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Why You Should Consider an Open-Plan Addition

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Many older homes were built with closed off rooms and small, poorly placed windows that aren’t what many of us want in a modern living space. Today, homeowners expect a more open, free-flowing layout, with a lot of connected rooms, natural light, and great views. However, many older homes have a character you can’t find anywhere else.

So, if you own an older home and are thinking of gutting it, or are looking to buy one because of its location but with the intent to demolish it and rebuild, there is an alternative, cost-effective option you may want to consider.

This solution can help preserve the charm of an older home while creating a thoroughly modern, free-flowing living space that you love. What is it?

The open-plan addition.

It is a flexible approach involves building around the existing home structure to arrive at a design solution that is often superior to what you might get when building from scratch. It also preserves the parts of the home that you first fell in love with.

Make the most of what you’ve got

The open-plan addition is your chance to remove flaws and optimize existing space through renovation, not demolition. The boxed-in rooms of older homes can be easily converted to bedrooms, private offices, bathrooms, or utility areas, where a sense of flowing space is not as desirable.

This means the new additions can be free-flowing living areas that include a kitchen, den, and dining room, and may also connect seamlessly with outdoor space. The challenge of building new space around an existing structure will result in a less wasteful, more intuitive layout for your family and friends to enjoy.

New building materials are also lighter, stronger, and eco-friendlier than those of the past, so you are freer to make the most of the outdoor views and natural light. These materials also offer superior insulation, so large open spaces can be heated and cooled far more economically than in ‘older’ homes.

With a little extra planning and help from a professional contractor, you can enjoy the benefits of a modern, open-plan addition with all the character and comfort of an older home.

Find a general contractor that you trust

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home remodeling work to the Tristate area. We are also experts in adapting older structures for the requirements of modern living. So, if you are looking for a safety-compliance, fully insured, highly reputable company for your next home improvement job, we are it!

For more information about our open-plan addition experience, other home improvement services, to request an estimate or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

A Quick Guide to Fireplace Installation

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There is perhaps no space or device that truly makes a home ‘a home’ more than a warm and cozy fireplace. With improvements in technology, homeowners are no longer limited to big, expensive brick hearth affairs (they are plenty of other options as you’ll see below), and can select the size and type of fireplace that is right for their space.

Benefits

No one can forget the warmth, scent, and sound of a crackling fire on a cold day. A fireplace can quickly become the centerpiece of family get-togethers, holidays and relaxing nights spent indoors, and bring with it memories that will last a lifetime. Other, more tangible benefits include an increase in overall home value (depending on the type of fireplace) and reduced utility bills based on total usage.

Installing a fireplace is an intensely personal investment that requires a lot of thought and planning. In the rest of the article, we’ve provided a short outline to start you thinking about this unique home improvement project.

Your Fireplace Options

Today, fireplaces are typically available in three distinct formats:

  1. Traditional wood-burning open hearth
  2. Wall inset gas-burning units
  3. Electric or gel-burning units (usually portable).

Each provides warmth, coziness, and enjoyment for the family, but also its own set of costs and considerations.

Fireplace Costs and Considerations

Before rushing to add a fireplace (of any kind) to your home, you should consider these important points.

First, what sort of home are you working with? For more expensive homes, a fireplace can be an expected amenity for potential buyers. Less expensive homes, on the other hand, may find more value in other, more essential improvements.

Second, consider the costs. After a potentially pricey installation, wood-burning fireplaces also cost the most when you consider fuel and annual maintenance/cleaning. Gas and electric, though cheaper, will still affect your utility bill during the colder months.

Third, think about 1) whether or not your family will use the fireplace often enough to warrant the investment, and 2) is the property value it adds to your home worth it?

Do You Need a General Contractor?

If you’ve reviewed the questions above and found that fireplace installation is your next home improvement project, then your next step is the consider hiring a contractor (or at least having one assess your home’s viability for the renovation). For a brick hearth and chimney, a contractor is absolutely essential, and building a gas or electric unit into your living room may require one as well.

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

For more information about our experience with fireplace installation and other home improvement services, to request an estimate or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

Home Improvement Tips

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*Content Updated: November 8, 2017

Home Improvement Tips

Have you started planning some home improvements and are considering remodeling your home? While you might be focused on big picture items, small details can make or break a remodel. Don’t forget to consider updating the following features:

  • Front door. The first thing that anyone sees upon entering your home is the front door. Sprucing up your front door can provide a beautiful design element to the exterior of your home.
  • Updated outdoor ceilings. Outdoor ceilings and their impact on the appearance of a home is something that is often overlooked. Instead of leaving the ceiling covered in plain building finishes, consider updating it with beadboard and painting it to match the outside of your home.
  • Interior doors. Updating the interior doors in your home can provide a unique design aesthetic to your home improvement. Doing so provides a new, customized look to your house.
  • New windowsIf you want to bring more light to a room, consider adding transom windows. Adding the window above an existing window, will open up the space and keep light flowing from sunrise to sunset.
  • Increased closet spaceOne of the main reasons why people want to undergo a remodel or home improvement is because they do not have enough storage space. A great tip is to incorporate side-by-side closets in your remodel plan. Closets take up less floor space than furniture and can store more clothing.
  • Tall kitchen cabinets. If your kitchen cabinets don’t reach the ceiling, you might benefit from adding some cabinets on top to get extra storage.

Morgan Contractors understands that home remodeling is an emotional and financial investment. We are well experienced in local building codes in New Jersey and work with only licensed and experienced partners. No remodeling job is too big or small; please contact us when you plan your next home improvement project.

The Homeowner’s Quick Guide to General Contractor Safety Compliance

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It seems like the ideal scenario: you’ve found a contractor that provided a great estimate on your next home improvement project and your dream home is within your sights. The timeline is set, the materials have been agreed upon and the weather looks good. Two days before the project starts, a friend asks about your contractor: “How is their safety record? Do they have all the proper insurance? Are you protected if an accident happens?”

Your stomach does a turn. You forgot to ask these important questions and you’ve already signed!

Don’t let this scenario happen to you. To help you make sure that your interests are protected, follow these simple but important rules.

  1. Check that your contractor has both Workers Compensation and General Liability insurance. Ask to see the up-to-date certificates. There is no excuse for not doing your due diligence before starting a project.
  1. Ask about the contractor’s safety practices and mandatory protocols. Just like you wouldn’t drive a car without locking your safety belt, contractors should not be working without approved and tested safety procedures.
  1. Provide a safe place to work. If getting to the area that your contractors are working on is dangerous (such as over an unsafe porch foundation) and you fail to tell them and address this ahead of time, you could be held liable for any accidents.
  1. Decide whether you will exercise control over the project or not. If you decide you want to determine how and when the contractors work, then you are much more liable if an accident occurs.
  1. Understand safety compliance laws in your state and locality. These can differ greatly depending on the part of the country you are in, so before you plan even a single new shingle, do your research.

If you ask these questions and follow these safety compliance guidelines, you will greatly reduce the possibility of experiencing any liability during your next home improvement job. Of course, consulting with a lawyer well-versed in these matters may be the best precaution you can take.

Safety Means More than Preventing Injury

It should be clear that proper general contractor safety compliance is essential not only for the health of everyone involved in your home improvement job but also for avoiding fines and liability for accidents on your part and that of the contractor.

To protect yourself and avoid headaches, fines, or worse, be sure to do your research into the safety compliance measures of any contractors you are considering. Ask them questions, look for proper documentation and understand their safety procedures before you make any decisions.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home remodeling work that adheres to the most up-to-date and rigorous OSHA regulations. If you are looking for a safety-compliance, fully insured, highly reputable company for your next home improvement job, we are it!

 

For more information about our safety compliance, to request an estimate or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

4 Great Benefits of an Attic Remodel

Morgan Contractors

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Few home improvement jobs will yield as many benefits or be as cost-effective as an attic remodel. Whether you want more living space, improved storage options or simply to add value to your home, upgrading your attic is a great idea. It will also, generally, take less time than adding an addition or redoing your basement.

So to help you decide if an attic remodel is right for you in 2017, here are our top 4 benefits to this exciting home improvement job.

Increase the square footage of your home

An attic remodel is your chance to convert an unused or under-used area of your home into viable space for anything from a game room or office to an extra bedroom or more storage. You’ll be amazed at how much more room a good attic remodel can provide.

Requires less time and money than other jobs

Because your attic already has a roof, floor and other structural elements in place, the cost to remodel will be far less than jobs that start on the ground, like a basement upgrade or a new addition to your house.

A smart investment

Many studies and just about every expert agrees that attic remodels are among the top 5 remodeling projects in terms of ROI. Most estimates range from a 75% to 85% recuperation of job costs in the home resale value – so on top of all the other great benefits, it’s also a smart financial move.

A fresh new feel to your home

Don’t forget the intangible, but extremely valuable, benefit of experiencing your home in a new way. Suddenly, a home that you’ve lived in for 10 years feels fresh and exciting, and presents new opportunities to use your space!

Is it time for an attic remodel?

As you can see, an attic remodel can be a big improvement for your home. Before you can remodel however, there are several considerations you want to keep in mind. Items like the construction style of your current attic (A-frame, for example), building codes, access stairs and ventilation all need to be assessed prior to a remodeling job. A good contractor will be able to walk you through the process.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality craftsmanship and home remodeling work to northern New Jersey. If you are looking for a fully insured, highly reputable company that follows all building code requirements, we can help!

For more information about attic remodeling, to request an estimate or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

5 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Morgan Contractors

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Have the holidays left you feeling as though your home is too small or outdated? If you have started looking into remodeling your home, you’ll want to read these tips for hiring a contractor.

  1. Come up with a detailed plan. Before meeting with any contractors, it is important to come up with a detailed plan for what you want the space to look like. This will help the contractor envision the scope of work that is necessary and come up with specific pricing. If you have a list of finishes, fixtures, and appliances that you would like to use in your remodeled space, now is the time to share them. Total costs of projects can vary based off of those details, so choosing that before construction starts will save a lot of time and money.
  2. Make sure that you are working with an insured contractor. Prior to starting work, you need to be sure that your contractor is insured. Accidents happen in the construction world and working with an insured contractor is key.
  3. View examples of the contractor’s work. Contractors are typically referred to people by past clients. Even if you were referred by a friend or neighbor, it is still a good idea to ask to see examples of the contractor’s work.
  4. Conduct interviews with contractors. Your contractor will become your point person throughout the entire renovation and remodeling process. You should make sure that you can trust, get along with, and feel comfortable communicating with them. A good question to ask during the interview process is: How will unexpected issues be handled?
  5. Ask about a timeline. You should ask your contractor how long they think it will take to complete the project. In order to manage expectations, you should add an additional 8-10 weeks. There are many unpredicted events that occur on a jobsite, so it is best to prepare yourself for them before construction begins and anticipate a delay.

Morgan Contractors understands that home remodeling is an emotional and financial investment. We are well experienced in local building codes in New Jersey and work with only licensed and experienced partners. No remodeling job is too big or small; please contact us when you plan your next home improvement project.

Professional Painting Tips for Your Next DIY Job

Morgan Contractors

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Thinking of making 2017 the year you put a new coat of paint on some of the rooms in your home? If so, great! With a little guidance, DIY painting can be a (mostly) hassle-free way to transform a tired living room, kitchen, or bedroom into a fun and inviting space.

To make your next DIY painting project look like professional work, here are some of the tips and tricks we use at Morgan Contractors to get the job done right. Your friends might even ask who you ‘hired’ to do it!

 

Preparation

Once you’ve picked the room, color and day or days to paint (we advise you wait for dry weather), it’s to do some prep work.

First, inspect the room(s) you want to paint. Cracked or peeling areas should be sanded/scraped and then every surface should be rinsed with soap and water, and then dried. This will avoid serious problems later – don’t skimp on this part!

Next, buy high quality tools (brushes, paint rollers and painter’s tape) appropriate for your wall texture. A thicker roller will give more complete coverage, but if it is too thick, you may get unwanted texture. Ask your supplier for advice, and try not to pinch pennies if you can avoid it – quality matters here.

Finally, protect everything you don’t want painted! This includes the careful application of tarps and painter’s tape. You may also want to remove light switches and outlets to ensure a truly professional finished look.

 

5 Professional Painting Tips

  1. Use primer: this not only ensures a more even coat, but gives you some practice with the painting motions.
  1. Let the roller do the work: With a good roller cover, you won’t need to apply much pressure, which promotes a more even coat.
  1. Brush where you can’t roll: Use a brush around the trim and in the corners of the walls, and extend about 3” out – this will help during the rolling part.
  1. Paint from top to bottom: Starting at the ceiling lets you paint over any drips or mistakes as you go down. This is harder to do working up from the floor.
  1. Paint the trim last…and slowly: By now you’ll be itching to finish the job, but don’t rush this last part! Be thorough and you will avoid the need to ‘touch up’ any mistakes you make here.

 

The Results

By taking your time and following the tips above, your next paint job should turn out to be a success – and you’ll get to enjoy the rewards of your effort for many years.

Of course, not everyone has the time or inclination to do the job themselves, and that’s okay too. At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 10 years of experience providing quality craftsmanship and painting expertise to northern New Jersey. If you are looking for a fully insured, highly reputable company to handle your next painting job, look no further – our customer testimonials say it all.

For more information about our painting services, to request an estimate or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

When is the Best Time of Year to Install New Windows?

Morgan Contractors

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Replacing the windows in your home is a great investment and brings many benefits, including reduced energy costs, improved safety, easier cleaning and greater comfort and beauty. So, if new windows are part of your 2017 home improvement plan, you should find a reliable installer and decide when to schedule the installation.

Keep in mind that professionals can replace windows at any time of year, though opinions differ about the ‘best’ season to perform the service. At Morgan Contractors, we believe the best time of year to install new windows is whenever is most comfortable and convenient for you and your family.

To help you schedule your window replacement job, here is a quick look at the pros and cons of installing windows at different times of the year.

 

Spring

Springtime brings with it warm weather and lots of sunny days, which provide plenty of flexibility when scheduling your installation. You’ll also save a little time on spring cleaning – those bright new windows won’t need much work to look great! Just be aware of the possibility that a few more bugs and some extra pollen may get into your home while the work is being done.

 

Summer

This is another popular time of year for window replacement because of the long stretches of pleasant weather. You’ll also get to enjoy more sun in your home during the long and bright summer days. Keep in mind that this is a ‘busy season’ for many contractors, so you may have to be a bit more flexible in your schedule. Also, high heat and humidity can pose some interesting challenges for window installers, especially in older homes, but experienced professionals shouldn’t have a problem.

 

Fall

If you are looking to reduce your energy bill as the weather starts to turn cold, the early fall is a great time to install new windows. This is another busy season for contractors, but if you can be flexible in your schedule and don’t mind a few extra bugs during installation, your new windows will provide great protection against heat loss, rain seepage and even a few annoying leaves.

 

Winter

When temperatures are near freezing, window replacement may seem like a bad idea, but in truth, winter is a great time of year to schedule this service. First, there are no bugs or allergy issues to worry about. In most cases, contractors also have the best availability during colder months. Finally, you’ll feel the results of the new windows immediately – with both a warmer home and a lower utility bill!

 

Getting the job done

Once you’ve decided on a time to install your new windows, it is essential to find a reputable and capable company to perform the service.

At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 10 years of experience providing quality craftsmanship to northern New Jersey, which makes us an outstanding choice for your next window replacement or other home improvement project. Best of all, we are willing to work with you to get the job done no matter what season you choose!

For more information window installations, to request an estimate or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.

5 Tips to Make Your Remodel Last

Morgan Contractors

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There are a multitude of options to choose from when remodeling your home. It is no surprise that any construction project requires an investment of time and money. With that being said, you are probably wondering what the best way is to make your remodel last. Keep reading and we will inform you about 5 tips that will increase the longevity of your remodel.

  1. Choose durable products. Durable material is key to ensuring a long-lasting remodel. Although it might be a more expensive, upfront cost, the long-term benefits of durable products are immense. You won’t have to worry about repairing or replacing the material right away.
  2. Incorporate windows. Windows allow you to live in a space filled with natural light. Keep in mind that you should select windows that are temperature-controlled. This means that they control the heat that comes in and goes out during the warmer and colder months.
  3. Design timeless permanent aspects of the room. One of the most popular reasons for remodeling a home is because the current space is outdated. If you want your remodel to last, you should design a timeless space. You can add current, popular trends in accessories.
  4. Paint the walls in relaxing colors. You want your home to be a space of tranquility and rejuvenation. If you select colors that are calming in the home, you will enjoy them for a much longer time.
  5. Don’t forget about functionality. When you think about all of the possibilities you can do with a remodel, you might get carried away. Another main reason why people choose to renovate their home is because the current space is not functional. Don’t forget about including practical elements into your renovation plan.

Morgan Contractors understands that home remodeling is an emotional and financial investment. We are well experienced in local building codes in New Jersey and work with only licensed and experienced partners. No remodeling job is too big or small; please contact us when you plan your next home improvement project.

5 Tips for Restoring Your Home

Morgan Contractors

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*Content Updated: November 8, 2017

5 Tips for Restoring Your Home

Was your home recently damaged from fire or water? Did you recently purchase an older home? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you will most likely need to restore your home. Follow these tips for a successful home restoration:

  1. Water is dangerous. If your home has been affected by water damage or you notice signs of water damage, you need to address that right away. Water damage around the ceilings, floors, and windows could be a warning of structural issues. The long-term effects are dry rot, mold, and a lot of bugs.
  2. Select a contractor to help restore your home. Select a contractor that has experience restoring homes and understands your must-haves for the home.
  3. Practical vs. aesthetic. The first thing that you’ll need to restore will be practical instead of aesthetic. You need to fix things that have the potential to cause further damage. You should focus on getting your house watertight. Next steps are to fix the roof, windows, and masonry.
  4. Don’t be afraid of technology. Updating heating, cooling, and electrical systems in your house will most likely be the most expensive point of the restoration. However, if you have recently moved into an older home, you will need to update those systems.
  5. Restore original features. Instead of ripping out old doors and windows, restore them. An older home has quaint features, including shifting and settling. Restoring those features will keep the character of the home.

Morgan Contractors has experience in fire and water damage, and repair. We have worked with numerous insurance agencies to help our clients turn their home back into what it once was. At Morgan Contractors, we are properly licensed and carry the necessary insurance. We understand it is a burden to choose a contractor after a home disaster and we can help by offering recent referrals. If you ever face the devastation of house fire or water damage, please think of Morgan Contractors to help you rebuild your home and life. Please contact us today to receive more information.