As our population continues to age and reach retirement, more families are considering the best way to find a beneficial lifestyle that works for everyone involved. For many this can mean a skilled nursing facility if there are health concerns and for others a retirement community may be the best choice.
There is another alternative arrangement that is fast gaining in popularity as it can be a great option for the independent senior who is happiest in their current home. By making some home remodeling improvements with safety and mobility in mind, it is possible for anyone to “age in place”.
The Best Floor Plan
Ideally, the family can sit down together and discuss the necessary projects and those that can be consider a “wish list” item. You can draw a floor plan or just make notes about where you need to make changes. Don’t forget to consider which materials you want to use in your remodel plan.
This is commonly an important area in which to focus on safety and upgrades. Keep in mind the possibility of mobility problems in the future and make sure the kitchen area is open enough to accommodate wheelchair access and counters are low enough to be functional. Think about cabinet height and even something as simple as specialized drawer pulls for arthritic fingers.
Safety is the No. 1 priority for the “age in place” bathroom. Today the options for shower and bath accessibility are many and often very stylish. A bathroom on the main floor of the living space can be one of the best investments you can make for the senior. In the shower area grab bars are a prerequisite and a bench can be an important convenience.
These are just a few of the areas to think about, the National Association of Home Builders has a comprehensive remodeling checklist to reference in order to help you with your design. The upgrades you make, when done with an eye toward style, can mean a great boost to home values as the accessibility can be appreciated no matter what the age.
We would love the opportunity to discuss your plan and the ways we can work to make your vision a reality. Contact us today and let’s get started!
When looking at kitchen remodeling contractors in LA, consider one that can work with you to achieve both stylish and energy efficient results. Popular kitchen design trends in 2013 range from retro to modernistic, and from art deco to classic. Innovations in LED lighting can help one to carry out a creative vision while simultaneously cutting electricity costs.
Kitchens can get warm, and LEDs virtually eliminate the heat typically generated by halogens, incandescents, and fluorescents. Dimmable LED lights can be brightened for food preparation and then later dimmed for mood. LED rope and/or tape lights offer beautiful accent lighting under cabinets, behind crown moldings, and in coves. Such lighting is offered in cool whites, warm whites, and in many colors. It can therefore be readily integrated into almost any design concept from vintage to ultra-modern.
LED light patterns can be extremely varied. Light can be broadly and evenly dispersed when desired. Such light will typically be less ‘spotty’ than that which it replaces. This feature is particularly welcome in kitchens, where detailed activities benefit from even lighting. At the same time, spot and accent lighting can be focused exactly where it is wanted. One can essentially ‘paint with light.’
Energy costs have steadily risen in southern California since the start of the 21st century, and LEDs perfectly address this issue. A conversion to LED lighting can reduce energy costs by 50-90 percent. In fact, Southern California Edison (SCE) cites energy savings as high as 98 percent compared to some incandescents. SCE also sees other LED advantages. Tungsten and glass are not required because there is no filament. Toxic elements like mercury and lead are not present.
So, you’re excited about remodeling and updating your kitchen. Congratulations! Using one of the top kitchen remodeling contractors to complete a kitchen remodel can be one of the most gratifying investments in your home. At the same time, it offers potential energy savings that can really add up over time. Finally, a kitchen remodel is one of the top-rated home improvement projects for ‘return on investment’ (ROI). That is, a large portion of the cost can often be recovered at a later time when the house is sold.
New appliances are often a part of the effort to update a kitchen. The good news is that major gains in energy efficiency are now possible with contemporary kitchen appliances.
The first and most obvious place to look for savings is the refrigerator. This is one appliance that operates 24/7. Both energy waste and efficiency quickly multiply.
At the federal government’s Energy Star website, one can quickly estimate annual energy savings generated by the replacement or removal of a refrigerator and/or freezer. Estimates are even more accurate if you take a moment to check the cost per kilowatt hour that your local utility charges for electricity. This figure is easily found on your monthly utility bill.
The potential savings can be persuasive. For example, the replacement of a twenty year-old, 22 cu ft refrigerator/freezer with an new Energy Star-rated replacement can save over $500 over five years. That’s based on a national average cost of $0.11 per kilowatt hour for electricity.
The Edison Energy Institute (EEI) advises improving your savings over time by vacuuming the compressor coils every three months or so. Avoid storing open liquids in the refrigerator. Let heated foods cool off before refrigerating them.
Maintain a temperature of 37-40 degrees F in the refrigerator and 5 degrees F in the freezer. Don’t overfill the refrigerator to the point that air cannot properly circulate.
Although cooking with a stove or oven is an infrequent activity, energy use adds up because cooking is much more energy-intensive than cooling. Annually, such an appliance can require a third to a half of the energy required by the refrigerator. Today, cooking by convection, induction, or light energy can inject new levels of energy efficiency into the kitchen.
In a convection oven, a fan circulates hot air to speed cooking time by about a third. Induction cooking utilizes magnetic friction to transmit heat through a stove’s coils to the pots and pans. The stove’s ceramic surface stays cool while the food gets hot. Cooking via induction is very energy efficient. Finally, light energy ovens combine microwave technology with tungsten/halogen lamps to offer energy savings as high as 66-75 percent, according to the EEI. The introduction of the right cooking technology into your new kitchen can save hundreds of dollars over a five-year period.
Please Contact Us
At Bradco Kitchens and Baths, we specialize in doing kitchen remodels with integrity, creativity, and an eye toward long-term value. For personalized and expert assistance, please contact us.
Just what is a remodeling estimate? Many people have the perception, that it is the cost of having a room, or several rooms, upgraded or reworked from its present condition. That is only partly true.
An estimate, as defined in the dictionary states: To roughly calculate or judge the value, number, quantity, or extent of.
An estimate is just what it says it is. A rough or general idea of what you can expect to pay for a project. Not the actual project cost, but a close idea of what it will cost.
Don’t ever have work completed, based only, on a remodeling estimate. Here is where unscrupulous, or fly by night contractors will take you to the cleaners. It is only an estimate, and used as a tool to determine approximately, what your actual costs may be. Also to determine the average costs among different contractors.
Before any work begins, the estimate should be followed by a Contract for Work Completed. Or, something similar of that nature. Within that contract should be a copy of the written remodeling estimate, along with statements describing exactly what work is to be done, and materials used.
Also included is usually terms of payment. Upon completion, weekly draw, or other. The start and estimated, (the re’s that word again) completion date. It should be signed and dated. You now have a written and binding contract between the parties.
This way, if problems or unforeseen events happen, (which will sometimes happen) you will be told by your contractor, what your options are, and how much the additional cost will be. There will be no surprises.
Most unlicensed and “fly by night” contractors try to start work with only an estimate. They are not bound to anything, and they want to keep it that way. Always ask for a written and signed, proper work contract. This protects you and the contractor. It guarantees a smooth and less stressful, successful completion of your remodeling project.
Remember, a remodeling estimate is only a rough idea of project costs. A contract will spell out those costs, along with materials used, what to expect if problems arise, and exact costs for the project.
Selling your home for a fair price is tricky in the current housing market. Completing a few key bath remodel projects could help you attract a committed buyer. Not all projects provide a big boost to your home’s total value. Darci Swisher’s article on Interest.com says that homeowners that make midrange improvements to the bathroom tend to recoup about 62% of the money they invest when the home is sold.
Nearly all tubs eventually become scuffed and stained after decades of regular use. Replacing the shower stall or bathtub is relatively easy because the plumbing rarely needs modifications if you want to keep it in the same place. An attractive and easy to clean glass shower stall can encourage buyers who weren’t enamoured with your dingy acrylic bathtub.
Even the toughest flooring takes a lot of extra wear in the bathroom. Humidity warps wood and encourages staining mold to grout in the grout between tiles. Removing the existing floor and replacing it with a fresh new look is relatively easy. If your current bathroom floor is unattractive due to stains or damage, new fixtures and better lighting won’t be enough to make the space feel clean and welcoming.
Most home bathrooms are relatively small, and many are located far from exterior walls that could contain windows. Adding extra lighting helps the space seem larger without requiring you to invest in demolition to physical expand the room. Look for focused fixtures to highlight the best features and help the new residents apply makeup or shave each morning. If you aren’t sure what kind of lighting would work best for your bathroom, contact us for our professional suggestions.
Think of metal surfaces in the home and thoughts of stainless steel in the kitchen quickly come to mind.
However, interior designers are using metal in a variety of other creative ways in home improvement projects. As fabrication methods continue to evolve, various metals are becoming more and more popular in ‘industrial’ and other new looks.
Steel, both the stainless and other varieties, is being used in everything from ribbed metal ceilings to stainless steel mosaic wall tiles. The latter is commonly used in bathrooms and in kitchen back-splashes. However, the shimmering stainless tiles can also comprise entire living room walls.
Nowadays, one might find entire kitchen islands fabricated from stainless steel. One concept, the ‘mono-block,’ features an island deliberately crafted to look like a giant block of solid steel.
The structural strength of steel allows for imaginative stair designs. Steel allows for asymmetrical staircases as well as gravity-defying designs. Metal stairs offer a low-maintenance, super-durable option to the homeowner.
Exposed structural components made of steel can include triangular and other geometric shapes. Visible welds can add visual impact. Rivets that are left exposed can increase visual interest as well.
Copper water walls combine ever-changing visual aesthetics with the relaxing sounds of flowing water. Such walls may come pre-built, ready to hang. Or, large water walls can be built right in during a remodel.
The texture of hammered copper can be effectively employed in fireplace design. The texture and feel of copper surfaces can be endlessly varied. Copper works well in warm, earth-tone interiors. Brushed copper can be appropriately incorporated into ultra-modern concepts.
When one thinks of the use of copper in interior design, pennies are probably not among your first thoughts! However, one can quickly calculate that a floor made with embedded pennies is possible without undue expense. The unique patina that these copper/zinc rounds develop can add both texture and conversation in both family rooms and bars.
LED lighting and the natural reflectivity of aluminum are now utilized together to create dramatic new effects. In some applications, brushed aluminum spans entire living room walls, for example. LED lighting in the walls and adjacent ceilings then benefits from the metal’s reflectivity.
With metal, a designer can contrast both reflectivity and texture. For example, brushed metal can contrast with marble flooring. Highly reflective metals serve as a contrast to matte surfaces. Glass can also be blended with metal in endlessly varied ways.
Our design/build services can include the use of an endless array of creative building materials. So that we might learn of your creative home improvement and remodeling goals, please contact us today.
Remodeling or adding on to your existing home? You are going to need some type of blueprint. If you are simply upgrading your kitchen or bath to new fixtures, you probably don’t need one.
But if you are making major structural changes to your existing home, or adding an addition, you definitely need a blueprint. For most projects, a city permit must be acquired before any construction begins.
A blueprint shows in accurate drawings, what changes are going to be done to your home or property. When your contractor pulls a permit, blueprints are submitted along with estimated project costs, which are passed on to the city engineering department for approval.
The engineering department checks to make sure your project conforms to standard building practices and codes. If approved, work can begin and certain inspections will be made by the city, during the course of construction, to insure compliance with your submitted project.
If you are doing a simple remodel to the interior of your home, like a bathroom or kitchen, you may not need a blueprint or permit. Usually when making structural changes to your home, tearing out walls, altering your electrical or plumbing system, blueprints and permits will be needed.
Any time you add a new room or structure, such as a garage, you will have to get permits and blueprints. They give your contractor exact details of the work to be done. The city through inspections, insures the work is done properly, according to the latest codes and standards.
Blueprints are used by the contractor to figure accurate costs of a project too. Most of the time homeowners hire someone to design a print to be used. They don’t have to be an architect, but usually a mechanical draftsman at least.
You may be able to draw your own, if for a simple project, if you have accurate drawing and measuring skills. Some contractors have their own in-house draftsmen for this purpose.
Bradco Kitchens and Baths can help you will all your building needs. Whether remodeling, adding on or new construction. They have their own in-house design team. You can rest assured that your project will be completed on time, within costs, and to acceptable building standards. Contact them today!
According to the California State License Board (CSLB), any person who bids on a construction contract worth $500 or more of labor and materials must have a current contractor’s license from the State of California. The CSLB is the first place to check a CA licensed contractor. You’ll learn critical information about a contractor such as when the person acquired their license, how much insurance they carry and if the individual has any current or past legal actions against their company. Further research such as contacting former clients and inspecting work quality can also help determine the quality of a California contractor.
1. Visit the California Contractors State License Board. Look for the menu option on the left that says “Instant License Check.”
2. Search by the contractor’s license number. Locate your vendor’s six-digit license on any printed materials such as advertisements, an estimate worksheet or business card. By law a California contractor must include their license number on all printed materials.
Another way you can search for the contractor in this website option is by typing the
person’s first and last name or company name.
3. Click the contractor’s name to examine the license history. Several people with the same name may appear. If so, search for the city where you believe your contractor resides.
Verify when the contractor obtained a license and what type of construction work they are licensed to perform. Notice if the license is currently active and how much insurance and bonds they carry.
4. Ensure the contractor has workers compensation insurance for employees. If they don’t, you can be liable for any on-the-job injuries incurred by workers. If it is noted that the Contractor is exempt from workers compensation insurance be alert as this means that the contractor has stated to the California Contractors State License Board that he is working alone and that he has no workers or not using subcontractors.
5. Look for judgments against the contractor. Verify there are no public complaints or civil actions against substandard work.
Check by Phone
1. Telephone the CLSB at 800-321-2752. This allows you to check contractor’s licenses using an automated voice system.
2. Press the number 1. This enables you to check the validity and history of a contractor’s license.
3. Press the number 1 again. Next, enter the license number. A license only has numerals, not letters.
4. Review the license information provided. The automated system shares the same contractor license histories available on the CLSB website.
Speak with an agent if you don’t know the license number. Press the numeral 2, then 9 to transfer your call to a live agent who can answer questions Monday through Friday during business hours.
Is proud to maintain an impeccable record with the CLSB at all times. We carry $1million liability insurance and all our workers are insured with proper workers compensation insurance
How to find a competent contractor
Finding the right contractor for a Kitchen or Bath remodel might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple steps can mean the difference between finding a competent contractor or ending up with a fly by night company that is only after a quick buck. In today’s cyber age most contractors are found and researched on the internet. Narrow down the list of contenders, and set up meetings. Is there a magic number of contractors you should interview?
“Ultimately, the right number could be one,” says Al Pattison, president of NKBA; he recommends talking with no more than three. “With too many quotes, it gets too confusing trying to make a decision.”
BE ALERT AND USE COMMON SENSE
Be alert if the contractor shows up in a car with an out of state license plate or if his phone has an area code that is not from the area.
ASK FOR REFERRALS
Hands down, talking to former clients of the potential candidate is probably a good start to make sure you have someone that knows what he is doing. Ask the referral what made it a positive experience, how the contractor handled problems and whether they would use the same contractor again.
LOOK AT CREDENTIALS
With recommendations in hand, do some preliminary research, check if the remodeler has a website. Check Yelp, Angie’s List or other web rating sites. Most importantly find out whether the contractor holds all the required licenses from the State Contractors Board and a Business License from the local municipalities, as well as Workmen’s Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance. Ask to see a copy of the Contractor’s License and their Certifications of Insurances.
A list of questions to ask potential contractors:
Is your company Licenses and Bonded? California requires every contractor to be licensed and bonded, ask for a copy of your contractor’s license. Confirm the license number and expiration date with the California Contractors Board
Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance? Ask for copies of the insurance certificates to verify coverage.
How long have you been in business? Look for a company with an established business history in your community.
Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job? Get names and contact phone numbers for the main persons who will be involved in your project.
What is the time frame for starting the project? What is your estimate for completion? How early will your crew normally begin work? When will they normally quit for the day? Will I be contacted about delays or changes in the schedule? By whom?
How do you operate? In other words, how is your firm organized? Do you have employees or do you hire subcontractors? If you do have employees, what are their job descriptions? Do you use a project supervisor to oversee the project? You should know what parts of your project will be handled by staff, and which will be contracted out to independent contractors.
Is your company a full service or specialty firm? If you are planning a small project, say replacing only some of the bathroom or kitchen plumbing fixtures, you may be better off hiring a specialty plumbing firm, however, if your project involves multiple changes, entire rooms or additions, you should consult a full service or design-build firm.
Do you have design services available? If you are considering a large or involved project, you will need design services. If the contractor does not have design-build capabilities, you should consider hiring an architect or designer. Depending on the scope of the project, you may need a structural engineer.
May I have a list of references for projects you have completed which are similar to mine? The contractor should be able to supply you with a minimum of three references, including names, telephone numbers and addresses.
How many projects like mine have you completed in the past 12 months? This will help you determine the contractor’s familiarity with your type of project. You should confirm that a good portion of those completed projects were similar to the type of project you are proposing.
Will we need a permit for this project? Most cities and towns require permits for building projects. Failure to obtain the necessary permits or to arrange obligatory inspections can be illegal. A qualified remodeling contractor will be conscious of the permit process and give you professional advice
Of the many questions you can ask during an interview, the most important question is one you must ask yourself: “Do I feel comfortable with and trust the person and his firm?”
GET IT IN WRITING
After zeroing in on one contractor who seems right for the job, take a look at the documents he or she has prepared for you. Do they look professional? Make sure that they show the contractors or a company name and the California Contractors License Number. The scope of work should be itemized with a price for every item, be skeptical if you get a lump sum proposal. Scrutinize the contract, does it seem fair and balanced? Make sure that the written agreement includes a payment schedule. Sometimes plans of the project are required. Look for a change-order clause, a clause about dispute resolution and a waiver of lien, which would prevent subcontractors and suppliers from putting a lien on a house should their invoices go unpaid by the contractor. If everything checks out, go ahead sign on the dotted line with confidence.
You’ve been dreaming about it for years, at this point: the perfect addition to your home. Whether it’s a fancy game room, new master suite, or expanded, eat in kitchen, you just know that it will complete your home, as well as increasing its value.
On the other hand, you’ve watched enough of those do it yourself shows, where the homeowners attempt such things on their own and get stuck halfway through, that it’s scared you away from trying to do it yourself. You are also afraid that if you call in the professionals, the consultation itself will be over your budget and that big dream will just stay that way—a dream.
We know that your dream addition can become a reality, with our assistance. For starters, we do not charge for consultations. We start with a phone conversation to help us understand the parameters of your dream. That is followed by a free, on-site estimate meeting with one of our project coordinators. This gives both you and us a chance to ask questions, get a sense of each other, and see the space onto which you want to build your addition.
The next step is that our project coordinator will present you with an estimate, along with some ideas for possible alternatives that can help your budget and/or increase the value of your home even more than you had imagined. Once we have come to an agreement on the job, you will receive both an itemized list and a schedule for your project. This means that you are always fully informed about what we are doing. Once we begin working on your dream addition, we also assign a jobsite manager so you have someone to connect with while the work is actually going on.
We believe that all of these steps are necessary because a dream only becomes a reality when there is careful, thorough communication about the work. It is because of extra steps like this that our track record is so excellent, and our customers are so happy. We may not be a cheap, fly-by-night construction company, but we promise you that your dream addition will add value to your home, and be well worth the cost.
We look forward to working with you on your dream, so contact us today and let’s get started!