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It’s Remodeling Season. Vet Your Candidates Carefully

It’s Remodeling Season. Vet Your Candidates Carefully!

You’ve been dreaming of that new kitchen makeover, bathroom renovation, or addition for years, and now you’re ready to make it a reality. Selecting the right home remodeling company can be the difference between realizing your dream and ending up in a living nightmare. At first glance, all the candidates may look very similar and tell you what you want to hear. But what happens when you start asking the tough questions. The strong contenders won’t shy away, sweat under the spotlight, or try to redirect your attention to one of their talking points. They’ll welcome the scrutiny and answer your questions directly and thoroughly. Once properly vetted, only the strong will remain, the ones worthy of your vote and your hard earned investment dollars. Here are some key issues to raise as you evaluate the nominees.

What Kind of Track Record Do They Have?

How long have they been in business? What kind of references can they provide? Is it an extensive list where you can call and speak to whoever you want? Or do they just present a list of rather anonymous testimonials? “Steve in McLean, Mary in Alexandria… etc”. When you ask for references does it take days or weeks for them to get back to you? These are signs that they may have a hard time pleasing customers consistently or have something to hide.

Does their Rhetoric Pass Your Fact Check?

Don’t just take their word for it. Do your own investigating and independently verify their claims to be true. Reliable 3rd party sources, such as www.guildquality.com, the nation’s leader in customer satisfaction surveying for the building industry, provide hard data on how companies measure up, as well as reviews from previous clients. www.consumercheckbook.com is another vetting source. They provide not-for-profit ratings of local service companies. Angie’s List, Yelp and Google are also useful tools. Check them all. Some companies may have a few glowing reviews on one sight and a few scathing digs on another. Opinions vary, but listen for common themes. The reliable metric is a combination of quantity and quality.

Do They Have a Plan?

A renovation is a complex project that requires detailed preplanning and skillful execution. The more through and detailed the plan, the smoother the execution will go. That being said, unforeseen circumstances will occasionally arise. For the unprepared, a minor setback, such as a part damaged in shipping or a weather emergency, could create a bottleneck that delays the overall project. A reliable firm will have a comprehensive plan with built-in contingencies to stay on track.

Do they Have their House in Order?

Do the companies you are considering have a “bricks and mortar” office or showroom you can visit, or do they operate out of a truck with a website and 800-number. Be sure to get a copy of their business license and current certificate of insurance. What does their contract look like. Is it a professional document that is detailed yet easy for a layperson to understand, or is it a cryptic legalese that only a lawyer can decipher. Or worse, is it simplistic and vague. The home improvement industry has suffered many a black eye from shady contractors who disappear after a deposit has been given, or even worse, mid-project. If they do finish your project on time and on budget, what does their warranty cover. Remember, a warranty is only as good as the company providing it. If they go out of business, any warranty they’ve provided goes with them. Make sure the company’s foundation is as stable and secure as the one you’d have them pour for you.

Would You Trust Them to Hold Your Baby?

When you renovate your home, you are essentially inviting a stranger, or group of strangers into your house to tear it apart and put it back together again. Who are these people? How do you know you can trust them? A smart home owner will make sure everyone involved is properly trained, licensed, insured, drug tested and background checked. Taking these extra steps will result not only in peace of mind for the safety of your home and family, but also for the quality of the work being performed. If a problem should arise, those who go through the proper channels have recourse not available to those who gambled on a lower price, faster finish time, or some other carrot dangled to entice an easy victory.

When it comes to improving your home, vetting the candidates is a critical step. After all, once your vote has been cast, you’ll be living with the results for years to come. Choose carefully!

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

written by: Dory Clemens, Design Consultant – Foster Remodeling Solutions, Inc.


 

 

Custom Remodeling Ideas for Growing Households

One reason people choose to put in home additions or do custom remodeling in Northern Virginia is to create more space for their growing households. Whether bursting at the seams is a side effect of merging families, new babies, aging parents or boomerang children, a home remodel can relieve the stress of a cramped house. Here are a few ways to make more room or better use of existing space for a growing household with a custom remodel.

Sinks
The latest trend in sinks for multiple users is the trough sink. It features two or more stations with spigots and handles over a sloped basin that feeds into a common drain. For the kitchen remodel, it suits the cook, who has extra helpers to wash the vegetables while they’re filling up a pan with water to cook them. In a bathroom remodeling project, a trough sink saves time, allowing various family members sink access at the same time. This is great for kids.

Garages
In households with several drivers, the standard two-hole garage isn’t enough. A three-hole garage and a circular driveway can accommodate extra vehicles, increasing safety and convenience for everyone.  Depending on the lay of the land, the garages can be attached or detached. If you’re looking for extra space but you have a spacious garage and very few drivers in your family, you could convert the existing unit into extra bedrooms or a home office.

Additions
Home additions can increase your living area dramatically. An extra wing on the back of the house offers extra bedroom space, which relieves the cramped feeling experienced by Northern Virginia homeowners in older houses. When the same exterior materials are used for additions, the home keeps its cohesion without losing its character. Changes to the existing layout can complement the addition. for example, open floor plans in the existing area create more space for large dining tables, more seating for family members by the TV and larger bedrooms.

Creating a Relaxing Environment With a Home Addition

There is more to life at home than eating, sleeping and watching TV. If you don’t have the space to do things you enjoy, it might be time for a home addition to increase your square footage. Create a special place where you can relax, have fun and actively improve your health. Relaxation and exercise can reduce tension and improve sleeping habits. These are elements that can be incorporated into the plans for your home addition for a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Games
Improve your lifestyle with a recreation room. Put in your own activity center with games and gadgets you love. From dart boards and cornhole to classic videos games, billiards and large screen TVs, this room can be a different type of entertainment center. It’s one where you like the music, the comfortable feel and the perfect floor. You don’t have to worry about damaging the walls or disturbing the neighbors. You can address those details and concepts with your design build contractor through soundproofing and protective surfaces. If you’ve got the space, add a bowling alley, a wet bar or a basketball hoop.

Fitness Center
If you don’t seem to use your membership to the local fitness center because it’s too inconvenient, move the fitness center to your basement. Furnish it with your favorite equipment and make it a place of comfort and motivation. From yoga mats and heated flooring to music and TV monitors for distraction, your fitness center can provide a personal environment where no one will judge you by what you’re wearing or how long you stay on your stationary bike. A heating and cooling system with a separate thermostat can help you stay comfortable during your workout. An adjoining bathroom can offer a quick and convenient place to clean up or to relax in a spa tub after a tough workout.

Woodworking & Crafts
Having a special place in your home to escape stress and let your creative juices flow is just as important as improving your kitchen, reinventing your bedroom or adding on a garage. A room designed for crafting or woodworking focuses on storage space, ample electrical outlets, suitable ventilation, sturdy flooring and comfortable workspaces.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

Incorporating Natural Lighting Into Home Additions

When planning a residential remodeling project for a Northern Virginia house, some homeowners are interested in adding as much natural light to their homes as possible. There are several ways to do this. From large sliding glass doors to bay window seating to skylights and sunrooms, the addition of natural light can brighten up a room and lessen the need for light fixtures. Also, many modern LED lighting fixtures don’t emit the warmth that incandescent light bulbs have to offer. Natural lighting can add some warmth to a room, and the type of windows and window treatments used will affect just how much.

Skylights
For rooms that have no exterior walls, skylights offer a natural lighting alternative. They also provide added value to your property. Skylights can be installed in nearly any existing room in the home or incorporated into a Northern Virginia home addition project.

Sunrooms
One of the most popular options for adding windows and natural lighting is through a sunroom, or Florida room. If you’re adding extra square footage and you want to feature a scenic area on your property or off in the distance, a sunroom is an excellent choice for a Northern Virginia home addition. This also creates the perfect place for hanging plants and greenery.

Bay Windows
Bay or bow windows add more light than standard windows. They also add extra space and make rooms feel bigger. Incorporate a bay window into your kitchen remodeling project or in a master bedroom addition. Incorporate cushioned seating and extra storage space into the area below a bay window for a cozy place to curl up or add a table in front for a pleasant view from your breakfast nook.

Glass Walls
Some windows can take up an entire wall. This is a great way to appreciate a beautiful view on a lakefront home, a wooded lot or the rolling foothills of the Shenandoah mountains off in the distance. Sliding glass doors leading onto the porch from the living room or dining room are another option.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!