Project Update: 1st Floor Remodel in Niantic

It's about that time! We finished installing cabinets and we're psyched to share the progress of this remodel so far!

This kitchen and living room renovation project includes demo, framing, installing new insulation, drywall, priming/painting, installing new floors and doors, brand new cabinets and countertops, trim, new plumbing, electrical and recessed lighting. 

 

For more information, or for a free consultation, please give Shaw Remodeling a call at 860.434.2004. We would be happy to sit with you and discuss any questions you may have as well as the many options there are available to you.

#kitchendesign #niantic #currentdesignsituation #remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic

Best Choices For Decking

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It is always great in the late Spring/Summer/early Fall to get out on your deck and relax. If you are fortunate enough, you have plenty of room for a table and chairs as well as your barbeque.

The question I get asked a lot is what type of decking should you use?

Well, this can come down to a personal preference, but typically it is a cost issue that steers customers one way or the other. Options are few but vary in look and cost.

Pressure treated decking is the most popular and least expensive. Next there is Cedar, which is not much more expensive than pressure treated but is a softer material so it can show scratches over time. The most popular decking now is composite. You are probably familiar with brands such as Trex and Azek. Although it does not look like real wood, it does afford the luxury of not having to maintain it every couple of years. But if you want the Cadillac of decking, you can always install IPE. This is a hard wood that is impervious to the elements. Looks like wood, because it is, but never needs to be treated. It weathers naturally. Very labor intensive to install due to it’s density, all of the screws/fasteners need to be pre-drilled.

Many options to choose from but as with most things in life, it comes down to preference and of course, money!

 

For more information, or for a free consultation, please give Shaw Remodeling a call at 860.434.2004. We would be happy to sit with you and discuss any questions you may have as well as the many options there are available to you.

#remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic

Use Your Tax Refund On Home Improvements

 

Super excited to share this article published by NerdWallet, featured in USA Today! Special thanks to Beth B. for reaching out to us with the opportunity. 


Getting a Tax Refund? Use It on Home Improvements

"February signals the start of tax season, a time when many Americans gain nearly $3,000 on average in the form of a tax refund, according to the IRS.

Splurging on a vacation or iPhone X is tempting, but as a homeowner, sinking refund cash into your house may be smarter, especially if debts are already under control, says Lisa Greene-Lewis, a certified public accountant and tax expert at TurboTax.

Even small home improvements can nudge home value — and your quality of life — in a positive direction. But how do you decide what to do?

The first question to ask, says Craig Webb, editor in chief of Remodeling magazine, is “How long do I plan to stay in the home?” The answer dictates how much you should spend on home improvements and which projects to prioritize.

If you’re staying put, focus on changes that make your life better and improve value, Webb says. Fix what’s broken before thinking about curb appeal.

Here are some home improvement ideas in several price ranges so you can put that tax refund to work..."

For the full article

Our Electrician

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I have been using Ken Sked of Sked Electric since he started his own business. He is a great guy and a very professional and intelligent electrician.

We met in the strangest of ways. Back when I was younger and more eager to tackle major projects at my house, I was doing stone work around my garage doors. In order to have something for the stones and mortar to stick to, you have to install a wire mesh. The way to fasten the mesh is to use stainless steel staples. Anyway, one of the staples hit the main electrical wire going from my meter to my panel. It’s lucky I wasn’t killed. The funny thing is that I didn’t know about it at first. No sparks, nothing. It wasn’t until a day or so later I was sitting in my living room with my wife and the lights started dimming and then coming back up. This continued through the night.

The next day, I had an idea what may have happened so I opened the wall inside the garage and saw the staple in the cable. I called the power company to come out and turn the power off, which they did. While they were there, I removed the staple and told them to turn it back on. No dice. They wanted the feed replaced before they would turn it back on.

As many of you know, finding an electrician to come to your house asap is not easy. I made some calls but to no avail. Rewind to 6 months earlier, I got an advertisement from Sked Electric saying they are starting a company. I called him out of the blue and he said he was in the middle of a service change but would talk to the customer to see if it was okay for him to leave and shoot over to my house.

Within an hour, Ken was at my house doing the work. It turned into a bigger job as the meter socket and other feeds needed to be changed but I was happy to have this done. Ken enlisted a helper as the work continued into the dark. Once he was done, he told me to contact the power company and have them come back out to turn on the power, then he left. About an hour or so later, Ken called me to see if the power company had been out and I said no. He called them and told me they should be there shortly and to call him when they were there, which I did. Once the power was back on, Ken insisted on coming back over to check the voltage going into the house to make sure it was right so I wouldn’t have any other problems.

That’s the type of service everyone should offer. He didn’t know me at the time. That’s just the type of professional he is. Call them whenever you need electrical work!

 

For more information, or for a free consultation, please give Shaw Remodeling a call at 860.434.2004. We would be happy to sit with you and discuss any questions you may have as well as the many options there are available to you.

#remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic

Latest Trends In Kitchen Flooring

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Tired of the same old options for flooring? Tired of being told what belongs in which room when it comes to flooring?

Good news!

The debate continues on what is the “proper” flooring to install in a kitchen. You will hear the typical response from most people. “Kitchens and Bathrooms always have tile on the floor!” Not true anymore. With the introduction of some new flooring options, you can change it up from the norm or get the look you want while staying traditional.

Kitchens are the big one where people want to change things up when it comes to flooring. They like the idea of tile on the floor because it is easier to clean. Some of you are probably saying, “What about the grout lines? They are always dirty and discolored.” Yes, that is true. The older grouts that were used more than five years ago do stain and discolor. Very little you can do no matter how much you scrub.

If you like the look of tile with grout lines, there is some good news. Grout today has a stain resistant chemical already mixed in. This provides a barrier from the dirt getting into the grout. “Will my grout still look dirty?” Only temporarily. If it looks dirty, a basic cleaning will bring back the color it was when it was installed.

For those of you who may be skeptical, there is another option when it comes to grout. Stay away from the really light colors. Pick up a darker shade or fleck in your tile. This way you have the safety of the treated grout but not the risk that it may tarnish over time.

For those of you non-traditionalists, hardwood flooring has been very popular. Many people like the hardwood to be continuous throughout the kitchen and into other adjoining rooms. This gives a very clean look without the visual separation of the spaces. I can hear some of you questioning whether the wood is really a good idea in a kitchen. I see your point. The concern is whether the wood floor can hold up to water, right? To be honest, consider how often you have large amounts of water on your kitchen floor unless you are mopping the tile and grout or you have sprung a leak in the sink or dishwasher. Probably not very often. The amount of water you have on the kitchen floor with hardwood would be similar to the amount of water you have on your shoes when you come in from the rain. And don’t you sometimes walk on the hardwood floors with wet shoes? Once a hardwood floor has been finished, the poly gives it a protective finish for basic, everyday use.

So, what if you want wood and still think tile is the best way to go? Ah, thanks to the tile industry and their crack team of creative thinkers, there is now a tile plank. Yes, tile and the wood look you want all in one! Tile planks come in different widths and lengths so it can look like wood flooring. You can do very small grout lines between the planks so it does not look like tile. So many options when it comes to tile planks, a multitude of colors and styles to choose from.

Ok, now for the really adventurous group. How about we take this to a new level? May I introduce LVT? What is that? LVT is short for luxury vinyl tile. Yup, I hear the groans. Vinyl? Yuck! Take that out of your head. LVT also come in planks or squares to look like tile, but they can also look like wood. It is glued down so it does not move. No grout lines to deal with either! And the best part? It is softer on your feet than tile or hardwood and it is actually warmer to the touch. Tile and wood can be cold in the winter but LVT stays more in line with the room temperature. I did, however, have a customer ask if it will hold up to knives. To be honest, I was not sure how to answer that! I’m not sure about you, but we don’t have an issue with flying knives in my house! Also, side note, I put this in my kitchen and could not be happier! And we keep our knives in the drawer!

So, when you are thinking of installing a new floor in your kitchen, check out the many new options you have at your local flooring supply store. Stay traditional or change things up. Now, the choice is really yours!

For more information on how to select the right contractor, or for a free consultation, please give Shaw Remodeling a call at 860.434.2004. We would be happy to sit with you and discuss any questions you may have as well as the many options there are available to you.

#flooring #remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic

Project Update: Kitchen Remodel in Niantic

It's about that time! We're right in the middle of installing cabinets and we're psyched to share the progress of this remodel so far!

This kitchen renovation project includes demo, wall and floor framing, installing new siding, insulation, drywall, priming/painting, installing new floors and doors, brand new cabinets and countertops, installing shiplap and trim, new plumbing, electrical and recessed lighting. 

 

For more information, or for a free consultation, please give Shaw Remodeling a call at 860.434.2004. We would be happy to sit with you and discuss any questions you may have as well as the many options there are available to you.

#kitchendesign #niantic #currentdesignsituation #remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic

The Remodeling Process

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When you first meet with a contractor, the most important thing to walk away from is a sense that you can trust him or her with your project. Does he or she understand the full scope of the job and do you feel that your level of standard can be met?

Of course, not all of this can be obtained by a simple meeting. Do your due diligence. Ask to see photos of previous work. Ask for references. Be sure to call their last customer to see if they were satisfied with the quality of work. For most, not only is it important that their level of work is good, but also find out if they were easy to work with. Did they communicate on a regular basis? Did they go over budget?

Know what you may be getting into. It will save you a lot of stress after the project begins. Here are five steps to get you started on your project!

(Infographic below)

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For more information, or for a free consultation, please give Shaw Remodeling a call at 860.434.2004. We would be happy to sit with you and discuss any questions you may have as well as the many options there are available to you.

#remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic

New flooring we love!

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I want to let everyone know about a new flooring that I absolutely love. The company is Harris and the product is Luxury Vinyl Cork. Perfect for basements, bathroom and kitchens. It is moisture resistant and can be installed over floor heat. It comes in 10 different finishes/looks. Very durable and goes in easily. You could probably install it yourself, but why bother when we are just a phone call away! 

For more information, or for a free consultation, please give Shaw Remodeling a call at 860.434.2004. We would be happy to sit with you and discuss any questions you may have as well as the many options there are available to you.

#remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic

Choosing the Right Contractor

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YOU’RE FINALLY READY TO GET THAT BRAND NEW KITCHEN OR TO BUILD THAT BEDROOM ADDITION.

This is something that you have been thinking about and planning for a long time. There are usually many contractors to choose from, all with varying degrees of ability and history. The first step is to find a contractor that fits the project you are doing. There are always “specialists” that claim to be the best Kitchen Remodeler or the Bathroom Professional, but talking to contractors gives you much more insight on what their abilities are and projects that they have done in the past.

YOU’VE STARTED MAKING CALLS AND ASKING FOR QUOTES.

Now that you have called the contractor, did someone answer the phone? If you left a message, did they call you back or did you have to call multiple times? There are many stories that I hear where customers call the contractor numerous times, but never hear back. Others finally get a contractor to take a look at the project, but never receive an estimate for the work. Some people say, “Well, that is just how contractors are.” Not true. Business 101 is important no matter what field you are in. Customer service starts at the first phone call. If you are not taken care of on day one, how do you think the rest of the relationship will go as the project is underway?

IT IS IMPORTANT TO GET AT LEAST THREE ESTIMATES FOR THE PROJECT YOU ARE LOOKING TO HAVE DONE.

Although you will hopefully get three different prices, the main reason for getting three estimates is to get to know three different contractors, how they approach customer service and the project at hand. This is also a great time to get ideas for the project where you can implement various ideas into the final project layout. Of course you have your vision of the final product, but professional contractors have seen many variations of remodeling projects, so it is important to keep an open mind.

At this point, you have all of your estimates in hand. I never recommend going with the lowest price solely because it is the lowest. The potential cost involved for fixing what the lowest bidder did will undoubtedly cost you way more in the long run. On the same token, I do not recommend going with the highest price assuming that you will get the best service. I would suggest doing some homework and making sure that the price is realistic. The internet is a great way to check the authenticity of the estimate. There are many blogs where other homeowners share their experiences and costs for the project. Keep in mind, prices change based on geographical location so make sure that you are comparing apples for apples.

THE NEXT STEP IS TO DO A BACKGROUND CHECK ON THE CONTRACTOR.

The Better Business Bureau is still a good reference site but another important, and often overlooked, source is the Department of Consumer Protection in your state. This is where you can verify that the contractor is licensed. It is crucial to get a licensed contractor, as this will protect you moving forward should something go wrong during the project.

NOW THAT YOU HAVE SELECTED YOUR CONTRACTOR, GET A CONTRACT.

Everything should be detailed out in the contract. This is your only legal recourse if there is a dispute on what is, or was, being done. For instance, the Department of Consumer Protection will require that you have a contract with a licensed contractor. All contractors pay a yearly fee to the Department of Consumer Protection which has a portion set aside for the general fund which homeowners can recover damages for a project that went bad. Clarity in the contract is very important. Ask for revisions and make sure everything is outlined so there are no questions about what is being done.

DOING YOUR HOMEWORK AND CHECKING REFERENCES IS ALWAYS THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH A HOME REMODELING PROJECT.

Advertisements do not accurately tell you what you need to know about your contractor. Ask for client references, check the internet, check your local BBB and most importantly, check with your state’s Department of Consumer Protection. If there are any negative reports on their record, ask for a copy of the report and you will have more insight into their competency. As with many industries that work with the public, you cannot please everyone 100% of the time, but if there is a theme in the negative report, take that as a warning.

For more information on how to select the right contractor, or for a free consultation, please give Shaw Remodeling a call at 860.434.2004. We would be happy to sit with you and discuss any questions you may have as well as the many options there are available to you.

#remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic

When Should You Have An Architect Do Drawings?

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DRAWINGS – WHY DO I NEED AN ARCHITECT TO DO THEM?

I have seen just about every type of “drawing” over the years. From architectural, to draftsman, to one that a homeowner does on graph paper, to someone who jotted some ideas down on a napkin. Many customers when they hear architectural drawings they see dollar signs. Understandable.

However, there are other things to consider, besides the upfront cost. A good set of drawings by an architect can, and should, save you money in the long run and ensure that you get exactly what you want from the contractor. A good contractor can follow a well laid out set of plans so there are no confusions during the project. I have seen prints that were not very detailed which ended up costing the homeowner more as modifications had to be made during the course of the project to make certain things work. Not only does the architect have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to structural aspects of the project, they also know what a contractor needs to accurately bid the project and what to order. A window/door schedule is very helpful when an order is placed. Leaves zero room for error.

As a contractor, I’m always very happy when there is a good set of prints to work off of. The project runs smoothly and the homeowner is always happy when we’re finished.

For more information, feel free to contact us at Shaw Remodeling.

#remodeling #blog #blogger #howto #homeimprovement #construction #contractor #niantic