How to set a proper budget for your home remodel
(Family Features) When you decide to renovate your home – whether to sell or make improvements for you and your family to enjoy – setting a budget can be a challenge. Knowing what you want to accomplish may be the easy part but avoiding the bad advice out there and determining what you can actually afford takes research and detailed planning.
Consider these tips from National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) member contractors to help build an appropriate remodeling budget.
Identify your project scope and ideal budget. Start by creating a list of everything you would like to include in your renovation then separate your list into wants and needs. From there, determine a proposed budget for the project based on how much you’re comfortable spending and your home’s value.
“Get your bids after you know what the project is,” said Michael Anschel, principal of OA Design+Build+Architecture.
Meet with remodelers. Set up a meeting with a local remodeling company and share your proposed scope of work and budget to see if it’s feasible. An experienced, professional remodeler who is a member of an organization like NARI can share feedback on the costs in your area and any challenges involved with your project based on experiences with homes like yours. Once you have a better understanding of the true scope of the project, meet with other contractors to gather a few estimates to compare.
“Are you hiring an installer or are you hiring an expert guide?” asked Barak Steenlage, co-owner of Anchor Builders. “The difference is worth the investment.”
Beware of low estimates. When evaluating companies for your project, remember estimates you may find online don’t typically account for regional variations, the cost of various types of labor and necessary permits.
“Cost estimates you find may be national averages that are lower than the costs in your city,” said Bjorn Freudenthal, homeowner advisor at New Spaces. “Also, they may only account for the cost of the replacement materials, not other costs like changing the floor plan or updating electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. They might also be missing the costs of removal of hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused some materials to rise in cost, so it’s important to account for these increases.
“Bad contractor stories come from people cutting corners and hiring unqualified people,” Anschel said. “When you’re paying bottom of the barrel, there’s no bandwidth for the contractor to solve problems.”
Ensure you have proper permits. Not all projects require permits, but it is important to determine if your project requires one from your city or county. Make sure you (or your contractor) obtain one, if necessary, to ensure the safety of the work and its compliance with building, construction and zoning codes.
“If a homeowner or contractor doesn’t pull permits and something goes wrong, the homeowner is liable to fix the problem,” Anschel said. “This additional cost could be a large percentage of the original job, and maybe more.”
Understand your timeline. The purpose of your renovation can impact the long-term value of the project. Making updates to prepare your home to sell, for example, is a more immediate cost than updating a space you will spend time in for years to come.
“When the homeowner is looking to stay 7-10 years or more, it impacts lifetime value because you can spread the cost out over a longer period of time,” Steenlage said.
Find more tips for your next remodeling project, and member contractors in your area, at RemodelingDoneRight.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Enhance your home’s style with stone
(Family Features) One essential step in planning a home renovation is choosing the right materials. Natural and textured walls continue to be trendy choices, and many building pros and homeowners are gravitating toward stone siding to add comfort, character and beauty.
Panelized stone siding offers the look and feel of natural stone and manufactured stone veneer, but in a panelized format that can be installed with screws. With a wide range of exterior and interior applications, panelized stone siding can complement almost any home style. On the exterior, in particular, stone siding can boost curb appeal and provide a multi-textured facade with a solid return on investment.
Although stone veneer, or manufactured stone, is commonly used on home exteriors, indoor applications are gaining popularity as homeowners are increasingly interested in bringing natural elements inside.
Given its design flexibility, ease of installation and affordability, the experts at Westlake Royal Building Products recommend manufactured stone siding as an ideal option for interior and exterior applications like these:
If you love the look of natural stone but want a more affordable option, panelized stone siding offers an authentic look and simple application with a cutting and installation process similar to traditional siding panels. Some homeowners choose to mix stone with other exterior materials to create a one-of-a-kind appearance. For example, adding manufactured stone siding alongside existing brick or vinyl siding can infuse visual texture, dimension and impact. Complementing colors can provide a more balanced, traditional look while contrasting colors present as modern and bold.
Wrapping columns with panelized stone can make your home’s entrance a focal point, adding curb appeal and creating a welcoming effect.
Panelized stone siding can also be used to elongate the appearance of a wall while bringing texture and contrast into the home. Warmer tones can make the space more inviting and cozier while cooler hues can bring a modern, industrial feel.
Manufactured stone siding makes it easy to give a fireplace a facelift or make it a focal point, changing the look and feel of a room. Available in a variety of colors, textures and shapes, it can elevate your living room’s style and create a more inviting area.
An affordable option like Versetta Stone panelized stone siding from Westlake Royal Building Products provides the beauty of hand-laid stone with virtually undetectable joints and seams for world-class design featuring timeless colors and textures, natural shapes and hand-crafted details. It’s a practical choice for experienced DIYers since there’s no need for mortar. What’s more, the tongue-and-groove interlocking system can be installed in any weather.
Learn how panelized stone siding can bring your vision to life at VersettaStone.com.
Chores to tackle to get your home ready for spring
(Family Features) After months spent largely indoors while harsh elements battered your home’s exterior, many homeowners are throwing open the windows and embracing spring’s arrival.
Every home requires ongoing maintenance to ensure it’s living up to its aesthetic and functional best. This checklist can help you create a comfortable home setting for enjoying the warmer months.
Check gutters. During the colder months, debris can accumulate in the gutters, which can be problematic when spring rains arrive. Clogged gutters prevent water from flowing efficiently away from the roof and house. When they’re backed up, they can cause water damage in a short amount of time. Faulty guttering can also cause slow leaks that lead to damage you may not discover until major repair work is needed. Properly functioning gutters are clear of debris, flow freely and are securely attached to the home.
Inspect the roof. Your roof takes a real beating in all kinds of weather conditions. Making it a common practice to carefully inspect the roof with the change of seasons can help you identify potential problems while they’re still in early stages, before a big storm hits and major damage occurs. Some roof issues can be addressed with simple repairs you can do yourself while others may require a professional. A roofing expert can help you determine whether any trouble areas can be patched or if a more complete restoration is in order.
Replace the dryer vent. Upgrading your dryer vent is an opportunity to conserve energy and prevent flammable lint build-up in your dryers. One option for updating the exhaust system is a paintable version of InoVate’s Prime DryerWallVent. Engineered for both vent replacement and new construction, the vent includes features such as a gravity-assist damper, integrated magnets and a drip edge to provide extra protection from the elements as well as pests. A large, clean opening and lightweight angled damper promote exceptional airflow efficiency.
Service air conditioning units. Your heating and cooling system works hard to keep your indoor climate comfortable when extreme temperatures make the outdoors unbearable. That’s why it’s important to have your systems serviced by a professional, and spring is a smart time to do so before they’re hard at work throughout the warmer months. Service can correct problems and ensure everything is operating efficiently, which can lead to money savings as well.
Repair window screens. Throughout the winter, your home’s window screens can accumulate a layer of dirt and grime that isn’t just unsightly; it blows indoors when you open the windows to welcome a fresh breeze. What’s more, if your screens have rips and tears, pesky bugs and other critters can make their way into your home more easily. Cleaning and repairing your screens can make your home more secure and help protect your indoor air quality.
Find more information to help get your home ready for spring at DryerWallVent.com.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Tips for fostering dogs
(Family Features) More animals are staying in shelters now than before the pandemic, according to a report from Shelter Animals Count, and just over half (53%) of dogs in shelters are adopted. However, the report also found that fostering dogs is a proven way to help pets find new homes.
For those looking to support rescue dogs in need, the PEDIGREE® brand and its FOSTERVERSE™ program offer tips for a positive fostering experience and show how you can help end pet homelessness. To learn more and get involved, visit Pedigree.com/Fosterverse.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Learn the Dog’s Background
Every dog has a unique personality and set of needs, which is why it’s important to learn as much as you can before fostering a dog. Try to gather detailed information from the rescue organization or animal shelter before bringing the dog home, including age, breed, health conditions, dietary needs, energy level and even likes and dislikes. Learning about your foster dog’s background ahead of time can help you prepare and ensure a smooth transition to your home.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Prepare Your Household
Spend time making your home as dog-friendly and safe as possible by keeping electronics, cleaning supplies, sharp objects and other potentially dangerous items out of the way. This may mean taking a look at items in your home from the dog’s eye level to see what might be within reach. If you will be introducing a foster dog to other pets in your household, try to provide ample space to allow for slow introductions. Also consider looking for ways to designate spaces and belongings (like beds) between your pets so they can have comfortable places to retreat and rest.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Train for Eventual Adoption
Once your foster dog has adjusted to the new environment, consider gradually implementing routines. These routines may include activities like obedience training, physical exercise, house training and crate training. Teaching your foster pup good habits in preparation for adoption can increase the likelihood of finding a forever home.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Market Your Foster Dog
Spread the word in your community in person and on social media that you are fostering and helping find a forever home for your four-legged friend. A survey from AdoptAPet.com revealed the simple act of sharing information on social media about adoptable pets at local shelters can save a pet’s life, with 8 out of 10 (84%) organizations reporting that sharing pet content online increases the likelihood of pets being adopted. Help get the word out and show your community members why they should consider adopting your foster pup.
Try Virtual Fostering
While many people might want to foster a pup, there are many factors that may not allow them to foster pets in real life. That’s why the PEDIGREE brand is bringing fostering opportunities to the Metaverse for anyone who owns a digital property in Decentraland, offering a new platform for dog adoption. Users may interact with dogs they meet in the FOSTERVERSE program and learn about their backgrounds and adoption status, as well as ways to support dogs in need across the country. Dog lovers can choose to adopt a dog they meet virtually through AdoptAPet.com or donate to PEDIGREE Foundation to help similar adoptable pets in need across the country.
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