Thinking of finishing your basement? Careful planning will save you money in the long run.
Basement finishing tips and advice from an Indianapolis remodel contractor
According to the 2013 Cost vs Value remodeling data, basement remodeling can recoup around 70% of it's cost, making it one of the prime spaces to remodel or finish in your home. As many new homeowner's have unfinished basement, they are a great space to finish when our growing family's and lifestyles require expansion! Return on investment with basement finishing is relatively high. Since the bulk of the structure is already, generally a basement finish is more affordable than a room addition of the same size. And, basements are versatile. Not only can basements provide additional living and entertainment space, they can also provide additional bedroom and bathroom space.
While basement finishing is a great option to upgrade your home, there a few things to consider when planning your new finished basement space. First, are you considering adding bedrooms to your basement? Either now, or in the future, it is important to consider if you would ever want additional bedrooms in the basement. If so, you will want to consider adding a basement window well. Local building codes require that every basement bedroom to have a means of e-gress, not only in a properly sized window, but also a way to get out of the window well.
As well as having a means of exiting a bedroom directly to the outside, your basement finishing project may require you to upgrade your smoke detectors in your home. Depending on the amount of existing finished home space a remodel is affecting, local building inspectors may require upgrading the smoke detectors in the home to be hard wired to each other, especially if there is access from unfinished basement/crawlspace below or adequate access from above. If you have a newer home, that was built after the time the codes went into effect, your home may already meet the required code. However, if your home is older and you begin a remodel project, you may have to comply.
Along with egress and smoke alarms, another thing to consider any existing plumbing in your basement. Perhaps you have a newer home and the rough-in for the plumbing is already installed. With older homes, some considerations must be made to install new water lines and drains. Whether your existing basement has easy access to water lines and waste drain lines or not, the important thing to remember is to plan around the plumbing access. If you choose to wait to add a basement bathroom, at least plan for the space in advance. This will greatly reuce the cost of trying to add a bathroom into the floor plan after the fact. You may not need a bathroom right now, but if you plan ahead you can add one in the future easily.
Careful planning about remodeling your basement is key to saving money now and gaining value later! No matter if your looking to add a home theater in your basement, a play room for the kids, or additional bedroom and bathoom space, basement finishing adds value to your home. The good thing, is you can remodel your basement in phases to grow along with your family and your needs. However, a little planning in advance can go a long way to increasing the value of your home and reducing future remodeling expenses.
If you have any questions about remodeling or home improvement, you can Ask the Home Expert or give Gettum Associats, Inc a call. With over 25 years of remodeling experience, Gettum Associates can help you with all your Indianapolis area home remodeling needs.
Thinking about remodeling your basement? Click below for a no obligation free consultation, with you at your home, to discuss your needs and options.
Spring/summer remodeling vs fall/winter
As a home remodel contractor serving the Indianapolis area for quite some time, we get asked a handful of common questions by our prospective clients. Perhaps one of the most common questions we are asked is, "does it make a difference if we complete our project within the spring and summer months, or the fall and winter"? I suspect for some contractors, depending on their specialty, it may matter. For other remodeler's, it may not.
Although interest in remodeling and home improvement slows somewhat during the fall and winter months, I don't believe it's due to weather alone. With fall, most family's see their children back to school for the year. The back to school season is soon followed by Halloween and Thanksgiving in the late fall and Christmas and New Years in the winter. After the New Year, many begin to think about and plan their home improvement and remodeling projects for the upcoming spring and summer months.
So what about seasonal weather?
Does it truly matter if it is warm versus cold, or if we see more rain than snow? In reality, for those of us in Indiana it's a crap shoot. We can have snow in May just as we can experience 70 degree days in February. All kidding aside, weather truly does not matter to the full-service home remodel contractor.
I like to use second story addition porjects as a perfect example. This type of project requires a lot of work to be done both on top of the existing roof as well as during construction of the new roof system. In the summer time, being on a roof is HOT! In many cases, our workers would prefer to do this during the cooler months, for obvious reasons. It's easier to be able to layer clothes based on the conditions than get to the point where there is nothing left to remove! Then again, snow can be a challenge. However, most snow can be swept off roofs, before it melts. In the case of rain and ice, we avoid both for safety reasons, both for our workers and to protect the home.
In our experience, we have had the best luck in removing existing roofs in the colder, winter months where the likelihood of rain is less. However, as mentioned above, rain requires planning. On days where there is a good chance of a rain shower, we avoid demolition altogether. If there is a chance, we always have a tarp ready to protect the home. Removing roofs in sections can also be beneficial in minimizing the exposure of the home to the elements. In any case, being prepared is the key.
In summary, a professional remodeling company that has been around a while has learned to cope with changing weather conditions. The amount of challenges between seasons is the same, just different. Being prepared to deal with the weather amounts to common sense for the most part. With careful planning, all conditions can be dealt with.
Ultimately, the choice of when to remodel your home is on you, the homeowner. It depends on the schedule and lifestyle and your family. The important thing is, it really doesn't matter to us, your remodel contractor, as it does to you and your family.
If you have any home remodeling and improvement questions you would like to have answered, please "Email the expert".
How to remove toilet stains
I have ugly water stains in my toilet. Can you suggest a solution for removing them?
- Michelle Stewart
There are several commercial, products that would do the trick. However, there are other, eco-friendly solutions that can be done with simple, inexpensive products rather than harsh chemicals. Follow the steps below.
Steps to clean stains from a toilet-
- Drain the water from your toilet bowl
- Pour a 2 liter of cola the affected area and allow it to set for 4-6 hours
- Use a pumice stone to scrub away the loosened deposits. The pumice stone should not scratch the surface as long as you do not scrub too hard.
If deposits or stains remain, simply repeat these simple steps until they are gone.
Ask the Indianapolis home expert your question!
Knowing what to expect during a remodel project will lessen stress
Remodeling your home can be stressful. However, if you know what to expect, it can lessen the impact on you and your family.
First and foremost, developing a comfortable working relationship with your contractor is paramount to a successful outcome. For more information on selecting a contractor, read "6 Mistakes to avoid when selecting a contractor". Be sure your partnership is a good fit!
Mutual respect between both parties from the very beginning is a must. Both homeowner and contractor alike must respect each others time and investment. Hopefully, your contractor will establish expectations from the planning phases, into negotiation and contract signing and all the way through the completion of your project. Trouble during a remodel project is usually a result of a homeowner not fully understanding something or the contractor not setting proper expectations.
Here are a few bullet points to understand and consider, no matter if your just beginning to think of a remodel project or you have already selected a remodel contractor for your next project:
Realize that reputable remodel contractors consider themselves professionals. They keep business hours. In most cases this means Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm and they rarely make exceptions. Contractors have family's and lives, just like homeowners. In most cases, this means they will NOT be tearing apart your house, running their tools, and constructing your walls on a Saturday and Sunday. Remodeling is expensive and is an important decision. If your serious about your intent to renovate, give it the time it deserves, even if that means going into work late or leaving a little early.
Remodel contractor's time is valuable, just as much as homeowner's. Yes, rescheduling appointments due to conflicts, or illness do happen from time to time. We understand you may need to do the same. If your NOT going to be able to keep an appointment, please give us call as soon as possible. Again, we will extend the same courtesy.
Don't beat a contractor up on price. It is acceptable to question costs and negotiate certain items, but for the most part a professional remodeler who has been around a long time, knows what it takes for a project to be built and what it takes to make certain they are still in business when your project needs service. If you find one ridiculously low price out of line with two other quotes, chances are your not comparing apples to apples. If you base your choice on price alone, a professinal remodeler is not the right fit for you.
Expect to pay a fee for design work. This may be a fixed charge or an hourly rate. Design work take time, but it is important to understand how everything will come together before a price is presented. Avoid accepting a price quote for additions and major modifications without a working plan in which to build from.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO to ensure your happiness concerns is to read and understand every line of your scope of work/roject specifications and contract. This is extremely important as most conflicts during a remodel project occur because either the homeowner to not read and understand what was specified, signed and agreed upon. In some cases, perhaps the contractor failed to clearly describe something but do yourself a favor: If you have a question about a selection, or do not understand what something means, ask. It's that simple. But please do so before you sign the contract!
Try and make as many selections as possible before you sign a contract. Agreed upon selections can be written in the specifications and help eliminate allowances. Likewise, try and keep changes to minimum to avoid change orders, which cost additional time and money.
Discuss such issues such as the use of your bathrooms, any pets that may need to be secured and the safety of any children in the area. As well, understand when to expect work to begin and end every day.
Realize that delays may happen and many of them can be out of the control of the contractor. Some are due to product selections. Making timely choices can help with this. Other delays in the construction schedule may be due to building inspections. For instance, a rough-in inspection of electrical, heating and cooling or plumbing must occur before drywall is installed. In some jurisdictions, inspectors are given up to 48 hours to complete a inspection. The important thing to realize is contractors want to keep you on schedule. Time is money. Not only in extra expenses for your project, but also starting another project.
If you have a question or concern, let your contractor know as soon as possible! Do not let minor issues fester. Rather, address them as soon as they arrive. Mistakes happen, but it is how your contractor reacts that is the important thing. And remember, remodel contractors stay in business by making you happy!
Your house is most likely your single largest investment you will ever make. Sometimes our home needs modified, or routine maintenance at the least. When your home needs attention or you need to add extra space, take a breath and do your homework so you know what to expect. Reducing the stress present in many projects is key to being happy with the end result!
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Deck maintenance-Indianapolis home advice
How often should a deck be cleaned and how long does a sealant last?
QUESTION: I’d like to make sure that I’m on the right maintenance schedule for my deck. How often should I have it cleaned and how long does sealant last? - Bob Ryan
ANSWER: That’s a great question Bob. Many people realize too late that without proper maintenance the lifespan of your deck can be surprisingly short. First let me say that spring, summer, and fall are typically the best time for deck maintenance. The key factor is temperature.
Almost all deck preservative products cure and dry properly when the temperature is at least 50 degrees. Cleaning and sealing your deck depends on climate, weather, and sun exposure. Decks in the direct sunlight tend to fade and dry out. Decks in humid and shady areas may grow algae and fungus spores. Both problems require attention yearly, or no later than two seasons apart. One additional factor to consider is your choice of products. Having your deck cleaned and sealed with quality products will help prolong your enjoyment of your outdoor getaway.
Do you have questions about your Indianapolis area home or need advice on home improvement and remodeling? If so, "Email the Expert" and get answers to your questions.
Dryer vent Safety-Indianapolis home advice
Cleaning your lint trap after every dryer load is an important step to limit the danger of fire and extend the life of your clothes dryer
If your like most households with children you do countless loads of laundry each week. It is easy to take our washing machines and dryers for granted. These appliances are not seen as luxury, but rather a necessity for many.
However, many do not realize there is a hidden hazard lurking in the laundry areas of our homes and that is our clothes dryer. According to the Topical Fire Research Series, published by FEMA, "Clothes dryer fires account for about 15,600 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries annually." The bulletin goes on to add that “Failure to clean” is the leading factor contributing to clothes dryer fires in residential buildings" (source). So, with good reason, there are a number of precautions to take as well as routine inspection to ensure safe function of one of our hardest working household appliances.(photo above by americandryerventcleaning.com
So, what causes lint in a dryer vent duct system? The short answer to that question is when lint gets trapped, it blocks airflow. When airflow gets restricted, heat build-up and ultimately overheating can occur. This heat can ignite both the lint within the ductwork and can spread to the clothing within the dryer.
Beyond the fire hazard the average clothes dryer poses to our homes, most are operating well below their optimum efficiency. So, most of the same steps you can take to reduce the risk of disaster are the same things you can do to reduce drying time and increase the life of your clothes dryer. Keep reading to find tips on dryer venting, what problem areas to look for, and how to keep your dryer safe and clean. This information is brought to you by Gettum Associates Inc, Indianapolis area remodel contractors and home experts. You can get advice to your home improvement and household questions on our "E-mail the home expert" page.
Tips on dryer venting:
It is best to use rigid metal duct work, rather than flexible duct work, especially for ducting that is concealed within walls and in the attic. The only acceptable use for flexible duct work is the small length between the rigid duct and the dryer (ex. from the wall to the dryer). Reason: Flexible duct work contains "ridges" that add friction that can grab and trap lint. If you must use flexible duct work, please choose metal flex duct over plastic duct work.
Rigid duct work should be installed so that the connections between two pieces of duct work are oriented with the "male" end pointing towards the direction of airflow. Reason: If this connection is reversed, the crimped male end will collect lint and lead to build-up.
Use "foil tape" NOT duct tape to seal duct joints. Duct tape will eventually dry out and fail. Also, DO NOT use screws or rivets to connect duct work. Screws or other fasteners will also collect lint.
Keep the overall duct length less than 25' as recommended by the IRC (International Residential Code). Here is what the IRC says about dryer duct vent length: M1502.6 Duct length:The maximum length of a clothes dryer exhaust duct shall not exceed 25 feet (7,620 mm) from the dryer location to the wall or roof termination. The maximum length of the duct shall be reduced 2.5 feet (762 mm) for each 45-degree (0.8 rad) bend, and 5 feet (1,524 mm) for each 90-degree (1.6 rad) bend. The maximum length of the exhaust duct does not include the transition duct.
Check out the termination (end of the dryer duct and hopefully a termination cap). Your dryer SHOULD NOT vent into a crawlspace or an attic!! Again, we can reference the IRC for the proper termination of a dryer vent duct: M1502.2 Duct termination: Exhaust ducts shall terminate on the outside of the building or shall be in accordance with the dryer manufacturer’s installation instructions. Exhaust ducts shall terminate not less than 3 feet (914 mm) in any direction from openings into buildings. Exhaust duct terminations shall be equipped with a backdraft damper. Screens shall not be installed at the duct termination. Inspectors will see many dryer vents terminate in crawlspaces or attics where they deposit moisture, which can encourage the growth of mold, wood decay, or other material problems. Sometimes they will terminate just beneath attic ventilators. This is a defective installation. They must terminate at the exterior and away from a door or window! Also, screens may be present at the duct termination and can accumulate lint and should be noted as improper.
The dryer vent duct should be independent from any other duct system (i.e. chimney, water heater, furnace, etc.) This should go without saying.
Tips on keeping your dryer vent and duct work clean:
First, the easiest way to keep your dryer and duct work clean and working at optimal efficiency is to clean the lint trap screen each and every time. Also, be sure to check pant pockets coming out of the dryer for lint. Remove and discard.
You should routinely inspect the connection from the back of the dryer to the wall. Make sure the duct work is not crushed and remember a gentle bend is acceptable but avoid sharp turns which can trap lint and ultimately block air flow.
You should routinely disconnect, inspect and clean out the connection between the back of the dryer and the wall. This is the first place lint will collect and can be a major "choking" point of air flow.
You should have your entire dryer vent duct system inspected and cleaned once per year for average laundry use. Consult the phone book or do an online search to find someone qualified and local to your area.
The information above is not intended to scare, rather it is to inform. Ultimately, this knowledge will keep you and your family safe and your clothes dryer working efficiently for years to come. If you should have any other questions relevant to home maintenance, remodeling and home improvement, please click below:
Yes, you can have hot water quicker!
Question: Hello, I was wondering if there is anything I can do to shorten the time it takes for hot water to come out of my sink. When I am working in the kitchen, I find that I am spending too much time waiting for the water to heat up. Is there a solution for this problem? Thanks, Debbie
Answer: Debbie, There certainly is a solution. You can have a recirculating pump installed. Basically, a recirculating pump is a device that sits between your hot water heater and your sink, and keeps warm water close to the tap and sends cold water back to be re-heated. This nifty device also saves fresh water, since it keeps you from having to run the faucet needlessly, so owning one can give you Federal tax credit for being environmentally savvy.But, please check current credits offered.
The above is an excerpt from one of our latest monthly newsletters. You can check out the Gettum Associates Home Front newsletter by signing up HERE.
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