Your Raised Level-Hiring a NJ Home Improvement Contractor in Bergen County NJ

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: RAISED LEVEL

The time has come and you want to call a NJ Home Improvement Contractor to build a Raised Level on your home in Bergen County NJ.. You and your spouse have a budget set, financing secured but you are not sure which NJ Home Improvement Contractor is going to build your Raised Level Renovation project. Also, you are not sure how all the small details are going to play out. You need to iron out some of these details early on so here are a few important things that you will need to go over.

DECIDING ON A NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR:                

Deciding on which home improvement contractor to hire for your raised level project in Bergen county NJ can be a difficult decision. Everywhere you look, there goes another contractor vehicle but which one is a good fit for you. The only way to really know is to actually call some NJ Home Improvement Contractors, set up appointments and meet them for an interview….yes you read that correctly. An interview is exactly the way you must treat this as.

Meeting New Jersey Contractors

Remember a crew of workers is going to be literally taking over “YOUR HOME” for roughly three months. They will be coming and going, in and out all day long. If you live onsite as the construction is going on then you will be right in the mix. You want to meet the owners that run their crew of workers.  Feel him out to see if you think he is the type of person you want to have running throughout your home with a crew of workers. Does he seem like he can handle a crew responsibly?  It’s much better if you get along with the contractor since he will be at your home and more importantly will be the person that you communicate daily with.  Will he manage even the small elements as good as the larger daily functions?  I am a great judge of character. You give me five minutes and I can determine if a person will be able to accomplish the tasks that I ask him to be responsible for. If you can do this as well then it can save you lots of potential problems while the job is underway.

Who’s Providing the Architect for your Raised Level Renovation?

When it comes to your architectural plans which will be needed to apply for a building permit, the homeowners have a few options.

The first option is simple. Hire an architect, meet with him and have him draft your ideas into a set of architectural drawings. The architect will meet with you several times
and go over your ideas. This is a very one on one scenario. He is listening and accumulating your feedback and input then transferring it into preliminary plans. This is great if you want to be in direct communication with the architect. Remember, he is being paid by the hour so this option tends to be very costly. The other thing worth mentioning is you may not even like what the final product is after several meetings. At that point you may be $4,000 dollars and counting in the hole already. When it’s finally over with, the price may be up to $5,000-$8,000 for a raised level based on all the hours
spent going back and forth. On a positive note, your ideas expressed will be on paper for all those contractors to view and bid on.

The second option is the one that I have used with my customers throughout the years. Some contractors will provide their own architect. We have our own in house
architect that we provide to our signed customers. The way this works is simple and we can use my system as an example. You would call us for an estimate. When a representative arrives, we will listen to what your ideas are then within a few days we would provide you with a proposal. In most cases, people will call us a few times with the standard questions that most homeowners ask and we would answer them accordingly. Once a homeowner decides to move forward we would set up a contract signing. After the contract signing was completed we will provide a date within 2-3 days after the contract signing where the architect will arrive at your home. The day the architect arrives, he would be handed a package of information only pertaining to YOUR job. This information is everything stated in the contract which was signed days earlier. He would simply measure your home where the raised level or home improvement project will be built, then within 1 week you will be provided with a set of preliminary drawings. To speed up the process, we usually send the plans via email direct to the customer. The customer will then notify us of any changes. In
most cases, this usually goes back and forth one or two times. Once the homeowner approves, we will finalize the plans and then submit the drawings to your local building department for a zoning review. This system is usually included in our home improvement pricing plan and works out to save the customer thousands of dollars. Not all contractors have an in house architect nor work side by side with an architect but it is important to ask if they do, it can save you thousands of dollars.

Another Cost Saving Tip           

After stressing the savings you realize when hiring a contractor that has their own in
house architect, I can’t stress even more the savings you realize by working with a contractor that has its own architect especially if unexpected problems develop while building your Raised Level.

When building your raised level, many times things pop up that is not expected. When
this is the case and yes this happens a lot with existing home renovations and construction, an architect will be needed immediately to verify the findings and make adjustments to the plans. For instance, let’s say a raised level is being built and in the early stages while the new second floor is being framed the builder realizes that the original floor beams are not what they were thought to be or even let’s say the existing chimney which runs through the new second floor plan is off and in actuality falls inside the new upper bathroom by six inches. These items need to be addressed now. Not tomorrow nor the next day. Any hold ups can mean another day your top floor is not covered properly making it exposed to the outside weather conditions. When working with a contractor that has his own architect, most cases that architect is on call and
will arrive to verify and remedy the situation with an alternate plan of action that meets your local building department codes. If there are any fees for the unexpected issue changes, they usually are minimal. When we are hired, I usually make sure no extra architect fees are charged to my customers.

The opposite is usually the case when hiring an outside architect. I also found that the homeowner provided architects were slow to respond to emergency calls. These delays are very costly for the homeowner. In most cases where this has happened, I found that the overcharges directed at the homeowner were usually very excessive.

These are just a few of the things to consider when hiring your NJ Home Improvement
Contractor to build a raised level for your family.

NJ Home Improvement Contractor: Bathroom Renovation

BATHROOM RENOVATIONS     

Bathroom remodeling and or a bathroom renovation are good investments for your home. If you live in Bergen County New Jersey, chances are you own a home built approximately in the 1940’s  – 1960’s. The bathroom is probably a standard 5’x9’ space with a window in the tub area, a 30” vanity and the usual toilet. Also, it’s probably the only bathroom in the house. As a NJ Home Improvement Contractor,  We renovate many bathrooms each year. We also build brand new construction master bedroom – master bathroom suites. When we complete a home renovation, that single bathroom home is now two and a half to three and a half bathrooms. Imagine on a Monday morning 40 years ago, 3. 4 or even 5 people rushing to get ready in the morning with only one bathroom in the house. This is sometimes the
case these days.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: BATHROOM REMODELING

Most people now want their original bathrooms completely remodeled. There’s a couple of different home improvement options that can be accomplished here. The first thing is, you can strip the existing bathroom down to its studs. Then have your NJ Home Improvement Contractor replace it with more modern fixtures and tile products. The other home improvement choice tying itself into building a raised level is since the existing 1st floor bedrooms will then be relocated to our new bedroom layout upstairs, you can utilize the existing bedroom along side the first floor bath. Remove the wall dividing the two and expand the bath making it larger. Other times it is the exact opposite. Homeowners want their NJ Home Improvement Contractor to remove the tub making the final bath renovation into a powder room by downsizing that space. Most clients opt for a master bedroom- master bathroom suite as well as a standard bathroom upstairs
making it 2 full baths on the new raised level. With this option, in some cases there is no need to have a full bath on the first floor.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: HIRE THE RIGHT COMPANY                                             

Your bathroom renovation home improvement project shouldn’t take more than a week if you hire the right company. When choosing a bathroom remodeling company, again you must ask the New Jersey contractor for references. Crewmen will be moving throughout the home. You want to make sure that they are cautious and maintain a neat environment. Checking on a few of their previous jobs and previous homeowners feedback can save you a lot of trouble.  Moving forward, chances are the original bath was made with plaster board walls. When removing this material, it tends to be extremely dusty. This dust travels fast and can usually be a tedious clean up. Proper opening covering is a must to block the flow of this material and dusty particles. Plastic barriers can really do the trick. If the home remodeling company you hire is experienced in this type of job, the bathroom should be stripped down in less than 1 day. Prior to starting the work, your crew manager should have given you a list of fixtures and tile
quantities that will be needed on site. The process we go through for our bathroom remodeling projects is the following: We have custom forms for each bathroom. Most home improvement jobs we are hired for usually have both a bathroom renovation and at least one or two new bathrooms. On average, each of our jobs usually have two – three bathrooms so in our contract package we enclose bathroom forms labeled bathrooms 1, 2, 3 etc. Each set of forms has its own tile and fixture quantity forms. These forms are left blank and given to the homeowners as part of the contract package. When needed, we will take these forms and fill out all the necessary fixture sizes and tile quantities needed for the bathroom renovation. The homeowner‘s will then go and purchase exactly what they want as far as fixtures and tiling, then have it delivered back to the job site. A lot of times, the homeowner will go to select suppliers that we use and get a contractor discount which helps save them money. Having the necessary material onsite allows us to move through the home renovation project quicker. Also, you can take your time buying these items and once they are onsite, we can start the renovation. As soon as the items are on site, the homeowners job is basically finished.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: A Complete Bathroom Renovation         When considering a bathroom remodeling, we often factor in the following. In most cases, a bathroom renovation will need updated wiring and new plumbing such as shower valves and shut off hardware for the plumbing. You want to make sure these items are changed and part of the package. Since the walls are open, its best to get this
accomplished now. It may add a day or two to the construction but its well worth it. Assuming a bathroom renovation usually can be completed within a week, the stages for us are as follows.  Day 1 our demolition crew arrives to strip down the existing bathroom to its original studs. We usually accomplish this within 1 day. In a couple of hours the bathroom renovation area is completely clean and ready for the upgrades. Day 2 the plumbers arrive to install the tub, shower valve and replace the old water shut offs on the toilet and sink. Day 3 the electrical crew should be at the construction site replacing old electrical wiring, adding new high hats and even installing a new bath fan and GFI wall outlets. Now we are ready for inspections. If all was planned out properly, the inspectors would be set up for your utility inspections on day 3. Anytime the electrical or plumbing is altered, the appropriate permits are required, and an inspection will be needed.  Since the space is small, immediately after the inspections the insulation should be installed which in most cases in a bath wouldn’t take more than 1 hour for a bathroom renovation. Now we are set up for your insulation inspection for day 4. Pending the arrival of the inspector, next up is the sheetrock installation. This part of the renovation process usually is considered the messiest but if your home improvement contractor knows what he is doing, the mess should be minimal. For us this usually takes a few hours from installing to cleaning up. My crew uses a quick dry wall spackling application for small spaces such as a bathroom. This
quick dry method is only used when the homeowners are still living in the home and only have this 1 bathroom. In half a day the walls are spackled and sanded, ready for paint. With 2 days left, tile installation has to be installed in the tub area and on the floor the very least. Sometimes people opt for wall tile and even the ceiling can be tiled. Toss in a few accent tiles and a border and now the tile is finished. With the tile installation taking almost 1 day, they will come back the next day to apply the grout. Grouting only takes a couple of hours so as soon as its grouted the plumbing crew will show up later on  and install the toilet, vanity, sink and finally the shower head. The water will be turned on and you will be ready to roll. Hiring the right NJ Home Improvement Contractor will be very important in being able to finish your bathroom renovation within one week.

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NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: KITCHEN RENOVATIONS AND ADDITIONS

Kitchen Renovations and Additions

 

Plan on renovating your kichen? Are you looking to hire a home improvement services company that renovates kitchens in Bergen County New Jersey? Where do we start.

  Not Sure Where To Begin                               

This remodeling project has to be built exactly the way you want but your not sure
where to begin. The kitchen is the one room in the house that gets the most
traffic. Its also one of the most expensive rooms to renovate for your home
improvement project. Think about it, most of the other rooms just need a coat
of paint, put up some crown moulding and add a new rug or sand the hardwood and
its done. In most cases the kitchen on the other hand needs a complete overhaul
from the ground up. New cabinets, countertops appliances and flooring. When
your kitchen is stripped down, it usually exposes all the nonconforming issues
such as dated wiring and faulty plumbing. This needs to be replaced but the
good thing is since the kitchen is now in the planning stage involving possibly
an addition and or replaced where it is now, you can now relocate that kitchen
floor plan to a more effective, sensible layout.

A kitchen planner
A planner is needed to decide the exact location of all the new cabinets and utilities. Most home improvement services companies can steer you in the right direction. You
can go to a custom cabinet maker, a local cabinet wholesaler, Home Depot
or even lowes. At this stage, you will need to decide on the budget you have set
aside for your kitchen expansion and or kitchen renovation. The kitchen planner
will then show you the cabinets that fall into your budget. Once that part of
it is decided, the planner will piece the kitchen together and after your
approval, a floor plan will be generated and printed for your builder to use.
This kitchen blue print will be needed prior to the utilities being installed.

Putting it all Together
After the kitchen has been stripped down, we need to start installing all of our
utilities such as wiring , plumbing and hvac. Now, as explained in a previous
post, we touched on the subject regarding opening the old wall at the rear of
the kitchen and creating an archway into the new extended kitchen. When doing
this, I highly recommend a raised header ( if you read that part, the term was
a “flitch plate”, remember? ) so your ceiling heights match from the old room
into the new room . This gives the ceiling a nice smooth flow and makes it less
noticeable that the addition was put on. We have installed hundreds of kitchens
in Bergen County NJ..  Both new kitchens and kitchen renovations.

What size Kitchen renovation -expansion do I need?

The answer is , every case is different. We have added rooms off the back of homes anywhere from 200 square feet to 600 square feet just for a new kitchen. Every case is different. Your home improvement contractor will be able to help you decide. Most new kitchens have islands now. In order to accommodate an island, the kitchen needs to be
extended bigger than what they used to be years ago. Ninety percent of our new
kitchen floor plans have the island with a rinse sink, microwave and even wine
coolers all built inside the island. When the counter tops are installed, the
top is extended past the lower cabinet so that stools can be placed and now the
island can be used as an eating area. Throw in some pendant light and it’s a
hip station to hang and have a glass of wine Friday night after work.

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Building an Addition to your Home

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR:   

 ADDITIONS

Being a Bergen County New Jersey home improvement contractor, I am always asked what type of home renovation do I think would increase functionality to their home. One of the more popular choices would be an addition also commonly call an extension.

First floor additions can have many uses. Some of the more common uses for an addition are family rooms, kitchens, mother daughter space, garages, living room, dining room or even an entertainment room. Most families need more space, especially on the first floor. We get many calls for a free consultation. When we arrive to their
Bergen County New Jersey home, it’s obvious that the floor space is limited. Adding
an addition can answer all your problems. Whether its one floor or a multi level addition, adding that new space couldn’t happen fast enough. One of our best home improvement sellers is the sunken family room with 10’ cathedral ceiling. Add a bunch of windows and a French door to the rear yard and now you have a great area for the family to meet.

Your home improvement addition would solve a lot of your homes problems. In fact we usually add at least enough square footage space to include a family room and a kitchen extension when building behind the existing kitchen. This new area is usually built off of the original kitchen. Something to think about also is in most cases we add above this new square footage space extending the second floor with usually a master bedroom / bathroom suite or even standard bedrooms utilizing both upper and lower area of your multi level home improvement project.

When adding an addition such as a new family room, dining room or kitchen, many times we add a full basement below. This basement space can also become comfortable living space if planned properly. Many times we build entertainment rooms, media centers or even just plain storage which you can never have enough of. If a basement is not affordable, then a crawl space would be substituted. A crawl space is exactly what the name says, ( a Crawl space).  A crawl space is the area underneath the 1st floor finished room. It’s an open storage area usually anywhere from 24” to 48” high, more towards the lower number. A cement slab covers the floor and the walls are masonry block. Its fully enclosed and weather proof. Usually an access panel to this area is either on the outside or a panel is installed in the existing basement into this crawl space for access in the future. You never know if you need to access piping or wiring for the future. Either way, both access holes have a door to close off this area. If
the grade of your property is high, you may instead need a cement slab or concrete slab as your floor. An easy way to determine this is when you walk out your back door and there are only 1 or 2 steps to the ground outside, you may only need to have a concrete slab for the 1st floor which would be poured between your masonry foundation walls. Usually a shoe block would be used to create the perimeter of the addition.

What would be a great home improvement extra for your addition?  Many family rooms are built with fireplaces. We also install several inside the master bedroom suites.  We install many gas and wood burning units. I have a gas fireplace in my living room. There is nothing easier than grabbing that remote control, turning it on and within a minute or two it is producing heat while a beautiful flame is in front of you burning like a normal wood burner. Also, most gas burners can have an optional blower unit installed which
pushes the hot air out into the room. Great feature and wouldn’t install one without. For a few hundred dollars, you can get the blower and remote as an additional feature… well worth the expense for your home remodeling project.

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NJ Home Improvement Contractor : Raised Levels

Building a raised level in Bergen County New Jersey? Not sure where to start or which contractor to call?

What is a Raised Level?  

When we use the term raised level or add a level, it refers
to the removal of your existing roof and add a new level.  Usually the new added upper floor consists of bedrooms, bathrooms and even a new laundry.

Can any contractor build a Raised Level?

When selecting a NJ Home Improvement Contractor to build your raised level, make sure they have experience in this niche of contracting. Your contractor should have several raised level references that they can provide. Don’t be afraid to go to your local building department and inquire about your builder of interest. Although most building departments are not inclined to recommend a contractor, if you are a good sense of character and can determine which direction the conversation is moving, you will quickly get a feel for his opinion, even if it isn’t direct.  Pangione Developers Incorporated. was set up to specialize in this area as well as multi level additions and complete homebuilding renovations. When removing the roof, you want a crew that knows
exactly what needs to be done. You may say to yourself that “ they have blueprints”, its all on paper, but once that roof comes down, things are never what they were anticipated to be.  Also the “actual” dimensions that are on the blueprints usually never match the plans. This is the case with existing construction. So if the room sizes are cutting it close, you have to know which direction to move in.

Timing is everything:                                       

Timing is very important. Your home improvement contractor cannot get hung up on an item because weather is always trailing behind you.  When we remove a roof, it moves in very easy to define stages that must be executed precisely. If we are dealing with a Raised level on a cape or ranch, our demolition crew will arrive a few days prior to roof removal. They will strip the entire interior of the upstairs down to its original 2×4 stud walls, ceiling beams and rafters. This is usually completed within one day. Immediately the next day my electrical and plumbing crews will arrive to remove all wiring and plumbing that’s  in the way. Things like excessive wiring, previous owner repairs and we all know what those old timer- do it yourself’r repairs were like need to be adjusted for the new construction. We have to correct any loose wiring and bring these items back up to meet your local building code. Many of these items need to be resolved immediately real time or delays will result. You need to hire a company that works side by side with its electrical / plumbing and hvac crew so when a job begins, they are on alert to respond to immediate requests of change. Its for this very scenario that I set up Pangione Developers. We make this a seamless transaction.

Wheels in Motion:                                     

When the wheels are in motion, its full speed ahead. When the weather shows a good 4 day forecast, we are ready to pull the roof off. To give you an idea of the next stage, from the day the old roof comes off, we have the new roof on within 3 days and that is
shingled. Actually for those that have hired us, most customers and their neighbors
will provide as excellent references and witnesses. We put on a show in a way
that most are just amazed how smooth the operation runs. Listen , we are not
gonna say its absolutely perfect  because I would be lying to you. The thing here is, with existing construction, there is always new surprises.

We have a very extensive portfolio of finished Raised levels. In fact several pictures are post at PangioneDevelopers.comDue to our experience, we make the entire process look effortless. My crews move seamless throughout each stage. Are you thinking about having a Raised level built? What
are your concerns?

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NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: GENERAL INFORMATION AND REVIEWS

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: Information and Reviews

GENERAL INFORMTION:

  Welcome to the beginning of our NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR BLOG for information and reviews. This site will discuss Home remodeling, Home Improvements, Home repairs, Raised levels, Add a levels, Additions, Family rooms , Kitchen renovations and  Bathroom renovations in  Bergen County NJ as only we know it.  Our parent company, Pangione Developers Inc a NJ Home Improvement Contractor is a premier NJ Contractor serving all of the Bergen County area. All opinions expressed forward are those of Pangione Developers ownership and not reflected at nor expressed toward any other entity. Please enjoy the information provided hereon.

About Me

A little about myself. My name is David Pangione. I am the owner of Pangione Developers Inc..a NJ Home Improvement Contractor.

You have probably seen our jobs being built near your home. You may have even seen our white trucks. Well anyway I am a third generation home builder- home renovator.  Both my grandfather and my father were home builders. My father built thousands of homes throughout the tri- state area. I grew up on job sites, lived and breathed home building. Since I came from a household of all boys, mom shipped me off with dad practically every summer day and most weekends from 5 years old up. Summers, winters and everything in between. I learned building inside and out from my father and decided in memory of dad’s recent passing, I would share all the information
that he taught me to anyone that was interested by creating this forum. My company , Pangione Developers Incorporated was created for the sole purpose of providing homeowners with low cost affordable additions, raised levels and complete home renovation projects. We are one of the only contracting companies that only specializes in JUST Raised Levels, Additions and complete Home Renovations. We can also be seen at PangioneDevelopers.com. I will constantly update this site, so if you have any ideas or interests…. Shoot us an email and ill add it to the blog. Categories are to the right so dig in and have a look.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: CALL YOUR CONTRACTOR

So, your family is expanding and that cape or ranch is starting to burst at the seams or the colonial or bi level you fell in love with needs a family room and even a garage. Sound familiar?           

Don’t worry you are not alone. As a NJ Home Improvement Contractor, we get calls on this all the time, in fact the call we get the most is that a homeowner just took their house off the market and decided to renovate what they have now into a larger footprint open floor house plan. After a 4, 5,or 6 month listing and no offers, they usually realize that for the price they wanted and the offers they were getting , its not worth moving. Their friendly neighbors and comfortable school system is already in place so all that is needed would be to remodel and renovate the existing structure.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: RAISED LEVELS 101

Most usually start off with a raised level or also called an Add A Level which is simply (taking off the existing roof and building a new floor above). But this is just half of the solution. After we move all the bedrooms to the upper level, most cases 3-4 bedrooms and a standard bath as well as a master bedroom bathroom suite, the fun on the first floor begins.       


Your home renovation project is one of the biggest home
improvement investments you can make in your lifetime. When planning the
construction, you want to make sure each room is planned out properly,
especially the first floor living space. In the situation above that involved
building a Raised Level, after we complete the top floor raised level framing
structure, we immediately shift focus to the first floor alteration and
renovation. In most cases we remove several walls eliminating all the 1st
floor existing bedrooms. Removing the existing bedroom walls creates a much
larger open floor living area for your expanding family to utilize.  After we finish off the hardwood flooring process, no one would ever know there were once tiny bedrooms in what is now a larger comfortable living area.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: RENOVATION OPTIONS

Let me express that there are many options when trying to renovate your home. Keeping with the above example, on top of what we stated already, most of our customers package in a rear family room / kitchen expansion off the rear of the home. This added square footage usually solves all the first floor problems. We remove the existing kitchen and

open the entire rear wall of that kitchen. If I were to give an average size most people request for a rear expanded room off of a kitchen it would size out at 20’x20’ for the kitchen expansion. Remember that the original kitchen space will be reconfigured so after the kitchen designer provides the kitchen floor plan layout, most times the new cabinetry will begin from the original kitchen area right along that newly opened wall where the original kitchen and new addition meet. You don’t want a supporting header hanging down below your ceiling in your new kitchen. The trick is too install a flush mount iron supported beam called a flitch plate where the large opening
is created. Simply put, these plates are custom made with the necessary size header material sandwiching an architecturally calculated iron plate. It’s a labor intensive task, but the end result is a smooth flowing ceiling with no breaks. This allows your ceiling to flow nicely into the newly created room. With this, your cabinets will have an unobstructed free flow as well.

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