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Ten Kitchen Pantry Mistakes

Walk in PantryWhen remodeling your kitchen, you may want to consider adding a walk-in pantry if you have the space. Pantries can be great for people who love to cook, but they can also add extra shelving for snacks and pre-packaged meals even if you don’t spend much time in the kitchen. Don’t make the following ten mistakes when planning a space for a walk-in pantry.

Mistake #1: Planning the space before finding shelving. Pantries typically need floor to ceiling shelves if you want to make the most of the space. However, waiting until after you put up the drywall to shop for shelves can be a disaster. Choose the shelves you want and then plan the pantry with the shelves’ depths in mind.

Mistake #2: Using doors that open inward. Pantries are already fairly small. If you add a door that opens into the pantry that opens inward, it can be really hard to get to the items you’ve stored behind the door. This also limits the things you can store in your pantry. Instead, opt for a door that swings outward into your kitchen.

Mistake #3: Not considering the pantry in the flow of your kitchen. Pantries shouldn’t be an afterthought. Think about the natural flow of your kitchen traffic, especially how you’ll want to move from the pantry to the counter and refrigerator. If you don’t consider your pantry in your overall layout, you’ll find yourself walking around tables and carrying supplies clear across the house. Plan everything together.

Mistake #4: Not including electrical outlets. It may seem silly to include electrical outlets in your walk-in pantry, but there are a number of small appliances that you may want to plug in, even in your pantry. For example, some people put wine refrigerators or can openers in their pantries. Even if you don’t have plans for those items in your pantry, you never know what you’ll what in the future, and at that point it will be too late to easily add them.

Mistake #5: Choosing bad lighting or no lighting at all. Your pantry isn’t an ordinary storage closet. If you don’t have proper lighting, you’ll forever be losing cans of peas on back shelves. The lighting you choose doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – it just has to be functional. You should at least have the wiring set up for the light so that you can install it in the future.

Mistake #6: Taking up valuable space in your kitchen. Sometimes, the only way to create a walk-in pantry is to take some of the space from the kitchen or another room. However, this does not always have to be the case. Look for unused space, like room beneath a staircase. Your kitchen doesn’t have to get smaller in order for you to have a pantry.

Mistake #7: Filling your pantry only with shelves. Sure, most people like to have large, solid shelving in their pantry. This isn’t your only option, though. You can also use plate racks, wine racks, and other storage compartments and containers. The point is this: thinking outside of the box can help you make the most of your pantry storage. Think about the items you stock most and set up your pantry to cater to your needs.

Mistake #8: Placing the pantry near the laundry room. Your pantry needs to be located in a clean, dark, dry place. Also important is the temperature of this small space. Although you don’t have to keep your pantry cool (after all, that’s your refrigerator’s job), if your pantry shares a wall with a laundry room or any room that gets hot, like a computer room, your food could spoil more quickly. Think about your pantry’s location in conjunction with your entire house, not just in relation to the kitchen.

Mistake #9: Using deep shelving. Although you may think that deep shelves will hold more items, keep in mind that you need to be able to quickly reach these items for your pantry to make sense. You can store rarely used items on the top shelf, but at the end of the day, unless you use a stepladder, shallow shelves are typically a better idea. As an added bonus, they’ll be easier to clean that way.

Mistake #10: Quick planning. Lastly, when designing your new walk-in pantry, don’t plan it quickly or without considering all angles. Your new kitchen is undoubtedly an expensive remodel, and while a kitchen pantry might seem like a small detail, a great pantry can really make your kitchen special. Spend some time planning it!

Kitchen pantries come in all shapes and sizes. Although some people just opt for a glorified cupboard, the best kitchen pantries are walk-in and large enough for any family’s needs. Avoid these above ten mistakes when planning your walk-in kitchen pantry.

Need help with your kitchen remodeling project? Post Your Project on Handy American and receive free estimates from top-rated local kitchen experts or search our Contractor Directory

How to Find a Good Roofing Contractor for a More Successful Roofing Project

Roof restoration is quite an investment and not one you should take lightly. It’s astonishing that many people do plenty of research before they buy a plasma TV but they won’t put forth the same effort when hiring a roofing contractor to replace their roof which typically costs ten times as much if not more.

RoofingThe age of your roof will have a lot to do with the type roof services you require. Typically, roof shingles last about 20-25 years, so if you have a roof that’s only a few years old, roof repair using new roofing materials is probably your best option since the roof will most likely still last a very long time. However if your roof is in the 15-25 year range you may have to take a closer look at it to determine if you should go ahead and replace it. At some point roof repair becomes a losing proposition because of the required maintenance that will be needed as your roof continues to age. The amount of time you have left at your current residence should also factor into whether you have the roof shingles repaired, or a totally new roof installed.

If you’ve already determined that you need new installation roof services, it is time to start looking for a roofing contractor. One of the first things we recommend you do is to develop a list of about five roofing contractors that you’d like to have provide a roofing proposal on roof repair or to replace your roof. Your job will be to screen and weed out any roofing contractors that could potentially cause problems for you or that have poor reputations in the roof repair industry.

Finding Roofers in your Area

Obviously the first place to start your search for professional roofing contractors is with friends, relatives, neighbors and acquaintances that have recently had roof repair work done. It’s important to note here though that just because you received a personal reference from someone doesn’t mean that the contractor shouldn’t be screened. This is the big mistake a lot of folks make and they end up paying for it dearly in the long run… they hire a contractor to do really expensive work just because someone they know referred them. Don’t make that same mistake… Sure put personal referrals and those with contractor insurance at the top of the list, but do your due diligence and screen them with the rest of your contractors. The probability of hiring a good roofing contractor are greatly increased by doing this.

If you’re having trouble finding referrals or references to complete your list of potential roof restoration contractors you can always turn to the major roofing materials suppliers in your area and ask them for some referrals or recommendations as well. Suppliers often have a good idea of who provides a lot of roof services, since they get to see which roofing contractors pay on time and how often they purchase roofing materials and sometimes they even get to know which roof restoration professional has a good reputation in the industry and which ones don’t.

You can do the same with general contractors and building inspectors. These professionals can be outstanding resources for you as they work with roof repair contractors on a fairly consistent basis. You may find that some of these professionals are reluctant to share information with you good or bad about the roofing contractors you’re considering and that’s typically due to a professional courtesy. To get the information you want on professional roofing contractors, you may need to “sweeten the pot” a bit by offering a free lunch, a free round of golf or may be a free cold beer after a long day of work. The point is these professionals work with roofing contractors all the time and believe it or not, they know who the good roofing contractors are and who the bad ones are as well. General contractors, building inspectors and roof restoration suppliers are all great sources of information if you can get them to open up…

To complete your list of potential specialty roofing candidates I strongly recommend you seek one with contractor insurance.  And consider searching the Handy American directory for a dependable and honest contractor in your area.

Once you’ve developed a list of about five roofing contractors what you want to do is weed out all the bad apples and screen them so that you can give yourself the best chance to hire a good and competent specialty roofing contractor that knows his craft and will do the roof restoration job right the first time.

How to Screen a Roofer

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first.  Aside from having contractor insurance, you want to make sure your roofing contractors have permanent places of business and that they have a regular telephone number. Check to make sure he is licensed or bonded. Requirements vary from state to state but it’s always a better idea to hire a roofing contractor with contractor insurance.  One that is licensed and bonded because it gives you some options if you have future problems with your roof services. Say it starts to leak or something…

You can check to see if the roofing contractor is licensed by doing a search in Google for “state license board your state” and just replace “Your state” with the actual name of your state. To kill two birds with one stone, call the office to find out if the professional roofing contractor is licensed.  To find out whether or not he is an honest contractor, ask if recent complaints have been lodged against him. The state licensing board is one of the first places people go to complain about bad experiences with contractors and that’s another reason to go with a licensed specialty roofing contractor.

There are plenty of projects around the house that you can use less skilled contractors for but roof services isn’t one of them. A roof is very expensive to replace so you want to make sure you find the best professional roofing contractor for the new roof installation or roof repair job. To do that you’ll need to start digging some more for reviews or data on what type of successful roofing work the roof restoration contractor is known for before you request a roofing proposal.

One of the first places to check to determine if the roofer is an honest contractor is the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org. Basically what you’re looking for are any complaints involving the roofing contractors on your list.

Any roofing contractor can get angry customers at one point or another so it’s important to note that just because a contractor has a complaint or two doesn’t mean that they are not an honest contractor or reliable roof restoration professional. Something else you’ll want to look at closely is how disputes and disagreements are resolved by the contractors on your list. Do they work with their clients to find a resolution? By the same token you probably want to stay away from any roofing contractors that have several unresolved complaints or several recent complaints as it could be a sign of a contractor in financial trouble.

Once you’re done pre-screening your list of potential roofing contractors, you can move forward by having the contractors that are left provide a roofing proposal on your roofing project. Hopefully you have at least two but preferably three roof restoration candidates left so you can have a few different bids to look at and compare. Along with their roofing proposal let the professional roofing candidates know that you’ll need to see proof of Workers Compensation and contractor insurance if they are selected for roof services. It is absolutely necessary for the roofer you hire to have current contractor insurance in the event that a roofer get’s injured while working on your roof. If the roof repair contractor does not have insurance, you could be held liable and that’s obviously a headache you do not want. When you decide upon a roofing contractor, you’ll want to ask your roofer for his contractor insurance agents contact information so you can ask for a certificate of insurance to verify that all insurance is current. Avoid roofing contractors who say you don’t need contractor insurance or that says your homeowners insurance will cover the work.

Questions to Ask During the Interview

If you are going with a larger roof restoration company it’s possible that the person that comes out to do the roofing proposal will be a sales person rather than a roofing contractor. It’s important to note that sales people often over promise on what the actual roofers will be able to deliver.  Good professional roofing contractors will get on your roof to inspect the condition of the roofing materials as well as the decking, ventilation and flashing. For a detailed look at what flashing is and how it works check out: Extreme How To – Roof Flashing. The more you know about roofs and how they work the better you’ll be able to discern a good roofing contractor from a bad one.

  • Does your roof restoration contractor have a specialty roofing crew that he employs? Some roofers don’t have a professional crew and will hire cheap day labor wherever they can find it. The most successful roofing work will usually come from professionals who provide roof services daily. Do you want someone hired from a street corner working on your roof?
  • If you have a steep roof you should ask the contractor if he plans on using roof jacks. If you don’t know what roof jacks are click here to see what they are and to see how a roofer would use them on a steep roof. Little nuances like this will help you decipher the professionals from the pretenders.
  • Do they have a roofing magnet to pick up nails at the end of the work day?
  • Will your roof restoration contractor be using roofing felt? Roofing felt is strongly recommended for a successful roofing project, because it is an integral part of the specialty roofing system that protects your house from water, felt provides a buffer between your roof deck and the roof shingles and most importantly without felt your roof will not qualify for a UL approved fire rating. A lot of newer roofing contractors struggle a bit with installing felt properly so be at least a bit cautious of someone who doesn’t want to install roofing felt underneath your roof shingles. It could be a sign of an amateur roofer. 15 lb. roofing felt is the standard but 30 lb is preferable.
  • You’ll also want to make sure that the right nailing pattern is followed and that your roofing contractor plans on following all of the manufacturer’s specifications found on the roof shingles. Not doing so could void any warranty your new roof comes with.
  • Ask if your roofing contractor plans on nailing in the roof shingles by hand or by using an air-powered nail gun? There are a lot of advantages to nailing by hand and generally speaking it results in better more precise work. The problem with nail guns is that they sometimes shoot nails right through the roof shingles if they are not properly adjusted…
  • Ask to see pictures of previous roof services work, and ask for references preferably ones that you can speak to. Seeing the quality of roof repair work the roofer has done in the past is a good indicator of what he is capable of and what you can expect.
  • Ask the roofer if his contractor insurance is up-to-date, and whether or not he is a licensed or approved applicator for any manufacturers? A lot of roofing systems these days require special application expertise for the best results.
  • Ask the roof restoration contractor if he will warranty his work and for how long? An honest contractor will stand by his work.

The National Roofing Contractors Association also provides a couple of really useful forms that you can use to pre-qualify your list of contractors and also to give yourself a good idea of what kinds of questions you should be asking as well as give yourself a great idea of what to look for. The first form is a pdf that you can print up and use to compile information about the potential roofing contractor. If you’re a little uneasy about interviewing professional roofing candidates you can also use this National Roofing Contractors Association form a guide during your interview. You can download it here. The National Roofing Contractors Association also provides a printable pdf that you can use to compare a couple of contractors so you can see a side by side comparison of your best roofing contractor prospects. You can download and print it here. Alternatively you can also download and print our contractor comparison form by clicking here. A roofing proposal from a good roofing contractor will specify in great detail what roof repair problems currently exist in your roof and how they will be addressed. When you walk away from an interview with a roofing contractor you should feel more educated about the decision you have to make because part of the job of a good roofing contractor is to educate and inform their potential clients on all the options possible for their budget. The roofing proposal should answer any questions you have about the roof restoration project.  If it doesn’t than those questions need to be addressed prior to proceeding.

Find an Honest Contractor – Interview References

One of the best things you can do to improve your chances of hiring a good professional roofing contractor is to speak to the references provided by the roofer and also to any of your personal friends or acquaintances who referred you to a specific roof services provider. If you’re unsure of what to ask, check out our free form which outlines which questions to ask by going to: contractor reference checklist. Below are some questions you may want to consider asking:

  • Was there good communications between you and the specialty roofing contractor?
  • Were you informed of the roof repair progress and of any problems that arose by the roofer?
  • Were you satisfied by how the roofing contractor replied to your questions and inquiries?
  • Was the job site kept clean and cleaned up at the end of every day?
  • Were there any unexpected costs and why?
  • Was your roof finished on time?
  • Were you satisfied with the overall roof repair work of the specialty roofing contractor?
  • Was the roofer an honest contractor?  Would you hire this roof restoration contractor again or recommend him to others?

Again use the forms linked to above to help you compile all of the information you’ve gathered to help you make a better, more informed decision.  Your goal at the beginning of this process should be to end up with two to three qualified roofing contractors that will bid on your roofing project and make it hard for you to make a decision. If you’re having a hard time making a decision at this point because you have multiple roofers that appear to be well qualified and you have some great looking roofing proposal options then you’re exactly in the position you want to be in.

Drafting A Contract

Signing a contract with your roofing contractor of choice is the best way to avoid any misunderstanding down the line. While it is impossible to cover all the minutiae and nuances of a professional roofing contract here, below are some points you may want to cover in your roof services contact.

  • What, if any, building permits are necessary for the roof restoration project?
  • A successful roofing contract should call out which specialty roofing materials will be used, specific brand and color.
  • The roof shingles or other roofing materials should be installed to all manufacturer’s specifications.
  • The roofing contract should specify a start and completion date for the roof repair project as well as a plan of action for bad weather days.
  • The existing roof should be removed to allow a thorough inspection of flashing and decking.
  • Specialty roofing felt should be applied.
  • You should include that you want your roof and grounds to be cleaned at the end of every day and you probably also want to specify work hours.
  • The roof restoration contract should detail all warranties for work and roofing materials.
  • Make sure that you have the contact information for the contractor insurance agent so you can verify that the roofer has valid Worker’s Compensation and contractor insurance.
  • Due to liens, it’s a good idea to require your roofing contractor list his suppliers and any subcontractors that will be used on the roof repair project. Insist that you either pay them directly or require that you be show a receipt that they have been paid.

A new roof is a considerable investment and not something you should take lightly. Qualifying and screening roofing contractors will give you a much better chance of finding the most reliable and honest contractor possible.  And hiring a good roofing contractor who will do the roof restoration job right the first time.

10 Easy Tips; How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

DecoratingOne question repeatedly heard by interior design professionals is how to make a small room look bigger.

Regardless of home interior design – whether contemporary or country – most homeowners agree; more space would be great. Regardless of house size or layout, one or more rooms are usually on the small side.

How to Make a Room Look Larger

Decorating small rooms and coming up with ways to save space and make rooms look larger represents a special challenge for most homeowners. It takes creativity and forethought to come up with an effective space saving room design without compromising on home décor.

If your house has small rooms and space is an issue – take heart. Small room design can be made more spacious and to appear larger by following the terrific ten small room tips listed below.

1. Decorating Idea for a Small Living Room

As one of the most frequently used rooms in the house, especially for purposes of entertaining and relaxing, decorating a small living room to be warm and inviting yet still appear spacious is important.

Sometimes the most effective way to increase usable space is to simply reorganize the furniture. Remove all clutter, and leave just 1 – 3 of any one type décor room accessory; such as magazines displayed on an end table, vases, throw pillows, etc.

Get as many items off the floor as possible; stereo equipment, statues, urns with dried flowers, potted plants, etc. If you want to keep them in the room, reposition them on shelves and pieces of furniture instead of on the floor.

Another decorating secret is to make use of space usually overlooked that does nothing to add to usable floor space. A corner entertainment center TV cabinet provides more space and makes the room appear more open.

2. Bedroom Furniture for Small Rooms

Increase floor space in a small bed room by removing unnecessary pieces of furniture. Remember, the main function of the room is for sleeping; therefore, the bed should be the largest, most prominent piece of furniture in the room.

Whatever the size closet, use space saving closet organizing components for optimized storage space. A shoe rack will keep shoes handy and in one small area, instead of having multi pairs of shoes take up valuable floor space.

Too many objects and too many prints will make the room appear smaller, stuffy, and closed in; instead of open, airy, and relaxing. Although using wall space can be helpful for creating more floor space, too many things on the wall will make the room appear overcrowded and smaller.

3. Create More Space in Small Family Rooms

Family rooms are usually more casual than other rooms of the house and are therefore easier to apply space saving decorating ideas.

One small room decorating idea perfect for the family room is stackable seating. A bean bag chair, for instance, offers comfortable seating for adults and children, and can be stacked in a closet or corner of the room when not in use.

Bean bag furniture – including love seat and sofa beanies – can be moved out of the way to create more space when needed; quickly, easily, and with little effort. And with today’s fun prints and fabrics, there is a bean bag style that will compliment almost any type interior design décor.

4. Easy Decorating Tip for Small Dining Rooms

The easiest way to create more space in a small dining room is to downsize the table. A small dining room table, or one with removable leaves that can be stored away when not in use, will go a long way in making the room look more open and spacious.

A small corner china cabinet will save additional space; displaying but a few simple pieces will make the room appear less cluttered and give the illusion of more space.

5. Space Saving Kitchen Tips

Adding space to the heart of any home – the kitchen – can be effectively accomplished by adding built-ins.

“Borrowing” extra space from an adjoining room will cost much less than adding new space onto the kitchen. Accommodating such built in features as a built in oven or refrigerator.

Light-color solid-surface countertops visually brighten the room and makes it appear larger; under the counter small kitchen appliances will increase counter space and reduce clutter.

6. Make a Small Bathroom Appear Larger

Small bathroom design can be made to look larger with a few fast easy decorating tips.

Enhance small bathroom space using pale, cool colors that reflect light; whites, pastels, and neutral colors to make the bathroom appear larger than it really is.

Another idea for how to make a small room look bigger is to use vertical stripes on the walls – drawing the eye upward and giving the illusion of a higher ceiling. Simple, sheer window coverings will allow in more light and help the room feel more open.

As with any small room, less clutter equals more space, and the less oppressive the room will feel. So make full use of storage compartments by adding racks, bins, and shelves. And whenever possible, keep storage flush with walls; built in storage between wall studs is an easy DIY project for the medium skill level handyman.

7. Small Apartment Furniture

Fortunately for homeowners with small rooms, many furniture showrooms have entire sections devoted to small apartment and space saving furniture

Small apartment furniture is down-sized; attractively designed specifically for limited spaces. Some have an ingenious collapsible space saving design; others have hidden space saving storage, fit in a corner, or are simply smaller versions of standard-sized furniture.

Even if you don’t plan on purchasing new furniture, visiting small apartment furniture showrooms will give you unique home décor accent and small room decorating ideas you can implement to create the illusion of more space.

8. Mirror Mirror on the Wall

One of the best, least expensive ways to decorate small rooms and create the illusion of more space is with the use of a mirror.

A decorative mirror, especially a large wall mirror, will act as a room expander when strategically placed to reflect light or an attractive element in the room. Such as a window with a scenic view, a doorway into another room, a fireplace, or artwork.

A lighted mirror will add warmth and depth to a small room with otherwise subdued lighting. A large mirror on the long wall of a narrow room will make the room appear wider.

9. Wall Colors for Small Room Design

Color is important for any room, but especially for small rooms.

One color idea for small rooms is to add depth using solid colors. Using one color for the wall of one room, and another for the door opening and walls in the next room to accentuate and define the space.

Separating the walls of a small room into blocks of color can also add visual depth. Use gentle tones of color in layers. If you want to keep wall colors neutral, select an accent color and layer it throughout the room with accessories to brighten up the room and bring it depth.

Continuing a single color theme in two connecting rooms is a good way to help dissolve the lines between the two rooms and open them up to each other. This technique is only effective, however, when used for adjoining rooms that fall in the same line of sight.

Neutral, light shades and bright colors work best; avoid dark colors. Avoid patterned wallpaper, which has the tendency to overpower small spaces.

10. Terrific Space Saving Idea

One great space saving idea that provides oodles of extra storage space is to build a floor to ceiling corner book shelf. Or a floor to ceiling space saving shelf that only takes up about 12-inches of floor space. Providing ample display space for collections and books.

Built in book cases with a cupboard unit underneath for added storage are also great. A shelf built wide and deep enough can accommodate a television – creating even more floor space and making the room appear larger. Track lighting overhead creates interest, depth, and warmth.

Follow these “secrets of the trade” interior design tips for how to make a small room look bigger and enjoy the extra space created – visual, or otherwise!

What Bathroom Remodel Contractors Do

It is a known fact!  Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes.  This makes a new kitchen or quality bathroom construction one of the smartest investments a homeowner can make.  A feat the average DIY bathroom remodeling homeowner should not try by them self.  Since poor DIY bathroom remodeling workmanship combined with inadequate bathroom renovation plans is a huge waste of time, materials, and money!

A reliable remodeling bathroom contractor with the right skills can effectively optimize the real estate value of your home and increase its efficiency with a new dream home bathroom.  Creating a more lovely and relaxing environment for you and your family.

Bathroom remodel contractors are highly skilled professionals.  They are the bathroom experts, with a treasure-trove of bathroom remodel ideas on a budget that can turn your ho-hum small bathroom design into a showcase.  One as practical and useful as it is beautiful, without breaking your wallet!

An experienced remodeling bathroom contractor help homeowners achieve their new bathroom construction dreams for much less than anticipated.  And will guide them through the otherwise mind-boggling process of home bathroom spa ideas and bathroom remodeling construction.  Inexperienced homeowners who attempt a DIY bathroom remodeling independently often find themselves locked in a project riddled by costly pitfalls.  And discover that even a small bathroom design makeover can turn into a big, expensive headache.

bathroom remodeling

For instance, as the bathroom experts, professional contractors will not only develop entirely new bathroom renovation plans for a complete remodel.  A kitchen bathroom contractor can help the homeowner incorporate new bathroom remodel ideas on a budget into an old bathroom floor plan.  Such as innovative storage ideas, and space saving fixtures.  Or else capture a specific mood by exploiting light, color, and décor-style – the 3 key elements to successful bathroom remodeling design.

As a professional, even a basic remodeling bathroom contractor should maintain proper contractor insurance and building contractor license requirements.  As well as follow all bathroom building codes to a “T”. Note: an accessibility bathroom  has unique handicap bathroom building codes

Most local bathroom remodelers provide free itemized new bathroom construction quotes upon request.  And some hold additional building contractor license credentials, over and above that of a remodeling bathroom contractor.  Or else are registered in other areas that compliment their home bathroom remodeling services.  (I.e. plumbing, roofing, glass and glazing, drywall, solar, etc.). Reducing or omitting the need for subcontractor services; saving the homeowner time, effort, and money.

What to Expect From Good bathroom remodeling Contractors

When it comes to turning a homeowner’s home bathroom spa ideas into a reality, a good bathroom contractor will be worth his weight in gold.  Flawless home bathroom remodeling ideas will tie the knot with quality bathroom construction, and you’ll see your dream home bathroom materialize right before your eyes!

A good bathroom contractor is waiting to make bathroom redesign-magic happen for you, too.  It just takes research and patience to find the right kitchen bathroom contractor for the job.  While scads of local bathroom remodelers may offer reliable service, hold out for the best bathroom contractor possible.  It is the best way to protect your home bathroom remodeling ideas investment.  And assure your dream home bathroom will match or exceed expectations.

A good bathroom contractor will go over and above industry standards set down for bathroom remodeling contractors.  For instance, a good bathroom contractor will enhance building contractor license requirements with other certification, licensing, or credentials for the benefit of the homeowner and for more complete service.

A good bathroom contractor will abide by new bathroom construction industry guidelines and standards, whether mandatory or not.  Designed for the protection of the homeowner.

In addition to the above, a good kitchen bathroom contractor:

  • Will evaluate the existing large or small bathroom design without cost, offering home bathroom remodeling ideas for enhanced efficiency and function.
  • Will come to your home for a free bathroom remodeling consultation, complete with free bathroom remodeling quotes.  Note: as the bathroom experts, many bathroom remodeling contractors offer free 3-dimensional computerized illustrations.  To help the homeowner better visualize their home bathroom remodeling ideas.  Before hiring any contractor, request a bid or quote, not an estimate.  Estimates are not binding and are subject to change.
  • Will formulate a bathroom remodeling design based upon family preferences and needs.  Whether for bathroom remodel ideas on a budget or a dream home bathroom design, a good bathroom contractor will incorporate the homeowner’s preferences for new bathroom construction into the project design, whenever feasible.
  • Will develop affordable bathroom renovation plans for the homeowner with a bathroom remodel ideas on a budget project.  Let’s say home bathroom spa ideas are part of the new bathroom remodeling, and costs are a concern.  By formulating plans that omit the need to relocate plumbing, hundreds or thousands of dollars can be saved.  Note: According to Dave Traynor of Texas Remodelers, many bathroom remodeling contractors are currently “running very sharp pencil numbers on their services.”  Mr. Traynor, a D-Magazine “Best of Dallas” contractor who also serves as an editorial resource for Dallas Home Improvement Magazine, states that he and other bathroom remodel contractors, “are tightening our belts and discounting labor to keep our sales up and our crews busy.”  The bottom line?  While the demand for a kitchen bathroom contractor continues to grow, the sagging economy has helped to lower remodeling costs by as much as 15 to 20%, benefiting homeowners.
  • Will offer the highest quality bathroom construction available.  A good bathroom contractor will use only the best materials and products, at the most affordable price.
  • Will have strong connections with multiple quality bathroom construction vendors, for the largest selection of goods at the best price.
  • Will research for the best quality bathroom construction materials at the most affordable prices.  Good bathroom remodeling contractors will pass any savings down to the homeowner.
  • Will help the homeowner develop a realistic budget, and then keep to the agreed upon guidelines for bathroom remodeling costs.
  • Will establish the requirements of the homeowner and develop unique home bathroom remodeling ideas to fit the needs of family members.  Such as small cubbies under a vanity for small children, and individual drawers or compartments for each family member’s personal belongings and toiletry items.
  • Will assess the bathroom’s present floor plan design – including space, ventilation, lighting, fixtures, materials, flooring, and layout.  A good bathroom contractor will create the best new dream home bathroom design possible by exploiting the benefits of the above features.
  • Will offer complete remodeling bathroom services.  Including appraisals, design, building, supply, quality bathroom construction material installation, maintenance, and more.
  • Will allow ample time for production and ordering of special materials when scheduling new bathroom construction.
  • Will keep a bathroom renovation checklist.  A good kitchen bathroom contractor will be organized and formulate a bathroom renovation checklist that outlines remodeling needs, materials, completion dates, bathroom building codes, permits – required and obtained, inspection dates, and more. The bathroom renovation checklist will be complete, referred to often, and updated as needed.
  • Will help the homeowner plan ahead for inconveniences associated with a bathroom remodeling.  Good bathroom remodeling contractors will forewarn the homeowner as to when the water or electrical supply to the bathroom will be interrupted, and for how long.  As well as suggest other arrangements (i.e. the use a neighbor’s facility).
  • Will arrive at the new bathroom construction site with everything required for that day.  Not only in regards to manpower, building supplies, and tools.  But a good bathroom contractor will have rags, towels, buckets, and other items on hand that might be needed.
  • Will be well versed as to bathroom building codes, state and local.  A good kitchen bathroom contractor will also be knowledgeable about universal and handicap bathroom building codes and guidelines.
  • Will have all permits required to meet state and local bathroom building codes in place, before beginning new bathroom construction.
  • Will breathe new life into your own master bathroom renovation ideas.  A good bathroom contractor will help to personalize your private space.
  • Will demonstrate exceptional bathroom remodeling skills in various areas of large or small bathroom design; for purposes of beauty, convenience, and maximum use of space.
  • Will stick to the agreed upon schedule.  Good bathroom remodeling contractors will complete bathroom renovation plans on time, unless unavoidable/unforeseen problems arise.
  • Will provide free follow-up services to ensure your dream home bathroom remodel is everything you hoped for.  A good kitchen bathroom contractor will satisfy the homeowner’s desire for quality bathroom construction; including materials, workmanship, and design.
  • Will warranty workmanship and bathroom remodeling products in writing; labor, materials, fixtures, and features.  Note: a good bathroom contractor usually holds on to all warranties until after the new bathroom construction has been completed and/or paid for.  And then presents them to the homeowner.
  • Will maintain proper contractor insurance and building contractor license requirements.
  • Will maintain membership with bathroom construction related associations, such as the National Kitchen and Bath Association NKBA and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry NARI.
  • Will have on hand the majority of equipment necessary to complete the new bathroom construction and design.   Avoiding the extra expense of rental equipment that would be handed down to the homeowner.
  • Will formulate a realistic timetable that breaks down new bathroom construction into stages, along with specific finishing points.  And a time table that includes the anticipated bathroom remodeling completion date.

Good bathroom remodeling contractors will also offer free home bathroom spa ideas, and home bathroom remodeling ideas – even if they don’t get the job.  They will suggest ways to enhance your master bathroom renovation ideas or small bathroom design.  Such as strategically placed windows to make the bathroom appear more open and less closed in.  With the added benefit of natural light, and solar warmth.

A good bathroom remodeling contractor will utilize a bathroom renovation checklist to reduce the risk new bathroom construction errors.  And include within the bathroom renovation checklist an outline of all home bathroom remodeling ideas, and a building materials list complete with home bathroom remodeling costs.  In addition to required permits, the bathroom renovation checklist should include work schedule details and anticipated completion dates.  Including anything else relevant to the new bathroom construction project.

The bathroom renovation checklist should also contain helpful kitchen bathroom contractor tips to help the homeowner deal with new bathroom construction inconveniences.  Such as noise level, privacy issues, increased indoor traffic, clutter, project delays, outdoor parking issues, etc.

Good bathroom remodeling contractors will go the extra mile to help make the new construction remodel a good – not negative – experience for the homeowner.

A good bathroom contractor will use only skilled laborers with proper contractor insurance throughout the bathroom remodeling project, for quality workmanship that is uniform.  And will enlist an established crew using the same local bathroom remodelers and laborers.  This will help the homeowner feel more at ease, by having only workers they are familiar with in and out of their home. And will help ensure that service is consistent and construction-related stress, reduced.

Lastly, a good kitchen bathroom contractor will allow homeowners to select their paint brand of preference, instead of the type of paint most cost-effective from the perspective of the contractor. For instance, paint brands selected primarily because they are easier to apply, cover more efficiently, or dry more quickly.

According to a March 09, 2011 Consumer Reports article, although many bathroom remodel contractors favor quality paint, contractor vs. homeowner needs differ.  The bathroom experts generally prefer a paint that glides on smoothly, dries quickly between coasts, and hides touch-ups easily.  Whereas homeowner’s have more long-term concerns:  “Will the paint used during bathroom construction resist mildew?”  “How easy will it be to clean the walls?”

According to Consumer Reports tests, Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint remains the #1 champ, 2 years running.  (Available in 4 different interior wall products, as well as a stain-blocking product for ceilings.)  It is the perfect paint for master bathroom renovation ideas and dream home bathroom projects because it resists stains and mildew.  Behr paint is available at various national home remodeling outlets for just over $30 a gallon.  As a enticement to bathroom remodeling contractors, the company has established a 3-point “direct-to-pro program:”

  • Free delivery on large orders
  • Volume-discount pricing
  • Factory tinting for more consistent color matching

Alerting your kitchen bathroom contractor to this special program could prove beneficial for both parties.

A good bathroom contractor will be interested in building a good work relationship with the homeowner.  They will be more concerned with customer satisfaction and safety than about costs, and will readily honor the terms and conditions of equipment warranties.

In short, a good bathroom contractor will provide you – the homeowner – with the best service possible!

Why Research for a Reliable Remodeling Bathroom Contractor?

As surprising as it seems, many people will research items like cell phones and televisions before making a purchasing decision.  But then hire a remodeling bathroom contractor to carry out costly bathroom renovation plans based on:

  • Price – because it sounded affordable
  • Advertising – the ad was large and impressive
  • Assertions and promises

This is a colossal mistake for several reasons:

1.) Price does not equal best bathroom contractor.  Nor is advertisement size or design a reflection of a bathroom remodeling contractors trustworthiness or level of skill.

2.) Unsupported assertions are easy to make, but are worthless without validation.  And pledges made by bathroom remodeling contractors are non-binding, unless they are in writing.

3.) Even bathroom remodel ideas on a budget represent a sizeable investment.  One that should be protected.

4.) The services of a budget-priced kitchen bathroom contractor could cost more in the long-run, than a quality bathroom construction by a more skilled remodeling bathroom contractor.

A dream home bathroom, home bathroom spa ideas, or even a new small bathroom design all represent a sizeable investment that should be protected.  Not only for the sake of ensuring the homeowner gets what they paid for – a quality bathroom construction.  But also to improve the bathroom’s efficiency and usability.  To help increase the real estate value of the home.  And to make the home more desirable to potential buyers, once it is placed on the market.

In addition, researching qualifications and credentials of local bathroom remodeling contractors is the only way to insure proper contractor insurance and building contractor license requirements are met.  And that bathroom building codes will be respected.

As with many other things in life, you generally get what you pay for.  Trying to save money by hiring “the bathroom experts” with the cheapest price tag could compromise project success.  Resulting in shoddy new bathroom construction workmanship, inefficient repairs, or even worse.  Requiring additional time and money to fix bathroom renovation plans gone awry.  Or problems not effectively dealt with the first time.  Additional reasons why hiring local bathroom remodelers based upon price alone is not prudent.

While affordable bathroom renovation quotes should be a consideration, expertise, workmanship, reliability, track record, and accessibility are also important.  Aspects determined only through research, and by comparing each remodeling bathroom contractor vying for the job.

Finding the best bathroom contractor or local bathroom remodelers is the same as finding the right person for any type job.  It is achieved through a process of interviewing, research, screening, and elimination.  Followed by final kitchen bathroom contractor selection.

Another good reason to screen bathroom remodeling contractors is because of the fierce competition in new bathroom construction industry.  Some local bathroom remodelers make enticing promises to lure homeowners into making a hasty hiring decision.  They may promise the moon for little or no cost.  Unfortunately, many homeowners realize too late that hidden costs, substandard workmanship, and empty promises all add to a much higher price tag than anticipated.

Calling the first kitchen bathroom contractor listed in the phone book, or the one with the most impressive advertisement, can turn simple bathroom renovation plans into a financial nightmare.  Or create a crisis situation when fixtures fail to function, plumbing leaks, or when sub-zero temperatures cause the new pipe system to freeze up.  Situations easily avoided by screening for a skilled local bathroom contractor before signing on the dotted line.

Remember, once you have weeded potential bathroom remodel contractors down to 3 or 4 strong candidates, collect written itemized quotes from each.  (Avoid estimates, which are not legally binding and are subject to change.)   Research credentials, review portfolios, and check references. And ensure proper contractor insurance and building contractor license requirements are met, for the state where the bathroom remodeling will take place.

Once you have found the best bathroom contractor for the job, meet again to finalize bathroom renovation plans.  Draw up a detailed contract that outlines services, fees, the bathroom remodeling work schedule, new bathroom construction materials, and warranty information – BEFORE beginning the project.  Also make sure the contract is signed by all parties involved.  Unsigned contracts are not legally binding.

Find the Best Bathroom Contractor for the Job Now – Without Cost or Obligation!

HandyAmerican.com has highly-skilled local bathroom remodelers, in or near your neighborhood.  Ready to compete for your new bathroom construction job, right now.  Offering competitive bids, whether for your bathroom remodel ideas on a budget project, or the-sky-is-the-limit home bathroom spa ideas.

Locate talented Dallas, Texas, bathroom remodeling contractors for home bathroom spa ideas that will knock your socks off.  Seek a reliable kitchen bathroom contractor or local bathroom remodelers anywhere USA.  Gather free bathroom renovation estimates to make your master bathroom renovation dreams come true.  Whatever your needs, whatever your budget – HandyAmerican.com is your best bet for finding the best bathroom contractor for any job!

Utilize our free, easy-to-use search tools to find bathroom remodeling contractors in your area, to bid on your home bathroom spa ideas or other bathroom remodeling project right now.  Locating the right kitchen bathroom contractor is quick and easy.  And best of all, you will be under no obligation to hire anyone.  Or even share contact information, if you choose not to.

HandyAmerican.com takes you one step closer to realizing the dream home bathroom you have longed for.  All from the comfort and convenience of your home – without cost or obligation!

101 Ways to Increase the Real Estate Market Value of Your Home

Protect the Real Estate Market Value of Your Home

Home Improvement TipsFor many persons, buying a home is something they have dreamed about for years before it becomes a reality. Part of the classic American dream, the house purchase will represent one of the biggest investments ever made. For most homeowners, protecting and increasing the real estate market value of that investment is of prime importance.

As time passes, careers change, and the family unit changes in size, many homeowners begin making plans to sell their house and buy another. Either to relocate, upgrade, or downscale from what they currently own.

Even if a person isn’t planning on selling their home, regular maintenance, repairs, and remodeling efforts are important; to protect their investment, enhance house usability, and keep it attractive and comfortable as possible.

The following 101 suggestions can help your home market value appreciate, rewarding you with a comfy, cozy refuge with a high rate of return on investment.

Exterior Improvements

Real estate agents call it “curb appeal.” The first impression prospective buyers have of your home; what they see from the outside. And as everyone knows, first impressions are everything!

Consider the following, for maximum curb appeal:

  1. Roof shingles – If your roof leaks, repair it. If shingles are old and unsightly, replace them. Whatever type roofing you select, make sure style choice and color compliments the house and landscape design.
  2. Clean the roof of debris – use a stiff janitor’s broom to remove leaves, sticks, and other debris. Afterwards, use a garden hose to spray-clean the eves and downspouts. Never use a pressure wash to clean the roof unless you have wood shingles or clay, slate, or concrete; and then, only with caution.
  3. Siding – the biggest curb appeal impact factor is the house exterior. If siding is old, faded, chipped or damaged replace or repair it. New siding not only gives a home a major facelift, but return on investment is generally high. In fact, it is one of the top home renovation projects that show the greatest return at resale.
  4. Replace or repair windows – not only important for home curb appeal, but insulated window choices make your home more energy efficient. An important selling point and one of your best investment return options. Window style and appearance is important, and can drastically enhance house exterior and increase your home’s real estate market value.
  5. Paint house exterior – one of the most dramatic and cost-effective ways to improve overall house appearance is to paint the exterior. Another home renovation project with high investment return that will increase the current market value of your home; up to 200% plus resale recovery. If you can’t afford to paint the whole house then paint the trim, downspouts, and gutters. Get color combination ideas from home decorating magazines, or new house construction and exterior remodeling in and around your neighborhood.
  6. Clean windows – as simple as it sounds, keeping windows clean and sparkling is something many homeowners overlook when preparing to sell their home. Dirty windows make a house look unkempt and bleak – inside and out. Reducing the chances of a positive reaction from prospective buyers.
  7. Accessorize the front of your home – even simple items found at a garage or rummage sale can turn drab to charming and add character to your home. For instance, a cast-iron dinner bell or whimsical weathervane.
  8. Get a new front door, or give the existing one a facelift – important, because it is the first aspect of your home people see up close. An attractive door is more inviting. If the door is old or in poor shape, get a new one. If it is in relatively good shape, paint it to either match trim work or in a complimentary color. For instance, if your home is light grey with white trim, consider painting your front door burgundy or black; a classy, eye-appealing color combination. Other great colors for doors besides standard white or wood grains are red and dark green.
  9. Dress the main entry door up with a brass kick-plate and brass door knocker – a brass kick-plate looks great and helps protect the paint at the bottom of the door; a brass door knocker adds a touch of class. While you’re at it, you might also want to consider an ornate brass mail slot – much more attractive than ordinary mail slots and mailboxes.
  10. Build a patio deck – another high ROI, with an average recoup of 104.2% for a moderate 16 X 20 foot deck using pressure treated pine, concrete footings, and composite deck material. Add a built in bench, planter, and railings to the patio deck design for optimum appeal.
  11. Get rid of old, faded, or broken patio furniture – repair if possible, or replace.
  12. Add a patio fireplace to your deck or patio – an attention grabber sure to impress potential buyers.
  13. Un-clutter the area surrounding the house – use garden hose holders to coil water hoses neatly off the yard; trash cans painted bright colors can be used for storage of toys and sports equipment, etc., in the garage or on the back patio.
  14. Pressure wash the exterior of the home – to get rid of dust, debris, and cobwebs. You’d be surprised how much brighter and newer the siding will look. Use a low pressure nozzle to avoid washing paint off wood. If you’ve vinyl siding, use a brush or sponge, instead.
  15. Pave a gravel driveway – and greatly enhance curb appeal as well as increase real estate value. An asphalt driveway has advantages over a concrete driveway; it is more flexible and less apt to heave or crack. It also costs less. A cobblestone or brick driveway costs more – but is more eye-appealing and may represent your best real estate value increase option!
  16. Driveway resurfacing and repair – if your driveway is already paved but is cracked or otherwise in bad shape, repair it and/or use a driveway sealer.
  17. Add gravel to a dirt driveway – and enhance curb appeal; select blue-grey gravel, red, or white – for a more formal look.
  18. Change the contour of your driveway – an easy option that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home if your driveway is gravel or dirt. Consider adding an inviting curve, or an elegant circular driveway.
  19. Remove weeds from between concrete slabs and walkways – a sure sign of property neglect and a big turn off for potential buyers. Tip: a 20% bleach solution works well.
  20. Build a new garage – every homeowner knows the advantages afforded by a garage, and every prospective buyer will see a garage as a big plus. A new home garage is a great property enhancer that increases the market value of the home.
  21. Finish off an old garage – if you already have a garage, consider finishing it off inside. Add storage space, or a work shop – complete with workbench, power outlets, and shelving. Such an addition could help your home reach its full market value potential and better compete with other homes for sale in the area.
  22. Install an automatic garage door opener – another great way to automatically increase real estate property value is to install a garage door opener. Select a model with a multi-code garage door opener remote that routinely changes the code for additional security – a most desirable feature.
  23. Install a skylight dome or roof skylight – the addition of a skylight window makes a pretty curb appeal picture. Improving cosmetic appearance of the structure inside and out, while increasing home real estate value. Skylight installation also increases natural lighting in rooms; making them more inviting and cheerful.
  24. Install shutter and window box sets that match – using a window shutter design in a contrasting color that compliments that of your house. Shutters and window boxes add charm and character to a home.
  25. Enhance your porch or doorstep with pots or baskets of blooming annuals – an inviting and fragrant way to boost visual appeal and add eye popping color.
  26. Give your old BBQ grill a makeover – degrease it first, rinse well; repeat if necessary. Once totally clean and dry, refinish it using a bright fireproof/high-temperature paint. Select a color that matches house trim or shutters. Or try something fun that will really stand out, such as yellow or orange.

What Kitchen Remodelers Do

A kitchen remodeler is a skilled kitchen contractor.  An expert remodeling contractor specializing in kitchen construction, renovation, and kitchen design layout ideas.  Whether for a small kitchen renovation that includes an affordable kitchen cabinet makeover for a budget-conscious homeowner.  Or creating blueprints for an upscale designer kitchen.  Complete with waterfall-edged granite kitchen countertops, elaborate custom-made hickory cabinets, and the best kitchen floor available.

Many kitchen contractors are National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) or National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) members.  The NKBA association is a leading educational resource for the industry; with high NKBA standards for construction excellence, professionalism, and workmanship.

What Kitchen Remodelers Do

The National Association of the Remodeling industry is a leading voice in the remodeling industry as a whole; promoting responsible, functional, and economically sound construction objectives.  For instance, the NARI sets specific guidelines for kitchen contractors.  Encouraging each to conduct business ethically; with integrity and honesty.  While setting high health and safety standards for kitchen remodel designs created.  Including kitchen remodel designs and features included within each plan, as well as materials used during kitchen construction.

Some kitchen remodelers may also have some type certified kitchen designer training.  However, such credentials are not mandatory. While status as a certified kitchen designer CKD is noteworthy, talented kitchen remodelers can be every bit as skilled as a licensed kitchen designer.  And while National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and/or National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) memberships are desirable, non-member kitchen contractors can be just as competent and reputable as those who are.

While not licensed as such, some kitchen remodelers boast self-taught kitchen designer skills.  Or else are naturally endowed with an eye for style, and the ability to create a kitchen floor plan design as efficient as it is décor-enhanced; both functional and cosmetically pleasing.  Some kitchen contractors possess talents in modern kitchen cabinet design or in producing visually appealing kitchen design layout ideas that maximize space.  Or designs that are themed.

For instance, 1980s-style white kitchen design layout with a modern twist; a marriage of white kitchen cabinet design with stainless, copper, or granite kitchen countertops.  Or old-world Tuscan kitchen remodeling designs that feature the optimal kitchen counter in ceramic tile; complimented by a hand-painted tile, tin, or copper backsplash.  Pulled together by gold wall covering using olive trim, and an earthy specialty kitchen floor of ginger or sienna brick.

The key when making remodeling contractor selection is that you find one with the experience and skill level needed for the type of kitchen construction you require.  Whether a small kitchen renovation, modest kitchen remodeling, or elaborate kitchen design layout.  A kitchen contractor who will abide by mandatory requirements for kitchen remodelers; including up-to-date contractor license and contractor insurance requirements.  And comply with national and local building codes, as well as National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and National Kitchen and Bath Association guidelines – mandatory or not.

Again, kitchen remodelers with only the required contractor license can demonstrate the same level integrity, capability, and workmanship as a kitchen remodeler with certified kitchen designer training.  Not to mention the possible benefit of lower kitchen renovation costs.  It all depends on the character, experience, and skill level of the individual remodeling contractor.  As well as extent and complexity of the kitchen construction to be performed.

The long and short of it is this; a kitchen contractor offers specialized services.  As kitchen remodeling experts they are highly skilled at both large and small kitchen floor plan design and construction.  Whether formulating ideas for innovative kitchen remodeling on a budget projects, or breathing to life original kitchen designer concepts.

As professional kitchen contractors, each must meet certain state contractor license and contractor insurance requirements.  In addition to national and local building codes and guidelines; designed for the protection of you and your home.