Lancaster PA Remodeling Tips & Tricks

June 22, 2010

Ready for a Home Makeover? Here’s How To Do It.

Today people are looking for ways to improve their homes for better living and more enjoyment. Investing a little time and money will go a long way to transform your home into the pride of the neighborhood.

Curb Appeal – Let’s begin outside. Mow the grass, pull the weeds, edge the lawns and give the bedding areas the attention and maintenance they deserve. Liven up the planting areas with perennials for substance, and then go for color with annuals. Select a color scheme such as reds and yellows then use it throughout the bedding areas for a well-planned professional appearance.

Your Home’s Exterior – Addressing your home’s landscaping is the first step to improving curb appeal. Next you have to pay attention to the physical structure of your home. You can easily make over your home in a few days time by replacing windows, painting, adding new siding, or replacing an old roof. On top of transforming your home, these improvements will increase the value of your home and can greatly improve your home’s energy efficiency. This translates into lower heating bills in the winter and lower cooling costs in the summer. Combine these savings with tax credits and rebates and these improvements will pay for themselves several times over while you experience the pleasure and pride of owning a beautiful home. If you are in Lancaster County, PA, feel free to contact us with any tax credit questions.

Clean Up Your Entry – Analyze your walkway and repair wobbly cobblestones or bricks. If the sidewalk is cracked get it repaired or replaced. Next place to turn is your porch. Erase clutter by removing excess plants, kids toys or old knickknacks. If you’re unsure, remove it. The best bet is to get back to a clean slate with simply a welcome mat and a chair or two. If you’ve got additional room, a nicely placed plant will make the area look inviting and create an ideal area for after-dinner coffee or a glass of wine.

Your Main Entry – One of the most important areas of your home is the main entry. It can set the mood for the homes occupants and visitors. Make your entry room feel comfortable by opening it up and making it feel as big as possible. The first step to this is with the right paint color. Select colors that give the illusion of space and light and even small entry rooms magically seem to double in size. Eliminate clutter, excess furniture, and all unnecessary items from your entry room. Most homes have too much furniture and too many objects occupying valuable space and making living space cramped.


Your Kitchen… Is For Living – Today the kitchen is the most popular room in the home. You can’t truly have a dream home without investing properly in your kitchen. Outdated appliances, cabinets, flooring, countertops, and layout all contribute to an overall feeling that the entire home is outdated. Take stock of your kitchen and identify which of these items need attention. Your kitchen can make or break your homes style so make sure to use a professional, in the end it will make all the difference in the world.

Your Bathroom is Your Sanctuary – The bathroom is also a room where the touch of a professional is important, and like your kitchen, outdated materials, color, and layout can make your bathroom extremely uncomfortable and can severely decrease the overall enjoyment of your home.

Sometimes quick fixes are all you need. Fresh paint, new tile, updated shower or bathtub, new fixtures, etc. When you find that you have more than one of these items it’s time to consider a complete remodel. Today bathroom remodeling is a lot more cost effective than ever before and you’ll be amazed at how an updated bathroom will improve your every day disposition as well as the value of your home.

Lancaster County, PA Residents: If you’d like to setup a free consultation to discuss transforming any part of your home, give me a call today. You’ll be delighted at how easy it is to get started.

Sincerely,

Mike Blank, CGR CAPS
President – MBC Building & Remodeling, LLC
(717) 371-5136
Serving Lancaster County, PA Since 1999!

May 27, 2010

What Home Owners Need to Know About Lead Paint

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting” rule governing the work of professional remodelers in homes with lead-based paint took effect April 22, 2010.

The EPA rule requires lead-safe work practices in pre-1978 homes, including posting warning signs; using disposable plastic drop cloths; cleaning the work area with HEPA vacuuming and wet washing; and individual certification through a training course. The full rule and brochures for consumers can be downloaded from the EPA’s Web site.

A 2006 NAHB study on lead-safe work practices showed that a home was better off after a remodel than before, as long as the work was performed by trained remodelers who clean the work area with HEPA-equipped vacuums, wet washing and use disposable drop cloths.

Summary of the Rule
1. Training and Certification
As of April 2010, remodeling firms working in pre-1978 homes need to be certified. In addition to firm certification, the company must employ a Certified Renovator. When hiring a remodeler, home owners should verify the firm is certified and employs a Certified Renovator to be sure the work is completed properly.

2. Work Practices
The Certified Renovator has a number of responsibilities. The remodeler must distribute the Renovate Right brochure to the homeowner and ask them to sign the pre-renovation form several days before work begins. They must also post warning signs outside the work area and supervise setting up containment to prevent spreading dust. The rule lists specific containment procedures for both interior and exterior projects. It forbids certain work practices including open flame or torch burning, use of a heat gun that exceeds 1100°F, and high-speed sanding and grinding unless the tool is equipped with a HEPA exhaust control. Once the work is completed, the regulation specifies cleaning and waste disposal procedures. Clean up procedures must be supervised by a Certified Renovator.

3. Verification and Record Keeping
After clean up is complete the Certified Renovator must verify by matching a cleaning cloth with an EPA verification card. If the cloth appears dirtier or darker than the card, the cleaning must be repeated.

A complete file of records on the project must be kept by the certified renovator for three years. These records include, but aren’t limited to: verification of owner/occupant receipt of the Renovate Right pamphlet or attempt to inform, documentation of work practices, Certified Renovator certification, and proof of worker training.

Starting in July 2010, remodeling firms are also required to share with home owners a copy of the records created under the rule within 30 days of completing the renovation.

4. Exemptions
It is important to note that these work practices may be waived under these conditions:
• The home or child occupied facility was built after 1978.
• The repairs are minor, with interior work disturbing less than six sq. ft. or exteriors disturbing less than 20 sq. ft.
• If the house or components test lead free by a Certified Risk Assessor, Lead Inspector, or Certified Renovator.
• The homeowner may also opt out by signing a waiver if there are no children under age six frequently visiting the property, no one in the home is pregnant, or the property is not a child-occupied facility. The EPA is revoking the opt-out waiver as of July 2010. This means all remodeling work conducted in pre-1978 housing must comply with the regulation after this date.

Learn more about EPA’s lead paint rule by visiting www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.

Thanks to NAHB for the info.

-Matt Blank
MBCremodeling.com

January 7, 2010

Your home needs attention and it’s time to ‘Spring’ into action!

It may be hard to believe but spring is just around the corner. That means that this is the perfect time to plan for your spring home improvement projects. Spring is the most popular time for projects such as replacement windows, kitchen and bath renovation, new siding and new gutters. It’s easy to understand why, after being cooped up in your home for several weeks you’ve had plenty of time to come up with a healthy to-do-list!

Let’s take a look at some additional home improvement projects that are ideal to have done before summer.

Your Driveway — Once the flowers and buds have fallen off of the trees and overnight temperatures stay well above freezing, consider having your asphalt driveway resealed. This job is a small investment that can prevent an early breakdown and adds curb appeal.

Your Lawn — Invest in your lawn early and you’ll enjoy it through the Fall. Professional aeration, fertilizing and reseeding, will make you the envy of the neighborhood. In the long run you’ll also benefit financially because you’re watering will go further and you’ll have fewer problem areas to deal with the rest of the year.

Your Wood Deck — Having a sealant applied on your deck is important, especially if you haven’t done this in years. It will extend the life of your favorite outdoor gathering spot and by having a professional do it, you can have repairs performed before they become full blown issues.

Your Garage — Do you hate clutter? Of course you do! Then again, the garage is the usual place where all of our stuff tends to gather. Have your garage overhauled with rugged cabinets, shelving, and other organizational helpers. You’ll be amazed at how a professional can turn your garage into one of the nicest rooms in your house.

Your Attic — It’s so easy to forget about your attic until there’s a major problem. Have the flooring, walls and roof checked to see if anything was damaged over the winter. This simple preventative investment saves wise homeowners thousands of dollars.

Your Home’s Exterior — Have your gutters cleaned and covered with gutter protection. Have a professional touch up paint under the soffits, around the windows and shutters, and your doorways. If your home has siding, examine for damage and replace panels as needed. Consider repainting the home if it hasn’t been touched up in years; this is another preventative measure that has the fringe benefit of adding curb appeal.

Your Home’s Interior — Have rooms painted throughout the house or consider repainting every room. If it’s not time for a major bathroom renovation; how about a minor one? Have your shower and tile grouted to keep your bathroom watertight. Have new light fixtures and accessories installed. Have your windows and doors examined. Make sure that they are still doing their job before the summer heat arrives. Arrange an inspection of your central air-conditioning system to make sure that it is ready to go when the first heat wave rolls in.

If you’re tired just reading this article, call us now to discuss your needs! We’ve got the know how to get the projects done right. We’ll do all the heavy lifting and you just get ready to enjoy the summer!

-Mike Blank, CGR CAPS
http://www.mbcremodeling.com

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