Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Picking Kitchen Cabinets

Homeowners How To: Picking Kitchen Cabinets

Planning to renovate your kitchen? Making sure you select the right cabinets for your kitchen can be an overwhelming and daunting task. There are so many different brands and styles available. Which one is right for you? This item is one of the most expensive parts of your kitchen renovation and getting it right is a huge part of making sure your job goes smoothly, stays in budget and that the end result is exactly what you wanted.
So where do you start? First take accurate measurements of your room. Make sure to measure the height of the ceiling, all window and door locations and the width of the wood trim around the doors and windows. Starting off with an accurate measurement will ensure that you are selecting a layout that actually fits and make sure you order the correct sizes. Bring photos of your existing kitchen, both from other rooms, within the room and from the outside. This may be helpful in figuring out what options you have and estimate the cost involved as you choose your layout and design options.

Next, select your appliances. Go to a reputable local appliance center or ask your kitchen designer what they would recommend. See, touch and feel your new selections in advance of purchasing them. Get pricing and a quote on the items you would like to see on your wishlist, but don’t order them yet! You may need to edit or revise those selections once you figure out your layout, so be sure to ask about lead times and how far in advance you will need to place the order once you have your cabinetry layout complete.

Create a storage wishlist! Make a list of items that you need to keep at your fingertips, large amounts of utensils, dishware or any oversized or odd sized kitchen appliances. Once you have your new kitchen you want to make sure it will accommodate the items you need to fit into it and design it accordingly.

Make a Scrapbook! Buy a few kitchen magazines or search online for pictures of styles and concepts, colors and countertops, woodwork, details, door styles and flooring that you do and don’t like. Go to your local home center or cabinetry store to look at different display kitchens and try out optional cabinet organizers, trash pullouts and storage units so you get an idea of what you may want to include. Do some research on different types of countertops and flooring choices to see what will best accommodate your needs.
Okay, now you are ready to finalize a kitchen layout. Which cabinets should you get? That really depends on your needs. Kitchen cabinetry takes quite a bit of abuse over the years, and is literally the bones of your kitchen. They need to be durable. Stock cabinets are not necessarily less durable. This just means that the sizes are made to a standard dimension. Usually, widths are available 3” increments, such as 18”, 21”, 24” or 30”. Stock cabinets have the least variety with sizing and typically have a limited selection of colors and door styles. It is important to note where the cabinetry was produced, what kind of finish it has and if it comes fully assembled or if you have to assemble it. Usually, stock cabinetry is more quickly ordered, but you should make sure to ask about how long they will take to come in. A semi-custom cabinet simply means that you can edit the heights and widths and they may have more options as far as color and style. Custom cabinets are usually very well made, with solid sides and backs and offer an unlimited variety of colors, sizing and door styles.

Box construction is a term that describes how the cabinet sides, bottom and interior components are built. Usually a good cabinet will have at least ½” sides and backs. Custom cabinets may have ¾”sides and backs. It is important to note that a strong cabinet back is important. Why? No one sees that right? Well, that is where the weight will be distributed once the cabinets are loaded up with dishes, so it must be strong. Avoid ¼” luan backs, as they tend to give out quickly and are not as strong as a ½” or ¾” back. Also, make sure to ask about upgrades available for drawer slides and hinges as these take the bulk of wear and tear.

Drawers can be made in a variety of styles and materials and still be of good quality. A nice solid, waterproof melamine drawer may even last longer than your typical dovetail wood drawer. Of course, the wood drawers look nicer, but using melamine drawers may be a good way to lower your budget without sacrificing functionality.

Always be sure to bring your photos, measurements, appliance selections and wishlist of interior options and space requirements when you get a quote for your cabinetry. This will avoid mistakes in the planning phase and help you correctly order your cabinetry the first time around.

If you feel too overwhelmed to make these decisions all on your own, hire a local cabinetry company who designs kitchens, a certified kitchen designer, interior designer or an architect. Whatever fee they charge will wind up paying off if you get a better kitchen than you ever imagined you could, and they almost always save you money because your orders get placed correctly the first time around. One mistake with ordering may be more costly than the designer, so it’s well worth it to rely on their professional assistance. They will help to steer your decisions based on your budget and help you select items that will add beauty and value to your home and accommodate your lifestyle.
Give us a call @ 770-575-2533 or www.ProFixHomeRepair.com ReviewsReview of Pro Fix Home Repair

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ready to Remodel your Kitchen?

Homeowners How To: Remodeling your Kitchen

So you are finally going to update your kitchen… you’ve been clipping pictures of cabinets, colors and styles for years and would love to get the best possible job for your budget. Where to start?

First, sit down with a professional kitchen designer, interior designer or architect. Yes, you can afford it… it will save you money and help you avoid costly errors. They will help you select the right items that fit within your budget and you will get more bang for your buck with their knowledge and experience steering you in the right direction.  They have designed and overseen the installation of hundreds of kitchens and baths and they know the pitfalls, errors and silly ordering mistakes to avoid that can make the difference between a long and painful, eating-take-out-dinner-every- night-for-a-year, expensive job … and having a well-planned, timely and budget conscious project that is well worth the design fee.  Knowledge is power! Empower your renovation. Use a professional.

Once you decide on the plan and budget, a good kitchen designer will help you select a reputable company to install it. If you choose to oversee the construction, be sure to do your homework on the companies you choose to hire. Make sure they are licensed and insured. Check out their reputation with your local consumer affairs office and carefully scrutinize the contract to be sure that everything you want is included. Never pay a large cash deposit; use your credit card or a check… your deposit should not be more than 20% of the construction cost and 50% of the cabinetry cost. Compliance with all local laws is mandatory…so they should be checking for lead paint in your home prior to demolition.

What kind of professionals will you need to complete your kitchen?

Demolition and CarpentryA good carpenter can make or break your project. Make sure to have your carpenter thoroughly review the plans and go over the installation details with your designer.

Flooring – You will need a flooring installer that specializes in installing your choice of flooring; most of the time you will need a tile installer, for either the floor or the backsplash, or both.

Painter – coordinate your painting professional with your carpentry trades to make sure they have included for spackling any newly installed wallboard, priming and preparing the newly installed windows, doors and trim so that they are ready for the painter and can be done at the same time. This will be most cost effective and efficient.

Cabinetry – cabinetry is expensive! Let a qualified professional install them. A poorly installed kitchen will result in doors that won’t open or hang crookedly and drawers that aren’t adjusted or scrape against adjacent surfaces. Professionally installed cabinetry stands the test of time and will include a proper fit to the wall and to other cabinets, adjusted and clean interiors, installed shelving and appliances, and drilled and installed handles and door pulls.

Countertops – there are a variety of quality countertops available in a wide range of price catagories. Consult with your designer or architect to see which type of surface is the best fit for your home, family and lifestyle. A qualified installer is licensed and insured and will install the project in a timely and professional manner. Most countertops require a template of the cabinetry for an exact fit. Always make sure to have your sink, faucet and soap dispenser available for the templater to examine. They may need to take your sink with them to ensure a perfect fit. If you are unsure about the template, have your kitchen designer review and oversee the templating process. Countertops can be expensive and if you sign off on an incorrect template, it’s yours to keep, whether it fits or not! Make sure it’s right the first time. Consult your professional.

Lighting and Electrical – a qualified, licensed and insured electrician is critical for every successful kitchen renovation. Select your appliances and light fixtures in coordination with your cabinetry, and be sure to order them as soon as you order your cabinetry. In order to plan the electrical layout correctly, your electrician will need to review a copy of the plans, consult with your designer, have access to the lighting fixtures and appliances when the electrical is being installed and the walls are open. Plan for outlets and light switch locations and review those with your designer to ensure proper wall placement and a seamless fit.

Give us a call @ 770-575-2533 or ProFixHomeRepair.com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Selecting a Painter

Homeowners How To: Selecting a Painter

Hiring a good painter is essential in getting a great new look that you will love for many years to come. So how do you ...

Whether you have decided to re-paint your home, renovate your kitchen, want a customized look or faux finish, or are simply refreshing the finish on your outdoor wooden deck, hiring a good painter is essential in getting a great new look that you will love for many years to come. So how do you select the right painter for the job? Here’s what you need to know:

The scoop on Lead Paint Safety: If you need painting done and your home was built prior to 1978, you must comply with lead paint safety laws and get a lead test done of any areas you want to paint, remove or modify. The law mandates that a certified professional test to see if lead paint is present. If it is, expect the project to be much more costly than you might expect, as the removal, wall preparation or disturbing of any area greater than 9 square feet will require extensive plastic protection, ventilation units for the painters and careful cleanup and disposal. Once the preparation portion is complete, standard painting can begin. Make sure your painting professional is a certified lead-safety specialist.
As with the hiring of any contractor, you always want to make sure to do your due diligence and check out the company with your local Better Business Bureau, website reviews, and by contacting references. They should be a part of the better business bureau where you can find out how long they have been in business and if they are a reputable company.

Always be sure to ask to see pictures of numerous jobs with the type of finish or work you want, and request to visit to a client’s home if possible, especially when hiring for a unique painting project, custom mural or faux finish. Most large custom or faux finish projects can be quite expensive, so go the extra mile, take a visit to see their work in person and talk to their past clients whenever possible. Always ask for at least three references so you can get a well-rounded idea about the company’s quality, service, reputation and job site etiquette.

Exterior painting can be troublesome. The weather and poor product choices can make the difference between a beautiful, long term end result and a nightmare project that is never done. Make sure the company you choose is experienced in outdoor work. If you are on a timeline, be aware that painting in bad weather is a bad idea and the job may be delayed if certain weather conditions occur. It is far better for the project to be completed correctly when the weather permits, than to possibly have to be stripped down and re-done if a chance is taken and the weather destroys the progress made. A quality company will guarantee the project to last for a certain amount of time (based upon your paint selection). Always make sure the crew is using quality paint, suck as Sherwin Williams Duration, and finishing products, as the end result will not only be the most beautiful, but also will hold up for much, much longer than any inferior product.

If you are having a hard time with color selection, hire a local design firm for a color consultation. These are generally pretty inexpensive in relation to the project’s total costs and will assist you in making the right choices for your home the first time around.

The best advice when it comes to paint selection is this: Go pro and save money! “Color regret” and costly do-over’s need not happen if you hire a professional to help you select your colors wisely at the start.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Choosing a Backsplash

Homeowners How To: Choosing A Backsplash

The right backsplash choice can make or break your entire kitchen design. Choose wisely and be the envy of your neighborhood!

Marble? Glass? Stainless? Ceramic?
...there are so many options! The backsplash of your kitchen can be a great way to bring style and color to your kitchen renovation. From mosaics and glass, to stainless steel and wooden bead board, there are virtually unlimited options to choose from, tons of innovative new ideas and a wide variety of looks and colors. So what are the options? Pros and cons? Affordability?

Let’s take a look at some of the more common materials…

Stone or Solid Surface:
A popular choice has long been to simply extend the stone selected as the countertop up through the backsplash area. Using granite or marble slab as your backsplash can be rather expensive, but it is usually quite beautiful and extremely durable. Generally, you have to seal any natural stone or marble regularly as it is porous and will absorb anything that lands on its surface which can result in permanent stains. Using a quartz based countertop and backsplash, such as Silestone or Cambria, can be a good alternative to natural stone, as they are non-porous or may have anti-bacterial agents built into the stone. If you choose a solid surface product like Corian or Wilsonart for your countertops, the same material can be ordered in a thinner sheet size for the backsplash area, giving you a seamless look that is easy to clean and extremely durable.

There are endless options available for tile backsplashes; from bright pops of porcelain color, simple white subway tile to extravagant metal or glass tiles, porcelain, slate or marble there are infinite combinations and varieties of tile to choose from.  Glass tile has become much more popular due to its ease of maintenance and it being a recyclable, green choice. Mosaic tiles are small tiles made of any type of material, and usually attached to a sheet of mesh backing. They can be used as an accent or decorative insert to accent a basic field tile or as the entire backsplash selection. Tile can be laid out in various patterns. Subway tile can be staggered, laid in a straight horizontal or on a vertical. It is important to plan it out so the tile fits nicely and you don’t have tiny pieces of cut tile everywhere, so be sure to take accurate measurements and consult with your installer or designer before ordering your tile. Tile can range in price from extremely affordable to extremely expensive, but it will give you plenty of options so you can choose what will fit into your projects budget.

Whether you like the look of old tin ceiling tiles, the clean, modern lines of stainless steel or metallic inserts in bronze, there are many metallic backsplash components to choose from. Stainless steel is a clean, polished look and pretty easy to maintain, but it can be expensive and must be templated and installed by a professional. Decorative tiles that look like stainless, bronze, gold or pewter are available at a variety of price points and can be easily incorporated into a backsplash or paired with a less expensive field tile. Of course, old tin ceiling tiles, reproductions or ceramic “look-alikes” are a beautiful choice for a backsplash and can also be very budget friendly as well.

Any of these backsplash options can be used either by themselves or blended together. When choosing a backsplash keep in mind cleanability and how close it is to heavy food prep areas, exposure to water and heat from your appliances. Be careful to make appropriate selections accordingly. For instance, wooden beadboard should never meet directly with the countertop in any food prep or wet areas, and should not be used directly behind the cooktop area as both water and exposure to heat will damage it. A tip to achieve this look; Install a small 4” high piece of your countertop material right at the bottom of the backsplash area and use the beadboard from there up. You can also run the countertop material up the wall behind the cooktop area and use the beadboard on either side to avoid a fire hazard. Beadboard can be pretty inexpensive and pairs well with a vintage style kitchen. Be sure to properly coat it with paint or stain and seal it with polyurethane for a durable, washable finish.

Most of all… have fun choosing your backsplash! This is where your personality can really shine through and where you can tie in colors, patterns or styles from adjacent rooms and the rest of your home and bring the whole project together. Some tile stores have designers available to consult with you and help you order the correct quantities. Be sure to bring along the dimensions of the backsplash areas, any windows that may be in that area, drawings of your cabinet layout, cabinetry color, color swatches for flooring and walls, and a countertop sample or photo if possible.

If you can’t decide which would be the best one for you, consult a professional kitchen and bath designer or an interior designer. They will help you stay within your budget, give you different layout options and help you pull together a look that you may never have thought of otherwise. The right backsplash choice can make or break your entire kitchen design. Choose wisely and be the envy of your neighborhood!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Home Maintenance Tips and Tricks

Homeowner How To: Home Maintenance Tips and Tricks

   Tips for keeping your home in tip top shape...

home repair
While most homeowners are daunted by the always growing list of tasks and repairs to do around the house, staying on top of your home’s maintenance can really be a cost saver.

Neglecting routine upkeep or cutting corners can really cost you in the long run, so look for warning signs around the house so you can dodge avoidable mistakes and minimize costly, last minute and urgent repairs.

Stay on top of your home’s regular maintenance with these great tips and tricks:
  1. Change your air filter at least every 3 months. Changing this inexpensive and simple filter will help your heating and cooling system to run more efficiently and improve airflow, while failing to do this will cause your system to work harder and run longer. Keeping this filter in good shape will improve your energy efficiency, help you save on energy costs and reduce allergens in the air. Consider upgrading your filter to an allergen reduction filter and keep up to 94% of unwanted airborne particles out of your families lungs.
  2. Got loose or broken tiles or gaps in your grout? Don’t just ignore them! Installed tile in your home should be inspected at least once a year. If you have a loose or broken tile or gaps in your grout, this could be a sign that water is seeping into the floor, walls or sheetrock which can create damp patches, spread water to other areas of your home or create more loose tiles. Along with water, comes the possibility of water damages including mold growth, rot and bugs. To avoid this, replace or re-adhere any loose tiles with a standard tile adhesive. Let that dry completely (usually at least 24 hours). Then mix grout and water and apply grout to any newly tiled areas and any areas where the grout has failed. Spread a little caulk along those corners and you are done! A minor repair to your tile can save you big money in the long run if these damages are left unattended.
  3. Check your roof out twice a year and look for curled shingles.  Curled shingles usually mean there is a leak in the roof, which can cause extensive damages to your roof and the interior of your home quite quickly! If you have curled shingles, make sure to get a roofing contractor to inspect the roof thoroughly and assess the extent of the damages and whether they can be simply repaired or replaced or if it is time for a new roof.  Avoid further interior damages, rot and mold growth by getting your roof repaired as soon as possible.
  4. Keep an eye out for foggy windows. Insulated windows are made of two panes, which are vacuum sealed to keep the moisture and cold out of your home. If you see fog in between the window panes, you most likely have a broken seal. The fog is happening because warm moist air is coming into contact with cold air, which also means you are probably paying more than you should to heat and cool your home, not to mention putting an extra strain on your home’s heating and ventilation system. Call a professional window company, who may be able to remove the fog and re-seal the window or repair the broken sash.
  5. Drain your hot water tank each year. Why go through the trouble? There are two good reasons to do this regularly. Your tanks are constantly working and, as a result, sediment can collect at the bottom of the tank and cause your unit to use more and more energy to heat water.  By draining your tank you get the chance to not only clean out any sediment, increasing the longevity of your unit, but you can also listen for hissing and unusual crackling sounds. These sounds are a sign of small leaks from the heater which are causing water to drip onto the burner plate. If you hear these noises when you drain your tank, you will want to start looking for  a new one. This is a warning sign that your tank is going. It will be dramatically less expensive to plan to replace the heater now than to be forced to make an emergency call to your plumber when your tank fails.
  6. Staying on top of regular maintenance and inspecting your home regularly will help you dodge avoidable, costly errors and will save you money, especially on those energy bills!