Planning your Basement Remodel

Planning Your Basement Remodel

 

Remodeling your Basement will not only give you a relaxing space to spend time with family and friends, but it can also increase the value of your home. Just like any home renovation project, designing the perfect Basement is a process that requires careful thought and planning. 

This guide will walk you through every step of the process, from the visual planning to the hands-on labor, to help ensure you don’t overlook anything while planning your Basement Remodel project. Let’s get started:

Finished Basement Remodel

Step 1: Evaluate your space

Before you can think about the placement of decorative items, paint colors, or flooring, you need to take a few moments to evaluate your existing space. Think of the elements you want in your basement and where you want them. Do you want to make it into a man cave? Will it be a game room? Think about how you would want yourself and others to use this space. 

Next, look over the items that you want to keep, you have to keep, and the items you want to donate or throw away. It may feel unnecessary, but it will save you a lot of headaches once the construction aspect of the project begins. 

Keep in mind the items that you will have to keep, no matter how much space they may take. These items include the heater/AC unit and associated ductwork, water heater, well pump, sump pump and pit, electrical panel and wiring, pipes, support columns, and beams. 

It’s important to remember while these items will still need to be part of your Basement, you may be able to move them to a new location during the construction process. Just be sure to work with a professional to make sure you choose a logical and realistic location if you decide to move these items. 

For example, you’ll need to account for minimum space requirements and for fresh air intake for heaters. Check with your local code officials and establish these requirements for all your units before finalizing your floor plan. 

Now that you have visualized your space and checked over items you’ll either keep or remove, you can move on to the next step of your Basement Remodel process.

Step 2: Beams and columns

The next step is to evaluate the fixed items in your Basement. These are items that can’t be moved and thus need to be incorporated into your planning. Home builders aren’t concerned with a basement’s feng shui when placing support beams and columns. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t make them look nice. 

Let’s take a look at some solutions for your existing beams and columns:

Support columns are generally unmovable, as they are supporting the weight from above. 

Here are some solutions to work around columns:

    • Solution 1: Box them in and make them look decorative with trim and moldings. 
    • Solution 2: Plan walls so that they incorporate the column inside of the wall.
    • Solution 3: Design the columns so that they’re part of the room’s environment and vibe.

Beams usually need to stay in place as well, as they span openings and are weight-bearing just like columns. 

Here are some solutions to work around beams:

    • Solution 1: Use the bottom height of beams to establish soffit heights. These soffits can be used to create visually pleasing coved/coffered ceilings.
    • Solution 2: If ceiling height and design style permits, you can establish a dropped beam pattern across the ceiling of certain spaces to hide the beams.
    • Solution 3: Again, use the bottom height of the beam to establish your ceiling height, effectively making the beam disappear altogether.
    • Solution 4: Plan your walls to line up with the beam.

Now that you have covered solutions on how to work around the columns and beams, you can move on to the next step in planning out your Basement Remodel.

Step 3: Waterproofing your basement

The next step is to determine if your basement is waterproofed, i.e. dry. If it’s anything but a resounding “yes” you will need to address this prior to starting your Basement Remodel.

Major signs that indicate you may have a waterproofing issue:

  • Watermarks or stains on the floor and/or walls
  • Efflorescence on walls or floors
  • Musty or moldy smell
  • Mold growth on items stored in the space
  • Rotten wood framing members; especially those that are in contact with masonry surfaces
  • Cracks in the walls or floors

If any of these signs are present, make sure to be diligent in remediating the issues prior to moving forward with your project. The most cost-effective and timely way to address water problems is before you start remodeling your Basement. 

It’s best to work with a professional when seeking help in addressing water problems in your basement. Don’t settle for subpar work. Remember, doing a thorough job now can prevent future issues from occurring down the road. Be smart in choosing the professional that fixes your water problems. 

Step 4: Developing a floor plan

Now you can start the exciting step of developing a new floor plan for your Basement. Two things that are important to address are your exterior walls and your stairwell walls. 

Exterior walls are what cover your foundation walls. The best thing to do is to keep them as far against the outside walls as it allows. This will maximize your usable floor space. Consider items like plumbing and water pipes, electrical wiring, and the need for access panels when planning for the walls. Keep in mind, one of the first interior walls that are generally placed is for the utility room since hiding utilities is typically a priority. Remember to take into account the code requirements for service space in front of and around the units.

Establishing your stairwell is an important aspect of your floor plan. You will need to decide a few things around your stairwell. First, do you want an enclosed or open staircase? Second, how will you utilize the space underneath the staircase? Would you want it to be a closet? Keep in mind, most codes require the underside of the staircase to be drywalled.

After the walls have been placed, take a step back and look at the remaining space. Try not to put up more walls than you need, since too many of them can restrict the usage of the space. Use a roll of masking tape and layout the placement of the interior walls to give you a feel for how the walls will impact your layout. You might also consider hiring a professional interior designer for a professional opinion on how to best utilize the space.

Step 5: Egress

For modern homes, this isn’t an issue since newer homes have a second entryway. This step applies more to older homes that never built a secondary entryway. Depending on the use of your space, you may be required to provide more egress than just two exit points. 

If you add a Bedroom to your Basement, it will require its own source of egress to the outside. It could be a door or a window, but this would be an Addition to the main egress points in other parts of the Basement

Many clients ask the question “How can we get out of complying with the code?” and this comes up when we discuss the budget. An additional means of egress to your basement can easily add $5,000 or more to the cost of the project. 

In response, we recommend that our clients instead ask “Why would I not want to comply with the code?” These regulations are intended to keep you and your family safe. 

Let’s say you are in a situation where you and your family need to get out of the Basement quickly but two of the exits are blocked. Wouldn’t investing in the extra egress make sense? Your family’s protection is a priority and with the addition of egress, it will ensure that your family can get to safety and be protected in case of an emergency.  

Finished walk out basement remodel

Step 6: Enjoy your new space!

So there you are relaxing in your Kitchen on a Monday morning when you notice that something seems off. You don’t hear hammers, power saws or drills. None of the workers came up to grab some coffee and the fresh batch of cookies you left out is untouched. Then it finally hits you that the carpenters and painters finished the project up on Friday afternoon. Your new Basement is ready to be enjoyed!

Hopefully, the project has been completed just the way you envisioned it would look. After the contractor has handed the project over to you, make sure to take the time and do the following:

  1. Take a walk through the new Basement with your contract in hand, along with any and all additional work orders. Make sure to note any discrepancies or deviations that need to be addressed. 
  2. Look over any outstanding items that need to be completed at a time yet to be determined. You should receive this detailed list in writing, accompanied by a financial commitment and a timeframe for completion, as well as who is responsible for the completion of each of the outstanding items.
  3. Visit and look over each space to make sure it’s similar to what you envisioned.
  4. Enjoy and embrace your beautiful new space! Enjoy the time you spend there, as that’s why you did the project in the first place.
  5. Throw a grand opening party. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing guests enjoying the environment that you created.

Does this guide have you feeling ready for a Basement Remodel of your own? Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll be there for you every step of the way so you can be enjoying your beautiful new basement in no time. 

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Guide: What You Need to Know

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Guide: What You Need to Know

 

A kitchen remodel is an important and exciting decision. Your Kitchen is a personal retreat, the place where you start your mornings and unwind at the end of the day. Like the rest of your home, your Kitchen is a reflection of your personal style. But keep in mind that this room is also one of your home’s most purposeful and often serves multiple family members. Finding this balance between style and functionality makes a Kitchen remodel a thoughtful process.

This guide will help you evaluate your goals, ideas and options for your remodel. Hopefully your research will steer you to the best professionals for the job and to the design that will bring you the greatest pleasure.

Kitchen Remodeling

What is Cabinet Refacing?

“Cabinet refacing” is an industry term used to distinguish the refacing process from refinishing and replacing. The word “refinishing” is used to describe the process of re-painting or re-staining the existing cabinets. “Replacing the cabinets” means that the existing cabinets and boxes are torn out, and replaced with new cabinets.

With Gehman Remodeling Cabinet Refinishing, we will:

  • Remove and replace cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  • “Reface” the exposed portion of your cabinet box frames with a wood veneer to match your new doors and drawers

With Refacing, you get new doors, new drawers, and a new cabinet face, without having to tear out your existing cabinet boxes.

With Gehman Design Remodeling Cabinet Refinishing, we will:

  • Re-paint or re-stain the existing exterior visible parts of the cabinets, such as doors, drawer fronts and cabinet boxes
  • Install new hardware – pulls / knobs and hinges

 

Cabinet Replacement

Some homeowners would prefer to replace their cabinets with completely new stained or painted cabinets. But, understanding your cabinet choices can be confusing – especially if you meet with multiple sales representatives from different companies. Here’s a quick guide to help with your selection.

The 5 major components of a cabinet

1. The Finish

This is the first thing you notice when looking at the cabinet. It could be a beautiful stain color that is rich and enhances the grain of the wood or a smooth painted finish that brightens the room. Whichever you prefer, it’s important to note that not all finishes are the same. Most quality cabinets use a process called conversion varnish. Sparing the details, a conversion varnish provides the most durable and longest lasting coats, whether a clear-coat on top of a stain, or paint.

2. The face frame, doors, and drawer fronts

These components come in a variety of types of wood as well as engineered products. Our focus at Gehman Design Remodeling is on solid wood components. Different wood types have different densities or durability. Softer woods will dent and scratch easier but typically cost less. Harder more dense woods will be more durable but will cost more. Gehman Design Remodeling has simplified the process by narrowing the selections down to the most common choices of wood species.

3. The Box

The box of the cabinet is where you put all your dishes. It may not be the most interesting part of the cabinet, but in some ways it’s the most important. The box is what gives the cabinet it’s strength and will ultimately play a major role in how long your cabinets last. Again, there are a variety of choices, from particle / furniture board to plywood. And this is the part where a “salesman” can really confuse people. For instance, better quality cabinets will use plywood boxes, not particle / furniture board. However, if that’s all you ask about, a “salesman” will show you a cabinet with a plywood box, but it may only have a 1/4” piece of plywood for the back and sides, or a plywood skin over particle / furniture board.

Gehman Design Remodeling offers GBB – Good, Better, Best cabinets. Our lines of cabinets are designed to provide you a cabinet with all the bells and whistles, but at an affordable price.

  • Good – particle / furniture board boxes covered with laminate film that looks like wood to match the solid wood front, doors and drawers
    • Interior of the cabinet will be laminate film that looks like natural maple
  • Better – 1/2” plywood with finish wood veneer to match the wood species and finish of the solid wood front, doors and drawers
    • Interior of the cabinet will be melamine laminate that looks like natural maple
  • Best – 5/8” or 3/4” plywood with finish wood veneer to match the wood species and finish of the solid wood front, doors and drawers
    • Interior of the cabinet can be melamine laminate that looks like natural maple
      • More durable to be wiped clean with a damp cloth
    • Interior of the cabinet can be natural maple wood veneer
      • Unparalleled beauty but it isn’t quite as durable as melamine

4. Drawer Construction.

The common theme for cabinets is that each part / component can be made on a quality spectrum ranging from poor to great, and everything in between. Our cabinets drawer boxes are always solid hardwood with dovetailed corners. We never use particle / furniture board, melamine or plywood drawer boxes for stained or painted cabinets.

5. The door and drawer hardware.

Soft-close concealed cup hinges and undermount drawer glides are standard on all cabinets offered by Gehman Design Remodeling.

Kitchen Remodeling

Countertops, Sinks, Faucets, and Backsplashes

Generally, a Kitchen update includes countertops, sinks, faucets, backsplashes, lighting and flooring. Gehman Design Remodeling offers complete Kitchen remodeling services throughout Bucks and Montgomery County. 

The advantage of using us for your cabinets, countertops, sinks, and faucets include dealing with one company that is responsible for coordinating the installation of all these items. Gehman Design Remodeling uses employee tradesmen for most of the Kitchen remodeling process. The few exceptions include the installation of stone (granite and quartz) countertops. These items require special equipment for fabricating the stone products and for the delivery and installation of the countertop. Our Project Manager will be on site for all work being performed.

Kitchen Countertops

Countertops come in a variety of materials and colors, including laminate tops, solid-surfacing, granite, concrete, and quartz. Countertops are one of the most defining features of your kitchen remodel, so it’s important to take the time to understand all of your options.

Laminate Countertops

Advantages

Laminates come in a wide selection of colors, patterns and designs, and textured surfaces. It’s incredibly easy to clean and doesn’t require special sealers or cleaners. It also happens to be the most affordable option as well as being naturally stain resistant.

Disadvantages

Due to being softer material, laminate countertops are more prone to scratches than other materials. Hot pots and pans can also damage the surface if placed directly on it. Sink options can be a bit limited as laminate only allows drop-in sinks due to its construction.

Solid-Surface Countertops 

Advantages

They’re more durable and higher quality than laminate, yet still cheaper than quartz, granite, and concrete. Like laminate, solid-surfacing is very easy to maintain. Scratches can easily be buffed out.

Disadvantages

Although higher quality than laminate, it can still be damaged by hot pots and pans as well as be scratched. Also, chemicals such as nail polish removers and some specialized cleaners can damage the surface. Only available in ‘matte’ non-shiny sheen.

Granite Countertops

Advantages

Easily one of the most beautiful countertop materials available, natural granite is a staple in many American homes. Due to the hardness of the material, it is resistant to scratches and is heat resistant (not heat proof, DO NOT set hot things directly on any countertop). Various price levels based on the beauty and availability of the stone. The prettier the stone the more it costs.

Disadvantages

Aside from being rather expensive, granite countertop corners may chip or break if a heavy object falls on them. Must be sealed every 12 – 18 months to avoid stains that get into the porous stone that may not be able to be removed. Also, improper sealing can lead to less to ugliness.

Concrete countertops 

Advantages

Concrete countertops are incredibly durable and can be custom-formed to fit any size or shape. These trendy countertops aren’t always grey either, they can be pigmented to achieve just about any color you want and can be further personalized by embedding shells, tiles, beads of glass, or stones.

Disadvantages

For such a hard and durable material, they need to be regularly sealed otherwise they can be easily stained. Must be sealed every 12 – 18 months to avoid stains that get into the porous concrete that may not be able to be removed. In addition, and arguably the most important, concrete countertops are often the most expensive countertops.

Quartz Countertops

Advantages 

Unlike other countertop materials, engineered quartz requires minimal maintenance. It is non-porous, doesn’t need to be sealed, and is super easy to clean. Quartz is natural stones that are ground into small pieces, mixed with a resin and put back together in a specific color and pattern. Therefore, each small piece of stone is sealed inside resin making it stain resistant. Manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty.

Disadvantages

Hot pans or pots right off a stove burner should not be placed directly on the surface. Also, direct sunlight from a Kitchen window can cause fading over time.

 

Kitchen Remodeling

Sinks & Bowls

Sinks have options galore. single bowl, bowl and a half, double bowl, bar, square, oval, round, rectangle, elongated, etc. Your selection won’t be right or wrong as it’s best based on your personal preference.

Installation types

Self-rimming / drop in – sit on top of the countertop. This is the only option for laminate counters. The traditional type of sink installation. Leaves an edge where the countertop and sink meet that may be difficult to keep clean.

Undermount – fastens underneath the counter leaving the edge of the counter around the sink exposed. This type of sink is NOT an option for laminate counters because the substrate under the laminate won’t hold up to moisture / dampness in the sink.

Apron front / farm sink – the sink extends through / takes the place of the false drawer front of the sink base cabinet. Front edge of the sink is finished because it’s visible.

Integral – available only in solid surface where the sink and countertop are made with the same resin materials that are fused / welded together for a seamless appearance. Easy to clean because there isn’t an edge to work with.

Stainless steel – a metal alloy made up of various metals that are 100% recyclable. It’s worthwhile paying for premium stainless because it will be easier to clean and look better. May be purchased with a coating of insulation on the outside which will keep dish water warmer longer and soften noise from dishes hitting the metal.

Porcelain coated cast iron – comes in many colors. Cast iron body holds temperature. Very durable but can be chipped if something heavy and hard is dropped on it.

Porcelain – solid and heavy used primarily for traditional farm house style apron sinks

Acrylic solid surface sinks – generally used for integral seamless sinks with solid surface counters but may be installed as an undermount in stone countertops.

Faucets

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take your pick many styles and finishes. Solid brass body is important. Many manufacturers offer lifetime warranty. Wide spread, Single lever, pulldown sprayer, separate spray hose.

Backsplashes 

Backsplash is 4” – 6” high section directly along the back of the countertop. May be material to match the counter or tile.

Wallsplash

Wallsplash is the section of wall at the back of the countertop up to the bottom of the wall cabinets. This area can be finished in many ways.

Painted, plastic laminate, wood that is stained or painted, stainless steel, granite or engineered quartz, tile.

Tile is the most common wallsplash material these days because it’s available in many shapes and colors and can be installed in specific patterns for a custom look.

Outlets

Code requires a GFCI – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter 120-volt duplex wall outlet every 4’ of running wall space along the back of the countertops as well as any solo section of counter that is 9” wide or more. Outlets on the end of peninsula counters and both sides of islands.

Outlets are necessary but often ruin the look of a beautiful tile wallsplash. An option is to move the outlets into angled power strips installed under the back of the wall cabinets. Switches can also be installed under the cabinets.

Lighting

General ceiling lighting can be surface mounted fixtures or recessed lights. Most Kitchens use LED pancake lights on dimmer switches to supply ample light to the entire space. Dimmer switches are a nice feature that can be installed on all other lights as well.

Decorative lights are used for pendant lights over the sink, island / peninsula and eating table. This is a great place to show your personality through use of color, shape and style.

Task lighting is LED strip lights under the front edge of the wall cabinets.

Ambiance lighting are LED strips inside glass door cabinets, inside deep cabinets such as pantries, lazy susan corners (base and wall), appliance garages, etc. LED strip lights may be installed on top of wall cabinets and under toe kick of base cabinets.

Interested in a remodel?

If you’re ready to take the next steps, give us a call or fill out a form and someone from our team will reach out!

Latest Trends in Bathroom Renovations

 

Whether you are trying to make your home more enjoyable for your family or you are planning to put your home up for sale, bathroom renovations can be a key component in increasing your home’s value and comfortability. Your bathroom should be your personal sanctuary and, when you are remodeling, it is important to choose your new design wisely. These four trends will ensure that your new bathroom is relaxing and up-to-date, so you don’t make any costly mistakes in your renovation.

Frameless Glass Shower Enclosures and Elegant Tubs

Shower curtains and rods are now a thing of the past! More and more people are opting for beautiful, streamline frameless glass shower enclosures. Simple yet sophisticated, this style of shower can make your bathroom look bigger and more upscale. It allows for you to showcase beautiful tilework on your walls and floors and implement some high-end shower details such as a rainwater shower head or digital shower controls. Take it a step further an add a steam feature too!

Frameless Glass Shower

If you are someone who can’t live without indulging in a relaxing bath every now and then, you can use this opportunity to add a freestanding statement bathtub to your new bathroom as well. After all, the combination shower and tub does not scream luxury. Spa-like bathrooms are all the rage and a great bathtub plays a key role in this trend. Make sure your bathtub is a place that you can relax and de-stress. Tubs now come in many different shapes, including circles, ovals, and rectangles, so make sure to find the one that is most comfortable to you.

Elegant tub

 

Gehman Remodeling can help you choose a new tub that is modern yet sleek and simple. If you choose something too unique, it may cause trouble when you try to sell your home in the future. It is best to choose something with clean lines and simple shapes. You can take your luxurious new bathtub a step further by adding high-end hardware in your choice of metallic finish. Also, if your ceiling height allows, consider adding some interesting lighting above your tub, such as a vintage-inspired chandelier. This can give your bathroom the “wow” factor you are looking for.

No More Medicine Cabinets

Everyone is familiar with the outdated medicine cabinet/mirror combo. This type of storage is now becoming tacky and obsolete as people are opting to implement more creative storage solutions and unique mirrors over their vanities in their bathroom renovations.

While medicine cabinets are disappearing, the need for storage in the bathroom is not. Shower nooks are one type of storage solution that is getting used more often, especially with the increase in popularity of glass shower enclosures. Spacious, built-in shelving inside of updated, stand-alone showers allow you to put your products somewhere that is easily accessible and esthetically pleasing, rather than sitting things on the ledge or ground.

If you are doing a total remodel, you may find that you are able to add in a storage closet or extra built-in shelving that you didn’t have before. Adding additional storage can be a wonderful renovation choice, as it can simplify life and impress potential future buyers.

There are also many new vanities on the market that have unique touches to make bathroom organization easier. These special touches include built-in racks for towels and double vanities with built-in storage in the between the two vanity units.

Beautiful, bold mirrors are another one of the biggest trends right now, so removing your old medicine cabinet can allow you to take full advantage of this and totally transform the look of your vanity area. A new mirror can tie all the elements of your bathroom together. It is okay (encouraged, actually!) to get something ornamental or with an interesting frame, as the mirror can be a great place to get more creative with décor.

Vintage-Inspired Accents

Vintage-inspired or repurposed vintage design elements have been popular for a few years now and they continue to be desirable. You don’t have to have your whole bathroom look like a blast from the past to take advantage of this trend. You can simply choose one or a few places to add a little vintage flair, such as your lighting, mirror, vanity, or tub. Art Deco or Industrial design aspects are particularly in vogue right now.

You may be able to find repurposed pieces, such as vintage dressers that have been refashioned into stylish and unique bathroom vanities. You could also find one-of-a-kind vintage mirrors at your local antique or thrift shop that will add a little something special to your home that no one else will have.

You might find that you already have a vintage freestanding bathtub, such as a clawfoot tub, in your home. Instead of replacing it completely, one option is to take an old tub that may look outdated and shabby and give it new life by re-glazing it and updating the hardware. This can transform it into something elegant and luxurious.

It is also an option to get something vintage-inspired, rather than use actual vintage or antique pieces in your bathroom. Many brands are taking advantage of this trend by creating reproduction décor and there is no shame in using some of these beautiful pieces to add some vintage flair. There is everything from vintage-inspired lighting fixtures to vintage-inspired vanities on the market, so you should have no trouble finding something that suits your personal taste.

Artistic Powder Rooms

Powder rooms are small places that can make a big impact on the overall style of your home. Often, these are the bathrooms that your guests will see, rather than them seeing your master bathroom. One trend in bathroom renovations is to use these spaces to do something more unique and funky, which is sure to impress both you and your guests.

Accent walls in fun, bold colors or quirky wall papers are becoming more common in power rooms. It allows you to play around with some more daring design ideas without having to do something crazy right in your living room. Floral or geometric patterns can be fun to implement, yet classic enough to withstand the test of time. Adding a unique sink basin, interesting hardware, or a fun lighting fixture can also spice up your power room.

Often, because of their small size, powder rooms are a less daunting construction project than remodeling a full bath in your home, which makes it a perfect place to be creative in your design. Just be sure not to choose something too crazy that could be costly to replace in the future or will go out of style too quickly. You will also want to make sure that the room still ties in with the overall motif of your home so you don’t have one room that seems completely out of place.

These four trends take elements of both modern and vintage design to create a sophisticated, elegant look. The amenities you choose for your bathroom will be there for years so come, so it is imperative to be forward-thinking in your design choices. It is understandable to feel a little overwhelmed with making all the selections for your new bathroom. Gehman Remodeling is here to guide you and help you to create the bathroom of your dreams by taking elements from your personal style and merging them with on-trend finishes for a classic, lasting look.

How to Choose The Right Home Remodeling Company

Every home investment is personal. It is a vision that you have that you would like to see it come to life. Home remodeling requires the very best to deliver. Despite this requirement, not everyone operates with a finite budget; we all want a good deal out there.

Making the right choice is down to how organized you are when choosing. Prepare before you go on a search.

  • Do your homework on the services and potential budget
  • Be specific on what you want

These four questions can guide you further on what to choose.

1. What do others say about the contractor?

  • Are there positive reviews of the contractor for you to peruse?
  • Has anyone referred you to the contractor?
  • What are the awards and accolades

You can trust the experience people have had with a remodeling contractor. Good contractors have an overwhelming body of positive reviews. There may be negative reviews here and there, but that should not deter you from choosing a contractor.

If there is a negative review, you can use it during interviews. Ask the contractor what he or she did to help the client. Use your judgment to gauge his or her answer.

If you have received a referral from someone, you can ask for more information about the contractor. If it is possible, visit the finished work. If there are before and after pictures or videos, you can request to see them.

If you have received a recommendation from another technician, conduct your due diligence. Ask for more information. Did the technicians go to school together? Have they shared a job site before? What type of work relationship do they have?

Awards go to the very best. Not everyone wins awards. Sometimes they say the second best always tries the hardest. Some contractors are not fortunate enough to win accolades, but they can deliver a project correctly.

2. Is the contractor certified?

  • The contractor must be registered
  • Work warranty is good
  • Insurance is imperative
  • Someone ought to have the right tools and equipment

Do not hire a technician who does not have the necessary authorization to do a job. He or she may not know how to do the job. The chances are that he or she is a quack. The licenses must be up to date. With bonded remodeling contractors, check the status of the registrations.

Some are under disciplinary review. If a contractor does not show all the legal documentation required to perform a remodeling job, just pass. Even if it is a referral, don’t be tempted to give the person the job.

Remodeling contractors who trust their workmanship offer quality guarantees. In case anything goes wrong, they will come to fix it. Those who feel they may not do a great job hardly give work warranties.

Look for the contractors who offer work guarantees. Someone ought to do the project right the first time. If someone does not want to come back to redo the job, they will insist on professional service. They will not cut corners.

Workplace compensation insurance helps mitigate any accident that can occur while the technicians are within your premises. If the contractor does not have that, any form of liability falls on you.

Most good contractors will take liability insurance for their projects. In case there is any error or costly omission, the insurance company will take care of it. If a contractor has a bad reputation, the insurance company will charge a hefty premium. If the insurance companies trust the contractor to be professional always, they will cover his workmanship failures.

You can ask some of the tools that the contractor will use. Ask if the contractor has all of them. If there are tools that they don’t have, how do they plan to get them? Sometimes contractors lease tools for complex projects. Missing tools is not much of a red flag.

3. How is the portfolio?

  • Experience in the type of remodeling project
  • Finished project overview

Take a great deal of time to look at the contractor’s portfolio. Inspect the projects that the contractor has done in the past. What is the completion rate? Did the customers give a good review? If there are customers who have left recommendation messages, that is a good sign. Some contractors buy good recommendations. If a contractor offers a lower bid in exchange for five stars, that is a red flag.

What type of project do you want? An expert in the bathroom may not be comfortable helping you out with the kitchen. If someone has a niche area, he is better suited to handle the job. However, don’t rule out everyone else because of that.

Medium to large contractors can do different types of projects perfectly, sometimes even concurrently. Be specific on the experience that you are looking for in a technician. Review several projects in that category.

Organized experts such as Gehman Remodeling take pictures of before, during and after photos for every project they do. It is easy to follow through.

A detailed overview of the finished project is imperative too. The only way to prove that someone is genuinely good is to look at the finished work. Is the overall workmanship great? How is the paintwork? How are the fittings? Is everything nice and tidy?

4. How is communication?

  • Return missed calls
  • Can you connect in person?
  • How detailed is the quote or estimate?
  • Are they responsive to questions?

Reputable contractors may not pick calls during the day. They are mostly at the job site. The good ones will call you back.

It takes time to finish your job. The contractor will be with you for several days. If it is an extensive renovation project, it might take a week or so. It is good to choose a likable person—someone you feel free to talk to when you have a problem.

Some contractors are more organized than others are. The quality of the estimate will give you a clue about the remodeling company. A detailed quote can signify an organized person. Since the devil is always in the details, the more the details, the easier it is to know which bid handles the best work.

Interview your potential contractors. While at it, be wary of those who dodge questions. Look for the contractor who offers straight answers without going around it.

Prepare a list of questions. However, don’t make them too elaborate. Five issues are enough. The contractor doesn’t have all day to answer your questions. Keep the items simple. You can even email the questions in advance so that the contractor comes ready to connect with you.

The best quote is the median. Some contractors quote low to lock in the job. Once they have started, they will bump up the costs upwards. Sometimes, you may pay more than you would have paid for had you chosen the most expensive contractor.

A very high quote can signify that the contractor is highly specialized in the industry. However, that is not always the case. Instead of gambling, take the median bid.

Conclusion

If you can answer each one of the questions in the affirmative, you are looking at an outstanding home remodeling contractor. You can go ahead with signing the contract. While at it, understand all the details. Read it through carefully.

You can draw your contract terms if you are uncomfortable with what the contractor prepared. Be as detailed as possible. If you have a remodeling job that you want to be completed, you can contact Gehman Remodeling Contractors.

Kitchen Pain Points

Pain.

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The first thing that comes to mind when you think of pain is physical injury, or maybe emotional pain.  But… have you ever considered your kitchen may be causing you pain? 

When homeowners are considering remodeling their kitchen, it is typically because something about their current kitchen “pains” them.

So what are these dislikes that pain homeowners to the point when they say, it’s time to remodel?  Let’s take a look at the most common pain points:

Organization: Everyone would like to improve accessibility to appliances throughout the kitchen. They also want ways to reduce the amount clutter on countertops.

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  • One solution is an organization station, which can be utilized in an end cabinet to incorporate a clever space for keys, a notice board for family and to-do lists, as well as stowaway slats for magazines and cookbooks.
  • Clear off countertops and maximize corner-cabinet space by installing a two-tiered carousel, or lazy Susan. This helps you to keep both often-used and rarely used items tucked away but within easy reach.
  • Having a paper towel drawer frees up some more counter space. The towels are easy to reach and out of sight.
  • Try adding hinges and a convenient tray to the false drawer under your sink for an extra place to hide cleaning essentials.
  • Kids love playing in the kitchen while you work, so look for clever options like toy drawers in your kitchen island, which can hold everything from crayons to puzzles.

Cleanliness: Homeowners want products, surfaces, materials, and appliances that are easy to clean and maintain.

  • When it comes to material, think smooth (no cracks, crevices, texture, or other places for dirt to accumulate), stain and water repellant, a pattern, earth tone in color (food colors), durable, and not glossy.    The more of these features a material has, the easier it is to keep clean looking.
  • A great way to see how well a countertop disguises daily messes, is to test out a counter sample using food crumbs and some common liquids
  • Consider soft close doors and drawers.  This allows you to close the door and drawer by just bumping it closed when your hands are dirty.
  • When searching for a cooktop, look for removable controls, sealed burners, and black grates that can go in your dishwasher.

Space:   Having more room is always high on a wish list.  Adding cabinets, pantries, and islands are typically how more space is achieved.

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  • There also are many options for making the storage capacity within the cabinetry more efficient. Among the most popular are the drawers for pots and pans that roll out from the cabinet.
  • Adding an island to your kitchen allows for more storage space, additional seating, and it’ll keep you in the middle of the action while you prepare meals.
  • If the shelves in your pantry don’t hold enough items, consider getting new shelving installed. Shelves that are deeper or wider can accommodate more. Instead of only using one type of shelving, vary the storage throughout the pantry. Pullout drawers and varying height shelves can give flexibility for housing small kitchen appliances and varying sized boxed goods.

 

 

 

 

Product Design: Homeowners want improved products and features those products offer. Many appliances, materials, and products were originally installed to save costs and people want to upgrade.  When you’re ready to upgrade appliances, you may want to take advantage of new or improved ideas since the last time you bought.

  • A sleek induction cooktop has no open flames and generates heat directly into compatible pots or pans, making it more efficient than gas.
  • Digital temperature controls on your refrigerator will display the actual temperature and the temperature you set.
  • Hot-surface warning lights are an important safety feature on electric ranges and cooktops because the surface can remain hot long after an element has been turned off.

 Noise: Too much noise from appliances and products in the kitchen are constant problems for homeowners.

  • Designing your new kitchen with appliances covered in integrated doors that match your cabinetry is an easy and smart way to reduce noise. Your dishwasher will be just as functional, and blends in nicely when closed.
  • Trash compactors and disposals should be installed with a perimeter strip-type gasket or with rubber spacers to isolate vibrations.
  • Mount exhaust fans outside the house and secure the ductwork by boxing it in tightly with plywood. Use rubber mounts to install the fan to reduce noise generated from vibrations.
  • Large, heavy appliances, such as refrigerators, transfer their vibrations to the supporting floor, creating additional noise. These vibrations can be isolated from the floor by placing pads of rubber underneath the appliance’s legs or corners.
  • Soft close kitchen cabinets close gently and physically can’t be slammed.
  • If noise is a concern, consider staying away from stone flooring. A stone floor will make the  room much more prone to echoes

Are any of these points paining you?  When you’re ready to discuss remodeling your kitchen to cure what pains you, please call us at 215-660-5635 for a free consultation.

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