Monthly Archives: January 2018

Where do I start my remodeling project?

remodeled kitchen that adds valueRenovating the bathroom. Remodeling a kitchen. Finishing the basement. Updating the laundry room. New home remodeling projects are exciting. Just the thought of the finished room can give you goose bumps (and lots of oohs and ahs when the project is done!).

What your home renovation shouldn’t bring is buyer’s regret. Before you take your first sledge hammer swing, use these planning steps to make sure you’re happy with the finished project.

Decide what you want from your new room.

Before you look at flooring or choose a color for the walls, think about what you want from your new room. Do you need a more functional layout? Are there any things about your current room you really hate? What do you want out of the new room?

For example, if your bathroom is your next remodeling project, think about functionality. Do you need room for a bath tub? How many people are using the bathroom? Do you need a luxurious master bath? Or a more functional bathroom for your kids? Does your guest bathroom need lots of storage for your out-of-town guests?

Finishing a basement can come with even more questions. What do you need the space for: storage, rec room, media room, game room, man cave, craft room, bedroom?

Asking yourself these questions can help you as lay out the room and make decisions about materials for the room. If you are remodeling a bathroom for small children, look for materials that are durable and water resistant (for all those fun bath times and impromptu water fights!). For a basement media room, soundproofing is the theme as you sort through your options for insulation, flooring, and furniture.

Get ideas.

Don’t feel you have to wrack your brain for an original new layout or design. Look up ideas for your project on the internet (such as Houzz). Make a list of your favorite ideas or bookmark rooms that you like. If you want to find in-person inspiration, head into your local tile or flooring store to see materials. For advice from a pro, choose a store that has a designer on staff that can lend their expertise to your project.

Set a budget+.

The answers to your questions may guide your material decisions, but your budget has the final say. Decide how many funds you want to allocate to your project. Don’t shy away from your project if your budget is not overwhelming; little changes (such as painted cabinets, new flooring or tile) can make a big difference. If your room is large, such as a basement, ask your store about discounts for volume purchases. Be sure to include funds in the budget to pay for any surprises that can arise along the way, such as rewiring, plumbing, water damage, or anything else that could come up during the renovation.


Decide whether you are going to tackle the project (or parts of the project) yourself. As you shop, ask about discounts for materials you can buy yourself (and use this list of floors you can install as a DIY project). If you are feeling less than handy, choose simpler projects that you can easily complete.

If just the term do-it-yourself makes you cringe, or you don’t have time, add ‘look for a local contractor’ to your to-do list. Ask your friends and family for recommendations, or look for a list of local contractors online. If they have a website or social media page, browse through their gallery, reviews, and testimonials to get an idea of the quality of their work. Vet your contractors carefully; you are trusting your home and funds to this person. Ask them these questions:

  • Do you have any past clients I can contact for testimonials? (Make sure you ask past clients for information about payments and if they are satisfied.)
  • How long you have you been a contractor?
  • Have you completed a project like mine before?
  • Will you get permits for the project?
  • What is the timeline for the project?
  • How do you handle payments? Do you require a down payment?
  • When can you get started?
  • Do you have any ideas for my project? (Don’t forget to ask this. Experienced contractors have seen it all and can give you great ideas for your project.)
  • When will I hear from you again? Do you need anything from me?

Finalize your plan.

Once you’ve done your research, finalize the plan for your new space (you’re on your way to the finished project!). If you haven’t done so yet, head into your local stores to choose flooring, cabinets, window treatments (or to ask a designer to find the right design that fits your needs and preferences). Most importantly, make sure your layout is set; making changes to the room layout can incur significant costs that can increase your budget. Once you’ve got all the details set, it’s time to dream of the final project and look forward to enjoying your finished space.

Ways to Save Money on Basement Flooring

family in basement media roomFinishing your basement involves a lot of steps: waterproofing, framing, drywalling, lighting, plumbing (if needed), flooring, furnishings. All those steps add up, both in terms of energy and funds (especially if you get expensive surprises along the way!). If you find those costs are adding up OR if you’re looking for ways to stretch those budget dollars, use these tips to save money on one key part of your basement project: flooring.

Invest in carpet remnants.

Carpet is one of the most common choices for basement flooring; it’s soft, affordable, and comes in a variety of piles and colors. Carpet also comes with a low-cost option: carpet remnants. Carpet remnants are what’s left of a roll of carpet and are usually sold at a discount at your local flooring store. The only draw back is that remnants usually are smaller and fit only in smaller rooms. However, carpet remnants are still perfect for smaller bedrooms, craft rooms, offices, or any other basement space. Ask your local flooring pros what size remnants they have available that fit in your basement.

Buy a DIY floor.

If you want to save on labor costs (and feel fairly handy), choose a flooring that you can install yourself. Wood floors should not be installed in basements (here’s why wood floors and basements should not mix), but engineered wood and luxury vinyl tile can be installed as a floating floor. Head into your local flooring store to ask them to show you DIY floor samples you can install yourself and fit your budget.

Look into carpet tiles.

Carpet tiles offer some of the same benefits of carpet, but with a do-it-yourself option. Carpet tiles are not installed with a padding which makes it less complicated than carpet installation. Another benefit of carpet tiles is that if one is damaged or stained, it can be replaced with another carpet tile. Carpet tiles come in a variety of colors and patterns, giving you plenty of options for a custom, unique flooring design. If you want to save money on more than installation, head into a local flooring store and ask about a discount for a volume purchase.

Waterproof, waterproof, waterproof.

When you finally complete a basement installation, it’s an accomplishment—especially if you finish under budget. Don’t expose yourself—or your budget—to the added expense of replacing the floor. Make sure your waterproofing job is complete. If you have any doubts, install a floor that is not easily damaged by flooding: vinyl (we’ve even seen vinyl flooring survive being submerged under flood waters in a basement). Ask your flooring salesperson to recommend vinyl floors that can hold up to water and look great, then sit back and enjoy your finished basement (done under budget!).

What flooring can I install in my basement?

carpet in basement that can handle basement moistureFinishing your basement is an exciting project. There’s so much empty space and so many possibilities. From top to bottom, there’s a million decisions to make: paint color, furniture, trim color, flooring. The last item on the list, flooring, comes with a small twist.

That small twist is water. Because basements are below ground, moisture seeps through the walls and floors. Not all types of flooring can take the moisture, leaving you with damaged and stained floors that you need to replace within a few years.

We’ve divided your basement flooring options into two categories: DIY & installer (schedule an installer by contacting local professionals). The DIY basement flooring options allow you to save money by installing the floors yourself. You can find these floors at your local flooring stores (ask about a discount for buying in bulk). Use these tips to guarantee a successful basement floor installation.

DIY Options

Luxury Vinyl

Luxury vinyl can check off a lot of boxes for basement flooring: the product comes in planks that can be installed as a DIY project, isn’t affected by moisture, and comes in a variety of looks and colors. These floors come in long tiles that give the floor a modern look, wood that looks like genuine hardwoods, or in a stone pattern that looks like slate or porcelain.

Engineered Hardwood

To be clear, hardwood floors should not be installed in a basement because of moisture. Water seeps up through the basement slab, warping and damaging wood flooring. If you still want wood flooring in your basement, choose the next best thing: engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is made up of many layers, including the top layer which is 100% wood. Because of the construction, engineered wood is safe to install over a concrete slab. (Many engineered hardwood floors can also be installed as a floating floor.)


Porcelain and ceramic tile looks great in any basement, and are available in long slats, square tiles, colors, and patterns. Tiles are a natural conductor of heat, which make them a great flooring to install over radiant heating. Today’s tile products look like stone or wood and can be installed with or without grout lines.

Carpet tile

Carpet tile is an ideal option for basements. They offer the softness of carpeting, a custom design, and a unique way to clean-up. Depending on the carpet tile you choose, carpet tiles can be laid out in any pattern you want. If a carpet tile gets dirty, it can be cleaned or swapped out with another carpet tile. Carpet tiles are ideal for office spaces, rec rooms, day care spaces, and game rooms.

Installer Options


For homeowners who don’t want to take on a do-it-yourself project, carpet is a great choice for basements. Carpet is soft, easy-to-care-for, and a warm barrier over a basement concrete slab. Today’s carpet comes in almost every color and style, and can fit any budget. If you’re worried about the latter, consider purchasing a carpet remnant. Carpet remnants are the “leftovers” from a roll; these pieces can be fairly large and are sold at a discounted rate. If you’re considering a remnant, visit your local flooring store to see what options are available for your basement.


Vinyl flooring can handle all the water in your basement; we’ve even seen some vinyl floors survive after being submerged under water (perfect for a basement that is prone to flooding-make sure you tell your flooring salesperson that your basement floods). Vinyl floors are typically glued down and come in a variety of colors and patterns.