Kitchen and bath remodeling Montgomery County, PA most desirable projects, NARI honors Home Improvement Month with remodeling trends, motivators

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling Montgomery County, PA

In honor of National Home Improvement Month this May, Gehman Design Remodeling (GDR) shares new data from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), placing kitchen and bath remodeling as the top projects in 2012—with a striking 85 percent of NARI members reporting both projects as a regularly provided service (at least 5% of projects).

The trends are part of the 2012 Member Profile Study, which provides a snapshot of NARI remodelers’ businesses and industry trends. New this year, NARI remodelers reported on services provided, frequency of project types and shifts in frequency compared to last year.

The data speaks directly to consumer demand in residential remodeling. Eighty-one (81%) percent of NARI members reported kitchens as a top three regularly provided service, followed by 77% for baths and  47% for additions. 

Dennis Gehman, a Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler (CKBR) and president of GDR notes a significant increase in Kitchen and Bathroom projects as homeowners are enhancing the existing space in their homes more so than adding more square feet to the house.  Projects range from a facelift to removing walls to create an open floor plan.

 

 

Most interesting are shifts in project popularity from 2011 to 2012.

Projects with increased popularity:

• Outdoor living/sunrooms (65% reported growth)

• Bathrooms (51% reported growth)

• Energy upgrades (45% reported growth)

• Kitchens (43% reported growth)

• Interior specialties (42% reported growth)

 

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Projects with decreased popularity:

• Basements (36% reported declines)

• Additions (37% reported declines)

Close examination of the project breakdown and popularity shifts suggest motivations for remodeling are a tug-of-war between needs and desires.

Dennis Gehman says that wise planning for remodeling projects in order to save money and lessen the impact on the environment should involve Reduce, Reuse & Reclaim. Reuse materials when possible. Reduce the amount of materials added to landfills by Reusing them or donating them to a non-profit for others to reuse. Incorporate salvage (Reuse) materials from other projects. 

To see the 2012 Member Profile Study results, send your request to marketing@nari.org.

NARI is the source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor because members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics that observes high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility.

According to results from the 2012 Member Profile Study, NARI members outpace the industry norm in sales, production and employees, when compared to professionals represented in the Home Improvement Research Institute’s (HIRI) 2011 Remodeling Professional Study.  

 

Taking Care of Your Small Kitchen Appliances Keeps Money in Your Pocket

Over time, the average person will spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on small Kitchen appliances. While some of the smaller items aren’t too expensive to replace, some of the larger ticket items (such as foodprocessors and high-end mixers) can be costly. Taking proper care of these items is easy and takes little effort. Here are some tips to help extend the life of your appliances and keep that cash in your pocket.

  • Always clean and dry Kitchen appliances as soon as you’re done using them.
  • Pay special attention to drying anything made out of metal, such as blades found in food processors and blenders. This will prevent rust.
  • For toasters, make sure to clean the slide-out tray located near the bottom. Keeping this space clear of crumbs will reduce the chance of fire or attracting bugs.
  • The best way to clean a microwave is to boil a mug of water in it. The steam from the water will help to loosen any food that has been stuck to the insides. Using an abrasive-free cloth or sponge will allow you to easily wipe away old food or residue.
  • To clean the inside of appliances such as the dishwasher blender, or food chopper, a simple solution of water mixed with vinegar does a great job. Generally, a half-cup of vinegar to one gallon of water works best. This cleaner also works well for floors and even windows.
  • With any item you are cleaning, make sure to keep the cords away from water. It is also important to remember to keep appliances unplugged for safety.
  • To keep the garbage disposal clean, put a little liquid soap into it, turn it on and run the cold water on high for about 3 minutes. Keeping the water cold will help to solidify any grease and then allows the disposal blades to break it up. If you’re looking to get a fresh scent for the disposal, cut a lemon in quarters and drop it in, then turn on the disposal. The fresh scent of lemons will last for several hours. In addition, one of the best ways to keep the garbage disposal in good working order is to use it frequently. This allows the blades to rotate and the keep the unit from rusting since it is constantly exposed to water.

Using these tips will help to keep your appliances in good working order and looking good as well, but remember to always read the manufacturer’s instructions that come with each appliance when purchased. Some units have pieces that come apart and others do not. Knowing exactly how your unit works helps to keep it working properly.

Clean Your Home Naturally with These Common Items

You can scrub your home from top to bottom and until every room shines, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your home is clean … at least in a way that is good for you. Many of the chemicals in today’s commercial cleaning products actually can taint the quality of indoor air and also be absorbed into your body through your skin.

This is why it is important to pay attention to the labels – and consider using organic cleaning supplies. Products that contain only organic ingredients not only are safer for the environment, but they are also better for your family, too.

Organic cleaning supplies will often have plant extracts and natural minerals on the ingredient lists. Some will have flower essences (such as lavender) to give your home a soothing scent.

Look for products that contain essential oils. These are oils from natural items such as lemon or pine. Cleaning ingredients that are organic will also often have the word “biodegradable” on the label.

Baking soda is a natural cleaner and is often used to scrub and whiten stains.

White vinegar is another good cleaner that will cut through grease, get rid of stains and even can be used as a pest control. Ants will avoid white vinegar, so if you clean around your window frames and any crevices with white vinegar, this will take care of any ant problems.

Vinegar can also be used to kill mold, clean a garbage disposal, and even remove stains left by tea and coffee in your cups. It’s also great for getting rid of lime deposits.

Some other organic cleaning ingredients found in “green” cleaners are coconut, minerals and salt. You might not think of salt as a natural cleaner, but it is. Salt can be used as an abrasive and it can also be used to dry up liquids spilled on carpets.

Look for cleaners that contain castile soap. This soap is made of natural olive oil and can be used for cleaning countertops. It can also be used to clean clothes, and it’s great on hands. People with allergies often find castile soap easier and less irritating to the skin.

When choosing cleaning products, look for those that are natural – recognizing that some products will use the word “natural” in their description even when they aren’t 100 percent. Read labels carefully and avoid products that contain preservatives or synthetic materials. Also look for keywords like non-abrasive and non-flammable, because this is indicative of the cleaner being chemical-free.

Picking Window Coverings: The Basics

Selecting the right window covering can often be a challenge for many homeowners. You want to control the light streaming into a room, yet you also want your privacy. Many of today’s windows come in “odd” shapes and measurements, making it even more difficult to find the right window covering solution.

When you start shopping for window coverings, there are many factors that you’ll consider (in addition to privacy and light control). Depending on the location of the window, you’ll also look for durability, ease of cleaning, safety and price.

Window coverings range from sheer to opaque:

  • Sheer coverings allow light to enter the room while defusing the glare; objects are fairly visible.
  • Translucent coverings allow light to enter, and although objects are still visible, the view of distinct images is reduced.
  • Filtered coverings transmit filtered light and hinder a view, for more privacy.
  • Semi-opaque coverings are impenetrable by light when closed, but allow some light to come through the gaps.
  • Opaque coverings do not allow light to come through and provide total privacy.

A factor homeowners should consider when choosing window coverings is durability. Your windows are susceptible to harsh conditions – primarily sunlight – that will affect the coverings, too. For instance, your curtains and sheers will filter sunlight; however, they will also fade over time, while shutters and blinds will have a longer life-span.

Cleaning is another important aspect to think through. If you have a window that is high off the floor, you’ll want to pick a window covering that doesn’t need to be cleaned frequently. Fabric coverings are the most difficult to clean, while solid-surface coverings, such as wood, are a bit easier to wipe down and dust.

For families with small children and pets, you may also consider the safety factor of the window coverings you select. Window blinds, for example, have a long cord that raises and lowers the blind – which could be dangerous if played with by young children. Besides being a choking hazard, the cords could release the heavy blinds and injure tiny fingers and arms.

Another factor is price. Professional window treatment companies offer dozens of options for you to consider and that can, for the most part, be customized to fit your windows, but this hands-on service generally is more expensive than doing it yourself. Price also varies between types of window treatments, too. Keep in mind that you often get what you pay for – so if durability is important to you, you’ll want to avoid the cheapest option.

Above all else, make sure you think about the primary function of your window treatment. Are you trying to gain privacy, diffuse light or simply decorate the room? Your end goal will drive the type of window covering you should select – so that you are happy with the results.

A Beautiful Garden … Even in a Drought

Living in Montgomery County, we often find ourselves in a “drought” or with water restrictions because of the lack of rainfall. The grass becomes hard and scratchy, and our scrubs beg for water. Even our potted plants are wilted from the extreme heat.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Tomatoes-in-Pot-GardensSo how do you keep your garden and potted plants looking green and thriving when rainfall is at a premium? Here are some ideas

Look at the type of plants you are using in your garden. Do they need a lot of moisture to thrive … or survive? If you aren’t sure, do some research online or visit your local nursery to find out. If this is the case, you may want to switch the type of plants you are choosing for your garden to ones that are “drought resistant.

Check your soil. Does your soil retain moisture? If you are potting plants, there are several bag mixtures (Miracle Grow is one example) that are specifically geared toward retaining moisture. If you have flowers in beds, you’ll want to make sure you have a thick coating of mulch to help hold in moisture.

Arrange like plants together. Not all plants need the same amount of water to thrive. Some plants need watered every single day, while others like to be thoroughly dried out before they get their next dose of water. Arranging your garden so like plants are together will allow you to conserve water and give your plants what they need to thrive.

Install a drip-irrigation system. These systems are designed to slowly apply water to the plants’ roots zone which maintains a constant and proper moisture level for the plants.

Build a rain barrel. If you want to conserve water and be “green” at the same time, you can install a rain barrel. A rain barrel collects rain water that you can use throughout your garden, as needed.

If your garden and potted plants aren’t looking beautiful because of the summer heat, apply a few of these water-conservation tips to get your garden blooming again.

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