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Prepare Your Pool for Winter the Right Way

Morgan Contractors

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Prepare Your Pool for Winter the Right Way

Whether you just installed a pool this year and are facing your first winter, or are a veteran of many years, preparing a pool for winter is a process you want to take seriously. The problems incurred by improperly winterizing a pool can range from annoyances (replacing all the water) to catastrophes (losing an above ground pool, for example).

As a contractor, we’ve seen (and repaired) firsthand the problems that come from failing to properly winterize a pool. However, by taking the proper steps in the correct order, you can safely prepare your pool for winter the right way and be ready for next summer with minimal hassle.

First, gather your supplies. Assuming you have the bigger equipment such as a vacuum, skimmer, and air pillow, you will need the following from your local pool supply store:

  1. A phosphate remover
  2. A pool chemistry test kit (or box of test strips)
  3. Shock
  4. Chlorine
  5. Antifreeze (if you are in a climate where temperature drops below freezing)

Start with the chemicals

First, begin the process about a week before officially closing (covering) your pool. You will want to add your phosphate remover to ward off algae during the winter. Be sure to use the recommended amount by pool volume.

Next, you’ll want to scrub the sides and bottom of your pool with a brush (make sure it’s gentle if you have a vinyl-lined pool) and then vacuum your pool to remove all debris. Besides restricting the growth of algae even further, this will also make your spring opening that much easier.

Now you are ready to address the water itself. Start by adjusting the water level. This will vary by climate. For climates where temperatures fall to freezing or below, you should drain your pool to about 6 inches below skimmer-levels for (vinyl-lined) or below the tile line (for plaster). This will also help you clean the filter system (see below). For non-freezing climates, you should add water – almost to the point of overflowing.

With the water levels adjust, you should now balance the pool chemistry. Measure the water balance with your test kit. The pH should be around 7.5, and the total alkalinity should be in the range of 80 to 120 ppm.

It might seem like overkill, but you want to make doubly sure your pool is free from algae and bacteria. To do this, we recommend Shocking and chlorinating the pool water.

Clean parts will prepare your pool for winter

Once you’re prepared the water, it’s time to tackle the machinery. Start by backwashing the filter. Let the pump run for 1 or 2 full cycles before backwashing (follow manufacturer instructions for your filter) and cleaning your filter with chemicals.

After that, you can safely drain the pool lines that connect from the tank to the filter. For those of you in climates prone to freezing, you will want to add antifreeze. This will prevent burst or damaged pipes and lines that can be very costly to repair.

You’re almost there! Now you want to add your air pillow (pre-inflated) and find a simple way to anchor it in the center of the pool. With the pillow in place, install your pool cover (safety, winter, or leaf net), which will vary according to your climate and preference.

Keep a careful inventory of all pool chemicals and make sure they are locked in a secure bin or part of your garage. Take note of any warnings on the labels regarding freezing temperatures – those chemicals will need to be stored indoors. Alternately, you can only buy enough for the season and not have to worry about storing dangerous chemicals near your family. Clean and store other equipment, such as skimmers and vacuums, in the garage as well.

Check in on your pool over the winter

Finally, though it is not mandatory, we recommend monitoring the chemical balance of your pool monthly. This will ensure that the water is at the right pH and alkalinity level right up until you are ready to open it again for spring.

It’s that simple. By spreading the tasks out over a few days, which will also allow the chemicals to do their job, you can prepare your pool for winter the right way without worry. Of course, if any questions do arise, contact your local pool supply store, or even the contractor who installed your pool, for their advice.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services and pool-installation 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 next home renovation project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

How to Prepare for a Major Home Remodel

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How to Prepare for a Major Home Remodel

Whether you’re undertaking an open floorplan project or redoing the flooring, a major home remodel requires preparation and patience – often more than you think. Where are you going to store all that stuff? If the kitchen is being gutted, where will you keep the refrigerator for the duration? What about the dog, cat, parakeet, or other beloved family pet? It may seem overwhelming or tough to coordinate, but with the right checklist of home preparation tasks, you can be ready for a major home remodel with minimal hassle.

Assess the scope of the project

A simple discussion with your contractor will help you decide whether you need to prepare for:

  1. A temporary move to an off-site location
  2. Storing your things from the affected room(s) in other parts of the home
  3. Paying for off-site or on-site storage

You also should determine what you can live without. Restricted access to your basement for a week or two is very different from not having a kitchen for a month, or having a big hole in the side of your living room. Only you can determine what is appropriate for your family, but we would like to offer our professional advice about good ways to prepare for a major home remodel.

Temporary move

We’ll start with the most drastic approach – the temporary move. Whether due to the scope of work or the materials involved, you may find it best to temporarily live at another location.

If you are lucky enough to have family or friends who are close by AND willing to accommodate another family for the duration of the remodel, then do that! Otherwise, you have two main options.

First, there are hotels. This is generally not the best idea unless 1) the temporary move is only a few days, or 2) you find an extended-stay hotel able to accommodate you for the duration. Extended-stay hotels are more affordable, but some require a minimum stay time.

Second, if your temporary move will be a few weeks or a month or two, then renting an apartment or home is a viable option. This approach will also likely lessen the impact of the move on your family, as most of the regular amenities and furnishing will already be there. Be aware of rates, and compare the cost and benefits of staying in a furnished home or apartment with that of the hotel options.

Making due in your home

We find it useful (and sometimes fun) for homeowners to sketch a floorplan of their remaining usable space, and then adding furniture and other large objects to it. It will be apparent whether this option is feasible or not. When it comes to smaller objects, like storage boxes, the required space can generally be found by getting creative.

You should also consider a room’s function after additional possessions are added to it. Just because you can fit stuff in your dining room doesn’t mean it will be usable once the stuff is there! The same goes for the routes people walk and the tasks they must do. You need room in the laundry for folding and bending!

Extra on- or off-site storage

Sometimes there just isn’t enough extra space in your home to hold all the furniture and other items from another room. And, if you aren’t willing or don’t necessarily need to move to a temporary living space, you should consider paying for extra storage.

If you’ve owned a home for some time, you may already be paying for an off-site storage unit. If not, off-site storage in a warehouse or other facility is a good solution for longer-term storage needs. Remember, unless you are willing to pay a mover, with off-site storage, you are responsible for packing, hauling, unloading, and storing your stuff. You’ll also want to find a storage facility that is close enough to make your possessions accessible at need.

On-site storage such as a Pod or other large container keeps your stuff nearby and generally very safe. If you pack the container correctly, it is almost like having an extra room outside of your home. When selecting an on-site storage solution, you need to consider the cost and where you will keep it for the duration. A standard 7-foot storage container will run anywhere from $100-$150 per month, plus a delivery/pickup fee. As for where to keep it, a driveway or portion of the lawn will do, but make sure 1) that it isn’t in the way of your contractor’s work, and 2) that you aren’t violating any municipal ordinances.

Don’t forget fido!

The topic of pets during a remodel is worth a post all of its own, which is why we wrote one!

And there you have it! With these three options, you have the tools and knowledge to make an informed decision about what is best for your family during a major home remodel.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including remodeling support, 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 you’re your next major home remodel more comfortable, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

When to Consider Wall to Wall Carpeting

Morgan Contractors

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When to Consider Wall to Wall Carpeting

Flooring sets the tone for your entire home, so its style is one of the biggest decisions you will make as a homeowner. Do you love the softness of wall to wall carpeting, or do you prefer the natural beauty of hardwood? Either way, once you’ve made your decision and had the flooring installed, you’ll have it for many years – possibly the entire length of homeownership – unless you are ready for a costly remodel.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, hardwood was generally the first choice for many homeowners, but in this article, we’re going to look at why wall to wall carpeting has been making a comeback in the 2000’s. In fact, today about 51% of all floor coverings in American homes are carpet. This isn’t just a change in preferences, but a conscious decision thanks to the value of carpeting, which we will discuss below.

First, consider your lifestyle

Though we love wall to wall carpeting, it isn’t for everyone. You need to consider the following:

  1. What are your tastes and preferences?
  2. Do you have pets and are they housetrained?
  3. Is yours the type of family that takes shoes off before stepping inside?
  4. Do you eat in one room of the house, or is food traveling elsewhere?
  5. What is your budget for flooring? (Wood is generally going to be more expensive than)

Benefits of wall to wall carpeting

If your answers to indicate that wall to wall carpeting might be for you, then you’ll love to hear about what we consider to be the real benefits of this type of flooring.

It provides excellent insulation in cold and warm conditions. This will make for cozier winters and more comfortable summers, plus contribute to a lower utility bill.

Carpeting muffles sound. Whether it’s an early rising clomping around at dawn or pets scuffling about at night, carpeting reduces the amount of noise in your home.

Wall to wall carpeting is safe. It provides excellent traction for kids and pets alike to reduce slips and falls, and the comfortable texture is perfect for absorbing bumps when they do happen.

Carpeting is easy to clean and maintain. With a good vacuum and a good cleaning solution, it’s easy to keep your wall to wall carpeting free of pet hair, juice stains and just about anything else.

Don’t forget about durability! When cared for properly, wall to wall carpeting can last for many years. This makes it a solid investment if your carpet-care regimen is consistent.

When it comes to carpeting, you have unlimited options for color, texture, and patterns, which means this versatile flooring can be made to fit any home.

The price is usually quite friendly. As we mentioned in the introduction, wall to wall carpeting is generally more affordable than hardwood.

Why wall to wall carpeting can be a great deal

Compared to a total hardwood installation, wall to wall carpeting can cut costs considerably. In most cases, you should expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $6 per square foot, which includes padding. Hardwood, on the other hand, can run between $9 and $12 per square foot, though can quickly escalate depending on the rarity of the wood. This makes carpeting a much more budget-friendly material.

When considering costs, you should also look at the time it takes to install the flooring. Contractor labor can add up, so the faster the job goes, the better. Carpet is simply faster and easier to install than wood flooring, which means it is also cheaper.

Remember too that, in addition to a flooring material, carpeting also offers a fun decorating option. The patterns and colors of your carpet can have as big an impact on the room as can the paint, and the carpet is doing double duty!

With frequent vacuuming and a yearly steam cleaning, the life of your carpet can be extended for many years. We’ve found that with proper care, carpeting can last (and look great) for 10 or even 15 years or more. Remember also that the carpet traps airborne dust particles and other debris, which means you are breathing in fewer particles that can aggravate asthma or allergies.

As you can see (and might soon feel), wall to wall carpeting is a flooring option with many benefits. It can warm up any home (literally and figuratively) and makes a smart investment if you take proper care of it. We encourage all homeowners to at least consider wall to wall carpeting for their flooring solution.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including wall to wall carpet 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 our wall to wall carpeting solutions, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

5 Popular Mistakes Homeowners Make During a Remodel

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5 Popular Mistakes Homeowners Make During a Remodel

Most people who remodel their house have one thing in common, they’ve never done it before. There are lots of first time mistakes that are easy to make. Some of these mistakes are big and costly, and some are small and simple. Either way, they are best avoided. Here are five of the most common mistakes homeowners make during a remodel and good ways to avoid them.

Undershooting on your budget

Expenses add up. Remodels can be hard to estimate. If your budget runs out halfway through your project, you might find yourself cutting corners where you shouldn’t.

It’s wise to add 15% to your cost estimate after you have double checked that you’ve covered everything. If you plan for extra costs, you won’t be surprised by them later when they inevitably come up.

Not double checking your permits

This is such an easy mistake to make and it can cost you a great deal. After all, you’re probably not an expert on building codes. However, if you don’t do your diligence here, you might find yourself tearing out all the work you just paid to have done.

Make sure that before anyone starts working, you take care of business. Have your general contractor help you get all the permits you need so that you can rest easier at night.

Starting without a clear plan

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re remodeling a home. Once you see that new countertop go on, you realize that you really do want that tiled backsplash after all. One thing can lead to the next and before you know it, your job is much bigger than you planned for.

Without carefully considering your plans, it’s also easy to miss important details and make mistakes. We’ve all heard the adage ‘measure twice, cut once’. Well, when you’re remodeling, the phrase becomes ‘measure ten times, cut once.’ That’s because you have to match a structure that’s already standing which is easier said than done. As houses age, angles change, edges shift, and straight lines warp. Fitting new pieces into an old puzzle can be difficult. So make sure that you take care the first time to get it right.

Underestimating material costs

After laying out your design plans, squaring away the details, and landing on a price, you need to purchase materials. Many homeowners go ahead and order the exact amount of all materials needed to complete the job.

The problem here is that little things add up and nothing is exact. You should always order 15-20% extra on materials like flooring, siding, or tile. You can always sell away or use any extra, but you can’t always get more of the same materials. If you have to order a second batch of flooring, it might not be a perfect match to the first load, so make sure you get enough.

Underestimating time

Many people forget that remodeling your house doesn’t just cost money. It takes time too. Not only does more time mean more money, it also means a longer disruption to your normal life. You don’t want to have to cancel the big work party because your kitchen remodel was a bit more than you could finish in a timely manner.

Make it a priority to remain organized and to communicate clearly with your contractors. It can save valuable time down the road when all the details need to come together. Miscommunications account for the vast majority of time wasted on job sites, so make sure that everyone’s on the same page.

The bottom line

All five of the mistakes we’ve covered so far can stop your remodel dead in its tracks. However, there’s one thing you can do to avoid them all. Hire a trusted and experienced contractor. A great contractor will offer their clients advice and steer them clear of the pitfalls we shared above. A great contractor won’t just explain what they recommend, but also why they do. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your contractor questions and sharing your own ideas with them, then you should probably look for someone else, before any work starts.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services and industry-related information 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 your next project, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

How to Set the Mood with Room Colors

Morgan Contractors

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How to Set the Mood with Room Colors

The rooms in your home evoke different feelings because of their purpose, layout, furniture, smell, and color. Whether you want a cozy and relaxed living room, bright and lively kitchen, or formal dining room, your décor choices play a major role in creating the mood the room will support.

When planning each room, start by asking yourself, “What is the room used for and how do I want my family and my guests to feel when they are in here?” Once you have your answer, you can start ‘designing’ the mood of your room. One of the best ways to support the emotion you want the room to convey is through color choice.

Get Inspired by Looking Around

Starting at the paint store shouldn’t be your first choice. Before you sift through thousands of color chips, look around. What inspires you? What places, colors, and sights make you feel a certain way? Was there a room from your childhood that epitomized cheerfulness and comfort? Does a friend have a living room that you love? Don’t try to ‘fit’ a color to your rooms until you’ve discovered the color palette that your gut tells you is right. Once you’ve done this, then it’s time to get analytical about how to set the mood with room colors.

Take Your Time When Deciding on Color

This is your chance to play the role of interior designer. Look at a huge range of colors and narrow it down based on what you like. Remember that though you may love a paint chip at the store, you may find that you aren’t so excited about it when it is applied to an entire wall. To ‘test’ your color choice, try painting a board with some possible room colors to see what they look like next to the other items and colors in your rooms.

Pro Tip: Don’t hold the new color against the wall color it might replace. Instead, test it against a neutral color – you’ll find the difference, in contrast, can change the way you feel.

Color is one of the most important decisions you can make for your home. Spending your days around colors you don’t love can be a major source of stress and discomfort, so take your time and make the best choice you can. And, at the end of the day, it’s just a coat of paint and you can change it without too much hassle.

Go for the Goldilocks Effect

Too much of a bold color can be overwhelming. Not enough of a bold color against a neutral color can look odd. Three colors you love can look terrible when layered. To set the mood with room colors you need to strike a balance. Get out your kid’s old complementary color wheel from art class to see how colors work together (or don’t). Consider any extremely bright colors as an accent color, rather than the dominant one in a room. Color is about finding that happy medium between striking and dull.

The Color Scheme Cheat Sheet

We encourage you to make room color choices that feel right to you. Even if an expert tells you a color is ‘perfect’ for a room, don’t start painting unless you are completely happy with the choice. Of course, there is a is a lot of information available about the science and psychology of color’s influence on emotion. We suggest combining a few tips from the pros with your own desires. So, to help you set the mood with room colors, we’d like to offer the basics of color science, taken from Anna Starmer’s The Color Scheme Bible:

  • Pink: fun, lively, positive, and feminine
  • Red: passionate, daring, intimate, comforting, stimulates appetite
  • Orange: stimulates creativity, evokes warmth and coziness
  • Yellow: welcoming, sunny, and linked to promoting intelligence
  • Green: tranquil, invigorating, restful and balancing
  • Blue: clear thinking, calm, meditative
  • Violet: stimulating, sexy; blue-violets are cooling, spiritual

If you like a color but aren’t sure how it will turn out when applied to an entire room, do a quick Google images search. There should be plenty of examples of rooms painted with the color you have in mind.

Finally, if you plan to do the painting yourself, make sure you check out our recent article on professional painting tips for DIY jobs. By applying combining the information above with your own design sensibilities and goals for your home, we are certain you will be able to set the mood with room colors.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including painting work, 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 painting project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

How to Handle Pets During a Renovation

Morgan Contractors

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How to Handle Pets During a Renovation

Home renovations can be stressful for the whole family. Even if you’ve mentally prepared for inconveniences, asked your contractor the right questions, planned, and budgeted, many families must take an additional measure: deciding how to handle pets during a renovation.

For most pets, the loud noises, new people, and unfamiliar objects encountered during a renovation can take a real toll. The stress can encourage fearful or anxious behaviors that aren’t easy to overcome. Fortunately, many homeowners before you have faced this same problem and found constructive ways to help their pets overcome the stresses of a renovation. Below you will find 6 strategies for how to handle pets during a renovation that will keep them as happy as possible during the project.

Make a set plan to handle pets during a renovation

In most cases, home renovations take place at specific, pre-determined times and areas. By understanding the timeline, you and your contractor agreed upon, it is easier to plan for your pet’s care. For example, if you know half a dozen workers will come through the front door at 9 am, you may want to take your dog for a walk at 8:50. You could also bring smaller animals to a bedroom and play with them during the initial commotion.

Make sure you have food, treats, and toys available to distract your pets during times of added noise or activity. Of course, some work, especially jobs involving power tools, can be very uncomfortable for pets no matter what you do to help them. During those times, it might be best to remove your pet from the home completely.

Keeping your pets on a regular schedule (renovation timeline permitting) is another great way to help them manage the stress. If you’ve ever had a cat wake you up at 6:15 every morning expecting breakfast, then you know that pets are creatures of habit. The presence of a routine can make the stress of a renovation…less stressful.

Give your pet a good workout

If you have kids, you know one strategy for getting them to bed at a reasonable hour is to tire them out during the day. Try applying that principle to your pets. By tiring them out before renovation work begins for the day, they have less energy to spend on, well, freaking out over new people and noises.

Mitigate loud noises

Try reducing the impact of loud noises on your pets by adding some background noise to the room they are staying in. Television, music, or even a loud fan, can reduce the noise impact of hammering and drilling. If you feel your pet is up to it, you can also experiment with reducing the ‘white noise’ so they become more used to the work noises going on around them.

Give them extra attention

Even though the renovation may have you busier than ever, it is important that you spend a little more time with your pets during this time. An extra belly rub, brushing, or game of fetch can go a long way in helping them feel safe and relaxed.

Keep an eye on your pets

Even if you use all the tips above to handle pets during a renovation, the stress may still be too much at times. If your pet seems unable to overcome the noises and stress and is displaying signs of fear or anxiety, get them out of the house. The last thing you want to do is keep the pets you love in a place they fear! You may want to consult with a vet about behavior therapy. Before you do that, however, we recommend simply asking a friend or relative to look after your pet until the renovations are over.

By following these strategies, you can help your pets deal with the stress of a renovation. They might even relax enough to make friends with the contractors and handymen in your home – trust us, we’ve seen it happen!

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services and industry-related information 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 next pet-friendly renovation project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

Your Guide to Exterior Siding Materials

Morgan Contractors

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Your Guide to Exterior Siding Materials

Siding is one of the most important upgrades you can make to your home. It not only adds curb appeal, but also value to your property should you plan to place it on the market. It’s understandable that you might want to consider powerwashing your siding if it has gotten dirty over the years, but there’s nothing like new siding to spruce up the look of your home to visitors, passersby, and your family. Here is a guide to exterior siding materials you can use for your next exterior home improvement project.

Aluminum Siding

One of the most common types of siding used on homes today is that of aluminum siding. It is available in horizontal and vertical panels. This type of siding does a better job at insulating a home than vinyl siding, helping to save homeowners on cooling and heating costs. This is a siding chosen most commonly by homeowners who live in coastal communities. Aluminum siding is also very light, which makes it easy to install, leading to cost savings for the homeowner when it comes to labor.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is very low maintenance, which means you won’t have to do much to care for it. Cleaning vinyl siding once per year, which is typically done by power washing, is all it takes to keep it looking like new. It is also made to survive the elements, making it one of the most durable options you have when remodeling the exterior of your home.

Fiber Cement

Fiber cement siding is quickly becoming a go-to choice for replacing the siding on homes all throughout the country due to its appealing looks and ability to withstand the harshest elements. This is a heavier siding, which requires professional installation in order to avoid cracking. Caring for this type of siding requires you to spray it with a garden hose every six to 12 months. Every couple of years you should take a look at caulked joints and ensure that plants growing near the foundation of the home are kept away from the siding so it can dry.

Stucco Siding

Stucco siding was once quite popular in the United States. It lost some of its luster, but is making a comeback in new construction and in remodeling projects. The material stucco is made from helps to keep both cool and warm air in the property, making it an excellent insulator. Stucco remains incredibly popular in the Southwest region of the United States because of how well it insulates a home in extreme heat.

Wood Siding

Wood siding is still available as an option today, but many homeowners don’t even entertain this option due to possible insect problems. Many homeowners fear that wood siding will be inviting to termites and ticks. This worry can be avoided by choosing cedar or redwood as the type of wood.

Does the exterior of your home need to be updated? Are you looking to replace your siding for added curb appeal and property value? Contact the experienced staff at Morgan Contractors about your project today.

Create a Budget-friendly Custom Home Look

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Create a Budget-friendly Custom Home Look

A beautiful, custom home look is possible for anyone and on just about any budget. Don’t let the prices in catalogs such as Restoration Hardware or Design Within Reach discourage you. With the right design, decorating, and construction methods, your vision of a functional, custom home look that reflects your personality is more than achievable. Your first task is to assess the space you have. If you are already happy with the layout of your home, then developing a custom home look on a budget becomes much more accessible.

It is usually when bigger home renovation jobs, such as removing walls or redoing the floors, that homeowners looking to redefine the look of their home run into budget problems. Sometimes these renovations are necessary, especially in older homes, and your contractor will be able to advise you on this. For most homeowners, however, the following strategies will help you create a budget-friendly custom home look.

Custom home looks lie in the details

Two of our favorite ways to refresh a home on a budget is with crown molding and paint. These refresh tired rooms and add a high-end look without costing a fortune.

Crown molding adds a certain ‘completeness’ to a room because it brings the ceiling and walls together, and adds a sense of depth. You might also be surprised that most crown molding is inexpensive, especially if you select plastic, paintable options (no one will ever know it’s not more expensive wood). We suggest selecting the widest crown molding your budget and home decorating sensibilities allow.

A fresh coat of paint has always been one of the most affordable and effective ways to ‘redo’ your home. In fact, we’ve written a great article about DIY painting that can transform the look and feel of any room. Whether you choose a bold color or one that is more understated, color is a way to add instant elegance and impact to your home.

Choose accents over architecture

By this, we mean that it is easier (and more affordable) to add or change the contents of a room rather than altering the size and shape of it. There are four essential home accents that you can use to add as much custom flavor as you want to your home.

  1. Pillows and throws. These can be both functional and beautiful. By carefully selecting the fabric, texture, and pattern of your pillows and throws, you can create a sense of contrast or harmony in any room with minimal cost. Of course, there is also the added benefit of more comfort and luxury for your family and guests.
  1. Window treatments. Without window treatments, most homes will have an unfinished look. However, window treatments are some of the most affordable ways to add a refined custom home look. When selecting window treatments, avoid see-through materials and unlined curtains. A little looking at the sale racks in stores from HomeGoods to Pier 1 Imports will find you elegant, heavy curtains at affordable prices.
  1. Hardware Finishes. Most homeowners are amazed at the transformation their kitchen or bathrooms undergo with a simple hardware update. Because more hardware finishes (knobs, drawer pulls, and racks) are relatively inexpensive and come in so many varieties, you can create a truly custom home look. Whether you want chrome, vintage, or something more colorful, you are sure to find unique and heavy-duty hardware finishes at flea markets, antique shops, small hardware stores and especially online.
  1. Lighting. Avoid ‘standard’ lighting fixtures, which include the most popular items at Home Depot. Lighting fixtures are an excellent way to add a little variety to your home. By looking at flea-markets and second-hand stores, you can find unique pieces at reasonable prices. You may need to polish or paint the pieces you find, but the custom home look you will get is more than worth it.

Accessories and art

Once you’ve built your custom home look on a budget, you may find that there is still money left over. If you are happy with the upgrades you have made, then you can start filling in the corners with fun picture frames, mirrors, tables, and carpets. Use the tips we offered above – seek items at second-hand stores for the best value – and you’ll find yourself having fun decorating your home without worrying about going over budget.

Some homes, especially fixer-uppers, may require a little more professional work. If that is the case, there are still budget-friendly ways to achieve a custom home look. We’ve written about affordable renovations in previous articles, and encourage you to contact your contractor with questions. You may find that a remodel is cheaper than you think!

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including budget-friendly remodeling, 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 you’re your next home improvement project more budget-friendly, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

Kid-Friendly Home Improvement Tips

Morgan Contractors

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Kid-Friendly Home Improvement Tips

If you have kids, then you know that everything in your life changes (in a good way) from the moment they are born. This includes the furniture, room layouts, and space requirements of your home. Yes, from newborns and toddlers to pre-teens and teenagers, kids make significant demands on the home environment, so you’d best be ready to adapt. To help you manage, we’d like to offer some kid-friendly home improvements that will help keep everyone happy and safe around the house without breaking the bank.

Please note, this doesn’t mean that you must resign yourself to living in a daycare center until the kids are grown up. While pristine carpets, delicate glass, and silk upholstery may not be feasible for a while, you can find a middle ground that will keep your design sensibilities, and your kids, happy.

Before you begin, you need to consider how you live and what your family requirements are. With kids, you should expect a certain amount of wear and tear on your home, from spilled juice to sibling wrestling matches. If you add pets into the mix, then you need a home that can stand up to the demands of family life, while still looking good. Fortunately, a few key tactics can save you a lot of headaches, so without further ado, here are some of our favorite kid-friendly home improvement tips.

  1. What can you live with? Though you don’t have to buy the cheapest items around, avoiding delicate, high-cost furniture and fabrics is a smart move while the kids are very young.
  1. Go for a vintage look. If you select items that have a worn and well-loved look already, you won’t have to deal with the stress of finding scratches and scuffs on the perfect wood of your tables, chairs, and other furniture.
  1. Embrace patterns and textures. Flat, light colors are stain magnets. By choosing vibrant or dark colors, fun patterns, and raised textures, you’ll be better able to camouflage scuffs and stains. This tip applies to couches, rugs, curtains, bedspreads and even paint in some cases.
  1. Choose tough materials where you can. Wipeable, washable paint is about to become your best friend. Fingerprints, food stains, and inadvertent art all have a way of sticking to walls, so make sure you can do a quick touch up with a sponge when you need to. For flooring, consider sturdy tile, hard woods, laminate or linoleum – they can take a beating and are easy to clean.
  1. Area rugs are more friendly than wall-to-wall carpeting. With area rugs, you can flip them over, send them to the cleaners, or, at worst, replace when needed. This leads us to our most important tip!
  1. Remember, nothing is permanent. Accepting that kids will find a way to cause damage you’d never expect is a great way to approach home improvement work in the future. So always buy the sturdiest furniture and materials you can, but don’t kid yourself (no pun intended), they will take a beating.

Make a space for your kids

Because there is only so much that can be done to kid-proof your home, one of the best ways to avoid problems is by setting aside space where problems can happen (almost) worry-free. Carve out a play area or kid-zone where children can do the things they enjoy, while you don’t have to worry about them breaking expensive items. Furnish the space with sparse, durable furniture, and encourage the kids to go to town – they’ll be less likely to touch other things you don’t want them to.

Get the kids involved

There’s no better way to make the kids feel like they have a stake in your home than by letting them help decorate it. Setting aside a special section of the basement or playroom where they can paint the walls or hang pictures is great fun. By promising them you won’t do anything to change their masterpiece, you can also teach them about respecting the things that are in their home. For more ideas, we also wrote an article about kid-friendly DIY activities, such as container planting and toy organizing. Some other fun kid-friendly home improvement projects include:

  1. An easy fix-it project like tightening screws
  2. Gardening chores like pulling weeds or digging
  3. Measuring walls for picture hanging (if old enough)
  4. Helping mom or dad set up for a grown-up project

Remember, a trip to the store to get home improvement supplies is also a great bonding experience that can teach valuable lessons too.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including kid-friendly remodeling, 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 our kid-friendly remodeling work, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

Practical Design Ideas for Your Small Bathroom

Morgan Contractors

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Practical Design Ideas for Your Small Bathroom

If you’re designing a new bathroom and are feeling a little cramped, you’re not alone. Bathrooms always seem to be the room getting squeezed in wherever there’s space and it’s challenging to fit all the essentials into one small space.

The trick to making it work is a little creativity and some good advice. There are lots of ways to preserve your floor plan, add storage, or rearrange appliances that will help make your new bathroom feel more spacious.

Here are some great ideas to consider if you’re looking to make the most out of a small bathroom in your home.

Choose the right sink

There are a few non-negotiables in designing a bathroom, and a sink is obviously one of them. However, not all sinks were created equal, especially when it comes to size.

Be sure that you’re not installing an old monster that is wasting space needlessly. Try to find a wall mounted or small pedestal style sink that won’t take up a lot of floor space.

Think about the door

Have you ever been in a bathroom that was too small for its own door? No one likes having to squeezing between the door and the sink just to get a little privacy.

If space is tight, carefully consider whether the door opens outwards or inwards, as well as how much clearance it has in either direction. You may also consider a sliding door to maximize space.

Use wall space

This seems obvious, but so many bathrooms are bare walled. Installing shelves or cabinets can add a lot of storage space for toiletries, towels, and more.

And don’t forget about the wall over the toilet. It makes a great space for keeping items such as spare toilet paper.

Tile everything

One thing most bathrooms have in common is that they get wet. Small bathrooms are especially prone to this problem. While a little water is no big deal to most of us, over time it can take a toll on your home. It may even cause rot and structural damage if water isn’t contained properly.

One great way to solve this problem and make your bathroom look beautiful at the same time, is to tile the whole room. The less wood you have in your bathroom, the easier it will be to clean and keep in good condition.

Tile also allows for lots of stylish looks. You could go for sleek grey slate on the floor and walls, or you could opt for a more colorful or artistic approach.

Expandable storage

If you need space for hanging clothes or towels, try an expandable rack. That way, when you’re not using it, you can slide it back out of the way. You can pick up a cheap old expandable clothes rack at the local thrift shop, or order a stylish new design online.

Mirrors

Mirrors add dimension to rooms and can make them feel bigger. Most bathrooms have a mirror over the sink, but if you want to make your bathroom feel even bigger, throw in another one or two mirrors on the opposing wall or in one of the corners.

Remember

You’re designing this bathroom for comfort and functionality. You don’t necessarily need all the latest gizmos and the most fashionable furnishings in this space. Comfort comes from small details, properly attended to. Think about your needs. Do you want a lot of storage space, or would you rather keep the space clear for airflow?

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services and industry-related information 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 your next project, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.