Many potential homeowners have the perception that wood houses are inferior to their concrete and brick competition. It’s true that concrete, brick, and stone have become more popular home building, but this doesn’t mean a wood house has nothing to offer. Wood has several advantages over other building materials. It is a cheaper, easier to work with, and can often reduce the building time of your new home. Plus, better technology is allowing wood homes to become more and more energy-efficient.
Durability and Climate
The biggest concern many potential homeowners have is the durability of a wood house. It’s true that wood won’t hold up the heavy pounding of a hurricane or tornado as well as concrete or brick. Yet, a wood house is less likely to collapse under the stress of an earthquake. It may sound odd, but wood has different properties of structural integrity. Concrete and brick are denser materials that aren’t as easily knocked over by simple brute force, but tremor waves can crack it. Wood has greater structural flexibility, allowing it to absorb the ground tremors.
Naturally, this has led to wood houses remaining popular in California. For other parts of the country, you may have a more ambiguous choice, and you should talk to home builders in your area how each kind of building material holds up under local climate conditions.
Wood-Framed Houses vs. Log Homes
Log homes and wood houses are not the same thing. Sure, both are made from wood, but for cost, performance, and style, these two types of home couldn’t be more different. One of the advantages of wood-framed houses is the cheaper building costs. Log homes can be machined or hand-crafted, but either way, you’ll probably end up paying more. In fact, in many cases, a wood house can be as much 50% less than a comparably sized log home. On the other hand, a log hog is probably going to be more energy-efficient, last longer, and bring a greater level of comfort and magnificence. It may sound counterintuitive, given the idea most people have in their minds of “log cabins,” but log homes are among the more luxurious and expensive homes available today.
Other Wood House Options
Wood-framed houses are sometimes pre-fabricated, meaning they are designed and built in a controlled facility and, then, transported in sections to the building site. Wood house building companies may offer different levels of complete construction. This versatility can be great for DIYers, who need the basic framing erected, but can do much of the subcontracting work themselves. If this doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry other some companies also offer “turn-key” construction, where your home is ready to live in upon the completion of their construction services.
Traditionally, wood houses are stick frame, where the wood timbers act as just another wall stud. Today, more and more wood housing is added with rigid foam and/or oriented strand board. This allows less wood to be used during construction, but will also create a more energy-efficient home.
Log homes have come a long way since the days of Abe Lincoln. They now come in three basic styles and include as many modern-life luxuries as your budget will allow.
Like all kit or system-built homes, log homes are also usually less expensive per square foot to construct than traditional homes. Some log home owners build their own, but most work with manufacturers and/or general contractors to construct the home.
Types of Log Homes
Log homes come in three basic types: milled log homes, handcrafted log homes, and timber-framed homes. While none of these is inherently better than another, each has qualities that will make them more or less appealing to certain homeowners; each will also be better suited to particular situations.
Milled Log Homes
Milled log homes are manufactured by machines such as planers, lathes, and profilers. They come in kits that can include either just the wall logs or everything to ensure a weather-tight shell. Milled logs are uniform and smooth and are assembled on-site, unlike handcrafted homes, which are pre-built at the log yard. Kit homes typically have many vertical butt joints because most kit makers have a limit to the length of log they can mill. Ten- to twelve-foot logs are roughly the industry standard for maximum length.
Some milled log home kit manufacturers can produce hundreds of kits a year because the work is performed by machines. The majority of the kits they manufacture are for their standard plans or slight deviations of them. It should be noted that some kit makers do not use real logs as their raw material.
Handcrafted Log Homes
In contrast, handcrafted log homes are authentic and traditional. They are created by experienced log smiths using techniques that are centuries old. Many of these log home building methods have been around since the first century. The primary tools used in the trade are hand-axes, wood chisels, log scribes, drawknives, and chainsaws.
Handcrafters generally do not produce as many homes a year as milled kit companies due to the time and labor demands of the trade. Handcrafted log homes are typically custom designed, allowing the homeowner to create a floor plan that suits their individual needs and taste.
Handcrafted log homes are built with full-length logs with no vertical butt joints and much larger diameter logs than milled homes. Architecturally, handcrafted log homes seem to offer more latitude than milled homes. Design elements such as scalloped corners, chamfered window and door openings, and interior log walls with decorative archways add to the overall appeal of handcrafted log homes. This type of log home allows each log to exhibit its own personality, rather than making them conform to exact specifications.
Built using a post and beam construction, timber frame or large-sized square timber homes use a dimension-shaped wood source creating flat interiors and exteriors. Because the frame carries all the structural weight of the house, the beams enable the structure to have large open spaces, often two stories high, vaulted ceilings, and large expanses of window and open interiors that flow from one room into the next.
It’s also possible to use log accents on conventionally framed homes. These would be in the form of trusses, mantels, staircases and railings, posts, entry gates, porches, and various specialty designs to get the look of the log home within traditional framed construction.
Log Home Energy Efficiency
Log homes are quite energy efficient. In most cases, a log wall will outperform a conventional wall frame for R-value (used in calculating energy efficiency). Each wall contains millions of tiny air pockets that store heat in the winter time and cool air in the summer, each radiating back into the room, resulting in greater energy efficiency for the same square footage as a conventionally-built home.
Property rezoning is typically done either for an investor to make a profit or for a homeowner to make his or her property more comfortable. Those who purchase a property with the hopes of rezoning for profit are often focused on changing the way that property can be used (for example, changing a residential property into a commercial property). It can also be done by creating multiple lots from a single piece of land. Homeowners who are simply trying to improve their own property by building a cottage, guest house, or even an outbuilding or garage, will also find that rezoning is sometimes a necessary part of the project. Obviously, the process is not a prerequisite for every backyard installation, but as it may be required by law, there are a few things every homeowner should know.
Rezoning Property: When Is it Necessary?
If you are rezoning to improve your property and not to make a profit, the process is something you may wish to avoid all together. In many cases, smaller buildings like sheds will require no property rezoning whatsoever. In addition to the size of the intended additional structure, the location in which you live will play a huge part in whether or not you will have to deal with rezoning. Property in a rural area is less likely to require changes than property that lies within a city or town as projects that occur where no neighbors exist have less of an effect on other people.
Hiring a Permit Service for the Rezoning Process
If you’re thinking of adding an outbuilding or guesthouse and the local building department concludes that your project will require rezoning, you have a couple options. You can go through the process yourself, you can hire a permit service to go through the process for you, or you can reduce the scope of your intended project in the hope that it will no longer require rezoning. Property owners who decide to deal with the process on their own are often unprepared to go through all the red tape this task entails. Before you go this route, do yourself a favor and at least talk to a permit service about their rates; even if you decide to do it yourself anyway, the permit service will be able to give you a better idea of what to expect.
Property Rezoning Etiquette
When changing the form or function of a plot of land, rezoning property is a necessity for a reason. If you are rezoning to enhance your property, your county building authorities need to make sure that the changes you plan to make will not hurt your neighborhood or the people in it. This is something you, however, should be considering from the start. Placing a business in a residential neighborhood can have an effect on many things like parking, traffic, and even safety in some cases; adding a guest house might not have as dramatic effect on the area as a whole, but it could have a profound effect on your neighbors’ properties. Obstructing views from a favorite window or blocking light on a garden plot may not seem like a big deal to you, but could have your neighbor in an uproar!
Whatever your intentions, there is typically a polite and courteous way to achieve them. If you take the perspectives of your neighbors and neighborhood into account before you plan your project, there is a good chance that you’ll end up with results that make you as happy as those around you!
Luxury house plans are known for, well, luxury. This typically means lots of square footage including multiple-use living areas, open floor plans, and customized amenities. Luxury house plans can be associated with mansions, but they are far from equivalent. Luxury should be considered less of a style and more of a lifestyle. Luxury house plans are designed to enable you to achieve that lifestyle. Singe or multiple guest rooms are common, but what you may be truly concerned with is that luxury bathroom with a separate shower and whirlpool tub installation. The point here is that a luxury house plan isn’t a guideline for house construction, but rather a designation for any number of extra features that allow you to live beyond the comfort of an average home.
Prioritize Your House Plan
Unless you have a virtually limitless budget, you take the time to seriously consider what your biggest priorities are. For example, is it more important for the second or third bedroom to have its own full bath or is it more important to have that fifth or sixth bedroom for guests or the nanny? Is it more important to have a pool house or a detached garage? A home entertainment room or a home office? Making these determinations will help you decide how to make this best use of your extra space without your budget ballooning into the next stratosphere. Luxury homes are, by nature, not the most economical, but they don’t have to be built just for the uber-wealthy, either.
Victorian House Plans
You might consider a Victorian house plan, if your primary interest is a luxury-style home exterior. Victorian house plans are known for their elaborate, detailed exteriors. The often feature multiple roof lines with varying slopes. Towers and gingerbread moldings will also add a luxurious feel to your home’s exterior.
Naturally, Victorian-style and luxury-style homes are in no way mutually exclusive; customized amenities and living areas in your home’s interior can be easily incorporated into a Victorian-style exterior. Victorian house plans have a historic architectural context and lack a contemporary feel. Contemporary, luxury exteriors are truly in the eye of the beholder and can be mixed with any architectural theme or customized into a one-of-a-kind curb appeal.
Luxury Home Furnishing
Remember to keep enough in your budgeting to furnish your home in a style befitting its construction. You’re going to have a lot of rooms to decorate and furnish. The extra space in your home won’t be working for you if you can’t fill it appropriately. On the other hand, you may not need to completely furnish your home at the time of its construction, either. If you know the time will come to install a luxury shower in your bathroom, but that time isn’t now, a home floor plan that leaves enough space for future remodels is a sensible idea. The cost of kitchen, bath, and other home remodels can skyrocket if it first involves knocking out a wall. Whether you’re working with a large but not inexhaustible budget or a blank check situation, you should always be thinking about how to make the most use and get the most enjoyment from your home.
Mass production certainly has its benefits. If it weren’t for assembly line style techniques, we would have very few of the modern conveniences we are now so accustomed to. Though it keeps costs down, mass production has one drawback that becomes readily apparent in a discipline such as construction: It makes everything look the same. Amid the vast amount of homogenization that occurs in many facets of life in this country, it’s nice to come home to a place that is truly your own. Many homeowners want a home designed just the way they want it, not some house from a cookie cutter builder, and some are willing to pay a pretty penny for it.
What a Draftsperson Does
As homeowners search for the house of their dreams, they may end up finding a house plan in a newspaper, order plans from a magazine, or just have an idea of what they would like based on houses they have been in. Getting those ideas on paper and having blueprints drawn to give to contractors, however, is a job that few homeowners attempt themselves. Since most municipalities do not require that construction plans for single-family dwellings be done by a registered architect or engineer, a draftsman is likely to be able to put your ideas down on paper at a lower cost.
If you have a set of plans you purchased from a magazine or other source, the draftsman can also make modifications to meet your needs and/or satisfy local building codes in order to get a building permit. A draftsman can also take the plans to structural engineers or other licensed professionals to be stamped if a particular element in the building should need special consideration. Draftspersons can also make drawings of existing buildings if needed, such as to apply for building permits to make modifications.
The Modern Draftsman
Once, a draftsperson’s plans were all drawn by hand, but now (as with many aspects of modern life) the computer has entered the field to allow drafting to be done more quickly and accurately. The latest Computer Aided Drafting & Design (CADD) software can do 3D renderings and drafting which includes floor plans and elevations as well as plumbing and electrical plans to meet the standards set by the UBC, BNBC, BOCA and SBC building codes.
Although private individuals may not need plans for a single residence to be drawn on computer, it is frequently required for larger commercial and governmental jobs. It is also easier to make changes to drawings created on computer and send them electronically, if needed. Therefore draftspersons are often asked to convert plans on paper to a CAD program for future use.
Draftsman vs. Architect
While an architect’s main function is to design and oversee, a draftsperson’s job is mainly to sketch out the designs. If you are looking to construct a truly custom house from scratch, you’ll probably end up needing the skills of an architect or a structural engineer. Draftsmen are simply not as thoroughly trained in the design aspect of home planning, though making alterations to existing plans and sketching out ideas is well within their field.
As summer comes to a close, many homeowners begin to look ahead to the colder months. Unpacking sweaters they may have stored and bringing out their coat racks to fill with scarves and mittens. For many of us, winter presents blustery cold conditions, keeping us inside our cozy homes for the next few months.
But before you get ready to hibernate indoors, take care of what’s outside first. You’ve likely put a lot of time and thought into your landscaping around the home. If not prepared, the frosty temperatures can destroy the spring blooms you anticipate every year. So take advantage of a sunny fall day and prepare your yard for a cold winter with these tips.
If you’re ready to get started on your lawn care, contact a pro today for up to four free quotes from landscaping contractors in your area.
Fall is a beautiful time of year when you’re able to see leaves in a variety of warm hues. As beautiful as it is, eventually, those leaves will end up in your lawn. At first, it’s fine to continue mowing over them, as it turns to mulch and provides added nutrients to your lawn. But, once the leaves become too much to mow over, you must rake them up.
Another thing you should clean and store for the winter months is any lawn furniture you’ve enjoyed in the summer. Leaving them out in the winter elements can change their appearance and ruin any finishes on them. This is especially true for wood furniture. Store away in a shed or garage until you’re ready to use again next year.
Prep Your Water System
Winter weather can have a terrible effect on your outdoor water systems and features. Make sure all the water is shut off, hoses unattached and put away. If you have a rain barrel, you’ll want to drain that for the winter as water can freeze and damage the barrel.
This is also a great time to clean out your gutters. It’s recommended that gutters are cleaned at least twice a year and it’s important to go into the winter months with a clean gutter to prevent any damage.
The last day you mow for the year depends on the climate you live in. Ideally, you’ll want to stop mowing after the first fall frost. You can look up the prediction for your area using the Farmer’s Almanac to better plan your last mow. Use the lowest setting on your lawn mower the last few times you cut the grass.
You also may want to consider applying a winter fertilizer to your grass to give it an extra boost for the spring.
An important, but often forgotten aspect about lawn care task is aeration. This creates small holes in your lawn to allow nutrients to get into the ground and refresh your grass. Fall is an ideal time to do this task, because your lawn needs time to soak in the nutrients and regrow without disturbance. To aerate your yard, you can do this yourself by renting a machine or purchasing special shoes that allow you to do this task while walking around your lawn. For larger lawns, it’s best to contact a pro who has the right tools to help.
Protect Your Perennials
Your beautiful flowers that were a delight this summer now need proper care to bloom again next year. First, you should know what flowers are perennials and annuals. Annuals, unless they are self-seeding, need to be pulled up as they will not come back the next year.
However, perennial flowers should be expected to return the next year, if you have cared for them properly during the season. But to ensure they bloom the next year, you’ll want to protect them from the snow and cold. Add extra mulch around them after the first frost and cut them back to allow for new flowers to bloom in the spring.
If you have a fruit and vegetable garden, winterizing it gives you a start to the best produce the following year. As wonderful as your garden has been this year, it’s now time to remove any plants that are done growing. Pests can inhabit old plants during the late-fall months and potentially ruin your garden the following year. Remove any weeds you see as well.
Now that the season has ended, consider having your soil tested. This way, you’ll know the pH levels and nutrients that are in your soil to determine what plants will thrive next year.
Now that your yard is winterized, you have a few months to consider how you want your landscaping to look next season. Plan out any major projects you’d like to complete like installing a water feature or flowerbed. If you have a garden or intend to plant new flowers, this is an important step because many need to be planted at a specific time of year. Be aware so you don’t plant a late-summer flower in early spring!
Plant For Spring
You may be surprised to hear that there actually is some planting to be done in the fall months. Spring bulbs and shrubs are best planted in the fall, before the first frost. This will give them time to grow and flowers ready to bloom as the weather begins to change in the spring.
Prospective homeowners should give careful consideration to their decisions when planning to build a home. A great home is one that you are happy to wake up in every day, which is efficient in its layout and usage, that is interesting yet practical, and that brings joy into the very basics of living. These 8 steps will help to guide you through the process:
1. Home Building: Plan and Design
The design process is the most important part of building your new home. No matter how good your blueprints are, no matter how competent your builder, your plan must be well thought out and logically developed to ensure a well constructed home that meets your needs, your lifestyle and your unique characteristics. A great home is one that you are happy to wake up in every day, which is efficient in its layout and usage, that is interesting yet practical, and that brings joy into the very basics of living.
It involves using creativity and visualization to look at the origin of your likes and dislikes and it involves honest communication with others: your spouse and/or children, your designer and builders, and your banker. Take the time to discuss compromises and different options. Visualize your finished home from the inside out, the feel of each room, corner and hallway-in short, what it will be like to live in.
2. Home Building: Regulation
Often there are many regulatory requirements that affect your project, from zoning to allowable setbacks, buildable area, height restrictions, sewage disposal, water and utilities.
3. Home Building: Budget
Too many people travel far down the road to their dream home only to find out that they can’t afford it, many times after construction is finished. Not only is it important to be perfectly clear about the overall cost of the home you wish to build, but of course, the amount of the monthly mortgage payment (factoring in for times of higher interest rates) and the effect on your overall life cash flow. And it is important not to include construction costs only.
There are additional ‘soft’ costs such as design and engineering fees, surveying, driveway and landscaping, septic fields, and building permit fees or development charges.
4. Home Building: Technical Aspects
Don’t leave out such things as constraints offered by the building site: access, wind and sun exposure, and septic field capacity.
5. Home Building: Evaluation
Assign areas where rooms will be, look at access and circulation, and begin assigning a budget. Undertake the difficult but extremely important step of matching your dream with the reality of your financial situation. It is important to build with unforeseen costs and extra spending for special features in mind. It may be necessary at this stage, to modify. Double up the function of a couple of rooms, eliminate some rooms entirely, finish the basement at a later date, tighten up the entire floor plan. The importance of this step cannot be over-emphasized. These are the critical decisions that still allow you to have the well designed and beautiful home you want at a price you can afford. At this point you may not have even looked at floor plans nor put pencil to paper. But you are well on the road to having an exceptional home.
6. Home Building: Drawing Process
This phase is best left up to a professional architect or building designer. It is helpful to both you and your service professional for you to right down some of your thoughts on paper and have a rough idea of what you want.
The professional you work with will help you establish relationships between the various rooms, help choose the primary orientation and the general feel of the home. This is the initial step to creating blueprints and should be reviewed many times by both the architect/building designer and yourself, the client. This is the time to make changes and add detail, because once the schematic drawings are finalized, it becomes much more costly to make changes so it is wise to spend extra time getting it right at the beginning.
7. Home Building: Design Development
Next comes the technical side of design; attaching exact dimensions to each room, calculating wall heights, roof pitches and stair details, construction methods, etc. Your home is definitely beginning to take shape.
8. Home Building: Working Drawings
There is little opportunity to make plan changes at this point, which become more expensive, but of course, less expensive than changes during construction. These drawings may include detailed specifications for materials and construction and schedules for doors, windows, and finishes.
Split level house floor plans consist of multiple tiers which intersect one another throughout the home. Usually, they’re designed with 3 floors, each new level beginning about half way between the other’s floor and ceiling. So, in a typical split level house, you’ll walk up a porch and enter into the main level, consisting of a kitchen and formal living room. Built off this main area, you’ll see two short staircases, one descending into a large family room and one ascending to an upstairs hallway which leads to the bathrooms and bedrooms. Though an interesting set-up, you may be asking yourself: Why cut up your home? Why go out of your way to build such a shifting blueprint?
Method in the Maze
Though a split level house floor plan may seem confused and divided, there is actually a sound reason behind the design.
First off, if you live on a small plot of land, live in an un-graded or sloped area, or are simply cramped between too many other homes, then this set-up makes for a very economical use of space: small multiple stories instead of full-size floors.
Secondly, many homeowners who feel the need to build small invest in ranch homes, but in terms of size, a split level house gives you the efficiency of a ranch with the elegance of a two-story.
Thirdly, and most importantly, a split level house is more affordable compared to full-story homes.
Though we’ve described the typical split level house (3-way-splits), there are many other unique layouts out there that would qualify as well:
Bi-level: This layout consists of two stories. When entering the home, you step into an area between the two floors; a foyer that immediately opens up to two staircases, one taking you up to the kitchen, living room and bedrooms, one leading you down into a partially submerged basement/family room.
4-Way: Using the same design as a 3-way-split, there is sometimes a fourth addition below the lower family room: a partially excavated basement (which is great for regions with high water tables) that can be finished off or used as storage.
Raised Ranch: It uses the same layout as a ranch, except half the house is slightly raised to form an upper story for extra bedrooms and baths.
Some “Ups and Downs”
The interesting look of a split level house floor plan comes with many distinct advantages to a homeowner, but it also comes with some cons that you may need to be aware of.
Separation Anxiety: It’s the best of both worlds—it’s both open and closed. In other words, standing in the kitchen you can get the sense of the entire house, both upstairs and down, making the home have a sense of openness. Yet at the same time it is divided enough that there is no overflow: each room has its own focus and therefore has more privacy. However, because of the staggered design, steady heating and cooling can be a bit of a hassle because it’s difficult to create an even airflow.
More Stairs, More Problems: Unlike like full-story homes, you are now a proud owner of several small staircases. So you’ll be able to get some extra exercise as you walk about the home. And for those with disabilities, a small staircase is less of a chore than a large one. However, you’ll constantly be dealing with multiple cases (including one outside, creating icy porch steps), so it can be a problem among the elderly and infirmed.
Innovation Opportunities: It’s a unique blueprint, so there are many interesting design opportunities. Due to the layout, the main floor has nothing resting on top of it, which means you can install dormers, skylights, large windows, or cathedral or vaulted ceilings. You can open things up by creating spacers between the stories, allowing you to gain even greater visual access between the floors. Plus, each room is divided from the rest, allowing every space to have a diverse feel in terms of interior design while still maintaining an individual unity throughout the entire home.
Improving your home can be exciting when you get to make something new out of something old. You can gain more space, turn a room into something completely different, or just update the out-of-date. But project length and time estimates are hard to come by. And that’s a problem for homeowners who want to know how long they will have to live in a home that is under construction. We have taken the most common home improvement projects and asked the customers, who have recently completed these tasks, what was the length and timeline for their home construction project. While specific homes, location, and scope can cause a project to run long, the following figures for project length are a solid ballpark estimate for inquiring homeowners.
Additions and Remodels: Project Length and Time Estimates
Home Addition: This project takes the cake, but has the greatest variance in terms of cost. Those surveyed at HomeAdvisor state that 3-4 months is about average for this project. But remember, this is only 3 months of construction. The planning, design, and permitting stages can make this project twice as long, even if the construction only takes a few months. The good news is that it’s new space, so for the most part you won’t have an existing space torn up. And the reward is a bigger home. Homeowner Tip: This is a long project, and you’re basically in a temporary marriage with your contractors. Take steps like making the occasional pot of coffee, leaving bagels, or buying lunch. This keeps the relationship strong and the project going smoothly.
Kitchen Remodel: HomeAdvisor users reported 6 weeks as the average time to complete a kitchen remodel. Of course, depending on the details and size of the project, some homeowners reported as long as 4 months, when moving walls and rearranging plumbing, and as short as 3 weeks when only replacing countertops and flooring. Homeowner Tip: Hire a designer. Whoever you hire to complete the project will need professional plans to work with.
Bathroom Remodel: 4.5 weeks, says the 1050 homeowners HomeAdvisor surveyed. The most common advice is to have a strong marriage if you only have one bathroom. Again, if you are moving the toilet or bumping out a wall, this can significantly increase the time; however, new tile and new paint will likely be sub-2 weeks. Homeowner Tip: Move everything out of the bathroom before the contractors arrive; it helps speed things along and shows the pro that you are trying to help the process.
Basement Remodel: HomeAdvisor users report that this project takes 7.5 weeks on average. Most would think this wouldn’t take longer than a kitchen remodel because basements can go unused during a remodel. However, basements have lots of toys these days: home gyms, theaters, digging out windows, and these projects can end up taking a while. Homeowner Tip: Unless you have outside entry, place carpet squares on the path to the basement. This will protect your floors as the contractors walk in and out.
Outdoor Construction: Project Length and Time Estimates
New Asphalt Roof: What’s great about a new asphalt roof (besides replacing the bad shingles) is that it only takes about a week. Of the 1249 people HomeAdvisor asked, the average time of project was a few hours shy of 5 days. Better still, you don’t even have to be home while they work. Homeowner Tip: Roofers can work much faster if they can position a large dumpster next to your house for the old roofing materials. If you can create a space for this dumpster, your new roof can go on much more quickly.
New Siding: No matter what type of siding you choose—stucco, vinyl, metal, or wood—you are staring at just a little over 2 weeks. Homeowner Tip: Move all items in your yard out of the way, and if possible, create a space for your siding pros to store the siding material. They’ll love you for it.
New Deck: Over 1000 homeowners from across the country with new decks reported that the installation process took about 2.5 weeks. To speed up the process, these homeowners advised to get professional plans early. The deck builder needs professional plan to work off of, and if you come to the table with them, the deck will be finished sooner. Homeowner Tip: Deck builders need a place to store their tools and the deck materials. Clear a space for them that is not only close to the deck and helps the builders, but also won’t ruin your yard.
New Pool: The difference in pools can be a huge difference in time. HomeAdvisor users reported that fiberglass pools can be installed in 3 weeks; vinyl-lined pools can take the whole month; and concrete pools can take three months (because the concrete needs time to cure). Whichever type you fancy, just know that it will be awhile before you can start swimming. So if you’re thinking about a pool for next summer, now’s a good time to start planning. Homeowner Tip: The price and project length difference between a fiberglass pool and a concrete pool is big. So if time and cost are of the essence, consider looking into the other pool options.
Home Improvements: Project Length and Time Estimates
New Windows: HomeAdvisor users report 3 weeks as an average amount of time to replace all windows. Not to worry, you won’t be left in the cold for that long. Most of the time is spent upfront measuring and then after the install to ensure a tight fit. Plus, the fewer windows, the less time. Homeowner Tip: There are many different brands and types of windows, so make sure that you research the entire market so that you know which price, efficiency rating, and warranty is right for your home.
Wood Flooring: HomeAdvisor users reported that installing new wood flooring will take one long week. Homeowner Tip: remember that in most climates the wood slats need to be stored in the home for about 3-5 days to acclimatize to the humidity, which means that you might have to step over the material for a few days before your new floor is complete.
Wood Fence: 834 HomeAdvisor users say that their new wood fence went up in about 3 days. 1 day to set the posts, 1 day to put up the boards, and 1 day to attach the gate and seal the wood. This is a popular and quick project that provides security and privacy. Homeowner Tip: An air tight fence might be great for privacy and security, but it will damage your landscaping by obstructing the air flow through your yard. Consider having the boards staggered to keep your landscaping healthy.
House Painting: Over 1600 homeowners reported that it took one long week to paint their home. Certainly bigger houses and multi-storied houses may take longer. Homeowner Tip: provide your painters with a place to wash their brushes and park their truck. It’s these extras that make them want to do a little extra for you.
In the past, the bathroom was thought of as a strictly utilitarian space. You get in, take care of your business and get out. But these days, savvy homeowners are taking another look at the bathroom and finding it’s a great place to bring quality of life into the home. Bathroom design these days blends both form and function to create a space where you can relax in a spa.
Showers and Baths
The shower or bathtub is a great place to start your bathroom project. A large whirlpool bathtub is beautiful and luxurious. Manufacturers now make them in all sizes and shapes, with massaging jets, headrests, footrests, lumbar support—you name it. On the other hand, if your space is limited, stand-alone showers have come a long way. The latest trend is multiple showerheads for a more relaxing experience. “Rain” overhead showerheads are also very popular and can provide an instant upgrade for your bathroom without a whole lot of hassle.
Traditional porcelain tile is durable, straightforward and sensible, but these days, ceramic and stone are the materials of choice. Consider not only color but texture, too. Laminate wood flooring is a popular option for folks who love the look of hardwood but don’t want the upkeep. And for real luxury, nothing beats a heated floor. Electrically-heated flooring keeps your feet warm on those cold winter mornings and radiates warmth through your whole bathroom.
The bathroom vanity is the quickest and easiest way to give your bathroom a makeover. Sinks come in a range from the traditional to the ultra-modern. Vessel sinks, with basins that sit on top of (as opposed to being recessed into) the countertop, are all the rage these days. They come in marble, ceramic, glass and more, and in every design you can think of. As for the vanity itself, your choices range from French Countryside to Ultramod and everything in between. A beautiful vanity sets the tone for the whole room and is a cornerstone of modern bathroom design. And don’t forget the faucet: it’s another great way to personalize your space.
They used to be simple: rectangular, with the old rounded edges, maybe a medicine cabinet hiding behind there. But in modern bathroom design, the mirror is another great way to bring personality to your most personal of rooms. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, with borders of everything from mahogany to mosaic, even snakeskin! Fog-free mirrors are the latest innovation; they save you time in the morning as you go from showering to your morning beauty ritual.
Another great, and often overlooked, aspect of bathroom design is lighting. Vanity lighting above the mirror is useful when you’re shaving or getting ready to go out, of course, but you might also consider using recessed or spot lighting to highlight certain features of your bathroom and give the place an airy feel. Lighting designs have come a long way and are the perfect finishing touch for a modern bathroom design.
When remodeling, be sure to speak with a bathroom contractor who can help you consider various aspects of the design to create a space that is truly personal and unique.