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Renovation Costs

Ceramic Tile Removal in a Bathroom Remodel

On this step of removing the ceramic tile it’s going to get dusty so what I did first was remove everything that I could so I wouldn’t have to clean it when I was done. Even though I was not going to reuse the tile, I wanted to be careful because I wanted to put the tile on Freecycle or Craigslist so someone else might be able to use them. The only tools I used were an old flat tip screw driver, hammer and a box cutter.
I should say that the tiles that are offset from the wall about 1/2″ with a mortar mix. The way that the mortar stays on the wall is a wire mesh that is attached to the wall with staples and nails. I started by cutting the bead of caulk around the top edge of the tile being careful not to cut to deep and into the drywall. Now the first tile off is the most critical so you have to be real careful. I just started the screwdriver back behind the tile and pried a little bit at a time at tile I could remove without damaging the wall or the tiles next to it. From that point it gets easier. I worked a line straight down to the floor and then made my way around the room.
Being how we are still using the bathroom I had to work around a few things. The first was the toilet. The tank of the toilet was real close to the tile so it made it difficult to get the tiles off around it. The next thing was the vanity. I should tell you that when they built this house they custom built the vanity and everything before they put up the tile so there is allot of things to cut around. I would have to say that when I got to the mirror I had to be real careful because the mirror was resting on top of the tile. Now I am the kind of guy that if something can go wrong it probable will. I got lucky on this part and didn’t break the mirror.
Another nice thing about doing all the work myself, I get to see how thing’s are built. I am a project engineer for a manufacturing company and I am always looking at how things are built. Okay I better get back to the tile work. Now I mentioned that the tile was about 1/2″ off the wall with a mortar mix. When I got to the door way there was the mortar mix on one side and on the other they built it up with a piece of plywood and used liquid nails to hold the tiles up. Needless to say, I couldn’t save any of the tiles that were glued to the wood. Then I found an area that the tile was glued straight to the drywall. I have to replace some drywall now. Luckily that was the end of removing the tile.
I stacked all of the good tile in a box and threw out all bad ones. Swept up all the debris and put everything back in its place. As I mentioned at the beginning I am going to list the tiles on Freecycle since they are in good condition and hopefully someone else can use them instead of them going into the land fill. As I remodel I’m always looking for ways that I can recycle materials instead of throwing them into a land fill that is already overloaded.
In the next article I’ll be removing the mortar mix and the wire that was attached to the wall.…

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Kitchen Renovation

A Simple Do-It-Yourself Bathroom Remodel in 5 Easy Steps

Even for a Do-It-Yourself novice, these 5 easy steps to remodel your bathroom is easy for anyone to do without spending much more than a few hundred dollars and a Saturday afternoon. Remodeling your bathroom does not have to mean breaking things up, replacing all the big ticket items in your bathroom, or hiring a contractor do perform the work for you.

Plan a weekend and focus on these 5 easy steps to remodel your own bathroom and save money:

Lighting

Faucets

Cabinet Hardware

Mirror

Towel Bar and Toilet Paper Holder

Lighting:

Change your bathroom lighting – simply changing your bathroom lighting can give your bathroom a new look. Especially if your lighting isn’t bright enough to light up your bathroom, or your lighting looks outdated. Some really great looking lights can be purchased and quickly mounted in about an hours time. Remember to turn the electrical power off during any electrical work and follow the directions that come in the light packaging. I usually gauge how big a light I will need by looking at the total area needing the light. The larger the area, the more important it becomes to use a larger light.

Faucets:

Replace your bathroom faucet – with just a few tools such as a wrench, pliers, screwdriver, and plumbers putty, you can change your faucet in about an hour as well. Many times faucets begin to show signs of hardened water deposits or other discoloration. A new faucet can go a long way to making your bathroom sink look new. In some cases you may need to replace any water supply cut-off valves and drain lines that may have become worn or somewhat deteriorated.

Cabinet Hardware:

Your cabinet hardware is another easy way to upgrade the looks of your bathroom. This is certainly true if you purchased an existing home. Changing the cabinet hardware can easily give your cabinetry a facelift. Just be sure to find hardware with the same screw patterns as the old hardware to make the exchange very simple. You often can find new hardware for just a few dollars a piece, and when most bathrooms only use less than a dozen pieces of hardware, the cost is minimal and the improved looks can be substantial.

Mirrors:

Changing the mirror can also change the looks of your bathroom. If your bathroom has damaged mirrors, rusty frames, or just a bad mirror setup. Change the mirrors size or shape to give your bathroom a whole new look. Mirrors can be purchased in big box stores for a few dollars or you can have a glass installation company install a mirror for you. There are lots of choices such as plain flat glass, beveled glass, etched glass, colored glass, framed or unframed glass and much more to choose from.

Towel Bars and Toilet Paper Holders:

Finally, if you have towel bars or toilet paper holders that could use a facelift, consider changing them into something more modern or stylish. Each of these items have only a couple of set screws and a small handful of screws to remove. If you are placing a larger or smaller towel bar and need to cover the holes. I have taken a 51/2 inch wide board that is just about 3 inches longer than the towel bar to screw to the wall first, and then installed the towel bar over the board. Before installing this board I take the board to the cabinet shop to have the edges routered with a simple design. Looks great and provides a strong backing.

Just imagine a few dollars and a few hours and your bathroom looks better already. Without a doubt you can do these 5 easy to do steps to remodel your own bathroom all by yourself on a weekend and make a big difference.…

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Remodeling

Lighting Tips for Your Bathroom Remodel

No bathroom remodeling design is complete without a plan for improved lighting. Lighting serves many functions in the bathroom, from highlighting the decor to helping you accomplish your daily grooming and hygiene routine to complementing your reflection in the vanity mirror. By installing the appropriate lighting in your bathroom, you can both make the space feel larger and create place for personal retreat.
Here’s a look at the types of lighting you should include in your bathroom remodeling plans:
Task Lighting
Task lighting in a bathroom is one of the most important types of light to include in your bathroom remodel, as it gives you the necessary illumination for applying makeup, shaving, showering and performing other essential tasks.
When designing your task lighting, pay extra attention to the illumination around your bathroom vanity, which is essential for grooming and applying makeup properly. A common mistake homeowners make is placing a single light directly over the mirror, which casts misleading shadows on your face. If possible, surround the mirror with vanity lights or add sconces on either side of the mirror to create more even lighting on your face.
For additional task lighting, place a waterproof, recessed light above the shower or tub.
Ambient Lighting
Ambient lighting is a stand-in for natural light, enhancing the mood or atmosphere of a bathroom. If you’re fortunate enough to have a window or skylight in your bathroom, take advantage of the natural light as much as possible by removing blinds or curtains and using a thin shade or frosted glass instead. If your bathroom lacks natural light, you can simulate it with a lamp or chandelier on the ceiling. You can also create a soft glow by concealing, rope lights around the perimeter of the room behind molding that sits up to six inches below the ceiling.
Accent Lighting
Accent lighting is typically used to illuminate an aspect of your bathroom you want to highlight, such as artwork, a unique tile arrangement, a beautiful tub or an interesting sink. To create accent lighting, add a recessed spotlight with a beam aimed at the element you want to highlight.
Other Bathroom Remodel Ideas
Once you’ve designed your bathroom lighting scheme, make it work in harmony with the rest of your decor by using color and decorative elements to enhance the lights. A large mirror above the sink will reflect your bathroom’s light and make the space appear larger. For a small bathroom remodeling project, artistically arrange a collection of smaller mirrors. Adding a soft, light color to the walls and floors will also help reflect your bathroom’s light. You can also include a light-colored rug.
Finally, attach your different lighting elements to various dimmer switches to give you total control over your bathroom’s ambience. This will not only help you create whatever mood you desire, but it can help you save energy and lower your utility bill.
Although bathroom lighting is often neglected, good lighting is essential to any functional bathroom. As you begin plans for your bathroom remodeling project, make sure you include the one element that will help make the space look its best — and make you look fabulous.
~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2010…

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Kitchen Remodel

Modern Trends in Home Remodel and Renovation

It’s no secret that the current housing market will remain largely lethargic for an extended period of time. People will continue to refrain from making big ticket purchases, which especially holds true for real properties. This could spell unpleasant news for developers, but surprisingly, or may be not so surprisingly if you really think about it, it will also create ample opportunities for general contractors and renovators as homeowners will opt to expand or enhance the properties that they already own.

While property values stagnate along with the rest of the economy, people will move less often and will own their house for longer periods. They will also increasingly spend more time at home. So the big question is, why not make it a happier time then?!

As a general contractor in Orange County, CA, we’ve been noticing that many home owners now prefer to upgrade their homes and stay where they are. We are also noticing that the level of sophistication of today’s homeowner’s tastes began to show a dramatic change. Consumers started asking us for materials with more cosmetic appeal and extended longevity. They want to enjoy their homes now and also make sure that they put themselves ahead of the crowd when it is finally time to sell.

Here are some of the specifics of what we’ve observed so far:

Increased length of ownership due to stagnating property values

Homeowners opt for happier time now and also put themselves ahead of the crowd when it is time to sell

Small contractor bankruptcy is on the rise

Contractor landscape is changing to reflect the new market reality – a direct result of flight to quality by the homeowners

Fly-by-night contractors are still out there, so the homeowner needs to exercise extra caution before inviting a contractor into their home

Natural high quality materials and high-end “green” technology are gradually entering homes

High-end remodels and renovations when done right create instant and lasting equity…

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Home Repair

7 Signs You Might Need to Remodel Your Kitchen

Looking for one last nook or cranny for your dishes? Have you found yourself in your kitchen desperately needing more space for cooking? These are some typical signs that it may be time for a new kitchen. Here is a list of 7 signs that you may need to remodel your kitchen.

Counter Top Space – Are you constantly looking for space to do prep work in your kitchen? Has your kitchen island become the family’s mail room? According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), a Kitchen should have a minimum of 158″ (13 ft) of linear counter top space. But that’s just the minimum. Sometimes rearranging your appliances more efficiently can open up some counter top space. However if this is the case,you may want to consider removing walls to create a great room that contains your kitchen, living room and dining room. Opening walls also gives you creative options to create a kitchen island.

Outdated Appliances – Are your appliances the same as they were when the house was first built? This could be a very noticeable sign that your kitchen is starting to show its age, but more importantly could be costing you more money thank you might think. Recent advances in Green Technology have created a demand for energy efficient appliances that can save you time and money.

Kitchen Flow – You may be aware of the kitchen triangle (the distance between your stove, refrigerator, and sink) However, once again sometimes the minimum isn’t enough, especially if you there are more than one cooks in the house. Minimum aisle distances should be 36″ and the NKBA recommends 48″ in aisles if you plan on using multiple cooks in the kitchen. To create multiple cooking stations you can easily add a prep sink to create another work station. A well laid out plan should separate the cooking areas from the gathering areas of the home where guests and family socialize.

Outdated Cabinetry – If you’re living in a home built during 1970s or earlier, it probably goes without saying that you are constantly reminded it’s time for a kitchen remodel. The species of wood you choose for you cabinets set the tone of your kitchen. Choosing a new species can help update your kitchen drastically and immediately. Sometimes staining or painting is all you need to give your kitchen an updated look. Other times the damage may be to severe of the cabinet faces are really starting to show their age. Replacing cabinets usually means a complete kitchen remodel all around, but some things can be salvaged and reused like appliances or fixtures.

Lighting – Older incandescent light fixtures can give off ugly light and worst, cost you money. Recent “Green” trends in technology have created a high demand for energy efficient light bulbs. The best advancements in energy efficient lighting is the LED light. Typical light bulbs will last 900 hours, where an LED can last up to 30,000 hours. That’s 30 years at 3 hours a day. In addition, you can power 6 LED lights with same amount of energy it takes to power one incandescent bulb. LED lights are a great choice for any room in your home and can help update the feel of your kitchen.

Kitchen Location – If your kitchen is feeling like a dark closet tucked away in your home, you might want to consider opening the kitchen up. The best way to do this is knocking down walls to open up to the living room and dining room. Another alternative that may be more economical is adding a door to an outdoor patio. This can be a great way to entertain family and guests in an outdoor environment. A door opening the exterior needs to be a minimum of 34″ but this could be a good place to add sliding doors or french doors depending on the layout of your home.

Best Time for Kitchen Remodeling – Recent economic trends have lowered the cost in some areas of the remodeling industry. One area is the labor industry where costs have dropped 15-25% in some areas. Companies that have stayed healthy over the last 3-4 years have probably done so through excellent customer service. In addition, many remodeling companies have become efficient in 3D design. 3D design has become a game changer for remodeling companies and home owners. 3D design puts your in your kitchen remodel before construction begins. It also allows companies to put together accurate estimates so that you know exactly where your money is being spent. Because your dollar can go further with lower costs, 3D design, and excellent customer service, you can be sure that updating your kitchen now is a solid investment.…

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Home Contractors

Money Saving Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodeling doesn’t just have to be about updating the current look of your bathroom or improving the usability. It can be a great chance for you to implement some ways to conserve water and energy, while also choosing attractive yet environmentally-friendly options to remodel your bathroom. Remodeling your bathroom while being environmentally-friendly at the same time is entirely possible. We’ve put together some great green bathroom remodeling tips that you can consider when planning your bathroom remodel.
As might be expected, your bathroom uses a lot of water, mainly for the toilet and shower. However, it is possible to reduce that figure by a significant margin which can mean your water bill shrinks as a result. The major culprit in bathroom water consumption is of course the toilet, which accounts for a quarter or more of a household’s water usage. Installing a low-flow toilet probably won’t help this, since they can often end up using more water than before due to requiring multiple flushes. However, a dual-flush toilet is an excellent alternative that allows you to minimize the amount of water used per flush – it allows you to choose whether you want to use a minimal amount of water or the maximum amount of water when flushing. As a result, a dual-flush toilet can save as much as 17,000 gallons per year. If you don’t want to replace the toilet entirely, your current toilet can also be upgraded to allow dual flushing.
When it comes to the shower, it generally does not use as much water as the toilet does, but it still accounts for 15-20% of a household’s water usage. You can cut back on this by installing a low-flowing showerhead, which uses 1.5 to 2 gallons per minute, as opposed to a high-flowing showerhead that uses 2.5 gallons per minute.
Choosing environmentally-friendly materials for your bathroom remodel is another way to go green but still have a great-looking bathroom in the end. Ceramic is a very popular green material for bathroom tiles that is attractive, durable and low-maintenance, while tiles crafted from recycled glass are also very environmentally friendly and attractive as well. Replacing light fixtures with LEDs will help save on energy costs over the long run since they use a very minimal amount of energy but can still output a good deal of light.
In addition to green remodeling materials and water-efficient fixtures, you can reduce your bathroom’s energy costs to help save money and minimize environmental impact. Your water heater can be wrapped with an insulator that helps reduce the amount of energy it needs to heat water and you can also insulate any exposed pipes connected to the water heater. It can also be a big help to turn the temperature down to 120 degrees from the standard 140 degrees a water heater is usually set at – this will still provide hot water but use less energy in the the time comes to replace your water heater, you have two excellent alternatives to a standard water heater. With a condensing water heater, almost all of the energy used goes to heating water – maximizing energy-efficiency. The other option is a tankless water heater, which heats water on demand, rather than using energy to keep water hot constantly.…

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Remodeling

Lighting Tips for Your Bathroom Remodel

No bathroom remodeling design is complete without a plan for improved lighting. Lighting serves many functions in the bathroom, from highlighting the decor to helping you accomplish your daily grooming and hygiene routine to complementing your reflection in the vanity mirror. By installing the appropriate lighting in your bathroom, you can both make the space feel larger and create place for personal retreat.
Here’s a look at the types of lighting you should include in your bathroom remodeling plans:
Task Lighting
Task lighting in a bathroom is one of the most important types of light to include in your bathroom remodel, as it gives you the necessary illumination for applying makeup, shaving, showering and performing other essential tasks.
When designing your task lighting, pay extra attention to the illumination around your bathroom vanity, which is essential for grooming and applying makeup properly. A common mistake homeowners make is placing a single light directly over the mirror, which casts misleading shadows on your face. If possible, surround the mirror with vanity lights or add sconces on either side of the mirror to create more even lighting on your face.
For additional task lighting, place a waterproof, recessed light above the shower or tub.
Ambient Lighting
Ambient lighting is a stand-in for natural light, enhancing the mood or atmosphere of a bathroom. If you’re fortunate enough to have a window or skylight in your bathroom, take advantage of the natural light as much as possible by removing blinds or curtains and using a thin shade or frosted glass instead. If your bathroom lacks natural light, you can simulate it with a lamp or chandelier on the ceiling. You can also create a soft glow by concealing, rope lights around the perimeter of the room behind molding that sits up to six inches below the ceiling.
Accent Lighting
Accent lighting is typically used to illuminate an aspect of your bathroom you want to highlight, such as artwork, a unique tile arrangement, a beautiful tub or an interesting sink. To create accent lighting, add a recessed spotlight with a beam aimed at the element you want to highlight.
Other Bathroom Remodel Ideas
Once you’ve designed your bathroom lighting scheme, make it work in harmony with the rest of your decor by using color and decorative elements to enhance the lights. A large mirror above the sink will reflect your bathroom’s light and make the space appear larger. For a small bathroom remodeling project, artistically arrange a collection of smaller mirrors. Adding a soft, light color to the walls and floors will also help reflect your bathroom’s light. You can also include a light-colored rug.
Finally, attach your different lighting elements to various dimmer switches to give you total control over your bathroom’s ambience. This will not only help you create whatever mood you desire, but it can help you save energy and lower your utility bill.
Although bathroom lighting is often neglected, good lighting is essential to any functional bathroom. As you begin plans for your bathroom remodeling project, make sure you include the one element that will help make the space look its best — and make you look fabulous.
~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2010…