Top Five Costly Mistakes Made on DIY Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

The substantial cost of Virginia additions often leads homeowners to consider DIY as a money-saving option. But many of the mistakes commonly made on DIY home additions can add to the final cost, pushing it well beyond the price of a reputable, experienced contractor. Think about how these mistakes make DIY an unwise option for home additions in Virginia.

Purchasing Cheap Materials

The temptation to purchase cheap materials looms large in DIY projects. A home addition involves many different components, and it may make sense initially to purchase products at bargain prices. Problems show up over time. When these poorly made materials wear out or fail, replacement materials cost even more money.

Weigh the initial cost savings against the future expense of replacement and repairs. Choosing to install cheap materials often costs more in the end.

Avoiding the Prep Work

As in many home renovation projects, prep work plays a vital role with home additions. DIY enthusiasts may not know about these requirements, or may simply be impatient to get to the fun stuff and skip over preparation entirely. This omission bumps up the cost of Virginia additions in several different ways, including:

  • Missed preparation often results in a poor finish, which may need to be redone or repaired for an additional cost
  • Missed preparation may mean that important structural or foundational elements were also missed, which must be corrected for safety and building code compliance
  • Missed preparation could result in damage to building materials and other areas of the home, again requiring costly repairs and/or replacement.

Ripping Out More Than Necessary

Home additions require a certain amount of tear down. Industry experts and experienced contractors understand how much to rip out and what components to leave as is in order to properly build the home addition. Many DIY fans find the tear down portion of the project easy and rewarding, and they may end up tearing down much more than anticipated and even required.

Ripping out walls, structure, electrical and/or mechanical components that could have stayed in obviously adds to the overall cost. Proper planning and a detailed design help to limit demolition, but there’s always a risk that inexperienced DIY workers will get overly enthusiastic with a crow bar, jack hammer or other demolition tool.

Misunderstanding the Scope of This Project

Virginia additions take a long period of time and require an immense amount of work. For those DIY fans that haven’t tackled a project of this size, building a home addition seems overwhelming. Misunderstanding the scope leads to unrealistic schedules, costly delays and poor decisions.

A Virginia family completing a DIY home addition may plan to hire out for the electrical and mechanical components. But when they get behind on framing and need to delay these contractors, they risk alienating the contractors and needing to hire another one. Getting a grip on the scope of the project helps to avoid these and many other potential added costs.

Focusing on the Latest Trend

Designing to the current trends makes homeowners happy for the moment. It may not cost anymore to install trend-setting flooring and fixtures, but those costs will sky rocket when you need to spend the money to renovate in a few years.

Choose neutral colors, shapes and forms for the main design elements, and bring those trends in with accessories. These are much easier to change out and cost less over time to adjust.

You may be considering DIY Virginia additions. Before you assume that DIY saves big money, consider these common mistakes and gather a few quotations from experts in the industry. What you come up will surprise you.

How Water Issues Destroy Your Virginia Basement Renovation Dreams

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Renovating your Virginia basement adds valuable living space and comfort to your home. Water issues can quickly devalue the investment and create various health problems now and far into the future. Homeowners need to assess the condition of their basement and attend to any moisture damage before renovations begin.

What type of things should you look for? And how much will you need to invest in order to get your basement ready for the finishing steps?

Signs of Water Issues

You may already be aware of moisture problems in your lower level. Standing water, excessive condensation, mold or mildew marks and musty odors all point to water issues. But a thorough inspection also involves forgotten areas of the basement, such as:

  • Window Sills – Water often runs around or under decayed or broken window sills, possibly even soaking into the wood. Be sure to check the seals around your windows, as well as the locking mechanisms. Plan to replace any rotted building materials or damaged portions of the window.
  • Pipes and Plumbing – Un-insulated pipes create condensation, which can quickly build up and cause water issues. Have a look at the existing condition of your pipes and note any rust or other signs of moisture. Consider insulating all the pipes during your Virginia basement renovation. Check plumbing fixtures for leaks and wear. Many times you can detect the problem early and avoid a major leak or plumbing issue.
  • Behind Insulation – Is your basement insulated or partially finished? Moisture collects between fiberglass or rigid insulation and concrete foundation walls. Your basement renovation plans should include replacing any wet insulation and putting up the proper moisture protection, such as a vapor barrier.
  • Exterior Grading – Assess the grading around your home to ensure that the ground slopes away from the foundation. Standing water, soggy ground and previous basement flooding indicate a possible grading problem. Hire a landscape company to regrade the property and consider investing in a basement waterproofing system to further protect your living space.
  • Foundation Walls and Floor – Look for cracks or crumbling in the concrete. Even if you do not detect any evidence of water, these gaps allow for the passage of moisture. Use crack filler products and sealers or consider an interior waterproofing system that covers the concrete.

How Much Does It Cost to Protect Your Basement From Water Damage?

Depending on the work required, these steps of preparation may cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousands. Insulating the pipes and replacing a window sill are fairly inexpensive, while you can expect to pay big dollars to install a basement waterproofing system and correct a grading issue. It is important to remember that these repairs and replacements protect your basement renovation investment.

Moisture damage results in significant expenses. It can also change the atmosphere in your basement, making it less comfortable for living. Investing in the repairs mentioned above allows you to realize your Virginia basement renovation dreams. Remember to fully assess the basement before construction begins and attend to any problems right away. The final result is worth the extra effort.

Top Five Popular Northern Virginia Deck Design Options

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

The ideal deck design takes several factors into account, including property size, architecture and lifestyle. Those planning to build a Northern Virginia deck should consider these top five popular designs, and then adapt to suit their own families. From shady spots to space for entertaining, these deck designs work for a wide range of homes in the region.

1 – Modern and Maintenance-Free

Design your deck with a minimalist attitude to create a modern space, including large open spaces, glass railings to avoid obstructing the view and angles that echo your house. Maintenance-free decking materials work well. Consider composite deck boards and railing components, as well as tempered glass panels in clear finish or smoked for privacy.

Subtle lighting adds a practical punch to this type of deck design. Install solar fixtures and recessed lighting in posts and stairs or along the perimeter of the deck surface.

2 – Multi-Level Entertainer’s Special

Multi-level decks are necessary for those who love to throw a good backyard bash. Combining two or three deck levels allows for optimum traffic flow and organization. Put your patio furniture on the largest level and place the grill or outdoor kitchen on the upper level, closest to the kitchen. Other levels can include additional seating or lounging areas, a dedicated play area for the kids or a private nook for more romantic times.

Be sure to keep the levels only one stair rise apart and minimize sharp turns. The ideal multi-level Northern Virginia deck design allows for conversation between levels. Privacy screens add to the overall atmosphere, but shouldn’t be an obstruction.

3 – For the Shade Lover

Too much sun affects your health and may keep you off the deck in the heat of summer. Create a more inviting space with shade structures built directly into the deck. Consider the design of your existing roofline and build the deck in the ideal location to minimize sun exposure.

Use a durable material for the covered roof, and consider options like mechanical awnings to allow for shade at certain times of the day.

4 – A Floral Showcase

Gardeners love to show off the results of their hard work. With the right design, this can be built right into the deck. Planter boxes double as railings and visual borders, as well as providing a spot for colorful annuals and delicious herbs. Raised beds planted around lower level decks provide space for perennials and shrubs, or you could include decorative beams in strategic spots for hanging baskets.

Be creative about how to display your flowers and your deck can become more than a simple outdoor living space. After a few years of growth, this type of deck design develops into part of your landscape.

5 – Classic Style Revisited

The tried and true classic deck form never goes out of style. This type of deck design includes wooden deck boards at a 45-degree angle, wide steps to grade and a standard wood picket railing. Homeowners dress up this basic, but incredibly affordable deck with privacy screens, unusual pickets in aluminum and trim around the outer framing (commonly called fascia board).

Classic decks come in a wide range of sizes and work for almost any yard. Grading issues do not pose a problem and wood choices like treated wood or cedar provide years of durability with a reasonable price tag.

Whether you opt for a modern, maintenance free design or go with something that shows off your love of gardening, entertaining or shade, take the time to consider all of the options. Your ideal Northern Virginia deck design is out there.

Tips on Choosing the Ideal Materials for Virginia Bathrooms

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Bathroom renovations change the layout and styling of an important space. Truly valuable Virginia bathrooms include the ideal materials for the modern family. Attractive, durable and eco friendly are three characteristics often sought after by designers and contractors across North America, but how can you choose the best materials for your space? Check out these tips and get shopping today.

Crazy for Tile

Bathrooms come in a few standard layouts and include a sink, toilet and shower or tub (or tub and shower combo). You can move these fixtures around to achieve the proper traffic flow and attain optimum storage space, but the bathroom materials make this room sparkle. Tile plays a vital role in bathrooms of all sizes.

Tiling works for the walls, floors and around the shower or tub. This durable building material is easy to clean and comes in a wide range of colors and textures. Take your pick. Perhaps you prefer mosaic tiles in a monochromatic pattern with a splash of brightness. Or maybe you love the look of larger subway tiles to create an urban feel. Shop your local building materials store or ask your Virginia bathroom contractor for a list of suppliers and browse their websites for samples.

Spectacular Stone

Tile requires grout, which can become difficult to keep clean over time. Avoid this situation by opting for stone veneer. This product provides the benefits of tile—easy to wipe clean, resistant to mold and other moisture problems—without the grout.

Choose granite for your shower and enclose the space with clear glass walls for an open, natural feeling. Or borrow a page from the ancient Romans and install marble veneer flooring and wall coverings. Stone adds visual interest to the space and can provide a sense of luxury unmatched by any other material.

Granite, marble and other natural stone can be used on the vanity as well, or installed as a backsplash. Be sure to support the heavy weight of natural stone and invest in good quality products designed for use in the bathroom.

Hire an experienced contractor to install stone in Virginia bathrooms. This process requires skilled hands and the proper equipment in order to minimize waste and ensure longevity.

Pulls and Hardware Make a Difference

Another secret to creating a beautiful bathroom is found in the tiniest details. Consider the finish of your drawer pulls, cabinet hardware and door hinges. A matte metallic finish lends a certain appeal, while shiny metal or colored hardware adds personality and flash. Think about how many components you’ll need for your vanity and storage cabinetry and choose a style and color that achieves balance.

Some homeowners shy away from expensive hardware, opting instead for the standard, inexpensive brands. While this may seem good for the budget initially, splurging on your favorite hardware can take your new bathroom from good to fantastic. Weigh your options and shop around to find the very best hardware, drawer pulls and hinges for your bathroom remodelling project.

From tiled floors to natural stone and small details like cabinet hardware, the materials that you choose make a difference. The most attractive and comfortable Virginia bathrooms combine excellent design with quality materials to create an inspirational room.