Summer is here, and the warmer weather makes it the best time to spend outdoors. Another great thing about warmer weather is that you can comfortably move around without worrying about being cold or bundled up. With great weather conditions, it makes for the perfect opportunity to start indoor, and outdoor remodeling projects. However, we highly suggest focusing on mainly outdoors for now until winter returns. The promise of no rain, or any other weather conditions that may hinder projects such as roofing or exterior painting make summertime the peak season for all the projects you’ve wanted to get done.

Focus on these renovations:

Roofing

Summertime is the ideal time for roof repair with how predictable the weather is. Most roofing projects warrant for nice temperatures without the risk of bad weather like rain. The common roof repair like a quick patching or securing loose shingles is an easy fix. With enough confidence and research, you can roof inspect yourself to determine if there is any noticeable damage, and if so, to what degree. If your roof has been well maintained, your chances of needing any work are slim. Any large amount of damage such as leaks are signs you may need to hire a professional roofing specialist to address this issue.

Patio

This is the occasion where for most people it is about spending time outside and enjoying the outdoors while the sun shines. Without a patio deck in your home, then you’re not enjoying the outdoors to its full potential. A patio deck not only creates a space for entertaining, it increases the value of your home since it’s considered a luxury feature.

The typical standard level deck or patio are easy to build with extra helping hands and knowledge or power tools. However, a raised deck will require the work of a professional contractor with skills and experience building decks or patios. The most preferred type of wood for DIY patios is pressure treated wood. It’s not only user-friendly, but it also comes at an affordable price. Let’s not forget about modified wood or composites, both work great and last longer. You also won’t have to be concerned with having to re-stain/seal that is usually needed when working with wood.

Bathroom

In the middle of the heat, you find yourself working on your home; so the options are to upgrade your bathroom or a complete remodel. Kitchen and bathrooms are the two high traffic rooms in a home that can make or break a home when back on the market. Kitchen remodeling is a bigger commitment while also being an even bigger financial investment and leaving you without a means of cooking. Bathroom remodeling is easier to work with considering there’s usually two in a household.

A few easy DIY upgrades are getting a new faucet or a swapping for a better shower head. Polishing your tub and sink can give it a squeaky clean appearance. That may not always do the trick, if your tub and sinks are outdated, now is the time to consider replacing it entirely. Warmer weather also allows for tiling projects in the bathroom to go smoothly. Bathrooms are a smaller space in your home so you can usually renovate them to achieve your ideal “magazine worthy: space without needing to shell out a fortune.

It’s one of the most important rooms in the house, and somewhat unassumingly so. It’s such a necessity that we sometimes overlook the potential it has to also be beautiful. Over the years, it’s certainly seen an awakening in the design world and earned the attention it deserves. Bathroom remodeling is one of the most sought after renovations in the industry. Homeowners are aware that if you have an outdated bathroom, this lessens the value of a home and could deter a potential offer on a property if you’re looking to sell. Buyers are looking for bathrooms that are remodeled and up to date. 

So whether you want to remodel for your own enjoyment, or to bring up the resale value of your home, here are some trends in 2020 that are sure to be inspiring. Some are simple and appealing to a wide audience, while others a little more bold and aimed towards risk takers.

Stand Alone Tubs

We’re seeing separate and stand alone bathtubs make a comeback in modern day bathroom remodeling. They’re not only visually stunning, but luxurious in the way that they only serve one purpose – bath time. You want to shower in a hurry? Do it over there, in the shower. You want to relax and enjoy a nice soak? Come right in and get comfortable. Whether you choose an old Victorian claw foot tub, or a super sleek and modern design, a stand alone bath tub will demand appreciation in any bathroom. 

It Wood Be So Nice

Rich, warm, natural wood is making a huge splash in the bathroom remodeling. With recent trends favoring mostly modern and light, with lots of white all around, wood accents and focal points give depth and warmth to the space, keeping it from looking too sterile. It brings in a natural element that’s needed among all the tile and hardware. From vanities, built-in shelving, wall accents and more, incorporating the earthy feeling and warmth of wood is a great way to update a bathroom.

Black Beauty

If you don’t think black is on the list when it comes to bathroom color compatibility, be ready to have your mind changed. In the last several years we’ve seen a big trend with the color grey in bathrooms – grey cabinetry, tile, walls, etc. Well, we’ve seemed to take a chance on being bold, and are now going full dark mode. Black is a strikingly beautiful contrast in a space with a mixture of colors and materials. Crisp white walls with black light fixtures, sleek and solid black vanities against shiny subway tile, or a black accent wall gives a clean atmosphere a bit of an edge. Many modern home renovations will showcase the color black throughout the home in various ways.

Floating Vanities 

Modern design has a big emphasis on functionality. We’ve come up with innovative ways to save space, create it, and use it. One of these new design tricks, if you will, is a floating vanity. This is when it’s built directly into the wall, without having to stand on or touch the floor at all. It keeps the floor space open and clean looking, giving the vanity the illusion of “floating.” Many people will do this with nightstands in the bedroom as well. It’s a very common design choice in minimalist and modern design. 

A Touch of Gold

One of the biggest trends we’re seeing in bathroom remodeling design is gold fixtures and finishes. Different variations from a dusty light gold, to a shiny and bold brass tone. It works well with other current trends, such as bright and bold splashes of color, or sophisticated and muted palettes; adding the perfect pop of energy to each feel. Gold adds warmth to the space, in contrast to the usual shiny and polished chrome look, that can feel too modern and cold. 

We hope to see more new and exciting design trends soon, and will be sure to share them with you! If you’re in the market for a bathroom remodel, don’t hesitate to take some chances and make a creative design choice here and there. Subtly and boldness can work very well together. 

White Kitchen

Despite if it’s a traditional, modern with sleek accents, or simple, a white kitchen will always beat the test of time. The color white in a kitchen screams light, bright, open, and timeless, thus making it a foolproof wise choice for your kitchen update or remodel. 

Relaxing Bedrooms

The bedroom design trend that won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon is… soft colors. Experts say the shifts towards delicate, calming colors creates a more tranquil environment. Soft gray color schemes are a perfect balance to match the white walls and bedding.

Black and White

Often, color trends come and go, but black and white, nevertheless stays a classic duo. This high-contrast combination generates drama in any space chosen. Transform any contractor type bathroom into a sophisticated, refined space with white tiled walls, and black porcelain floors with an elegant chandelier hanging above. 

Vintage Pieces

One design rule that’s faithful? Vintage. Pieces. In every home, a unique vintage piece will fit seamlessly into any room, even newly decorated spaces. Worn or distressed pieces created a collected, designer appearance to your space. 

Marble

This stone looks fantastic in the kitchen, bathroom, floors, and almost any other space! It’s a timeless material that won’t be going out of style anytime soon. 

Freestanding Tub

Regardless of where, or when your home was built, installing a freestanding tub screams one thing: luxury. Picture coming home from a long day at work, or a day out from being active, run the water, soak, and enjoy it for decades to come. 

Navy Blue

You can always rely on navy blue to stay classic. This vivid color remains a staple among colors that aren’t going away. So go for it, take home that navy couch or paint your accent wall blue. Next, switch out throw pillows and accessories to keep decor current. 

Built-in Wall Shelving

Storage that’s built already built in your home provides utility without additional furniture and can be a bonus selling point in the case you ever decided to put your home on the market. This extra storage space attains a warming feel of a classic in-home library while at the same time giving it a modern look of white bookshelves. 

Vivid Front Door

Curb appeal means the home is always in style. An effortless way to captivate charm is by adding a bold front door. Select a bright hue and paint it over the weekend.  

Metallics

Gold, Silver, Brass, and Copper will add shine that never goes out of style. Mingle them together with mirror pieces to reflect the shine surrounding them. 

Fireplaces

Love outdoor bonfires? Stoves and fireplaces have gone from being an essential, to nice to haves luxuries. However, the dire urge of these innovative extras show zero signs of burning out. 

Our Top Picks for Kitchen Countertop Materials

One of the most important and difficult decisions you will make in the process of a kitchen renovation is what type of countertop material. With so many choices available at a homeowners’ fingertips, it becomes even more difficult. Since this surface area has a strong influence on many kitchen palettes, it is crucial to select what appeals most to you, and will hold up the activity in your kitchen.

1. Marble

Due to the high price, marble kitchen countertops are not seen often in whole kitchens. But marble has still kept its unrivaled, classic look that always appears to be in style. To achieve the clean, luxurious look, use it as a countertop choice on an island or inset at a baking center.

Pro: BEAUTIFUL, heatproof, waterproof, softer stone than granite,

Con: more expensive than granite and other stones, scratches and stains easily, porous, may need resealing occasionally according to manufacturer’s instructions

2. Engineered Stone

This particular selection of stone is composed of 93% quartz stone , and 7% polymer resin. The range of colors is larger than of granite and has a non porous that resists scratches.

Pros: easy to maintain without annual sealing, resistant to stain and acid,

Cons: Expensive, but comparable to granite and significantly cheaper than marble.

3. Solid Surface

This surface is exactly what they are called, solid, all scratches can be sanded out.

Pros: comes in a variety of colors and patterns, seamless, and stain resistant

Cons: susceptible to hot pans and stains which can damage the surface, moderately expensive.

4. Ceramic Tile

Not only is ceramic tile easy to maintain, it is durable, and is a great choice for countertops in a standard home.

Pros: withstands hot pans, easy to clean, larger range in price, texture, color and design

Cons: surface is not entirely balanced, chipping and cracking can occur, grout becomes susceptible to stains, and custom designed tiles can raise the price .

5. Wood or Butcher Block

Wood offers a warm and homey look, and is available in a wide variety of colors and finishes. For a few, wood and countertops just don’t appear to mix. However, finding the right high-quality wood with the right sealer can make for a beautiful and long lasting kitchen countertop.

Pro: Easy to clean, smooth, little maintenance besides the occasional sanding and re-sealing if necessary

Cons: frequent contact with water and stain over time makes wood susceptible to damage, scratches need to be oiled and or sealed

6. Granite Countertops

Granite is easily the countertop material of choice – this natural stone has plenty of character with unique grains, colors, customizable finishes, and defines the elegance in a kitchen. When sealed accordingly, it’s one of the most reliable options out there. As the popularity of granite rises, the price decreases. The natural beauty of the stone compliments even the most modest kitchen.

Pros: sustains heat, comes in a wide array of colors to pick from, will last a lifetime, 2nd hardness rating, and has a high value to homeowners.

Cons: can be expensive, but becoming more modest, requires some maintenance, stains can be permanent if not sealed properly, dullness can occur if you cut on it with knives, potential to crack if not stressed or installed inadequately.

Okay, so home renovations aren’t as bad as social distancing in the Age of Corona, but they’re no Sunday walk in the park, either. If you have friends or family who’ve renovated, they’ve no doubt told you of the horrors of not having a kitchen for twelve weeks, bathing at the Y, or worse! Okay, even that’s a bit of a stretch, but then again, not entirely. To prevent yourself from spiraling out of control while you try to navigate the impossible of Remodeling, here are our best tips for preparing properly for your renovation.

Research
Instead of indulging in Facebook or Dr. Pimple Popper videos, spend your time researching! Not just what types of design trends are in for inspiration – though, let’s be honest, that’s the best part – but everything from average expected cost to hiring a contractor to sourcing affordable materials. The more research you do, the better versed you will be in decision making and planning. Don’t forget to research permits, insurance, as well as projected timeframes and inconveniences. Having to go without a kitchen or bathroom – or home in some cases – for a period of time affects not only your daily grind and habits, but your monthly overhead as well. Which brings us to phase 2.

Budgeting
Obviously, you need an idea of what you are likely to spend and what you can spend. You may not get the room of your dreams, but you can still make changes that up your property value and quality of life while sticking to a budget. When it comes to how much you have to spend, the rule to remember in borrowing is never borrow more than you can comfortably pay back. Life happens. Be modest with the added overhead you can handle in paying off a Home Equity loan or line of credit.

Before coming up with plans and schemes, put aside 20% of your entire budget for emergencies. It could be a pipe bursting, damaged wood, mold, electrical issues… the list goes on. But it is far better to have an emergency fund and not need it than it is to have an emergency and need some funds. If you don’t use it, you can either leave it be and not pay interest on that amount, or spoil yourself with an upgrade like a new couch or custom curtains.

Once you begin allotting your budget, do it in a spreadsheet. Serious nerd-alert here, but a good spreadsheet never does you wrong. Itemize everything, print copies, provide them to your contractor, foreman, and spouse, and reference it daily – and as needed – to stay on track.

Ground Rules And Access
If there’s one thing you can’t truly prep for, it’s the real time experience of a reno. Like having a baby. You can nest, set up the nursery, child-proof everything! But when that bundle of joy arrives no amount of blog reading will paint the real picture of sleepless nights and vigilant care and attention to their needs. Suffice to say, your daily life will be uprooted with the kitchen being in the bathroom, no running water, and strangers coming in and out of your house.

Lay ground rules. When work begins and ends, clean-up and storage expectations, and pathways through the house including to and from the bathroom. More than that, designate a space that is all yours; untouched by mess and chaos. It’s no storm you can’t weather, but having a sanctuary and pieces of routine that aren’t interrupted will make it easier.

Our last bit of advice? It’s like we said; no amount of preparation can truly prepare you for what will happen. It may be nothing, it may be something huge. But with these bases covered you’re sure to sail through these seas with confidence and a little more ease.

If you’re in the renovation process, the topic is bound to come up in social conversations. If you’re like us and are mortally embarrassed when someone corrects your pronunciation of quinoa (seriously, what is that word???) then it stands to reason that you’d like to know what you’re talking about when friends start asking you about your home improvement project. Social situations aside, it’s also helpful to know what type of endeavor you’re headed for prior to breaking ground. So whether you want to sound more intellectual or have a better grasp on the task at hand, we’re here to delineate between the renovation and the remodel.

Interchangeable, Right?
Maybe in that social setting. But part of budgeting and preparing for a home improvement job is research. There are differences in everything from what’s being done to the final price tag. Research the wrong thing and it’ll rock your world. In most basic terms, a renovation is a substantially larger project, while remodeling is on a much smaller scale.

What’s Done
For renovations, everything plus the kitchen sink. Okay, not every project will include the kitchen sink. But in a renovation you’re looking at either scrapping everything and starting fresh, or making drastic changes to the structure itself.

Remodeling means you’re changing as many things as you want, but keeping the layout intact. In general, it’s mostly cosmetic upgrades. If you decide to knock out cabinets and go for something custom, that’s a reno project, but refacing them with new hardware and such is remodeling.

Price Tag
This is where you really want to understand the difference between the two. While it’s totally possible to spend as much (or close) on a remodel as it is a renovation, you’ll never spend on a renovation what you spend on a minor remodel. Renovations typically cost around $10,000 and up. Converting or adding on a room to your house can land you closer to the $100,000 range. Customization drives up prices as does the amount of work being done.

What makes a remodel expensive is the cost of materials and large purchases. Say, for example, you’re remodeling your kitchen. Throw in some marble countertops and the price skyrockets compared to if you took the cheaper tile route. Replacing all the appliances (dishwasher $500+, fridge $1,000+, stove/oven $500+) will also add to the final ticket price. However, you can instantly touch up your kitchen with a fresh coat of paint, new fixtures and hardware for less than $1,000. Even if you did all these things, plus new appliances, floors, countertops, and refaced cabinets you would still spend exponentially less than $10,000 and get an equally dramatic change.

Does It Really Matter?
Most likely, your contractor will know what you mean regardless of the verbiage you choose to use. Same goes with your friends and family. But in terms of providing a good reference point in mentally prepping for what’s in store, we find this trivial information to be of the utmost help.

Not every home renovation/remodel project needs the professional touch. Sure, the more complicated arenas of demolition and building or working with utilities is better left to the experienced. But when it comes to more mundane jobs, you’ll be fine with your two hands. Painting, for example, is one of the quickest ways to make a dramatic shift in your home without the need for a professional. If you’re in a renovation project yourself, you can save money by taking on this later step of the process. Before you get started, though, heed this advice for results that look like you shelled out the big bucks to make it happen.

Paint And The Weather
Truth be told, while it’s a relatively easy job (in the sense that literally anybody can do it) it’s an involved process that takes time, attention to detail, and steady work. You may not think the weather would affect your paint project at first, but it does. How? Drying times. Cold and humid weather extends the dry times, which extends the total time it will take to finish. If you’re working on a tight schedule, check the weather and pick a weekend that is likely to be sunny and warm. If you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, it’s still manageable, but maybe don’t make any plans until it’s finished.

Tools For Success
If there’s one thing that’s going to result in success or failure, it’s having the right tools for the job. Specifically your paint, brushes, tape and rollers. These are where you want to spend your money. It isn’t so much about brand as it is quality and what’s right for your job.

The texture of your walls affect brushes and rollers. Highly textured walls need a roller with a thick nap (that’s the fluff of the roller). Too thin a nap and your paint won’t cover all the crevices of your popcorn drywall. Too thick for a smooth surface and you’re likely to end up with an uneven application and waste paint.

You want an angled brush that’s at least 2 inches wide and made of material that best suits the type of paint you’re using. The angle will allow you to reach into those corners and cut around trim and edges. Latex paint pairs best with a synthetic brush. If you’re using an oil-based paint, though, you want a natural paint brush (usually made with hog hair). Consult a team member at your local hardware/paint store for ultimate guidance.

Tape matters. You might think you can get away with the cheap brand, but taking that route can lead to bleeding and messy lines around your baseboards, the ceiling, and trim. All other tools, however (trays, liners, handles/extensions, dropcloths), don’t need to be top of the line. Save money here.

Where do you want to invest the most money? On your paint. A good quality paint (and there are plenty out there to choose from, fear not) will be the difference between a sophisticated, sleek finish, to something that looks, well… cheap.

Execution
There’s always a method to the madness. First, you always want to clear the area, properly store valuables, remove switchplates, and tape everything not being painted. You also want to clean the walls and allow them plenty of time to dry. As with anything, a clean surface is the first step to success. Dust and then wipe stains with a damp cloth (adding soap as needed; dish soaps with a degreasing agent for extra oomph). Best to do all of this prep work the night before you begin painting, so you can start fresh first thing in the morning.

Work from hard to easy. Cutting around the trim will be the most time consuming portion as it requires precision, care, and attention to detail. Always have a damp rag nearby should you accidentally spill or paint something that’s not supposed to be painted.

Because trim work is so meticulous and time consuming, always start with the edges and then fill in the blanks. If your room is particularly large or has lots of edgework, you may need to do one wall at a time. You don’t want the edges to become too dry before filling in with your roller.

After you’ve got the edges done, fill in with your roller in an “N” pattern. Applying the paint this way – as opposed to straight up and down – prevents lines and streaking, leaving you with a smooth, even coat. Wait about an hour between coats. If you’re going one wall at a time or a large room you may find that by the time you finish wall 4, wall 1 will be ready to go. You’ll know it’s time to apply the next coat when it is dry to the touch; not too dry, not too tacky. Always apply two coats.

Let your room dry overnight before restoring order to the chaos. Patience is a virtue. The last thing you want is to move furniture back in before it’s truly dry, bump a wall, and then you mess up the paint job and get paint on your lovely velvet couch. All in all, you can expect to spend a solid weekend (beginning Friday night and finishing Sunday afternoon) from start to finish on this project. It will be work, but it will be worth it. No go forth and conquer!