In this episode we take a look at both large remodeling projects and simple home upgrades to give you ideas to help you improve your home – regardless of your budget.
Project #1: Open House Remodel
The homeowners started with a dark gloomy foyer and an unused formal living room. We removed the wall leading into the formal living room, enlarged the cased opening between the formal living room and dining room and created a 13-foot cased opening between the formal living room and den to create a nice, big open floor plan for the homeowners. We also discuss and work through the challenges of finding unexpected plumbing in the walls.
Project #2: Exterior Porch Addition
This homeowner had always wanted a front porch she could really enjoy and the existing stoop porch just wasn’t what she had in mind. Instead we built a 7’wide x 22’long porch with gable roof. Along the way we also discussed the importance blending the old or existing exterior with the new via roofing material, siding, etc. Even the porch handrails were planned to match the character of the architecture of the older home. We also painted the entire exterior to really clean up the home and give it a new face.
Project #3: Curb Appeal
The screening and wrought iron on this front porch were really unattractive and didn’t fit the character of the home. We made quite an improvement by getting rid of both the screening and the wrought iron and in their place added porch rails and handrails for the concrete steps. With a new paint job the exterior looks brand new. What had been a liability quickly became the biggest asset to this home’s curb appeal.
Project #4: Interior Enhancements
This small dining room was attractive but the homeowner wanted an updated look without spending a fortune. To dress up the space we installed crown molding, a ceiling medallion for the light fixture and wainscoting. We dramatically improved the look of the room and added value to the home.
It’s not uncommon to start a remodeling project and, once demolition begins, discover some hidden damage or a surprise, as we did with the cast iron pipe running through the wall we removed. This is a really good time to drive home the fact that with ANY remodeling project you should figure some extra cash in your budget for those unexpected surprises. Good communication before a project begins is vital to a successful relationship between homeowner and contractor.
All changes to the original contract should be in writing with the extra cost clearly spelled out. These revisions are known as Change Orders, and don’t get caught off guard when they pop up. I think one of the most common changes I’ve dealt with on a job site is hidden rot or, sometimes, termite damage that you simply don’t know about until a wall or other sheathing is removed. It happens. Being ready for it beforehand can help save you a lot of aggravation and grief.
Whenever you’re painting a surface that you walk on, such as the porch the homeowner painted in this episode, make sure you are using a paint specific for your surface. Almost every paint manufacturer makes porch paint, but some are made for wood porches and not concrete or vice versa.
The nice thing about porch paint is that, unlike other paint, you don’t have to apply a primer coat. However, if the paint is going to be applied to a surface that is susceptible to wet weather, especially if you’re applying it to steps, then you can add a non-skid material to the paint before applying. It’s like pouring sand into the bucket of paint and stirring it up.
This allows you to have the same look of the enamel paint, but creates grittiness, similar to sandpaper, to the surface so you won’t slip and fall in case the area is wet or icy due to Mother Nature.
They say that money doesn’t grow on trees, well; it seems that neither does the new generation of moldings. The crown molding installed in the dining room is a manmade urethane product, and definitely worth the extra cost. These molded polymer products are comparable to the density of white pine with the advantage they are virtually maintenance free, do not crack, warp, deteriorate, or become the target of insect infestations.
They may be specified for either interior or exterior use. They also tolerate a wide range of temperatures from freezing cold to desert heat. The one drawback is really more of an education issue for the carpenter or homeowner who has never installed any.
The most common mistake I have seen is from a carpenter who is accustomed to wood molding trying to install the urethane product with a nail gun. Yes, it can be done, but because this product is so much softer, a nail gun that is set to drive the nail down can actually go all the way through and even damage the urethane molding.
If you insist on using an air gun, you need to set the depth gauge to a lighter pressure and experiment by nailing a scrap piece onto a 2×4. Otherwise you may wind up with an awful lot of unnecessary holes to putty.
Other Tips From This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Secure Tippy Furniture
Every year, several thousand kids are injured by falling furniture. The solution is to fasten tip-prone furniture to the wall. You can simply drive screws through the back of the chest or bookcase into studs or use L brackets to secure the furniture to the wall. (Watch This Video)
Best New Products with Danny Lipford:
NuTone Bath Fan Upgrade Kit
In the past, upgrading to a new quiet bath fan meant replacing the existing housing and sometimes even the ductwork, causing more work and money than many homeowners wanted to deal with. The new bath fan upgrade kit from NuTone comes with everything you need to transform your old fan into a quiet modern fan. Because there’s no replacing the housing or ductwork it can be done in about ten minutes. The NuTone bath fan upgrade kit is available at The Home Depot for less than $30.
Around the Yard, Tricia Craven Worley:
Choosing Mulch for Your Garden
There are many different types of mulch for your yard and garden from fine mulches, like shredded leaves, to coarse mulch, such as pine bark and ground wood. For flower beds use a fine mulch that will decompose. For paths or around trees and shrubs, use a coarser mulch.