skip to Main Content

Home Remodeling

Home Remodeling – Before You Get Started

Although I am by no means a professional remodeler or carpenter, I will tell you that I do have years of experience in messing up home remodeling jobs in my past. Yes, I have found myself in some sticky situations and downright frightening predicaments in the past. It is my hope that you might find some humor in my tale, as well as some insight into what it takes to complete your own home remodeling jobs with decent results while not killing yourself in the process.

One of the first things that I ask anyone planning on doing any sort of remodeling around the house is, “how solid is your relationship with your wife or girlfriend?” After all, what’s the sense in doing some grand remodeling project if you’re only going to wind up living there alone as a little side benefit? I am being completely serious here and even the strongest relationships take some sort of a hit as a result of doing home improvements.

There will be disagreements over how things should be done, the quality of your work, whether you should have hired a professional to do the job and comments will be made about your ancestral heritage at some point. Things won’t be completed as quickly as you might like and definitely not as quickly as your partner would like to see. Things can get tense and often things are said as a result of these tensions so you really need to be sure that your relationship is on solid ground before even considering doing any home remodeling. If nothing else, expect things to get heated at some point and talk to you partner about this beforehand. I’m being serious here.

Next, do you have a solid plan laid out for what you hope to accomplish and how you hope to achieve the desired outcome? It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as painting a room or putting an addition onto your home. You need to think through how you envision your home and every step along the way to bringing that dream to reality. There is often a lot of prep work that needs to take place before any home remodeling job and thinking things like sealing off rooms and protecting your furniture and the other rooms in the house from damage should be paramount in your mind when planning the steps that you will take to complete your remodeling job. If you don’t, you will wind up with more work and more expense in the long run before you’re done.

Do you have the right skills and tools to complete the job? While you might not be an expert at many of the skills that you might need before starting a home remodel, a little understanding, education and patience in learning these skills goes a long way and can save you a lot of money. It’s called sweat equity and although it might take you a little bit longer to wire an addition, if you wish to learn about electrical work, for instance, you can do as good a job as an electrician.

Be sure that you have the right tools for the job also. You might try to make do with what you have on hand in the way of power tools but matching the right tool for the job is a secret of many craftsmen and it will bring you better results in the long run. Sure, you could pound a nail into a wall using your shoe but taking the time to go get a hammer will probably give you better results, wouldn’t you agree. The same goes for cutting wood with any sort of precision, painting walls to give you a nice finish or sanding wood floors in an efficient manner. The right tools will save you time, trouble, aggravation and give you better results. If you don’t have the right tools you can borrow from friends or rent the right tools from a rental center. It’s really worth the effort and you can thank me later.

I give this little piece of advice because safety is very important. I have, myself, done stupid things and tried to complete seemingly simple home improvement projects without the correct tools for the job only to find myself happy to be alive. There’s nothing like the feeling of being three stories up on a ladder that’s just not tall enough, pressed up against the side of the house, clinging for life with one hand and painting the soffit of the house with a paintbrush duct taped to a stick to make you realize that sometimes it’s just not worth risking it. The right tool for the job in this instance would have been a telephone to call someone that wasn’t afraid of heights and a ladder that was about five feet longer. Don’t repeat my stupid mistakes. Learn from them.

Also, check with your local zoning or code enforcement office to find out if you need a permit to complete the job that you are planning. These people are paid by your tax dollars and they have your best interest at heart. They will help you to be sure that your plan is solid and it doesn’t endanger you or your household, if it requires a permit, and they will inspect your work and tell you what needs to be changed for it to be up to code. Don’t take the advice of well meaning friends or family members who tell you carte blanche that you don’t need a permit. If something were to go wrong and your house were to burn down, for instance, thanks to a faulty wiring job that you had done that was never inspected, your homeowners insurance wouldn’t cover you. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. AZ granite and remodeling has the best granite remnants in the state of Arizona, you can ask around.

Above all else, have fun at working around your house. Home improvements can be and should be enjoyable. Make it so! Working together with your partner to make your home what you wish it to be should bring you happiness and not make you swear that you will never do another home improvement job again. If you don’t find joy in working around your house, hire someone to do the parts that you don’t like. If you hate painting, hire someone to do it. If you love painting then dive right in and bring joy into your life. It’s your home. Make it the way that you and your partner dream it should be… together!

How You Can Make Your Kitchen Cabinets Remodeling a Success

Kitchen Cabinets and Remodeling Help

Many people want to have a beautiful kitchen, but the choices that come along with a remodeling project can be daunting.

In short, there are many things to coordinate and decide upon like type of materials, color, accessories, etc., that it can seem difficult to imagine the process coming all together.

How You Can Make Your Kitchen Cabinets Remodeling a Success

Are you (or someone you know) considering remodeling your kitchen or getting new granite counter tops? If the answer is yes, great, read on. Many people want to have a beautiful kitchen, but the choices that come along with a remodeling project can be daunting.

In short, there are many things to coordinate and decide upon like type of materials, color, accessories, etc., that it can seem difficult to imagine the process coming all together. For example, you may also need to choose cabinets, flooring, appliances, back splashes, and wall paint, as well. This list can go on and on

But fear not, stress not! We have a great starting point. The best way to begin your remodeling plans is to choose the cabinets you really want. Then you can build the rest of the design around them. There are many cabinetry choices to make, so we will introduce the basic cabinets below.

4 Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

1. Oak – Oak kitchen cabinets have been a customer favorite for decades. The popularity comes from the rich real wood look that oak presents. People are drawn to the warm look of oak wood. It is very cozy and inviting. Oak has characteristic mineral streaks and knots that give it casual country flair. Oak is a very budget friendly material choice for your cabinetry.

2. Cherry – Cherry kitchen cabinets are a timeless and classic choice for your kitchen. Bring a traditional sophistication to your kitchen with these cabinets. If you are looking for a darker cabinet finish to add a rich look to your kitchen cherry could be the right choice. Cherry can stand up to the everyday use of a kitchen because it is a very strong wood. This option is very beautiful but not exactly budget friendly. This added cost is something you will want to consider in your remodel budget.

3. Maple – If you are looking for a lighter finish, maple cabinetry could be the right choice for you. Maple is bright and fresh looking in the kitchen. Maple can be used in very contemporary and modern kitchens for a streamlined sophisticated look. This is a great long term choice for your kitchen because maple wood is very durable. Everyday wear such as scratches and dents are easily resisted making your kitchen look better over a long period of time.

4. Hickory – Are you looking for something different? Hickory cabinets could be what you are looking for. Hickory cabinetry comes in a wide range of color choices from a white to brown tones. With all the options available with hickory you are sure to find the perfect fit. Hickory is one of the most durable woods available on the market today. This makes it a great choice for your kitchen. Hickory cabinets are ideal if you have children as they can stand up to the wear and tear of everyday activity.

Handy Manny Tools

Handy Manny is one of the animated cartoons from Disney Channel that showcases a repairman from Sheetrock Hills named Manuel “Manny” Garcia. This repairman has talking tools like Squeez the Pliers, Stretch the Tape Measure, Dusty the Saw, Pat the Hammer, Rusty the Monkey Wrench and most of all Felipe and Turner, the Screwdriver rivals. There are also other human characters like Kelly the hardware store owner and the owner of a candy store, Mr. Lopart. Manny and his loving tools work together to finish a certain job and fixing it with fun.

Handy Manny tools are an awesome toy which will really keep your kids busy for an hour or two. It offers four tools just like the show which will help your kids fix and repair the things they want to repair. The toy also comes with a truck. This truck serves as a tool bench. This toy has bilingual phrases, sound effects and blueprints that will really make your child’s playtime more fun and enjoyable.

There are also Handy Manny Wall Graphics available online.

These toys bring the Handy Manny Tools characters for life. It offers tools which will help your child fix various things. The fix-it song, blueprints and phrases from the TV show will help make the fixing time fun. There are also 5 engine parts that can be fixed. Just like in the TV show, you child can get also phone calls from different people asking them to fix something in their neighborhood. Your child has to pick the right tools for the job. If your child has finished fixing something, the item will play fun sound effects. This toy is recommended for kids ages 3 and above. This will really make his afternoon fun and delightful. This toy also requires 3 AA batteries to work. You can find a good handyman by searching “handyman near me” and get the best pricing and a great service.

A Homeowner’s First Landscape

First time homeowners usually rush headlong into their new landscapes. Enthusiasm and zeal become guiding principles. That first year, especially in spring, is frequently a blur of landscaping activity. Businesses that stock tools and plants become weekend destinations. The homeowners’ outdoor to-do list looks something like this:

  • Do “something” with the lawn;
  • Plant “flowers”;
  • Plant trees and shrubs; and
  • Make a play area for kids (if part of the family).

Although these new homeowners usually want landscaping tips and advice, they are let down when advised to slow down, take inventory and make a plan. This advice is usually perceived as boring stuff, but in the end, it makes for a realistic, thrifty and satisfying outcome.

The most important pieces of an inventory are what:

  • environmental factors influence the house and land;
  • plants thrive around the house;
  • plants or features should be changed or eliminated; and
  • potential wishes and dreams that can be dealt with in the near future.

Pictured above is a home near Charlottesville, VA located on 2.5 acres that I will use as an example in this series. It was easy to gather preliminary information about existing environmental factors for this site using:

  • A compass and metal tape measure,
  • The internet;
  • Some plant encyclopedias; and
  • Paper on a clipboard for recording.

Here are some important facts collected during a first fact-finding attempt:

  • The house front faces northeast and is sited on a northwest – southeast running road. This setting, along with existing trees, provides good quality light and filtered sun throughout the day. It is an excellent location to landscape as long as soil constraints and animal problems (mostly deer) are taken into consideration.
  • Existing plants:
    • Are mostly second-growth oak and other assorted hardwoods;
    • Serve as a buffer away from the house;
    • Need pruning to remove hazards and selective cutting to improve tree growth; and
    • Are few in number in the understory and there is little herbaceous vegetation (i.e. wildflowers).
  • Superficial observation of the soil shows that it probably is:
    • Composed of old forest soils that are usually highly acidic;
    • Well drained with medium to rapid runoff and moderate permeability;
    • Mostly subsurface near the house probably left from construction.

Soil tests are needed so that healthy soils can be created before new lawns and plantings are established. In VA soil-testing kits are available from county extension service offices. The kit is mailed out, samples taken by the homeowner, and then mailed back to the Virginia Tech Soil Laboratory. The basic test is $7 for Virginia residents, $10.50 for others. The organic matter test is extra: $3 in state, $4.50 out of state. (Moreno Landscaping provides the best landscaping services along with brick paving, fencing, snow removal and so much more)