Why DIY Isn’t the Only Way to Save Money on Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Home additions come with a hefty price tag—perhaps the largest single home improvement investment you’ll make. Many homeowners assume that DIY is the best or only way to save money on Virginia additions, but you don’t need the skills of a handyman to trim down the cost of this project. Find out how you can save money on home additions in Virginia.

Spending Time on the Right Design Pays Off

You could take on certain elements of your home addition to save on overall costs, such as demolition or painting. These portions of the project require fewer skilled hands and could knock a couple of points off the final cost. But ensuring your home addition is designed well could mean major savings on every aspect of the project.

Location plays an important role. Research the ideal location for your addition or bump out, considering municipal requirements (such as setbacks) and foundation concerns. Certain spots incur more expenses than others, in terms of demolition and foundation extension. Talk to your contractor about potential locations and the requirements for each location.

Design for strength and stability, as well as optimum function. Choose durable building materials and include building processes suited for your climate and landscape. And above all, be sure to think about room layout and door and window location. Moving things midway through construction incurs major expense, so work hard to get the design right the first time.

Planning Well Helps to Avoid Expensive Delays and Mistakes

Despite a well designed project and detailed budget, scheduling delays and mistakes on the jobsite cost money. Plan prior to the project and update that plan as construction moves along.

A good plan for Virginia additions includes:

  • general breakdown of work
  • construction drawings with sufficient detail
  • detailed quotation with job specifics
  • building permit information, such as the application number, date applied and inspection dates
  • construction schedule
  • materials delivery schedule
  • contact information for the general contractor, as well as any subcontractor contact information

Go over the plan on a regular basis, and pay special attention to job progress, availability of materials and any extenuating circumstances. A good renovation plan allows for plenty of flexibility. When changes occur, take those alterations through the entire plan to get a feel for the overall effects.

Hiring the Best Contractor Results in Better Value for Every Dollar Spent

Hire an experienced, knowledgeable contractor to complete your home addition, and try not to focus on price. Quality, professional contractors may charge more than a smaller outfit or a new company. They also tend to deliver better service, provide more skilled labor and offer advanced solutions to the challenges that exist on your property.

While it may seem like a straightforward transaction, hiring a cheaper contractor does not always result in less overall cost. Those contractors with little experience quoting on larger jobs could present a long list of extra charges at the end of the project. Or worse, they may skimp on quality during the installation to make up any discrepancies. You’ll end up with an inferior addition and the need to pay another contractor to fix the mistakes.

DIY is not the only way to save money on Virginia additions. Ensure you have the right design, develop and stick to a renovation plan wherever possible and hire an experienced contractor. These steps will help your project run smoothly and on budget.

The Importance of Contractor Insurance When Building Northern Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Northern Virginia additions involve several stages, from design and planning, through to demolition and construction. All of these aspects come together to create a valuable, comfortable living space, driven by the expertise and professionalism of your Virginia contractor. Protect your property and home improvement investment by hiring an experienced, fully insured contractor.

Two Important Credentials

The United States does not have a national contractor insurance requirement. Standards and requirements for insurance and licensing come in at the state level, and at times even on the county level.

Contractors working in Virginia state need to carry two different types of liability:

  • Worker’s Compensation – this protects the employees working on your property. If they become injured or ill during the course of your project, worker’s comp covers medical costs and lost time. This type of insurance protects the employees and limits employer/contractor costs, but it also provides homeowners with some protection against litigation, should an injury occur.
  • General Liability – Virginia businesses are required to carry current general liability coverage, which protects the company and clients in the case of accident, theft, and certain types of natural disasters. This type of insurance also protects homeowners from excess costs in these incidents.

What About Bonding?

Some states require contractors to carry bonds or surety bonds. While the two insurance products above cover the company and, in some small part, the client, a surety bond extends that coverage to suppliers and employees and adds emphasis on covering the homeowners against loss and damage.

Bonding is not required in Virginia, although larger home improvement projects, such as Northern Virginia additions, are well served by this type of insurance.

Contractors take out a surety bond in a certain amount, depending on the project total. An insurance or bonding firm holds this coverage for the duration of construction and often for a specified period of time beyond. Homeowners, suppliers and even employees can make a claim against that bond, based on several details and stipulations.

Most claims put in by homeowners involve damage to the property or financial loss. Minor problems, like scheduling delays and changes to the project details, may seem like valid claims, but any claims made must fall within the details of the surety bond.

It is important to note that a surety bond covers the contractor, and is not exclusive to the client. That means all claims made share the same funds. In most cases, homeowners recoup only a portion of the money lost due to damage, etc.

Contractors provide bonding as a sign of good faith and to provide some protection and accountability. Your contractor may not offer bonding as standard practice, but some Virginia contractors provide a bond for specific projects. Ask about the possibility before you make a hiring decision, and be sure each company provides proof of the insurance coverage listed above.

Home additions require a substantial investment and extend over a long period of time. They also involve several different stages of construction. Make sure your Virginia contractor carries worker’s compensation and general liability insurance as a minimum. If bonding presents an advantage to you, ask about the possibility. Insurance provides valuable, vital protection during the construction of Northern Virginia additions.

Tips on Building Sustainable Home Additions Virginia Families Love

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Wise homeowners plan out major home improvement projects, looking to enhance their home and increase property value without breaking the budget. But many consumers want to include healthy, environmentally friendly materials and construction methods, creating sustainable home additions Virginia families love today and for tomorrow. Consider these tips and aim for a well thought out, green home addition.

Consider Your Needs First

Many factors come into play during the planning stages of Virginia home additions. You’ll dream big and bring plenty of ideas to the table, allowing your architect and contractor to come up with the ideal design. In order to achieve your vision of a sustainable home addition, focus on your needs.

This includes the needs for today (more space, additional storage, an upgraded kitchen or bathroom, etc.), as well as forecasted needs for the future.

Talk it over with your family members and consider various scenarios to get a better feel for the needs of your entire family. Avoid investing in unnecessary details and focus your dollars on the home addition your family truly requires.

Hire the Right Contractor

Look long and hard for the ideal contractor, ensuring you choose a reputable experienced company you can trust. But remember to ask about green building ideas, methods and designs during the contractor interview stage.

Do some research first to familiarize yourself with industry terminology and environmental movements spreading across the eastern states. Plan to talk to each contractor about what a sustainable home addition means and what steps will help you to achieve that goal.

Make your final hiring decision based on several factors (trust level, experience and expertise, warranties, price, etc.) and be sure to include the contractor’s knowledge and comfort level with green building materials and practices.

Focus on Both Sustainable Design and Building Materials

A sustainable design includes efficiencies and takes advantage of passive design strategies to lessen the environmental impact. That may mean designing a low, bungalow-style home in hotter areas of the country or including larger windows for natural light and heat in other parts of America.

Much of these decisions are laid out in the opening stages of your project, creating home additions Virginia families can look forward to living in.

Using sustainable building materials allows you to take that design one step further. Flooring choices like bamboo and cork come from renewable resources. Opt for flooring products with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to improve air quality and overall health. Aim for paint products with low VOCs, or better yet no VOCs.

Include adequate insulation to reduce strain on your heating and cooling systems, and install energy efficient windows and doors. Any new appliances should be Energy Star rated, as well, to help control electricity costs and create a more sustainable household.

By considering your family’s needs, hiring the right contractor, focusing on sustainable design and using green building materials, you can create sustainable home additions Virginia families love to live in today and far into the future.

How to Match Your Existing Space When Building Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Creating a seamless living space requires careful planning and an expert eye. Virginia additions should complement your existing home, not stick out like a sore thumb. But details like paint, flooring, exterior finishes and lighting present challenges to many homeowners looking to blend their new living area with existing space. Check out these tips and consider how you can make it all happen.

Tip # 1 – Keep Good Records

Did you keep the paint can from your last redecorating project? Do you have a record of the flooring brand and lot installed in your home? Can you find the receipt or packing list for light fixtures and other features currently illuminating your space? Although it may be too late to take advantage of this practice, remember to do so for the next renovation.

Check out your personal household records and see what you can find on the paint, flooring and fixtures. This information allows you to carefully match the same features in your home addition. Visit a local paint retailer to obtain a color match and talk to flooring and lighting stores about sourcing out similar products.

Tip # 2 – Go For Contrast

Sometimes matching the existing décor is nearly impossible. Why not aim for contrast instead? This provides a more realistic target and creates a fair amount of design freedom for your contractor.

You’ll still need to do some legwork and shop for complementary products, but eliminating the need to match opens your project up to various possibilities. Consider installing a lighter hardwood flooring in contrast to the dark stain on your existing space. Or opt for contrasting colors on the walls, while incorporating the existing wall tone into décor accessories and furniture.

Stick with the same theme or style for a cohesive feel, unless you’re aiming for an eclectic look.

Tip # 3 – Consider What’s Behind the Walls

Some Virginia additions place a major load on the existing electrical and plumbing systems. Ask your Virginia contractor to assess the current state and find out whether you’ll need to upgrade wiring, drains or any other mechanical element in your home.

This type of work eats into the home addition budget, but also creates a safe and comfortable living area for today and into the future. Find out about local building codes as well, and be sure your contractor schedules all relevant inspections and applies for permits. Overhauls and upgrades provide the wisest course of action when your new addition puts a strain on existing systems. Patches and mismatched systems only result in hassles.

Tip # 4 – Price Out Replacements

Assess the condition of your existing walls, flooring and lighting. Is it time to redecorate or update the look and finish of your home? Home addition projects offer an opportunity to spruce up the balance of your living space, as long as time and budget allow.

Talk to your contractor about pricing for replacements in the existing space. Consider DIY or stretching out the project. But remember that this investment in your home will create valuable returns for your lifestyle and property value.

Whether you opt to match, contrast or redecorate the existing living space features, Virginia additions transform your home in a good way.