Feb 14, 2019

Posted by | Comments Off on How to Deal with Unexpected Problems during your Renovations

How to Deal with Unexpected Problems during your Renovations

Deciding to renovate your home is a big decision, and can be an expensive one depending on the type of renovation to be done. As with many walks of life, home renovations can generally be divided into those that we need, and those that we want. In life, we need air to breathe, but we want chocolate gâteau to eat. Sure, we could choose the chocolate gâteau in favour of the air, but we’ll soon start to regret it. And so it goes, albeit on a less life-critical scale, for home renovations.

 

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the verb “to renovate” has two meanings:

  1. to restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding)
  2. to restore to life, vigor, or activity: revive

They are slightly, almost imperceptibly, different – and one definition is generally much more important than the other for the homeowner when considering how to spend their hard-earned renovation budget.

We often think of a home renovation as something which brightens up our living space, gives us more room, or makes us more comfortable. Consider an addition, or a fresh coat of paint, or a new bathroom. These renovations fall squarely into definition number two. They are restoring life to our home, and have the ‘wow’ factor which we love to share with our friends and family. These renovations also tend to add value to the price of a house, and people will talk about the return on investment that goes with them i.e. what the cost of the renovation is compared to the increase in price if the house were to be sold.

However, there is sometimes a far more important home renovation to be considered, and that, unfortunately, falls into definition number one. It is the maintenance renovation, the “restore to a former better state” renovation, the boring renovation – and the ratio of financial cost to “wow” factor absolutely stinks. This type of renovation includes things like a new roof, foundation repairs, pointing, insulation, and wiring – normally renovations you can’t see – and are generally the top priority of any home owner, no matter what situation they are in.

Take the case where the home-owner is happy in their home and they want to stay there to raise a family – they love the community spirit of the neighbourhood, it’s close to work, and there are ample facilities nearby. What is more important long-term? Stopping the basement from leaking, or getting a new kitchen? The answer should be obvious of course – renovating (restoring to a former better state) the basement is not only a necessary preventative measure from potentially significant damage to the house, but is also a requirement for peace of mind.

 

What about when the home-owner is trying to sell their house? It is well-known that a new kitchen has the best return on investment and can boost the value of a house significantly. It may be tempting to renovate this little profit maker first to get more money and to make the house more attractive, but there is a downfall – if there are any outstanding structural or major maintenance issues, the potential buyer, if they have any common sense, will find them when they have a structural survey performed.

Depending on what the issue is, there could be one of several outcomes: a request for a reduction in price, a request for the work to be completed and re-inspected at the homeowner’s expense, or, as is quite often the case, a permanent retraction of the offer. It’s a hard pill to swallow for the seller, because typically a realtor’s price evaluation of their house has not taken into account the cost of this additional work, and yet by having the work done, there seems to be no benefit in terms of increasing the house value. In fact, of course, there is – it’s just that the evaluation was too high in the first place.

That said, there are always house buyers who will not do the proper ground work, so the required maintenance renovations are missed when the home is purchased. The seller, if they knew about the issue (as they often do), has gambled and “gotten away with one”, and the buyer has foolishly taken on someone else’s problems for the sake of the cost of a structural survey. A note to potential buyers: always, always, get a full structural survey done unless you are an expert yourself in such matters because the short-term additional cost will be far less painful than finding significant issues and having to deal with the associated heart-ache (and anger) after the purchase is complete.

So how does the average homeowner know if there are maintenance renovations that require attention? There are a few ways to find out, and sticking your head in the sand is not an option. That would be akin to not going for a regular check-up at the doctor or dentist – if no-one tells you there’s a problem, then there is no problem, right? Wrong.  The first thing to do is to call upon your gut instinct. You probably have a suspicion if the electrics might be an issue (there’s a spark when you plug appliances in, for example), or if there’s damp in the basement, or if the attic insulation is insufficient; after all, you’re the one who lives there. Take a look around the outside of the house for any signs of worsening damage – are cracks bigger than you remember them? Does the roof look patchy? Do you have an effective water management system – one that drains run-off water away from the house foundations?

Back this up by pulling out the home inspection that you had done when you first bought the home and going over it again (after you’ve blown off the dust). Make a list of the possible issues and prioritize them into those that are urgently needed and those you can live with. A very basic risk assessment would look at each item and give it a score of high, medium or low for the two categories of likelihood and consequence. Those that come out high-high, high-medium or medium-high are the most urgent and should be dealt with first.

 

The next step is to confirm your suspicions. It may be that you don’t need to do this if the problem is obvious – for example, if every time it rains you have a bath because the bath fills up from a leak in the ceiling, (a high-high issue in most people’s books), a call to a roofer sooner rather than later would be in order. On the other hand, there might be issues which you are unsure of such as visible cracks in the brickwork possibly due to a sinking foundation. This would rate in the medium-high category where the likelihood is unknown but has some supporting evidence (the cracks), and the consequence is financially significant (the house falling down). In a case such as this, or whatever your case might be where you are unsure of the cause of an effect, it’s time to consult with others. You may consider talking with family or friends who may have had similar issues, but this tends to leave more doubt as people’s natural reaction is to guess and err on the negative side. It is much better to talk to an expert in the field you are concerned with – if it’s the roof, talk to a roofer; the brickwork, talk to a stonemason; an electrical issue, an electrician.

Go about the process as if you were intending to get have the work done (you may well have to) – get three quotes and therefore three separate opinions, and ask lots of questions. It may turn out that the cracks in the brickwork are merely superficial and become a high-low case, that is, the cracks are definitely there, but will cause no further problems. The low significance cases, regardless of the likelihood, are generally aesthetic and can be resolved at any future time you wish. As for low likelihood cases, they should, in general, not make it to your list. A note about the risk assessment: if there is an effect you are observing you will have to think about all the possible causes and rate them accordingly. For example, a stain on the ceiling could be due a leaky roof, but it could also be due to a leaky pipe. Be sensible though (you have to stop somewhere) – it could also be spilled tea from a squirrel tea party, but it is quite unlikely. If it turns out that there is a significant issue, don’t panic. Work on a plan and a time-frame to get it done. Talk to the contractor you choose to find out if the situation is extremely urgent or can be sat on for a couple of months or even a year or so. Understand that the money you are spending is buying you peace of mind and saving you long-term financial heartache, and know that there’s always time to have your gâteau once you’re certain you’re breathing properly.

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Dec 3, 2018

Posted by | Comments Off on Replacing Your Old Roof? Here’s Where to Begin

Replacing Your Old Roof? Here’s Where to Begin

Roof replacement is one of the most important home repairs. Although a new roof might not be that glamorous, you eventually understand its importance when a roof fails. An old and worn out roof can allow water to cause severe damage into your home. Basically, a failed roof can be a disaster.

But, replacing a roof is not something that you can just wake up a do. Although roof replacement should not be delayed, it requires careful planning. Once you decide to replace your old roof, here’s where to begin.

Find a Contractor

Just like any other home repair, it’s crucial that you look for a reputable contractor. Check the credentials of the available contractors and their portfolios. If possible, get contacts of the past clients of a contractor. Get in touch with them to find out if they were satisfied with the job done by the contractor. You can also ask neighbours and friends to recommend a roofing contractor. Choose a contractor with the most positive reviews from past clients. Visit Medicine Hat Roofing for more information.

Get Estimates

Roof replacement can cost thousands of dollars. However, the cost of roof replacement depends on the season. Whether a roof is slope or flat will also determine the cost of its replacement. Additionally, the height of a home and other details like architectural flourishes, turrets, skylights, gables, and dormers will increase cost due to the extra labor required. Whether you decide to tear off the old roof or install new roof over an existing roof will also influence cost. Ideally, start by getting estimates from several contractors to know the amount you should budget for your roof replacement project.

Choose Roofing Materials

Many homeowners look at the finished work when choosing their roofing materials. Remember that a roof accounts for about 40% of the curb appeal of a home. Lighter coloured roofing materials keep a roof cooler during summer because they reflect heat from the sun. Dark materials on the other hand absorb heat. It’s therefore crucial that you talk to the contractor that you choose about your choice of roofing materials. Let them guide you to make a more informed choice. Remember that the roofing material that you choose will also influence the cost of your roof replacement project.

Familiarize Yourself with the Roofing Process

You will make better decisions when you are familiar with the roof replacement process. Working with your contractor will also be easier when you know the jargons that are used in the industry. A moderately-sized roofing job takes about 3 to 4 days when done professionally. The process of roofing a building varies depending on the existing roof and the materials chosen for a new roof. Additionally, roofing experts use terms like square and bundles when estimating the roofing job’s materials.

Get Ready

You don’t relax after getting a contractor, estimates, and selecting materials. It’s important that you get ready and be prepared before the roofing contractor arrives. For instance, keep furniture and keepsakes at a protected place to ensure that debris and water won’t damage them in case it rains. Make sure that your valuables are safe and plan to vacate the house for a while to allow roofers time to do their job.

Follow these tips to easily start the process of replacing your old roof.

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Jul 4, 2018

Posted by | Comments Off on On to the bathroom

On to the bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the smallest rooms in the house and they are also one the most costly to renovate. Bathroom renovation is a job that, if done well, can add value to a home and a great space full of design and light.

Bathroom design

Bathroom design is the first area of your bathroom renovation you need to get right. Just replacing the existing bathroom with the same design may not be enough. The key to great bathroom design is to design it with the people that are going to use it in mind. However be sure that your bathroom design also has a general use factor as well.

For example: If you were designing a bathroom for families you could still design the bathroom with easy access to the shower and bath. This would ensure that the design would also work for people with limited mobility. This means if you decide to sell your home or if you are renovating for profit your design has a wider market appeal. Great bathroom design also uses the space well, taking into account the light or window space, size of fittings, and drainage options. Draw out a plan to scale and right down the sizes of your room. Mark the existing drainage points and then and water inlet points. Write down a wish list of the bathroom fittings to need and want with their sizes. Now marry the two together and see what fits. Note: Most bathroom drainage and water inlet points can be moved but this does come at extra cost.

Bathroom remodel

If you have decided to do the work yourself or part of the work it is time to hire a skip bin and pull out the old bathroom. If your home was made pre 1980 you may have fibro bathroom wall linings with asbestos in it and great care will need to be taken. You will need some full body disposable overalls, eye protection, and quality dust mask. Check with your local building authority or council regarding the regulation on bathroom asbestos wall lining removal. Remove everything except the plumbing. If you keep the bathroom plumbing in place you will not have to turn the water off for the whole house. Also you will need to jack hammer the floor tiles up and the sand and cement bed that they are laid on.

Bathroom Renovation and construction

Bathrooms must be construction properly from the ground up to ensure that the finished job is correct and true. This also ensures the design and look of the bathroom will have a great finish

The Bathroom Renovation Process

-Install water and drainage pipe and electrical wires.

-Install wall lining and ceiling and then install the bath hob and bath.

-Waterproof the floor and shower and bath recess.

-Correct the fall of the floor with sand and cement ready for tiling.

-Lay floor and wall tiles and then grout.

-Install new bathroom vanity, fittings, and taps – install new electrical.

-Paint ceiling and final clean.

Step one – Plumbing and electrical

At this point all new plumbing is installed for clean hot and cold water and drainage. Careful attention needs to be taken when positioning the new plumbing so that the plumbing fittings are correct when the tiling is finished. For example: To centre a fitting in a shower recess you must take into consideration the thickness of the wall board, tile glue and tile so the fitting will be centred after the tiles are in place. The same applies to installing drainage pipes for a toilet; the wall lining and tile thickness must be taken into account so the pipe is in the correct position when the toilet is installed after tiling. Also rough in the any new electrical wires without connecting them to the mains power.

Step two – Install wall and ceiling linings

Install your 6mm wall lining being careful to nail the fibro board every 150mm without nailing into the new pipes and electrical wires. The best way is to measure and mark the pipe and wire layout onto your new wall board with a pencil as you go. Screw up (or nail) the ceiling lining, plasterboard is the most common. However if you are lying your tiles from floor to ceiling do not install the cornice as this is best done after tiling. If you are not tiling to the ceiling go ahead and install the cornice after the wallboard and ceiling lining have been installed. Also if your bath is not freestanding you can now make up the frame and install the bath. Ensure the bath is installed correctly allowing for the thickness of the tiles and glue.Be sure to check all linings and pipes before you continue with your bathroom renovation.

Step three – Waterproof your bathroom

Waterproof your bathroom floor, shower recess, and around the bath. When waterproofing the floor ensure that the waterproofing comes 100mm up the walls. The shower recess will need to be waterproofed 100mm above the shower rose outlet. Also the bath should be waterproofed 100mm above the lip of the bath right around and to the floor. At the doorway install a 25 x 25mm aluminium angle glued into place with quality silicone and waterproof into the lip. Your whole bathroom should now the tanked, so the all water will only go down a drain. Bathroom waterproofing tip: waterproofing is an easy job but quality and accuracy is most important.

Step four – Lay in the cement screed for the floor.

Before the floor tiles can laid the floor must be smooth and fairly flat with a slight fall to the drainage outlet. To do this you must use sand and cement mix and it is best to add a waterproofing agent into this as well. With a level, set the floor level at the doorway. Use the top aluminum angle as the finished floor level and measure down the thickness of the tile plus 10mm for the glue. Mark right around the bathroom with a level and then screed in your sand and cement mix with a 1 to 3 degree fall to the top of the drain outlet. Take your time and get it right with the finished level as smooth as possible. When the sand cement mix has set but is not dry (you can walk on it but you it is still a bit soft) rub it over with a house brick. This will remove all the small highs and lows and check with a level as you go. Let the bathroom floor fully dry and then you should have a great surface to tile onto. Tip: the more work you put into the floor screed the easier your tiling will be.

Step five: Tile floor and walls

Lay your tiles on the floor first and then grout. Then lay your wall tiles making sure that they are level as you lay. Once the bathroom tiles have been cut and laid, grout all your tiles and then buff the tiles clean.

Step six: Install plumbing fitting and fixtures

Install all your plumbing fittings and taps. Also fit all your towel rails and soap holders. Fit your new bathroom vanity making sure it is level and sealed around the top with silicone and also seal around the bath. Tip: make sure they are in the right place before you drill into your tiles.

Step seven: painting, and cleaning – enjoy

Paint your ceiling and do a final clean making sure everything is fitted correctly and that there are no leaks in your plumbing. – Enjoy your new bathroom.

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May 27, 2018

Posted by | Comments Off on Thinking about your re-sale value

Thinking about your re-sale value

Your home is not just a place where you live in; it is also your major investment. It is one of your major concerns to get the best value for every penny that you spend on them. To ensure that you achieve the best, if not the highest selling price and get the highest return on your investment, you must always consider these top 5 home value boosters.

Use Available Space Wisely

The manner by which you arrange your furniture and other fixtures in a room will have a significant impact on how big or small it will turn out. You must also look at your lifestyle and assess whether you really need that pair of couches, chairs or love seats that tend to eat up a lot of space in your home. You must evaluate how well you organize things and carefully assess the mix of stuff that you presently have in your home. Are there items that you have not been using for the past 3 months and should have been stowed away in your storage area? Or are there things that you have not been using for the last 12 months and should have been disposed of altogether? There are small items that can make even a good-sized home look a tad smaller. These are the last things that a buyer would want to see in the home that they want to buy. Seriously think of all the possible space-maximizing options and make those small changes in the look of your home interior before you decide to show your property to an interested buyer.

Assess your Interior Decoration Quotient

The last thing that you want to do is go overboard in your home interior decorations. A perfect home interior decoration is not always appealing to buyers. Sometimes, your taste and preference in home decoration may limit your home selling options. Your taste in home interior decoration is largely a personal thing. If your style is moving towards bright, dark or wild colors or have a home interior design that is really “out of this world,” then you may have to seriously consider “un-decorating” your home property. The basic rule that you must remember when preparing your home for sale is to keep the obvious and prominent aspects of your home in neutral territory.

Un-clutter is the Buzzword

Clutter is your worst enemy when you are planning to sell your home. You have to get of rid of useless stuff and excess items in your home. The rule of thumb when preparing your home for sale is to keep things on neutral mode. Those large family portraits, toys and other personal stuff must be stowed away. Buyers must be given the opportunity to visualize themselves as owners of the home property. This becomes hard, if they see your strong presence in the stuff and things that they see in your home.

Keep Things Clear and Clean

You will easily score big points in aspects related to aesthetic and perceived value of your home property if you follow the basic rule of keeping things clean and clear. Dirt stains, blemishes and smudges can significantly devalue your home. Make sure that your home is immaculately clean before you show it to prospective buyers. Keep the critical parts of your home in their best and sparkling form. It is also a wise decision if you hire the services of a professional home cleaning specialist to perform a top-to-bottom clean-up job on your home. You must also look at the lighting in your home interior as well as exterior. Check the bulbs of your lighting fixtures and make sure that all are in working condition.

Set the Stage for a Perfect Home Staging

Once you have sufficiently covered all the essential aspects of an effective home staging, the last thing that you need to do is to stay away when the prospective buyer checks on your home property. You can take a short stroll at the local park, watch a movie or treat your family to a dinner. It is best that you are not in it while your agent is showing your home to prospective buyers.

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May 6, 2018

Posted by | Comments Off on Gathering the right information

Gathering the right information

Whether you are remodeling with the intent to sell your home, or you have just decided it is time for an upgrade to your living space, home renovation can be costly and time consuming. Yet, regardless of your budget or timeline, there are many projects that not only increase the value of your home, but also make for a more comfortable and attractive living environment. The following tips are designed to help you get the most out of your home renovation no matter how large or small your budget.

Planning is the key to a successful renovation that is completed on time and on budget. Ideally, you want to set your expectations in advance so that you can avoid any problems as the renovation progresses. You not only want to consider your own style and vision, but basic elements that will impact your renovation. For example, always consider lighting before you make changes to windows, take careful measurements of rooms so that you know your renovations can be accommodated and coordinate style elements for particular rooms throughout your entire renovation.

In addition to these general tips, you should consider the purpose of your renovation before you start. If you are updating your home for personal reasons, but you plan to continue living in it, your renovations need not be rushed. You can update a room at a time as your budget allows, or you can make grander plans. However, if you are hoping that renovations will help you sell your home, here are some factors you should consider.

Landscaping

The first impression visitors have to your home will be made by the landscaping. Regardless of whether you’re planning to sell your home, landscaping your front and backyard increases your property value dramatically without making a huge impact on your finances. Add flowers to your garden, build a planter, clean up debris, and you’ve already made improvements to your landscaping without spending a lot of money.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is a central room in your home, and usually involves the most challenging renovations. You can make small updates to your kitchen by painting, adding tile as a backsplash, refinishing cupboards, or you can go all out and do a complete kitchen renovation. Ultimately, you want to consider your own design preferences from contemporary style to country kitchen. New appliances are expensive, but they make a drastic difference to the overall look and feel of your kitchen.

Other Rooms

Renovations to the bathroom, living room, and bedrooms of your house can also be simple or grand in scale. Bathrooms tend to be more costly to renovate because of the fixtures, but many hardware and plumbing supply stores frequently offer sales on past years’ models of these fixtures. Also, like in the living room or bedroom, a quick coat of paint can completely revitalize your bathroom.

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May 4, 2018

Posted by | Comments Off on When to Begin Renovations

When to Begin Renovations

Home renovation often increases property value. This is one of the most common reasons for renovations, in addition to updating a home and making it more suited to your personal tastes. When it comes to renovations, some homeowners opt to utilise the services of professional contractors. Renovation projects can be very costly, especially where you enlist the services of a professional builder, interior designer or other specialist. This is why some people prefer DIY (do it yourself) renovations, which can be more cost effective, especially where you have the skills to do some of the tasks. So if you are thinking of DIY home renovations, here is a list of renovation tips that may help you renovate your home.

Plan

Having a plan for each step of your renovation allows you to renovate in a more cost effective manner, giving you the ability to budget accordingly before you start the project; an outline of the project will help during the renovations. Appropriating funds from your budget is extremely important. Kitchens and bathrooms are huge selling points in a house, which means you should spend the bulk of your time and resources renovating those rooms. Often a new coat of paint or new carpet can change the entire look of your bedroom and living rooms, and both are relatively inexpensive ways to improve a place.

If you are looking to increase the property value, talk to a realtor before you start your renovations. Your realtor can provide you with insight as to which renovations are worth the money and which ones will not turn a profit. Additionally, your realtor can provide you with current real estate trends so you can see what aspects of a house are selling points with buyers and which ones are not.

Improve instead of renovate

Before you start the project, think about what you want and decide whether or not you have to replace things or simply reface them. For example, if you are renovating your kitchen, ask yourself if you need all new cabinets or if painting or staining your current cabinets will provide your kitchen with the update you are looking for. In addition, you can remove the doors of your current cabinets and attach new ones for far less than the price of installing a complete cabinet system.

Cost

One of the biggest costs in renovating your house comes from materials. By purchasing and transporting materials on your own you can save hundreds of dollars. A contractor or other third party will charge you delivery fees among other hidden fees to pick up and deliver materials to your home. In addition, doing this yourself gives you the option of shopping around, comparing costs and finding items on sale or clearance. The best way to reduce cost is to go to places and source second hand building material. If you can’t access used materials, then head to thrift stores or larger outdoor stores that sell cheaper items.

Design

Creating a design for your renovation is perhaps the most important aspect in the remodelling process. Use resources of the internet to get an idea of how you want to design things and speak to professionals to get expert advice and tips on how best to approach the renovation and how to work with the space that you have.

Extra help

Some renovations will inevitable require the use of a contractor. If you are not accustomed to working with plumbing or cabinetry, it is wise to invest in a contractor to handle those aspects of the renovation for you. The low cost of doing it yourself is gone, but not knowing what you are doing can cost you a significant amount of extra money in the long run! If you must go the route of hiring a contractor, you can still get things done cheaply by doing smaller tasks yourself. For example, if you hire a contractor to handle your new kitchen, you can paint the kitchen yourself, which will save you several hundred dollars.

 

Consider these tips!

Before you start your renovation project, consider these DIY home renovation tips. Each will save you time and money on your renovation. Adhering to them will help you increase the property value of your home and maximise your profits by allowing you to see a return on the money you spent remodelling, should you decide to sell your home.

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