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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Metal Handrails Vs Wood

Metal handrails are a much safer option, but also cost a lot more. Metal offers a unique design aspect that wood cannot offer. Many builders don’t offer metal, because it requires a speciality contractor that is knowledgable in metal working and welding. If you have the budget and access to a metal handrail builder, then they are the superior option. As with all home designs, pricing depends on the complexity of the work and the availability of metal stair builders in your area.

Metal handrails are superior in safety, because it is many times stronger than wood. To be precise, steel made to A-36 qualifications means a single square inch of that steel has a tensile strength of 36,000 pounds per square inch. That is seriously tough and can be a life saver. Imagine this: you are walking on your second floor and your dog left his bone in your path. If you don’t see it and step on it, you could lose your balance and go full-weight into your wooden handrails. Chances are those handrails and pickets are going to splinter and break, leaving you in for a 1-story fall that could cost you your life or a broken neck. Wooden handrails are only designed to be held onto, not to take a off-balanced adult weight straight-on with some momentum. Lets say the same accident happened, and you had metal handrails. Chances are you would have a few bruises from hitting them, but they would not move. This could literally save your life. This is especially true of even higher floors.

Metal is very easy to work with. Metal handrails can be bent, molded, forged, shaped, and welded. Not only are metal handrails superior in strength, but they also give more flexibility for creative design.

Most people think of metal handrails as just an industrial design element. However, with modern and contemporary handrail designs, it is very common to use handrail accents such as wood, stone, or even leather to match the finish to the style of the home.

Home Staircase Design

Wood staircases are the most common and cost effective. They can either be made from framing lumber and covered in carpet, or the stair treads and risers are made from higher-quality hardwood. Solid high quality wood includes oak, maple, and walnut. Stairs made from framing lumber are the most cost effective type. If you are dealing with a higher end home, then you will likely have the option of hard wood stairs. These stairs can also incorporate wrought iron balusters for the handrail. The biggest downside to wooden staircases is that they make a bit of noise due to the wood changing size (depending on the season and humidity).

Concrete stairs are a great option for outdoor stairs or industrial style homes and areas. Concrete is very strong, solid and quiet. It can have a multitude of textures added to it, and a variety of color to provide even more design options.

Finally, metal stairs are the safest, strongest and the most versatile from a design point. There are two types of metal staircases, metal-only, and metal with accent materials. Metal-only stairs are what most people think when they hear of metal stairs. Metal-only stairs are very common for outdoor applications, industrial catwalks and parking lots. The accent materials are what make metal stairs more appealing in an interior setting.

Metal stairs with accents are very strong and versatile in design. In most cases, metal is the core material that gives unmatched safety and strength, and then an accent material such as wood, stone, or glass is used. This allows for unlimited creativity in design options. In modern and contemporary designs, it is very common to use metal structures with accented steps. Some examples are:

  • Metal structure with wood treads and handrail caps (treads can be butcher-block style with a mix of exotic woods)
  • Metal structure with stone steps and caps (granite, marble, quartz, and other commercially-available stones)
  • Metal structure with glass steps and/ or side walls (glass steps and side walls are very strong and offer quite a unique feature for the most sophisticated palates)

Keep New Home Construction On Track

Visit the construction site regularly

There are lots of unnerving unknowns when it comes to new construction. Maybe your lumber has been left out in bad weather and is starting to show signs of wood rot, or a miscommunication with a subcontractor leads to your new home facing the wrong way!

The best way to ease your nerves, and ensure these problems don’t happen, is to visit the construction site very often to keep an eye on the progress. Don’t leave it until the final walk through before you see everything that’s been going on there.

Try to visit the construction site for a walk through at least three times.

The first time should be after the home has been staked out and surveyed as it gives you the opportunity to ensure it is situated correctly.

Once the framing is complete and mechanical installation has begun. This is the ideal time to address any issues, such as ventilation or the electrical wiring.

The last time to visit is for the final walk through; at this stage you will review the punch list. Try to visit as often as possible to address problems as soon as they arise and have more chance to be quickly corrected.

Builders and contractors are human, so mistakes can happen. There is nothing wrong with bringing to their attention any issues or problems you have with the construction. Be aware that some things may appear to be problems, but may just be incomplete construction. Bring any problems to your builder’s attention and they should advise you as to whether it is yet to be finished or something that needs to be fixed.

Keep an eye on your punch list

You will do a final walk through of your newly constructed home with your builder before closing on your property. They will give you the opportunity to point out any issues, imperfections, or defects that need to be corrected before you can move in. You can check for anything from scratches on the wall to poorly fitted light switches and bring it to your builder’s attention.

Make sure you have an in-depth look around the property and compile a checklist before hand to take with you, some construction companies even offer software designed to help you create your punch list.

Make sure to be vocal about any problems. Your builder won’t be able to fix issues he doesn’t know about.

If you have been through your checklist and your builder has fixed any problems, you can feel confident and content closing on your new home.

Home Improvement Contractor

1. You’ll Save Money Doing It Yourself

Sure, it seems like you’ll save much more by taking on the project by yourself, but that usually isn’t the case for several reasons. One of them may be because you don’t have all the necessary tools for the job, and as everyone knows, tools can be expensive. By the time you’ve bought all the power tools you need, you would probably end up paying more than the price of a contractor’s service. There is also the possibility of making a mistake. Even the smallest mistake could end up putting the whole project in jeopardy. It’s better to have an experienced contract do it right the first time.

2. The Higher the Price the More Reliable

The price tag shouldn’t be your focus when searching for a dependable contractor. In fact, the reason contractors often charge a higher price is because there aren’t many other companies close-by to do the project for a lower cost. It’s the simple rule of supply and demand. Instead, you should choose a contractor based on legitimate reviews by real customers. That’s the best way to judge the services of any contractor. And if possible, find some pictures of the contractor’s previous work so you can review them for yourself!

3. Hiring One Contractor is Risky

These days there are specialists for everything. It may seem like a good idea to hire a different contractor for every different project you may have, but trust me, it’s not. It’s actually better to just hire one contractor for the whole house or multiple projects if necessary. Hiring more than one can cause a headache for all parties involved, take more time and cost more money in the end. It’s best to go with a well-rounded home improvement contractor such as IPC Restoration and Renovation.

4. Contractors Can Sue Me if They Get Injured

Any construction site can be dangerous and they usually are. Any professional contractor will know this and hopefully be ready for any accidents that may come up. This means they should have insurance. Never hire a contractor that isn’t insured. Hiring uninsured contractors is like inviting a stranger over after an ice storm; If they get hurt, it will be your fault. Therefore, always check with the company about insurance and make sure you will not be liable for any injuries they might sustain on your property.

5. I Should Plan Before Hiring a Contractor

Although it would make the contractor’s job a little easier, it’s not necessary to have everything planned out before scheduling the work to be done. In some cases, it’s even better not to have it all planned. Usually the contractor will help you with your plans and alert you to any problems or give helpful suggestions on what should be done. If they are very experienced, they will know what won’t work, what will look weird, or what the best option for a particular space is. As long as they are a trustworthy company, you should always let them just as much of the planning process as they are the construction process.