Plan for Quality

 

The best remodelers focus on the details

 

Most remodelers want to do good work for their clients. They strive to do quality work, responding fast if the client has a problem after the job is done. Unfortunately, many lack systems and processes for avoiding errors during your project and few learn from their mistakes, so they won’t happen again.

 

Small details are what brings quality to your remodeling experience and to the end product. Great remodelers obsess over all the small details. Attention to each of the small details are what sets us apart.

 

Unfortunately, small things generate the most complaints. These range from aesthetic issues (such as cracked drywall) to annoying things such as squeaky flooring. To a Client who just paid good money to have their project done by a professional, things like this aren’t thought of as minor. How a quick remodeler takes care of them, really lets you know where their heart is and how their business systems are set up.

Research in the remodeling industry shows that such problems can be avoided with a systematic approach to quality. While most of the research has been done with new home builders, the results apply to remodelers as well. An article in the August 2017 issue of Professional Builder magazine, based on interviews with companies across the United States, reported that while most businesses lack a formal QA (Quality Assurance) program, companies who have put a QA program in place noticed an almost immediate reduction in warranty claims. In fact, one contractor obtained 70 percent fewer claims after just two years of using Quality Assurance in their business.

Clients will fewer warranty call backs will certainly be quicker to refer their remodeler to friends, family and colleagues.
So what does a QA program include? It’s often assumed that it’s all about inspecting the work. Inspections play a role but they’re not the whole story. The data from every inspection needs to be reviewed in order to make sure the underlying issues get corrected. QA is a proactive forward looking way to help remodelers obtain ongoing quality gains.

QA is a mindset, along with a commitment that must be prevalent from the top down in order to properly work. Simple checklists that are followed consistently will do the job, although you can buy software specifically for QA.

QA mindset shows up in a lot of ways. Quality focused remodelers have written communication plans that workers and trade contractors are expected to carry out, and they are diligent to be sure the expectations are met. It shows up with clean clutter-free project sites with neatly stacked materials. Safety and quality conscious companies pay attention to the details. They use checklists to identify trends, so that best practices are taught to everyone in the business. Time is invested in training new team members before mistakes happen.

The article cited above reported that companies that reap the most rewards from their QA efforts pursue collaborative relationships with employees, trade contractors and vendors, seeing their advice for ways to improve. This helps build a QA company culture to encourage excellence— which creates a culture that attracts the best craftsmen to want to work with them.

The remodelers who have Quality Assurance programs stand out from the rest. Making it easy for you to decide who you want to work with.

3 Season Porches — also known as an Enclosed Porch

These rooms are usually built on an uninsulated concrete slab for the floor, they have lots of windows, and don’t have heat or air conditioning. However, retrofitting the room with radiant heat can turn it into year-round living space. And with more and more homeowners showing interest in extending their home’s living space outdoors, the ability to make a Porch usable all year long is an exciting option.

Heating an uninsulated Porch is no easy task. Most people can understand why a concrete slab, a bunch of windows and no insulation would result in a very cold room during the winter months. It’s always going to be the coldest room in the house even though sunny days may help warm the room up a little.

 

First, you’ll need to insulate the room, walls and ceiling. This will allow any heat you release in the room to actually stay inside the room.

 

Types of heating options:

One of the easiest Porch heating options is an electric radiant panel. If you live in a part of the country with mild winters, a radiant panel may be all you need. It mounts to the wall like a picture and either plugs into an outlet or can be hardwired to the home’s circuit. Radiant panels are used just like space heaters and are sized for the specific room and insulation conditions. A radiant panel is the least invasive 3-season Porch heater option.

 

Radiant floor heating may be a more suitable option if you want to ensure that the entire Porch is evenly heated no matter how harsh the weather is outside. With electric floor heating being easy to install and connect to the existing electric work, it’s great for remodels. You will need to replace the flooring in order to install the floor-heating system underneath, but it would be best to insulate the slab which will require removing the flooring anyway. It’s important to install a layer of insulating underlayment to prevent heat from escaping through the concrete. electric floor-heating systems ensure that the room is evenly heated since the system blankets the entire floor.

 

Radiant floor heating systems are compatible with nearly every floor type. Carpet, laminate, tile and stone are some of the most popular flooring types for sunrooms. If you’re adding a new room electric floor heating can be installed in a freshly poured concrete slab. This slab should be insulated underneath and can either be polished or stamped, or flooring can be installed on top of the heated slab.

 

Electric radiant floor heat can be installed in any room of the House. Radiant floor heat provides a comfortable temperature throughout the room without radiators that may be in the way for furniture placement.

Our Award Winning Bathroom!

We are proud to share with you photos of our recently awarded Local and Regional NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) CotY (Contractor of the Year) award for a Bathroom! The Local Award includes Bucks and Montgomery Counties, and Regional encompasses Pennsylvania through Maine. Here’s the story behind it…

When our Clients moved to Pennsylvania from another country, they knew they would be missing their family, and knew they would want visiting family members to have a place to stay in their home.  Since visits would typically be longer than just weekend, our Clients wanted to turn a first-floor Office space and Powder Room into a Guest Bedroom and Bathroom which would keep their Guests comfortable and give them their own getaway space for their extended stays.

Re-work Hardwood floors                                                                      

When we began the project, our team had to re-work the hardwood floors because of the existing angles of the doorways.  Our goal was to create seamless flooring.  The re-design also provided added space in both the Bedroom and Bathroom.                                                                                                                                                                                

                                        

   

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping the Bathroom Accessible to Everyone                                          

 

Since this Bathroom is also the only Bathroom on the main floor, it had to be accessible to everyone.  Our Clients wanted their Guests to have access directly from their Bedroom but didn’t want to take up wall space by using a traditional door.  We chose a pocket door with a mirror mounted on the Bedroom side, giving their Guests a full-length mirror, and at the same time, creating the illusion of a larger room.

 

Floating Vanity                                                             

Our Clients wanted the stone vanity top to appear as if it were floating from the wall.  To make this happen, the fabricators had to match the pattern in the top of the stone and wrap the pattern down the apron on the front and side of the floating vanity top.  To hold it in place, we used concealed custom-made steel brackets mounted to the wall studs for support.  The floating vanity creates a clean design that allows the floors to continue throughout the entire Bathroom.

 

Custom Made Barn Doors                              

As part of the Bathroom renovation, our Clients wanted custom-made barn doors on the Bathroom entrance that would match their fireplace mantel in the adjacent Great Room.  We used poplar wood for the barn doors and stained them the same color as the Client’s fireplace mantel. The barn doors added the functionality our Client was looking for, and the matching stained wood tied them into the fireplace mantel combining them into the overall room design.  The beautiful custom-made barn doors added a rustic touch to our Client’s contemporary modern style.

 

 

Our Clients are extremely pleased with their new Guest space for their visiting family members.  And it was smiles all around when we were announced the winners!

Daylight Savings Time is Here!

Yes, there is still snow on the ground, but this weekend Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday. And even though we’re losing an hour, we have the joy of knowing that Spring is around the corner with warmer weather and longer daylight hours.  

In honor of this prelude to Spring, here are some fun facts about Daylight Saving Time:

  • Clocks in the German Empire, and its ally Austria, were turned ahead by 1 hour on April 30, 1916—2 years into World War I. The rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort. The United States began participating in Daylight Saving Time in 1918.
  • DST was the idea of a bug collector. While some give credit to Benjamin Franklin (who half joked about the concept in an essay as a way to conserve candle wax), official credit goes to entomologist George Vernon Hudson. Hudson got frustrated with how early dusk fell in the summertime because the dim light interfered with his bug collecting.  When he proposed his idea to a scientific society in New Zealand in 1895 it was mocked for being pointless and overly complicated.  Just two decades later, Daylight Saving Time would begin its spread across the world.
  • Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii and most of Arizona. U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and American Samoa also don’t observe Daylight Saving Time.
  • Daylight Saving Time begins and ends at 2am instead of midnight because there is a higher chance that most people are sleeping at 2am.
  • If you thought that DST was created to give farmers more time to work in the fields, you’re not alone — but you’re not correct, either. According to an article on History.com, the agriculture industry was completely against the idea when it was introduced in 1918 because it was disruptive to their daily routines.  Farmers work by the sun, not the clock, so they were stuck waiting an extra hour for dew to evaporate so they could harvest hay.  Cows also weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier, which made shipping schedules difficult to meet.
  • The candy industry figured they could cash in on DST with an extra hour of daylight for trick-or-treaters on Halloween. They lobbied for a law to be passed in 2007 extending DST into November (it had previously ended on the last Sunday in October).

This year, Daylight Saving Time will end on November 4, and you’ll get your hour of sleep back. Until then, enjoy the extra hour of daylight and maybe have an extra cup of coffee if you need an extra kick Sunday morning.

Hear the Beep Where You Sleep

Smoke alarms save lives. It’s easy to take smoke alarms for granted, but they can save your life—and your home.

Most townships require remodelers to install interconnected battery backup smoke & carbon monoxide detectors to approve a building permit for any home project. Interconnected alarms guarantee that if fire is detected in one area of the house, every smoke alarm will go off. So, you’ll hear the alarm even if the fire is in the basement and you’re upstairs. Stand-alone detectors only alert you to danger in the area where they are installed.

Smoke alarms can be hardwired. Hardwired smoke alarms run on your home’s electrical system and typically come with battery backup.  Carbon monoxide alarms wired-in to your home with battery backup can be interconnected to smoke alarms.

Wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke detectors eliminate the need for a wired connection and operate entirely on batteries.  This allows compatible wireless alarms to communicate with each other, alerting you to a problem even when it’s on another floor. The photoelectric smoke sensor reduces the number of nuisance alarms triggered by cooking smoke.

So where should you install them?

  • Inside each bedroom within 4’ from the door
  • Outside each bedroom within 4’ from the door
  • At the top of each flight of interior steps on each floor
  • Combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 4’ from each fossil burning fuel appliance; wood burning or gas fireplace, gas or oil furnace, wood, pellet or coal stove, and gas water heater

Incorporate these procedures to keep your family safe.

  • Make an escape plan. Know the shortest exit from every floor. Get outside as quickly as possible and have an outside meeting place assigned.
  • If cooking smoke sets off your alarm, do not disable it. Press the silence button (if available), wave a towel or newspaper, open a window, or turn on an exhaust fan.
  • Test alarms at least once a month. The main issue with battery-powered smoke alarms is that it’s up to you to make sure the batteries are fresh. The same goes for the battery backup on hardwired detectors.  Set a reminder so you don’t forget testing and changing batteries.
  • Replace alarms when they reach 10 years old, or do not sound when tested.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will offer a discount on the premium when interconnected battery backup smoke & carbon monoxide detectors are installed.  But… Safety is #1 – these detectors are proven to save lives.

 

 

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