NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: NEW GARAGE IDEAS

NJ  HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: New Garage Ideas

You live in Bergen County NJ and you have been thinking about calling a NJ Home Improvement Contractor and having a garage built on your home? Is your garage old, run down or just too small for your SUV. Do you have too many vehicles in your driveway and possibly you want to get your car indoors from the harsh weather more often. Well let’s look into the different addition options that you have for your home improvement project.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: I ALREADY HAVE A GARAGE:

You own a cape, ranch, split or other and the home already has a garage.
The garage can’t fit your car or truck inside or it’s just too small. Many of the older homes current garages are a bit too narrow. You can pull your car in but opening the door is a task. After you get the car inside, there’s no place for the bicycles or lawn mower.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: BUILD A NEW 1CAR GARAGE

This would solve all your problems. You can knock down your existing garage. Your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can install a brand new garage attached to your home. A full size single car garage size starts at twelve feet by twenty thru twenty two feet.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: BUILD A TWO CAR GARAGE

If you are thinking of an even bigger garage home improvement or the existing is not up to par, knock down the existing garage and have your NJ Home Improvement Contractor add a new two car garage. If you have an SUV, install an eight foot high automatic opening garage door.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: GARAGE STORAGE

Many times you can make the garage deeper in order to allow for storage. A typical
garage length is twenty feet. Make your new garage at least twenty four thru twenty six feet long. This will make it possible to install shelving and or an area for larger items like bicycles and lawn mowers.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: GARAGE ADD A LEVEL

Another option to consider is adding another floor above your garage. Consult with your NJ Home Improvement Contractor regarding making even a master bedroom suite, or even two or three bedrooms above your new garage. This can really solve  your problem with lack of bedrooms.

Call your NJ Home Improvement Contractor and have your NJ Garage Builder discuss some options that you may be interested in.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: Addition Tips

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: Addition Tips

 

Are you interested in adding a family room to your first floor . Are you thinking of calling a NJ Home Improvement Contractor for your NJ home improvement project. Here are a few tips for your home improvement project.

Before calling a NJ Home Improvement Contractor for a quote, you need to figure out a few things first. Things like what size family room are you thinking of adding. Do you have a lot of furniture you plan on putting in the addition? Can your property still meet your local town lot coverage requirements with the proposed addition to your property? Well, these are just a few things you should have sorted out in your head.

A call to your local building department will help eliminate the coverage and setback calculations. You may even want to visit your local building department. Bring along a copy of your survey. Ask a few questions to the zoning officer. They will be able to steer you in the right direction. Once you have figured out that the addition size that you are interested in can be built, call some NJ contractors to get prices.

Let’s talk about the inside of your family room. As a NJ Home Improvement Contractor, we offer a family room package that just about covers all the bells and whistles you really need. Our starter package begins at 20’x20′. We include recessed lighting, full 5′ windows, a sliding door with landing out to the back door, a cathedral tray ceiling, hardwood flooring and a full 6′-8′ archway from the original house into the new room. If you decide to build a family room, I highly recommend that you request a quote on these items. All these items together really make your room complete. As an option, you can include a gas or wood burning fireplace.

Are there any other options you may be missing out on? As a NJ contractor, in my experience, many times the homeowners want to add a deck off of the family room. If that was the case and your property conforms to the additional lot coverage’s, we can substitute the sliding door landing with the larger, more spacious deck.

I hope some of these ideas mentioned have helped you along in the decision process for your next NJ home improvement  project. If you have any other questions, contact your NJ Home Improvement Contractor for advice and answers.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: Bathroom Renovation

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: Bathroom Renovation

We have renovated hundreds of bathrooms in Bergen County NJ. Many of these bathroom renovation jobs are tied in with entire home remodeling contracts. We get many calls from homeowners looking to just have their bathroom renovated or also the kitchen bathroom renovation combination package that we offer. Home owners have a few options. They can do a quick fix bathroom renovation themselves or call a NJ Home Improvement Contractor for a bathroom renovation.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: A Bathroom Renovation’s Quick Fix

Depending on your budget, there are a few easier and cheaper ways to spruce up your bathroom. If your floor and tub area tile is in good shape as well as your tub, you don’t have  to renovate the entire bathroom. For a fraction of the cost you can remove the toilet, vanity and replace them with brand new fixtures. Add a larger vanity mirror, new light fixtures and now the bathroom is taking on a whole new look. As for the tile, there are a few options. Some companies specialize in refacing tile. For a fraction of the cost, you can hire them to change the tile color. Also they can pull out the old grout and apply a new colored grout. Large home improvement stores like Home Depot supply reasonably priced shower doors that can be installed in a few hours. Don’t forget new crown moulding, chair rail moulding and your favorite paint. For less than $1,000- $2,000, you can have a new bathroom.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: Complete Bathroom Remodeling

A complete bathroom remodeling is when the entire bathroom is stripped down to its framing. Then the bathroom is put back together step by step. It is best to hire a reputable NJ Home Improvement Contractor that has experience in this area. When remodeling a bathroom, most times it can be the only bathroom in the home.  In order to remodel a bathroom, that bathroom must be taken out of service for a week. The NJ Home Improvement Contractor must be fast and dependable in order to get the bathroom functioning again.

 

NJ Home Improvement Contractor: Let’s talk about a Contract

NJ Home Improvement Contractor: Let’s talk about a Contract

The moment has come and you are sitting down with your NJ Home Improvement Contractor ready to sign a contract. A bit nervous? A little worried that you are not certain what to look for. I know the feeling. I get that feeling every time I lease a vehicle. I know the dealer is going to slip something in the lease that I don’t want, so my guard is up. Whether you are building a Raised Level, addition, bathroom or kitchen renovation or even a finished basement, a contract is a contract so let’s go over a few items.

INTERVIEW FIRST

Lets break this down. Let’s get down to basics. In the beginning, when you first started calling NJ Home Improvement Contractors for an estimate on  your home improvement job, I’m sure you met with three or four contractors. It is during this time that you needed to start getting a feel for the contractor that you would want to work with. It is basically an interview. Then, when you think you are leaning towards a particular NJ Home Improvement Contractor, then you look into his references, drive past a few of his jobs to make sure you really want to work with his company. After you go through this process, hopefully you can get a sense of comfort and feeing  like you are working with a reliable and trustworthy NJ home improvement contractor. This will make the contract signing a bit more less tense.

READ THE CONTRACT

I have sat down with hundreds of customers for contract signings. The first thing you want to make sure of is that you actually read the contract. No matter what, read the contract. Believe it or not, I would show up to a contract signing and the customer is ready to sign the contract and hand me a check without reading it. Sure, sounds easy for me right? In this scenario, it would eventually lead to problems. The customer would think he is getting this option when he actually is getting something else. Each and every contract signing, I always sit down with my customers and read the “entire” contract from start to finish. This way any items that are cloudy to them,  I will stop and discuss so that each and every item is clear. I recommend that you do the same when you are ready to have a contract signing with your NJ Home Improvement contractor.

PROJECT STAGES

You want to know prior to the work beginning, how long your NJ Home Improvement Contractor thinks the work process will last. It is a law in most states that your contractor must give an estimated time of completion in writing. In our contracts, not only do we have absolutely every little detail from start to finish, included we have a full page of the entire job process listing from the date of contract signing until the very end in great detail. It also states the estimated date of completion. Look for that in your contract, it can eliminate many problems .

WARRANTY

Inside your contract package, your NJ Home Improvement Contractor must provide a detailed warranty. This is mandatory in most states. Your warranty should list the time frame that the warranty is valid and exactly what items are covered in the warranty. As a NJ Home Improvement Contractor, I like to have our   warranties completely detailed on a separate form. Every area of concern is listed. It eliminates any second guessing. You should go over your warranty and discuss any questions you may have with your NJ Home Improvement Contractor.

CATEGORY BREAK DOWNS

The last issue I want to touch on is the bulk of your contract which will be the individual item categories such as Roofing, Siding, Heating/ Air Conditioning, Flooring, Finishing, Windows etc….  .

A good contract will have individual breakdowns of each of these types of categories, such as the examples above. There will be full detail of material itemized and any possible credits that go to the homeowner for items that they have purchased. I have found that the more detail listed, the better. When we have a contract signing, there is nothing left unmentioned. All material and individual categories are listed from start to finish. It also makes it easy for the homeowner to reference any item in question for the future.

Remember to read your contract, ask your NJ Home Improvement Contractor as many questions you feel are needed until there is no stone left unturned.

NJ HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: ADDING HVAC TO YOUR HOME

Have you been contemplating adding central HVAC cooling and possibly heating. Anything is possible but more important, where does your budget lie.  As a NJ Home Improvement Contractor, I have installed hundreds of systems for my customers. The systems were installed in both new and old construction

 

NEW  CONSTRUCTION

As a NJ Home Improvement Contractor, when we build, more than ninety percent of our raised levels and addition projects are all installed with new HVAC heating  and cooling systems.  HVAC is a very efficient system and cost effective especially for a family that is on a tight budget. The HVAC systems components are usually installed in the attic which makes airflow and recirculation to your bedrooms in the new Raised Level run effectively and efficiently since the system is just a few feet away from the rooms they are heating and cooling. New HVAC systems are easily installed in new construction projects. An HVAC technician will measure your square footage and size up the proper system that will carry your home’s space accordingly via single or multi zone.

OLD  CONSTRUCTION

Many homeowners ask us if it is possible  to install an HVAC air conditioning system in their home. As a NJ Home Improvement Contractor ,we get many calls from homeowners that already have hot water or steam heating systems. They want us to install a new HVAC system but there are a few considerations to think about first.

How old is your current furnace? This is a biggie because you don’t want to install a new HVAC cooling system then in two years your steam or hot water furnace goes down due to old age. So consider the age of your current furnace, it’s cheaper to install an HVAC furnace WITH your cooling system at the same time then at separate times.

If you are just looking for a single HVAC cooling system, in most cases it can be installed. It is very rare that your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can’t install an HVAC system. If you live in a ranch for instance, most of the components can be installed in your attic such as the blower and duct work. Install the compressor  outside and its finished. This type of install is easy, but when you install in a multi level  home, running the duct work sometimes gets tricky so you may need to have a dual system installation. Consult with your NJ Home Improvement Contractor.

What can your NJ Home Improvement Contractor tell you about a Gas Fireplace!

What can your NJ Home Improvement Contractor  tell you about a Gas Fireplace!

Whether you are building a raised level, an addition or even just an interior renovation, your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can help you decide if a direct vent gas fireplace will be able to be installed in your home renovation.

FRAMING             

Depending on which unit you choose, each model has its own individual framing requirements. Your NJ Home Improvement Contractor will need to know what the opening will be for the unit. Your renovation contractor will frame around the insert (which is the actual fireplace itself) and this is where the fire place will be placed. The insert will be framed on an outside wall so the exhaust fumes can directly be vented outside. The easy part about this is there is no need for a chimney to be extended above the roof. The insert installation crew directs the exhaust fumes through the wall “Directly” behind the insert. With the appropriate fittings, your fireplace is ready for its utility connections

 

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Ultimately, installing any item in new construction would be cheaper and faster since the construction is open and exposed.  With that being said, your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can run the necessary utilities quicker and more direct. This obviously would be more beneficial to you.

EXISTING CONSTRUCTION

Anytime you have to make an installation, in this case a gas fireplace, if you are working with existing or “old” construction the price will be higher. The simple reason is that the utilities need to be installed and ran to the appropriate spots. When the walls and floors are closed up, then running the utilities is more labor intensive for your NJ Home Improvement Contractor.

 

 

WHAT UTILITIES ARE NEEDED

Your NJ Home Improvement Contractor will arrange for a licensed plumber and electrician to make the necessary connections.

Gas Line

When installing a gas fireplace, most models will have two utilities that will need to be extended to it. First, a gas line will need to be connected. Depending on the size of the unit, the proper gas line will need to be extended directly from the gas meter to the gas fireplace. Your licensed plumber will usually run the necessary flexible gas line in one run meaning there are no breaks in the line except at each end where the connections are made. Before connecting, an inspection will be needed to make sure the gas line has no leaks. After the inspection, the plumber can install the gas line to the fireplace and turn on pending the electric connection.

Electric

The other utility needed will be an electric line. Again, pending the size of the unit, you will have a licensed electrician run the proper electric line to feed the unit. The electric is used for the lighting mechanism. Many times in the area very close to the unit, the electrician will mount a switch that you will use to turn the fireplace on or off.

 

FINISHING

After the utilities are connected, your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can finish  off with sheetrock, spackling and paint. Many times the insert’s manufacturer will sell specific mantles, surrounding and screening as options. Other times you can install stone or your favorite tiling.

 

FIRE PLACE ACCESSORIES

Pending the size of your fireplace and  its BTU output, a nifty option that is very affordable is a blower fan. The blower fan simply takes all that heat that is produced and when the blower switch is on, sends the hot air out into the room. This option is worth every penny. In a matter of minutes, your room is feeling nice and comfy.

 

Another option for your gas fireplace is a remote control for the unit. The remote is used to operate the fireplace. Rather than having to get up  to turn the system on and off, this function can be controlled with our remote. Also some remotes have digital read out showing what the room temperature is at.

If you have any questions, contact your NJ Home Improvement Contractor

NJ Home Improvement Contractor:Tips for a Larger Floor Plan on Your Raised Level

Are you thinking about modifying your home and adding a Raised Level. You may not realize it but there are different ways you and your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can make your soon to be Raised Level floor plan larger.

Raised Level Above Your Garage:

Have your NJ Home Improvement Contractor recommend ways for you to build above your garage. Let’s take a look at your garage, yes that’s right!!!. Many times you can also build your raised level above your attached single or double car garage allowing you more livable square footage in addition to the area above the main area of your home. If your home was built from the 1960’s upward, chances are the foundation under your garage can support a second level. You cannot be certain unless your NJ Home Improvement Contractor actually digs a few test holes alongside your actual garage foundation. He will be looking to see where the bottom of the foundation ends. Here in the Northeast,many local building codes require the foundation bottom to be a minimum of three feet below grade due to the frost line. This can be verified by having your NJ Home Improvement Contractor call your  local building department. In case your foundation does not meet  the local code depth, your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can modify the depth and fill with concrete to meet the needed code requirement. Once this is established, you can start adding the new Raised Level above your garage. With the combined square footage of the area that comprises above your main home and the additional area above your garage, you can have a beautiful new combined floor layout. Best part of this is that many building departments are becoming more strict in regards to the zoning requirements and setbacks within your town. It’s becoming harder to receive a permit when applying for additions to your home based on these new lot coverage requirements. If you slightly exceed these new requirements, the home owner will have to go through a variance meeting that involves usually a two -three month wait where you would go before your town and apply for the right to receive the permit to extend your home. By building above your existing garage for added square footage, you are building above an existing structure that  many times already conforms to your local building department requirements in which you may not need a variance.

Cantilever Your Raised Level

With the proper planning, your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can provide you with a larger floor plan for your raised level by cantilevering the new floor. When we say cantilever, it is simply referred to as an “overhang”. Many times, your new floor plan can incorporate a cantilever for additional square footage. When cantilevering, your NJ Home Improvement Contractor can add or sister new floor beams alongside the existing floor beams to create an extended beam that hangs out either past the front , rear , left or right side of your home. The most practical use to cantilever your raised level is in the front or back walls of your home. Many times a cantilever can extend two – three feet. For this example we will use two feet as our model. If you cantilever your front floor area two feet across the front top floor of a home that’s thirty feet wide, you just gained sixty more feet of floor space. Lets add to this example. If you do the exact same for the rear of the top floor you will pick up an additional sixty square feet for a total of one hundred twenty square feet. It a fairly easy way to gain more square footage. The only area of concern here is now you are extending your home towards the front and back property line. This could possibly infringe on these setbacks which would have to be looked at by your architect to confirm validity but for an architect, this is 10 minutes worth of investigating and you will have your answer if you think you are already close with your front yard setback.

As you can see, there are a few possible ways to gain added square footage  on your  new raised level. Discuss these options with your  NJ Home Improvement Contractor and hopefully you will benefit from the items mentioned above.

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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What are your concerns?

More on this subject to come. If you enjoyed this post, let me know.