Monthly Archives: June 2014

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Updates

5328b1e98004ff368b1f206b55fa5470Old or new, large or small, most of us consider the kitchen to be the heart of every home; however, with this elevated status comes a greater degree of wear and tear, and an amplified need for modern updates.  Generally speaking, it should come as no surprise that a large portion of new homeowners opt for kitchen remodels once they close on a property.

Often expensive and somewhat time consuming, kitchen projects can be a serious—yet extremely beneficial—investment.  Yet, what many homeowners fail to realize is that it doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to make worthwhile improvements.  In reality, it’s incredibly possible to tackle advantageous kitchen projects on a limited budget.

1.) PAINT: One of the best ways to improve the look of any room is to add a fresh coat of paint.  This DIY project is not only inexpensive (a gallon of paint only costs about $30-$40 and will cover approximately 350 sq. ft), but it can be done in a single day.

2.) CABINET REFRESH: Yes, cabinet replacement can be pricey; however, updating or refinishing can be a wonderful money-saving option.  Making a point to replace your cabinet hardware will not only give an updated look to tired, old cabinets, but it will also present the cheapest option.  From there, you might want to consider adding a new coat of paint or, if you’re feeling up to it, learning how to reface and refinish your cabinets yourself.

3.) COUNTERTOP AND FLOOR RENEWAL: One of the best ways to dramatically impact the appearance of your kitchen is to refinish your countertops and floors either as a DIY project or professionally.  Resurfacing companies, who specialize in placing laminate-like materials over your existing surface, cost about $3-$7 per square foot, while wood floors can be sanded and refinished in a relatively short period of time.

4.) BACKSPLASH: Of all the accents in the kitchen, the backsplash presents a wonderful opportunity to bring in creative patterns and colors—at a relatively low price!  The average cost generally depends upon the style and type of materials you choose, as well as the method of installation; however, this is another area that is pretty easy to tackle yourself.  If you opt to install a backsplash on your own, consider using a material that’s easy to cut and apply.

5.) KITCHEN SINK MAKEOVER: You don’t have to be a plumber to figure out how to easily replace the faucet on your sink within an hour; however, if you can spare a bit more time, money, and effort, it’s entirely possible to replace the entire sink for under $500.

6.) ACCESSORIES: There’s no doubt that appliances are expensive, but it’s still possible to purchase a number of other new, attractive accessories at a low cost.  Don’t be afraid to bring in a number of unique colors and styles through decorative cups, bowls, lights, and artwork.

In the end, you might be surprised to find that small changes can actually make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your kitchen.  It’s okay if you don’t have a large budget to work with, especially if you don’t mind adding a bit of sweat equity into your home.  Oftentimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders | www.cresbuilders.com |770-983-4698

Countertop Options for Your New Kitchen

mediterranean-kitchenAs with anything, when it comes to countertops, brand names often hold a lot of appeal; however, if you can look past the well-known designers, your options really involve a relatively small grouping of materials.  While the average kitchen of years past used to consist of a minute prep area set upon worn laminate, today’s choices involve a range of colors, patterns, and textures that come in a wide variety of materials.

While there are definitely creative choices for every individual project, five of the most popular countertop materials include natural stone, solid surfaces, plastic laminate, wood, and concrete.

1.) NATURAL STONE: When people think of luxury countertops, they often think of natural stones such as granite, soapstone, and slate.  Granite, which is by far the most popular of the three, comes in a wide array of colors and is cut into long, thick slabs that require few (if any) seams.  Generally stain and heat resistant—when treated with a special impregnating sealer—the durability and widespread popularity of this stone has helped to stabilize prices and expand the market.

On the other end of the spectrum, soapstone and slate come in a more limited number of colors, but they can be fabricated into sinks which match the countertop, and in the case of slate, remain relatively easy to maintain.

2.) SOLID SURFACES: Generally speaking, while many contractors tend to dismiss solid-surfacing as nothing more than imitation stone, the truth is that these materials have produced incredibly renewable, repairable counters in thousands of kitchens.  Made of 100% acrylic, 100% polyester or a combination of the two, these surfaces are highly resistant to stains and scratches, and can be engineered into almost any design you can dream up.

3.) PLASTIC LAMINATE (FORMICA):  Produced in a wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns, this is a durable material which can stand up in even the toughest kitchens.  Generally found in sheets ranging from 2×4 ft to 4×8 ft, this resilient material can be found in ready-to-install portions which range from approximately $2-$3 per square foot.

4.) WOOD:  While it has lost prominence over the years, wood is still considered a beautiful addition to any kitchen, especially when used for secondary areas such as a baker’s prep area, a dining counters or a food chopping block.  Although it requires a bit more maintenance than many homeowners are willing to put in—mineral oil needs to be reapplied every 4-6 weeks—it’s a great option for those who are looking to install a true chef’s kitchen.  Most wood counters are generally made from rock maple, however, teak, walnut, cheery and oak are also used.

5.) CONCRETE:  These types of counters, which often resemble natural stone, are rapidly finding their way into more kitchens due to their durability and versatility.  The precast molded slabs, which tend to be made from scratch and delivered for installation, are fully cured in a workshop before delivery.  Like several of the other materials listed above, concrete can be found in a variety of colors and is generally sealed to prevent staining.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders | www.cresbuilders.com | 770-983-4698

Choosing the Right Home Builder for Your Project

MartinBuildingGroup-Custom-Home-DesignWhen it comes to large financial decisions, choosing to build a custom home is often one of the largest investments you’ll make.  Clearly, with so much money on the table, there’s a lot at stake.  Problems during the building process can and often do happen; however, you certainly don’t want to encounter hiccups that could easily have been avoided by simply investigating the builder in advance.

Therefore, choosing a great contractor—who is not only well accomplished, but has impeccable integrity—is imperative.  While you will obviously want to secure someone with a high level of know-how and skills, it’s also important to find a builder with the necessary leadership skills to seamlessly manage a team of quality subcontractors.

From here, there’s a solid grouping of pointers which should help you in your quest to choose an exemplary builder.

1.) While it may seem strange, pay attention to whether you actually like your prospect as a person.  At the end of the day, never underestimate the importance of creating a strong working relationship with your home builder.  They need to be someone who you not only trust and respect, but someone with whom you can feel comfortable expressing your wants and needs.

2.) Don’t be afraid to ask for references, as well as all of their licensing and insurance information.  If you find yourself unsure of a builder’s qualifications, feel free to make queries within the state or local licensing body, as well as the Better Business Bureau.

3.) Inspection and building permit records are made public, so request a list of previous projects or visit the local government office where inspection records and permits are maintained.  Specifically, look for evidence of permit violations or failed inspections; however, it’s still important to remember that even the most reputable, established builders will often have a few minor items on record.  Knowing this, repeated violations or large-scale failures should send off warning signals.

4.) As with many professionals, builders have areas of specialty, so make a point to look for a contractor who builds the type of home you’re hoping to erect.

5.) Advertisements are great; however, oftentimes the most accurate information will come from word-of-mouth.  Pay attention to personal referrals and don’t be afraid to contact previous customers for feedback.

6.) Do your homework.  While interviewing potential builders, it helps to come prepared with a design checklist detailing your price range, time frame, location, and necessary materials.  From here, when you finally hire someone, thoroughly read the contract.  It should cover all of the previously discussed facets of your project and make you feel confident in your final decision.  If something in the contract seems off, speak up!

At the end of the day, choosing the right contractor is probably the most important step in building your new home; however, by paying attention to detail and conducting the right amount of research, you should be well on your way to having the house of your dreams.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | www.cresbuilders.com | 770-983-4698

The Benefits of Hardwood Flooring

RSSCM131MDLG_webWhen it comes to the resale value of your home, it’s no secret that hardwood floors are often a smart investment.  Generally speaking, homes with hardwood floors sell faster and for higher prices than homes without hardwood floors; however, their benefits often go far beyond monetary measurements.

For starters, hardwood floors are great for people who are sensitive to allergens such as dirt, dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.  Since carpeting can collect these contaminants, along with other irritants, The American Lung Association has produced research indicating that the installation of hardwood flooring reduces overall impurities in your home’s air.

With an average lifespan ranging from 35 to 100 years, hardwood also outlasts linoleum (18 years), laminate (7-20 years), and carpet (5-15 years).  Furthermore, while these other floor coverings must be thrown out and completely replaced when they wear out, hardwoods can be refinished, repaired, or recycled.  In the same regard, it’s also incredibly easy to maintain—simply use a dust mop on a regular basis and apply an approved cleaner as needed.

In regards to its ease of customization and ability to fit with any décor, hardwood floors are actually one of the most customizable aspects of your home.  Much like a fingerprint, no two boards are ever identical and you can choose from hundreds of wood species in a variety of grades.  The design options are virtually unlimited and different colors of stain can be used to create complex and interesting layouts, which add a special touch of elegance to any style.

Finally, wood flooring actually serves as a natural insulator, which means that it tends to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  In fact, one inch of hardwood has the same insulation factor as 15 inches of concrete!

In the end, there’s no shortage of benefits that can come from having beautiful wood flooring installed in your home.  It’s classy, sustainable, easy to maintain and in the long run, extremely kind to your wallet.

To learn about what options are available, please contact me or visit our website at www.cresbuilders.com.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | www.cresbuilders.com | 770-983-4698