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Category: Remodeling

Are you considering custom built home windows versus pre-built standard windows for your upcoming replacement? Here are some things you should consider.

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You are unique, an individual, why not allow yourself the opportunity to design your own custom windows which will reflect who you are and provide you with a significant cost savings. Custom windows have really kept up with all the advancements in technology and offer you the opportunities to really customize your windows in various ways, from functional options such as control noise or for security, to more decorative options such as patterned glass, divided lite patterns, and intricate shapes, to various degrees of tinting and glazing.

When you choose custom built home windows over pre-built or stock home windows you will experience a higher quality window, built by a craftsman who specializes in the manufacturing of these windows. The windows can be custom made to your design and most importantly, to the exact specifications of the needs in your home thereby reducing drafts and loss of heat and increasing your homes overall energy efficiency. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the cost savings when the utility bill comes and you’ve continued to maintain the level of comfort you desire all year long. In fact, replacing single-pane glass windows with ENERGY STAR® qualified custom built products can save you $125 to $450 on energy costs annually.

You will also be doing the environment a favor by using less resources to meet your same heating and cooling needs. When you choose custom windows, the windows will be carefully made to the exact needs of your climate to ensure efficiency. This also gives you a unique opportunity to change the size or shape of your entire room for example by adding differing sizes of windows, or one big bow window.

You can never undervalue the importance of personalized service and installation. It’s best to work with the custom window builder allowing them to measure and install the window, as they will ensure its proper fit and efficiency. You don’t want to take a chance on wasting all the money you would have been saving, by skimping on the installation resulting in improper fits and drafts. Also, you don’t want to compromise the windows warranty by not having it properly installed by the professionals.
With custom built windows, you avoid the pitfalls of stock windows which always require some patching and filling, and likely even some trimming to get the windows to just ‘fit’. You also avoid having to purchase additional seals, insulation, caulking, dealing with gaps, and drafts, and additional costs of additional visits to remedy the problems. Relieve yourself of these additional complications and headaches and have the custom built window professionals complete the job.

Statistics have been reporting that most homeowners save up to 40% annually on their energy expenses after replacing their homes windows. Now is the best time to decide on custom built windows. The cost savings and customization options are well worth the initial costs for custom windows and you may also qualify for certain tax rebates for home improvements. Make the choice to enhance your home’s value and aesthetics as well as investing in future cost savings.

To work as a home improvement contractor in any state, a contractor must usually apply for home improvement licensure. States put the licensure process into place as a consumer protection to prevent the scamming of customers by people falsely claiming to be home improvement contractors. Licensing also prevents te performance of low-quality work that could endanger the customer or the structure.

In addition to state licensure, some towns, cities and counties require home improvement contractors working within a municipality to acquire a municipal home improvement contractor license. Projects of a certain value may have less stringent requirements than projects that are high-value. For example, in Tennessee, some contractors acquire home improvement licenses for projects under $25,000. For projects over $25,000, the home improvement business would obtain a contractor license.

Who needs a license?

A home improvement contractor is a business entity that makes or sells home improvements. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies will all need state licenses. Home improvements include altering, painting, restoring, repairing, renovating, demolishing, modernizing or moving a structure or the property upon which the structure sits. Additional examples of work requiring licensure may include:

  • Performing landscaping tasks like laying sod or planting shrubs, flowers and trees
  • Installing swimming pools or pouring driveways
  • Performing environmental remediation including asbestos, mold or lead removal
  • Working as a subcontractor for a home improvement store
  • Being an employee of a licensed home improvement contractor who also does odd jobs “on the side”
  • Contractors licensed in one state who decide to perform work in a different state

People who are exempt from holding licenses may include:

  • Someone who is working on improvements to a family home
  • A person working on an improvement for a building owned by a charity or non-profit corporation
  • A retailer of home improvement products who does not perform or pay a contractor for installations
  • Contractors who work exclusively on commercial properties
  • Architects, engineers, surveyors, electricians, plumbers and other professionals who already have separate state licensing even though they work on home improvement projects

What type of business do I have to own?

States will have different requirements for submitting proof of the type of business that you own, and the requirements will be spelled out in the licensure application. If your company is a sole proprietorship or partnership, then you will need a document such as a trade name certificate. Corporations will need certificates of incorporation, and LLCs and LLPs will need certificates of formation. If you use multiple names for your home improvement contracting, then you will also need to submit copies of any alternate name certificates that you possess.

What about bonding and liability insurance?

Most states require contractors to have commercial general liability insurance before they will allow them to apply for licensure. While amounts may differ by state, a good rule of thumb is to secure a policy that pays $500,000 per incident. Contractors will need to prove both that they’ve secured and that they maintain the policy in their names. Proof usually consists of an active policy number, the date the policy was issued, the effective date of the policy and the signature of the policy owner.

Additionally, some states require bonding to show that a business is financially secure. Some examples of proof of financial security include surety bonds, cash bonds, property bonds or irrevocable letters of credit.

How does the application process work?

Typically, a home improvement contractor applies for licensure by completing an application, submitting required paperwork and paying an application fee. Businesses must submit a physical address instead of a post office box address, and they must also check currently licensed home improvement contractors to make sure that the name of their business is distinctly different from an existing licensed business or contractor name.

How much do I have to disclose?

Each state will have its own requirements regarding home improvement contractors who have a previous criminal record. Some states will not restrict licensure, while others may not allow a convict who is on probation to hold a license. Home improvement workers with criminal records may have to work as employees of another company until they finish probation or otherwise meet the criteria for working as an independent contractor.

Additionally, states may also ask questions on the application regarding past judgments against the business. If the application requires complaint records, information about convictions, revocations or unlicensed activities, then the contractor must provide an thorough account of past actions.

What happens when I’m licensed?

Most states require license numbers to be displayed on all advertisements or marketing materials related to home improvement projects. Also, some states may require the use of specific forms and procedures for down payments, written estimates, dates of the project and cancellation policies. When a home improvement contracting business is sold, always check state requirements to register the new owner’s name in a timely manner.

While this article will give a general idea of the licensure process and associated requirements, it is not intended to substitute for checking the laws regarding licensure in your state. Always check into your individual state and municipal licensure requirements before beginning work as a self-identified home improvement contractor.

Interior temperature and air quality are important elements of a healthy and comfortable home, so repeated problems with an aging or malfunctioning HVAC system should be addressed. If the equipment needs frequent repairs, it may be less expensive in the long run to install a new unit. The life expectancy of an HVAC system varies by type and operating conditions. A heat pump or air conditioner that receives regular maintenance can be expected to last for at least 10 years; a boiler or furnace may reach 15 years of age or more before failing.

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Average Cost of HVAC Unit Replacement

The cost of HVAC units varies greatly; pricing depends on a number of factors such as the size and type of system and the energy efficiency rating. In addition to the equipment itself, buyers must also consider the cost of installation and any required modifications to the building like additional ductwork. Replacing an existing system costs less than a new installation if there is already functional ductwork in place. Here are the most common types of HVAC equipment types and their average costs.

    • Heat Pump, Electric or Gas Split HVAC System

Split systems consist of both indoor and outdoor components. The outdoor unit is an air conditioner to provide cooling; the indoor unit is a furnace to produce heat. Split systems usually cost between $2,000 and $11,000; the average cost is $6,625. Costs will vary based on the type of units included.

    • Central Air Conditioner Unit

A central HVAC unit may cost as little as $1,000 or as much as $4,000 for a large unit; the average cost is $2,600.

    • Ductless Split System

This system is an option for homes without existing ductwork. Costs for a ductless system range from $2,000 to $7,000; the average cost is $4,500.

    • Gas Furnace

A standalone gas furnace typically costs between $1,000 and $5,000; the average cost is $2,400.

    • Gas or Oil Boiler

Regular efficiency boilers range in price from $2,500 to $4,000 with an average cost of $3,250. High-efficiency models cost between $5,000 and $9,000 with an average cost of $7,000.

    • Air Handler or AHU

Most air handlers cost between $1,000 and $3,500; the average price is $1,700.

    • Commercial HVAC Units

Commercial HVAC systems are much larger, and pricing will depend on the square footage of the building and other factors. Most commercial systems will cost more than $15,000.

Installation Costs

The cost of installation is highly variable and depends on the type of system, the choice of contractor and the complexity of the required work. Installation charges for a typical home range from $3,000 to $6,000 with an average cost of about $4,700. Additional ductwork or repairs can increase the installation fees by several thousand dollars.

In conclusion, the average homeowner can expect to pay between $5,000 and $11,000 for a completely installed HVAC system.

Variables Affecting HVAC Replacement Cost

    • Size or Capacity of Unit

HVAC Capacity is measured in BTUs and tons. These refer to a unit’s heating and cooling abilities. The square footage of the home, the local climate and other variables determine what size HVAC unit is required. More powerful units are more expensive, but installing a unit that does not have a high enough capacity can cause early equipment failure and increased energy costs.

    • Efficiency Rating

Energy efficiency is another important variable that affects cost. Air conditioners are assigned a seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER). Alternative measurements for heat pump efficiency include the average fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) and the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). Higher ratings denote more efficient systems, and these generally cost more. However, they save homeowners money in the long run by using less energy.

    • Choice of Retailer

Each HVAC equipment retailer will have specific equipment and installation charges. Discounts and special offers may be available; it is advisable to check several different retailers to find the best prices.

    • Brand and Quality

Major national brands may be more expensive than lesser-known ones. Before purchasing, buyers should thoroughly research brand names, models and available features to get the best quality system for their money.

    • Optional System Features

Programmable thermostats, air purifiers, humidity control features and UV lamps are optional features that will increase cost.

    • New or Used Equipment

Used or refurbished equipment may be available at a discounted price.

    • Entire vs. Partial Replacement

Some complex systems may only need individual components or units replaced; this decreases the cost of equipment and labor.

    • Location and Climate

Colder regions require more powerful systems to maintain desirable temperatures in winter. Units with higher BTU ranges are best for cold climates while systems in the lower BTU ranges are more appropriate for warmer areas.

Replacement Tips

Whether replacing an old HVAC system or purchasing a new one, homeowners should obtain careful measurements of the entire house and record any technical information about existing HVAC equipment. With the required information in hand, professional HVAC retailers and installers can help buyers find the system that best meets their needs at a reasonable price.

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Basements have many purposes: they can function as family entertainment rooms, spare bedrooms, and even separate apartments. However, one of the most time-tested uses for a basement is the coveted man cave, a safe haven for men away from the rest of the home décor. Hidden away underneath the main living space of the rest of the house, the basement offers the perfect location for a man’s sanctuary. These are a few tips to successfully transform a basement into a fully functional man cave.

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Install insulation
While insulation is always a good idea in a basement to regulate the temperature and keep the room energy efficient, the insulation in a man cave is doubly important. Many activities in the man cave, such as watching sporting events and playing games, can become very loud. This may disturb the other people living in the home. Consider adding insulation to the ceiling in addition to the walls in order to reduce the amount of sound traveling upstairs to the other residents of the house. Foam insulation is the best type to use in a basement man cave because it will repel moisture and mold while it traps air leaks.

Use durable materials during construction
When building any basement room, it is necessary to use inorganic materials to help discourage mold from forming in the lower level. However, using other indestructible and easily-cleaned materials can also improve a man cave. Try using durable plastic floor tiles in the basement. They look very much like ceramic tile or solid wood planks, but the plastic does not warp or crack, and it never needs to be refinished. Additionally, the plastic is very easy to mop or vacuum clean when snacks and drinks are spilled.

Create a flexible floor plan
The perfect man cave needs a lot of space for activities, and it needs to take into account that those activities may evolve over time. While it may be necessary for a bench press station to be near the recliner now, that recliner may move to the other side of the room in a few months to make room for a new pool table. When more space is open, more options are available to add new activities, such as a dart board, pinball machine, or professional card table. An open floor plan also allows plenty of room for friends to participate in these activities.

Install electrical outlets
Many man cave activities require electrical power. From electric guitars to video games and flat-screen televisions, the basement cave offers many different possibilities for manly fun. It may also be necessary to have enough outlets to engage in several of these activities at one time, especially if there are friends in the man cave. Consider also adding a small dorm-size refrigerator to the basement man cave to keep beverages and snacks nearby and cold. With all of these options, be sure to have more than enough electrical outlets available. Make sure that there are enough circuits in the main service panel to handle all the new outlets too.

Plan the lighting
Depending on the type of ceiling in the man cave, the best type of lighting is to use overhead lights in the ceiling panels. This illumination works best in a suspended ceiling. When planning the lighting system in the basement, take into account any windows that will allow light to shine into the room, and then add accent lighting with lamps and wall-mounted lighting fixtures to increase the brightness of the basement. There should be enough light in the basement to make all activities visible. Consider using multiple switches throughout the room, and try adding dimmer switches to some of the lights. This will allow control of each area to get the best level of lighting for the activity. For example, dimming the lights over the television area will create the best lighting for watching a movie, while brighter lights will be necessary over the pool table.

Provide storage
Man caves without storage and clean-up supplies can very quickly turn into the messy frat house that no one wants to visit. Include a small closet for storing cleaning supplies and storage bins that can help keep the man cave tidy and usable. Have a place to store snacks and beverages, as well as a location to dispose of any trash left over from these refreshments. Keep decks of cards, poker chips, and other gaming accessories stored in an organized location. There is no need to make a big deal about keeping the man cave clean, but have the proper storage containers in place to maintain some sense of order.

Splurge on a basement bathroom
Adding a bathroom to the basement can be a very expensive endeavor, but this feature allows everyone to stay secluded in the man cave for longer periods of time. The bathroom does not need to be large or overly accessorized, but creating a self-contained room with a toilet and sink makes it convenient for anyone spending a prolonged time in the basement without disturbing anyone in the rest of the house. A basement bathroom makes the man cave an island of its own without any interaction with the upstairs world.

Before replacing a roof, it pays to do plenty of research. Like most people, you probably want a roof that will last for decades. It’s also nice to have one that requires little to no maintenance. Several materials are popularly used on roofs in the United States. Some of them are a lot more durable than others. Exceptionally durable materials tend to be more expensive, but cost is not always a reflection of quality because some materials work better under certain circumstances than others. What works for a home in a hot, dry climate may not work for a home in a cold, wet one.

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Factors that Affect the Longevity of a Roof
The material out of which a roof is made has the biggest impact on its longevity. However, other factors come into play as well. Exposure to the sun plays a strong role, and the slope of the roof has a major effect as well. The type of maintenance that a roof receives affects its longevity too. Even when a roof is made out of virtually maintenance-free materials, occasional work is necessary to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

Popular Roofing Materials and Their Average Lifespans
You shouldn’t base your decision solely on the lifespan of a given roofing material, but this information can help you make the most informed selection possible.

  • Asphalt Shingles – Without a doubt, asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing materials in the United States. On average, this roofing material lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 years. The reason for the wide range involves climate. In colder climates, asphalt shingles may last 25 years or longer; in warmer, more humid climate, they may only last 12 to 14 years. These shingles have petroleum bases that dry out over time, so they definitely don’t last forever.
  • Composite – Composite shingles, or composition shingles, are popular for a variety of reasons. Some of them are primarily made out of asphalt, but there are fiberglass-based options as well. Many composite shingles also include recycled materials, so they can be eco-friendly options. While they require very little maintenance and are quite adaptable, they don’t have great lifespans. On average, you can expect a roof made out of composite shingles to last about 20 years. If you live in an area that regularly experiences high winds, composite shingles are not a good option.
  • Metal – Metal roofs have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. In addition to having extremely long lifespans, these roofs dramatically enhance the energy efficiency of homes. Standing-seam metal roofs, which are the most popular, can last 75 to 100 years. Metal roofs are resistant to fire, insects and rot. Very little maintenance is needed, but it should still be performed. Metal roofs should be inspected periodically, and they should be scraped and repainted with rust-resistant paint when needed. As long as this basic maintenance is performed, a roof like this should serve you well for a long time to come.
  • Tile – Most people are drawn to tile roofs for their beauty. Tile is most commonly used on homes that have Spanish or Italian architecture. In addition to looking great, tile roofs can last a really long time. Some have lifespans of up to 100 years. Unfortunately, tiles are often installed on mortar bed systems, which makes them susceptible to slippage. In that case, this type of roof may only last about 10 years. Therefore, exceptional installation is critical. Because tiles are often made out of terra cotta and other dense materials, they tend to be heavy. Extra support is often needed. Tiles are also fragile, which presents a problem when performing maintenance on a roof.
  • Slate – For a natural, stunning look, it’s tough to beat slate. Very fine slivers of stone are used to create these roofs, which have lifespans of 45 to 75 years when they are properly maintained. Like tile, slate can be very fragile, and it can require extra support due to its weight. The thickness and density of slate tiles affect their longevity. Slate roofs generally require very little maintenance. However, the main thing that affects their longevity is failure of fasteners and nails. These components should be inspected regularly and replaced promptly at the first sign of weakness.
  • Wood – Estimating the lifespan of a wood roof isn’t easy because so many factors affect its durability. The slope of the roof, the amount of sun exposure it receives and the quality of the maintenance that’s performed all have an impact. Furthermore, the width, thickness and cut of the wood affect its longevity as well. When properly treated, installed and maintained, the average wood roof should last 15 to 30 years. Out of all of the available options, cedar is the best choice.
  • Fiberglass – Homeowners love the versatility and style of fiberglass roofs. This option is sold in panels and sheets, which makes it easy to achieve the perfect look and protection. The fiberglass that’s used is glazed to make it exceptionally waterproof. Fiberglass is also naturally shatterproof, so it’s a strong, durable choice. The best fiberglass roofs are designed to be resistant to rot, mildew and rust. At the high end of the scale, a fiberglass roof should last around 30 years. As with other roofing materials, maintenance and design have major impacts on the lifespan of this type of roof.
  • Concrete – People are often surprised to learn that concrete can be used as a roofing material. A concrete roof doesn’t involve heavy slabs of material. Today’s best options use fiber-reinforced cement to achieve optimal style and durability. When mixed with cellulose, concrete can be crafted to look like wood shakes. Concrete roofs can also be used to replicate tiles and other popular roofing materials. Depending on the design of the roof and its underlying materials, concrete shingles or panels can last up to 50 years. This type of roofing material is virtually maintenance-free, and it’s resistant to rot, insects and fire.
  • Rubber – Although it’s infrequently used, rubber is a viable roofing material in many situations. Most people turn to it for its eco-friendliness, but it has other benefits too. A rubber roof offers exceptional energy efficiency. Shingled rubber roofs are available, but whole-roof designs, which are custom-created at the factory, are much better options. These rubber roofs are seamless, so they are exceptionally leak-proof and can last up to 40 years. Rubber roofs are also flexible and lightweight, and they are available in a variety of colors and designs.

Before considering any roofing materials in earnest, give some thought to the climate where you house is located. Is it usually wet or dry? Is it usually sunny or cloudy? Would you describe it as a warm climate or a cold one? These factors will all help you zero in on the ideal roofing material. From there, weigh the pros and cons of the top options, and remember that cost doesn’t necessarily reflect quality. Regardless of the material that’s used, first-rate installation is vital. To ensure that your roof lasts as long as possible, make sure that it is inspected and serviced regularly.

As we love to do here at HomeOwnerIdeas.com we created this post for the homeowners who love to visualize design and remodeling ideas. Below you will find a wide variety of modern, contemporary, luxury, vintage etc. bathroom pictures that you can feel free to share with your remodeling contractor to get ideas for your new bathroom redesign. Enjoy!

The traditional modern bathroom these days often looks like the picture below. To best utilize space a glass shower is attached to a sunken bath tub. This bathroom also utilizes natural light. Tile, granite and wood cabinets tie the luxury feel together here.

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In this next modern bathroom design the homeowners wanted to incorporate more color in to the actual design, which is often most easy to do through the use of small glass or ceramic tiles.

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The luxury bathroom below uses every ounce of available natural light but also incorporates uniquely designed stainless steel raised plumbing features, custom window coverings, granite countertops, wood cabinetry and medium tile flooring.

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The next bathroom picture shows a design to make a smaller space look much larger. Carefully placed recessed lighting echoes off of the full tile walls in this bathroom while mixing in the natural light giving the bathroom an illusion of being much larger than it actually is.

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The following bathroom has a classic “natural look”. Large and small stone faced tile, natural wood cabinets and earthy colors complete the look for this bathroom.

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Sometimes in cases like city condos or row houses, a homeowner only has a small space to work with. In this very small bathroom below you see a small bathroom still transformed into a luxury setting. Large tile can give the appearance of a larger space and a pedestal sink is always the best bet. The modern, narrow toilet also allows for greater floor space.

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This ultra-modern, super-contemporary bathroom has really been designed to “wow”. The large oval bathtub is a rare but stunning focal point while just past the tub is a walk-in shower with a single glass wall. To complete the contemporary look, the remodel included extra-large, over-sized tile on the floors and walls.

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Becoming more common these days is the tranquility of adding a fireplace to your bathroom. Nothing accentuates the peacefulness of a jacuzzi tub like a gas fireplace.

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Lately, many bathrooms include flat screen televisions. This country style bathroom seems to truly be a place to spend time.

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The bathroom picture below is quite a unique and artistic idea indeed. Natural but bright coloring and a wide open design with cabin shower mixed together with large tiles, small tiles, stone tiles and glass tiles.

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This bathroom features a sink that stems from the wall, small tile design and a large walk-in shower.

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This next picture gives the homeowners looking for contemporary children’s bathroom ideas plenty to think about. A citrus color designed is tied together by the orange tile.

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Finally we finish with an ultra-luxurious white toned bathroom. This space features custom cabinets, lots of marble and large jacuzzi tub. Mix in the large window and the small window and this bathroom will truly wake you up in the morning.

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We hope you enjoyed our collection of bathroom design and remodeling pictures and ideas. If you are looking for a contractor for your renovation project, use the form on the upper right hand corner of this page. Best of luck with your new bathroom!

Painting a room is a quick and cost-efficient way to give any home a fresh, updated look. However, the job can be complicated for large houses or oddly shaped rooms. If you want to revive the appearance of your home with a new paint job, you may benefit from hiring a professional. There are various factors that determine how much a professional will charge for any interior paint job.

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When comparing the fees of painters, it’s important to understand what is covered. In most cases, the paint and other supplies are included in the estimate. You may be able to request certain supplies, such as better quality paint rollers, but you will have to pay more. Some professional painters also allow the customer to choose the paint brand. This will affect your overall cost as well.

One of the main considerations when calculating costs is the size of the room being painted. Many painters charge per square foot. You may find a professional who charges a flat hourly rate, but most will present you with a bid that is equal to their base fee. If you have an exceptionally large room to be painted, or if the room has high ceilings, you may be charged on the higher end of the scale.

The cost of a paint gallon varies depending on the quality of the product. Expect to pay between $10 and $50 per gallon. A professional paint job typically includes two coats of paint for each area. If you select a less expensive brand, it may be thinner and will need an additional coat. The painter may need to use a primer as well. Primers are also often necessary for covering stains or any existing paint that is exceptionally dark.

Before you obtain any estimates for your interior paint job, you will need to know the square footage of the rooms being painted. This will give you a rough idea of what to expect. The cost per square foot can range from $1.25 to $2.75. On average, you will pay between $200 and $400 per room. Some professionals offer discounts on additional rooms, so it pays to have several jobs handled by one person.

Experienced painters will perform prep work prior to painting any room. This will affect your overall cost. You can do the preparations yourself, but a professional will likely do a more thorough job. Preparations include moving or covering furniture, taping any molding and removing small objects from the work area. For an average size room, you will generally pay $200 to $400 more for prep work.

Seasoned professionals typically supply the drop cloths, tape, brushes, rollers and other materials. They will include the prices for these items in their estimates. However, if you are expected to pay for the supplies separately, it can add up to $50 on your total costs. When getting any estimates, be sure to ask the painter to clearly break down every fee so that you know what you’re paying for.

Where you live may affect the price of the interior paint project as well. The cost of living in each area determines what many professionals charge. Living in a larger city may mean higher costs. In addition to location, the extra labor required will affect final fees. High ceilings, wainscoting, baseboards, crown molding and other detail work may require an additional fee. The price can go as high as $200 per room.

You may be able to get certain discounts to lower your out-of-pocket expenses. If you hire a painter during the winter or late fall, you may see significant savings. Some painters also offer a price reduction if you agree to have your project completed in between other jobs. You may also save money by hiring a novice who charges by the hour and allows you to purchase all the materials. Hourly rates range from $25 to $50.

Before hiring anyone, get several estimates and request references. You may also inquire about seeing the painter’s work. Ask what types of paint and brushes will be used as well. If you are not satisfied with the quality of the paint, speak up. Cheaper paints usually don’t last as long as high quality products, which means you may need to repaint sooner than expected. To further protect your wallet, ensure that the painter is licensed and insured in your state.

As the old adage goes, good fencing makes good neighbors.Now, there are other ways to deal with problematic neighbors – as this guide will tell you, but for those who are looking for a new fence for more organic, or aesthetic reasons, this post will help you sort out the costs that are associated with that.

Having an excellent fence installed can go a long way towards keeping your property secure and preventing issues with trespassing, misconduct and vandalism. Getting a new fence, however, can be a significant expense, one that includes the cost of the fence itself and the installation. That cost varies widely depending on the length and style of your fence, the materials you intend to use and your choice of installation professional.

One of the most popular materials used to construct fences is wood. Depending on the type and grade of wood used, wood fencing can range from very inexpensive to very expensive. All wood fences share some degree of vulnerability to the elements, certain pests and fire, although pressure treating and certain coatings can mitigate that vulnerability somewhat. Wood also requires some degree of maintenance to stay attractive and functional. Nevertheless, many homeowners opt for wooden fencing because of its classic appearance.

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Common grades of wood used in fencing include clear wood, which has almost no flaws or imperfections; premium or #1 grade, which contains only small imperfections such as knots; standard or #2 grade and utility grade. Higher-grade wood is more expensive, of course, but the lack of imperfections can be aesthetically pleasing. It is worth noting, however, that many homeowners actually prefer the rustic appearance of lower-grade wood. Furthermore, if the fence is going to be painted, the presence or absence of surface imperfections is somewhat moot.

Vinyl fencing is growing in popularity because it is durable and requires almost no maintenance. Because it is the same color all the way through, it requires no painting or staining, and it maintains its new appearance for quite some time. Vinyl is available in a wide range of heights and styles and has few finish imperfections. However, it can also be more expensive than wood or metal.

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Several metal fencing options are available, ranging from aluminum to wrought iron. Aluminum is a fairly inexpensive, lightweight and versatile material available in many colors, heights and styles. It can be attached to many different types of posts, including rock, and is excellent for decorative or boundary fencing. Perhaps the biggest advantage of aluminum fencing is that it is impervious to rust and tarnishing, which means maintenance is almost completely non-existant.

For those who can afford it, classic wrought iron fencing is an excellent option. Although it is a metal, wrought iron has an almost wood-like grain because of its low carbon content. The most common types of wrought iron fencing are the Essex fence, which has an ornate, noble appearance, and the somewhat simpler Concord fence. Either type of wrought iron fencing is fairly expensive to purchase and install, but fortunately it requires little maintenance once it is in place.

The cost of fencing also depends on the style of fencing to be used. Privacy fences, which are essentially solid barriers, tend to be relatively expensive because they require a great deal of material. Three-rail fencing is often somewhat cheaper, though it does not provide as much privacy. The classic picket fence tends to be even more expensive than privacy fencing.

Average Fence Costs and Variables
With all of these options available, the cost of fencing varies widely depending on the material, style and length of the fence. On average, having a fence constructed and installed out of basic materials costs about $13 per linear foot, of which about $8 is for the fencing itself and about $5 is for installation. Mid-range fencing averages around $16 per linear foot, including about $10 for materials and $6 for installation. High-end fencing can be $19 or more per linear foot, with about $12 per foot for materials and another $7 for the installation. The actual cost of fencing varies widely around those numbers, of course: Market forces govern the cost of materials, and installation costs tend to be higher in affluent and heavily populated areas.

Since installation represents a huge portion of the cost of new fencing, up to 50 percent in some areas, it is always good to look for ways to reduce that cost. For wood fencing, consider hiring a carpenter to do the installation instead of paying extra for a specialized fencing contractor. Just make sure that the carpenter has prior experience working with wooding fencing. Consider taking care of some of the extra costs by removing existing fencing yourself. If you have the time and hands-on aptitude to do it well, you can save thousands by installing your own wood fencing.

Good gutters play a significant role in the maintenance of any home because they direct water from rainfall away from the house. Without properly functioning gutters, your home’s walls or foundations may be at risk, and fixing that water damage can be extremely expensive. Many gutter issues can be repaired, of course, but to deal with really extensive damage you may find it more cost-effective to replace your gutters entirely. The cost of doing so depends primarily on the materials and the length required.

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The least expensive of all gutters are made from vinyl materials. Good vinyl gutters consist of PVC plastic, which is durable, resistant to denting and corrosion and easy to install. Furthermore, plastic is the same color from top to bottom, which means scratches and dings won’t stand out as they do on metal. The danger of vinyl comes from very cheap versions of the material, which are thin, brittle and highly susceptible to extreme cold. Taking materials and labor into account, vinyl gutters tend to cost between three and six dollars per linear foot, although the better quality materials tend to be in the upper portion of that range.

The mid-range material option is steel, which is perhaps the most durable of all metal gutter materials. Steel gutters have twice the tensile strength of aluminum and stand up much better under the weight of falling objects and other physical stress, making them particularly good choices in climates that get heavy snow or strong winds. Steel also has low rates of thermal movement and is less vulnerable to deforming. However, steel is heavy, which means the installers must cut the gutters into smaller sections that are easier to lift. Many homeowners also think steel gutters are less aesthetically pleasing than other types. Cheaper galvanized steel gutters tend to cost between four and eight dollars per linear foot; stainless steel is substantially more expensive at 15 to 20 dollars.

Another popular gutter material is aluminum, a lightweight and corrosion-resistant metal that is easy to cut and therefore easy to install. Professionally installed aluminum gutters are thick enough to be fairly durable, but the material still has several drawbacks. Aluminum deforms easily under the weight of falling objects or ladders and tends to expand and contract when exposed to extreme temperatures. Over time, the gutters can even pull away from the roof, letting water leak down the sides of the house. The cost of buying and installing new aluminum gutters tends to run from 10 to 15 dollars per linear foot.

Known in the industry as exotic materials, copper and zinc are gaining popularity among homeowners for aesthetic reasons. Blue-gray zinc gutters are generally considered attractive and blend well with zinc or slate roofing. However, they are somewhat vulnerable to thermal expansion and contraction and are difficult to solder, which can drive up the cost of installation and future repairs. Zinc tends to cost between 12 and 17 dollars per linear foot, depending on the market. However, seamless zinc is quite rare and can be much more expensive.

At the very top of the price range are copper gutters, which are impressively durable and never need to be painted. Depending on the climate, copper gutters tend to appear either green or brown, which can have a huge impact on a home’s aesthetic appeal and thus its resale price. The cost is high, however, as copper is an expensive metal that requires specialty installation to make sure nothing is wasted. Getting new copper gutters usually costs between 25 and 30 dollars per linear foot.

Actual Average Gutter Replacement Costs
The overall cost of new gutter replacement, then, depends on both the materials used and the overall linear footage to be replaced. Most homes need between 120 and 250 feet of gutters, depending on their size and the humber of stories. As such, replacement can cost as little as $500 for vinyl gutters on smaller homes and as much as $7500 or more for copper gutters on larger homes. There are relatively few additional costs, although removing the existing gutters can cost several hundred dollars for large homes.

When is comes to choosing new gutters for replacement, the cost of materials and installation is one of the biggest things to consider. Although weather, climate and other local factors play a role, generally the best policy is to pick the most durable material you can currently afford. Getting gutters that are resistant to damage may cost you more now, but avoiding future repairs will allow you to recoup that cost over time.

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If you are coming up on a kitchen remodel or renovation and you are looking for some great designs and ideas to incorporate into your plans, have a look below. We have put together a collection of kitchen pictures that you can then use to share with your builder. Use the form on the right to get in touch with a local top rated kitchen remodeling company if you have yet to take that step. We hope you enjoy these great kitchen ideas!!

Here is a modern traditional kitchen. Notice the island which mixes white into a otherwise wood look.

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The long and narrow kitchen below uses a great deal of white colors to accentuate the natural light. The mix of stainless steel appliances and antique finished cabinets is more common in kitchen remodeling plans lately.

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The kitchen below also incorporates a great deal of white that blends with the stainless steel appliances. However, this kitchen is contemporary / modern because of the cabinets and lighting.

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This luxury kitchen below is designed to accentuate the vaulted ceiling. The built in wine space on the right includes a wine rack above and wine cooler below. Glass cabinetry and classic lighting and chairs give this kitchen a unique, sophisticated look.

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Below is a bright, modern country style kitchen that features contrasting colors and a stand out kitchen island.

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To contrast the kitchen above, this pic below shows a modern city style kitchen. This type of kitchen is great for a condo in city highrise. True stainless steel with dark cabinets and white oversized tile flooring, this kitchen is perfect for city-slickers.

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Many people these days are building their stovetops into their island. This usually comes with an exhaust fan directly above the cooking unit which can often be a centerpiece of the kitchen.

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Some kitchens feature a backsplash that is worth building around. In this case, the backsplash sets the look of the kitchen and gives is a country and comfortable feel.

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This kitchen is designed to accentuate the eccentric vaulted ceiling.

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This kitchen exudes a look and feel of a rustic cabin in the woods.

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Here is a modern version of the 1950’s kitchen. The use of light wood and the general color scheme give it the 1950’s style look while the modern sleek appliances and contemporary exhaust fan bring it in to the future.

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We hope you enjoyed our collection of kitchen pictures and ideas!