Before Any Home Renovations These 8 Things Are Important

Home improvement projects can easily be derailed by the smallest of mistakes.  Ordering the wrong material, an unprofessional contractor, or unrealistic budget, can take a plan and turn it upside down.  As a homeowner it is up to you to be prepared for your renovation.  Here are a few things to consider before taking on another renovation whether you hire a professional contractor such as Kearns Brothers or attempt to DIY.

Understand What You Like

If you have been considering renovations to your home for awhile now you probably have created a number of Pinterest boards for each room in your house.  You most likely have some ideas of exactly what you want your renovated space however, it is important to plan whether your renovation is cosmetic only or if you will be changing the structure of the home.  Structural changes will take a number of specialty contractors working together to ensure the plumbing, electrical, and structure of the home functions properly with the newly renovated space.

Budgeting

The phrase “dream house” wasn’t invented because it exists in real life.  Obviously when renovating, the goal is to create your dream space however in the real world this needs to be accomplished within a manageable budget.  Before you become to invested in any one concept or material take time to check out the costs of materials at your local home improvement center and average labor costs in your area.

Myth vs Reality

Sometimes what we want just can’t happen because it is not feasible in our home.  It may seem like adding a bathroom to your upstairs master bedroom should be simple however, sometimes it because unrealistic because of the budget needed to configure plumbing where it is needed.  Before committing to a project of any magnitude it is crucial to meet with an architect and contractor for insight.  You may decide the idea needs to be scraped or reinvented.

Hire a Professional Contractor or DIY

For all but the simplest renovations hiring a professional contractor is the best option in home improvement.  I can’t express in numbers the amount of times I am called into clean up a mess from a renovation that a homeowner began but just can’t finish.  Before you begin a renovation, consider the amount of free time you have to complete the project at hand.  Not many homeowners have the time for renovations on top of their full-time jobs and general commitments. Enlisting the help of a contractor not only saves you time but often money as well.

Colors and Materials

Another element of renovation that is often forgotten is how different colors and materials that are used with look in the space especially as the light changes.  Place samples of the colors and materials you are looking at using throughout the space you are renovating and walk through the area a few times a day for a couple of days to see if you really love them as much as you think you do.  Oak cabinets may look simply unbelievable in the aisle of the home improvement store but when in your space, light, and surrounded by the colors you desire, oak might just not look like you desired.

Thoroughly Check Out Your Vet

We aren’t just talking about online reviews and testimonials, do research into:

  • Licensing
  • Insurance
  • Workers’ Comp
  • Bond Certification
  • Lien History

After meeting with several contractors, going over their credentials and your project, you should have a pretty good feel for what working like with each contractor.

Detailed Contract

Everyone, contractors and homeowners, are all elated at the start of a new home improvement project.  However, it is crucial to be prepared.  Contracts with any outside professionals, including home improvement contractors, need to be airtight, detailed, and specific to your project.  They should include:

  • A Schedule for Payments
  • Penalties for Missed Milestones (for both contractor and homeowner)
  • Details on All Work to Be Done

Having a detailed layout of what is expected, in writing can save both contractors and homeowners from hassles and headaches down the line.

Timing

If you think of terms that are synonymous with home improvement timeliness is not one of them.  Remodeling is often notorious for requiring more time than what was budgeted.  It could be weather, delays, order issues, subcontractor issues, and more.  The most important aspect is to plan accordingly.  Don’t plan a major family dinner party for the day after you expect your kitchen renovation to be completed.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

2019 Kitchen and Bathroom Trends That Will Stand the Test of Time

It is not likely that you will renovate the kitchen and bathrooms in your home more than once.   Remodeling these spaces takes quite an effort from both the homeowner and contractor.  It’s true that the heavy lifting all comes down to who you hire however behind the scenes you are the one that is executing the rhythm of the entire project.  It is crucial that you, as the homeowner, knows what elements are crucial to have in your new kitchen and bathroom spaces.  This will not only make it enjoyable for you to use as you live there but also more desirable to buyers when it’s time to sell.

There are a number of elements in home improvement that are used to create kitchen and bathroom spaces that are not only luxurious but also functional.  Below are some of the trends we expect to see really take hold in 2019.

No More White… Color! Color! Color!

White kitchens are a thing of the past.  Not only are white kitchens difficult to keep clean, they are visually quite boring.  Fans of bright, bold, vivid colors will be thrilled to bring it to their kitchen and bathroom spaces.  Stark white, boring beige, and neutrals are being replace with brave, daring colors.  Some considerations to help bring this trend to life include:

  • Colored appliances, especially large stoves
  • Painted cabinets
  • Matte black over gray
  • Pops of colors found in shower doors and enclosures

Technology Throughout

The addition of technology is a trend that continues to grow throughout the world of home improvement.  If you don’t take technology into consideration when envisioning your new kitchen or bathroom space, then your renovation will fall short.  Adding technology into kitchens and bathroom spaces can be simple including:

  • Appliances enabled with Wi-Fi – Think ordering your groceries from your refrigerator! Think soap dispenser that can reorder soap when they run out! Think switching music choices in the shower!
  • Integrating Alexa
  • Programmable lighting
  • Smart appliances and gadgets

Unusual and Unique

There aren’t a lot of ways to really explain this concept in kitchen and bathroom remodeling other than to remind homeowners to texture and elements that make people want to know more.  Materials you would not expect used in unique ways including:

  • Industrial metal shelving
  • Big sinks with intricate metallic detailing
  • The use of large, geometric shapes
  • Shapely faucets

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

Is Your Home Under-Insulated?

Does your home have enough insulation?  More often than not, Michigan homeowners find their homes do not have the optimal amount of insulation.  9 out of 10 homeowners will have to add additional insulation to their homes if they want to be considered to be “well insulated”.  This occurs because the minimum amount of installation required by code for a home to be inhabitable is less than what is considered to be proper.

Why though would a builder add more insulation if they are not required to?  The more insulation the less profit.  However, as a homeowner we know that not having enough insulation produces higher energy bills.  In order to increase comfort and decrease energy bills it is crucial that professional insulation experts evaluate your home and add insulation in areas that it is needed.

Signs Your House Is Under-Insulated

Different Temperatures Throughout the House

If your home is one even temperature throughout you more than likely have enough insulation in your home.  If different temperatures are felt however, you most likely do not have enough insulation.  An example of this can be felt in a kitchen that is always freezing cold with bedrooms that are steaming.  If this is the case in your home, it is best to have a professional insulation contractor out to evaluate the situation.

Increased Energy Bills

Compare your energy bills over the last couple of years.  If you start to see a gradual increase in energy usage there is a chance that the blown-in insulation within your walls and attic have settled and have become less effective.  When this occurs, there is a chance that your home is not as well insulated as you had hoped for.   Homeowners may not notice a shift in the temperatures throughout their home however an increase in energy bills overtime sure is noticeable.  If heat is escaping through your homes roof and walls, it is time to either replace or add in additional insulation.

Cold Walls, Floors, and Ceilings

Your home should feel warm and dry to the touch.  Check your ceiling, interior walls, and floor, do they feel damp and cold or warm and dry?  If it is cold and wet, then you most likely do not have enough insulation throughout your home.  Exterior walls however, should feel cold as the insulation is keeping your home comfortable by keeping warm air inside.

Chilly Drafts

Homeowners have come to expect that during the winter months they have a few drafts here and there this however, doesn’t have to be the case.  Cold air coming from window frames and doorways can easily be avoided with the addition of extra insulation and the addition of spray foam insulation where needed.  Getting rid of small drafts can help prevent drafts and save on energy bills.

Insulation Contractors at Kearns Brothers incorporated are experts in blown-in cellulose.  We only recommend additional insulation in homes that need it to aid in the comfort level, energy efficiency, and to decrease energy bills.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

Home Renovation Preparation

DIY home improvements always have the chance to go terribly wrong because most of us are not professional contractors and therefore really have no idea what they are doing.  In this installment we are going to prepare the average homeowner for what they can expect during the home renovation process.  Whether you hire a professional contractor or attempt renovations around your home there are a few things you will need to do to prepare.

Preparing for Your Homes Renovations

Budget

It is crucial to have a realistic budget when it comes to any home improvement project.  Take time to research the average cost of the budget you are interested in.  Once you know about how much you will need you can start to allocate funds accordingly.

Larger home renovation projects require you to have a substantial amount of money on hand.  If your remodel is not something you wish to cover with cash out of pocket, you can look into a home equity loan or line of credit.  The benefit of borrowing against your home’s equity is that often the interest that you are paying on the loan can be deducted off of your taxes each year, up to $750,000 dollars.  Other options for funding a renovation include a reverse mortgage and contractor financing.

Scope

The scope of your project is another element to consider.  It is necessary to take into consideration your budget and what you want to see completed during your renovation.  Are you considering a complete overhaul of your 1980’s kitchen and hoping to create an open concept where it opens into the living area?  Or are you thinking that a fresh look could be achieved with some freshly painted cabinets with updated hardware?

Your budget needs to be comparative with the tasks that you want to accomplish.  It is important that you work with your contractor to make sure that between the materials and labor your budget is large enough to cover your renovation while having a reserve just in case some aspect of the project doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Materials

Sometimes the materials that you choose are simply out of necessity and exactly what you need to accomplish within a limited budget.  For years you may have dreamed of installing granite throughout your home but as the time approaches the realization of just how much more the cost of the renovation will be with granite vs engineered quartz hits.  You suddenly realize that engineered quartz is quite elegant and helps you get more out of your limited budget.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

Is It Time to Replace the Windows in Your Home?

Our homes can’t tell us when something is wrong or not working in the manner that we need it to.  It does however give us a number of signs when something isn’t running exactly as it should be.  This is especially true when it comes to our home’s windows.  The windows on our home can last upwards of 20+ years when high-quality windows are purchased are well-maintained.  It is important that homeowners pay attention to their homes and know what to look for when it comes to replacing the windows of their homes.

Are the windows damaged, warped, or broken?

Sometimes windows need to be repaired instead of replaced.  Minor problems like replacing broken hardware, adding new weather-stripping, or fresh caulking are some of the simpler repairs that can be done on windows. Replacing a window that has a broken sash, has become damaged, or warped may be the better option.  The window may still be in “working” order but really need to be replaced.  Windows that have a draft, fog up, stick, or won’t stay open are telling you they need to be replaced.

Are you ready to lower your energy bills?

Properly installed windows lower your monthly utility bills year-round.  Drafty windows can increase your energy bills upwards of twenty five percent.  Replacing the windows in the home with more energy-efficient windows can reduce your heating and cooling bills.  It can also be a huge selling point down the road when you are considering putting your house up for sale.

Can your home’s curb appeal use an update?

The windows and doors of your homes are one of its most noticeable characteristics.  If they appear old and damaged the overall look and feel of your home will seem outdated.  Look at the color on the window frames and screens, are they faded, do the screens have holes in them? Curb appeal is everything when it comes to your home and your homes windows are a huge part of the overall look of your home.

The type of windows that you choose can also change the total appeal of your home.  Some homeowners choose to go from fixed sash windows to new ones that open.  Another option is to increase the size of the windows to increase the amount of natural light that comes into the home.  Daylight increases the productivity, adds coziness, and creates a warmth within your home.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

The Lowest Price Isn’t Always the Deal Homeowners Think It Is

It doesn’t matter if you are starting on a new construction project or a simple home remodel, going for simple or extravagant, sticking within your budget is important.  Although the price of any job is important there are many other factors that should come into play when choosing a contractor to create your dream home or produce a kitchen your neighbors will envy.  The lowest bid is not always the best choice.  Below are circumstances that may make you think about signing on the dotted line of the lowest bid.

  • Sometimes the lowest bid equates to a contractor using inferior materials. Lower quality is often synonymous with a low bid however not always that is why it is important to have open communication with your contractor.  Materials that are substandard often need to be replaced or repaired more often than those of higher quality.  This means you are spending what you would of on better materials later on repairs.  That just doesn’t make sense.  In many situations when you are renovating or building a new home it is cost effective to look into materials that are of better quality rather than settling for bottom budget options.
  • A lower bid may mean that your job could take longer than it should. Professional companies with several contractors on staff may cost a bit more than a single contractor because of the efficiency they can guarantee.  With more contractors on staff your project will continue to move along without hiccups no matter what other projects the company has in que.  This however, is not always true with independent contractors.

Often times companies are working on more than one project at a time and if a snafu occurs on another job a single contractor company is obligated to make necessary adjustments.  This means your kitchen renovation that was only going to take a month could stretch into two or three months.  Time is money, and this can quickly add to the stress and costs associated with renovating.

  • Often times contractors use a low bid to lure in clients. They produce a contract with a lower bid than the competition by not including the “extras”.  However, often the “extras” aren’t above and beyond and are actually needed elements of the project.  Contractors that specialize in low bid offers do so in a way that makes the extra costs come across as unexpected expenses.  This can be avoided by having a detailed contract that lays out all of the costs from materials to labor.  It is best to receive an up-front price for your project with any changes whether in budget, materials, time, labor, or anything not included in the contract must be approved in writing by the homeowner and the contractor with an agreed upon cost.

You certainly get what you pay for in new construction and home renovations but that does not mean that the highest bid will be any better than the lowest bid.  It just may mean that they included more in their proposal.  To get an accurate assessment of the bang you are getting for your buck you must have a detailed contract with a reputable company that is known for providing superior craftsmanship at industry average wage.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

Motivations in Home Improvement

It doesn’t matter if you have lived in your current home for 15 years or just purchased your first home, a fixer-upper, there is a great chance that some home improvement projects are in your future.  From small renovations such as the installation of a new front door or something major like a complete kitchen remodel you will most likely turn to a company that specializes in home construction.

Updates can be something as simple as changing the way a room looks or updating the function a space serves or as grand as a adding an addition or modification to an existing room that is not being properly utilized.  The reasons for renovations to your home vary a great deal, the one thing that doesn’t is the need to ensure you and your family are prepared for the renovations.

Remodeling: Know Why

It is important to understand why you are taking on any renovation project before getting started.  If you are adding an addition or gutting your kitchen in favor of a newly designed space, it is crucial to know why you are doing it.  Does the plumbing and electricity need to be updated?  Do you need a space that is more practical or a more usable floor plan? Are you just bored? No matter why it is important to get a hold of the motivation for the project as it will better help you to budget and prioritize.

Maintenance

It doesn’t matter if you have a new construction home or a historical home, maintenance is required to ensure that the everything needed to keep the home up and running is working smoothly.  Homes that are over a decade old must have regular inspections on electrical, plumbing, and structural elements in order to keep your home safe for your family.

Renovations driven based solely by maintenance will often mean that the budget for the renovation will mostly go towards hiring professional licensed contractor specializing in services like plumbing and electrical.  More often than not this type of work will require permits and inspections.

Updates

The plumbing and electrical in the home may be up to date however, the rooms may not function as you need them too or may just be an eyesore.  Plenty of times renovation are done just to bring a space up to date.  If this is the reason for renovations you will see a difference in your budget allocation as more of your budget will go to design elements, state of the art appliances, and trending home improvement materials.

Improving Efficiency

Other renovations are done just to improve the efficiency of the home. New windows, doors, siding, chimney updates, and insulation are all renovations that are completed to shrink energy waste and decrease their utility bills.  Other renovations may include new thermostats and solar panels.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

Home Remodeling: Preparing Your Home for Sale

There is a major difference in marketing a fixer upper verse a move in ready home.  Each has its own unique market with fixer-uppers fetching less for sellers and most often taking longer to sell than similar turn-key properties.  If home improvement projects aren’t your thing but you are looking to sell your home quickly it may be beneficial to hire a contractor to help tackle some of those simple projects, you have been avoiding.  The money spent now on exterior home improvements and small renovations will come back ten-fold with the sale price of your home and quick turnaround.

 

Below is a list of minor home remodeling project ideas that will help to increase the sale price of your home and decrease the time it takes to sell it.

Fresh Paint

Adding a fresh coat of neutral paint to your homes walls appeals to almost all home buyers.  Even adding in a fresh layer of paint on exterior trim and decking can add appeal and help sway buyers who are on the fence between two similar properties.

Curb Appeal

Everyone knows that first impressions are everything.  No matter how hard we try not to judge a book by its cover, we just can’t stop.  This is true of your home as well.  Take time to ensure that your homes first impression will be a good one.  Freshen up the landscape, add welcoming elements to the porch such as lighting and seating, and perhaps even a new front door.

Updated Lighting

The installation of more natural lighting can never hurt your homes chances of being sold quickly and at asking price.  Home remodeling experts recommend modern, energy-efficient options over track lighting and older outdated styles.

Replace Old Plumbing Fixtures

There are just some stubborn stains that won’t come out of tubs and sinks.  This can be a real turn off to buyers.  Refinishing the tubs surface is just one way to add that sparkle back to your bathroom.  New, unsoiled plumbing fixtures is another, both really bring a new, cleaner appeal to your bathroom.  The same is true of fixtures in the kitchen and laundry areas.

New Flooring

Although a bit costlier than some of the above-mentioned projects new flooring can really change the look and feel of a home.  Replace broken tiles, replace worn out carpet with new, and polish those hardwood floors.

There are many major home remodeling projects that should wait to be taken on by the new buyer as they require more personal touches and may not even be important to them.  Small, neutral updates don’t radically alter the appeal of a home therefore enhancing it without structurally changing it.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

Should I Hire A Professional Contractor for Renovations?

If you are like most homeowners, there will come a time when you must consider renovations around your home.  It could be the kitchen is outdated or the plumbing in the bathroom is no longer working properly; whatever the reason you will start to consider whether you should tackle the renovations by yourself or if you should hire a professional to get the job done.   Most homeowners will opt to hire a professional contractor because it saves time and money in the long run.  The question than becomes who will you hire and how will you know that they are reputable?

Choosing a contractor starts with a search of the local area to find licensed, insured, and reputable professionals who offer services in your area.  After meeting with contractors, you will be able to narrow down the selection based on the following:

  • Familiarity with Home Improvements That are Similar to Yours

Although no two home improvement projects are quite the same there are usually some common elements amongst them.  It is important to hire a professional home improvement contractor that is familiar with the type of renovation you are seeking.  If you are looking to renovate your kitchen or bathroom than it is important to find a contractor that has experience in kitchens and baths.  If you are looking to do exterior home improvements then it is crucial you seek a contractor with experience in siding, window installation, chimney repair, roofing, and more.

  • Vendor Connections

To complete any project your contractor must have access to the materials and supplies that are needed. Better yet is when the contractor that you hire has access to materials and supplies through vendors that offer significant discounts thus allowing your budget to stretch further.

  • Experience in Various Home Improvement Skills

Not only is it crucial that the contractor you choose has expertise in the area in which you are seeking to have renovated but also that they have a wide range of expertise that have been developed overtime with on-site experience.  The contractor that you hire should have experience with the pitfalls that can occur in your project.  This way if they should incur any with yours they will know how to handle them effectively.  From hanging windows, mounting doors, framing walls, or installing a new subfloor your contractor should have experience to keep your project running smoother.

  • An Understanding of the Importance of Safety in Renovations

Safety should be of the utmost concern when it comes to your home and family.   When a contractor performs their job with safety as their top priority it means your job will be done correctly and without injury or property damage.  The contractor should pull the proper permits for the job, understand OSHA regulations, and be compliant with local codes.  Not only will they be schooled in safety surrounding home improvements so should their employees.

There is never a reason not to hire a contractor when it comes to all your home improvement needs.  Not only can they save you time and money, it will help to ensure that your project is done correctly from the start.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

Window Options That Work with your Home

Windows are indeed one of the most obvious features of a house. Homeowner must ensure that windows are installed properly and that the style compliments the architectural design of the home.  As a homeowner it is important to work with your contractor to ensure the exterior of your home goes with the windows that are chosen.  Little things like the shape, size, and style of the new windows should be considered.  It is important that the windows that are chosen are useful and stylish for both the interior and exterior of your home.

There are several window replacement options that you should consider regardless of whether you are building a new house or remodeling your present one. Although, the options you might be faced with might at first seem a little bit overwhelming, choosing the most suitable new windows will make your home a lot more enjoyable and beautiful.

Below are some options of window installations that could work with your home:

Single/Double Hung Windows

Single hung windows consist of two sashes, the top being stationary while the lower one moves upward to allow for little breeze into the house. These types of window installations were common in earlier years but have started gaining attention again in recent times. They are more energy efficient but are limited in some ways.

Double hung windows are like the single hung windows however, both sashes of the double hung windows can be opened. The sashes move vertically along the window frame, just opening a crack or more. This window installation is however not very energy efficient as they are known to allow air escape more than other windows.

Sliding Windows

This is a very common window replacement for old homes as well as for new homes. It makes use of a panel same as the hung windows however, the sliding windows move sideways to open. It opens easily and is usually safe from bugs. A large sliding window can serve as an added emergency exit in the event of a disaster as the screen can be easily and quickly removed.

Casement Windows

When installing new windows, the casement windows are usually perfect on both sides of a bay window so far adequate space is available for them to comfortably open. These windows unfortunately can’t be installed near a deck simply because of their design.

This window installation works via a crank, which when turned, the window opens on a hinge from the right or left. Casement windows open outwards; this allows you to choose how far you want to crank it. When closed, they seal tight and are energy efficient.

Fixed Windows

As the name implies, this type of window installation can’t be opened, it only functions as a passage of light and to offer an amazing view. A lot of large windows are fixed simply because practically, they are too large to open. If perhaps there’s a room in your home which you might most likely never open its window, but only need it to get more sunlight then you should consider a fixed window installation. Fixed windows are much more secure than the other window styles. Make sure the seal works fine and air can’t get out through it. This will help reduce cooling and heating bill during the summer and winter respectively.

In conclusion, when searching for window replacements or perhaps you’re simply just installing new windows; you should consider every option so that you can choose those that best fit your home. Incorporating different types of window installations into your home is a great idea as it depends on the room, the position and many other factors. It is just important to get the best value and energy efficient ones.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.