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It’s Remodeling Season. Vet Your Candidates Carefully

It’s Remodeling Season. Vet Your Candidates Carefully!

You’ve been dreaming of that new kitchen makeover, bathroom renovation, or addition for years, and now you’re ready to make it a reality. Selecting the right home remodeling company can be the difference between realizing your dream and ending up in a living nightmare. At first glance, all the candidates may look very similar and tell you what you want to hear. But what happens when you start asking the tough questions. The strong contenders won’t shy away, sweat under the spotlight, or try to redirect your attention to one of their talking points. They’ll welcome the scrutiny and answer your questions directly and thoroughly. Once properly vetted, only the strong will remain, the ones worthy of your vote and your hard earned investment dollars. Here are some key issues to raise as you evaluate the nominees.

What Kind of Track Record Do They Have?

How long have they been in business? What kind of references can they provide? Is it an extensive list where you can call and speak to whoever you want? Or do they just present a list of rather anonymous testimonials? “Steve in McLean, Mary in Alexandria… etc”. When you ask for references does it take days or weeks for them to get back to you? These are signs that they may have a hard time pleasing customers consistently or have something to hide.

Does their Rhetoric Pass Your Fact Check?

Don’t just take their word for it. Do your own investigating and independently verify their claims to be true. Reliable 3rd party sources, such as www.guildquality.com, the nation’s leader in customer satisfaction surveying for the building industry, provide hard data on how companies measure up, as well as reviews from previous clients. www.consumercheckbook.com is another vetting source. They provide not-for-profit ratings of local service companies. Angie’s List, Yelp and Google are also useful tools. Check them all. Some companies may have a few glowing reviews on one sight and a few scathing digs on another. Opinions vary, but listen for common themes. The reliable metric is a combination of quantity and quality.

Do They Have a Plan?

A renovation is a complex project that requires detailed preplanning and skillful execution. The more through and detailed the plan, the smoother the execution will go. That being said, unforeseen circumstances will occasionally arise. For the unprepared, a minor setback, such as a part damaged in shipping or a weather emergency, could create a bottleneck that delays the overall project. A reliable firm will have a comprehensive plan with built-in contingencies to stay on track.

Do they Have their House in Order?

Do the companies you are considering have a “bricks and mortar” office or showroom you can visit, or do they operate out of a truck with a website and 800-number. Be sure to get a copy of their business license and current certificate of insurance. What does their contract look like. Is it a professional document that is detailed yet easy for a layperson to understand, or is it a cryptic legalese that only a lawyer can decipher. Or worse, is it simplistic and vague. The home improvement industry has suffered many a black eye from shady contractors who disappear after a deposit has been given, or even worse, mid-project. If they do finish your project on time and on budget, what does their warranty cover. Remember, a warranty is only as good as the company providing it. If they go out of business, any warranty they’ve provided goes with them. Make sure the company’s foundation is as stable and secure as the one you’d have them pour for you.

Would You Trust Them to Hold Your Baby?

When you renovate your home, you are essentially inviting a stranger, or group of strangers into your house to tear it apart and put it back together again. Who are these people? How do you know you can trust them? A smart home owner will make sure everyone involved is properly trained, licensed, insured, drug tested and background checked. Taking these extra steps will result not only in peace of mind for the safety of your home and family, but also for the quality of the work being performed. If a problem should arise, those who go through the proper channels have recourse not available to those who gambled on a lower price, faster finish time, or some other carrot dangled to entice an easy victory.

When it comes to improving your home, vetting the candidates is a critical step. After all, once your vote has been cast, you’ll be living with the results for years to come. Choose carefully!

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

written by: Dory Clemens, Design Consultant – Foster Remodeling Solutions, Inc.


 

 

Fireplace Face-Lifts

00_hamiltonThere’s nothing like the ambiance and warmth of a fireplace on a cold winter night. A fireplace not only creates a cozy and romantic atmosphere, it is also a major architectural element. However, an outdated and unattractive fireplace surround can kill the mood and dampen any hopes of creating a stylish living space. Most Northern Virginia homeowners have either an old outdated 60’s style brick fireplace or an inexpensive builder grade gas insert and surround.

Fear not. There’s hope for the eyesore that is your current fireplace. A makeover can be easily accomplished. But, please remember, it is critical to understand the clearances required by law in relation to the fireplace opening. This is necessary in order to maintain the proper distance between the firebox and combustible materials. So, let Foster Remodeling Solutions help you get it right.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas that will give your tired, old fireplace a beautiful new look!

This couple in Annandale, VA was looking for a completely updated look, consider taking the brick down and replacing it with stone.  There are many great textures and shapes in cultured stone.  Cultured stone is a man-made product that looks exactly like stone.  Installing this type of material looks great when it goes all the way to the ceiling, and will make the room feel bigger.  This look can be rustic, traditional or modern, depending on the product.  Cement panels can be used as well, and it can be mixed with glass or stones for a unique look.

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If your brick façade goes wall to wall like this families home in Vienna, VA, you can put a few feet of cabinetry on each side.  Not only will you get more storage space, you will visually change the look of the room with a new texture on the wall.  Accessories on shelves will give even more texture, and glass items will reflect light.  Taking this one step further, you can add tile to the face around the fire box.  If your brick goes to the ceiling, you can drywall right over it as long as you leave a fireproof surface 12” around the firebox.  Drywall from the mantle up will be a dramatic change as well.

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Remodeling a fireplace is a common request at Foster Remodeling Solutions.  Our designers can come to your home and help you work out a design that will work with your décor and style, within your budget.

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If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!


Top Master Bedroom Remodeling Trends

Home remodeling trends in Northern Virginia reflect the changing attitudes that homeowners have about their homes. For most people, the days of remodeling for show and status are over. Improvements designed to make the most out of every square inch of space have become the new norm. Homeowners are interested in custom remodeling solutions that address their specific needs for convenience, privacy and comfort, particularly when it comes to their master bedrooms. These top four master suite design elements are among the hottest renovations trending this year.

1. Flexible Living Space
Homeowners are increasingly viewing their master bedrooms as a home within a home. With the right renovation, a master suite not only provides a space where people can retreat to enjoy some privacy and relaxation, but a place where they can work and play as well. Whether working on the next great American novel, catching up on work from the office or just enjoying the latest movie, homeowners want a living space that can adapt to a variety of uses. Bedroom remodels that include partitioned walls, niches and built-ins like cabinetry, shelves and window seats offer solutions.

2. Walk-In Closets
Banishing clutter is a key design goal of any effective master bedroom remodel, and no feature accomplishes this better than his-and-hers walk-in closets. Moving dressing and grooming tasks out of the bedroom not only helps keep the room tidy, but opens up space for other purposes as well. Expansive master bedroom closets can also increase the market value of your home. According to a survey conducted by a national real estate company, walk-in closets are listed as the second most important feature that homebuyers look for when shopping for homes. Only central air-conditioning was higher on their list of must-have features.

3. Master Bath Luxury
For many Northern Virginia homeowners, no master suite renovation is complete without adding luxury bathroom amenities that give the hard-working room the ambience of a home health spa. Choices for pampering amenities have moved beyond rainshowers and whirlpool bathtubs. The hottest trends in custom remodeling for bathrooms include steam showers, soaking tubs and radiant flooring. Heated towel bars and large, airy walk-in showers are popular options as well.

4. Outdoor Access
Master bedroom remodels providing access to the outdoors are another hot trend. Homeowners want to enjoy the serenity of the natural world from the comfort and privacy of their master suite with an adjoining balcony or deck, a skylight that offers glimpses of the night sky or a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Outdoor spaces equipped with wet bars, fireplaces or even TVs and audio systems blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

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