Routine Spring Maintenance for the Interior and Exterior of Your Home

It is crucial for homeowners to perform thorough maintenance on their homes at the beginning of the spring season.  Once the winter weather thaws and the sun starts peaking through it is easier to notice issues where your home could benefit from some attention.

Roofing

Roofing contractors are an important element in the inspection of your homes roof.  We all like to think we could spot a problem with our roof however it is not always so simple especially for the novice eye.  When shingles are missing or have become cracked it is not always seen from the ground.  A roofer can spot these and replace them with a rooftop inspection.  If shingles have shifted it is important for a roofer to install new fasteners.  It is also crucial that the build up of pine needles, leaves, and debris in the valleys and peaks of your homes roof is removed and not allowed to settle in the home’s gutters.

Chimney

Brick chimneys can also benefit from springtime maintenance.  It is important for homeowners to check out the chimney material whether it is brick or stone.  How are the joints, is there loose mortar?  Have weeds started growing, is there evidence of water, or a white calcium deposit?  These are all signs that your chimney needs maintenance

Foundation

Your homes foundation is the most important element as it keeps your home standing.  An inspection of your homes concrete foundation should look for cracks of all sizes.  If there is a crack in the foundation you will need to higher a foundation specialist to bond the crack chemically.  A two-part epoxy injection system is used to ensure the crack will not further expand. 

Windows

Windows with leaks in the seal around them will let warm air in during the summer and cool air to escape in the winter.  It is important to check the caulk and weather stripping to make sure it has remained in place throughout the winter.  Condensation on the inside of the double-glazed windows during the month often means that the weather seal has been compromised.  This means that the window will need to be replaced. 

Leaky Faucets

Spring is the perfect time to inspect faucets inside and outside of your home.  Check for leaks, clogs, and sweaty pipes.  Look under your sinks for proper connections to ensure there are know leaks coming from underneath.  Examine dishwashers, washing machines, and other appliances with sources of water for staining.  Repair or replace hoses and pipes for cracks, bulges, and/or dampness.

Air Conditioners

Just as homeowners are expected to inspect their homes heating systems in the fall, they should inspect their cooling systems in the spring.  Air conditioners need to be in good working order to ensure they are ready for the heat of the summer.  Change out the systems filter, check hoses and connections and ensure the drain is able to freely drain. 

Homeowners should also inspect and perform maintenance on their attics, windows, and basements.  Your home is your most valuable asset and should be cared for as such.  A little general maintenance a couple of times a year can increase the longevity of the systems that are in place.

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.

Does New Siding Increase the Resale Value of Your Home?

Replacing old, worn out siding can have a significant affect on the overall curb appeal of your home, but does it add value?  Is new siding a solid investment when it comes to the return on your investment?  The answer to both is YES!  Updating the siding on your home does more than add to the curb appeal of your home, it adds resale value as well as offering a solid return on investment.  It has been noted by more than one professional real estate association that when it comes to improving the value of your home nothing brings in higher ROI’s than exterior home improvement projects such as new siding and replacement windows. 

There are a variety of siding options from vinyl, fiber cement, and foam-backed vinyl.   Homeowners that make the decision to re-side their homes have steadily increased the resale value of their homes.  Not only does new siding add to your homes curb appeal, it also adds to the energy efficiency of the home which controls energy costs as well.

Updating with Midlevel Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is an affordable, lightweight, almost virtually maintenance-free way of increasing thermal protection to your home’s exterior.  It has been reported that choosing midrange vinyl siding in updating your exterior siding increases the value of your home by upwards of 78% of the cost of the overall project including the cost of the materials and labor.  On average midgrade vinyl siding material and replacement will run homeowners around $11,000 to $12,000.  Adding approximately $8,580 to $9,360 in resale value to the home.

Updating with Fiber Cement Siding

If you are looking to reside your home with a material that is resistant to moisture, fire, termites, and rot, look no further than fiber-cement siding.  Another benefit to fiber cement siding is that it doesn’t flex.  Industry experts report that on average a 1,250 square foot home costs between $13,000 to $14,000 to reside with factory primed and painted fiber cement siding.  This cost includes replacing fiber-cement boards or cellular PVC and trim. The installation of fiber cement siding can increase the overall value of your home upwards of 87% which works out to be an increase in overall value to the home of between $11,310 to $12,180.

Updating with Foam-Backed Vinyl Siding

Another solid choice in siding is the use of foam-backed vinyl siding, otherwise known as foam-core vinyl siding.  This choice helps to create a dense foam barrier between the siding and the home which makes the home less vulnerable to impact from objects and weather.   Foam-backed vinyl siding is considered an upscale material choice.  The average cost for a 1,250 square foot house is between $14,000 – $15,000.  The increase in home value with re-siding a home with foam-backed vinyl is around 78% thus the overall value increase between $10,920 – $11,700.

Overall the trend on an increase in home value when siding has been replaced has stayed steady.  Curb appeal from new siding, updated windows, replacement roofing, and other such exterior home improvements remain winners when investing in 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.

Home Improvement In 2019


Not always are the industry trends that we experience centered around the materials we will use or the changes in how the space is utilized.  Sometimes the trends that are called out have to do with the way in which the process of renovating occurs.  In this installment we will look at some not so pleasant trends that seem to be on the rise going into 2019 and how you can avoid falling victim.

DIY Homeowners Will Emerge

To be honest, for contractors, DIY homeowners are both a blessing and a curse.  Yes, one would think that when renovation jobs are done without hiring a professional contractor that we as an industry lose however, in my experience, this is never the case. 

Everyone thinks that with the help and guidance of YouTube and smartphones that they can tackle anything their homes throw at them.  The one thing that happens more often than not, is that even though it is possible for DIYers to physically accomplish a renovation, they flat out run out of time to do it.  There have been many a project that we have been brought to finish that DIY homeowners have run into issues with time management.  Let’s face the facts here, renovating rooms within your home often ends up requiring more time than homeowners have.  Working a full-time job, kid commitments, and keeping up on basic household chores leaves most of us without a lot of downtime.  Although homeowners begin DIY home improvement with fierceness and plan a few weekends to complete them, life gets in the way, the drive stalls, and the professionals come in to save the day.

As a contractor, I always support the DIY movement.  If this trend prevails into 2019 as industry experts say it will I won’t be out of work anytime soon. 

Regret from Missed Execution

This phenomenon is common when working with homeowners who under budget and over inspire with their renovations.  It is not worth starting a renovation when you are already considering ways to cut corners to get the results you desire. Most homeowners, however, don’t heed this warning.  This has become a greater issue over the past few years because of the many sources to draw inspiration from.  With magazines, Pinterest, social media, and the internet in general ideas for renovations are abundant.  What homeowners see in their vision verse what they have budgeted for are often two different things. 

They work to simplify the requests to fit the budget but don’t simplify their expectations for the actual execution. We as contractors struggle to avoid when working with clients whose ideas stretch beyond their budget.  The best suggestions we offer to fend off this 2019 trend from happening to you with your renovation is to wait until you have saved enough that your budget matches your expectations.  Lowering expectations to meet a budget will lead to regret upon execution of the project because it will never be exactly what has been pictured all along.

The one thing that we always stress to our clients when renovating a space, whether it is a kitchen remodel, bathroom modification, or even the installation of new flooring is to envision the final product.  Share that image with us.  As home improvement industry experts, we strive to give clients their dream space and this can only be done if we know what the end goal looks like to them.  If this final picture isn’t realistic with their space, time constraints, budget, or whatever else we work with them towards a solution.  Sometimes it means waiting until the budget is able to accomplish what they want, sometimes it is reimaging the space they have and creating the space they want within it, and sometimes its as simple as drawing a new final picture for them to see. 

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.



Choosing a Contractor for Your Next Home Improvement Project

This is the article to read if you are looking for some great advice on your next home improvement project!  Not only will we discuss tips on choosing a contractor we will throw in some advice on keeping you both communicating throughout.

Be able to articulate exactly what you want:

Being able to articulate your expectations is the most important aspects of any renovation.  Before meeting with a contractor, it is crucial that you know exactly what you want.  Spend time considering your end goals for the project at hand.  Consider how this project flows into future renovations.  Take time to layout a visual representation of what you expect the renovation should look like, the different amenities you desire, your needs vs your wants, etc.  If you can’t explain your goals into specifics, then a contractor won’t be able to translate this into a design.

Take time when interviewing contractors:

It is important to have a clear understand of what you are getting when you hire a contractor.   You should get at least three bids before choosing a contractor, upwards of six is even better as it gives you a clearer picture of what you can expect.  It also allows you to compare services: a six grand from one contractor may get you half of what another contractor is offering.  This will give you a clear perspective on material costs as well as the rates between contractors.  Make sure that all bids are measured equally.  Not all contracts include materials and labor.  When choosing a contractor make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

Complete background checks before signing a contract:

No matter who recommends the contractor, even if they used them in the past, it is important to do some basic background checks on the contractors’ credentials.  Not only should you know the company’s full name and address it is important to have copies of both the company’s liability & workers compensation policy’s along with a current state license.  Verify that they are up to date.  This is also the time to investigate complaints and legal actions that are pending or have been previously resolved.

Look into a contractor’s past work:

Not all contractors are created equally there are those that specialize and those that perform more general labor.  When hiring a large company, such as Kearns Brothers, you get both however this is not the case in all situations.  Before you hire an individual contractor, you must understand what they can and cannot do.

Take time to meet up with past clients to see the work they perform.  This is especially important in bigger renovations such as additions, complete kitchen renovations, and large scaled exterior home improvements.  Look at the similarity between each project, the quality of the materials that were used, and overall craftsmanship.  Also investigate how satisfied current and past clients are with the work that is done.  Other qualities to look for in their overall professionalism is the timeliness of returned phone calls, if they keep appointments and are, they on time, do they drive company vehicles and wear uniforms?

There are lots of little ways to make sure you get the renovation experience you are looking for.  It is important to understand that home improvement projects don’t happen overnight, and neither will hiring the perfect contractor.  Take time and have patience; due diligence will make the renovation run smoother than you ever thought possible.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Bloating, Swelling, & Warping: Causes of Damage to Vinyl Siding

Many homeowners choose to have vinyl siding installed on their homes.  It is known for lasting for a very long time and it is practically maintenance free.  However, there are certain situations that can cause vinyl siding to bloat, swell, and even warp, which will make it look horrendous from any vantage point.  Since all homeowners want their home to look beautiful inside and out, they are not going to want their vinyl siding to look bad at any time and therefore should take proper precautions to avoid these issues.

When a homeowner hires an exterior home improvement contractor, they will want to make sure that the contractor is a professional and has years of experience hanging vinyl siding.  Without this experience, exterior home improvement contractors might nail the vinyl siding too closely to the house.  That means that the vinyl siding will not be able to move as it needs to from thermal expansion and it will buckle and warp.

The elements can really wreak havoc on vinyl siding as well, and it is common for the siding to become buckled and warped after being exposed to many different elements for months or years.  Some of the elements that are the worst include severely windy conditions, intense sunlight, and even extreme rain.

Of course, homeowners also need to consider chemical exposure or heat from nearby buildings if they start to see their vinyl siding bloating, swelling, or warping, because those two things can create a lot of damage too.

Exterior home improvement contractors all agree that homeowners should inspect their vinyl siding on a regular basis.  This will allow them to catch the buckling and warping much sooner, when there is a possibility of it being repaired easily.  Regular maintenance on your homes exterior will prevent siding issues from turning into siding catastrophes.

Unfortunately, if damaged vinyl siding isn’t repaired quickly, there will be no way for exterior home improvement contractors to fix it.  The reason for this is that the buckling and warping will continue to spread to larger areas and the only way to make the siding look nice again is completely replacing it.  At least, when the damage is limited to a smaller section, there is a chance that only that section would need to be replaced.

We always recommend that homeowners hold onto the vinyl siding that is leftover from the installation, so if a small section does buckle or warp, it is easy to replace those pieces.  However, those few pieces will not be of any help if an entire side of a house needs to be redone.

No matter what, homeowners will want to call their exterior home improvement contractor as soon as they see their vinyl siding bloating, swelling, or warping.  This phone call can save a homeowner thousands of dollars if they do it quickly enough.

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.