DIY 101: Talk to Your Virginia Contractor

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-sidingThere is no place like home – no matter the size or where it is, if you share the space with friends, family, or pets, it should be a happy place where you feel safe. Part of that safe feeling comes from keeping a home that looks nice and is free of structural disturbances. Taking up a home improvement project every now and then is necessary. If you live in Virginia, your contractor can help you with anything that you can’t do yourself. Any major projects, such as roof replacement, or whole room remodels are their job.

Your contractor can you help you determine whether the plans you have for your house are actually good for it. Often a homeowner will dream of something that will do more damage to the structure than good, but careful planning can avoid all of that.

Planning the budget should be one of the basic steps that are probably mot homeowner’s biggest limitations. Another common conflict comes from the time schedule, so you should make sure you allow for that. Your home improvement contractor will help you keep everything in perspective, letting you know what can be accomplished when.

If you decide that the scope of your home improvement project is not beyond your abilities, you can follow these basic tips to prevent you form making some rookie mistakes.

v Kitchen: Your kitchen renovation can be fun, if you follow some simple guidelines. Choosing the right materials can be daunting, and the right appliances even more so. Evaluate the quality of your project by weighing the estimated life span against the total cost.

v Bathroom: Try to keep everything as water proof as possible. From disastrous leaks to rowdy, bath splashing children, there is no way to tell where water can end up in the bathroom. Make sure all fixtures, floors, and tiles are properly sealed.

v Flooring: If you have loose floor tiles, or old and stained carpets, you need to replace your flooring. The types of floors in you house are a matter of taste, but try to choose flooring that will last and that you can live with because the whole process is labor intensive and can be very costly if repeated more than once every five years.

v Back Yard: Gardening and yard work are a big part of home ownership. Decorate your exterior spaces with colorful stones and flowers. Fountains and walkways are also nice touches. It is important to remember that once you start putting up yard decorations, you must know where to stop, because it can get to be too busy very quickly.

These basic ideas can keep you from paying through the nose when the time comes, but it also pays to know when you get in over your head. If you started with a small project that ballooned into a huge problem, contact you Virginia contractor today because there is no reason to have a home you aren’t happy with.

Will Your Virginia Siding Withstand the Test of Time

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

aluminum-or-vinyl-sidingYou have the choice of several different materials when choosing your Virginia siding. One of the original materials still in use today is aluminum. Older style aluminum siding is easy to spot, you can probably tell from the sidewalk. The next time you go for a drive in north eastern Virginia, keep an eye on some of the older homes and you will easily be able to spot the aluminum siding.

Aluminum siding has become a symbol of the American home, the faithful companion to the white picket fence. For decades it has been the armor of our homes, protecting them from wind and weather. The image is iconic and unique to our part of the world, a testament to our commitment to quality.

It is hard to believe that it was once regarded as the poor man’s alternative to the much more expensive stilted siding that was much more common at the time. After a few years on the market, aluminum siding quickly replaced the older style because the metal is much more durable, and the installation is much easier as well. However in recent years, aluminum siding has itself begun to be replaced by much more economical vinyl alternatives.

While aluminum was never replaced completely, vinyl siding enjoyed its own boom some years ago. Vinyl siding became very popular for the exact same reasons that aluminum replaced wood; vinyl siding is easier to install, and cheaper to manufacture. The rising cost of the aluminum raw materials simply made aluminum more of a luxury item.

When comparing the two materials, aluminum is the clear winner when it comes to strength and longevity. If maintained properly, aluminum siding can practically last forever even in the harshest Virginia climates.  Much heavier duty than vinyl siding.

Vinyl does have a few advantages over aluminum. Vinyl resists denting and scratching better because of its less rigid nature. People have been known to roll a tire over a dented piece of vinyl siding and be able to remove the damage without leaving a noticeable mark. It is also lighter than aluminum siding which is what makes it so much easier to install.

Several disadvantages also come with vinyl siding. Vinyl really doesn’t take paint very well, so you had better really like the color you pick out when it is installed. Aluminum also resists the cold winter months in Virginia better than vinyl which can become very brittle in extremely cold temperatures, leading to cracks and broken pieces of siding.

Whichever material you choose to have your Virginia home’s siding made from, you can rest assured knowing you made an informed decision. Once it installed, you will barely be able to tell the difference anyway, as modern aluminum siding and vinyl siding are virtually indistinguishable once they are installed by a general contractor. It is your house, so it basically comes down to your preference.

5 Big Choices For Remodeling Your Virginia Kitchen

Filed Under: Kitchen    by: Steve Kayhill

kitchen_9_jpgThe popularity of Virginia Kitchen remodeling is undeniable, but so many home owners jump into the decision without properly considering all of the options and consequences of their choices. Here are some quick descriptions of the biggest choices you will be facing.

Cabinets

Cabinetry is possibly the most prominent feature in any kitchen. Updated, professionally installed cabinets can take a drab kitchen that is showing its age and turn them into something sleek and interesting. Creative designers can develop plans that better use the space you have available as well as help choosing the hardware, finish, and style for your new cabinets.

You will also want to determine what materials your cabinets are constructed from so you know when you will have to replace them in the future. Your options range from inexpensive, but less durable particle board, to extremely expensive, but built to last plywood cabinets.

Flooring

Kitchen flooring options are quite vast and include:

  • Ceramic Tile
  • Stone
  • Split Brick
  • Hardwood
  • Vinyl

Carpeting was popular for some time, but is impractical and far from waterproof, so it isn’t recommended. When setting your tile pattern, a diagonal look is more visually interesting, but adds to the labor costs of installation. Another way to spice up the look of you floor is by adding a contrasting border.

Appliances

The kitchen probably houses more appliances than any other room in your home. With all of the cooking and cleaning along with the food storage, the bill for new appliances adds up quickly. Gas ranges are generally considered better for cooking than electric. If you do go electric, consider a model with a convection oven, which can save both time and energy when cooking. When you are choosing a refrigerator, always buy an Energy Star model and make sure that it contains all of the square footage you need while maintaining a small enough footprint to fit in your kitchen.

It is important to remain focused on the function of each appliance slightly more than the look of the piece. There are many different looks for you to choose from, solid colors in smooth or textured surfaces, but the most popular trend right now is brushed stainless steel for that professional industrial kitchen look.

Countertops

Your choice of countertop materials is almost as numerous as flooring. On the budget minded end, plastic laminates and other synthetic materials are available in a practically infinite number of colors and finishes. If you are going to go all out, solid stone counter tops are a very popular choice for those with a pocket book that will withstand the damage.

Fixtures

Fixtures fall into two categories: Plumbing and electrical. Electrical fixtures in your kitchen are most likely all going to be lights and it is vital that the entire area of the kitchen is lit very well. For light sensitive individuals, it would be beneficial to add dimmer switches so that they can work in the kitchen as well.

Your plumbing fixtures are mostly going to be the sink and faucet. 99% of kitchen sinks are stainless steel, but you may able to dress up the edges a little bit with some trim work. Your real style choice comes with the faucet and handles, where you can let your creative side shine in your Virginia kitchen.

Virginia Flooring Your Mother-in-Law Will Probably Hate

Filed Under: Flooring    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-flooring-plush-carpetThe time will eventually come when you’ll have to work with a Virginia flooring company to spruce up your home and replace that ugly floor that’s going to crop up eventually.

At some point, your flooring is going to wear out. When you do opt to replace that floor, have some sense of style and avoid taking the cheaper route – you don’t want to jump at the first thing that looks like a good price.

You should take a lot of time to consider your options. A poor choice can take a lot from your home but you’d be amazed how the right flooring decision can really add a lot of luster and shine to your old house, giving you a new reason to show your place off.

When it comes to remodeling, new flooring says a lot about who you are so make sure your choice says the right thing about your character. Read more…

DIY Vs the Virginia Paint Company – Trimming Costs Can Hurt In The End

Filed Under: Painting    by: Steve Kayhill

paint-house-paintWhen you consider how much work is required in order to get a house painted, even on the outside, it’s almost shocking when people want to try and handle the work on their own instead of hiring a Virginia paint company to tackle all that work.

Granted many people find it entertaining to gather with family and friends to spend all their off time working on home remodeling and painting but there are better ways that you and your family could spend your time.

There’s a lot of skill that goes into painting that you don’t really want to turn over to a bunch of rowdy friends with other things on their mind.

If your assistants aren’t using sound techniques, or simply have no clue what they’re doing, then you’ll more than likely end up with a poor quality finish to any painting you’re doing.

The more people you have helping you on your project, the more likely it will be that something is going to go terribly wrong and it will end up costing you money. Read more…

Home Additions in Virginia – When Zoning Is An Issue

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

home-additions-in-virginia2If you’re a seasoned home owner then you know how easy it is to outgrow your home and find that you’re quickly running out of space. It’s hard to admit that you’re accumulating too much stuff, or even too many family members (sometimes they won’t go away). Either way, you eventually need to acquire more space and home additions in Virginia are a great way to get more space out of your home.

Some people have a mind for internal renovation where they put down new carpet, remodel the kitchen to make new space or paint to open the rooms up but you might want to put those bandaids on hold while your tackle something that will truly benefit you – the home addition Read more…

Virginia Bathroom Remodeling – How To Flaunt Your Style

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-bathroom-remodelingThe bathroom space that you have in your home right now may be some of the most valuable square footage in the entire house. It is a room that has to be functional, but should be comfortable as well. The importance of Virginia bathroom remodeling cannot be stressed enough, and carefully considered, before trying to sell a home.

It may be in short bursts, but all of us have to spend time in the bathroom, so it is important to make sure that an ugly bathroom isn’t hurting the value of your home. Take the time to decorate your bathrooms in a way that is both functional and reflects your personality and style.

A good place to start is with the cabinets, as they tend to jump out at the eye and give people an idea of what your style is. On the high end, you can go with custom wood-worked cabinets that are unique, but budget minded individuals will want to look at modular units sold at you local home improvement store. Read more…

Virginia Roofing Inspection – Time To Prep For The Seasons Change

Filed Under: Roofing    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-roofing-inspection2Having your roof inspected is the best way to know if it’s time to contact a Virginia roofing contractor or if you can play it safe for a little while longer. As a homeowner, you certainly don’t want to guess at it because you never know when even minor problems can turn into major issues with your roof.

If you’re a homeowner interested in buying a new home, a roof inspection can help you determine if you’re going to have to bring in a contractor shortly after making the purchase to have any roofing repairs done on the home – Knowledge of roof repairs can help you with price bargaining when buying a home.

The problem with many homeowners is they believe a roof inspection is only really necessary when a new home is being purchased or a home is changing hands. While it’s true that’s a perfect time to have an inspection done as stated previously, it’s also important to perform a roofing inspection anytime you’ve been through a serious storm or event that could have potentially damaged the roof or materials of the roof over your home. Read more…

Replacement Windows In Virginia – Are You “Hurricane Proof” Yet?

Filed Under: Windows    by: Steve Kayhill

replacement-windows-virginia-severe-weatherThose with their ears and eyes tuned to the news know that hurricane Earl is just another storm beating its way up the east coast with Tropical Storm Fiona on the heels of Earl like a couple that’s too hot for the prom.  While you may not live in a hurricane prone area, it’s a good time to ask if you’ve got replacement windows in your Virginia home that can put up with a storm.

So can your home take a beating?  What kind of condition is your siding in, or your shingles?  Virginia homeowners might not have to put up with 70+ mph winds but we still got some raging storms that should inspire you to “batten down the hatches” and get those home improvement projects taken care of.

Depending on how close those tropical storms get to the east coast, they can throw quite a storm system inland, even into northeast Virginia.  It may not generate damage on the hurricane level but it’s important to be prepared.  Read more…