Tips for Designing a Transitional Living Room

Morgan Contractors


Tips for Designing a Transitional Living Room

When it comes to decorating a living space, many homeowners find that their tastes reflect a variety of themes rather than fitting the mold of one specific design scheme. This especially holds true when considering the design and layout of a living room, where many different pieces of furniture can play off the style of others, creating a unified, yet unique look. If you are a fan of the classic elegance seen in more of a traditional design style, but you also appreciate the clean, fresh, and more functional aspects of certain modern elements, then a transitional living room may be the exact style you are looking for.

What Exactly is a Transitional Living Room?

A transitional living room incorporates the feel of a traditional style living room intended to invoke comfort, with the functional features used for everyday modern life. They typically consist of the larger pieces of furniture, such as sofas, sectionals, and tables. These items tend to follow a certain design scheme and include several accenting features, such as light fixtures and drapery, to bring a pop of modernity to the space.

Design Tips

Color Palette

The transitional living room emphasizes cleanliness and cohesiveness, so it’s best to use a relatively neutral color palette. Darker hues that consist of a brownish tone will provide a nice depth to the room when paired with lighter, neutral shades like tan or cream. You can also consider adding furnishings that accent the earth-like tones with a pop of navy blue or white. These tend to pair well with most color palettes to create a brighter feel within the living space.

Shape and Style

Also consider the physical style and shape of the furniture itself. Traditional style furniture tends to be more ornate and characterized by flowing curves, rolled arms, and turned feet. Then there is modern furniture, which typically displays a more tailored look, with straight lines and defined edges. To achieve the desired transitional feel, do your best to mix an equal amount of traditional style and modern style furniture to complement each other. This may include an ornate, plush sofa with a sharp, sleek glass and metal coffee table. Also, try mixing shapes; the feel of large square windows and a square area rug with a circular coffee table or curved seating arrangements can inspire a transitional feel as well.

The Textured Look

Layering textures is a great way to bring variety to the theme of your living room. Variation in both materials and patterns will achieve an interesting and vibrant space. Consider mixing materials such as wood, glass, fabric, and metal while complementing the darker tone of these materials with intricate colorful fabrics of textures like corduroy, suede, or pliable leather. Have fun with this design and truly make the space your own!

Considering a living room redesign to give your home a fresh, yet traditional feel? At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services and industry-related information to the Tristate area. For more information about your next project, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

Should You Move or Remodel Your Home?

Morgan Contractors


Should You Move or Remodel Your Home?

To buy a new home and move in or to remodel and stay for the long haul? That is the question.

This is one of the trickiest decisions to make because there is no right answer for everyone – and there may not even be a clear answer for you! You’ll have to trust your gut, but this is a lot easier when you are armed with the right knowledge to make an informed decision.

Note: sometimes there is, in fact, a clear option, such as learning you are expecting triplets and currently live in a 2-bedroom home!

Ultimately, the decision to move to a new home or remodel your current one can be broken down into three core parts:

  • Which choice makes sense financially?
  • With a remodel, can your current home support the changing needs of your life for the next 3, 5, or 10+ years?
  • What do you really want from your home?

We will touch on each of this points to give you a head start in the decision-making process, but we encourage you to dig deeper by consulting with your financial advisor, a realtor, and a contractor (you can reach us here) to help you crunch the numbers. Don’t forget to factor in your family’s needs and feelings on the subject as well.

Okay, let’s dive in.

Does it make sense financially to move or remodel your home?

As the housing crisis of 2008 gets further away, some experts have come to believe that while buying a home can often be a smart decision, it is not always (in fact rarely) a good investment. This isn’t a finance blog, so we won’t go into the details, but suffice to say that if you think about a new home as a purchase, rather than an investment, it can often help put this important decision into perspective.

After the moving costs, new home expenses, and the projected cost of living in the new home are factored in, ask yourself simply: can you really afford it? Be brutally realistic – this is not the time to let emotion drive your decision (more on that below).

Remember, a new home’s price tag is much lower than what you’ll end up spending over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Of course, if you do the math and know you are financially prepared for a move as well as emotionally ready to do so, then it may be right for you and your family.

However, if moving is a financial stretch, or you think your quality of life will not be the same in another area, then you should examine the feasibility of a home remodel. Examine your life plan (see next section) and make sure the planned remodel fits your projected needs for the next decade or longer. Factor in job security, additional children, the needs of teenagers, and your own lifestyle goals.

Consult a contractor. If a remodel can meet your near- and mid-term living needs, you should get an estimate and speak with a financial advisor. The upfront cost of a remodel might be more than the initial costs of moving, but be aware that a newer, bigger home, will probably cost more overall.

Of course, you might also be able to tap into your home equity to help pay for the remodel, which would give you a “new” home, and keep you in a neighborhood you are fond of. The best of both worlds, perhaps!

Again, this is not financial advice – it is intended to help you think about the many aspects involved in a decision like this.

Could a remodel of your current home meet your changing needs?

If a remodel is a viable option, it’s time to dig deeper. Do you or will you need more space or do you need more rooms? Look at your life, and where you see it going in 3, 5, and 10+ years. Do you plan to have kids? Do you already have kids and plan to have more? Is it possible an elderly parent may need to move in with you? Before the prospect of more people in the house drives you toward buying a new one, think about what you can do to make your current home more accommodating.

A spacious 2- or 3-bedroom home can often be converted into a 3- or 4-bedroom home with other divisions such as turning part of a basement into a playroom. The name of the game here is efficiency. Many homeowners find after careful consideration that they just need more rooms for different uses, rather than more space.

This efficiency can also be applied to other rooms, such as combining the kitchen and dining room or dividing your living room into two smaller rooms for additional utility.

Of course, if you are in a home with modest room size, or expecting additions to the family that simply require more space than you have, then an addition might be the right choice. Whether it is adding another section to your home, or building a second floor above a single story portion of your home, adding more space to your existing home can potentially save a lot of money when compared to buying a new home with a larger square footage.

Finally, are you looking for a new space, rather than just more space or more efficient space? If a change of scenery is what you are after, and it makes sense financially, then ask yourself if a remodel will really give you that feeling of newness that you are seeking.

What do you really want from your home?

It may sound like a tired cliché, but once you’ve addressed the financial considerations for both options, and made a blueprint of your life for the next decade or more, it’s time to ask the final question: is your current home in your heart?

Do you and/or your kids have inseparable friends in the neighborhood? Do you have more positive than negative memories in your current home? How do you feel about your location, the surrounding area, and the local government? And does the new home and location offer the potential of a newer, better standard of living, or is it only more affordable?

If you find that you are truly undecided, keep in mind that about 70% of homeowners in your position end up staying put and remodeling their home to fit their changing needs. This might be a strong case to stay if the decision isn’t clear or weighted heavily in one direction or another.

Finally, remember that a major remodel can make it more difficult to move soon after, but the option is still there. If you sell the home and move to a new one, there is (almost) no going back.

In conclusion, to make the most informed decision possible, you need to address the financial, lifestyle, and emotional questions about whether to move or remodel your home.

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

The Most Valuable Home Improvement Projects by State

Morgan Contractors


The Most Valuable Home Improvement Projects by State

Sure, you want your home’s new siding to look beautiful, or your newly-finished basement to be a hub for family activities. And when it comes to home improvement projects, there’s nothing wrong with having high expectations for aesthetics and functionality. But one important factor – possibly the most important in your decision making – that you can’t forget is the effect your home improvement project will have on your home’s resale value.

While necessity may in part determine what home improvement projects you tackle, we feel that it is important for homeowners to understand what the most common, and valuable, projects are by location. Some home improvement projects vary widely in terms of investment value depending on the state you live in. You want to pick the most valuable home improvement project possible that also meets your needs.

As an example, Alaska’s top home improvement project is bathroom remodels. For the market in Alaska, these projects typically return between 70 to 80% or more of the owner’s money at resale. Pretty impressive when the national average for bathroom remodels is about 65%. So, before you dive into your next home improvement project, read the rest of this article to discover the most valuable home improvement projects by state.

The most valuable home improvement projects by state

Alaska: bathroom remodels, boiler installation, plumbing-related services

Alabama: electrical and HVAC services, entry door replacement (steel)

Arkansas: electrical services, roofing services, entry door replacement (steel)

Arizona: swimming pool construction, window treatments installation

California: window treatments installation, roof replacement, water heater installation

Colorado: roof replacement, water heater installation, furnace installation

Connecticut: Electrical services, attic insulation

Delaware: HVAC services, minor kitchen remodels, attic insulation

Florida: Roof replacement, swimming pool construction, entry door replacement (steel)

Georgia: minor kitchen remodels, entry door replacement (steel), HVAC services

Hawaii: Solar installation, plumbing services, minor kitchen remodels

Iowa: roof replacement, air conditioning installation, entry door replacement (steel)

Idaho: HVAC services, attic insulation, plumbing services

Illinois: roof replacement, entry door installation (steel), pest control in some areas

Indiana: plumbing services, entry door replacement (steel), attic insulation

Kansas: roof replacement, entry door replacement (steel), air conditioning installation

Kentucky: entry door replacement (steel), attic insulation, minor kitchen remodels

Louisiana: post control in some area, minor kitchen remodels, roof replacement

Massachusetts: window installation, roof replacement, attic insulation

Maryland: deck construction, roof replacement, attic insulation

Maine: entry door replacement (steel), window installation, attic insulation

Michigan: furnace installation, window installation, air conditioning installation

Minnesota: furnace installation, roof replacement, water heater installation

Missouri: attic insulation, entry door replacement (steel), electrical services

Mississippi: roof replacement, entry door replacement (steel), air conditioning installation

Montana: Roof replacement, porch construction, window installation

North Carolina: roof replacement, air conditioning installation, entry door replacement (steel)

North Dakota: window installation, furnace installation, deck construction

Nebraska: furnace installation, lawn treatments, water heater installation

New Hampshire: entry door replacement (steel), attic insulation, water heater installation

New Jersey: entry door replacement (steel), water heater installation, attic insulation

New Mexico: plumbing services, window installation, entry door replacement (steel)

Nevada: water heater installation, air conditioning installation, swimming pool construction

New York: entry door replacement (steel), attic insulation, minor kitchen remodels

Ohio: furnace installation, window replacement, entry door replacement (steel)

Oklahoma: roofing services and replacement, attic insulation, entry door replacement (steel)

Oregon: furnace installation, roof replacement, minor kitchen remodels

Pennsylvania: entry door replacement (steel), window replacement, attic insulation

Rhode Island: roof replacement, window installation, attic insulation

South Carolina: roof replacement, air conditioning installation, minor kitchen remodels

South Dakota: window installation, deck construction, home additions

Tennessee: HVAC services, entry door replacement (steel), minor kitchen remodels

Texas: air conditioning installation, plumbing services, entry door replacement (steel)

Utah: garage door replacement, attic insulation, entry door replacement (steel)

Virginia: water heater installation, window replacement, air conditioning installation

Vermont: air conditioning installation, water heater installation, furnace installation

Washington: home additions, roof replacement, attic insulation

Wisconsin: furnace installation, window replacement, minor kitchen remodels

West Virginia: deck construction, entry door replacement (steel), attic insulation

Wyoming: water heater installation, window replacement, roof replacement

While these might be the most valuable according to national averages, you will want to do additional research before launching any new home improvement projects. These can vary by location within each state, and, of course, make sure you are starting a project that makes sense for your family as well as your budget.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including home remodeling projects with high resale value, 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.

Prepare Your Pool for Winter the Right Way

Morgan Contractors


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

Morgan Contractors


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


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

Morgan Contractors


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


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


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


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.