How to Ensure a Smooth Project

In our continuing blog series, “Choosing the Right Home Remodeling Professional for your Renovation Project”, we tackle how to ensure a smooth project. Knowing these guidelines will help you navigate your renovation project and give you confidence in your contractor!

Good Communication

It is essential that you have an excellent flow of communication with your contractor. Do they return calls promptly? Do they listen intently to your likes and dislikes? Do they take notes? Can you reach them when needed? This will be even more important once your project begins.

Right Fit

You’ll most likely be spending a good bit of time with your contractor, so it is important that you feel comfortable with them. You should also have a good sense as to whether the same holds true regarding the members of their staff. Like any good relationship, a strong rapport and close communication with your contractor will help any job go more smoothly.

Scheduling

The scheduling of your project is something that should be discussed upfront. A responsible and reputable contractor will do their best to keep you informed both in the initial stages and as your project progresses.

A Clear, Well Written Proposal/Contract

Getting it in writing is essential! Nothing is worse than a disagreement because the terms weren’t written down. Frequently, one person remembers something differently. Every part of the job from the general conditions and demolition to the final trim and clean up should be clearly described. General terms like “install windows and doors” are too vague and should be clearly spelled out indicating exactly what window, what door, including make, model, size, features, location, color, style, etc. A detailed contract should include:

  • A visual representation such as a blueprint, floor plan, drawings, sketches, that clearly shows what work is being done and where.
  • The timetable in which the project is expected to be completed, including approximate start and end dates.
  • The price, along with payment terms and schedule.
  • Detailed specifications for all products and materials.
  • A list of work and/or things not included.
  • Insurance information.
  • Permit information (e.g., whether it’s required and who will get it)
  • Procedure for handling change orders.
  • Notice of your right under the FTC’s rule to cancel the contract within three business days if it was signed in a place other than the contractor’s place of business.

Details, Details, and More Details

There are several things that should be discussed prior to starting your project. What time will work start and end each day? Where will materials be stored? What special circumstances need to be taken into consideration? Discussing details like these upfront saves a lot of aggravation and eliminates misunderstandings.

Flexibility

Remodeling can be disruptive to your normal lifestyle. Remember to be as flexible as possible.

Change Orders

Changes are inevitable when it comes to home remodeling. There are often changes made to the design, the materials, and the scope of work once work begins.

It’s a good idea to set aside an additional 10% or more beyond the contract amount to cover these changes.

The bottom line is: Almost all changes will affect the budget and the schedule. Make sure all changes are in writing and are kept current to avoid any surprises in the end.

Written Lien Waivers

Often your remodeling professional will work with other tradesmen or subcontractors who specialize in certain aspects of your project. It is your contractor’s responsibility to make sure these people, as well as material suppliers, are paid for services and materials related to your project.

Make sure your contractor is willing to provide you with a written lien waiver at the end of your project in trade for the final payment. This is a document that proves that you have paid for the project in full, thereby eliminating the chances of the contractor’s subcontractors or suppliers placing a lien on your property due to not being paid by your contractor for the work performed on your home.

Establishing good communication and walking through each of these topics with your contractor will ensure a smooth project!

FREE CONSUMER AWARENESS GUIDE

Learn more about how to choose the right home remodeling professional with our consumer awareness guide.  Our guide, “10 Things You Must Know Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor” will help you know what to look for when finding the right contractor so that you can be completely satisfied with your remodeling project.  This booklet was written so that you will be empowered to make the best decision for your home improvement and remodel. You can have the experience you desire for your home improvement project with the right contractor for you by requesting this free e-Book here.

Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

Begin your project by calling us at (480) 895-3442 or emailing steve@trilitebuilders.com to discuss remodeling your home, kitchen, or bathroom.  We offer no-obligation in-home consultations. Our award-winning designers and craftsman are eager to work with you to help you love your home again!

1o Principles of Organizing That Work in Every Room

Article originally from HOUZZ

Getting your home organized is a great feeling but figuring out where to start can be overwhelming. Keep the process simple by zeroing in on these 10 principles of organizing, which can be applied to any space, anytime.

Get to Know Active vs. Passive Zones

Active zones are the spots in your home that you pass or touch daily (usually multiple times a day) and include the entryway, top drawers, and eye-level shelves and cabinets.

Passive zones are the less frequently used spaces in your home, including the guest room, garage, or basement, very high and very low shelves, and nooks deep within closets.

A common organizing mistake is to clutter your prime active zones with items you don’t frequently need. For example: Don’t keep your spare lightbulbs in the top drawer in the kitchen when you only need to grab one every few months!

Make Open Storage Beautiful

Every home can use a combination of open and closed (i.e., hidden) storage. But what you choose to store on your open shelving should be visually pleasing. The living room is a good place for books and pretty objects, not beaten-up board games and stacks of video games. Likewise in the kitchen, open shelving is the place to put your matching sets of clear drinking glasses or favorite teacups, not the plastic food storage containers.  Style Your Open Kitchen Shelving Like a Pro

Keep Things Findable

Out of sight, out of mind is an especially apt expression when it comes to organizing. Clear containers are ideal when you want to be able to see the contents at a glance, and open baskets can corral loose items while still letting you look inside.

If you use containers that aren’t transparent, be sure to label them clearly — or take it a step further and label each with a photo of the objects inside. (Instant cameras are ideal for this.)

Make It Easy to Put Away

This is most important when it comes to kid stuff, but we can all benefit from this rule.

When you need to go get something, you’ll get it out — it doesn’t really matter where it is — but when it’s time to clean up, we all get a little lazy.

To increase the likelihood of stuff being put back in its place, use easy-to-access bins, baskets and hampers, simple filing systems, and wall hooks for frequently used items.  Are You a Piler or a Filer?

Group By Task

I think of this as the first-aid kit phenomenon: When you need a Band-Aid, you may also need some antibiotic ointment, maybe some tweezers to remove a splinter, and a gauze pad; in a first-aid kit, everything you need to complete the task of caring for your injury is conveniently located in one place.

When you’re organizing your stuff, remember this and group everything you need to complete a task in the same place.

For example, you could make one box for medications, another for spare office supplies, one for holiday cookie cutters and sprinkles, and so on. Labeled shoebox-size boxes, buckets, or baskets work well for grouping small items together.

Create a Way Station for Items In Transit

We all have a certain amount of stuff that’s constantly in transit: library books waiting to be returned, our bag and keys, the dog’s leash, the casserole dish a friend left after your last party.

Instead of allowing these random items to pile up, create a dedicated space that can handle them and keep them neat.

If you have room by the main entrance to your home, this is the most logical spot — a few baskets on a shelf and some wall hooks should do the trick.  How to Keep Your Home Neat When You Don’t Have a Mudroom

Subdivide and Conquer

Wide-open drawers are an invitation to clutter. Anytime you have a drawer where you’ll be storing small items, use a drawer organizer. Use them for cutlery in the kitchen, office supplies in your desk, small and useful household items in your junk drawer, and daily essentials (sunglasses, keys) in a drawer near the entry.

Go Vertical

What happens when you go for something at the bottom of a pile? That’s right, it topples.

Avoid this organizing nightmare and go vertical instead. Use shelf risers to increase cabinet capacity, store sheet pans and trays in a vertical holder, and use wall-mounted holders to store brooms and mops so they won’t tip over.

Choose the Right Container For the Job

It can be heartbreaking to find that some of your most precious items — old family photographs, Grandma’s wedding gown — have been ruined thanks to improper storage.

Take preventative measures by choosing the right storage container for the job. Photographs and paper memorabilia should be stored in acid-free containers or albums, and textiles should be kept in breathable storage boxes or bags designed for that purpose.

Store Heavy Items Down Low

You should never have to balance on a stepladder while trying to lift something heavy.

Keep heavy items at or below waist height, including boxes, kitchen equipment (those dutch ovens and stand mixers weigh a ton!), and anything else that takes some real effort to lift.

Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

Planning a remodel in 2021? We are a professional member of HOUZZ and have been awarded their Best of Service Award several years in a row.  You can check out our HOUZZ site! It is also a GREAT place to peruse idea books and great ideas, see our award-winning projects, and leave a review. Ready to start? Give us a call at (480) 895-3442 for a free consultation safely in-home or virtually. We are still at work for you helping you love your home again!

Homework Remodels is an award-winning remodeler with years of experience.  We focus primarily on amazing kitchens, luxurious bathrooms, and large whole-home remodeling projects. Our professional designers and craftsmen will help transform any part of your home into something you can truly be proud of.  You can learn more about us here.

MAKE YOUR HOME OFFICE WORK FOR YOU

Last year saw a huge shift in employees working from home due to COVID.  As we launch into 2021, you may feel the temporary office at the kitchen table or couch where you have been working is not quite cutting it anymore. It was great as a quick and inexpensive solution, but now you are realizing it may not make you as effective in your job.  An office is more than a laptop and a cell phone. Having a dedicated home office will make working from home much more productive. The organized, clean space away from the distractions of daily life at home will make a difference in being able to do your job well. The following home office components will help keep you on task.

Home Office Components

There are four main parts of any home office:  lighting, flooring, desk or worktable, and some sort of organizational unit, like cabinetry and shelving. Below are a few thoughts about each.

Lighting

First, lighting. There are only about 12 trillion options for lighting, so do not get overwhelmed. Do a little homework ahead of time to know what type you need for your space. Full-spectrum lighting has been linked to improved productivity. You do not want to be straining to see your computer screen. Be aware of bright light shining into your office space and get light control through blinds and drapery to get rid of glare.

Flooring

Next, is the flooring for your space. Your choice of materials depends on how much you are going to be on your feet or sitting. If you are seated, no problem, use whatever you prefer. But, if you will be standing a lot, you may want to consider a more resilient material, like LVT cork or carpeting.

Furniture Choices

Worktables have gained in popularity lately. Most likely because it is easier to seat more people when working in conjunction with others. Whether you choose a traditional desk or a worktable, do not forget to provide space for storage. To keep yourself organized and productive, use open or closed shelving, bookcases, and cabinetry.

These four home office components will make your space convenient and conducive to working from home. Homework Remodels can show you how we can convert a bedroom to a home office or add on to your home.

Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

Remodeling space to create a home office should reflect your taste and lifestyle. Tri-Lite Builders’ NARI Certified Designers will work hand in hand with you to create a space that not only adds value to your home, but also works within your space, taste, and budget. You can view our portfolio here.  Call us at (480) 895-3442 if you would like to discuss your remodeling project with our award-winning designers and builders.

 

 

 

 

 

Actions to Avoid in the Care of Your Hardwood Floors

Most will agree that a well-maintained wood floor is a thing of beauty. If you take the time to learn all the things you need to do for your floor, shouldn’t you also know what you should try to avoid? Hardwood floor care is more than just cleaning and occasionally refinishing. A lot of it involves knowing how these surfaces can be easily damaged. Following is a list of actions to avoid in the care of your hardwood floors and how to protect the beauty of hardwood floors in your home.

Actions to Avoid in the Care of Your Hardwood Floor

Dragging heavy furniture.

Furniture can leave scratches and gouges in floors as you move them. Get some help lifting heavy pieces, or use felt pads. Sweep thoroughly before you move heavy furniture. Dirt that gets trapped under the furniture can leave scratches in your hardwood flooring.

Waiting too long to refinish

If your hardwood floor is beginning to look stale and the finish has worn off, it is time for a refinish. Putting this off will make the work harder and force you to spend more money restoring the surface or replacing the boards. Timely refinishing is especially important for high traffic areas.

Using chemicals

Cleaning a wood floor is easier than most people think. You do not need strong cleaners to do a good job. In fact, many cleaning products can damage the surface of hardwood floors. Purchase products made specifically for wood floors.

Steam cleaning

Steam mops are more suited to use on tiles. Aside from the moisture which is not good for wood floors, the heat from steam mops can cause the top layer of the wood to deteriorate over time. On that note, avoid using too much water when mopping up your floors.

Pet management

Dogs and cats can do a lot of damage to this type of floor in a relatively short time. Keep their nails or claws trimmed to protect the wood.

Welcome mat

Anything that gets tracked on your floors is slowly wearing away the surface. Make sure that you use a welcome mat to keep this to a minimum.

Tacking down rugs

Trying to keep rugs from shifting can be frustrating but tacking them is not always the best answer. When you have to move the rug, some of the adhesives may be left behind. You can also strip off some of the finish as well.

High heeled shoes

Your amazing stilettos might look great, but they are not so great for wood surfaces. They can leave impressions and marks on the wood. This can be even worse if the heel is damaged.

We regularly partner with homeowners to repair or replace hardwood floors during the remodeling process.  We have a historic home in the Willo where we will be replacing the 100-year-old hardwood floors during their remodel. Since these homeowners appreciate real hardwoods, we will be installing a new hardwood floor.  We will proceed that with a good termite treatment to keep them safe from that damage.

Preventing any type of damage to your hardwood floors will actually make maintenance much easier. You cannot possibly protect your floors from everything, but you can help that beauty to last longer by taking several precautions and preliminary measures. Call us at (480) 895-3442 if you are interested in installing hardwood flooring or restoring your existing hardwood floor; we can help!  Our premier, award-winning remodeling company serves those in Phoenix or the surrounding area.

Examples of some of our hardwood floors:

 

See all our award-winning designs in our portfolio here!

How to Plan Your Bathroom Remodeling Budget

You have been dreaming about remodeling your bathroom for quite some time or perhaps just in the past few months.  And now, you are wondering how to plan your bathroom remodeling budget.  We can help! Working with a professional remodeler starting at the budget phase, you will find that at the end of the remodel, you will be able to enjoy your new bathroom knowing you made an educated investment to get the most for your budget.

As You Begin

Research online to answer key questions to identify your needs.  What is the overall aesthetics you want? Houzz and Pinterest are good resources for all things design.  What are the current issues with the space that need to be addressed? Is there a deadline for when the remodel needs to be complete?  What investment are you willing to make?  Are you ready to create a space where you can relax and unwind at the end of the day? First, you need to know how to plan your bathroom remodeling budget so that you align your wants and needs.

Your Bathroom Remodeling Budget

In general terms let’s define budget.  Budget, as a verb in our application, is the amount you allow or provide for an item. The total amount of money you are willing to invest in remodeling your bathroom is the budget. Most of us may have no idea what construction and material costs can add up to when remodeling.

Several factors impact the overall cost: the size of the space, the potential of water fixtures being relocated, the expense of the finish materials, and the labor to plan and execute the project. The budget should include an allowance for everything necessary to complete a remodel of the space.  When creating your budget include the cost for all the finish materials: floor, shower tile and fixtures, shower glass, bathtub and fixtures, toilet, vanity, sink and faucet, mirror, paint, lighting, additional storage, bath accessories, and window treatments. Then the cost of labor.

If the cost of everything added up is less than or equal to your budgeted amount, you are almost ready to start. As a professional remodeler, we always discuss the potential of unforeseen circumstances or last-minute changes that may occur in a remodeling project.  Set aside 5%-10% of your overall cost, depending on the scope of your remodel project, as a good buffer.

What if the Remodel is More Than Your Budget?

If your dream bathroom remodel is going to be more than your budget, you do not have to give up yet.  There may be a way to get the bathroom of your dreams without breaking the bank.  As your remodeler, we can show you superior products within your budget that are like what you selected.  For example, Chrome finish fixtures cost, on average 25% less than the same fixture in brushed nickel.  Also, there are several porcelain tiles made to look like natural stone, but they cost less and do not need additional maintenance.

With our help, you will find the materials that will fit your budget.  If there are still budget issues with your dream bathroom remodel, we can also help you cut out some of the little extras that you will not need immediately.  Additional luxury items such as a towel warmer can always be added later.

Last-Minute Budget Decisions

Keep your budget in mind as the remodeling project is being done.  After demolition, many people recognize the potential for the space they had not seen before.  You may need to or want to make some important last-minute decisions. You should work with your Contractor to investigate those last-minute or in progress decision points.  It can be easy to agree to an expensive item when the excitement of your new bathroom remodel is in progress.  However, taking the time to realistically look at your budget can help you invest wisely and get what you want.

Spending the time preparing for your bathroom remodel can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the end. You will be prepared for any last-minute questions and have the answers ready instead of wondering what you should do, which in turn can delay the work being done. By working with a professional remodeler starting at the budget phase, you will find that at the end of the remodel, you will be able to enjoy your new bathroom without worry.

Let Us Help You Love Your Home Again

We will help you do the homework to make the best decisions regarding materials, colors, lighting, and flooring for your bathroom remodel. Call us at 480-895-3442 to schedule your free 60-minute consultation! Our award-winning design team and craftsmen are ready to make your vision for your dream bathroom a reality.

You can also find ideas for your bathroom remodel on our project page here and at our sister company, Homework Remodels.

9 Simple Home Improvements That Can Increase Value

Recently, our sister company, Homework Remodels, was cited in this blog by with RedFin Real Estate. We are excited to get to share her blog here about 9 simple home improvements that can increase value.

Keeping up on your home maintenance is an important and crucial part of being a homeowner, especially if you are looking to increase the value of your home. In addition to keeping up on basic maintenance, there are many other projects you can do to help your home potentially sell for more. Whether you live in a city like Atlanta, GA, or a smaller town like Cheney, WA these simple home improvements can increase your home value.

1. Replace the garage door

A new front door or garage door is one of the best returns on investment. A new garage door can increase your home value, as well as improve the appearance of your home. Replacing or having an old garage door fixed is a simple home improvement that can increase your home value substantially.

“Everyone knows that first impressions are important when it comes to a home. Depending on the style, the garage can take up as much as 30% of the front of a home. That’s why when replacing an old garage door with a new, upscale garage door has significant impacts on first impressions and can help you sell quickly! In fact, nationally, in 2020 homeowners can expect up to a 94% return on investment for their garage door replacements on average. In some regions, this return on investment surpasses 100%.” Overhead Door

2. Remodel your kitchen and bathroom

The majority of buyers looking for a home that has an updated kitchen and bathrooms. Updating your cabinets and countertops is a great way to spruce up your kitchen, or even give it a whole new look. Additionally, hardwood floors are becoming increasingly popular among homebuyers and can improve the look of your kitchen dramatically. Buyers are also looking for a bathroom with new tiling and modern fixtures. By hiring a team of professionals to do these simple home improvements, and putting some money toward a kitchen and bathroom remodel, you can attract more millennial homebuyers to your property. Not only that, but you’ll probably recoup a lot of your costs in the selling price of your home.

“It is best to hire a company that not only restores your existing washroom, kitchen cabinets, and floors providing a range of products and options but a company that can also remodel according to your taste! As you are doing renovations, decisions may change due to unforeseeable factors, so it is best to work with a company like Bathtub Guru that can do both restoration and remodeling.” Bathtub Guru

“We believe a remodeled shower adds value to your home – which can be as easy as tiling your shower from floor to ceiling (up to 10 ft) for extra bling. If you are looking to add more of a high-end touch, use exotic granite for the countertops. Lastly, always add a shower door to retain heat and apply “red guard” to your mud set throughout the whole shower for extra seal protection that lasts longer.” –Arlington Custom Builders

“When trying to find the right home service provider for you, search for local companies. Be wary of companies pouring money into promoted ads on the top of your web searches and those sent via “Directories” promising to connect you with the best local home improvement professionals. These companies will end up having a much higher price. We’re a small local company who invest more in our people and processes than our marketing. We can provide a fair price because we aren’t spending an arm and a leg on web leads.” Center Point Renovations

4. Replace windows

It is advised that you replace any old single-pane windows and install dual pane windows instead. If you have the extra money for this, they are very attractive and people really find value in them. Replacing windows can give your home a new look, increase natural light, save your money on heating and cooling, and add value to the price of your home if you are considering selling.

“It is incredibly common that homeowners need to repair their windows to satisfy an inspector’s report, and they always want to do it as cheaply as possible. I would advise settling on a dollar amount to escrow so the new owners can make the decision on what quality level to pursue. That way they can do the cheap fix or maybe decide to replace all the windows or something in between. After all, the inspector has flagged 1 or more windows, and the reality is that all the windows are on a decreasing timeline to needing future repair or replacement.” –Brad AlexanderZen Windows 

 

9 simple home improvements

5. A fresh coat of paint

If you decide to freshen up your home with some new paint, opt for neutral colors on walls, trim, and baseboards. Colors such as light grey, cream, and other soft neutrals are preferred. If you have children and their rooms are all shades of bright green, blue, and pink consider painting those to match the rest of your home. This new paint can bring a more simple, sophisticated look to your home. A freshly painted front door and entryway also make a great welcoming statement for the home and can refresh any interior space.

“Paint your house as soon as you want to list it. Painting your house is the fastest and most affordable way to add notable curb appeal to your home. A painted house will start to generate buzz and put a coming soon sign on the front yard. Make sure to choose a company that gives you a value paint job, not just a cheap paint job.” Tulsa Christian Bros Painting

 

6. Update hardware and fixtures

Just as new fixtures can bring a home into the present, updated hardware can create a new look for a small investment. Updating hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms is a great way to modernize your home. You will want to keep your hardware consistent throughout your home and don’t forget to take looks and function into consideration.

“Look up, replacing old recessed fixtures, outdated ceiling fans and chandeliers can instantly refresh any home. Also consider replacing outdated almond-colored switches, outlets, and switch plates. These are great budget-friendly updates and can help you sell your home more quickly.” –Melissa Frederiksen, Atmosphere 360 Studio

7. Minimize and declutter

Decluttering, paring down, or purging is the first step to clearing away excess clutter so you can start organizing your space. You must declutter in order to open up room in your existing space. This is so critical if you are wanting your home to look better ion listing photos or sell for more. Decluttering is a simple home improvement that can make your home look much better.

“A clutter-free home will sell more quickly and for more money than one filled to the brim. Decluttering will not only enhance your sale but with less stuff, it will also make it easier to organize and maintain your next home. Whether you are downsizing, upsizing or right-sizing, the selling, and moving incentive works beautifully for getting you to evaluate your belongs and release excess clutter.” –Linda Samuels, Oh, So Organized! 

“Installing shelves, hooks, and racks in your garage and basement to store your tools and belongings will make it easy to quickly locate what you are looking for as well as making a huge visual improvement. Using clear bins makes it a snap to find what you are looking for when you need it.  Labeling all of your bins and hooks makes it easy to put things back where they belong. Our preference is metal shelving with wheels: sturdy and functional. It makes entering these spaces pleasant, it’s worth the effort.” –Anna Sicalides, Your Organizing Consultants

“Keep a seasonal maintenance list of everything in your home. For example, in the spring wash your deck and seal it if the manufacturer suggests it. Keep a list with dates of when you sealed it. You will be able to show possible home buyers how well you took care of your deck.” –Vickie Dellaquila, Organization Rules

8. Take care of the exterior of your home

“The best home maintenance tips are not over the top, they are simple ones that keep your home running and looking its best. Clean your gutters, make sure if you have a sprinkler system that the heads never spray on your home, wash your home every year and repaint every 4-5 years depending on your area of the country. Stay on top of these maintenance items so that when you get ready to sell your home, you don’t have to discount your price for all of the deferred maintenance.” –John Rogers, John Rogers Renovations 

9. Service all systems

It is best if you service all systems in the home. This is a great way to show any potential buyers that you’ve taken good care of your home. It can be a simple home improvement that can add value to your home. If you have any appliances or systems that are more than 10 years old consider replacing them with newer better functioning ones.

“Looking to reduce utility cost; maximize energy efficiency and improve the performance of your HVAC system, we encourage homeowners to increase their attic insulation. Depending on the age of your home the guidelines for maximum energy efficiency could change from what the builder provided and overtime blown insulation can compact. Additional attic insulation can range from a straightforward DIY project with Batt Insulation to professionally installed Spray Foam Insulation. ” – Sheila Lanier, Homework Remodels 

 

Award-Winning Greater Phoenix Remodeler

Tri-Lite Builders’ goal is to help all homeowners in the greater Phoenix area love their home again. We’ll help you make the tough decisions regarding materials, colors, lighting, and flooring. Call us at 480-895-3442 to schedule a free 60-minute consultation with us to start making plans. Let us help you take those first steps toward your dream home!

Peruse our portfolio for more ideas for creating spaces that will make you enjoy your home again!

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