficiency, maintenance, and cost. Windows are a heavy investment, and you’ll want to be sure you’re making the right choice.  Vinyl Window Frames These windows grew in popularity due to their affordability and energy efficiency compared to the windows found in most older homes. Vinyl windows are also low-maintenance and won’t require you to scrape and repaint them over the years since the color won’t chip or fade. Unfortunately, the color options of vinyl windows aren’t as expansive […]

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What Are the Best Roofing Materials for Your Home?

What Are the Best Roofing Materials for Your Home?

Roofing might not be as exciting as choosing backsplash tile, but it’s a vital part of your homes structure and design. With this guide, we hope to supply you with the information you need so you can make an informed decision about which roofing option is best for your home. Types of Roofing Materials Roofing materials not only vary widely in price, but they also vary in colors, longevity, durability, and ease of installation. The key features to keep in mind are budget, wind resistance, temperature durability, fire resistance, and aesthetic. Asphalt Shingles Asphalt is one of the most popular and affordable types of roofing. This type is durable, wind-resistant, and has a high fire rating. They’re available in a wide range of styles, including those that resemble wood, slate, and tile. On the downside, they don’t last as long as other options, they aren’t as environmentally friendly, and they can only be installed on pitched roofs. Clay Tiles Clay tiles are a unique option that are molded into many different shapes. They are often lighter in color, which allows them to stay cooler than darker materials. Clay tiles are also ideal for those looking for an environmentally friendly choice, or […]

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Granite vs. Quartz Countertops: What’s the Right Top for Your Home?

Granite vs. Quartz Countertops: What’s the Right Top for Your Home?

Choosing between granite or quartz can sometimes feel overwhelming. Both of these products are great options, but how do you choose what is best for you? Let’s break it down, highlighting the pros and cons of each to provide you with the information you need to select the best countertop for YOU. A Popularity Contest Although quartz is currently making strong inroads in the countertop game, granite is still the undisputed champion of the countertop world. It is by far the most popular, but no one countertop checks all the boxes. Granite might work better for some families, while quartz is a better fit for others. What are they made of? Mother Nature loves variety, and no two granite stones are exactly the same. Granite is quarried from the earth, sliced into slabs, and then polished to achieve the beautiful countertops you see in showrooms. This natural diversity in appearance means it’s crucial that you go to the warehouse and pick the exact slab you want to use in your home. If you try to pick granite from a sample, you may discover that the top installed in your home may look nothing like the sample you chose in the […]

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Should I Build a New Home or Remodel My Current Home?

Should I Build a New Home or Remodel My Current Home?

“Should I remodel my home or build a new one?” This is a question we hear a lot. With so many great neighborhoods to choose from in Cincinnati, the question can be a bit of a gray area. You could love the community you’re in but not your home, or you could love the home you’re in, but not the neighborhood. Either way, it’s a tough decision that will ultimately be up to you; however, here are a few things to consider to help you make this difficult choice. When should you consider remodeling? You love your neighborhood/neighbors. Almost nothing can replace the comfort of your neighborhood and the strength of friendships. Suppose you and your family have strong relationships with the neighbors around you. In that case, it might be best for everyone to stay put and invest in a thought-out remodeling plan. Moving would mean a change in schools for your children. Kids go through a lot while growing up. Not only are they learning about the world, but they are also learning about themselves. This involves changes that can make them feel unbalanced. Having a stable and secure home and school life can help kids feel safer […]

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The Important Differences of Sound Proof and Sound Dampening

The Important Differences of Sound Proof and Sound Dampening

There’s almost no telling how many Zoom meetings were held during the first year of COVID-19. Whether it was for work or catching up with friends, nearly all of us experienced the frustrations of video calls. While some of us are lucky enough to have a home office (or at least now we do!), some had to craft an office at the kitchen table or next to the exercise equipment in the basement. No matter where your new or existing home office is, you probably never noticed how many echoes there were until COVID.  Although the pandemic is getting better, and it seems there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon, working from home seems to be an option that’s sticking around. For those who need quieter space, sound damping or soundproofing options can make life easier.   What is the difference between soundproof and sound dampening? This discussion can quickly get bogged down with physics. To put it simply, soundproofing a room means the room will not allow any noise from the outside in—sound dampening reducing the amount of bouncing or echoes within the room.  Sound dampening means the room could be void of furniture, but there wouldn’t be […]

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How to Keep Your Sink Looking its Best

How to Keep Your Sink Looking its Best

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the kitchen sink or the bathroom sink; they both take on a lot of dirty work. As a reward for all their hard work, they deserve some TLC. So let’s roll up our sleeves and learn how to care for the six most common sink materials. Stainless Steel It’s vital to keep stainless steel clean, not just for aesthetics but also to preserve the material’s integrity. Keeping it clean will also lessen the chances of the sink getting corrosion damage. One of the strongest and most durable sink material options out there, stainless steel won’t get worn out or damaged by frequent cleaning; in fact, it thrives on it. What to Avoid Because stainless steel is so durable, there aren’t too many products that need to be avoided. However, when using any product that contains chloride, be sure to immediately rinse out the sink after washing. Chloride can corrode stainless steel if not rinsed out thoroughly. The other items to avoid are steel brushes or steel wool. Bits of the brush or wool can get left behind and cause corrosion or rust. Although it is possible to get rust stains out of stainless […]

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Range Hoods and What They Mean for Your Kitchen Remodel

Range Hoods and What They Mean for Your Kitchen Remodel

There are many choices and decisions to be made during a kitchen remodel, and they can quickly become overwhelming. This is especially true for decisions that could affect the health or safety of your home. Ventilation options for the kitchen are one of those choices that can make homeowners feel too inexperienced to make the right decision. You don’t need to know everything about the number of amps required within your range hood in correlation to the heat your stovetop expels. However, it could be beneficial to understand why range hoods are essential, the difference between vented versus unvented, and the different range hood options. Knowledge is power, and empowering yourself with the need to know information about range hoods will allow you to make an informed decision and feel good about it afterward. Why You Need a Range Hood While it might feel obvious as to why a range hood within a kitchen is important, sometimes what feels like elementary level information can bring to light what aspects of the decision are important to you. Safer and Healthier Air First and foremost, the most important reason to include a range hood within your kitchen remodel is safety. When cooking, […]

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Are You Using Houzz to Collect Your Design Ideas?

Are You Using Houzz to Collect Your Design Ideas?

Back in the day, clients were excited to drop their two-inch-thick folder on the table, full of pictures they had torn out of magazines. The meetings would be filled with shuffling papers and sticky notes on why they love a specific photo. Like kids with a birthday wish list, we worked through the pages one by one and discussed what struck them about each and how we might incorporate these design ideas into their homes. Like many things in our lives, technology has made this more manageable, more accessible, collaborative, and possible for your dentist to keep their magazines intact. With tools like smartphones and tablets, bringing in your design ideas and a wish list is easier than ever, and the recycling bin doesn’t get so full! Using a tool like houzz.com can collect and express your design dreams and wishes to your contractor in a more straightforward manner. It ensures you’re on the same page and reduces the risk of your home remodel not being precisely what you want. With just a few clicks, your contractor and designer will know what you’re looking for, and even better, they can collaborate and add to your dream with their professional expertise.  How to […]

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How COVID Has Changed The Way We Use Our Homes

How COVID Has Changed The Way We Use Our Homes

Our houses are not just a roof over our heads. They are homes in which we build families, memories, and lives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of our homes has been highlighted with lockdown orders. The need to love the space you live in is a fact that millions of Americans have learned, as evidenced by the surge of people buying new homes.  After spending over a year in some form of lockdown, it’s clear that our homes need to suit our lives in different ways than they ever have before. “Normal” life may not be coming back any time soon, and we must adapt and improve our spaces to allow us to live happier lives even while quarantined from our families.  New Hobbies and Routines Of course, the number of harmful changes that has come with COVID is undeniable, but there have been some good ones as well. For example, people are taking on new hobbies, learning new skills, and sharpening old ones. With all the extra time we have, it seems many of us are taking advantage of them.  Without the luxury of our favorite cafes or coffee shops, many are learning to be their own barista […]

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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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The Ultimate How to Clean and Care for Stainless Steel Guide

The Ultimate How to Clean and Care for Stainless Steel Guide

Stainless Steel appliances are the most popular appliance finish put into homes today. We all love that sleek look of brand new appliances, all shiny and ready to create culinary masterpieces. However, keeping stainless steel clean and fingerprint-free can feel like a challenge. Here is how to keep your stainless steel looking it’s best.  Tools for Stainless Steel Cleaning Before cleaning anything, always remember to clean stainless steel in the same direction as the polish lines. Going against these polish lines or using a circular motion can cause stainless steel’s polish to lose its shine and sparkle. Even the softest cloths can cause damage over time if rubbed over stainless steel against its grain.  The best cleaning tools for stainless steel are microfiber cloth or paper towels. These are soft and will not scratch the surface. Harsh types of cleaning cloths or sponges can leave tiny abrasions on the surface of the stainless steel. Eventually, these abrasions can cause stainless steel to look dull. Avoid this worry entirely by sticking to microfiber cloths or paper towels.  Regular Cleaning Tips As with most things, cleaning spills and messes as they happen is the best way to care for and protect your […]

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Why is The Second Floor of My Home Warmer Than the First Floor?

Why is The Second Floor of My Home Warmer Than the First Floor?

If walking up to your second floor in the winter feels like you’re entering a sauna, you’ve probably asked yourself this question more than once. When you’re the one paying the bill, having a home that has uneven temperatures can be frustrating. Fortunately, there is something you can do! Let’s walk through why your second floor is hotter than the first floor, and what you can do about it.   Why the Second Floor is Hotter Physics is not your friend here. Hot air is lighter than cold air, so unfortunately, basic physics is the key factor as to why your second floor is warmer than the first.  Your second floor is also closer to the roof of your home. Your roof absorbs a lot of heat as the sun bakes it each day, even during the coldest winter months. All this warmth naturally moves through the roof, attic, and eventually, the second floor of your home.  Your home’s imbalanced temperature may also be a symptom of incorrectly installed ductwork. Suppose the ducts are not performing as well as they should. It could be because they were not installed optimally to ensure efficient distribution of heat.   What to do about […]

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Our 6 Favorite Shower-heads You’ll Want in Your Bathroom Remodel

Our 6 Favorite Shower-heads You’ll Want in Your Bathroom Remodel

Walking into a plumbing showroom can be immediately overwhelming! There are endless amounts of showerhead options, and it can be hard to know where to start. Knowing what style or type of showerhead you’re looking for can help eliminate some of that shopping anxiety. Here we’re going to talk about some of our favorite showerheads. Hip to be Square This stunning brushed nickel shower headset is not your average showerhead. The main head is square to give it that unique style flare. The matching temperature levers are beautifully designed to bring symmetry to the set. Alongside the main shower head and levers is another adjustable height handheld showerhead. This is perfect for customizing your showering experience to your specific needs. Handheld showerheads are also an excellent tool when bathing our furry friends!                    A Gold Moment for Showers Another main shower, handheld shower combo! These are becoming increasingly more popular, and it’s easy to see why. The convenience and customizability of this combination makes it great for growing families or aging in place couples. This eye-catching gold finish blends beautifully with the statement tile wall and shower door fixtures. If you’re looking […]

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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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