Are Kitchen Renovations Really Worth It?

Today’s homeowner has a lot to think about. The home is often at the center of the family’s financial wellbeing, with years of hard work to pay off the mortgage, increase market value, and ultimately gain equity. It’s no wonder that owning a home is considered a cornerstone of the American dream.

At some point, the idea of home renovations will probably come up. After all, a quality renovation serves the dual purpose of improving the everyday lifestyle of the home’s current inhabitants, and also potentially increasing the home’s market value for appraisal and resale purposes. The more your home’s value increases as a result of home renovations, the better for you and your family.

And when home renovations come up, the kitchen is often one of the first places any homeowner will consider. It’s where meals are prepared and often eaten. People also tend to spend time in the kitchen talking, working or studying. And when potential buyers look at homes on the market, the kitchen is often a focal point.

So the question is, are kitchen renovations worth it? Can homeowners expect to recover their investments and then some? What factors will determine whether a kitchen renovation will ultimately pay dividends or not?

Modern designs

When you think about kitchen renovations, you want to think about workflow as well as aesthetics. If you look through modern home design magazines, you’ll see some of the things people are doing with kitchens these days. Stainless steel appliances, kitchen islands, deeper storage, quartz countertops, built in refrigeration, and LED track lighting are all in style now—and these are among the trends that are probably not going anywhere soon. Whatever you do, be careful about getting extremely creative or doing anything too radical. Buyers and appraisers prefer timeless designs with wide appeal.

Quality materials

The materials you use in your kitchen renovation make a big difference. Some homeowners (and even home renovators) will try to cut corners and use cheaper materials, doing more renovations with less. But a few renovations that stand the test of time are preferable to a whole series of renovations that fall apart before long.

Seasoned professionals

Who are you going to work with to achieve the renovated kitchen you really want? This is a very important question. Your choice of renovation specialist will be a pivotal factor in deciding how your renovation turns out. Look for experience, expertise, a physical business location, and friendly support staff. Also pay close attention to online reviews on sites like Google and Yelp.

Doing it Right

Kitchen renovations are an exciting prospect for any homeowner, both for the enjoyment they can add to your home, and for the market value. But it’s important to get these projects right. Working with a seasoned, qualified home renovation specialist is one of the most important steps. Settling on the solid, modern designs is another. One thing’s for sure: Kitchen renovations, when done right, have one of the highest satisfaction rates amongst homeowners.

Good luck with your kitchen plans, and feel free to leave comments below!

6 Things to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

IMG_0213Along with bathrooms, kitchens are the most common remodeling project for homeowners. Families spend a lot of time here, and it’s common for appliances and fixtures to wear down. A remodeled kitchen can increase your home’s value and its likelihood to sell; when looking at potential homes, buyers check out kitchens and bathrooms first.

Your kitchen cabinets are one of the focal points of your kitchen, so their appearance and functionality is key. Even before you consult a professional kitchen renovator about the best cabinets for your budget, style, and needs, you’ll want to do you own research and know what to look for. Here are seven facts to consider when choosing your new kitchen cabinets.

1. What are your needs?

Cabinets aren’t just about appearances. They’ll be used constantly, every single day. That’s why it’s important to consider your family’s needs, and the kind of functionality required in your cabinets, even before you decide how you want the cabinets to look.

For instance, your family might need storage space. Whoever does the bulk of the cooking might want betters access to pots, pans, and kitchen utensils. Decide what you like and dislike about your current kitchen and go from there. When it comes to cabinets, functionality comes first.

2. Which materials will you choose?

Solid wood is still a great option. Exotic woods such as bamboo, mahogany and sapele (which can be stained or lacquered), are also a good choice. Create a sleek, modern appearance with other materials such as metal, stainless steel and thermo foil.
The glazed look, popular in the past, is being replaced by a natural textured looks. For an even more “natural” vibe, consider eco-friendly materials; they’re not hard to find these days. Consult a professional kitchen renovator on what materials that might work for you.

Can’t decide which material to use? Looking for a more eclectic look? Consider mixing and matching your materials. Use one material for your base cabinets and one for your hanging wall cabinets.

3. Accessories/hardware

Hardware can really enhance (as well as make or break) the look of your cabinets. Knobs and pulls can dress your cabinets up or down, or make them feel more modern or traditional. The nice thing about hardware: It be changed easily and rather inexpensively if you don’t like the results.

4. The question of color

Don’t be afraid of color! Colorful kitchen cabinets are in vogue right now. If you’re worried about it being too bold, consider a natural finish over the color. You can also be selective about which cabinets have color and which don’t. Choosing your colors is not something you want to take lightly, however. Painting, refinishing or replacing cabinets to achieve a new color is a difficult proposition in many cases.

5. Molding options

Molding is a great way to add flare to basic cabinetry. Crown molding can be used to fill the empty space between cabinets and ceilings, while edge molding can help support cabinets and prevent them from sagging. Molding can also be placed under your cabinets; for example, light molding (i.e. light rail) can help hide under-cabinet lighting.

Take stock of the molding options available to you before contacting a professional kitchen renovation specialist. This will give you leg-up when it comes time to exploring the best options for your cabinetry.

6. Transparency

Glass doors on your cabinets can open up the space and create a modern yet homey look. The glass can be clear, frosted, or beveled. Flatware, china, and wine glasses and champagne flutes look fantastic behind glass doors; but whether or not transparency is right for you depends on your tastes and the overall look/feel of your kitchen.

The best cabinetry for your home

With all the options out there, choosing your kitchen cabinets can be equal parts fun and stressful. That’s why it’s good to combine your own research with the help of a professional home remodeler or kitchen cabinetry specialist to help guide the process.

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How Much Will Bathroom Remodeling Cost?

pdoormrbath2There are many benefits to remodeling your bathroom. You can replace old, faulty fixtures. You can enhance your bathroom’s appearance and features. You can increase your home’s resale value—usually with an ROI of at least 60%.

For these reasons, bathrooms are a remodeling priority. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, bathrooms are the second-most popular room to remodel (behind kitchens).

However, remodeling your bathroom isn’t cheap. In 2015, the average cost of a remodel was over $9K. Fortunately, you can do your remodel in stages and you can choose the quality of materials and finishes, as well as the extent of the changes. A professional bathroom renovator can further help you balance cost and priorities.

So, how much will your bathroom remodel cost? We’ve broken the cost down into 3 typical levels.

1. A Simple Remodel

If you do the remodel yourself, a basic bathroom remodel can cost as little as $3K. If you hire a professional bathroom renovator for a major overhaul, you can easily eclipse the $10K marker. In both of these cases, you might replace fixtures and materials with products from a large home improvement store. However, you may not be able to move any of the plumbing.

In this range, you can install low-end granite or cultured marble countertops. In terms of tiling, you could get ceramic or white subway tiles and cover one or two areas such as your bathtub or shower. For walls, painting would be the most affordable option, although you could also add a tile backsplash. Cabinets can be painted or refinished.

2. A Mid- to Upper- Range Remodel

Mid-level bathroom models typically fall between $10K and $30K. The range is wide because there are multiple factors that come into play such as cost of labor, materials, and where you live.

In this range, you can focus on better-quality fixtures and materials. You can also alter the layout of the bathroom and sizes of fixtures such as your shower and bathtub.

Countertops can be of a higher-grade material or custom size. Cabinets can have a higher-end finish and details such as legs. Plumbing-wise, you can move the shower and faucets, but probably not the toilet. You can add porcelain tile, which is better quality and comes in a wider range of options, and tile more of your bathroom.

3. An Upscale Remodel

Upscale remodels start around $30K and go up from there. At this level, you are essentially creating an entirely new room. The layout can be completely changed, including the placement of the toilet. You can add high-end materials, fixtures, cabinets, and lighting. You can even expand the size of the room. Features such as a sauna, heated floors, and steam showers can also be installed at this level of remodeling.

Which type of remodeling is right for me?

The total cost of your bathroom remodel depends on the quality of materials and fixtures used, and how much of a change you plan to make to the room. No two situations are exactly alike; but in order to make the best possible use of your bathroom renovation budget, get in touch with a pro bathroom renovator to discuss the way forward.

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Will a Renovated Bathroom Increase My Home’s Value?

20150929_134928For most homeowners, there are two main reasons why bathroom renovations are worthwhile. The first is lifestyle and enjoyment. People find that a fresh, modern, renovated bathroom enhances their quality of life at home and better meets their family needs on a day-to-day basis.

The second reason is market value. Potential buyers pay close attention to the design, features and condition of the bathrooms in a home, and national statistics show that investing in a bathrooms is one of the safest home improvement bets out there.

But how much will your home’s value increase, and what factors will play a part in determining that number? In order to get closer to the answer, consider the following four bullet points.

What’s my home’s current value, and what’s the average value in my neighborhood?

If market value is one of your main reasons for renovating a bathroom, the current state of your local housing market will play a role in determining how renovations will affect that value. You’ll want a fairly specific idea of what your home is currently worth; and if any homes have sold recently in your area, it helps to know the sales figures.

Recent statistics suggest that bathroom renovations typically net a 62% return ($1.62 in added market value for every dollar spent on renovation). This figure may climb even higher if your current market value is slightly below the average value in your area.

Are the designs highly unique and specialized, or do they have broad appeal?

Many homeowners want to express their individuality through bathroom renovation projects. The results may be better suited to your needs, lifestyle and tastes—however, bathroom renovations that add the most value are typically those with broad appeal. Renovations that are exceptionally unique or unusual may add significant value in many cases, but the value may not increase as much as it would have with a more mainstream design.

How reputable is my contractor?

Want to maximize your market value gains? Finding an exceptional contractor is one of the most important steps you can take. You might have a beautiful design that suits your home perfectly—but if the execution is poor, your gains in value will be lower.

When you work with a professional bathroom renovator who is experienced, licensed and accredited, you’re working with someone whose results and past clients speak for themselves. Make sure to research contractors thoroughly, and choose one with an excellent record of service and client satisfaction. Online galleries, as well as personal visits to showrooms and/or the finished projects of past clients, can be very helpful in making the best choice.

If I’m doing the work myself, what are my capabilities?

There is a big difference between a bathroom renovation that is finished to a high professional standard and one that is full of mistakes and inconsistencies. If you’re thinking of adding value to your home with a DIY bathroom renovation, it’s crucial to make sure you’re sufficiently skilled and equipped to handle the project at hand. Otherwise you could end up with more than you bargained for—and your increase in value could turn out much lower than you expected.

Maximizing your bathroom renovation dollars

Navigate your way to a successful bathroom renovation project—and a maximized return on your investment—by following these guidelines and conducting your own research. Homeowners who plan carefully, avoid common pitfalls, and maintain realistic expectations are statistically likely to be highly satisfied with the final results.

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Your Bathroom Renovation: How Long Will it Take?

20150929_134912If you could change one thing about your home, what would it be? For many homeowners, the bathroom immediately comes to mind. Other areas of the home may have evolved over time, but the bathroom remains outdated and unattractive. Maybe there’s a shabby old tub you’d like replaced with a clean, modern shower stall. Maybe the tiles are grubby and chipped. Whatever the case, a renovated bathroom is at the top of the list for many renovating homeowners.

But there’s a wrinkle. Apart from the usual considerations of budget and design, it’s important to consider how long your bathroom renovation will take. After all, functional bathrooms are among your home’s most important features. When one or more bathrooms are under renovation, you and your family will be noticeably inconvenienced until the renovations are complete.

So realistically, how long will it take to complete your bathroom renovations? By asking a few simple questions, you’ll be able to zero in on a solid time estimate. That way you’ll know what kind of inconvenience you’ll be dealing with as you move forward with your bathroom renovation.

Did you plan carefully?

Countless renovation efforts are plagued by insufficient planning. Renovations are halted due to mistakes, design errors or second thoughts. These changes of direction are among the most expensive and time-consuming elements of any bathroom remodeling project. The key is to play carefully in the beginning, exploring all your options and confidently settling on what you want. This can be difficult (but still possible) if you’re undertaking the entire project yourself. If you’re working with a professional contractor, you’ll be able to discuss details and design options at length before any work is started.

DIY or professional contractor?

When it comes questions of time and completion, there’s a lot riding on whether you tackle the project yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. The DIY approach is great for many small projects, especially if you’ve got some renovation experience and are handy with tools and measurements. The risk for many homeowners is getting in over their heads. Once you’re into a complex renovation project, it’s very difficult to back out of it.

Qualified bathroom renovation contractors should be able to provide solid quotes, both in terms of budget and scheduling. If a reputable pro says your project should be finished in one week, you can be reasonably sure about it. This is, of course, a result of the skill and experience involved in professional work.

How big is the job?

If you’re simply installing a new sink and vanity, you could be finished in just a few days (even if you’re doing the work yourself). But most bathroom renovations are more complicated and time-consuming. Getting rid of an old tub, replacing floors, and changing the lighting in your bathroom are a few examples. People often want to refresh the entire bathroom rather than change one or two major details—this means a longer time to completion.

A full scale bathroom renovation may take anywhere from 4-14 days when handled professionally. If you undertake large-scale renovations yourself, the project may stretch for months depending on your experience and capabilities.

Who did you hire?

Since bathroom renovations are a real investment, you might choose to contract a professional to handle your project. If so, the question of which company you hire is hugely important. A reputable contractor with years of experience and a long list of satisfied clients is much more likely to deliver results on time. But if you fall in with the wrong company, scheduling delays might be the least of your worries. You may also have financial disputes, and the quality of the work may suffer. Avoid this scenario by scrupulously researching your local bathroom renovation companies before you sign.

Are there any custom details or finishes?

Generally speaking, the more custom and detailed your bathroom project, the longer it will take to complete. Certain materials may require a special order, for example. Or you may choose a feature like mosaic tiling that simply takes time to finish. Ask your local professional, or even staff at your local home improvement store, for their input. Most renovation ideas are relatively standard and professionals can handle them in a reasonably short timespan.

The bathroom you’ve always wanted!

Our aim is to provide you with the information and tools you need to achieve your bathroom renovation goals. Keep these questions in mind when you’re planning your project, and you’ll be much less likely to hit roadblocks that cost time and money.

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How Do I Find a Great Contractor for Remodeling my Bathroom?

IMG_0465For most homeowners, the prospect of finding the best available contractor for home renovations can be a challenge. This is especially true when you’re planning to renovate key areas of your home, such as the bathroom. Getting fantastic results requires a significant investment, and the finished project is something you’ll live with for a long time. That’s why it’s so important to find an experienced, proven contractor with strict standards of professionalism and safety.

But in many areas, this is easier said than done. There may be dozens of options in your area, each with different standards. Finding a quality professional can make the difference between a positive and negative experience, so how can you make the best possible choice?

Every contractor is different, but there are a few important things to look for. By focusing on bathroom renovation contractors who have the following traits, you’ll maximize your chances of hiring the best possible company for your bathroom renovation needs.

1. The work is guaranteed in writing

When you look over a contract before signing, you should be able to see a written guarantee. This guarantee should make the contractor legally responsible for correcting any errors or significant problems that may occur during renovation. Most qualified professionals guarantee their work for at least one year. If anything breaks or goes wrong due to the quality of installation or workmanship, you’ll have it taken care of for free. Can’t find any guarantee on the contract? Think twice before signing and make sure to raise the issue with your contractor.

2. The contractor has years (preferably decades) of experience

Most contractors will suggest or imply that they have long years of experience in the field, but can they substantiate these claims? Make sure you’re aware of the experience level of the people who will actually be coming to your home to perform the work. Any contractor that’s been in business for over 10 years, and has a proven track record of happy clients, is a relatively safe bet. Experience is important, and your contractor should be able to show it.

3. The contractor has plenty of good reviews

Bathroom renovation is like any form of 21st century commerce: The more positive buzz a contractor has, the better your chances of having a successful business relationship. Due to the subjective nature of online reviews, it’s important to look for review on third-party platforms such as Houzz, HomeAdvisor, Yelp and Google+. Also make sure to ask your friends and neighbors about their experiences with home renovation companies, and make sure to ask the contractor for customer references if you need more convincing.

4. The contractor does not make strange or inconvenient requests

If you stumble upon a company that requires cash payments, or asks for money up front before the work is completed, think carefully before proceeding. Reputable professionals generally do not have cash flow problems and are happy to accept normal payment methods upon completion of the work. They are also likely to send highly skilled staff to work on your project, and leave you with great professional results.

5. The contractor is happy to discuss your project in person or over the phone

When you call a contractor to discuss your bathroom renovation, it’s a great chance to see how they operate professionally. If they’re happy to spend time with you, going over your plans and discussing your budget/time requirements, then you’ve probably found a quality professional. On the other hand, if you find it difficult to get information, or if the staff don’t seem to have time for you, this is an indicator that you probably won’t be happy with the service aspect of the experience.

Putting the right contractor in your corner

Discovering the right contractor for your bathroom renovation is a simple matter of knowing what to look for and what to avoid. By keeping these traits in mind as you research contractors, you’ll be able to focus in on companies that will make you want to recommend them to your friends and neighbors.

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5 Bathroom Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

bathtublikenew1Renovating your bathroom is an exciting and challenging prospect. After all, the bathrooms in your home are among the most important spaces in terms of lifestyle and market value. A successful renovation can add a fresh new dimension to your home, improve your selling profile, and increase your enjoyment of living there.

But what if a bathroom renovation goes south? What if a serious mistake is made, either by you or a professional contractor? Then your renovation might become less of an exciting new project, and more of a grueling chore that you can’t wait to be done with.

Fortunately, many homeowners have walked this path before you, and it’s possible to learn a lot from their mistakes. By studying some of the most common bathroom renovation blunders out there, you might experience fewer bumps in the road as you seek to improve the look and feel of your home’s bathroom spaces.

Tearing things up too early

Professional contractors will tell you about the extreme importance of having a clear, established plan in place before tearing up or demolishing any aspect of the existing bathroom structure. Demolishing your bathroom first and then figuring out exactly what you’re going to do is a recipe for frustration and spiraling costs. Careful, meticulous planning is a vital aspect of any bathroom renovation project.

Stretching the budget too much

It’s usually better to keep the renovation within your budget and finish with high quality work than to try and achieve more with less. There may be a certain look, or a certain amenity, that you’re just dying to have. A cheap and poor-quality version of that look or amenity may serve its purpose for the time-being, but as a long-term investment it will eventually cause problems. Put your dollars into lasting, high-quality changes rather than cutting corners to achieve more.

Failing to correct mistakes immediately

Whether you’re doing the renovation yourself or working with the pros, it’s crucial to monitor the progress of the work with a sharp eye. When you notice mistakes—a crooked tile, or sink that doesn’t quite seem level—it’s important to be proactive and correct them. Too many homeowners decide to let things slide, thinking the mistake is insignificant and won’t really matter. But these are imperfections you’ll have to live with for a long time—and if you’re paying a professional contractor, there’s no reason why you should have to.

Keeping your bathroom project mistake-free

When bathroom renovations go right, they bring amazing changes to a home. Usually, this happens when a DIY homeowner is already skilled in home improvement and renovation work, or when a professional bathroom renovation company is called in to handle the job.

However, when serious mistakes are made—either on the part of the homeowner or the contractor—the project can become less enjoyable in a hurry. That’s why it’s important to learn from common mistakes, make sure you’re well-equipped to handle any DIY projects you take on, and only sign with reputable bathroom renovation contractors who have proven experience and clear fee structures. Then you can get on with the business of enjoying an immaculate new bathroom in your home.

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DIY or Professional Bathroom Remodeling: Which is Right for Me?

bathroom_remodelWhy are bathrooms such an important selling point in every home? Essentially, it’s because they’re a crucial aspect of lifestyle and quality of living. We all know what it’s like to enter a well-done, tasteful bathroom—and we all know what it’s like to enter a bathroom that needs serious attention. The design and finish of these important rooms can totally transform the experience of residents and guests alike.

For these reasons, many homeowners consider bathroom renovations at one time or another. The goal is usually to enhance functionality, make maintenance easier, and of course make the space more appealing and modern. Whatever the individual reasons, the prospect of remodeling or renovating your bathroom will always raise an important question: Should I do the work myself, or should I hire a professional?

Of course, there’s no single answer to this question. However, there are a few key points to consider as you make your decision.

How far do you want to go?

Bathroom remodeling and renovating covers a huge spectrum of possibilities. Maybe you want to add new tile accents around the base of the floor and install a new sink. Maybe there’s an old bathtub you want removed and replaced with a spacious, modern shower stall. Maybe the flooring needs to come up, and you want to change the layout of the bathroom altogether with new amenities.

There’s no shortage of how-to videos and instructional blogs online, covering many aspects of bathroom renovation. It’s tempting to think that minor or moderate renovations are easy to complete, even if you don’t have a lot of experience.

The truth is, some bathroom remodeling tasks (specifically those with a lower level of complexity) can indeed be handled effectively on DIY basis, depending on your skill level. However, for every successful DIY bathroom remodeling story, there might be two or three projects that took much longer than anticipated and went significantly over budget.

Why does this happen? Usually it’s a combination of things: Poor planning, lack of experience, or a failure to grasp just how many steps are involved in a bathroom remodeling project. The other thing to consider is that even a successful DIY attempt may not achieve the quality of workmanship you’d get from a professional.

How skilled are you?

Some homeowners have already tackled an array of home improvement projects, and have a high aptitude for this kind of work. If this is you, then you might well go the DIY route and enjoy the satisfaction of having completed the work yourself. On the other hand, if you’re one of the many homeowners out there who don’t have a knack for precision measurements, cutting, fitting, and the many other tasks that go into bathroom remodeling, you might find the DIY path to be cumbersome and stressful. It’s common for homeowners to start a project but decide to call a professional when things become too difficult. This can be a good learning experience, but also a costly one.

Achieving the results you want for your bathrooms

The choice between DIY and a professional bathroom remodeler is mostly subjective. Whether or not the DIY approach is feasible in your case will depend on exactly what you hope to achieve, and how experienced you are in tackling similar projects. Most minor tasks can be handled effectively by homeowners with minimal experience; but many homeowners have found that the larger tasks (the ones that represent significant investments of time and money) are better left to the professionals. That way you can focus on overseeing the project, assuring the quality of the final results, and adding to your home’s value.

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