Tips on Virginia Bathroom Remodeling in Tight Spaces

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Homeowners often want to add bathrooms in tight spaces, altering the master bedroom closet or converting a corner of the foyer, laundry room or main hallway to include a powder room. But creating a comfortable, functional room captures the full value of your Virginia bathroom remodeling project.

Find out how to optimize space and maximize design with these helpful tips.

Choose Fixtures Carefully

Out of scale bathroom fixtures, such as those that are too large for the room, create a crowded, unbalanced space. Shop for the ideal fixtures to design a small bathroom that feels spacious.

  • Toilets – this essential element of your bathroom remodel should be sleek and compact, with a narrow bowl and high tank. Look for adaptable waste outlets that give you options for location and drainage. It’s most efficient to have the waste drain vertically, although some styles opt for horizontal or sideways outlets.
  • Sinks and Vanities – powder rooms work well with pedestal sinks, but vanities provide much needed storage space. Look for wall-mounted models with half-cabinet vanities, or opt for a compact pedestal sink and separate storage unit.
  • Showers or Baths – most small bathrooms provide limited floor space, making it difficult to squeeze in a shower or tub. Check out narrow shower stalls or consider stealing a few feet from an adjoining room to accommodate a modest tub combo, making your new room a more functional three-piece bath.

Consider Design and Flow

Start by choosing fixtures made to optimize space, such as space saving sinks, vanities, toilets and shower enclosures. The next step involves creating a floor plan that utilizes available space and maximizes flow.

Consider how the door and windows open, and adjust if necessary. You can gain more space with a pocket door or by swinging the door out into the adjoining room. This renovation eliminates the need for excessive open floor space in your small bathroom. Fit privacy glass into your windows to maintain a bright atmosphere without worrying about the neighbors.

Utilize available space in creative ways. Hang towel racks from the vanity and install tall and narrow storage units flush against the ceiling. Over-the-toilet shelving units are popular in small bathrooms as well, making use of a space traditionally left empty.

Modern Makes Sense

Even if your tastes lean toward traditional and decorative features, it makes sense to design your Virginia bathroom remodeling project with a more modern appeal. Contemporary bathroom fixtures and furniture tend to be sleek and compact. Wall-mounted vanities and toilets create a sense of openness, and minimalist styling helps to make the most of limited space.

Dress up modern rooms with traditional or classic artwork and accessories, if you like. But take advantage of today’s styles to create a functional, attractive bathroom in a relatively small area.

Add another bathroom or renovate an existing bath, even with limited space, using these tips and ideas. Choose fixtures wisely, think about design and flow and opt for modern styles for your Virginia bathroom remodeling project. Improve your lifestyle and property value with a beautiful, functional bathroom that takes advantage of a small area.

Top Questions on Home Additions Virginia Residents Need to Ask

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Building a home addition creates extra space, improved comfort and enhanced lifestyle. But well built projects require planning and careful design. Check out these top questions on home additions Virginia residents need to ask to ensure quality construction and top-notch finish.

# 1 – Where Can You Build?

Several restrictions may limit the location of your home addition. Local bylaws present limitations to the setback and height of the structure. Setback restrictions state how much the addition can encroach on your property lines, while height restrictions dictate the overall height allowed, including all roof peaks and chimneys.

Talk to the officials at your local municipality. You’ll need to establish a good relationship with these folks, since all building permits and inspections will flow through the local municipality office. Using the information provided regarding setbacks and height restrictions, figure out where you can build the proposed addition.

# 2 – What Features Do You Want to Add to Your Current Living Space?

Experts advise Virginia residents to make a “wish list” containing a vision for their home once the addition is complete. This should include things like:

  • fourth bedroom
  • extra space for the kids to play
  • home office
  • larger kitchen
  • ensuite bathroom or additional bathroom
  • family room extension
  • sunroom

Write down the features you’re hoping to end up with, and make notes on how you want the space to feel. Looking for “bright and airy” rooms? Make sure the addition includes large windows and well-ventilated areas with high ceilings. Want the new space to feel cozy and quaint? Consider a fireplace, hardwood floors and built in bookshelves for storage.

# 3 – How Will You Contend With the Existing Grade?

Some Virginia properties include steep grades, and building a home addition on this area requires the proper support. You may be able to install retaining walls to change the grade or design stacking additions that take advantage of your existing foundation.
Think about how contrasting angles can create an attractive layout and avoid or lessen potential grading issues. Virginia home additions that jut out from the main façade can improve visual appeal, especially on traditional colonial homes popular in this region.

# 4 – Should You Match the Existing Exterior Finish?

Older homes present beautiful wood siding or stunning brickwork facades. These exterior finishes may be difficult to match exactly, while contrasting or complementing finishes often fit better into the budget and schedule. Think about installing stonework veneer on the addition to your sided home, or use low maintenance vinyl siding in the same tones as your brickwork for an affordable home addition.

# 5 – Should You Match the Existing Roofline?

Although installing contrasting exterior finishes works well, you need to match the existing roofline for continuity and visual appeal. Ask your contractor or architect to mimic the roofline, using angles, dormers and gables that fit into the existing structure. No matter what your addition includes, create a flowing roofline to ensure the overall design works well.

You’ll more than likely be faced with a long list of questions on home additions Virginia contractors need to ask for a successful project. But these questions help you to formulate the design well before signing any contracts. With this information on hand you can confidently move forward with your home additions dream.

Ceiling Options for Your Virginia Basement Remodeling Project

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

You have a long list of decisions to make when planning your Virginia basement remodel, including important room elements like flooring, wall finishes and layout. Ceiling options may be a low priority in terms of design, but the right basement ceiling can create a more comfortable space, reduce noise and make future repairs much easier. Find out what type of ceiling is best for your finished basement.


Option # 1 – Drywall Ceiling

The most affordable and fast option for your basement ceiling is drywall. Finish the ceiling while you’re mudding, sanding and painting the walls for a smooth, uniform look. Drywall costs less per square foot than other basement ceiling options, and goes up quickly with a skilled professional on the job.

Drywall also provides the flexibility most renovators need in a finished basement. Want to cover over that ductwork? Build a bulkhead using wood framing and drywall to create an attractive finish that can be easily painted out. Drywall allows you to create rounded corners, archways and oddly shaped walls as well – with a bucket of drywall mud and some patience, almost any area of your basement can be nicely finished in drywall.

Option # 2 – Drop Ceiling

Although drywall is affordable and adaptable, it’s also permanent. Once the drywall is up you won’t be able to access the areas behind to tackle repairs, run wiring or add any mechanical elements. Drop ceilings provide you with a smooth finish and allow for fast, easy access at any time.

Most drop ceiling systems consist of steel channels and fiberglass panels. Mount the channels to the wood framing to create a grid pattern that matches your panel selection. Once the grid is up, panels simply drop into place to finish the ceiling in your Virginia basement remodel.

Drop ceiling panels come in a wide range of patterns, sizes and colors. You can also invest in insulated panels for a soundproof area, perfect for home theaters and kid’s playrooms. Lighting is mounted to the wood framing above the grid, and panel cut outs are used to direct fixtures into the finished basement space.

Option # 3 – Wood Paneling

A favorite option for budget-conscious renovators, wood paneling can be attached directly to ceiling joists for an architecturally interesting, inexpensive finish. You’ll find that noise and heat pass easily through this type of basement ceiling, although fiberglass batting can be added to the joists above for slightly better insulation.

This type of ceiling must be trimmed around the edges for an attractive finish, and seams can warp over time, exposing an unsightly gap. Consider brad nailing flat trim along the seams and putting up crown molding around the room for a more finished appearance. Trim must also be installed around light fixtures and any hooks or ceiling-mounted items.

You have several ceiling options to consider when designing your Virginia basement remodel. From fast and affordable drywall to easily accessible drop ceilings and budget-friendly wood paneling, your choice depends on needs, cost and desired appearance. Talk to your contractor about the best ceiling design and research your options carefully before making the final decision.

Top Five Questions to Ask When Hiring a Deck Builder

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Expand your living space with an outdoor family room, kitchen or dining area expertly designed and built by an experienced contractor. Virginia homeowners need to hire the right deck builder to maximize their investment and these five questions will help to narrow down the competition, making the hiring process easier.

For quick side-by-side comparisons, write down each contractor’s answers to the following questions:

# 1 – How Long Have You Been In Business?

Experienced Virginia deck builders have the construction knowledge and design expertise your project deserves. Why spend your hard earned money to provide training for a new contractor? Invest in a deck builder that has worked in the local area for years.

Experienced companies can also supply a list of current references. Check those references, and pay careful attention to recent customers as well as past clients. This range allows you to form an accurate overall picture of the contractor’s experience.

# 2 – Will You Send Qualified and Trained Workers to Build My Deck?

Even the most established companies need to hire new staff, but try to arrange for an experienced employee to supervise your project. This ensures that complications and unforeseen circumstances are handled efficiently and with professionalism.

Ask for the lead hand’s name, if possible, and introduce yourself when the crew arrives. This establishes a good working relationship and sets a pattern for polite, upfront communication throughout your project.

# 3 – What Kind of Warranty Do You Offer on Materials and Workmanship?

Many decking contractors have warranties, but you’ll need the details of this coverage to properly compare one deck builder to another. Does their warranty cover faulty workmanship and inferior materials? What type of quality controls are in place? And how long does the warranty last?

Find out the procedure for warranty claims, and check with the local Better Business Bureau to uncover the company’s history and customer service record. You want to hire an experienced deck builder that will provide professional designs, top quality materials and skilled installation, but stay away from companies with poor service records. Hiring a reliable contractor is a wise investment.

# 4 – What Design Ideas Do You Have For My Yard?

Even if you have a clear deck design in mind, ask for advice and recommendations. An experienced, skilled contractor can offer insight and point out problems you may have overlooked. For those who need direction on design and/or material selection, this question helps to uncover the contractor with a similar vision and taste.

Consider how each deck builder presents their vision. Some will leave you with a detailed sketch, while others opt for computer designs. Hire a contractor that provides a professional presentation, since the initial design and quotation act as a fair representation of the finished product.

# 5 – What Kind of Pricing Can You Offer?

This question often comes up first. But remember that your deck will be an extension of the family’s living space. It’s worthwhile to invest in an experience professional offering a solid warranty, helpful insights and a winning design. Price should only be considered once you’ve established the above criteria.

Be sure to arrange for at least three quotes on your new deck, and compare the answers that each contractor provides. Hire the ideal deck builder to ensure your outdoor living space is well designed, expertly built and reasonably priced. And then get ready to enjoy the warm weather on your new deck.