How to Plan a Northern Virginia Basement Remodeling in Ten Easy Steps

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Are you dreaming of a Northern Virginia basement remodeling project? Read through these ten easy steps and see how straightforward this house renovation project can be.

Inspect the Existing Structure

Check the stability of the existing framing and structure. Use a simple awl to poke at wood ceiling joists, wall studs and sills to discover any pockets of rot or decay. Watch for insect damage as well, and be sure to check sensitive areas such as window wells, any exterior doors and foundation seams. Plan to replace or repair any areas that require attention.

Test for Moisture Issues

Virginia residents can perform a simple moisture test without the help of a contractor. Cut several plastic sheets to about 2 foot by 2 foot square and tape them to various areas on the foundation walls and floor. After ten to fourteen days, inspect the sheets for moisture. If condensation forms under the plastic sheets, you may be dealing with a foundation leak. If condensation forms on the top surface of the plastic sheet, you need to consider adjusting existing humidity levels.

Schedule a Professional Inspection of the HVAC System

Hire a local pro to inspect your heating system and ductwork. A plumbing inspection is also important if your Northern Virginia basement remodeling plans include a bathroom. Budget for any recommended repairs you feel necessary and rest easier knowing that carbon monoxide leaks and other dangerous HVAC issues will not be a problem.

Measure for Ceiling Height

One of the most important initial steps in finishing a basement involves headroom. Check with the county office for local building code requirements, but most specify a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet. Discuss the situation with your Virginia basement renovation contractor to decide between digging out the foundation floor and moving any existing ductwork that limits ceiling height.

Tackle Foundation Cracks and Waterproofing Projects

Homeowners can handle small cracks and minor waterproofing projects, while others require the attention of a professional contractor. Take the time to carefully inspect your foundation and the surrounding grade, keeping an eye out for water problems. You may be able to correct grading with minor excavation, and use hydraulic cement to fill small cracks and chips in the foundation. A basement waterproofing contractor may also recommend installing a membrane or other waterproofing solution before your basement renovation project begins.

Invest in a Second Sump Pump

Homes that include a sump pit require a backup sump pump to avoid basement flooding. If you’re investing thousands of dollars in your finished basement, adding a few hundred dollars for a battery-operated back up sump pump makes sense.

Layout the Space

As in the balance of your home, furniture and room layout make a difference in a finished basement. Consider the natural lighting and place your main gathering area nearby. Be sure any bedrooms on this level have a properly sized window and situate furniture away from the main traffic flow.

Research Industry Innovations to Combat Common Basement Issues

New products come on the market regularly, often addressing common basement issues like mold or mildew. Find out more about these products before investing in them, paying special attention to unbiased consumer ratings and the opinions of industry professionals. Gypsum panels and specially manufactured interior panels are the most popular products to combat mold growth.

Create a Budget and Pad It

Sketch out a preliminary budget for your basement remodeling project. This should include any demolition required, as well as materials and labor cost to renovate. Remember to include furnishings and extraneous costs like permits and inspections. Once you have this initial budget, add ten to fifteen percent for incidentals and costly surprises. Use that padded figure to arrange for financing.

Get Ready for an Adventure!

Every Northern Virginia basement remodeling project is different and homeowners face a myriad of unique challenges. But one thing is for sure—each project is an adventure and adds valuable, comfortable space to your home.

Deck Design Tips for the Modern Family from Expert Deck Builders

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Modern families thrive in a versatile, low-maintenance living space, and this concept covers both indoor and outdoor areas. Deck builders encourage families of all shapes and sizes to examine their lifestyle and preferences when looking for that ideal deck design.

What types of deck features and options make for a perfect modern deck design? Consider the makeup of your family and choose things to suit.

Deck Designs for Young Families

If you’re newly married or just at the opening stages of building your family, flexibility plays a vital role in living space design. Children need safe spaces to play, but parents need to create an area adaptable enough for their own relaxation. Think about this contrast when building a deck.

Consider low maintenance decking materials, like composite or vinyl. These materials come at a premium cost, but they also clean quickly and eliminate the risk of splinters. Be aware that some vinyl decking products squeak and composite can become hot in the summer months.

Young families may also want to add railing gates near stair landings to enhance safety. Avoid placing furniture too close to the railing, where toddlers and young kids may be tempted to climb up and over the deck railing.

Deck Designs for Empty Nesters

Entertaining is a popular pastime for empty nesters, and your Virginia deck design can accommodate that lifestyle in a big way. Build a deck with multiple layers, including a main stage for patio furniture (minimum 12 feet by 12 feet in size), a separate area for the grill or outdoor kitchen and wide stairs for easy traffic flow.

Think about adding a shade feature, such as a shade sail, pergola or fully covered roof. Retractable awnings can also be added after deck construction, and may offer good value for your money. More permanent structures affect the deck framing and should be constructed at the same time as your dream deck.

Consider built-ins throughout the deck design. Professional deck builders can incorporate benches directly into the deck, either as railing or standing alone. Flowerpots and storage areas can also be easily built into your Virginia deck to optimize space and allow for maximum function.

Deck Designs for Transitional Families

There is a very long stage between parenting young children and launching adult children into the real world. Commonly referred to as a transitional family, this often includes school-aged kids, preteens and teenagers. It can be difficult to come up with a deck design that suits everyone. Look beyond each family member’s individual needs and create something that transcends stages and ages.

The trick for designing a deck that suits this family stage is versatility. Aim for something large and open, with plenty of no-nonsense features like tempered glass railing (allowing a cramped space to appear bright), low maintenance decking materials (composite or vinyl) and durable outdoor lighting. Make every portion of the deck inviting and it will quickly become a space for the whole family to spend time together.

Expert deck builders take the time to assess your family’s needs and should come up with a deck design that fits your lifestyle. Whether your modern family is young or transitional, just starting or enjoying an empty nest, you can design the perfect deck to extend your living space.

Top Five Modern Tile Choices for Virginia Bathrooms

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Tile options have evolved from the bright ceramic choices of the 1970′s. Virginia bathrooms are now fitted with modern tile choices for the walls, shower stall and flooring, offering durability and a hard-to-match sense of luxury. What are the hottest bathroom tile trends of today? Find out and choose your favorite.

Mosaic Bathroom Tiles

This style of tile blends a myriad of colors with smaller tile shapes and a wide range of textures to create a visual masterpiece. Consider all of the bathroom mosaic tile options, including glass tiles, porcelain or even metal. And then have your contractor or designer draw up a mosaic pattern that suits your decor and style.

Do you want to accent an area of the bathroom, such as the shower wall or vanity backsplash? Mosaics can become overwhelming on large walls, but when combined with the proper paint, furniture and fixtures, even an expansive wall can be done in mosaic bathroom tiles with stunning effect.

Concrete Bathroom Tiles

No longer just for the vanity countertops, concrete has gained popularity on the floor and even across bathroom walls. Concrete bathroom tiles come in several different textures, sizes and tints, but most create a contemporary atmosphere in Virginia bathrooms.

Are you aiming to capture the peaceful balance of Zen in your Virginia bathroom remodeling project? Concrete tiles work well to visually expand the space and offer a calming tone. Consider products with a convex side—this shape tends to soften the look and feel of concrete.

Manufactured Stone Bathroom Tiles

Natural stone tiles create an incredible appearance, but tend to come with high maintenance requirements and inflated costs. Manufactured stone bathroom tiles have come a long way and now achieve virtually the same look and feel, without the uncertainty. Manufactured stone tends to be stronger and should cost less per square inch than the comparable natural stone.

Do you love the rough and unique look of stone, but dread the tasks associated with installing this material in your bathroom? Take a look at the various types of manufactured stone and choose something that mimics your preferred natural stone. You’ll find marble, slate, granite, cobblestone and many other styles available.

Light Tiles

These products combine LED lights with ceramic tiles to provide warm, dependable lighting in the shower, along the walls or around the vanity. Use white ceramic light tiles as an accent with nearly any other type of bathroom tiles. Manufacturers claim these products offer about one decade of use—plenty of time to enjoy your renovated Virginia bathroom.

Do you want to soften the bath or add a touch of modern appeal in your new bathroom? Research the brands of light tiles available and hire an experienced Virginia contractor to install this unique electrical system in your home.

Pebble Bathroom Tiles

Ideal for use around the tub and near the sink, pebble tiles are simply tiny pebbles attached to a mesh backing. This sheet of rocks is grouted to the wall in the same way as standard bathroom tile. Pebble tiles soften surfaces and create a natural appeal perfect for casual bathrooms.

Are you planning a DIY bathroom renovation and appreciate the beauty and texture of stone? Pebble stones go up easier than natural stone, but they also come with maintenance challenges. Make sure you want the unique look of these bathroom tiles before installation.

Any of these tile options work in Virginia bathrooms. Choose your favorite of these bathroom tile trends.