If you’re hoping to sell your Minneapolis home this year, think about upgrading your kitchen. According to the Home Gain National Home Improvement Survey, kitchen upgrades can pay 66% back of your initial investment in home equity. The upgrades don’t need to be expensive, either.
- Lighting: Lighting in the kitchen does more than help you see what you’re doing. It can also show just how long it’s been since the last time the kitchen was updated. One way to replace the clunky old fluorescent light boxes is to install recessed lighting. This style not only gives more illumination, but also makes the room look bigger. For some extra style, think about adding pendant lighting over sinks, peninsulas and islands, too.
- Appliances: Nothing looks better in a kitchen than matching appliances. Stainless steel stoves, dishwashers and fridges are all very popular today, but they’re available in many different colors and shapes, which match any décor. Modern models are also more energy efficient, which is another great selling point.
- Countertops: If you still have tile countertops, look into getting them replaced with something more low maintenance. Buyers don’t want the trouble of cleaning grout, so easy-to-clean options like laminate, recycled glass, quartz, granite, marble and poured concrete are all great ideas to look into.
- Fixtures: A simple upgrade to your sink can make a huge difference for a relatively small price. The convenient pull out spray faucets, for example, usually only cost around $100, and many models come with built in liquid soap dispensers. These details are what make homes stand out.
- Flooring: Finally, the flooring is a vital upgrade to remember. Since the kitchen is a high traffic area, if you still have linoleum, look at getting it replaced with higher quality vinyl, large tiles or even wood. In smaller homes, wood is a great choice because it can make the kitchen look bigger and match the rest of the home, depending on decoration.
Completing one or more of these five basic upgrades can help you sell your home sell more quickly and at a better price. And even if you’re not planning on selling your home any time soon, you’ll enjoy the updated space.
Iron River Construction offers kitchen remodeling packages. See our Kitchens page for details, or call us for more information.
Our decks go through a lot over the winter months, and one of the most destructive forces is frost. Although most of us think of it as being icy lacework on windows or white frost on autumn leaves, it goes deeply beneath the surface to cause devastating damage to your deck.
How it Works
This destructive element is called frost heave, and happens when sandy soils freeze. When they freeze, they expand and lift anything on the surface. The Wikipedia image to the right demonstrates this principle beautifully. The lift can get to at least 4”, which is enough to cause serious structural problems.
Preventing Frost Heave
The structural imbalance caused by the lifting ground causes instability in your deck’s supports and floor. When this happens, it must be torn down and replaced. The only way to prevent frost heave is to make sure the concrete footings are anchored in soil that won’t freeze from year to year. According to the Minnesota State Building Code, that means that footings must extend at least 42” down in Southern Minnesota, and at least 60” in the north.
However, even when you plant the footings deep enough, it’s possible that the freezing soil can still lift the footings by gripping the cement. One way of doing this is to either install waxed cardboard tubes, or sonotubes, around the footings before you put them in. This prevents the surrounding soil from grabbing the underground cement. Another way to prevent heaving is to pour the cement into a bell shape at the bottom to hold the structure in place over the winter. Add iron rebar to give the footings enough strength the resist cracking from the force of frost forming around it.
Since Iron River Construction designs and installs decks, we’d be happy to help you if you had frost heave this year, and prevent it from happening in the future. Now is a great time to evaluate what happened last winter, and then take corrective action so it won’t occur again.
Looking for options for your Minneapolis bathroom remodel? Tub or shower liners, made out of the same material as your existing bathing facilities without fiberglass reinforcement, could be a good choice for you. Before making any decisions, learn about the pros and cons.
One of the inconvenient parts of a massive remodel is the demolition. On most bathroom updates, part of the wall may need to be removed in order for everything to be taken out. Some instances require a full outer wall to be removed, which can get even more complicated and expensive if the bathroom is on a second or third floor. Adding a liner eliminates this step.
Installing a liner takes a shockingly small amount of time when compared with replacing the full unit. Generally, you can call a contractor, who will send a technician for measurements within the week. The tech will then submit the measurements to a manufacturer, who will put the piece together, and send it out for installation. Once the crew is at your home, they should be able to install the liner within a day.
Less Expensive Than Remodel
Although there is a range of prices for liner, depending on your design, preferred material and how much you’d like to change the look of your bathroom, it’s still far less expensive than a remodel. An even less pricy option is to refinish, if all you want is to get rid of scratches and chips.
Unfortunately, liners also come with their risks. One such risk is water leaks, if it wasn’t 100% waterproofed. Eventually, holes can form in the tub, or it may cave in altogether if water gets between the tub and the liner and it’s allowed to sit. This takes place over years, and may also result in an improperly fitted liner.
Although it costs far less to install a liner than it is to do a full remodel, the fixtures alone could cause several hundred dollars, plus you need to pay for installation.
We at Iron River Construction offer bathroom installations and renovations, so give us a call if you’d like more information.
There are many ways to save money on heating and cooling, from installing new windows to updating your furnace, but something as small as adding a new thermostat can go a long way to paying less in energy expenses.
What to Know Before Installing
Before you shop for a thermostat, you need to consider how much flexibility you want in its programming, the model’s voltage requirement and what kind of heating/cooling system you already have installed. There’s a thermostat for any system. Some work only with heating or cooling systems, while others can be used for both your furnace and your AC. If you have more than one heating source, like a forced air furnace supplemented with baseboard heating, selecting a multi-stage heat/cool model will work for you.
- Programmable: Thermostats save money by regulating the temperature of your home according to your specifications. Programmable versions are excellent because you can either set a regular heating/cooling schedule per day, or have one set for the entire week. For instance, if you work from 9-5, you don’t need the air conditioner to run as much during those hours over hot Minnesota summers. You can program the cooling system to switch off after you leave, and then switch back on shortly before you get back, so the house is comfortable when you return. There are systems available which allow you to set different programs for the weekends, and most can be overridden manually.
- Autochangers: For unpredictable temperatures, you can also purchase a model which employs autochanger technology. This type works by switching the heat or air conditioner on when sensors set throughout the house detect the temperature drops or rises too much.
These systems all work to save you money because they automatically turn systems on or off only when they need to be used. They’re a small, but very effective change any homeowner can make to ensure a more energy efficient home.
Springtime storms in Minnesota can be brutal and may damage your roof. Until you find a contractor to permanently fix the storm damage, we advise you to protect your roof with the below methods.
For small problems, like missing shingles, use roofing tar to seal up weakness until they can be fixed for good. Apply it with a drywall knife, or something similar, and spread the tar onto surrounding tiles to waterproof the area for around a month.
Another option is to seal up small gaps and damaged flashing with roofing cement. The most important thing to remember is to use a fair amount of cement, and it will usually last up to a month. In colder weather, it’ll fail sooner. This is a temporary fix, so flashing will still need to be replaced.
Plastic and Tarps
For large scale damage or multiple missing shingles, spread either a thick sheet of plastic or a tarp over it. In order for it to keep water from entering, the material needs to drape over the peak of the house.
The plastic will need to be secured with either bricks or heavy bags of sand, while the tarp can be tied down with either bungee cord or rope. You can also nail the tarp down with 3” nails through the metal loops lining the edges. If using nails, drive them under undamaged shingles about 2” deep and bend the remainder over the tarp to hold it in place. It must be secured all around to prevent the wind from ripping it off. The plastic will last you from a few days to a few weeks, while the tarp can last you between 2 and 3 months.
To make sure the damage will be completely covered by insurance, cover it as soon as possible to protect against further harm. If you don’t, you run the risk of not having the necessary coverage to pay for expenses. Also, it can be helpful for your insurance claim if you take pictures before you cover the damaged section.
Spring storms are a part of life, but you can minimize the harm done when you act quickly enough. Once you’ve made these initial repairs, feel free to give us a call to make the repairs permanent. Iron River Construction is a storm damage repair specialist.