Pro Building Tip for Homeowners

Remodeling tip for homeowners.
Take lots of photos throughout the project. Before and after photos are great, but all of the photos you take during the project are the ones that can save you later on. If you have good photos it is easy to trouble shoot problems after the wall has been sheet rocked. If you are starting an addition to your home and have located utilities, is important to photograph these lines because the stand little chance of staying marked as the project continues.

Remodeling Tips

It is very important to choose your materials wisely during any home improvement project. Thinking about how well the parts will hold up is vital to making sure your new bathroom, kitchen or deck will look great for years to come. Using the wrong product can lead to your new remodel looking rough way before it should. Look a this MDF trim used in a bathroom on Mercer Island.

Remodeling Tip for Homeowners

Using your smartphone to find remodeling inspiration.
One of the best tips that we give our clients we they are contemplating a remodeling project is to get out and take a bunch of pictures with their smartphone. You’ll find inspiration for your upcoming project in your neighborhood, while commuting to work, visiting a friend or simply cruising around on your Harley. The important thing to remember is to collect a lot of images and then select the architectural details that best match your home and your remodeling goals.
The added bonus is that you are able to see how things are holding up in the Pacific Northwest. If it’s failing as a result of the harsh weather on your neighbor’s house chances are it will also fail on your house unless it is properly engineered by a professional.
Check out this awesome Mailbox enclosure I found today while walking with Trooper.

Things to consider when choosing a cabinet maker & finish carpenter

The number one recommendation that we have for homeowners that selecting a contractor to complete a remodeling project, install custom cabinets or other project is to make sure the contractor is familiar with the architectural style and is capable of executing that style above expectations.
Just like in any profession, there are some carpenters and cabinet makers that rely upon putty, caulk and other materials to cover up imperfections in their work. The photo below show one such questionable butt joint in the top of a twelve foot long Walnut bookcase. In my opinion this is unacceptable for such a visible piece of furniture. The second photo shows a poorly executed mitre joint that required a lot of colored putty.
As the homeowner in the greater Seattle and Bellevue area, be sure you ask your contractor some tough questions and let them know your expectations.

Choosing a General Contractor for your Seattle Home

Choosing the right General Contractor.
All homeowners are faced with challenge of attempting to maximize the benefit of a home improvement project while minimizing the financial expense of the project. There is no absolute solution for every homeowner. The challenge is to make sure that the budget is realistic and that the sub-contractors hired are capable of completing there portion of the project on time, on budget and with the level of quality expected by the homeowner. This is one of the most under appreciated aspect of the home owner/contractor relationship: knowing when a sub-contractor is capable of completing a task within the schedule and exceeding expectations in terms of quality. Remember, when you hire a respected general contractor to complete your remodeling job or build your new home, you are also selecting a proven group of sub-contractors. Doing the work twice will always be more expensive! The photo shows what happens when there is no communication between the electrical contractor and the drywall company.  The entire wall needed to be skimmed with drywall mud to hide the imperfections that were previously not visible prior to the installation of the LED lights.  Needing to skim the walls after the room had been painted adds both time and expense to a project that is nearing completion.

Choosing the right deck for your Pacific Northwest home.

Sometimes selecting a new deck can be a lot like buying a new car for Seattle area homeowners. There is a wide variety of options to choose from and many of the local lumber yards only carry a few of the options, making cross product comparisons challenging. Some of the manufacturers of synthetic decking products offer several grades within the same product line. Once you have selected a product, you then must consider the various fastening methods, including hidden fasteners or exposed screws.
Having installed a wide variety of hardwood and synthetic decking products over the years using all types of fastening methods, it is clear to this contractor that some products are significantly better suited to certain applications. Be sure to consult a deck installation expert in addition to the salespeople at your local building supply retailer. When you pick the right product for your deck and install it using industry best practices you will enjoy a beautiful outdoor living space for many years like this lucky Seattle homeowner, whose deck we recently completed. (Please note the handrail installation details required that it be installed following completion of the deck.)!

best Trex decking installation

Chalking is not to be trusted! The most common siding failure.

Chalking can be the painter’s best friend and Seattle home remodelers worst nightmare.  Chalking is commonly used to hide imperfections, bad joints in the siding, and other moisture related problems.  The problem is that too many carpenters and painters rely upon chalking to “waterproof” the exterior of a building.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, the climate fluctuates significantly between the cold winter months and the hot summer months.  The rate of expansion and contraction varies substantially between the siding, windows, door and other exterior features.  It is unrealistic to think that chalking will maintain the bond between different exterior components for the the life of the building.  A majority of the exterior, water related damage that Construct has repaired over the years has been the result of a failure of previous craftsmen to properly install all of the components necessary to shed water from the exterior of a building.  Redundancy is necessary for a home in the greater Seattle, Bellevue and Kirkland area to withstand the harsh weather.  A properly installed window or door will shed water away from the plywood sheathing and interior of the home if the flashing and chalking fail.  The next time you are considering modifying the exterior of your home, please remember that the role of chalking is largely cosmetic on the exterior of a home.  Make sure you are working with a general contractor that is prepared to take the extra steps necessary to make sure that any water intrusion behind the siding of your home remains away from the plywood and critical framing components supporting the roof and second story of the house.  Failure to do so will lead to costly repairs is the near future 🙁

Pro Tip When Interviewing a General Contractor

A common question that I have frequently encounter in social circumstances is “how do you choose a general contractor?” This is a very fair question. There are tons of general contractors throughout the Seattle and Bellevue area. The challenge is finding a general contractor that shares your vision for a project and is committed to realizing “the dream” on time and on budget.

In my experience, the best vetting process for a general contractor is to complete a total home renovation or building a home from scratch on your own dime. Remodeling has a reputation for being notorious for blown budgets. When a general contractor is on the other side of the table, they gain a increased awareness for managing the timeline and budget for a remodeling or building project. It is only then that they can evaluate the success of the home improvement project – has the interior living space been significantly improved; was the project completed on time and on budget; did the remodel significantly improve the market value of the home; did all of the craftsmen on the project follow industry best practices to ensure that the home improvement project will lead to years of trouble free enjoyment?

Next time you are looking for a general contractor, be sure you ask them about their experience to gain a better insight into their level of commitment to the project. Experience is the greatest teacher in the home building and remodeling industry – be sure that you choose a general contractor that has first hand experience for the project you are planning.