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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Reasons to Have a Custom Home

Functionality

The layout and usable space in the home can easily be tailored to match the specific needs. This is great for those that want the option to choose between the separate, defined rooms or the open floor plan. Also, it is possible to include custom features like a private library with walls of bookcases or a spiral staircase in the center of a room. There are plenty of ways to create the unique and stylish home when starting from scratch. It most cases, this would be very difficult with a semi-custom or pre-built home.

Material quality

The material quality can vary significantly. Many existing homes can include low-quality or prefabricated materials. A custom home makes it possible to have more input on the materials. This means that every part of the home is constructed with high-quality materials, brands and products.

Budget control

The process of having a custom home does not need to be expensive. The size, layout and materials can all be tailored to match the buyer’s budget. When it comes to working with a home build, the architect can help design a property that truly matches the requirements and each part of the design takes the budget into consideration.

Location

The custom home is certain to appeal to those that wish to live in a specific area or have land that is ready to be developed. Whether you are looking to create a property on a wide-open space that spans many acres or be part of an active community, there is the option to create the perfect home. Also, the ability to choose the location makes it possible to benefit from spectacular views or maximize personal privacy.

Clarify About Builders

  1. Check Certificate of Insurance:

If he is insured, you will not have to bear the liability and compensation if something happens to him while working on site. Make sure you look for the certificate.

  1. How many years he has given to this industry?

If you have to choose anyone from the list of recommended builders, make sure you ask them this question. It will reveal how expert your builder would be. More the time, more will be the experience and ultimately, you will get the best work!

  1. Does he agree on monthly updates on the completed construction?

As you would pay the money, you have the right to be informed about the completion of the construction every month. Therefore, ask your builder beforehand to keep you updated during the construction.

  1. Does he agree to show his contracting license?

Every city, every county, and every state have a different set of construction parameters to be followed to obtain a license. So, if the builder is a genuine one, he must have the proper license to work in the industry. You must verify the license.

  1. Does he provide you a warranty?

If the chosen builder did not perform well and shown poor workmanship, then you are liable to get it corrected without paying any extra amount. It is your right and warranty is the term that protects it.

  1. Does he provide site clean up after construction?

There are many recommended local builders, who have the site clean service in the checklist. Make sure you also clear your doubts before hiring one of them.

  1. Does he produce the estimated cost in-written?

So, that the builder does not overcharge you in the name of hidden fees, make sure you clear the doubt about the estimated cost. It will safeguard you in future.

  1. Does he store the material and equipment in your home?

It happens that most of the builders tend to store the materials and tools in your home at the end of each working day. You must clear this with the builder so that no future ruckus is experienced.

  1. Does he demand full payment at one time?

No one should clear the total amount of construction in one go. You can give him upfront and schedule the payment according to the step by step completion of the construction project.

  1. Does he provide any compensation if a delay occurs?

If any sort of delay occurs in the completion of the project, would the builder be liable for providing the compensation? If the builder says ‘yes,’ ask things in writing.

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.

Construct A Durable House

Get a good contractor

This is the person who handles the construction work. The contractor is very sensitive as he’s the one who determines the quality of materials that are used and the quality of workers handling the project. For a long lasting construction you should hire a contractor with a good reputation.

If you are constructing a specialized house such as a storied house you shouldn’t hire a general contractor-you should hire a specialized professional with years of experience.

Be cautious of the materials

The materials you use greatly determine the quality of your house. If you go for low quality materials chances are that your house will be of poor quality and won’t last long enough. To be on the safe side you should use high quality materials.

The contractor you hire has a great influence on the material that go into the construction. To have control of the materials used you should buy the materials and pay the contractor for his/her services.

Flexibility

In addition to hiring a great contractor and architect you also need to ensure that your house design is flexible. This means that it must provide you with room for additional rooms. It should also be easy to change the design of the house if need be.

Tastes and preferences change and for you to make the changes you should go for flexible designs. This calls for you to construct your house in an area where you can easily add additional rooms without damaging the existing house. If you feel that you might require a storied house in the future you should create a strong foundation.

Protect Trees During Construction Work

Protection of existing trees – heavy machinery and construction work within proximity of trees can cause irreparable damage. According to arborists, fixing tree damage is considered far more expensive than preventing it. For this reason, establish visible and durable barricades that keep trees protected. Young trees of 1 to four years require minimal protection of 30 cm area for each 2.5 cm of trunk diameter. For mature trees, the protected area should span two metres from the widest measure of their crown.

Protection of root systems – trees contain two types of roots: large and small absorbing roots. The large system expands in a horizontal direction and is 15-60 cm in depth. They serve to provide anchorage and nutrient transport. The smaller roots average 0.16 cm in diameter and serve to absorb nutrients and water. Damaging any of the two systems can have a significant impact on tree’s health.

Soil compaction – once a tree is established, any soil changing activity can prove detrimental to its health. With construction traffic near the tree, soil can become severely compacted, thus reducing permeability. Compacted soil significantly restricts root growth and contributes to less water and nutrients. A layer of 10-15 cm mulch of wood chips can reduce compaction.

Soil fills – adding an excessive amount of soil around a tree interferes with proper moisture and air circulation. With soil fills, roots can be exposed to improper gas exchange and build up carbon dioxide. The only soil fills that are harmless to trees are those with topsoil less than 8cm. Excessive fill symptoms include small leaves and premature autumn discolouration.

Direct physical injury – construction equipment can damage the bark in what is known as ‘skinning’ process. A tree cannot possibly survive without its bark, making that sort of damage particularly problematic. Trenching can also physically damage a tree’s roots. Boring a tunnel under the roots is the best way to save them. If trenching is not avoidable, it should be placed as far back from the trunk as possible.

Hiring a Masonry Contractor

After gathering several names of masonry contractors call them and make an appointment for them to come to your home to give you an estimate on the work that needs to be done. After getting a quote for the work you need done ask them if they are certified by the MCAA and if they hold a general contractor’s license. If they say yes ask to if you can see their license and certification. If they tell you it is at their shop make a note to stop by their shop to verify that they have them.

You should ask the potential masonry contractor you might hire when they expect to have the job completed. Although you cannot get an end date set in stone because problems can happen such as it could rain, they run into unforeseen problems, etc the contractor should be able to give you a tentative date of completion.

Another important question you need to ask is if they any references from other customers. Ask the masonry contractor if they can give you at least three names and phone numbers of previous customers. Call them and ask if they are satisfied with the work that was done and how they would rate the contractor. Ask if you could come see the project that was done. You should also ask to see proof of insurance. Ask what their payment schedule is and who is responsible for buying the materials. You should also find out who will be responsible for cleanup after the project is finished.

Process of New Home Construction

Once they have the building permits the contractor can start the earthwork on the site. This will including any grading that needs to be done to create an even level foundation for the new home construction. During this part of the process the earth is removed or added as needed. All underground piping is also installed. If there is going to be a crawl space or basement it will also be added at this time. Once all the earthwork has been done the next step is to start framing the houses using steel or wood studs. The builders will create walls, roof framing, and floors at this stage. They may also install windows and exterior doors. Once the building of the house has been completed it is time to put the roof on to create a structure that is watertight. To give the house a finished look they may install brick or exterior siding.

Once the framing work and exterior work is done it is time to start on the interior work. Electrical and mechanical contractors will run the plumbing pipes and wiring throughout the ceiling and walls. The heating and cooling systems are installed and tested, molding and interior doors are put in place and then the drywall is hung. Next the fixtures and hardware are added and the walls are painted. The new home construction is finished and ready for an inspection by the local authority to make sure that the home meets safety and local building codes. An occupancy permit is issued so the family can move in.