Guide to reading blueprints

If you are working on a home remodeling or home building project and you have little or no experience in the construction field, reading a blueprint may be a bit intimidating.  Here is a guide to help ease your frustration, and be able to understand the blueprint.

A blueprint is a birds-eye drawing of the architects or contractor’s plan for the project.  The blueprint will contain information such as the location of all items to be used, definition of the materials that are used, and the dimensions of each item.  Often, there are several different blueprints for one location.  For example, for the first floor of a new building, there may be a separate blueprint to show the electrical, another one for the plumbing, and another one to show the dimensioning of the walls and rooms.  Together, these sheets will comprise a set of plans.

When reading blueprints, look at each page carefully, and pick out similar items on each page to help you understand what you are looking at.   For example, if you want to look at the details in the kitchen, find a wall or unique element of the kitchen on one blueprint sheet, and identify it on all the sheets that pertain to the kitchen.  This will help you understand the relationship between the various elements shown in the kitchen.

On each page of a set of blueprints, there will be a legend that explains what all of the symbols are on that page.  Symbols are used when there are a lot of small items, such as electrical outlets.   If each individual outlet were called out, the plan would get crowded with words and would be more difficult to read.  All symbols used on a page should be shown on the legend.

If you have questions about reading your blueprints, please contact us and we will help you understand.

Some Great New Ideas for Shower Renovations

So maybe you’ve got an older home, and you’ve slowly been renovating it, bit by bit. Perhaps you started with those areas of the house that everyone sees, like the living room and the kitchen, and now it’s time for you to focus on yourself. Or maybe you recently bought this lovely old house and you wouldn’t change a thing in the public areas, but you can’t stand the old bathtub where you hit your temple on the short shower head each morning. You’re ready for a shower renovation, but you aren’t sure where to start. Here are some trends that we think are worth exploring as you turn your dream into reality.

  • Larger showers are here to stay. Increasingly we are seeing that renovations are removing the big soaking tubs and small showers and replacing them with large, comfortable showers that include bench seats and handheld or rain shower heads.
  • Turning tub and shower into one unit also gives you more space in the bathroom, which is wise if you expect to spend the rest of your life in this home. Bathrooms are designed these days with accessibility in mind, and being able to easily step into and out of the shower is key to long-term happiness with your new shower.
  • Take this opportunity to think about safety as well, and install slip-resistant tiles on your shower floor.
  • There are a great variety of water-safe lighting fixtures that have been developed for showers, meaning that your shower can also be bright enough to see at any hour of the day.
  • All this concern about accessibility and safety does not need to prevent your shower from being sleek, elegant and tasteful. The hot colors for 2013 are charcoal and emerald, which are elegant enough to last for years, regardless of where trends may go in the future. There are hundreds of stone and ceramic tile finishes to choose from, whether you want sparkle or understated.

So contact us today and let’s discuss how we can turn your ideal shower dream into reality.

Make a Small Bathroom Look Larger

Many homes have Small Bathroom space, but at first glance it looks cramped.  Too much stuff squeezed into that tiny space.  There is hope, however.  By making minor adjustments to the bathroom it will look larger.  Since looks matter in selling, buying and remodeling take these tips below to heart.

Bathroom color visually makes a room larger or smaller deepening on what you do.  Don’t paint the walls one color and have everything else another color.  This makes the space small.  Make it look larger by painting the whole bathroom the same color—preferably a light color.  The ceiling should have the same paint color as the walls for maximum expansion upward.  Blend tile color and wall color to be the same color.  Paint the tiles the same shade as the bathroom so the shower/tub can unite with the rest of the space instead of looking like a separate space.  The whole space looks larger visually.

Showers and bathtubs take up most of the space in the bathroom.  Just looking at it makes the bathroom small.  By making these changes it will look and feel larger.  Take tiles to the ceiling.  It’s unusual to do that, but it feels more spacey than the way most builders do it:  they stop adding tile one inch or less below the ceiling and add edges.  Attach shower designs throughout the rest of the bathroom.  It makes it look consistent and clean; that makes the space expand.  Tile designs should run outside of the shower and onto the bathroom walls.  Designs on the shower floor should be the same design on the bathroom floor.  Stopping one design and starting a completely different one makes the space choppy.  Clear glass in showers opens up space in the bathroom; it feels like an extra wall.

Big mirrors in a small bathroom are a win-win.  Trim or no trim one large mirror that reaches the ceiling makes the space grow.  Mirrors in the bathroom must be placed in the right area for maximum results.  Placing a mirror across the window expands the wall to makes it seem like there’s two windows in the same space.  Placing a mirror toward the ceiling opens up the bathroom from the top.  Add a few ceiling light fixtures at the top of the mirror, hanging above or across from the mirror makes the scenery complete without any remodeling.

Other information is as follows:

  • Get as much natural light in the bathroom as possible.  Open up the window to let the sunshine in.  Use translucent window shade or stained glass for a mix of natural light and privacy.
  • Add bathroom shelves or the medicine cabinets inside the wall instead of having the shelves stick out.

If you need any home remodeling done to your bathroom, contact us.  We use these tricks and more to make the most out of any small space.

Why you need a licensed contractor for your remodel

Your decision to renovate your house has come after some serious thought. You have decided which parts of your house are getting the overhaul, what look you are going for, and even your timetable for completion. Now it comes down to hiring your contractor. We know that the budget is a factor for you.

It might be tempting to go for the cheapest estimate that comes through the door. There are many companies out there that might try to lure you in with low prices, but there are reasons why you need to make sure you put your investment into the hands of a licensed contractor.

1. No chance of financial harm

If you employ the services of an unlicensed contractor who does not have worker’s compensation, you could be held liable should they injure themselves on your property. You might not realize this, but your homeowner’s insurance probably won’t cover the claim leaving you stuck with exorbitant medical bills. A licensed contractor comes in with worker’s compensation already in place.

2. Don’t worry about paperwork

Only contractors with a license and homeowners are able to get a building permit in California. If you get the permit as a general contractor, you take on all of the legal liability and your contractor becomes your “employee.” In this situation you become responsible for state and federal tax withholdings, planning, and scheduling of inspections. A licensed contractor is able to handle all of this for you.

3. Protect yourself from job abandonment

The reason that unlicensed contractors are able to give you such a low estimate is because they often do not plan to finish the job. A licensed contractor is held to a standard in order to keep their license. The Contractors State Licensing Board can help you if your job is abandoned or not satisfactory. You don’t get that piece of mind with an unlicensed contractor.

When you consider the real cost of going with somebody who doesn’t have the experience or expertise in order to get state licensed, the answer is obvious.

Contact us about you remodel.

Home Improvements: When Going the Extra Mile Makes Cents

Spring – ’tis the season for cleaning and sprucing things up before the hot days of summer arrive. This year, you’ve decided to go for it. In addition to spring cleaning, you’re going to tackle some of those home improvements you’ve been meaning to do. That’s good; all houses need some serious sprucing up after awhile. But before you start tearing things up, take some tips from a couple of experts and make sure that the improvements you’re planning to make will be an asset to your house’s value.

The Usual Updates: There are things around a house that need to be updated on a regular basis. Some, like carpets, need to be replaced because they wear out. Others, like bathrooms and kitchens, need it because they become outdated and unappealing. According to the experts, a fresh coat of paint, kitchen and bathroom updates, and energy-efficient windows are improvements that will add value to your house. But when you’re making those updates – especially to the kitchen and bathroom – be sure to keep them in line with the rest of the house. Really fancy bathrooms or kitchens that make the rest of the house feel like a hovel, can be more of a liability than a boost.

Repurposing Space: As life changes, so do things people want in a house. Opening up a house’s interior by creating an open floor plan for the living area, dining area, and the kitchen is a nice touch by today’s entertainment standards. Converting an unused space into a home office makes it easier to work from home. And remodeling an attic or a basement helps satisfy a desire for more living space. Meeting some of these wants can definitely add value to your house; just be sure your “new” rooms don’t become too specialized. The more flexible they are, the better.

Building Additional Space: When people talk about adding onto a house, they’re often talking about adding on an extra room or adding a second story. That can be a good idea if doing so won’t make your house the oddball of the neighborhood – something that can cause problems should you ever decide to sell it. If adding an addition will do that, a better option might be to add a sunroom or an outside deck instead. Both will give you some extra “living space” while keeping the house more in line with your neighbors’.

If you need help with your home improvement plans, contact us. Helping you make your home the best it can be is part of our job.

Make hardwired carbon monoxide detectors your next home improvement

What causes carbon monoxide poisoning?

CO is a gas that is produced by burning some kind of fuel. This means that any machine or appliance that burns fuel can create an unsafe condition in your home if not operated properly. This includes your home’s furnace, water heater, and kitchen appliances. Dangers in the garage include a running vehicle, lawn mower, snow blower, or any other gas-powered tool.

 

What are the effects of carbon monoxide?

The effects of CO depend on the concentration level and the health condition of the individual but generally include nausea, headaches, confusion, vomiting, flushing of the skin, and difficulty breathing. A person who is exposed to carbon monoxide can die in just a few minutes, even without the presence of these side effects.

 

What can I do if I suspect carbon monoxide poisoning?

Get out of your home immediately to a place with plenty of fresh air. This will prevent further exposure, however, you should also call 911 since you likely have CO in your system and will need to be examined by a doctor. Before entering your home again, ventilate the area that contains the source of the gas. If you are unsure of where the CO originated, contact a professional immediately who can help diagnose the problem. Do not remain in the house until the problem has been resolved.

 

What can I do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

The best way to remain alert to potential CO leaks is to install hardwired UL approved carbon monoxide detectors. Hardwired models connect directly to the wiring of your home which eliminates risks such as dead batteries or a wall unit getting accidentally unplugged. Combination carbon monoxide and smoke detector units care also available for a clean and unobtrusive look. Bradco Kitchens and Baths Inc. can help you with this important home improvement. With more than 20 years of experience in updating homes, we can help you choose a product that will keep your home safe from carbon monoxide. Contact us today for more information. Let us help you protect your home from the silent killer known as carbon monoxide.

Tips on Your Garage Remodel: Add More Than Extra Room for Your Cars

With summer arriving, it might be a good time to consider doing a garage remodel in your home so you can prepare for more room there when winter strikes again. But remodeling your garage doesn’t have to be done to give more coddling or space for your cars. Many people today use their garage space as an extended part of the house where certain activities can take place other than sleeping.

Create a Private Den

In a den space, you possibly can sleep, though it can mainly be a respite for one member of the family to escape to if there’s bustle going on in the main house. When creating a den that stays warm in the winter, adding extra insulation to your garage will be imperative. And that starts first in the attic where ventilation will need to be measured accurately. That involves installing vent chutes to ensure the flow of air into the attic is never blocked.

For insulating walls, you’ll need unfaced batts to install into the wall, followed by poly sheeting. The easiest may be the attic insulation, which can now be blown in as a money saver.

Create a Workshop

The most common remodel for a garage is creating a workshop for proudly displaying all your tools and your labors. With this remodeling project, adding new outlets and doing some rewiring is going to be required. It’s best to sketch it out on paper exactly where each outlet will be before making any final decisions.

Some of the outlets to consider:

  • Wall and ceiling outlets for certain high-powered workshop equipment
  • Outlets for a TV and for a computer
  • Fixtures for added lighting
  • Wiring for air conditioning and heating

Create a Play Space for Kids

A play space for kids can be a perfect add-on to a garage. Just be sure your cars aren’t in there at the time if the kids enjoy crawling on (or in) your Lexus. But they’ll appreciate that you’ve wired up and insulated the garage for their benefit after you’ve included toys and other play equipment.

Be sure to consider weather stripping around the windows and doors to prevent drafts and insects from coming in while the kids are playing. Also, make sure you have a decent weather strip to go around the main garage door as well as the side doors. Check the framing of your ceiling before installing any drywall.

If this interests you, contact us if you want to remodel your garage with a good budget and on time. We’re a contractor you can trust to get the job done right.

The Complexities of Los Angeles Building Permits When Remodeling Your Home

If you live in Los Angeles, California and want to remodel your home, you may have already dealt with the labyrinthine procedures of Los Angeles building permits. It’s far from an easy road in obtaining a permit to merely remodel your garage or add an extra room to your house. That’s why if you’re new to the Los Angeles area, it’s worth knowing what you’re going to be dealing with in obtaining a building permit as preparation for the time involved.

Check First with the Department of Building and Safety

Before anything can be done, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety will check to make sure your home remodeling project is safe. If your home is located in a precarious spot, such as on a hill, or even in a government-designated historical area, your project could be turned down.

Other possible pitfalls include certain zoning issues like overlay zones or specific designations. Ultimately, this all can take considerable time in the inspection, so allow plenty of time before spending money on construction materials.

Deal with the Department of City Planning

After going through the bureaucracy of Building and Safety, you’ll have to spend time wondering if additional zoning laws in your area allow you home remodeling freedom. The Los Angeles Department of City Planning will see if zoning regulations fit your remodeling plan and whether it even fits into the structural plan of the city. If you have outlandish remodeling ideas, this agency might nix your unique structural plans.

Specific zone codes also have to be considered. In some cases, certain remodeling projects won’t be allowed if you live in a specific zoning area. You can check in advance through state property records to see what kind of zone you live in.

Prepare for Corrections

Otherwise known as plan check corrections, the Department of Building and Safety may make later revisions on your remodeling plans after an inspection takes place. The inspections will be done thoroughly and studied multiple times to find any morsel of information that could determine your project going forward or being stalled even longer.

Once you find yourself beyond this path so you can do your home remodeling project, contact us so we can be a design and building firm you can trust. Here at Bradco Kitchens and Baths, Inc., we won’t make you wait to get your remodeling project done on a schedule you want.

Kitchen Renovation Tips: Why It’s the Most Remodeled Part of the Home

It seems that a kitchen renovation is the most searched for topic online when seeking out information on home remodeling projects. The reason for that is likely because (next to our bedrooms) we spend the most time in the kitchen. We want a kitchen space that’s comfortable so creating food and socializing can easily be done without feeling cramped or having obstructions.

That’s how good renovating ideas are created. Ultimately, you have many options available to you in helping you create a kitchen space that you can live with for years.

Add New Flooring

This common method to instantly change the look of a kitchen doesn’t have to be overly expensive. Then again, if you have a little money to spend, going with a porcelain floor will last you for years. And while tile floors are also common, you could put down a wood floor as something different. Wooden floors also don’t take as long to install as other flooring does.

New Cabinets and Cupboard Space

Considering how much space cabinets and cupboards take up in a kitchen, replacing them with upgrades can change the kitchen’s entire aesthetic. Styles can range from face frame cabinetry to ones with glass doors. For cabinet pulls, try the satin nickel style that’s now become popular.

Replacing the Countertops

Replacing countertops might be the easiest part of a kitchen renovation next to the floor. Countertop styles are varied, but you may want to go with laminate countertops in your renovated kitchen. These look very attractive, though granite gives more durability if you intend to use your countertops often.

Replacing the Sink

As another common replacement, sink styles are going to vary depending on your personal taste. Stainless steel is always a popular choice, despite granite sinks requiring lower maintenance. Always consider how many bowls in your sink you want. A larger space might be able to accommodate a triple bowl. As well, deeper bowls can go as low as 10 inches if you intend to use large pots and pan in the sink regularly.

Kitchen Island

Here you have the most common stylish add-on for kitchens. If you want one, you have to consider the space surrounding your island. The general rule seems to say about 30 inches between the island and all cupboard space to avoid awkward collisions while moving around.

If these ideas sound intriguing, contact us so we can help you redesign your kitchen in a style you want. We’ll make sure it’s done on your schedule and with a reasonable budget.

Important Home Improvements- upgrading your home’s gutter system!

Most of us have a long list of home improvements that we rotate prioritizing. With all the possibilities of things to do it’s easy to forget about the importance of maintaining or updating your gutter system!

Half round gutters are a classic gutter style that adds functionality and traditional charm to your home. In addition to practicality and style there are a few other reasons to consider half round gutters for your home upgrade – if you’re in the market for a new gutter system or have recently put an addition on your home that needs gutters, consider these.

1) Half round gutters are durable and long-lasting: The curved, sturdy design of these heavily used gutters makes them both a practical and long lasting choice for almost any home. The shape allows for more even wear on the gutters and, if you choose a copper gutter (other common options are aluminum, steel and galvalume), the life of your purchase is extended even further due to coppers natural resistance to corrosion.

2) Half round gutters are ideal for environmental conservation: Half round gutters are ideal for water conservation efforts as the run-off can easily be directed into rain barrels or, the gutters can be complimented with rain chains that will funnel the water into barrels to be reused or used to water small gardens positioned at the base of the chains.

3) Half round gutters provide a simple, artistic design: As mentioned previously, if you want simple elegance than half round gutters are the ones for you. They offer a traditional finish to your home that is both refined and artistic.

Contact us for more information or to receive a consultation for your home from the professionals. Our customers are our first priority and we look forward to assisting you!