Updating Your Exterior With A Wrap-Around Porch

Morgan Contractors


Picture this: a white picket fence enclosing a cozy home with a wrap-around porch – the typical dream home. But could this exterior feature be a bit cliché for your home renovations? Never.

A wrap-around porch will always be a beautiful exterior addition to any suburban home.

What is a Wrap-Around Porch?

A wrap-around porch is a shallow veranda that encloses at least two sides of your home. These porches can be made from varying types of material and are able to be customized to suit the aesthetic of your home.

A Wrap-Around Porch Can Enhance Your Home

  • More Entertainment Possibilities

A porch lining the exterior of your home provides ample space to entertain guests when the weather is nice. It’s as if you have an additional room that allows you to experience the refreshing, crisp air.

  • Relax Outside

A wrap-around porch is also great for personal use. Whether you want to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee in the early morning or sit outside in the cool night air, a wrap-around porch will bring you all the benefits of being outside while maintaining some sort of coverage.

  • Enhance Curb Appeal

If you’re looking to sell your home, or just want to show your updated exterior off to your neighbors, a wrap-around porch is the way to go. Pedestrians strolling by will love the look of the partially enclosed porch, as it enhances the functionality and aesthetic of your overall home.

  • Capture Classic Charm

Oftentimes we see wrap-around porches on the exterior of Victorian or Colonial homes. Renovating your home to include one of these structures will bring a charming hint of traditional architecture to your modern suburban area.

Are your looking to update your home’s image? Contact the experts at Morgan Contractors. We’ll work with you to determine if a wrap-around porch would suit your home. No matter what renovation project you’re looking to accomplish, Morgan Contractors has got your covered.

Hottest Remodel Kitchen Trends of 2018

Morgan Contractors


Hop On These Kitchen Trends For An Updated Look

Over the years, kitchens have become the most integral part of a home. As architecture and designs have evolved, so have the functionality and comfort of our most prized room. If you’re feeling like your kitchen is becoming a little outdated, and no longer emanates that hominess feeling everyone hopes to achieve, it might be time for a remodel. 

Before tacking this major home project, check out the latest kitchen trends of 2018. Not only will your home have a beautiful, remade look, but its comfort and versatility will help cultivate further creativity in the kitchen.  

Smart Kitchens 

It’s no surprise that technology innovations have been on the rapid incline over the past decade. Its only recently, however, that it’s been making its way to the kitchen. There are now several types of smart refrigeration appliances that can easily be set up in your newly renovated kitchen. These updated appliances can connect to your phone to track grocery lists, pull up your favorite recipes or remind you when your milk is running low. From crockpots to coffee makers, and even smart technology silverware, integrating technology into your kitchen is one of the hottest kitchen trends of this year. 

White Cabinets 

The clean aesthetic of white cabinetry has been sweeping kitchens everywhere. The sleek look of white cabinets emphasizes a more modernized look. With so much bustle constantly occurring within our kitchen walls, creating a minimalist look is a must. A clean, white finish will dramatically decrease any harsh colors within the room, to leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. 

Ceramic Tiles 

Hardwood flooring has been leading the floor trends for quite some time, but ceramic tiles are beginning to gain popularity. Since it now comes in a variety of sizes and styles, ceramic has become a great alternative for kitchen floors. People are even beginning to purchase ceramic tiles that replicate the image of wooden floors, or even natural stones. Its versatile nature has made ceramic tile flooring one of the most popular kitchen trends of this year.

Automated Appliances 

Going along with the aforementioned smart-technology trend, many common appliances are upping their technology in other ways. Sinks, soap dispensers, garbage cans and even lighting can now be started with the tap of a finger. While decreasing germ contact and increase ease of use, automated appliances have become a helpful feature within our kitchens.  

Soft-Close Doors 

Some of the most innovate kitchen trends are the ones you can’t see. Oftentimes, the kitchen will have a constant stream of family members coming in and out. Your cabinets and drawers experience some of the most wear and tear. This year, treat your kitchen nicely. Installing soft-close doors will make your kitchen feel more calming without the loud banging of cabinetry.   

Oversized Light Fixtures 

Having and ample amount of light in the area where you create the most throughout the day is a given essential. Since light fixtures are already a necessity, why not spruce them up a bit? Pendant lighting above kitchen islands or tables brings a new trendy means of illuminating your space. While over-sized fixtures do not necessarily provide more light, they do give off a more dramatic and statement style. This 2018 kitchen trend will be sure to stand out within your home.  


If you’re looking to remodel your kitchen to include a few of this year’s kitchen trends, contact Morgan Contractors today. Our architectural specialists will work with you to design the kitchen of your dreams.    

What Roof Type is Best for Your Home?

Morgan Contractors


A Guide to Different Roof Types and Styles

Exterior protection is the foundation to your home. Make sure you’re choosing the right roof type that suits all of your living needs. With a variety of different types of roofs available for installation, deciding what’s best for your home can be a challenging task. From popular asphalt roofs to the sleek look of slate tiles, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Whether you’re looking for a pleasing aesthetic to top off your home or a sturdy roof to withstand tough weather, these roofs have got you covered.


Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular roof type amongst American homes. This material is so widely used due to its affordable cost and ability to provide solid protection. Fiberglass shingles are made out of a mesh mat covered in asphalt and topped with granules. It’s lightweight nature and resistance to tearing make it a solid choice for construction. Organic singles are made a bit differently. Created from recycled paper and saturated in asphalt, organic shingles are also a lightweight and tear-resistant option. However, the use of this material has begun to decrease due to its tendency to dry out and become less waterproof over time. If you’re looking for a short-term, inexpensive roof type, asphalt shingles are a solid option, especially if you plan on selling your home in less than 10 years.

Wood Shingles and shakes

Wood shingles and shakes have been a long trusted roof type. Wood shingles are machine cut, creating cleaner edges, while shakes are hand cut from wood blocks to create a thicker and more rugged look. Cedar and redwood roofing contain oil to make them naturally weather resistant. This rustic style can also last five to 10 years longer than asphalt. Wood roofing, however, is more difficult to install and costly to repair. The fact that this roof type can also be a fire hazard is something to stay mindful of.

Clay and Concrete Tiles

Amongst the different types of roofs are beautiful clay and concrete tiles. This material offers over 50 years of durability. Although heavier and more costly than the other roof types, clay and concrete tiles provide a classy, textured appearance to your home to increase its curb appeal. Another perk to this roof type is its notable resistance to fire. However, its heavy nature requires extra framing support, and roofing repair is more difficult due to its tendency to break when walked on. If you’re looking to finish off the aesthetic to your Mediterranean, South-western, or Spanish-style home, clay tiles are the right choice.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a durable and eco-friendly roofing style. Sheet metal can be made into a variety of appearances to look like shingles, shakes, and tiles. With a lifespan of 50 to 100 years, metal roofs are built to last. Unlike the different types of roofs, metal reflects radiant solar heat so it can keep homes cooler and save energy. Metal can also withstand and protect homes from foul weather better than any other material, but it will easily dent if hit with a heavy object. It’s lightweight and versatile nature makes metal roofing a trusted option. Just keep in mind that it will come at a higher cost to install and repair.


Slate is the most durable type of roof on the market, but much heavier than its alternative options. The varied colored appearance offers a distinctive and sought after beauty to cover your home. It’s sturdiness and sustainability will typically last you between 40 and 60 years. However, if you aren’t looking to buck up for this popular roof type, synthetic slate tiles are a valuable alternative. They are less costly and hold a lighter weight. Both of these roof types require little maintenance, yet it can only be installed by contractors that specialize in slate.


With a variety of different types of roofs available to choose from, it’s important to ensure you’re picking the best material for your home and budget. For more insight and information on roofing material, contact a professional at Morgan Contractors. Our experience and expertise will help you to achieve your dream home aesthetic.

Increased Home Value: Functional Ways to Design Your Bathroom

Morgan Contractors


Increase Your Home’s Value with These Bathroom Design Tips

If you’re looking for ways to increase your home’s value, then focus your attention on updating the bathrooms. Bathrooms are one of the top selling points of any home, so any improvements made will almost guarantee increased home value. Here are ten simple bathroom updates that can help you boost your asking price when it’s time to sell.

  1. Swap Outdated Fixtures

Replacing old faucets and towel bars with newer ones can go a long way to giving your bathroom an updated look. Choose finishes like satin or brushed nickel that pair well with most tile. Chrome is always a good, classic choice. Just know that chrome attracts water spots and will require frequent cleaning.

  1. Create Twin Sinks

For shared bathrooms, installing an extra sink can be a brilliant move. Twin sinks make any bathroom look bigger than it is, but keep in mind that you’ll need a minimum of 60 inches to comfortably accommodate the addition. Vessel or undermount styles are your best options if you have limited counter space.

  1. Update Lighting

Remove any outdated bathroom lighting and opt for something more stylish as well as functional. For a layered and luxurious effect, include overhead bathroom lighting along with task lighting around the mirror. You can easily install a dimmer for added versatility and control.

  1. Integrate Custom Storage

Nothing translates into increased home value quite like ample storage space, and this extends to the bathroom as well. Prospective buyers love to see plenty of space in the bathroom for everything from towels to toiletries to toothbrushes. Keep this in mind when selecting your cabinetry for the bathroom. Choose a vanity with plenty of deep drawers and lots of under-sink cabinet space. If your bathroom is narrow, install vertical shelving and higher cabinets.

  1. Use Neutral Colors

A fresh coat of paint is a no-brainer when updating the bathroom. Just be sure to choose light and neutral colors for a clean, fresh look. Neutral colors will give the bathroom an open, airy feel, and your fixtures will pop in contrast, resulting in a very attractive look.

  1. Play Up the Tub

If your bathroom has a tiny, outdated tub consider replacing it with something more modern and luxurious. Complete the transformation by styling it with your favorite bath products and accessories. Keep pretty towels, aromatic soaps, and colorful bath salts within reach.

  1. Add a Spacious Shower

Instead of upgrading your old tub you can also consider having a contractor replace it with a spacious modern shower. Thoughtful features like built-in shelves, storage niches, and benches are upgrades you (or future owners) will greatly appreciate. While you’re at it, update the shower fixtures. Replacing a showerhead is so simple that you can likely do it yourself.

  1. Install New Tile

Whether it’s on the floor or on the walls, be sure to choose your tile wisely because it’s not something that can be easily replaced down the line. Stick with classic designs, neutral colors, and a pattern you’re confident you’ll be happy with for several years, and that future homebuyers will likely appreciate. Keep in mind, large tiles can help a small room appear more spacious and diagonal installation can help a narrow room appear wider.

  1. Let in Natural Light

We like our bathrooms to be private so there are usually few windows to allow natural light in. But talk to a contractor about strategically placing windows or skylights in your bathroom to let in in some light while retaining privacy. Even a small window can provide a significant amount of light and help a small bathroom feel airy and bright.

  1. Do a Deep Clean

Probably the cheapest way to improve your bathroom is to give it a thorough cleaning. Scrub the sink, the tub, the walls, the grout—don’t overlook any detail. You’ll be surprised at how much a deep clean of every nook and cranny can refresh the overall appearance of your bathroom.


Whether you’re looking for increased home value, or just a better bathroom that you and your family can enjoy, you can’t go wrong with any of these tips.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services and wood floor installation to the Tristate area. So, if you are looking for a safety-compliant, fully insured, highly reputable company for your next home improvement job, we are it!

For more information about how we can help make your next project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

Kitchen & Bath Remodeling: Electrical Considerations

Morgan Contractors


Kitchen & Bath Remodeling: Electrical Considerations

When it comes to home renovations, kitchens and bathrooms are the most common rooms in a house to get remodeled. Because of the time spent by inhabitants and guests in these rooms, homeowners often have a desire to make them look cleaner and more modern. However, there’s a lot more that goes into a kitchen or bathroom remodel than just exterior aesthetics and new appliances. The behind the scenes electrical wiring is just as important in a safe and successful remodel for any room, and can make the space even more accessible and convenient to use if done right.

Here is a list of a few important electrical considerations that must be accounted for during a kitchen or bath remodel that will make your room safer and more functional.

The Service Panel

Upgrading electronic appliances in a room will leave you with a decision to make about the electrical service panel. There is a chance that your existing service panel will not be able to accommodate the additional circuits of newly placed appliances, in which case you would need to install a new or additional panel. Be sure to account for all the electrical inputs of any new appliances so you don’t run into the budgetary surprise of needing to spend unexpected money on an entirely new service panel.

When installing new appliances in your kitchen or bathroom, be sure to hire a professional licensed electrician to help in the proper installation and setup of the appliances. In the event that a new or additional service panel is required, have the electrician label each switch or breaker control with a clear label corresponding to the function of the switch. Not only will this save you from confusion, but any third parties that are using or working on the service panel in the future will know the exact function of every switch with little confusion.

Smart Appliances

Technology has advanced to the point that many modern appliances can be controlled wirelessly, even sometimes through your smartphone. Find out through your contractor or through your own research how to take advantage of different appliances on the market today that have smart capabilities that can make your life much easier.

Bells and Whistles

Once you’ve established the basic elements of a remodel, consider adding extra features within the constraints of your budget. LED lights, Bluetooth speakers, and USB ports for charging phones can be convenient or entertaining features in a new kitchen or bath remodel that really cater towards the modern consumer.

Do’s and Don’ts

Only upgrade to new wiring for your appliances if it’s completely necessary. If you have adequate wiring that your contractor believes will continue to serve its purpose in a safe manner, there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken.

Be extra careful when it comes to closing open splices; an open splice, or connection between wires, is one of the most common and dangerous mistakes to leave behind after a remodel. Open splices can lead to electrical fires, so be sure to hire a professional licensed electrician to eliminate the possibility of amateur mistakes that could lead to devastating outcomes.

Considering a kitchen or bath remodel but don’t know where to start? Morgan Contractors has decades of experience designing, constructing, and remodeling a variety of rooms and houses. Contact us to see how we can help you achieve your dream home.

Why Install New Kitchen Flooring Before Your Cabinets

Morgan Contractors


Why Install New Kitchen Flooring Before Your Cabinets

When remodeling the kitchen, homeowners often wonder what the proper order of installation should be for the many fixtures that make up a remodel. When it comes to deciding what the order should be for the installation of the floor and the cabinets, it is generally much better to install a hardwood floor before the cabinets.

This general rule of thumb applies to the assumption that a full remodel of the kitchen is being performed and the cabinets and floor are being replaced in the same project. Here are a few reasons why it’s advisable to install the floor before the cabinets.

Flooring Options and Cabinet Height

If you replace your cabinets before the floor, it is very possible that you may severely limit your flooring options due to the height issues that relate to appliances. Cabinets need to be a standard 36 inches above the floor so that they match up to the standardized height of various appliances. This prevents a headache when trying to remove or replace appliances, as you would not want any appliance to be “trapped” under the floor and require ripping up portions of the floor to remove it.

For those who do not adhere to this rule, it is likely you will have certain flooring varieties, such as solid hardwood or tile, eliminated from your choices. In the event that the cabinets are already installed, one can achieve a consistency in height by inserting plywood under the layers of flooring, but this will take more time and money to accomplish.

Option to Change Cabinets

Styles of hardwood floors are time-tested, and will typically outlast the styles of cabinets. Installing your new flooring first will give you the option of swapping out different cabinet styles over time, while keeping the floor that you wanted throughout the process.

Cleanest Cabinet Look

Installing the floors before the cabinets gives you the peace of mind that that edges and surfaces of the floor and cabinets will line up cleanly upon installation. You won’t need to worry about adding quarter round to the cabinets, giving you the option of having clean toe kicks that match the cabinets and allow the hardwood to just “flow” underneath.

Mitigate Potential Damage

Installing floors after installing the cabinets can leave your new cabinets susceptible to nicks or stains that can occur during the demo, install, or sanding and finishing of the new floors. This would require you to either completely replace the cabinet or just live with the damage done to the new cabinets. For this reason, installing the floor when your old cabinets are still in place is a much better option, as the damage done to the cabinets designated for replacement will be irrelevant.

Considering a kitchen remodel but don’t know where to start? Morgan Contractors has decades of experience designing, constructing, and remodeling a variety of rooms and houses. Contact us to see how we can help you achieve your dream home.

The Benefits of Building a Multigenerational Addition

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The Benefits of Building a Multigenerational Addition

During the U.S. recession around ten years ago, a living trend called “multigenerational households” became increasingly common throughout the country. Multigenerational households refer to a house that includes two or more adult generations; whether baby boomer parents and their adult children or a household with grandparents and grandchildren. This trend arose in an effort for families to share mortgages, student loan debts, and costs of living. Though the recession officially ended seven years ago, multigenerational households have actually increased in number by two percent since the end of the recession.

There are many benefits to living in a multigenerational household, but it is equally as important that your house can accommodate the increased number of people living in the same space. In this case, building an addition to your house for the specific purpose of multigenerational living can have many benefits. A multigenerational addition is an additional section of the house that is typically comprised of essential rooms, such as a bedroom, small kitchen and bathroom, and a living area. Even finishing a basement to become a livable space or adding amenities to existing rooms in your house can provide the resources necessary to accommodate others living in your house.

More Room

The most tangible benefit of a multigenerational addition is to have more room to house multiple relatives. Considering a house is usually purchased with the size of your immediate family in mind, chances are it could get fairly crowded in a home not intended to accommodate adult children or grandparents. Having ample space to allow people to not be constantly stepping over each other pays off in peace of mind and living quality.


While everyone may be family who is living together (or even friends in some cases), people still value their individual privacy in their living space. The benefit of an entirely new addition to the house is that it essentially acts almost as an additional apartment, allowing complete separation between the original occupants of the house and those who are joining. Consider adding a second entrance to an addition for complete separation and privacy. And of course, even with a separated addition, the benefits of mingling and bonding with family members can still be enjoyed in the more communal areas of the house.

Financial Support

While building a multigenerational addition to your house can cost a significant amount of money, don’t forget that you’re building it to essentially accommodate new tenants that can chip in to offset or entirely cover not only the cost of the addition, but any living expenses as well. More members in the household means more independent incomes to contribute to the mortgage, groceries, home improvements, repairs, and any other expenses incurred.

Planning for the Future

Even if you feel you don’t have a need for a multigenerational addition at the moment, planning ahead and building one now gives you the option to enable family and friends to move in when the situation arises. If you have the resources and desire to build an addition to your home regardless of the multigenerational concept, consider building it with an element of adaptability towards accommodating long-term or permanent guests in the future. Given the steady increase of multigenerational homes in the U.S., you never know what the future can hold for you or your family, and it couldn’t hurt to be prepared.

Considering building a multigenerational addition to your home? Morgan Contractors has years of experience in high-quality construction, design and remodeling. Contact us at our website today to see how we can make your new living space come to life.

10 Healthy Home Maintenance Tips

Morgan Contractors


10 Healthy Home Maintenance Tips

At Morgan Contractors, we help families build and remodel the houses they dream of. We love our work and the people it brings us into contact with. It is our hope that all our clients and their families are healthy and happy long after our involvement in their projects are complete. So, to help them keep a healthy home, we’ve created a handy healthy home maintenance checklist.

Tackle these items one at a time, or over the course of a weekend this winter. Each task will contribute to a healthier home. Don’t forget to put on some holiday music in the background while you work!

Start with Bedrooms, Living Rooms, and Family Rooms

We spend more time in these spaces than we realize – nearly half our lives may be spent in a combination of these three rooms! It certainly pays to keep them clean and healthy, so here are 5 simple tips to do just that.

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor and near all bedrooms. Remember to test them monthly and change their batteries once each year.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in or near bedrooms.
  • Ask your family to help make your home a smoke-free space.
  • Aggressively deal with clutter – it is unsightly, but even more important, it can be a place for rodents and insects to make their homes.
  • Keep the floor clear of electrical cords and other items such as shoes, toys, and clothing. This will prevent falls and lead to a more efficient and spacious home.

Healthy Home Maintenance for Kitchens

The kitchen is considered the heart of the home. For a healthy ‘heart’, your whole family will appreciate, follow these simple tips and tricks.

  • Never heat the house with your stove (this happens more often than you think)
  • Use a range hood fan or other kitchen exhaust fan.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Never leave food unattended on the stove.
  • Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Use safe (green) cleaning and pest-control products, and keep them safely locked away.

Don’t Forget the Bathrooms

Though they may be a small space compared to other rooms in your home, bathrooms may need more work than anywhere else to keep them safe. There are many hazards to be found in your bathroom, but with the proper precautions, risks can be minimized.

  • Medications locked in a secure cabinet and make sure they all have child-proof lids.
  • Take measures to consistently clean up excess water and moisture around the sink and on the floors.
  • Open windows and doors to get fresh air into the room when not in use.
  • Make sure your vent fans push air to the outside. Vent fans that keep air in the house also keep moisture inside. Ask your contractor about this.
  • Tile, stone, and most other bathroom materials are hard. To prevent falls on hard surfaces, install grab bars on the wall of the bathtub and shower and next to the toilet. This is especially important if you have elderly people in your home or anyone with mobility issues.

Safeguard Your Attics

Because attics are not used as often as other rooms, they are often neglected when it comes to safety measures. Keep your attics safe and healthy spaces by taking the following steps.

  • Check for leaks in the roof.
  • Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. This will reduce moisture and potential mold buildup.
  • Seal gaps around roofing and attic openings. This will help keep rodents and insects out of your home.
  • Keep the attic clear of clutter and organized. This will make fetching holiday decorations easier, and remove areas where pests can dwell.
  • Check your insulation. Older homes may have asbestos – and you will need to hire an insulation expert to inspect and/or remove the harmful substance.

Basements, Crawlspaces, and Utility Areas

Don’t forget these important and potentially dangerous places in your home. A few precautionary measures will go a long way toward a safe and healthy home.

  • Limit water heater temperature to 120 degrees F to prevent burns.
  • Change the furnace/AC filter every other month.
  • Ask a professional to check your furnace and other gas appliances for carbon monoxide leaks each year.
  • Make sure the clothes dryer vent funnels air to the outside.
  • Test for radon. Most homes are safe, but if it is found in high levels, you will need to hire a specialist.

Stairways and Halls

These frequently used areas in your home can cause problems unless they are properly looked after. Here are some tips to prevent falls and other hazards.

  • Use stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs if children are present
  • Make sure stairs and halls are well lit.
  • Fix loose or uneven stairs, and attach a carpet or no-slip rubber strip to each stair.
  • Install handrails on both sides of your stairs.

With a little hard work and some attention to detail, you can help make your home a safer and healthier place to live. You can divide this checklist into seasonal chunks, so you aren’t overwhelmed. We wish you a happy and healthy year ahead!

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services to the Tristate area. So, if you are looking for a safety-compliant, fully insured, highly reputable company for your next home improvement job, we are it!

For more information about how we can make your home remodeling project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

8 Convenient DIY Home Repair Jobs

Morgan Contractors


8 Convenient DIY Home Repair Jobs                                                        

As fall turns into winter, we spend more of our time indoors. While this gets us out of the cold, it can also throw into sharp relief a few (or many) of the chores and tasks that we have neglected during the warmer months. With so much going on in our lives, it’s easy to forget household maintenance. But small projects, like fixing a creaky hinge or cleaning a laundry room, can make a big difference in our happiness during the thick of winter. To help you keep a sunny outlook despite the cold, we’ve compiled a list of 8 convenient DIY home repair jobs you can tackle this winter.

Though we provide 8 tasks here, there will likely be much more for you to handle around your home. We suggest taking an hour to walk around your home and make a checklist of all the small fixes you can make without the aid of a professional. Then, as you check off items on your list, your sense of accomplishment will grow. You can also keep a list of bigger home repair items that you want to discuss with a contractor.

All right, here we go.

  1. Squeaky Door Hinges. Since we mentioned them above, we thought we’d start here. Squeaky door hinges are a constant reminder that the doors in our home aren’t operating at their best. Fortunately, these are a quick fix. Grab a tube of powdered graphite or some WD-40 and add a little to the pin where the hinge turns. ‘Green’ homeowners can use olive oil instead – just be careful about drips.
  1. Loose Towel Racks & TP Holders. These tend to sag or wobble with continued use and will need to be tightened up over time. Simply remove the fixture and look for the problem. It’s likely your drywall anchor. If it is bent or not strong enough, replace it with a sturdier option. We suggest toggle bolts, though threaded anchors are effective as well.
  1. Creaky Floorboards. You walk, they creak and groan. But this is an easy DIY home repair. A small investment in an anti-squeak repair kit can solve your problems fast. An even cheaper option – though you’ll need to do this more often – is to apply some talcum powder (or the powdered graphite from #1) to the seam where the floorboards meet. This will quiet the noises by lubricated the movement.
  1. Remove Shutoff Valve Rust. Sinks and toilets are a pain when they don’t work properly, and being able to stop water to them is important. To make sure you can do this, check your shutoff valves under/behind your sinks and toilets. If they are rusted, they may not work. To ensure that they do, just apply some WD-40 and let it sit for a few minutes to an hour. Turn the valves a few times to work the oil into the threads.
  1. Repair Paint on Shower Ceilings. Heat and moisture do bad things to paint. You’ll likely see the unpleasant effects every day during your shower. To fix the paint on shower walls and ceilings, start by scraping off the old paint and sanding the wall behind it. Next, recoat with a high-quality, exterior-grade paint. To make the new paint last longer, ask your family to use the bathroom vent, and to keep shower heat reasonable.
  1. Tighten Loose Handles & Hinges. From kitchen cabinets to bathroom drawers, it’s likely that at least some of the handles and hinges in your home are loose. This quick fix just requires a screwdriver and a little patience. If you find that the screws spin, try replacing them with a larger screw for a tighter grip.
  1. Check & Replace Batteries. No one likes waking up to a blaring smoke or carbon monoxide detector signaling a low battery. To prevent this annoyance, and to make sure your family is safe, replace the batteries in these apparatuses regularly.

We’re almost there. Hopefully, these suggestions have you on the path to some serious DIY home repair. Our final project sounds a little more intensive, but it isn’t!

  1. Test GFCI Outlets. Your GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupters) should be checked once a month. But if you are like 99.99% of us, you don’t. However, if it has been a while, we suggest doing it – and winter is a great time to tackle this job. You’ll find GFCIs (the two little buttons (often red and white) between the plugs on your outlets) around potentially wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Make sure they trip and reset correctly. If there is an issue, you can replace it yourself. For the less DIY-inclined, an electrician can handle the job for about $100.

Since you’re on a DIY home repair roll, here’s one bonus job to tackle that will have your home running like new.

  1. Clean the Stove Exhaust Filter. Check your stove’s operating manual to find the filter. Remove it, wash it with a good de-greaser, and reinstall. You may want to replace it if the filter is in bad shape. This cleaning will improve the efficiency of the exhaust fan and, as a bonus, will help keep the flames of a stovetop fire from spreading.

There you go! 8 convenient DIY home repair jobs you can tackle this winter. Happy fixing!

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including home remodeling projects, to the Tristate area. So, if you are looking for a trusted, safety-compliant, and fully insured company for your next home improvement job, we are it!

For more information about how we can make your next home improvement project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

Complete Wood Flooring Guide (part 2 of 2)

Morgan Contractors


Complete Wood Flooring Guide (part 2 of 2)

Welcome back to our Complete Wood Flooring Guide! In part one we reviewed the three types of flooring options: solid wood, engineered wood, and bamboo. We looked at the pros and cons of each, discussed the prices, and prepared ourselves for part two. Now, we’ll examine how to evaluate the quality and suitability of wood flooring for your home.

What are Wood Floor Grades?

When trees are harvested, and their wood is ‘lumbered’, it is graded into one of four different grades. These are prime grade, select grade, natural grade, and rustic grade.

Prime Grade. This is the highest grade of wood flooring and often produces the most beautiful flooring. Prime grade wood is cut from the center of the log and because of this it generally has a uniform appearance, both in color and texture. Many homeowners find this desirable if they want a more formal look in their home. Thanks to the central cut, prime grade wood also carries few knots and has a low sap content, which again promotes its uniformity. Prime grade wood is generally the most expensive.

Select Grade. Like prime grade, select grade wood is cut further away from the center of the log. As such, it may contain more knots and sap and boast a wider range of color variation. You’ll find that the difference in quality between prime and select is minimal, and you may save on the cost if you choose select grade.

Natural Grade. Below prime and select is natural grade wood. Natural grade wood’s imperfections are part of why many homeowners love it. This grade often has sizable knots and a significant sap content. Color variations also occur, and finding a uniform selection of natural grade wood flooring is difficult. When it comes to natural grade wood, we suggest you embrace the variation. If you are going for a farmhouse-style look to your home, the natural grade is an excellent choice. It is often far less expensive than the prime grade.

Rustic Grade. The lowest grade of wood flooring doesn’t necessarily mean the worst. Cut from the edge of the tree just before the bark layer, rustic grade wood has knots, sap and color variation in abundance. As its name implies, rustic grade wood will remind you of the wood you see in barns and other old structures. It has a charm all its own, but you need to consider what aesthetic you want your floors to exude.

Types of Wood Flooring Finishes

When you buy wood flooring, you will have the option of selecting from prefinished or unfinished wood. Unfinished wood will need to be treated after it is installed. Prefinished wood is, as its name implies, ready for use right after installation. There are many different finishes available, but two of the most popular are oiled and lacquered. These are also the most common when it comes to wood flooring, as their properties are most desirable on a surface you walk on.

Oiled. This option produces a natural, polished look that works well for dark or light colors. An oil finish protects the surface of the flooring from mild scuffs (but not hard scrapes or direct impacts). It also protects the core of the wood.

Lacquered. This finish functions like a varnish. It protects the surface more effectively than oil and adds some shine to the wood, but won’t achieve that polished look that many homeowners desire.

What About Wood Color?

When it comes to hardwood flooring today, you have a huge selection of colors to choose from. Thanks to various treatments, there is far more variety than anything you will find in a forest. Though your options are vast, we find that staying within the natural color spectrum for wood is usually best – unless there is a specific aesthetic effect you want to achieve.

Natural. Wood the way it was made is a beautiful sight. Whether it is a rich mahogany hue or a light birch color, natural hardwood never goes out of fashion. It is also easy to mix and match your furniture and paint. You can even mix light and dark natural hardwoods throughout your home for a beautiful effect.

Color-treated. While a unique color can create a specific look and feel that is desirable at the time, we’ve found that bespoke colors don’t often please over the long term. They can also reduce flexibility when it comes to home décor and color schemes. Color-treated wood is restrictive, so unless you have your heart set on a color, choose a natural shade instead.

And that concludes our complete wood flooring guide. We hope you found the information valuable. Remember, at the end of the day, budget and aesthetic desires determine your choices. When it comes to hardwood flooring, keep a long-term view in mind, because that is what the material is made for.

If you have additional questions about the type, quality or color of hardwood, or about installation practices, please contact us today.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services and wood floor installation to the Tristate area. So, if you are looking for a safety-compliant, fully insured, highly reputable company for your next home improvement job, we are it!

For more information about how we can help make your need wood flooring project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

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