Monthly Archives: January 2016

4 Home Improvement Projects that Add Value to Your Home

remodeled kitchen that adds valueThousands of home owners make the leap into home remodeling and renovations every year.  Not every homeowner takes their decision a step farther, and evaluates the return on their investment. If you’re one of those fiscally conscious home owners trying to decide where to put your home improvement dollars to best use, we’ve compiled a list of the top home improvement project that can get you more than a 90% return (on average) on your investment at resale.

Updated kitchen

Renovating or updating your kitchen is dollars well spent from a home equity stand point. How much you should do is open to interpretation, however. If you are updating your kitchen to sell your home, make sure you don’t put more money in than you’ll get out of the project. Make updates that are appropriate for your neighborhood so you can avoid the pain of losing thousands of dollars because you put in high end counter tops and floors. If you are planning on staying in your home, update your kitchen to your preferences—just be aware that not all of your $75,000 investment may translate into home equity (dependent on your area).

kitchen back splashOnce you’ve done your research, plan and design your kitchen accordingly. Replace cabinets that aren’t functional, update your counter tops, and add a back splash to give your kitchen a cohesive look. If your flooring is “so 20 years ago,” have a timeless option installed or install one these DIY flooring options yourself.

Bathroom

“Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes” is the common saying. It applies to real estate transactions and home equity. If you have a bathroom with broken tiles, worn cabinets and disgusting flooring, roll up your sleeves (or hire someone to dig up their sleeves) and give your bathroom a complete face lift. Your labor does pay off, as long as you are smart about the amount you invest in your bathroom remodel.

Finished Basement

Any time you add square footage to your home, you’ll see an increase in square footage. If you’re thinking of adding that square footage in your basement, make sure you repair all water issues to reduce your chance of damage from flooding or water leaks. When finishing your basement, remember that you need to be more selective choosing your flooring than in other rooms. Wood is not recommended because your slab is porous; we’ve given you a complete list of other stylish options in our recent blog post.

Finished Attic

bed and night table in attic bedroom that adds valueFor a good investment, turn your attic into a bedroom or master bed and bath. A finished attic bedroom gets you the best return on your investment. If you’re considering including a master bathroom to your plan, contact a plumber for a project quote; adding plumbing can be a significant investment and can reduce the return on your investment from a home equity stand point.

If you’re looking for other ways to increase your home equity, consider building a deck or installing a patio; both projects add some value to your home. Even adding wood floors to your home can give you an uptick in your value. If you’re considering wood floors, make sure you do your research to find out if wood floors what to expect from your new floors and contact experts for information and pricing. A little expert help can make you look like an expert when you assess your new increased home value.

Your Top 5 Basement Flooring Options: Pros & Cons

finished basement plans, paintbrush, and paint swatches on white backgroundThinking of renovating or finishing your basement? Along with all the fun choices of furniture, paint colors, and what kind of bar you want installed, you’ll have to choose a floor to go with it. Because you’re looking for basement flooring, the task is a lot more complicated. Basement floors have to be laid over concrete, which is notoriously porous, allowing moisture to seep through. Flooring installed in basements also has to deal with temperature changes that can cause shrinking and expanding.

For that exact reason, solid wood flooring should NOT be installed in basements. You do have a number of other options perfect for your basement. We’ve listed them, along with the pros and cons of each basement flooring option.

Luxury Vinyl

Luxury vinyl is one of the top options in the flooring market, for good reason: it’s easy-to-clean, beautiful, durable, and has a scary resemblance to wood and stone (so realistic you almost can’t tell!). As a basement floor, luxury vinyl can handle water spills, porous concrete, and (almost) anything else, you can throw at it.

Pros: spills can be wiped up easily, looks just like wood and stone, has no problem with water spills, durable

Cons: can scratch

Engineered Hardwood

We know we just said not to install solid wood flooring in your basement, but engineered wood is a different story. Engineered hardwood is not as prone to problems with temperature changes because engineered hardwood is constructed of many layers.

Pros: beautiful look of wood, durable, easy to clean

Cons: may warp from water spills, price per square foot is more expensive than other options

Carpet

carpet for basementCarpet is a popular choice for basements, and it’s easy to see why: it’s soft and comfortable. Homeowners with carpet say they don’t notice the coldness of a basement floor, and it comes in a ton of colors and looks. If you have a small room in your basement, inquire about carpet remnants. Though the selection is limited, carpet remnants cost less and are ideal for small spaces.

Pros: soft, durable, spills can be cleaned, affordable

Cons: harder to clean up than a hard floor

Carpet squares

Want to avoid carpet installation costs? Consider carpet tiles which are easy to clean up, but not as soft as traditional carpeting. If a carpet square gets dirty, just pop it up and replace it with another carpet tile.

Pros: great for kid’s spaces because tiles are easy to replace, affordable

Cons: not everyone loves the look, there is no padding under tiles as there is with carpet

Vinyl Sheet

Vinyl sheet flooring is so durable that we’ve seen it hold up under water—literally, under water—in a flooded basement. As such, vinyl sheet is easy-to-clean, affordable and comes in a variety of styles.

Pros: durable, easy-to-clean, budget-friendly, available in styles that look like stone and wood

Cons: can scratch

Want to see your options in person? Stop in at any Y’s Way to view your basement floor options, get information about the cost, and choose your favorite floor for your basement. If you are installing radiant floor heating in your basement, make sure you mention it when shopping. Some floors are not recommended for installation over radiant floor heating, and one of our flooring experts can show you what basement flooring products can work in your space. They’ll help you sift through your options and make a choice, so you can move on to decorating (and finishing) your new basement rooms.

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Carpet for High Traffic Areas

Three little friends kids playing with wooden blocks on durable carpetEvery home has high traffic areas: your living room or family room, stairway, hallways, front foyers—any room of your home that is “lived in.” These are the rooms that take a beating from frequent foot (and paw) traffic: the stairway you use to get up to your bedroom once, twice or several times a day; the hallway your kids play hockey in every night; the play room reserved just for your grand kids; the family room where your toddlers play (and jump and crawl and sing) in; the room that your dogs use for tug-of-war.

The good news is you don’t have to give up on the idea of soft, comfortable carpet for your home; even a house full of hooligans can have carpeting in their home that looks great, and stays looking great, in the midst of all that foot (and paw) traffic. On the other side of the coin, even if these rooms don’t look like a tornado hit them, choosing a durable carpet that can take all the walking, running, jumping and dancing can be a challenge because of all the different carpet products on the market. So how do you choose the right carpet for your high traffic areas? You can start by using these tips:

Nix shag carpet.

As soft and cushioning as a shag carpet may be, shag carpet is not built for high traffic areas. When we refer to shag, we’re not referring to your grandma’s orange and green carpet, but rather carpet that has a longer carpet thread and deep pile.

Consider the color.

Choosing the color of your carpet is not just about aesthetics. As tempting as that neutral carpeting may be, darker color or multi-color carpet can hide the stains and dirt that come with kids, pets, and high traffic areas.

Look for durability features.

family with dog playing on carpetToday’s carpets are built for durability that its predecessors could only imagine. Some carpet products are stain resistant, waterproof, antimicrobial—one carpet even freshens the air! If you have kids that spill (a lot) or pets that stain, ask about carpets with durability features that can take the wear and tear of everyday living in a busy household. You know your family and home best; what features do you need in your new carpet?

Think about carpet tiles.

If you have an area where your kids or pets run wild, such as a play room or porch for your cats, research carpet tiles. Carpet tiles look good, and can be easily replaced when stained or spilled on.

Consider long-term carpet care.

The right carpet for your high traffic area is easy to care for so it makes sense to think about it now. Ask your carpet salesman for clean up tips, ease of clean up, and how often you should schedule a carpet cleaning to keep it in optimum condition. You should even consider the type of vacuum cleaner you own or are going to purchase to care for your carpet, because some vacuums can damage your new carpeting (we’ve wrote about how to choose the best vacuum here).

Choosing the right flooring for your high traffic area is not a small decision, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can ask us questions via email, on our Facebook page, with a phone call, or by stopping in. We’ll help you choose the right carpet for your high traffic area that looks great and can take drink spills, pet stains, constant foot traffic, dog (and cat) chases, and anything else you can throw at your carpet.