Taken from Dwight Cliff Sr.'s 35 years of experience in general contracting, CCHR's
Wednesday Blog is an informational source for all of your home renovation and general construction needs. Here you will find useful remodeling advice and tips to save money in your
Code is only the minimum standard allowed by law. If a builder says “my projects meet code”. He or She is saying that if it was any worse, it would be illegal.
“So what do I do?”
Instead ask how the project compares with federal Energy Star standards. Energy Star is a national program ran by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA). Their goals are to improve home efficiency, improve comfort and air quality while reducing energy bills. In the graphic below you will find recommended home improvements in
compliance with Energy Star. To learn more about federal Energy Star standards visit the Energy Star
If you need help assessing your home. Cliff's Construction can provide you with an assessment and quote to help you save money this winter.
This “How to Go Green for the New Year” blog was designed to increase homeowners knowledge on going green practices when it comes to their lifestyles and homes.
What does "Going Green" mean?
Going Green means practicing an environmentally and ecologically friendly conscious lifestyle. This means making decisions based on the impact it will have on pollution, future human health and
other environmental concerns.
Why "Go Green?"
Going green is more than just recycling. As our population continues to increase exponentially so will trash, water pollution, air pollution, and natural resource usage. As citizens with an eye
for the future we can counteract our impact on society through “Going Green” practices.
3 Ways for Greener Resource Usage
Turning your thermostat down two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer can result in not only energy savings but also helps lower your energy bill.
Replace current water faucets and shower heads with more efficient low-flow
Reduce power usage during peak hours of the day.
Power companies charge you more for electricity during the hours of high power
Indianapolis Power & Light peak hours 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. (April through September) or between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. (October through March)
4 Ways to choose Greener Products
Energy Star – Products with an
energy star seal have been tested to provide significant energy savings.
Water Sense – Products with the EPA water sense label have been tested to save water, energy and money.
Design for the Environment – Products with the EPA design for the environment label have been tested to perform well and are safer for humans and the environment.
SmartWay Certified Vehicle – Vehicles with the EPA SmartWay certification are the best vehicles to save money, fuel, and the environment.
Greener Construction & Remodeling Practices
Use Insulation and Windows with a right insulation capacity also known as the R-Value.
Insulate pipes and Heating & ventilation system
Use natural light – Skylights and windows reduce the need for artificial light. (Results in saving energy and money)
Use safer paints and epoxy’s –Paints with Low or 0 Volatile Organic Compounds (V.O.C.)
We hope that you area able to implement and share
some of the “Going Green” practices that you learned about today.
We all have to do our share to make sure that
future generations are able to enjoy mother earth as we do today.
These instructions will provide you with a set of steps for selecting the right contractor for your home renovation project. Intended for people ready to make significant improvement to their
residential property. Below you will find a carefully designed list of steps to guide you to the right contractor.
Six Step Process
Do your Due Research (BEFORE YOU GET ANY ESTIMATES)
Make a list of necessary upgrades that you need to have done. Explore ideas and options.
Research how much your project will cost. -- Plan & Budget so that you don’t end up choosing your contractor based solely off of the lowest bid. You often get
what you pay for. A happy mix of pricing, quality, and timing makes for a project that you will love.
Research the steps involved. -- Ask if any of the spaces in your
home have to be inaccessible or decommissioned for a while. Timing is extremely important with bathroom and kitchen renovations.
Plan how you will handle payment. -- Do you need Financing? Ask your contractor how he prefers to get paid. As a rule of thumb you SHOULD NEVER make a payment in full before
any work takes place. It is common practice for residential contractors to need half down before the project and the rest upon completion.
Research 5 Contractors
Check to see if the contractor is license, bonded, and insured. (Ask for proof of
Meet & Greet (When you contractor comes over to evaluate your project)
--Ask questions, get a feel for how knowledgeable the contractor is. Last thing you want to hear from your contractor is yes, yes, yes... without any discussion
about cause and effect. Ask if he or she plans to sub-contract any parts of the job and who the sub-contractors are. As a note it is normal for some contractors to sub-contract the
electrical, plumbing, and HVAC, so don’t be alarmed.
Reliability – Experience --Is your contractor easily accessible?
In the beginning of a major remodel you and your contractor will have to meet often to select your finish products. (Colors, materials, etc.) Sometimes you will need to get a hold of your
contractor quickly in case of an emergency. Find out how long the company has been in business. Is your contractor in good finical standings? Stories like the one Betty Watson
experienced and wrote about in her book titled It Takes “Jack” to Build a House is all too common. Contractors bankrupt their companies abandoning liability from projects they have received
payment on and start another firm under another name.
Check References and Read Reviews -- Reference are good right? Not always the case, companies post and show reviews from customers that they know will give great
feedback. Check their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter etc.). Sometimes customers aren’t afraid to post negative feedback on the company’s profile.
Warranty-- Make sure your contractor offers a warranty on labor. Five months down the road the last thing you
want to do is pay for a contractor mistake or for the installation of a defective product in your new renovation.
Call 3 Contractors to Receive Bids From
Keep “Step 2” in mind while the contractors make their visit’s to assess your project.
Use the "Contractor Selection Sheet" (Available Below)
Contractor Selection Sheet available at the bottom of this page
Make Your Selection
Tally up your results from the “Contractor Selection Sheet” and make your selection.
Review your Completed Project
Finally asses the quality of your project.
Make assessments about your contractor. -- Make notes about what you liked and/or didn't like about the contractor
What does being licensed mean?
ANSWER: Being licensed by your local government to engage in construction.
What does being bonded mean?
ANSWER: Being bonded means that a bonding agency has secured your contractor in case of an event in which the contractors doesn't finish the job or a mistake is made and protects
What does being insured mean?
ANSWER: Being insured protects the homeowner in case one of your contractor’s employees is hurt on the job and protects the homeowner from liability.
One of the best ways to calculate your kitchen remodel budget is to use 6-12% of your home’s value. So if you own a $200,000 home it is most efficient to set your budget at $12,000-$24,000. It
all depends on what you want to accomplish with your remodel.
Popular Reasons Why People Remodel Their Kitchen's
Dream Kitchen | Increase Home value for Resale | Falling Apart |
Energy Savings | Modernizing | Accommodate Lifestyle |
Special Needs | Looking for a Change
How much does a new kitchen add to the value of your home?
According to an article, by Kristen Hampshire, of HGTV “your kitchen renovation should earn a 70% return on investment (ROI) when you sell your home”. Several factors come into play when trying
to estimate the possible ROI on your kitchen remodel.
The primary factors are where do you live and what you choose to improve. Spending $50,000 on a kitchen in a neighborhood where homes cost $200,000 would not be
realistic or bring the type of ROI you would expect. Setting the proper budget for your area is essential to recovering your investment. Also you want to make improvements that would allow you to
experience the full potential of your investment. According to HGTV’s frontdoor.com, the best ways to add value to your home is to renovate with new flooring, cabinets, countertops and/or
Best Ways to Invest in Your Kitchen
Flooring Return On Investment (ROI) Graphic
Ceramic Tile Backsplash
Glass Tile Backspalsh
Mosaic Tile Backsplash
Ceramic Wall Tiles
With Kitchen cabinets you can get as fancy or plain as you like. Your kitchen cabinets should reflect the rest of your home and its value. Cabinets are really the make-up of your kitchen and give
your kitchen living space its character.
Black mold on the ceiling of your shower or near your vent.
2. Ceramic Tile or Vinyl wall covering coming loose.
3. Your tub and faucets are not cleaning up like they used to.
4. Out dated eyesores, and/or wasteful products.
Having products in your bathroom that are not energy efficient, not up to date with current trends, or
just plain ugly can hinder your chances of resale.
Your home is a long term investment. So you want to think long run. What sets your home apart from the other houses in your neighborhood? If you are thinking about moving in a couple years,
why not enjoy a newly renovated bathroom for a year or two before you move, while improving appeal and resale value.
5. Water bills inching higher every year?
If your toilet continues to run minutes after you flush it. This could cost you additional ($10-20) every month on your water bill. ($120-240/per year)
Depending on your toilets age it could probably use replacement parts, but if it’s more than 15 years old, it’s time to replace.
Another thought to consider is that older toilets use more water per flush. Today’s toilets are water efficient.
6. Tiles Cracking
This maybe a problem with the foundation, sub-floor, and/or improper installation.
If water finds its way through the cracks as it often does, this will cause the tiles to pop up.
If not addressed promptly, mold will begin to grow in between the ceramic
tile and wood surface.
7. Faucet or Drain leaking?(This could cause more problems than what you think)
Countless times I’ve seen Black
mold in drywall behind vanities (sink cabinet) or in between the vinyl flooring and the sub-floor caused by a leaky drain/faucet. Could have been easily prevented with a
drain repair or a new faucet.
Notice floor is getting soft or getting darker you may have water sitting under your vinyl.
This type of leakage destroys cabinets and drywall.
If you catch it early enough you may be able to save your cabinetry and drywall.
It is often cheaper in the long run to remodel if you have more than two of these problems. At Cliff's Construction and Home Remodeling we give great
discounts for the more work you have done at one time. If you’re not proactive each one of these problems often can lead to other problems.