Summer's just around the corner, and if you're a home owner, chances are good your thoughts are on your backyard. Maybe you've spent all winter salivating over episodes of "Yard Crashers," "Landscapers' Challenge" and "The Vanilla Ice Project," or your Pinterest and Houzz accounts are bulging with ideas. If you're ready to convert your much-neglected plot of land into a backyard oasis, we say it's time to get to it.
You can take your backyard design in many different directions, and it's easy to get carried away and bust the budget. Keep it real and stay organized by creating a list of the features you'd most like your backyard to have, then prioritize and set a budget. Here are some of the more popular features to help you get started:
A New Patio
A patio is often the starting point of a backyard renovation. How large you make it depends on what it will be used for: Will you be entertaining a lot of guests, or is it just for you and your spouse to enjoy while you sip iced tea and read the newspaper? Your options for patio pavers are brick, concrete, stone and even rubber; don't be afraid to get creative with its shape and the placement of any bricks. Fixr.com places the average cost of a 12-by-16-foot patio around $2,000. If installation is done well, your patio could retain its original look for 20 years or more.
Is your backyard better suited for a deck? Nothing says "summer" more than enjoying an Indianapolis evening under the stars, and a deck increases the value of your home, too. You can plan the shape and size of your deck to fit with your existing landscaping and yard size. Choose a lumber type, color and width that fits your style and design preference. Experts estimate a new deck will cost you $15-$35 a square foot, depending on the type of wood you choose.
Spa or Hot Tub
A spa or hot tub brings an element of luxury to any backyard. You can integrate it with your landscaping or install it on your deck. CostEvaluation.com puts a new outdoor hot tub at about $2,000 to $6,000 installed. Make sure you budget for a hot tub cover as well; this is a must for families with small children and areas with four-season climates. You can get hot tub covers at HotTubWorks.com starting at under $300, delivered.
From fountains to waterfalls to a koi pond, water effects take your backyard to the next level. Add ambient lighting around these features to create a dreamy mood at night. If you want to go with a koi pond, bear in mind that experts recommend the water be three to four feet deep for the fish to thrive. According to howmuchisit.org, the cost of a professionally installed koi pond starts at $10,000 and goes up from there, depending upon how elaborate you get. The filtration system alone is around $3,000.
Of course, these are just some of the features to consider when creating your ideal backyard. Now get going, so you can kick back with a cold drink and enjoy the backyard of your dreams.
Looking to get the backyard living space of your dreams?
If your in the Indianapolis, Indiana area, consult with Gettum Associates, Inc., an award-winning design and remodel contractor based in Greenwood, Indiana. Gettum Associates carefully designs each project with your needs in mind and completes the construction of your deck, porch or patio to blend seamlessly with your existing to make it look as though it was always there. Click below for more information:
About the author:
Ray is a landscaper, mechanic and fix-it guy who enjoys sharing DIY tips and money-saving tricks.
A Remodeler's Guide to Flooring
Whether you're building a brand-new home or remodeling your kitchen for an updated look, new flooring is essential. Do you want a rustic and naturally luxurious hardwood floor that matches an organic interior-design theme? Are you focused on a flooring installation that tolerates the high amounts of traffic and camouflages dirt from your family? With so many extensive flooring options, from sheet vinyl to natural stone tile, selecting the right floor that meets your aesthetic and functional needs can feel overwhelming.
Use the following flooring guide to help you select an attractive, durable floor befitting for your home and lifestyle. Just like your talented and exceptional interior designer with that concept artist degree at Academy of Art who recommended the most beautiful, upscale decor, we'll serve as your knowledgeable and experienced flooring professional who can help you get started on selecting a premier floor.
Hardwood exudes elegance and luxury. A deep, rich cherry hardwood creates a dramatic, organic atmosphere. Choose country maple to lighten a space and reverberate sunshine. If hardwood meets your aesthetic vision, then you'll choose between two constructions:
- Engineered: Consists of hardwood, plywood or HDF and a top layer of hardwood veneer that is glued on the surface, according to BuildDirect.com. Engineered hardwood has maximum stability, versatility and moisture and heat prevention.
- Solid: Solid hardwood is characterized by its thick top wear layer that can be repeatedly sanded and refinished. HoskingHardwood.com also explains that solid hardwood's interlocking tongue and groove milling provides structural strength.
Vinyl floors can mimic the look of hardwood, stone and ceramic tile. Sheet vinyl is the most affordable and is easy to install. Vinyl tile also has a four-layer construction which includes:
- Urethane wear layer: Withstands scratches and scuffs
- Protective clear film: Protects from tears and gouging
- Printed design: Contains colors and patterns
- Structural backing: Provides strength and durability
Laminate flooring has come a long way, with convincing grain and textures to mimic wood or stone tiles. It's an affordable and flexible material that can be installed in any space. If you're a young family maintaining a fact-paced household, laminate floors are an excellent choice because:
- They are low maintenance
- There is a wide selection of colors, styles and patterns
- They are resistance to impact, scratching, fading and stains
- There are many trim and molding options
Laminate floors can be installed with a floating technique. The planks aren't glued, nailed or stapled down, rather secured by the tongue-and-groove interlocking system.
Ceramic, stone and porcelain tile flooring can create an upscale look. Natural stone is a beautiful and versatile flooring material. From a grand foyer to a luxurious-looking kitchen, the following natural stones will provide an beautiful element to your interior space:
Because of its high durability, smoothness and low maintenance, granite is a premium choice for kitchen floors that experience high traffic and impact. Install marble in formal spaces and hallways for its refined and cultured qualities.
Peter Hill-Pete is a freelance writer who lives in Virginia.
Home office expansion and modification
For a Carmel, Indiana home owner, additional office space was more important than an exterior balcony. The orginal house was built with an upper level, walk-out balcony porch that attached to what is now a second floor home office. The door to the balcony was centred in forty-five degree angle exterior wall.
Essentially, this angled wall with a door out to the balcony encroached the room by four feet. And unfortunately, the exterior balcony was constructed in a way that relied on a rubber membrane to protect the outer floor system from the weather, as well as keep the finished first floor space below dry!
In this case, the change that was about to become was a good thing, as the rubber membrane balcony porch floor was beginning to leak. The plan was to remove the 45 degree angle wall and sqare off the corners. As the floor system was already in place, construction involved extending new sub floor and new exterior wall system. New windows, siding and trim were installed to blend the new into the existing. In place of a rarely-used tiny space, the homeowners regained more wall area and more volume and did not sacrifice much light.
The pay-off for this family was useable all space, about eight additional feet in all. As well, there is now a peace of mind knowing that no further damage would occur in the first floor below from a leak in the balcony floor above. To blend in the new expansion with the existing roomf, the interior walls, ceilings, baseboards and crown moulding were extended. The new space looks as though it was constructed that way originally, which is most always the goal with an addition or expansion of any kind. Check out the finished pictures below.
New expanded office space pictures:
While not always apparent, there are many creative ways to add more family living space, more bedroom space and, in this case, a larger home office. An experienced Indianapolis area design and remodel contractor can help assess your needs and come up with a solution to accomplish your goals. Choosing the right contractor for your next project will ensure your overall happiness by working with you to not only meet your needs, but build it in a way that makes it look like it was always that way! For more information about reconfiguring your existing space, click below.
Wall removal and a noook addition help create an open floor plan for a west side, Indianapolis family
The goal of this project, designed and constructed by Gettum Associates Inc is to add more space. This has been accomplished by the removal of existing interior and exterior walls separating the kitchen/nook and sunroom/family room along with the installation of a nook addition. The final result will be a more open feel, as well as more space! Along with the modifications to the indoor living space, a large screen in porch addition was added to extend the indoors outward!
Pictures of the existing family room/kitchen, kitchen/nook and interior of existing sunroom
Demolition and construction pictures:
Pictures showing the completion of interior and exterior wall removals and installation of structural header beams and posts
Column and beam trim installation pictures:
In-progress pictures of the installation of interior trim to the structural beams and columns. The built-out, raised panel column detail add a great touch!
Project completion pictures showing the finished nook addition and the combined family room, nook, kitchen and sunroom spaces.
Are you looking to open up or expand your living space? Give us a call at 317-888-5681 or click below:
Two things to consider for starting that DIY remodel project
Replace a toilet, check! Fix the faucet, check! Replace that old light fixture, check!
Sure, you might be willing and able to do just about any home improvement project around your house, but before you tackle any major work, consider two things:
First, ask yourself if you can do the job right.
Saving money is one thing, but are you knowledgeable enough about the task at hand so you don't encounter major (and costly) problems?
Second—and perhaps more importantly—put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer, even if you're not likely to sell for years.
You might be proud of all your home improvements, but the homebuyer may ask lots of questions about the work. Like it or not, there is an inherent skepticism about homegrown handymen, no matter your talents. There are safety concerns and potential legal issues. You did get permits right?
Professionally done work, on the other hand, tends to have a certain "seal of approval" that assures the job was done properly. Plus, most pros guarantee their work for an extended time, which gives buyers even more confidence.
Sure, there are a few bad apples out there, but if you do your homework, you will find a reputable, professional contractor that will do what they say they will do. Ask your neighbors, friends and family for recommendations. Or, consult an online resource such as Angie's List or CustomerLobby which list reviews of local area contractors.
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!
For more information, click below:
Indianapolis remodel contractor reviews
Can you trust 3rd party reviews and how you can substantiate their claims.
One hot topic when it comes to choosing the right remodel contractor to work on or improve your Indianapolis area home is 3rd party reviews. For the consumer, it is benefit to have such services provide reviews from past customers. But, can you trust them? In some ways yes, and in some ways no.
For the scrupulous consumer the answer is probably somewhere in between. Yes, definitely,you should take into account reviews you read on the internet from 3rd party review companies. Examples of such companies include Angies List and Customer Lobby. Other's include yahoo and google reviews. All allow the collections of reviews from past clients of remodeling companies, including those in the Indianapolis area. But, NO you shouldnt take everything you see on reviews as truth.
If you go out on the internet and search for the above companies, you will see a few consumers that love these sites and some that may dispute the accuracy of their reporting. Perhaps the most important is Angies list in which consumers pay a subscriber fee to review and research potential remodel contractors and other service professionals. The big deal with Angies list is that a contractor cannot pay to be listed and reviewed on Angies List. That is left to the consumer. However, a contractor can pay to advertise with Angies List. Admittedly, Gettum Associates does pay to advertise with Angies List. We find it as a way to place us in front of more consumers looking for an honest contractor to complete their work. Does it mean we are awarded jobs simply because we advertise? NO. Absolutely not.
For customer lobby, it is free for a consumer to read reviews about potential contractors. However, a contractor must pay fees to collect and list their reviews. An other unmentioned collector of reviews is Guild Quality, which will also poll and place reviews for a contractor, for a fee. The only "free" place that I know of that accepts and posts consumers for free is google and yahoo. Both allow those with a accompanying e-mail address to rate and review those they hired for services, such as home remodeling.
So, how do you know, as a consumer, whom to trust and who to stay away from? Thankfully, most reputable Indianapolis area remodel contractors in business for a good length of time derive a large base of their clients from referrals from past clients. As much as Gettum Associates and other high ranked Indianapolis contractors continually advertise and tout their services for a fee to an advertiser, we always have an equal or greater number of a client base that can back up our claims of exceptional work, great customer attention and service after the sale. A reputable Indianapolis based home remodel contractor should always be willing to provide you a list of recent, past clients in which you can contact direct.
Sure, all reviews are subjective as are the referrals in which you should expect your prospective contractor to provide you. It is afertall, how we stay in business....by making people happy. Your friends, your neighbors, etc. However, you should always ask the tough questions: What went well? What went right? Which areas could be improved upon? Don't feel bad about asking those questions. You have a large investment at stake. But also dont be overhwhelmed in answers in which you deem negative.
You should expect an honest assessment to include what went wrong. After all, this is remodeling investment. You can and should expect some issues to crop up. Many are out of your contractors hands, and even if during the heat of the moment, you dont see it as that. Yet. they are issues that come up and have to be dealt with. It's not always our fault, your original siding was installed correctly and allowed water to sit on and rot your wall sheathing. That is a good example, but relevant. It's more important to ask HOW the issues got solved. Were they solved in a timely and beneficial manner to both parties? Were they thoroughly explained to you as such? Were the extra costs involved, if any, explained in a satisfactory manner? Was a proper change order signed and accepted by all parties? By the way, this is a sign of a good contractor: One in which that places such issues in writing in how they will be handled, both in execution and in payment. For more information, in how to chose a great contractor, see our FREE guide, "6 mistakes to avoid when selecting a contractor".
In summary, consumer review websites are a GREAT resource for initial planning, contact and review. But, be sure to follow up those claims with a list of past client contacts from the prospective home remodel contractor. From there, give them a call. Feel free to ask the tough questions then make a decision based upon their feeling, how they were treated and their comfort level with the contractor. After all, this is your home. Do your best due diligence in whom you should trust working on your home.
If you have any questions about home improvement and remodeling in Indianapolis, give us a call or send us and email. If you would like to have a no cost, no obligation discussion about your next project Click Below.
Choose the Perfect Gate for Your Home
Are you planning a home-remodeling project? Do you have a garden in front of your home? Then, the one thing that you must include is a gate. It not only ensures the safety and security of your house, but also enhances the beauty. Gates have enamored us for a long time. A mansion with an imposing gate in front of it has never failed to impress us.
There are several kinds of gates available. The two basic models are slide gates and swing gates. If you can manage the space in front of your home, then the swing gates are a good option. A swing gate is something that comes to our minds when we think of gates. But, if you do not have the space then a slide gate is a good option too. They are very good if your home is of a modern design. The swing gates have fewer mechanisms compared to a slide gate and so they are expected to develop fewer glitches in them.
The gates can be made out of various kinds of materials. They include, wrought iron, wooden picket, vinyl, etc. the material that you choose will depend on the kind of climate you have round the year, the maintenance cost and the safety that it will provide. The most popular are wood and iron.
They can either be simple or ornate. Simple gates are of course easy to maintain and they are cheap. Also, if you are installing a simple wooden swing gate then you can do it yourself on a weekend. Gates with complicated patterns on them look very grand and add to the beauty of the house. But, you have to work really hard to keep them clean. Besides, they must be compatible with the house and the gate of your neighbors, if any. A grand, imposing gate in a row of simpler ones looks very odd.
If you have seen a spy movies or a horror movie, a gate opening by itself is something that must have attracted you. You can also have a gate like that at your home that opens automatically. A manual gate has to be opened either by you or by your guests. Also, it becomes difficult sometimes to open the gate. In such cases an automatic gate is very helpful. They provide better security than the manual ones as they are not so easy to break-in. they also provide you with the added facility of installing a burglar alarm that you can activate at night or when you are not at home.
There are several kinds of automatic gates and you must consult an expert before you invest in one. The perfect kind of electric gates Surrey home owners should install depends on the owner’s needs and affordability.
The author Eve Warner has a deep interest in home remodeling. She has written many blogs on the same. Here, she shares some tips about installing http://www.geminigates.co.uk/electric gates Surrey residents will find helpful.
Content hosted by Gettum Associates Inc, award winning design and remodel contractors
Gettum Associates, Inc., an Indianapolis home remodeling contractor
, likes to feature content from other service provider's from time to time. Let us know if you have a topic you would like to see featured!
A garage addition example of the importance of matching home designs when remodeling
Yet again, we harp on the importance of matching your next renovation and remodel project with its existing surroundings. We take it seriously. So should you. For those who have missed the preaching, take note: Anything you add to your home should always match what you have.
When renovating or adding on or anywhere near a historic, period home it is even more important! Building with inappropriate materials or a contradicting style can kill the overall look and feel of an otherwise important home!
Here is a great example:
Below, is a picture of an existing garage on a historic period home in the Indianapolis area. Note the slate tile roofing, prominent dormer on the roof, the overhead garage door at the end, and the exterior trim detail.
Existing house and garage:
The homeowner wanted a detached garage to the rear of the home.
To not only replicate the look and feel of the existing home, but also the materials used originally.
We feel the completed project accomplished the objective: to create a great garage and storage space that served the purpose, yet match the original as close as possible.
The wall heights of the new garage matched the existing garage. The windows were an upgraded, yet similar replication. The brick blended seamlessly, as did the slate tiles. The dormer styling completed the blend. And accurate trim detail set the project off!
Completed project pictures:
The moral is, as is always the case, it's best to blend new with old. For this project, the objective was to create more garage space. But for this home, it was important to maintain the character of the existing home. However, even the newest of homes benefit from improvements matching the original styling and feel.
Additions and renovations can meet their intended goals without looking as thought they "just landed". It's important. Not just from a stylistic view, but from a realistic, resale point of view. Keep this in mind when considering your next remodel, renovation or home improvement project. Not only do you want your home to be consistent in it's detail, but so do potential buyers, should you ever want or need to sell your home. Curb appeal adds value. Inaccurate room additions or other modifications to your home will detract from it's value. Do your homework and find out what makes sense for your home!
For more on curb appeal, get the FREE "Indianapolis Curb Appeal Guide."
To learn more about blending in your dreams with your existing, consult with a reputable, Indianapolis-area design and remodel contractor, like Gettum Associates Inc. It is possible to make your house your dream home!
A patio roof covering offers shade without sacrificing view
For homeowners looking to create the backyard of their dreams, a porch or patio usually is a big part of the overall plan and design. There are many options to choose from. Many begin with a simple deck and upgrade to a pergola. Some may choose a porch. For those with a porch in mind, there are a few variations.
A screen porch is certainly one popular option. These structures are ideal for extending the indoors outward. They can be equipped with lighting and electronics, such as Tv and stereos. They offer the advantage of shade, as well as a bug-free experience. However, a simple covered porch or patio is desirable as well. In many cases, a covered porch is like a screen porch, without the walls and screening.
Similar in many ways, a covered porch can have many of the amenities a screen porch does. It can be wired and equipped with audio and visual equipment, as well as lighting in the ceiling. However, given the lack of walls and screening, a covered porch offers an uninhibited outdoor experience. As is the case with many additions completed by a professional remodeler, the ideal porch should blend into the existing structure as if it was always there. Avoiding the added on look is key! The design details should be a direct reflection of the overall style of your home, right down to the trim and column details, if applicable.
So, when planning your dream backyard be sure to choose the structure that meets your family's needs. And remember, a coverd porch or pation can, in most cases, be converted to a screen porch or 3-season room in the future.
If your in the Indianapolis area and are interested in learning about the benefits of a design/build remodel contractor for your next porch, click below to schedule your no cost, no obligation remodel consultation:
About the author:
Gettum Associates, Inc is an award-winning design and remodel contractor located in central Indiana that has been serving the Indianapolis metro area since 1987. Specializing in full- service remodeling, Gettum Associates completed projects of all sizes. From screen porches, patios, sunroom and room additions to simple bathroom and kitchen makeovers. Whatever your needs, Gettum Associates has the experience and know-how to get the job done right. For more information, visit their website at www.Gettum.com