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Window Replacement as Part of a Home Improvement Project

Window replacement is often part of a home improvement project.  Windows are a big investment, and not many people buy them regularly, so the lingo used in the window industry is something you will want to know before shopping for windows.   Here are the terms used for each part of a window.

Head – The head of a window is the main horizontal part forming the top of the window frame.

Jamb – The jamb are the two vertical pieces of the window frame.

Sill – The sill of a window is the bottom horizontal part that forms the frame.

Frame – The frame is the combination of the head, jamb and sills that form the opening in which the window sash is set into.

Grilles – The Grill is any bar that divides the window glass into smaller panes.  In many cases, the grilles are decorative and are just set into the frame.  This is also known as a muntin bar.

Balance – A mechanical device used in some windows to balance the act of opening and closing.  The device makes opening and closing the window a bit easier.

Casing – The casing is the exposed molding on either the inside or the outside of the window.  The casing covers the space between the window frame and the wall.

Bradco Kitchens and Baths can help you with your window replacement project, or any other home remodeling project that you are taking on.  We work in the Los Angeles area, and specialize in kitchens, bathrooms, additions and new construction.  Contact us today for a free, no obligation estimate.

Kitchen Remodeling Contractors: Choosing the Best Contractors and Design Trends for 2015

The kitchen is one of the best-loved and most heavily-used rooms in your house. For that reason your choice of a kitchen remodeling contractor to complete your desired upgrades cannot be made too carefully.

Too often contractors are selected rapidly and without careful investigation of their prices and contractor’s license. Many contractors intentionally misquote the cost of the job in order to be hired (with the intent to add extra expenses later), leave without completing the job or provide questionable work completed low-quality materials.

When selecting your contractor be sure that he has a license and insurance as well as workman’s compensation. Research the company to determine the length of time they have been in business, see customer reviews and ensure they’re qualified to provide the services advertised.

After you’ve selected a contractor for your kitchen re-model be sure and investigate the design trends for 2015! According to one article trends for this year include; fresh, white-painted cabinets, durable and luxurious quartz countertops, gray accents, environmentally-efficient LED lights, electronic, hands-free faucets to maintain a sterile environment, satin, nickel finishes for a modern look and glass backsplashes to add dimension and shine.

One designer called the current trends a “modern cottage.”  She says that “it’s not stark modern design…it has natural materials, textures and layering, with lots of whites and grays. There is nothing fussy or frou-frou about it.  Although stainless still reigns, there is growing interest in white ranges and refrigerators in a new glossy finish, as well as soapstone countertops and floating shelves.”

Using a top-quality contractor to implement the latest color and design trends is guaranteed to provide a kitchen makeover you’re thrilled with!

Getting Your Eggs in the Right Basket with our Kitchen Remodeling Contractors

You’ve been thinking a lot about eggs lately, as you’ve been buying, filling and hiding plastic Easter eggs, assessing your retirement nest egg as you complete your 2012 taxes, and realizing that the egg holes in your fridge door are, like the fridge itself, incredibly outdated…. If you’ve played your tax cards right, perhaps you even have an Easter surprise headed your way, in the form of a tax refund—which might just as well become a nest egg for something special, like replacing more than just your outdated, and power guzzling, fridge.

We suggest that you call your friendly local kitchen remodeling contractors and let’s discuss how you can transform that nest egg into a lovely new kitchen. Together we can hatch a remodeling plan that will renovate your kitchen into a space you will enjoy working in, with appliances that are modern and energy efficient. Here are some things to consider as you think about how to improve upon your current kitchen:

  • What did you find while you were hiding Easter eggs in your kitchen? Perhaps you saw some chipped counter tops, broken moldings, cracked floor tiles, or the poor condition of your breakfast nook bench cushions. Your kitchen is one of the most lived-in spaces in your home, and that wear and tear really shows after a while.
  • What besides your fridge is old enough to be causing undue strain on your utility bills? Yes, new appliances cost, but the cost of running your old appliances may be higher than you realize.
  • Do the work space and work flow in your kitchen really work for you? Many kitchen setups just aren’t functional. If you and your family bump into each other in the kitchen, perhaps it’s time for a professional assessment of your kitchen space, with an eye to making it really work for you.
  • A kitchen remodel, done right, adds value to the nest egg that is your home.

So why not contact us today for a free, no obligation assessment of your kitchen? From design to execution, our professional, experienced team will transform your kitchen into a beautiful, functional and energy efficient space that will be a joy to work in and a pleasure to show off!

Assistance with Contractor Jargon

Most of our customers are new to remodeling projects.  They are interested in making their home bigger, brighter, more useful or just different.   One thing we run into on most jobs is unfamiliarity with the jargon we use in the remodeling industry.  To help you with this, we have provided here a dictionary of some of the more common terms we use, and what they mean.  Please always ask us if you don’t understand something, we are here to help.

Allowance – A specific dollar amount allocated for a specific item.  For example, you might have an allowance for plumbing fixtures for your project.  After selecting the exact fixtures, the final amount will be calculated, but the allowance is a good estimate of what a reasonable quality set of fixtures should cost.  

Bearing wall – An exterior or interior wall that supports the roof or overhead floor joists.

Building Permit – A document issued by the city or other governing authority.  This document gives permission to go ahead with a construction project.

Change Order – A change order is written documentation to the contractor to change what is in the original contract.  The change order should include changes to materials, methods and costs.

Draw – A total project budget is not usually paid all at once.  A payment made for services to date is considered a “draw” from the total budget.

Expansion joint – A flexible material between two surfaces, allowing joints to expand and contract in different temperatures.

Lien – If a subcontractor is unpaid, he may obtain a lien from the courts.  When enforced, the property can be sold in order to pay off the lien.  If the subcontractor is paid in another way, he will sign a lien release to remove the lien responsibility from the property.

Mud – Any type of plaster or spackle that is used to coat walls, ceilings, foundations and other surfaces.

Punch List – Near the end of the project, the contractor will walk through the project and make a list of things that are still left to be done.  This is known as a punch list.

Bradco Kitchens and Baths can help you with your home remodeling project. We work in the Los Angeles area, and are a full service home remodeling company.  We specialize in kitchens, bathrooms, additions and new construction.   Contact us today for a free, no obligation estimate.

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.