Monthly Archives: November 2014


Home Improvement Projects to Consider Before Thanksgiving

Ideally, while most of us would like to wait until the spring or summer months to complete various home improvement projects, certain issues arise throughout the year, making their repair a necessity.  Luckily, fall offers plenty of days that are warm enough to complete a myriad of ventures, so it’s important to have an understanding of what types of projects are worth considering in the next few weeks.

1.) FINISH THE BASEMENT – While Georgia tends to avoid an abundance of regular snow accumulation, ice and rain still makes an appearance, so it’s probably safe to say that you won’t be spending too much time in your outdoor living space.  Therefore, if the winter months have a way of making you feel a bit caged, why not look to your basement for a little extra breathing room.  If your basement has generally been used for storage, you may want to consider finishing it as a great way to extend your living space, especially since doing so will drastically increase the value of your home.

2.) FIREPLACE REPAIR – With the recent temperature drop and future forecasts predicting low temperatures all winter long, having your fireplace properly inspected will help ensure its safe operation.  By utilizing the services of an experienced chimney sweep, you’ll be able to get a jump on any red flags that may show up, such as improperly functioning dampers, damaged brickwork and masonry, and missing or damaged flue caps.

3.) CLEAN YOUR CARPETS – Fall is the perfect time to give your carpets a good shampoo because the tepid temperatures make opening the windows for some extra ventilation a great option.  It’s no secret that the summers here in Georgia tend to be hot and humid, so it’s wise to avoid adding extra moisture to your home until things have cooled off a bit.  Besides, while you’re waiting for everything to dry, fall is the perfect season to get outside and enjoy the changing colors!

4.) HOLIDAY LIGHTS: MAKE YOUR PLAN – Just after Thanksgiving, those Christmas lights begin to make an appearance, so if you’re looking to take part in the neighborhood festivities, you might want to start tackling a few decisions in advance.  If you plan on decorating your house on your own, keep an eye peeled for holiday discounts that may save you a bit of money, while also making a point to take stock of any necessary Christmas paraphernalia that may sell out in December.  However, if you’re someone who would rather hire someone to complete the lighting task, start looking at pricing quotes as soon as possible.  Arrangements obviously need to be made in advance, so getting the process started will help increase the number of days you get to enjoy your home’s twinkling beauty.

5.) REPAIR DRIVEWAYS AND WALKS – Freezing temperatures can cause small cracks in driveways and walkways to expand rather quickly, so hiring a professional to remedy the situation can be well worth your while.  Instead of waiting until cracked concrete or disintegrating asphalt creates treacherous conditions for pedestrians, it’s wise to take care of any small issues before the weather gets too frosty.


While I’ve highlighted five of the relatively simple projects worth completing in the month of November, there are still other worthwhile—yet complex—tasks which will yield similar money-saving results.  From replacing your windows and repairing the roof to adding insulation and protecting your gutters, the temperate fall weather makes improving your home that much easier.

If you’d like to know more, please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

-Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | | 770-983-4698


Recent Project – Driveway and Front Stoop

CUSTOMERS NEEDS: Having already completed several projects for this customer in the past—minor roof and exterior wood wrought replacement, as well as a full kitchen remodel—they made contact with us to replace their front stoop and driveway.

The stoop had pulled away from their house by about 2 inches and the driveway, which was completely cracked throughout, showed signs of sinking about 6 inches and caused water to run across their walkway in the rain; however, many of their neighbors also noted that they were having similar problems with their stoops and driveways.

EXPLANATION: Since I have a strong background working with track builders, I explained to the customer that when her neighborhood was built 20 years ago, it was common practice to use 2000 psi concrete without adding rebar or crushed run underneath the driveway (although this still happens today).  While this type of construction appears structurally sound at first, the only thing supporting the driveway is loosely-graded Georgia clay, dirt, and concrete.

In regards to the stoop, in many cases, builders fail to install a stoop arm that is the same depth as the basement footer; therefore, when the grader backfills the walls with dirt that has not been compacted, the dirt begins to sink over time, which eventually causes the stoop to pull away from the house.

OUR PROCESS: Since re-pouring the concrete presented us with the best opportunity for success, we began by re-grading the dirt so that it would have the proper pitch away from the garage and installed 2 inches of compacted crushed run material, before tying the rebar into the existing garage footer.  From there, we built a 4-foot by 4-foot rebar grid throughout the driveway, and completed the process with properly-cured 4000 psi concrete.

The stoop also required a complete replacement, so after removing the original stoop and discovering that it was not properly tied to the home, we built a new foundation with concrete blocks before drilling rebar into the house and concrete slab.  From there, we filled the block cells with concrete before pouring a 2-inch concrete cap on top.  To finish the project, we installed a selection of beautiful field stone and created a sturdy footer for the perimeter stone to sit on.

To finish, since water control was also a problem due to the fact that the actual home sits lower than the curb, we decided to install a 12-inch by 12-inch landscape drain box at the corner of the walkway to divert all of the water from the driveway into this box.  From there, in an effort to make sure the ground water would not compromise the integrity of the driveway, walkway, and stoop, we also connected the down spout into the underground drain system.

In the end, the customer was very pleased with our work and is already making plans for our next project—a master bathroom remodel.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | | 770-983-4698



On a Budget? Consider the Versatility of Concrete

concrete kitchenWhen many of us think of concrete, we think of bland grey sidewalks and driveways; however, concrete is an extremely versatile and popular medium which has gained popularity both inside and outside the home.  From patios and garden walkways to kitchen floors and countertops, poured concrete has become one of the most commonly used surface materials in luxury home construction.

With unlimited design options that can be enhanced by stains, stencils, stamps, and integral colors, concrete can not only mimic other popular paving materials such as brick, flagstone, slate, and tile, but it can be done in an extremely cost-effective manner.

As an investment, concrete typically costs less than brick or natural stone because it’s generally less labor-intensive to install, and when it comes to the design process, can easily be formed into any shape.  If laid properly, it’s also extremely low maintenance, especially in harsh weather climates where other materials—such as wood—tend to warp or rot.

As far as its look is concerned, the options are virtually endless:

STENCIL PATTERN CONCRETE: This effect is achieved by applying colors and patterns to freshly-laid wet concrete, which helps it mimic the appearance of things like tile, brick, pavers, and cobbled stone.

STAMPED IMPRESSION CONCRETE: This is a system of adding color, pattern, and texture to a plan concrete slab at the time of pouring so that it takes on the appearance of things like slate, rock, cobbled stone, or timber.

CONCRETE RESURFACING: If you’re looking for a slip-resistant, textured, and decorative surface that has excellent durability and abrasion resistance, this spray on resurface coating helps your space mimic things like exposed aggregate, tile, brick, and pavers.

COLORED CONCRETE: If you’re looking for concrete that matches with the rest of your décor, this option has a high quality pigment blend mixed into the concrete prior to pouring, which allows for even, long-term color performance, even if the surface suffers scuffing or chips.

POLYMER CONCRETE: Perfect for domestic and commercial use, this polymer flooring leaves a durable, seamless gloss finish.

CONCRETE OVERLAY: If your existing concrete surface is suffering from structural imperfections such as minor cracks or chips, overlays present a wonderfully cost-effective option for turning troubled, worn surfaces into something beautiful.  With an abundance of decorative options available, you’re sure to find the right overlay for your project.

In the end, whether you’re considering a remodel or are simply looking to perform a minor make-over, consulting with a knowledgeable contractor can help you select the option that best meets your needs.

If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to contact me.  I’d love to speak with you.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | | 770-983-4698