High Tech Options for a Bathroom Renovation in Virginia

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Adding high tech features to your bathroom renovation in Virginia has become popular in the last few years. Televisions and stereo systems add an element of entertainment, while steam showers and saunas help to create a spa-like atmosphere.

You can also opt for the ultimate comfort with underfloor radiant heating, and include heated towel rails to keep your linens cozy. Each of these features boosts your bathroom renovation, but help to make this room all it can be.

Entertainment Options

You’ll find a selection of waterproof televisions to mount on the wall above your tub. With a handy remote and PVR, you can enjoy catching up on your favorite shows and movies while soaking your stresses away. Evervue makes a well-made model that includes HDMI and VGA connections to provide high quality sound and picture quality.

Think about location, and wire the power and cables behind mold-resistant drywall. All connections should be durable and water resistant; attractive outdoor stereo systems offer excellent design for a bathroom. Speakers can be hidden in storage cabinets, or mounted in the top corners for an unobtrusive set up.

Ultra high tech options, like the waterproof MirrorVue model that switches between a high def TV and mirror, capture the indulgence of a hotel bathroom. If your budget allows, consider the latest options and jettison your living space into the future.

Stress Release

Use technology to create a space that truly rejuvenates you. When your bathroom renovation in Virginia includes a steam shower, improving your health and wellbeing is simple and convenient.

Steam has long been used to purify the body, clean pores and improve circulation. Today’s steam showers come with all of the necessary functions to provide this type of luxury in your own home.

Look for models of varying shapes and sizes, from smaller corner models that take advantage of compact spaces to more generous shower and bath combos that make everyone in the family happy. Steam showers come premade, and are assembled and installed on site by a professional bathroom renovation contractor for optimum performance and durability.

Saunas are another option, and work well in larger bathrooms. The whole family can use a sauna, and connecting it to a new bathroom or installing the room nearby helps to make a sauna convenient and attractive.

Choose which of these two options suits your bathroom style, layout and décor. Although a sauna is lower tech than a steam shower, this option still requires additional electrical work and plumbing considerations.

Comfort and Warmth

Some high tech bathroom features help to improve efficiency, such as underfloor radiant heating. Heat this space from the ground up with electrical or geothermal systems installed under the tile, laminate or hardwood flooring. This type of heating provides localized, highly efficient heat that can be easily controlled.

Talk to your bathroom renovation contractor about including radiant heating in the design. And consider mounting heated towel rails in the new bathroom, providing an extra boost of warmth when you step out of the shower. These products are available in a wide range of styles and designs, made to complement just about any décor theme.

Adding high tech options to your bathroom renovation in Virginia creates a more relaxing, upscale experience. From waterproof TVs and stereos to luxurious steam showers and cozy radiant heating, technology can take your bathroom to new heights.

How to Budget for Northern Virginia Additions With Kitchens

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Homeowners considering Northern Virginia additions to expand or redesign their existing kitchens need to budget wisely. More involved than the average home addition, a kitchen renovation/addition requires plumbing, electrical and HVAC features that quickly drive up the budget. Get the most from your new kitchen with a properly planned home addition.

Add to Your Existing Kitchen or Move Your Kitchen Into the Addition?

Renovators have two basic choices:

  1. Put an addition on the existing kitchen, expanding floor space in this room.
  2. Move the kitchen into the addition and redesign the existing kitchen space for another use.

Most people would assume that the second option is more expensive, but that depends on a variety of factors. Can you realistically expand onto the existing kitchen? Find out whether an addition in this area would encroach on your property line, and consider how that addition affects the elevation of your house (or the exterior appearance).

In some homes, an expansion of the existing kitchen involves serious construction – including restructuring the roof line, correcting grading issues, changes to concrete foundation or redesigning the exterior finish. Those projects cost a lot of money, and simply relocating the kitchen into an addition within another area of your home could be cheaper.

If an expansion to your existing kitchen layout requires moving the sink and major appliances, plumbing and electrical charges will also be required. Those additional charges may tip the scales, making it a better budget decision to relocate the entire kitchen into the home addition.

Talk to your contractor about the HVAC system and insist that your new kitchen include proper ventilation. This can be done when an existing kitchen is expanded, but some older home layouts may not provide a feasible solution for adequate kitchen venting.

Adding Natural Light

Make your new kitchen feel even larger by adding windows to Northern Virginia additions. Additional windows, or larger windows, create higher levels of natural light and enhance brightness. Sunlight and the right color choices will help your new kitchen to feel larger and more open, a welcoming atmosphere that’s also conducive to productivity and relaxation.

Sometimes bumping out the wall (small scale home additions) or expanding the space to include a breakfast nook (larger scale home additions) is the only way to add windows. When faced with the choice between more cabinetry or more windows, most homeowners opt for the cabinets. Home additions of any size allow for both options.

Budget for high quality windows with Low-E design and double or triple glazing. These windows may add to the initial budget, but create better insulation and reduce heating and cooling costs, saving money over time.

Choosing an Affordable Contractor

Look for a contractor that handles both home additions and kitchen renovations. This contractor will have the experience and professionalism to create a well-built space that includes the latest in kitchen remodeling. Hiring one contractor to handle both elements of this project should also save you money in the end.

Obtain three quotations for the project, and be sure to ask whether or not the contractor uses subcontractors. Find out about warranty coverage for all of the elements involved. Home additions include roofing, exterior finishes and windows, while kitchen renovation warranties should cover the flooring, cabinetry, countertops, plumbing and electrical.

Budgeting for kitchen renovations that involve Northern Virginia additions takes careful planning, Think about the location of your new kitchen, and how the home addition will best fit into your overall floor plan. Include extra windows and hire a contractor that has experience in both types of renovation. When done correctly, this combination adds substantial value to your home.

Top Five Virginia Basement Remodeling Tips Most People Forget

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Planning for your Virginia basement remodeling project takes time and careful thought. Make sure that every aspect is covered and each essential element is handled well by considering these top five basement renovation tips that many people forget. It’s time to create a better below-grade living space for your family.


Tip 1 – Rough In for Your Electronics

Many basement plans include an area for home entertainment. Gaming systems, big screen TVs and home computers work well in the casual comfort of a basement remodel, but these systems and set ups require some forethought.

During the framing stage, consider how best to rough in for your electronics – from home theater to WiFi, gaming systems and home networks. Even wireless systems require power. Think about future systems, as well as the electronics your family currently enjoys, and remember to run speaker wires and plan outlet locations well before the drywall stage.

Tip 2 – Use Insulation to Reduce Noise

Noise can be a major problem with basement living areas. Traffic above often resonates through floor joists and into the space, which can be especially annoying with basement-level bedrooms or home offices. A basement renovation provides the ideal time to add insulation and reduce noise.

If your Virginia basement remodeling project involves drop ceilings, consider using an insulated tile especially designed with sound-blocking materials. If you plan to install drywall ceilings, be sure to place fiberglass insulation or batting between the floor joists above. This extra protection will also help to keep the area warm and cozy in winter months.

Tip 3 – Consider Radiant Heating for Basement Bathroom

Basement bathrooms are often colder than those on the ground floor and above. Consider how radiant underfloor heating provides a comfortable surface in your basement bath, especially for those rooms that include a tub or shower.

Radiant heating provides energy efficient heat at the ground level, and can be easily installed on concrete subfloors. Whether powered by electricity, solar power or geothermal energy, this type of heating works well for basement applications and increases comfort levels tremendously.

Tip 4 –More Options Exist for Basement Flooring

Carpet has been the traditional choice for basement flooring, providing a soft surface that can be affordably repaired or replaced in case of flooding. Several choices exist in today’s renovation market, including engineered hardwood, cork flooring and high quality tiles.

All of these options require a level, stable subfloor. Some, such as tiling, can be installed directly on concrete subfloors with little fuss to provide excellent performance and durability. Others work well with a plywood subfloor. Always use a water resistant closed cell underlayment to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth due to high moisture levels.

Tip 5 – Eco Friendly Treated Wood or Stainless Steel Combats Mold Growth

Spruce lumber, also known as white wood, is affordable and widely available, as well as commonly used for basement framing. But this organic material contributes to mold growth when exposed to moisture. In order to protect your family from the adverse health effects of mold, think about using eco friendly treated wood (such as Bluwood) or stainless steel framing.

The typical basement contains many other organic substances, but using these alternatives costs almost the same and provides an extra level of protection against the dangers of mold growth.

Make your Virginia basement remodeling project the very best it can be by considering these top five basement renovation tips. From electronics rough-ins to insulated ceilings, radiant heating and mold-free framing, your research and care will help to create a comfortable living space downstairs.

Tips on Adding a Sound System to Your Northern Virginia Deck

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Sound systems create a relaxing atmosphere in any area of your home, and there’s no better place to kick back and listen to tunes than in the backyard. Adding a quality, durable sound system to your Northern Virginia deck requires a few essential components and an eye (or is it ear?) for detail. Find out how you can enjoy music while lounging in your outdoor living space this season.

Material List for Outdoor Sound Systems

This type of entertainment center requires a few easy to find components, including:

  • Outdoor Speakers – invest in quality speakers specifically designed for outdoor use. They often come with rubber grommets protecting the wire entrance point and sealed compartments at connection points. Casing is waterproof and superior brands provide added corrosion protection with gold-plated binding posts.
  • Wire – unless you opt for wireless speakers, outdoor sound systems require speaker wire running from the receiver to each speaker. Direct burial or DB wire is recommended for use with outdoor systems, and standard speaker wire cannot withstand the exposure to sun and moisture.
  • Conduit – may be required for systems running on 120-volt wire, although other system designs do not require conduit.

Placement and Overall Deck Design Considerations

Outdoor speakers come in a few different styles or designs. The most popular are wall-mount, post-mount and planter styles. Other outdoor speakers come disguised in an outdoor accessory, such as a resin rock, garden sculpture or tree stump.

Speaker design and placement play major roles in reliability and sound quality. Well made speakers produce excellent sound in any weather, season after season. Proper placement ensures your family and guests will enjoy the tunes from any corner of your Northern Virginia deck.

Wall-mount speakers point slightly down, toward the deck surface, and project sound to the entire yard. This type of placement may disturb your neighbor, since the echo tends to be louder just outside the perimeter of your property. Wall-mount outdoor sound systems are the most economical and simple to install, since they require less wire than alternative placements.

Post-mount speakers contain the sound within the deck area. Installed around the perimeter of your deck, these speakers point back toward the house. Post-mount applications require more wire and installation time, driving costs higher and demanding the skills of a professional.

Accessory styles can be placed at various locations to provide spot sound, most often near patio furniture or lounging areas. They tend to be low to the ground, and project less sound than the other two styles. Speakers disguised as outdoor accessories are often wireless, but require batteries to operate.

Contractor Considerations

Talk to your Virginia deck builder about incorporating an outdoor sound system into your deck design. They can run speaker wire through conduit mounted to the joists and leave space grommets and other connection components in the ledger board. An experienced deck builder can help to pinpoint deck designs that may facilitate better sound and furniture placement, optimizing your outdoor experience and making the most of your outdoor sound system investment.

Add a sound system to your Northern Virginia deck for parties, socializing and everyday relaxation. With these tips and the help of your deck builder, creating an entertainment center in the backyard is easier than ever.