There are many sad cases of home renovations not going as planned – often going way over budget or schedule, or unforseen complications popping up unexpectedly and ruining even up to years of work.

Most of these situations would never have gone so awry with some careful planning and early decision making sooner in the renovation process. Below are a few issues that it is vital to think about before you begin your home renovation.

10 Things to Think About BEFORE Beginning Work

  • Prepare a budget
  • Be aware of council regulations
  • Find a tradesperson
  • Know your start and completion dates
  • Selecting Products
  • Prepare plans
  • Purchasing products
  • What should I purchase myself?
  • What services are available to my property?
  • What sort of hot water unit do I need?

Prepare a budget

Before you start shopping for your new bathroom or kitchen you must know your spending limits. Whether you are getting a loan or paying cash, you need to work out how much your project is going to cost. Some businesses also offer finance solutions for approved customers.

Be aware of council regulations

Find out all the information you can before you arrange tradesperson. If your home is heritage listed you will need to meet strict council regulations. Many renovations must be approved by the council before work can commence. Contact your local council for more details.

Finding a tradesperson

Speak with family and friends who have done renovations or built a home. It is important to find a tradesperson that you can communicate with. Make sure you understand everything they are telling you. Book a tradesperson well ahead of time, as they can be booked for months in advance. Ensure that your tradesperson is licensed. Your product warranties are only valid if installed by a licensed tradesperson. In Australia, Trades@call provide professional, reliable tradespeople for most jobs, and all workmanship is guaranteed.

Know your start and completion dates

Communicate with your tradesperson and come to an agreement of realistic start and completion dates for your project. If you have a specific date that the job must be finished by, for example you have relatives coming to stay, let your tradesperson know. Keep in mind that unexpected problems can hold up your project, no matter how well you have planned it.

Selecting Products

It may take a few shopping trips for you to decide on the products that give you the look you desire and are also practical for your needs. Browse through a print or online catalogue. Once you have decided on a style (modern, heritage or easy living) this will narrow down your product choices. Be aware of any size restrictions of the room. Print out or write down product specifications and measure up your bathroom. You may use the online bathroom planner at the Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centre website to layout the products you have chosen.

Talk to your tradesperson about your choices. If the tradesperson tells you that a product you have chosen is unsuitable, find out why. It may just be that extra work is required that they don’t want to do. Remember, it is your home and you need to be satisfied once the job is complete.

Prepare plans

It is important that you draw up plans of your bathroom or kitchen. Discuss the plans with your tradesperson. Let him know what sort of products you would like, so he will know what work needs to be done. For example if you have chosen an inwall cistern, the tradesperson will need to know so he can set up the plumbing correctly before the tiling is done. It is best to have specifications of all of the products you have chosen so the tradesperson knows exactly what work is required.

Purchasing products

When selecting products, find out how long it will take for delivery. Some goods such as tapware and toilets will be in stock, while others such as spas and vanity units are custom made and can take up to 1 month to order in. Often these custom made products are non-refundable so confirm your product choices with your tradesperson before ordering. Find out from your tradesperson which products they will required first. Generally, the first products needed are the shower base, bath or spa and mixers if they are being installed on the wall.

As an owner builder, what should I purchase myself?

If you are owner building, make sure you purchase all of the main products for your bathroom, kitchen and laundry. This will ensure that you make all of the decisions and achieve the result you want. There will be things you will not think about when placing an order, such as different handle types on a vanity unit, the pump position of your spa, that you will need to decide on. It is important to make these decisions yourself as they will affect the overall result of your project. Smaller fittings for plumbing can be purchased by your tradesperson.

What services are available to my property?

It is important to know whether you need gas or electric appliances (hot water unit, cooking appliances). If you live further out from the city, you may need LPG appliances. If you currently have electric appliances and you want to change to gas, speak with your tradesperson to determine if this is going to be cost effective and worthwhile in the long run. If you are building a new home, decide on the appliances you want before building begins, as the plumbing will need to be roughed in based on your product selection.

What sort of Hot Water Unit do I need?

There is a wide range of hot water units available and it can be quite daunting to try and choose one. If you are replacing an existing unit your choices can be limited, so speak with your tradesperson. The instantaneous hot water units are popular at the moment, but they use a larger gas line than the standard storage units. This can mean major plumbing changes which can be quite costly, though in the long run the instantaneous systems are cost efficient. See Jersey Home Renovations & Plumbing for more details.

Many of these points seem somewhat obvious, but the problem arises when you start taking things for granted. When you don’t make sure that all your bases are covered, you may find that you have invested a lot of time, effort and money in a home renovation that you may end up unhappy with.

I recently had the need to come up with relatively useful definitions of some roofing terms and also some guides and opinions regarding roofing methods. I stumbled upon some useful online resources that provide the things that I need and also may also be helpful to other users out there.

Here is a list and some descriptions of some of the sites I have found:

1. ACJ Remodeling – ACJ Remodeling is a professional roofing contractor that does business in Staten Island and Brooklyn, New York.  We have used their services a few times in the last 5 years.  What generally caught my attention was their PowerPoint presentation that provides an overview of the most common types of roofing systems that are available in the commercial market place today. Other information include in the presentation are brief description, history and application of each system and lastly, the advantages and disadvantages of each roofing system.

2. Roofing.com – It is a forum all about roofing. Its main feature is a forum area where there are active members. All posts are related to roofing and most members are highly knowledgeable when it comes to roofing both in theory and in practice.

It also has a Knowledge base area wherein forum members can give inputs like answers to frequently asked questions and some roofing guides. Within this area, you can find the definitions to most roofing terms.

The site also has a section wherein you can view the number of roofing jobs available per state. It also has a directory of roofing companies categorized by state.

All in all, the site is quite user-friendly and highly informative. Most of my friends also think that it is one good online resource site if the subject is roofing.

3. Contractortalk.com – Contractor Talk is a highly informative site dedicated to remodeling, contracting, as well as roofing. Here you can find local roofers through browsing photos of their works. Also, this site has been suggested to me by members of Roofing.com. They say the pictures they upload to this site help them get quick answers from other users of the forum.

I would include the other sites that I find useful in another article which I may finish by next week. Until then, I hope you get the maximum benefit that you can from the following sites.

What with soaring energy and fuel costs, energy efficiency in your home is more important today than ever before. That is why, when homeowners reach the point where it is necessary to replace windows for any reason, I highly recommend they choose energy efficient replacement aluminum windows. Aluminum replacement windows can appreciably influence the cost of heating and cooling a home.

Of course, I realize everyone wants his or her home to be beautiful. Yes, often the more energy efficient windows are not your most visually pleasing option, and these windows are also more expensive upfront than other choices. However, overall savings over the lifetime of these windows in energy costs will more than return your investment. Remember that you will only pay the price of the windows once, but it is possible for energy prices to keep rising and costing you.

Lower heating and cooling bills are not the only benefits from installing aluminum replacement windows. In 1989, Jan Fenhaus of Eugene, Oregon added an extension to her ranch-style home that used all wood-framed windows.

“Since then,” she writes, “I developed multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). I became very sick and was unable to work; my life was miserable. After many months of suffering, while doing some research into MCS, I discovered that the wood frames of the new windows had been treated with water repellants and fungicidal chemicals which some people react to. I took out a home equity loan and had all the wood windows in the house removed. They were replaced with new aluminum windows, which I was told are the best for sensitive people. Within days of moving back in,” Jan told us, “the headaches and nausea cleared up and now I am 100% recovered”

Now think about the reason you want replacement windows. Is it because your old windows are drafty, old and let so much outside air in your house? If the decision to replace has anything to do with energy consumption, then you would be making a mistake not to look for the more energy efficient windows available.

If you live in NJ, check out Morris Replacement Windows in New Jersey.  They have been in the business for over 30 years and have the best replacement windows on the market.  They also know how to increase your energy efficiency.

Countertops can influence the total design of your kitchen.  One of the most common reasons home owners remodel their kitchen is due to lack of usable counter space.

When you are remodeling your kitchen a new countertop gives the whole room a facelift.  There are several types of kitchen countertops you can choose from.

1. Laminate Countertops  -  Some good things about laminate countertops are you can install them yourself, they are inexpensive, they are low maintenance, and you can find them in all kinds of colors.

On the other hand, you need to be careful with knives and hot pans because once a laminate countertop is damaged it is almost impossible to repair.

2.  Ceramic Tile Countertops -  These countertops can also be easily installed and they come in lots of colors and patterns, they are heat resistant, and easy to clean.

But ceramic tile countertops can be a tough surface to chop on and they can crack or chip.

3.  Stone Countertops – These countertops are very durable, look great, and the granite ones also clean up quite easily.

On the down side you must regularly seal and polish them so they look good, and if your stone countertop is made of marble you need to be extra careful because of staining.

4.  Stainless Steel Countertops – Stains are not a problem and the counter can take high temperatures without damage.

But you have to take some care when installing stainless steel because if they are not extremely well supported they can dent.  They also are prone to showing scratches and nicks.

5.  Butcher Block Countertops -  They give your kitchen that warm feeling that only wood can give, your knives won’t dull, and you can smooth out any scratches with sandpaper.

On the other hand you must use vegetable oil regularly to treat the wood and keep it looking good.  Also too much water exposure can stain and rot the counter.

6. Solid Surface Countertops  -  Lots of plus’s here, you can find a ton of patterns and colors and some styles look like granite or other stone choices, it is very durable, easy to clean, and with this type of countertop you can easily install custom integrated sinks.

But you will need a licensed contractor to install this type of countertop or you will void the warranty and you must be careful with your hot pots and pans.  You can get a licensed contractor at Contractor Match.

7.  Soapstone Countertops  -  These are very beautiful and they don’t stain.  Hot pans are also not a problem.

You do need to seal them with mineral oil quite often, and they are more likely to be scratched than granite.

8.  Lavastone Countertops  -  Awesome countertops, they can resist water damage, scratches, and hot pans superbly.

But lavastone counters can be hard to find and they are very expensive.

So now that you know a little more about the materials kitchen countertops can be made of it should be easier to narrow down your choices when installing your new kitchen counters.

If you’re looking to buy a kitchen sink, then you must consider every detail and feature. The Kitchen sink is probably the most used aperture in the whole household, even if you’re using a dishwasher, most of the cleaning is still done in your ordinary kitchen sink, all the more reason why you should find the best one around.

Size

Choosing a kitchen sink apart from being a question of quality is also a question of need. Most of the standard sinks that you will find in the market roughly consist of two 22 by 30 inch sized bowls both 8 inches in depth, however, if you use large pots, you might want bigger sizes or you might want to have them specially made. Nine and Ten inch deep bowls are also available commercially. Added features like bowls for peeled fruits in the center can be very handy.

Whistles and Bells

If you want your sink to have all the whistles and bells available, then you might want more pre-drilled holes on it. Most sinks have four holes on it, one for the hot knob, one for the cold knob, one for the faucet and another one for the shower feature. Some sinks however have extra spouts, for soap dispensers, an air gap for the dishwasher drain, a liquid soap dispenser, a TV, well just kidding about the TV. But if some sinks have extra features that you might not want to use, you can always ask the supplier for ready made plugs to cover the unused holes, conversely, if the sink you choose doesn’t have enough holes, you can easily drill a hole in your sink, or maybe have it drilled by a professional.

Installation

Apart from choosing a design and a type, you should also be aware of your sink’s location, will your chosen sink fit in the desired location etc. You can choose from a self rimming sink or an undermount. A self rimming sink is easier to install and would just rest on top of your counter, however, the underside where the sink meets the countertop can be a breeding ground for bacteria and may be hard to clean. An undermount however, is harder to install because it has to be attached from under the counter. This type however, is easier to clean.

Type of Sink

Now we proceed to choosing which type of sink to choose. To make the choice easier, a few pros and cons are listed together with a brief description of each type of sink.

Stainless Steel

This is probably the most common kitchen sink around and is available in all prices ranges. However, you don’t expect to buy the best quality sink for a cheap price. Usually a cheap stainless steel sink is made of thin metal which flexes and vibrates. This is especially bad because of the racket it makes when the water drums on it or when the garbage disposal vibrates. A good quality sink doesn’t get scratched easily and should be easy to clean. A sign of a good quality sink is also its ability to maintain a brand new appearance even if you just wipe it.


A general rule for buying stainless steel sink is not to buy mirror type ones, sure they’ll look great when brand new, but overtime scratching will mar its surface and give it a foggy dirty look. Another good tip is to check the insulation under the bowl, insulation deadens the water drumming. Foam insulations are always better than those that are just sprayed on.

Jersey Home Renovations & Plumbing, a plumber in Wayne, New Jersey, recommends using Home Depot to check out buying new sinks.

plumbing-accessoriesThe bathroom is the most important part of the house. There are many accessories in the bathroom that we take for granted: the tub, the shower stall, the sink, the commode, the shelves and other aspects. It is very difficult to imagine a bathroom that doesn’t have any of these. It is a matter of not just comfort but also hygiene.

Modern Plumbing in Bathrooms

Modern bathrooms host a very wide range of accessories that have become synonymous with comfort. Even the most ordinary plumbing accessories and articles like soap bowls, weighing scales, bath rugs, towel racks, toothbrush holders, first aid kits and dispenser bottles, can become an eyesore if they do not have their own place in the bathroom. Furthermore, it is very important that they blend in with the rest of the décor in the bathroom, and not stand out like an oddity. Presently, every house holds as many bathrooms as the number of bedrooms, with each person having their own personal space. This means as many accessories as per the different bathroom styles.

Modern bathroom accessories ought to include beautifully designed bath and shower curtains in different fabrics. They can feature exotically designed taps, shower fittings and other plumbing; modern wall-mounted or countertop accessories, such as a weigh scales that also show body mass index; stunningly carved mirrors, gorgeous lighting fixtures, and specially designed toiletries; matching towels and robes made of organic materials; plastic bag dryers and recycling bins designed to blend in with the décor; decorative glassware and potted plants; bath and shower filters; wooden carvings, hemp throw rugs, and even duvets. Throw in some furniture and you have the ultimate in bathroom comfort.

Most of these products are available in organic and eco-friendly materials. You can find these items in furnishing stores, or in stores that specialize in bathroom accessories. They can also be ordered online. Finally, some plumbing manufacturers even design custom products for their customers.

This article was submitted by Jersey Home Renovations & Plumbing in Clifton, New Jersey.

kitchen-cabinetsKitchen cabinets are a big expense, but make the most difference in the look of your home. There are a wide variety of styles, designs and materials available in new kitchen cabinets and cabinet doors. Visit home improvement stores for ideas. Many offer computerized images of your kitchen with the new cabinets.

Before shopping, it’s important to take accurate measurements. This saves time and helps with planning. Be sure to measure the appliance areas to get a more accurate picture of the cost and how your kitchen will look.

Most home improvement stores will send a representative to your home to double check your measurements before your new kitchen is ordered. This will ensure accurate measurements and you will be sure your new cabinets will fit perfectly.

Kitchen Cabinets Options

Stock kitchen cabinets come in standard sizes. A few styles and color options are available, but are more limited than either semi custom or custom cabinetry. Most consist of basic cabinet and drawer styles. Stock kitchen cabinets are often used in new construction and are the least expensive alternative.

Semi custom cabinets come in standard sizes, but you have more options in terms of style, designs and storage choices. There are more color and wood varieties available. These are more expensive than stock cabinets, but are generally higher quality.

There are many different storage options available in semi custom cabinets. Take some time to look at these before making a decision. A lazy Susan, wine rack, pull out garbage cans, vertical dividers for storing trays and pull out shelves make storing and organizing the kitchen much easier. Consider your lifestyle and the storage issues that are most pressing when making a choice.

Custom cabinets are the most expensive alternative. These are made just for your kitchen. You can have any style, size or design you want in a custom job. But you will pay for it. The quality of the wood and fit is often better than with either stock or semi custom. A designer will come to your home, take measurements and work with you to find the right design for your home.

Setting a Budget for Kitchen Cabinets

Before you buy, you will need to set a budget. Decide how much you can afford and what you are willing to spend on new cabinets. Prices among stock, semi custom and custom cabinets vary widely. The rule of thumb is that new cabinetry will make up about half the budget of your new kitchen.

Consider how long you will stay in your home when deciding on a budget. If you plan on moving in the next year or two, you may want to spend less. If you plan to stay for many years to come, you may want to go all out for the custom kitchen.

Don’t sacrifice quality in an effort to save money. You still want decent quality cabinets in your home. Try the kitchen cabinets in the showroom. Open the doors and drawers to be sure they operate smoothly. There should be no squeaks or rough movements. Look for solid construction that will last for years.

If you are looking for brand new kitchen cabinets with installation, check out a new company who provides kitchen cabinets in Jersey City, NJ.

 

All you have to do is finish your basement to enjoy the extra living space it offers.  But, moisture attacks your basement from all around and, if you don’t keep it dry, dampness can ruin your finished basement.

It’s not difficult to add a huge amount of living space to your home by finishing your basement.  But, if your basement isn’t dry, and doesn’t stay dry, then your finished basement could be the source of ongoing repair headaches.

Even if your basement seems dry, there might still be a moisture problem and it could affect your whole house.  The smallest amount of dampness could become a home for mold and mildew, which can aggravate allergies and cause breathing problems, so keeping your basement dry is not just about damage to your drywall.

The problem is that there are a number of sources of moisture and you need to make sure they are all in check if you want o keep your basement dry.

The biggest enemy of a dry basement is water that leaks in through cracks in the basement walls and floors.  It is the nature of concrete to crack over time and even your new basement walls and floors will crack eventually.

If you have not yet suffered a water leak from a cracked wall, it doesn’t mean your basement will stay dry.  When the warmer air in your home contacts cold basement walls, condensation forms and you have moisture in your basement.

So, what if you manage to seal and insulate walls so you don’t have to worry about leaks or condensation – then would you have a dry basement?  Maybe for a while, but, as inevitably as cracks will form in concrete, the plumbing in your home will leak.  A plumbing leak anywhere in your house can affect your basement.

Fortunately, while it seems that it might be impossible to keep your basement dry, there is a solution.  Waterproofing your basement will stop water from entering your basement and it will drain away any water from condensation and plumbing leaks.  Using a combination of sealants, drainage and pumps, waterproofing can keep even the wettest basement dry.

The basement waterproofing and plumbing experts at Jersey Home Renovations know how to keep your basement dry.

bathtubAre you considering the purchase of a new bath tub? Unsure of which type or design to choose from? The bath tub is the largest item that you can place inside your bathroom. Thus, it is important that the bath tub that you will acquire will not clash with your bathroom’s design theme. Listed below are the types of bath tubs that you may want for your home. Read the descriptions regarding each design then decide.

Bath tubs of cast-iron

This kind of bath tub may be very expensive especially the antique ones. It projects an image of classic luxury and elegance. If your old tub is made of cast-iron, it is advisable that you contact first your local bath tub dealer before replacing it with a new one. It might turn out that your old tub may still cost a decent amount of money and it will be a waste to just throw it away. You can actually sell it to second hand stores or even through a garage sale. The popularity of cast-iron tubs is growing and if you opt to keep your old one, you may instead get the services of company to restore your old tub back to its sparkling old self. Some companies will do the restoration at their workplace while others may offer to do a home service. This type of tub is also very heavy, requiring two to three people to lift it up a flight of stairs and requires more time to maintain than ordinary tubs.

Modern bath tubs

The trend in bath tubs today is to make use of materials like steel, plastic, and acryllic to build a bath tub. Modern bath tubs are remarkably like and still very tough and solid. Tubs made from plastic or acrylic can be easily carried by a single person while steel made ones require at least two people to carry it. Tubs made from these materials can be formed into unique shapes and designs as well as matching it with panels, front and rear taps, as well as color themes. White is currently the most popular color for modern bath tubs.

Circular bath tubs

Having a large floor space for your bathroom is important if you want to install a circular tub. Putting one in your bathroom brings about it a certain vibe and display that will truly make your time inside the bathroom worth remembering. Coupling it with an impressive interior design will really put glamour and flair that other people will not be able to resist.

Space saving tubs

There are bath tub designs maximize the space inside your bathroom. This type is usually placed at the side or corner of the room. This is very popular today because of its uniqueness as well as space saving characteristics. The tub is angled in a way inside the bathroom to take as little wall space as possible to make way for shelves or even a towel warmer. Another option is to place a compact shower cubicle alongside the tub is space permits. It comes in different colors, themes, and sizes making customization an easy thing to do.

Regular bath tubs

Regular bath tubs are rectangular in shape and is the most common as well as the most inexpensive type of tub available. It can fit any theme or design of the bath room and different lengths are available depending on the use.

These are the styles and types of bathrooms that you can get to replace your old one or to furnish your new bathroom. Either way, be sure to choose the bathroom design that will complement and will be in harmony with your bathroom’s theme as well as the overall design of the house.

kitchen-cabinetsPerhaps the most prominent feature of any kitchen would be the cabinets. They occupy a significant portion of the kitchen area and are the ones that people would usually first notice when entering the room. Among all other components of the kitchen, cabinets are the ones that carry a kitchen’s personality the most. Not even the floors, walls, or ceilings can match with the cabinet’s presence in the kitchen. Cabinets comprise the most significant portion of the entire kitchen cost. With this understanding, it can be inferred that careful planning and consideration should be taken when purchasing or building a kitchen cabinet. This is one part of the kitchen that one should not be careless about.

There are three common types of kitchen cabinets. Each has its own sets of pros and cons as well as their purposes for the kitchen owner. It is a very important matter to consider from which of these groups a homeowner should choose from.

Traditional Kitchen Cabinets

The first type of kitchen cabinets is the traditional ones – those that are built by carpenters on the actual kitchen. These cabinets are built to last; therefore the materials used in making them are of top quality. Usually, medium hardwood is used in building these cabinets. Among the commonly used kinds of wood are ash and birch, which are sturdier than maple, cherry, oak, or other woods used in making furniture. Different styles of cabinets can be made from the mentioned types of wood, depending on the taste of the homebuilder. These types of cabinets are best for permanent homes because of the great investment one has to make in order to build them. When choosing this kind of cabinets, it is important to carefully consider the builders. The carpenter who would make the cabinet and the painter who would make the finishing should be good enough for a homeowner to invest in. These types of kitchen cabinets should match the design and strength of other furniture in the house.

Retail Kitchen Cabinets

The second type of kitchen cabinets can be bought from stores. These cabinets are manufactured in factories for mass distribution. A lot of such cabinets are collapsible and can easily be reassembled wherever they are needed. This type of cabinet is ideal for those who do not plan to stay at a certain house for a long time, or those who move frequently. Such cabinets are quite cheap and are available almost anywhere and anytime. The downside is that the designs of such kitchen cabinets are rather limited and there is no guarantee that they would fit kitchens perfectly. Nevertheless they serve their purposes of storing food and supplies well enough.

Manufactured Kitchen Cabinets

The third type of kitchen cabinets are manufactured in factories but are custom-designed to fit a client’s specifications. Usually these cabinets are made of hardwoods that are finished with veneers and laminates. The best examples of this type of cabinets are usually multi-layered with specially baked-on finishing, which makes them very durable and attractive at the same time. The designs and options for storage are endless. One can add different kinds of drawers, sliding shelves, pull-out pantries, and any other components that can fit into the space involved. Such cabinets are usually installed by specially-skilled builders that concentrate in cabinet making.

It is important to consider all options before deciding which kind of cabinet are to be installed in a kitchen. There are many resources about the matter; one just needs to look in the local library, the yellow pages, or look for kitchen cabinets on the internet to be immersed in the world of kitchen cabinets.