Houston Home Building, Home Remodeling Blog, Room Additions

Posts Tagged ‘Room Additions ** Garage Conversions ** Kitchen Remodeling ** Bathroom Remodeling **’


When It Pays to Do It Yourself -

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Doing home improvement jobs yourself can be a smart way to save money, but choose the right DIY projects or you’ll end up paying dearly.

More than 100,000 people injure themselves each year doing home improvement jobs. So add medical bills to your DYI budget, and you ending up spending the same, or more, than if you hired a pro.

We’re not suggesting that you call a plumber each time you need to plunge a toilet. But think twice about what DYI might really cost you. Here’s how to decide.

Stick to routine maintenance for savings and safety

Seasonal home maintenance is ideal work for the weekend warrior because you can tackle these jobs when your schedule permits. Because these are routine maintenance projects, your savings will add up. Mowing your own lawn, for example, saves $55 to $65 a week for a half-acre lawn. The bigger the lot, the bigger the savings: with two acres, you’ll pocket around $150 per week.

When it pays:

  • Snow removal
  • Pruning shrubs
  • Painting fences
  • Fertilizing lawns

When it costs: Unless you have skill and experience on your side, stay off any ladder taller than six feet; according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms are filled with people with ladder injuries. The same goes for operating power saws or attempting any major electrical work—it’s simply too risky if you don’t have the experience.

Become your own general contractor

If you’re more comfortable operating an iPhone than a circular saw, you could act as your own general contractor on some home improvement projects. That means you hire, schedule, and pay the carpenters, plumbers, and other tradesmen yourself. You’ll save 10% to 20% of the job cost, which is the contractor’s typical fee.

When it pays: If it’s a small job that requires only two or three subcontractors, and you have good relationships with top-quality professionals in those fields, consider DIY contracting.

When it costs: When you don’t have an established network of reliable workers, time to supervise, construction experience to spot problems, and the skill to negotiate disputes between subcontractors, your project and budget are at risk.

Invest sweat equity on big jobs

Contribute your own labor to big jobs being handled by a professional crew and cut hundreds, even thousands, off construction costs. For instance, tear out kitchen cabinets and appliances before the contractor gets started, and you might knock $800 off the cost of your remodel. Make sure you negotiate cost savings with your contractor before pitching in.

When it pays: Jobs that are labor-intensive but require relatively little skill make perfect sweat equity jobs. Perform minor interior demolition, such as pulling up old flooring, daily job site cleanup, product assembly, and simple landscaping.

When it costs: If you get in the crew’s way, you may slow them down far more than you help. Make your contributions when the workers aren’t around; mornings before they arrive, or nights and weekends after they’ve left.

Add finishing touches

Unlike the early phases of a construction job–which require skilled labor to frame walls, install plumbing pipes, and run wires–many finishing touches are comparatively simple and DIY-friendly. If you paint a basement remodel yourself, for instance, you can save up to $1,800.

When it pays: If you have skill, patience, or an experienced friend to teach you, setting tile, laying flooring, painting walls, and installing trim are good DIY jobs.

When it costs: The downside to attempting your own finish work is that the results are very visible. Hammer dents in woodwork, or sander ruts in hardwood floors will annoy you every time you see them. So unless you have a sure eye and a steady hand, don’t perform the tasks that only a skilled tradesperson will get right.

By: Oliver Marks

Published: March 8, 2011

7 Smart Strategies for Kitchen Remodeling from atlas green homes

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Kitchen remodeling can turn a ho-hum room into your home’s pride and joy. Here are strategies to help your project run smoothly.

A significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home. Kitchen remodels in the $50,000 to $60,000 range recoup about 69% of the initial project cost at the home’s resale, according to recent data from Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.

To make sure you maximize your return, follow these seven smart kitchen remodeling strategies.

1. Establish priorities

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends spending at least six months planning your kitchen remodeling project. That way, you won’t be tempted to change your mind during construction, create change orders, and inflate construction costs. Here are planning points to cover:

  • Cooking traffic patterns: A walkway through the kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide. Work aisles should be a minimum of 42 inches wide and at least 48 inches wide for households with multiple cooks.
  • Child safety: Avoid sharp, square corners on countertops, and make sure microwave ovens are installed at the proper height—3 inches below the shoulder of the primary user but not more than 54 inches from the floor.
  • Outside access: If you want easy access to entertaining areas, such as a deck or patio, factor a new exterior door into your plans.

A professional designer can simplify your kitchen remodel. Pros help make style decisions, foresee potential problems, and schedule contractors. Expect fees around $50 to $150 per hour, or 5% to 15% of the total cost of the project.

2. Keep the same footprint

No matter the size and scope of your kitchen remodel, you can protect your budget by maintaining the same footprint: Keep the walls, locate new plumbing fixtures near existing plumbing pipes, and forget bump-outs.

Not only will you save on demolition and reconstruction costs, you’ll cut the amount of dust and debris your project generates.

3. Get real about appliances

It’s easy to get carried away during your kitchen remodeling project. A six-burner commercial-grade range and luxury-brand refrigerator may make eye-catching centerpieces, but they may not fit your cooking needs or lifestyle.

High-priced appliances are worth the investment if you’re an exceptional cook. Otherwise, save thousands with trusted brands that receive high marks at consumer review websites, like www.ePinions.com and www.amazon.com, and resources such as Consumer Reports.

4. Light your way

Good kitchen lighting helps you work safely and efficiently.

  • Install task lighting, such as recessed or track lights, over sinks and food prep areas; assign at least two fixtures per task to eliminate shadows. Under-cabinet lights illuminate cleanup and are great for reading cookbooks. Pendant lights over counters bring the light source close to work surfaces.
  • Ambient lighting includes flush-mounted ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and track lights. Pair dimmer switches with ambient lighting to control intensity and mood.

5. Be quality conscious

Functionality and durability should be top priorities during kitchen remodeling. Resist low-quality bargains, and choose products that combine low maintenance with long warranty periods. Solid-surface countertops, for instance, may cost a little more, but with the proper care, they’ll look great for a long time.

If you’re planning on moving soon, products with substantial warranties are a selling advantage.

“Individual upgrades don’t necessarily give you a 100% return,” says Frank Gregoire, a real estate appraiser in St. Petersburg, Fla. “But they can give you an edge when it comes time to market your home.”

6. Add storage, not space

Here’s how you can add storage without bumping out walls:

  • Install cabinets that reach the ceiling: They may cost more–and you might need a stepladder–but you’ll gain valuable storage space for Christmas platters and other once-a-year items. In addition, you won’t have to dust cabinet tops.
  • Hang it up: Mount small shelving units on unused wall areas and inside cabinet doors; hang stock pots and large skillets on a ceiling-mounted rack; and add hooks to the backs of closet doors for aprons, brooms, and mops.

7. Communicate early and often

Establishing a good rapport with your project manager or construction team is essential for staying on budget. To keep the sweetness in your project:

  • Drop by the project during work hours: Your presence broadcasts your commitment to quality.
  • Establish a communication routine: Hang a message board on site where you and the project manager can leave daily communiqués. Give your email address and cell phone number to subs and team leaders.
  • Set house rules: Be clear about smoking, boom box noise levels, available bathrooms, and appropriate parking.

By: John Riha

Published: March 25, 2011

Build On Your Lot in Houston and surrounding

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house

Atlas Green Homes has a turnkey “Build on your Lot” program to assist buyers with every aspect of new home construction, including plan design, permitting, inspections and much more.  Our Build on your Lot program provide clients with individualized attention, quick construction speed, years of experience, and company stability.

There are a number of factors to consider when building on your own lot.  These include site preparation, tree management, floor plan development, drainage, septic system and water well, interior design, landscaping, fencing, foundation and structural engineering, building codes, and exterior surfaces (the list goes on!).  Atlas Green Homes works side-by-side with you through every stage of the home-building process.

Atlas Green Homes offers our clients a seamless build on your lot experience.

  • Lot evaluations
  • Soil tests
  • Land clearing
  • New home design
  • Finish selections
  • Engineering and permitting
  • Plan and pre-construction meetings
  • Third-party inspections

Peace of mind comes from knowing that our experience and knowledge, combined with your imagination, is going to create the house you and your family will be proud to call “home”.

Building a Room Addition by Atlas Green Homes

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You can hire the services of an architect to prepare the estimates. To begin with, keep the costs as much low as possible. This will help you in scaling up the scope of expansion subsequently. Opt for basic level accessories and building material. Choosing expensive commodities could result in cost overrun. If the estimate turns out to be more than the budgeted mark, then ask the architect to reduce the costs without actually hurting the basic requirements. Always keep out the expenditure incurred for the accessories out of the home addition budgets. If you are falling short of funds, the addition of accessories can be postponed to a later date.

Another important aspect of home addition building relates to compliance of rules. Check out the rules and regulations laid out by the authorities concerned in New York City before embarking on home addition. As per rule, the property owner has to pay a certain fee to the local municipal before starting work on the home addition. The owner or remodeling contractor is also required to obtain all requisite clearances before starting the construction work. Care has to be taken to ensure that the home addition work does not disturb the neighborhood.

Once you prepare the master plan for home addition, freeze the design to enter the second phase. Identify a suitable contractor or professional specializing in home additions. Evaluate their work by checking with their past projects and clients. If you find this a difficult task, utilize the services of the architect in evaluating the jobs. However, at times, the architects themselves, will refer suitable candidates for the job. Besides, there are some agencies, which take up the entire house addition project from the beginning to the end. However, at every step, the property owner will be consulted. The architect agency will charge a lump some amount to execute the entire work. If yo are a professional engaged in a twelve hour job, it is suggested that you hand over the work of home addition to a professional firm. It will reduce your burden on various matters relating to preparing the estimates and purchasing the necessary materials.

When it comes to addition to the kitchen, keep a tight control on the budget. Since the kitchen accessories are costly, there are chances that you might over stretch the budgetary allocation. Be wise while spending on home addition.

Looking forward to add a deck to your property by Atlas Green Homes.

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When it comes to buying or selling a property, the construction, design and amenities are some important points to be considered. A house that is beautiful, functional and practical is always considered to be valuable. You can also make some valuable additions in an affordable manner. For instance, adding a deck or patio in your property can prove to be an effective way of increasing its value.

Some benefits of adding a deck

Adding decks in Hartford County, MD,  in outdoor living space is a good idea. Doing this, you can easily arrange entertainment activities like a get-together for a party or event. A deck can also be the perfect place to quietly relax after a long, hectic day at work. You also get to enjoy the pleasant weather condition while sitting on your deck. Investing in a deck would be a good option, especially if you are planning to reside in your home for a long time.