Posts Tagged ‘remodeling’

Fixing a Stuck or Rotted Window

Posted on: October 13th, 2017 by Lori Smith

Along with letting in fresh air and light, windows are a big part of the visual character of a home. Once they start sticking or rotting develops, they become a detriment to your property.Fixing a stuck or rotted window

When a window sticks, it is usually due to the fact that it wasn’t installed correctly or someone painted the window frame without taking their time. In the case of a window with a wooden frame, the wood can swell due to excess humidity and moisture.

Loosening A Stuck Window

If you’ve already tried using a block of wood wrapped in a cloth followed by gently tapping on it with a hammer around the window frame, here is another method:

1. Slide the putty knife into the cracks and tap the handle gently with a hammer.
2. Work your way around the window sash, tapping gently as you go.
3. Place a block of wood on the window sill. (On either the inside or outside sill.)
4. Put a pry bar under one end of the sash and rock the bar backward, over the block of wood.
5. Go back and put the bar under the sash on the first side.
6. Repeat these steps, working the pry bar toward the center, until you’ve lifted the entire bottom sash.

How to Fix Common Window Problems

Vinyl windows that are made from PVC have minimal weather-related issues. However, when a wood window sill or sash has taken significant abuse from weather, you can first try repainting or using epoxy wood filler to repair the rotted area.

If the wood is severely rotted, though, you will have to remove the area and replace it. Here is a video that shows how to manage this process:

Fixing a stuck or rotted window is a common aspect of owning an older home, but if you decide to replace your windows, there are a lot of decisions to make. There are a number of common styles of windows:

  • Double-hung windows
  • Casement Windows
  • Awning Windows
  • Picture Windows
  • Slider Windows
  • Bay Windows

Choosing a window that is functional, decorative, and efficient is essential, but if the window isn’t installed correctly, even the most expensive window won’t perform effectively. Using shortcuts to get the window to fit well can lead to problems down the road.

Installing a Window CorrectlyTypes of windows

Start the installation process by removing the old trim using a pry bar and hammer. Take out the old window by unscrewing it from the window jamb.

Make sure there is no damage and then measure the rough opening to be sure it works for your new window. It should be at least a quarter inch larger than the exterior dimensions of the window.

Next, set the window into the opening to make sure it will fit:

Before applying the silicone to the the window stop, dry fit the window to make sure there are no fitment issues. If you do have fitment issues, address them now and then dry fit the window again. When done properly the window should fit snugly into the opening. Do not move forward with the install until you are satisfied with the way the window fits in the opening.

Find out more here:  How to Install a New Window

Once you are ready, run a bead of silicone and set the window in the opening. Screw it into place, add some insulation into the gaps, and replace the trim.

If you aren’t sure you want to take on the project, call a Denver building contractor to get an estimate.

Adding On An Upstairs Bathroom

Posted on: September 23rd, 2017 by Lori Smith

Aspects To Consider With a Remodel

As the number of people in a household grows, the need for more space becomes an issue. One room in particular that tends to cause arguments over equal usage is the bathroom.

Remodeling an area to add a bathroom is a substantial project depending on the current structural design of the home, especially the plumbing.  You have to get water to the room and the wastewater must drain to the existing city sewer or to an on-site septic system.Adding on an Upstairs Bathroom

For an upstairs bathroom, if you can locate the new bath directly above the current one, it will simplify the plumbing. The plumber in the next article reiterates this fact:

This is most important for PVC drain lines, which have to sit lower than the bathroom fixtures so water will drain. If your home sits on a concrete slab, the plumber will have to cut into the concrete to run the new drain lines, then pour more concrete overtop. Cutting into a slab increases the cost.

This is especially important to consider if you have to run piping through the walls. “It’s best to install the bathroom where there is already plumbing,” Torrez says. “Lots of times there is already plumbing in the back of the house, and if you put a new bathroom in that area of the home, you can just run lines off the existing plumbing.”

Is Plumbing a New Bathroom Difficult?

Upstairs Plumbing

There are some factors to look at when running plumbing to an upstairs room such as ensuring access to the traps in case there’s a leak or you need to unclog the drain.

Insulating around the pipes will help keep the noise to a minimum for the downstairs rooms. Making sure you are extra careful to secure the joints will prevent them from vibrating loose and leaking.

The next video highlights these important aspects:

If you have intentions of selling your Denver home, adding on an upstairs bathroom can make the difference between being under contract or having it remain on the market. Buyers tend to prefer that the number of bathrooms is equal to the number of bedrooms, so a second bath in a two-bedroom home can be a great selling point.

Cost of a Bathroom Addition

So what does it cost for a bathroom addition? Home Advisor answers that below:

Adding a bathroom can cost from $3,000.00 for a simple conversion of existing space to $25,000.00 for a new addition to your house. The national average for a 100-square-foot, spa-like bathroom is over $75,000.00, so watch your budget carefully.

geralt / Pixabay

A new bathroom adds value to any home, especially when there is only one to begin with. But how much you’ll recoup depends on the part of the country in which you live. In the west, you can expect an ROI of roughly 67 percent; in the east you might get around 47 percent.

2017 Cost To Add a Bathroom | Bathroom Addition & Building Costs

The bonus to adding a bathroom to your home is that it doesn’t typically require a lot of space, especially a half bath. At bare minimum, you’ll need about a three-foot by six-foot and if you are handy, you can do a lot of the work yourself to save some money.

Adding On A Room To Your Home

Posted on: July 15th, 2017 by Lori Smith

When you first purchase a home, you are basing your investment criteria on your current income and your amount of space needed. Maybe you just got married and aren’t sure about kids yet, but you want to stop throwing your money into the wind with rent and instead invest your hard earned money into something substantial.

Adding on a room to your home


Before long, though, your family begins to grow and you need more space. The two questions you have to mull over are whether or not to sell your current property and buy something bigger, or expand your current square footage.

Adding on a room to your home is a great option depending on the potential for increasing your spread, but other concerns would be assuring access to the new room, securing it to the current structure, and including the utilities to connect it all together.

Another question is will an addition bring value to your home? Read more about this factor in the next post:

Questions to Ask Before Adding On | HGTV

Will the addition add value to your home? Even if you have no plans to sell anytime soon, you (or your family) will sell someday—and you might also refinance or take out a home equity line of credit, for which you’ll want the best possible appraisal of your home. So always consider the resale value of your project. It’s not that you’re going to turn a profit on your investment. So you might as well go into the job with realistic expectations about payback.

See the original post here:  Questions to Ask Before Adding On | HGTV

Planning an addition has to start with a budget parameter, and if you live in the Denver area it can be a pricey endeavor. If you don’t consider every aspect of adding on, such as lighting and windows, your project might go over the amount you can afford to spend.

Other aspects such as needing an architectural engineer and a plumber will add up quickly. You also need to have targeted goals to manage the whole process and stay on schedule.

This video is by a home contractor explaining what has to take place as you consider a remodel:

Which is a better direction to expand:  Up or Out? The cost difference is the one factor, but available real estate is another consideration.

When building up, you don’t need to include foundation plans as part of the cost, and that is a pretty big ticket item. However, building out is typically easier and and less likely to necessitate the need to include architectural design to assure stability. Labor costs are generally lower when adding a ground floor addition as well.

This post explains the key concepts to consider:

What Is Cheaper — Adding a Second Story Addition or a Ground Floor Addition? – Budgeting Money

Ground Floor Additions

Bump Out Addition

Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve got the yard space for it, ground floor additions are generally easier. There’s far less disruption of your house than when adding a second story. Depending on the configuration of your house, an addition might be built off an existing doorway, lessening the expense of taking down walls. You might also save on architectural design costs that would be required for building up. If you have to move power lines or work around sewer lines, that can add to the expense.

Building Up

Adding a second story means there’s already a foundation in place. You must make sure the existing foundation and the footings are strong enough to carry a second story. If your building inspector finds the foundation can handle it, this can be a cheaper way to go. If you need to reinforce the walls or foundation, building an addition is likely less expensive. Going up rather than out can save money for heating and cooling ducts, pipes and other necessary materials. Up rather than out tends to be a shorter route for ducts or piping, although it all depends on the home’s construction. However, the more involved work of building up means higher labor costs.

See more here:  What Is Cheaper — Adding a Second Story Addition or a Ground Floor Addition? – Budgeting Money

Another option is adding what is called a bump out addition, which is a combination of both. It is an addition that hangs off the side of the house and requires no foundation and very little roof work. You can save 15 to 30 percent as opposed to a full-blown addition.

Budgeting for an addition is critical, as there are always costs that you might not initially think of. The following graphic from Home Advisor shows the average cost, including the potential low and high end amounts for the United States. If you want to know more about your specific area, you can enter your zip code.


Ideas for Remodeling Your Bathroom

Posted on: December 9th, 2016 by Lori Smith

When you want to upgrade your bathroom, there are a number of things you can do that won’t break the bank. However, if you are doing a major overhaul, it can cost quite a bit. Even though it is a small area, there are some big aspects that you have to consider. For example, changing the location of plumbing is not a simple task so you have to plan your layout around that.

Also, working in a small area is somewhat difficult because you have limited room to maneuver and it also makes design more interesting. Questions such as traffic flow and lighting are some of the elements to contemplate.

However, the first consideration is the cost, and this post from gives insight on how to get started:

15 Design Tips to Know Before Remodeling Your Bathroom

Image from

If you’re tackling a bathroom remodel project, having a working knowledge of what to expect and what to consider can make the difference between a months-long waking nightmare ending in a bathroom that you settle for or a near-pleasant experience resulting in the room of your dreams. Consider the following collection of tips from popular bathroom remodeling articles on Houzz your cheat sheet for finals week. You’ll be happy you prepared.

1. Know what a bathroom remodel costs. Before you begin any project, it’s important to put your expectations into perspective when it comes to how much money you’re willing to invest. The size of your bathroom, the quality of materials you want to include and whether you’re planning to do some of the labor yourself all can affect the cost of a remodel. Here’s a look at estimated costs for a basic, mid- to upper-range and deluxe bathroom remodel.

Read the rest of the tips here:  15 Design Tips to Know Before Remodeling Your Bathroom

If you want to do some ideas for remodeling your bathroom but can’t afford the expense, there are simple decorating concepts to change up your bathroom space. Depending on how creative you are, you might be surprised at how fun it can be to jazz up your decor. This video shows some great pointers that completely modify the look:

One idea to create better traffic flow in a small room is to install a corner sink. If you want something extremely simple, get a different shower curtain and rugs to accent some new wall hangings. This Pinterest board for bathroom remodeling ideas has tons of images to get your creative juices flowing.

This post from Forbes offers more tips for ways to make your bathroom more unique, especially if you are extremely limited on space:

12 Design Tips To Make A Small Bathroom Better

7. Skip the shower door. If your bathroom is about 5 feet wide, that’s just enough space to squeeze in a toilet and a 30- by 60-inch tub. With tight conditions such as these, consider a glass panel instead of a glass shower door. It will keep most of the water in the shower and will free up needed elbow room.bathroom design

Read the full post here:  12 Design Tips To Make A Small Bathroom Better

The smaller the space, the harder it is to make major changes. Hiring a professional building contractor to provide advice on options that will work and things that are out of the question might be helpful in the initial phase of planning. That way when you begin remodeling your bathroom, you won’t have any surprises.


Best Methods for Installing Drywall on a Ceiling

Posted on: November 23rd, 2016 by Lori Smith

If you have been involved in home improvement projects, it usually consists of installing some drywall. However, if you have to replace or add sheet rock on a ceiling, that is a whole different undertaking. You either need several people or a drywall jack to assist you.

In this article from DIY, you can see that the workers are using a jack during the installation. There is also some good advice on how to secure the sheets with screws:

How to Drywall a Ceiling | how-tos | DIY

Image from

Get A Drywall Jack

You’ll need a partner and a drywall jack to handle the heavy sheets. Each sheet should be centered on a joist.

Insert Screws

You can minimize breakage by inserting screws 1/2 inch from the edges. Recessing the screws without breaking the paper will make the job easier and neater. Dimple or countersink nails or screws so they can be filled with drywall compound and sanded smooth.

Press the drywall in place over electrical boxes then lower it and cut out the indentation with a spiral saw.

Finish with drywall tape and three coats of compound, sand in between coats. It is critical that you allow each coat of compound to dry for 24 hours and sand it smooth before applying the next coat. Add a fresh coat of paint and your new ceiling will look great for years to come.

Read the full post here:  How to Drywall a Ceiling | how-tos | DIY

In this video, Scott McGillivray first discusses the best drywall materials to use in certain situations. Then he goes through other details that will provide the best finish for the project. The tips for certain brands that work best for sound proofing and helping clean the air are excellent:

If you are in the position where you don’t have anyone to help you and no access to a drywall jack, then you might want to read the tips in the following article from Popular Mechanics. Occasionally you will have a small enough space, such as a bathroom, where there isn’t room for others, let alone a jack. The tip provided takes extra time to implement, but sometimes you don’t have an option when installing drywall on a ceiling:

How to Hang Drywall Ceiling by Yourself

Images from

Hanging drywall can be a difficult task to achieve alone, especially for first-time DIYers. The hardest part is getting it attached to the ceiling without a helping hand. There are a few tools to help you do the job but this easy trick is the most effective.

Jeff Patterson from Home Repair Tutor, is sharing his bathroom remodel which includes installing a new tub and replacing the walls and ceiling with new drywall. He’s doing the walls himself and to assist in securing the drywall to the ceiling, he screws a short piece of 2×4 into the wall studs leaving just enough room to slide one end of the ceiling drywall above it, holding it in place.

He also sets his screws into place on the drywall so he doesn’t have to fiddle with screws when he’s on the ladder holding it in place. Patterson marked out the location of the ceiling joists and transferred that to the drywall, which provides the location of the screws.

Once you’ve got your walls in place, you’re almost done with your project. Just mud the walls and paint them and enjoy your new room.

Read the full post here:  How to Hang Drywall Ceiling by Yourself

A technique I’ve used before when we have a lack of help sheet rocking a ceiling is to make a T-shape with studs, one just short of the height of the ceiling and the other around 4 feet across, nailed together. When you lift up the piece of drywall, brace up one end with the T-shaped apparatus and hold up the other with one hand while you put in some screws. Even better, if you start some screws ahead of time, that also makes it easier.

Benefits of Using Ceramic Roof Tiles

Posted on: October 29th, 2016 by Lori Smith

There are so many options for roofing materials, so it is imperative to do your research on the best alternative for your location, style, and budget. One of the most durable choices is ceramic roof tiles. However, there are negatives for installing clay roofing tiles too.

This article from Home Owner Ideas goes over the benefits of using ceramic roof tiles:

The Pros and Cons of Terracotta Roofing Tiles for Your Home | Home Owner Ideas

Image from

Terracotta clay roof tiles are attractive, impermeable and durable. Terracotta is a natural material, made from clay that is fired at a high temperature until it vitrifies or fuses. Vitrification creates a hard, waterproof surface that withstands rain, snow, cycles of freezing and thawing and wears well in coastal areas with salt air. They are fireproof, last up to 100 years or more and are almost maintenance-free. Because they are made from clay, terracotta tiles are easy to recycle and do not harm the environment.

Clay roof tiles are traditionally red, which is a moderately reflective color. Light-colored roofs, also called cool roofs, have higher reflectance and emissivity than dark-colored roofs. More than 90 percent of the roofs in the United States are of dark-colored materials which are low-reflectance and can reach temperatures of 150 to 190 degrees F. Cool roofs stay cooler, sometimes as much as 70 degrees cooler than a dark-colored roof, resulting in lower energy costs and more comfortable building interiors.

With the interest in saving energy and using more environmentally sustainable building techniques, manufacturers have developed fired clay tiles that achieve higher reflectivity and emissivity indices. These tiles, available in many colors including the traditional red-orange terracotta, achieve cool roof values. Several manufacturers produce clay tiles that meet Energy Star specifications.

The original post here:  The Pros and Cons of Terracotta Roofing Tiles for Your Home | Home Owner Ideas

Laying out a roof with clay or concrete tiles can be tricky. If you haven’t done roofing before, you have to think ahead or your roof will not look symmetrical. This video gives a very good step by step process:

You might wonder what the negative points to using these sturdy tiles would be. Even though there are many benefits of using ceramic roof tiles, there are some disadvantages as well. The cost is the paramount issue, but not just the price of the tiles.  The need for reinforced roof trusses is also part of the expense.

This article by Home Advisor describes a few of the downfalls:

Tile Roofing – general info, tips, & local contractors

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Obviously, the biggest drawback is its initial installation cost. When compared to asphalt shingles or even basic metal roofing, tile roofs can cost several times as much to put up. They are, however, similar in price to slate roofing–the only other kind of material that can hold up as long or surpass the life expectancy of tile. Additionally, tile roofs (and slate roofs, as well) are not only heavy, but brittle. Not only might they require added structural reinforcement to install, but when a problem does occur, they can be difficult to work on since the individual tiles can break under the weight of a worker.

See the full post here:  Tile Roofing – general info, tips, & local contractors

With all of the roofing materials available, there are many things to think about before making your choice. You might want to get the input of a roofing contractor to help with the decision making process. They would have the experience of working with all types of materials.