Advanced Builders & Contractors Blog: Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

10 Luxury Home Additions That Will Be the Envy of Your Neighbors

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

Creating the house of your dreams is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with many exciting possibilities. As you plan the layout and features of your home, consider function, fun and the return your house will bring if you ever choose to sell.

What features can you upgrade to be convenient and lasting? What elements can you incorporate to bring joy and a sense of wonder into your space? Here are 10 unique luxury home additions to take your living space to the next level:

1. Elevated Exterior

Creating a beautiful exterior will elevate the entire feel of your home. First impressions matter, and the outside deserves as much attention as the inside. Curb appeal has a consistently high ROI, so you should give your house’s external features plenty of attention.

Consider how structural elements, color palette and cardinal directions impact your home’s exterior. What story do you want the outside of your house to tell? Make sure to choose durable materials that are easy to keep clean to reduce future upkeep.

2. Spacious Kitchen

Luxury kitchens are always a wise investment, especially if appliances are updated. They raise the value of your whole house and improve your day-to-day living experience. Plan your kitchen with a thoughtful layout and plenty of storage space to make future homeowners happy.

Choose durable, neutral materials for timeless charm. Alternatively, make the kitchen your own with bold color choices and unique lighting. Many homeowners are also adding technology – consider installing a central vacuum system and connecting appliances and lights to your Wi-Fi.

3. Updated Bathroom

Bathrooms are another space that brings a high return on investment in the housing market. Reimagine what this space could be. Traditionally, bathrooms are a place for rest, rejuvenation and self-care.

In addition to updating and stylizing this space, you could consider adding a home spa to the heart of your home. Some luxury homeowners also incorporate saunas and hot tubs into this space. Whatever you decide, remember to balance personal preference with timeless choices other homeowners would enjoy.

4. Hidden Passageway

Consider incorporating a hidden passageway or secret room to add a sense of mystery and fun to your home. Yes, this is a real thing! Options for this space and the mechanism for its entry are endless – you could build a secret library, connect two rooms you use frequently, or conceal a closet or safe room.

Creative options for a hidden door include rock walls, bookcases, paneling and staircases. You could even go full Narnia and install a magic wardrobe into your home. Mechanisms for opening doors can be remote or hand-operated. Have fun with this upgrade!

5. Intricate Millwork

Millwork brings character and elegance to the interior of your home, and nothing says luxury like intricate detail. Popular types of millwork include decorative arches in door frames, crown molding and wall frames. You can also consider adding beams or other statement pieces to decorate your ceilings.

Millwork adds an extra finish to homes that’s hard to replicate with paint and decor. Options are as varied and unique as you desire since they are designed expressly to fit your home and vision. These final touches lift a house over the top.

6. Hand-Painted Mural

Consider adding a mural. They bring character and atmosphere to your home and can be used to upgrade any room. They are created to suit each space and are a unique decorative accent, highlighting architecture and adding a sense of luxury.

Murals are a wonderful addition to luxury homes because they are entirely unique. You can work closely with a mural artist to add beauty and a sense of magic to your space. New homeowners can easily choose to embrace or paint over a mural if the home is ever sold.

7. Curated Grounds

Another way to add luxury to your property is by updating your outdoor space. Beautiful landscaping, winding garden paths, and comfortable areas add value and curb appeal. They also increase your living space by making the great outdoors a usable part of your home.

Your luxury home’s outdoor space will depend on location, how much property you own and how your house sits on the land. Some landscape elements can take years to mature, so if you’re interested in large trees, you may want to purchase property where they’ve already put down roots.

8. Luxury Treehouse

Who said treehouses were only for children? Consider adding a luxury treehouse to your grounds, complete with modern amenities and fairy lights. You could even connect several elevated spaces with rope bridges for a full experience.

Luxury treehouses are built to suit the trees on your property as well as your personal style. They can range from a literal “house in the trees” to scaled-down versions that blend seamlessly into their natural surroundings. Treehouses bring a sense of wonder and magic to any luxury property.

9. Natural Light

Another way to add luxury to your home is by bringing in more light. Consider installing a wall-sized window, adding skylights or using sun tunnels to bring light to naturally dark spaces. Large panes of glass are a classic but modern addition.

In addition to upgrading your home, letting more light in will also boost your lifestyle. Natural light leads to higher levels of productivity, positivity and hopefulness.  It helps fight seasonal depression and is a major selling point for homes. Make sure to consider the orientation of your house with the rise and fall of the sun as you form a plan for natural lighting.

10. Fabulous Library

If you love reading or were obsessed with “Beauty and the Beast” as a child, this feature is the perfect way to add a unique wow factor to your space. You could even add a rolling ladder if you have enough books and built-in shelves. If you don’t have enough, space them out with plants, vases and other knickknacks.

If books aren’t your thing, consider building a library to house something else you love to collect. Bookshelves are the perfect showcase for small artforms, antique vases and figurines. A home library doesn’t have to be enormous – its charm lies in being built to fit a specific space. Custom-built bookshelves also suit a hidden doorway perfectly.

Living in Luxury

The definition of a luxurious home depends on who you are and what you love. That definition is up to you. Consider how you can make your house convenient, but don’t forget to have fun, too.

Add one or several of these 10 luxury home additions to create a living space that’s comfortable, unique and exciting.

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How to Finance Your Next Home Renovation Project

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

Home renovation projects require substantial planning, whether you wish to renovate for your enjoyment or you’re preparing to sell. They can also be expensive. You may be wondering what financial options are available to complete your project without breaking the bank.

Considering all your options, your project budget, who’s completing the repairs and the renovation ROI will help you plan for the best outcome.

How to Determine Your Budget

You’ll need to get an accurate picture of the project price tag, whether you plan to do the renovation work yourself or hire a contractor. Any potential lender will need a specific amount before they enter negotiations.

If you plan to work with a contractor, find a tradesperson you can trust by getting quotes from three recommended workers. After establishing a bid, request they break down expenses based on labor and materials. To be safe, up the price by 5-20% in case changes or problems occur.

If you plan to complete your own renovation work, compile a materials list and accurately detail the quantities and cost. Don’t forget equipment rentals and all necessary permit fees. Add a 20-30% cushion if you go over your initial outlay.

How to Know if You’ll See an ROI

Specific renovation projects will always bring a return on investment (ROI), while others are less likely to increase the value of your property. Here’s what’s guaranteed to boost your home’s price:

  • Replacing your garage door will bring a 93.8% ROI.
  • Adding a stone veneer to your home’s exterior will garner a 92.1% ROI.
  • A minor kitchen remodel will result in a 72.2% ROI.
  • Upgrading your siding should fetch a 69.4% ROI.
  • Swapping your windows will bring a 68.6% ROI.

If you’re looking to get as much value out of your home so you can sell, it might be wise to invest in one of the previously mentioned renovations — then stick to minor improvements throughout the rest of your property. Speak with a well-reputed contractor who can offer advice on how to get the most value from your repairs and prioritize completing those.

Available Loan Options

The first thought that comes to mind when getting a loan is likely a financial institution like a bank, credit union or broker. However, some options are backed by government institutions like the Veterans Administration (VA) or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Consider the various choices when looking to finance your next renovation project.

Construction Loans

One option is getting a construction loan. These are different from mortgages and other types of loans because they’re typically short term, lasting one to two years. The rates are typically higher, and once construction wraps, payment is due. The loans are unsecured, and you don’t need to use your house as collateral to qualify.

Funding often comes quickly, and once you agree to the terms, lenders will deposit the money into your account. You can access it within the day. Construction loans are ideal for smaller and midsize home projects. Consider this option if you don’t have much home equity to access or you’re only completing a small to midsize project.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

Another option is a HELOC, a secured loan backed by your home. You can qualify for lower interest rates and have access to a line of credit that you can draw from and pay back over 10 years. Essentially, HELOCs work like credit cards. Your monthly payments will vary based on how much money you’ve used and the interest rate.

HELOCs are great options for homeowners who want to complete multiple renovation projects without a capped budget. Ensure you have 15-20% equity in your home because you must borrow against your house. Additionally, since HELOCs are backed by your home, note that you risk losing your property if you can’t pay the loan back.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan is different from a HELOC and is sometimes referred to as a second mortgage. It’s similar to the construction option and is paid out in a lump sum — you repay the figure in regular fixed monthly payments over several years.

A benefit of home equity loans is the fixed interest rate. Unlike HELOCs, you don’t have to worry about market fluctuations. If you plan on doing one renovation project and know your budget, this might be the perfect loan option because you receive all your funds at once. However, your home is used as collateral, and if you don’t keep up with monthly payments, your property could be foreclosed.

Cash-Out Refinance

If you choose a cash-out refinance loan, you’ll replace your old mortgage with a new and larger loan. The benefit of this option is that you get a new interest rate and keep the difference made between your old mortgage and new loan, which could provide extra money for home renovations.

The cash-out refinance option is excellent for homeowners who can refinance a mortgage with a shorter term or secure a lower interest rate. Otherwise, this loan isn’t likely worth your consideration.

Government Loans

Not all homeowners qualify for a government loan. However, if you do, you can save considerably on interest rates.

HUD offers a government loan, Title I Property Improvement, which lets a homeowner borrow up to $25,000 without any home equity. This is an excellent option for individuals who recently purchased a house and wish to renovate. The money must be used for repairs that make the home livable, so not all property upgrades may qualify.

The VA offers cash-out loans to assist in refinancing and getting cash on your property’s equity. It provides insurance if you can’t make a monthly payment and fall behind in your loan.

How Lenders Decide What You Can Borrow

Now that you know what loan you wish to use, how do you go about getting the money? Lenders will use various factors to determine the amount you can borrow.

Credit Rating

Your credit rating can potentially interfere with your chances when it comes to borrowing. Overdrawn credit cards likely won’t prevent you from getting a loan entirely, but you might have a higher interest rate or smaller amount. Typically, better rates and terms go to homeowners with the best credit ratings or those who have no late payments or maxed-out credit cards.

Loan-to-Value Ratio

Lenders also utilize the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) to appraise the value of your home and determine how much money they’ll offer. They’ll start with a usual limit of 80% and subtract your mortgage balance to arrive at the amount you can borrow. If you have a good credit rating, you’ll likely get a loan based on more than the 80% LTV limit, granting you more money. However, you could get a loan based on a 65%-70% limit if you have a lower credit rating.

Explore Your Financial Options

There are many things to consider when financing a renovation project. Homeowners should set a budget, then think through appropriate loan options for their project and their financial situation. There’s an ideal choice out there for everyone — all it takes is a little homework.

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8 Home Office Remodels to Create the Perfect WFH Space

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

More people are working from home than ever before in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s time to invest in your office space. You need an appealing room that maximizes your productivity and keeps you focused, despite all the distractions in your home. These upgrades and easy remodels will connect you to your office like never before.

1. Soundproof Your Room

If you’re like most people, you find it difficult to concentrate on your work when there’s a lot of noise. Even 10 decibels of noise can decrease your productivity by around 5%, leading you to complete fewer tasks and work less effectively. For reference, a person breathing is about 10 decibels. Something so small can affect you drastically.

Add soundproofing to your walls to combat the noises of daily life in your household. This remodel is a significant undertaking, so if you cannot do it properly, at least find a thick door. It can block out some of the noise, as long as you remember to keep it closed.

2. Use the Space You Have

If you don’t have room for a designated home office space, you might be tempted to use the kitchen or dining room table. You should avoid this, especially when others are in the home with you, because of all the distractions they can provide. Sitting in the kitchen means you’ll have people in and out to get refreshments all day, while making space in the dining room might lead to foot traffic coming through your area.

Consider remodeling a shed in your backyard or unused space in your garage into a functional space. A shed may take work to insulate and set up with electricity, but it’s a remote area where you know you won’t be bothered.

3. Make Built-in Storage

Bookshelves and file cabinets are often clunky, which can take up space in your office, especially if it’s already a small room. Add floating shelves around your office instead.

You can also opt for a built-in desk if you don’t plan on moving it. Built-in storage will provide places for books, files and more within your reach without adding clutter. This solution can be convenient if you plan to use the room for more than just an office.

4. Create a Sitting Area

A sitting area can help you destress and take breaks away from your computer without pulling yourself out of working mode. Turning a windowsill into a bench with a few pillows can visually add to your office, but it can also be functional. If you feel stiff from sitting down, you can walk around and stretch your legs out on the bench.

If you see clients out of your home, consider adding a sitting space for them, too. It may involve moving some things around in your office, but even adding a few bottles of water or a couple of nice chairs can make your space feel much more professional.

5. Add a Skylight or a Sunroom

Having no natural light in your office is a disservice to yourself. Incorporating light can increase productivity and reduce strain on your eyes from staring at a screen. You can do this by adding sheer curtains to your existing windows, or you could go all-out and install a skylight on your roof. Additionally, you could replace your current windows with glass panels that stretch from the ceiling to the floor to allow more light inside.

6. Choose a Collapsible Office

This solution is perfect for employees who want to keep their work “out of sight, out of mind” when they’re not on the clock. If you live in a small space, like an apartment or tiny home, you should consider building your office space into a closet. With some modifications, a folding card table can work like a Murphy bed and attach to your closet wall when you aren’t using it.

Placing your office in a guest room could make you feel less invasive when you have to work when guests are over. They won’t feel like they’re taking up your space, and having an office that can be tucked away quickly will make you not feel like you’re getting in their way.

7. Keep a Small Kitchen in Your Office

Walking away from your desk could prove detrimental to your productivity score. If you like to keep your water bottle filled, consider including a mini-fridge in your office to keep things cold and easily accessible. Similarly, if you’re prone to needing coffee breaks, place a coffee maker in your workspace to truly make it feel like you’re back at your office building.

You might include a small prep station so you can make your coffee or warm something in a microwave. Including these elements in your workspace and remodeling your office to make room for them creates a more productivity-friendly area that will keep you from leaving the room too often.

8. Find Space for Plants

This suggestion is less of a remodel than the others, but it includes crucial information that could drastically improve your WFH life. If you don’t have any plants in your office, now is the time to add them. Plants help increase productivity and lower stress levels, making them excellent additions to your office space, no matter how small it may be.

To fully reap the benefits of being in a green environment, you may have to minimize the furniture in your office space in favor of plants and greenery. If you don’t have the space for tall trees, adding a small potted plant to your desk could work. Just make sure it’s within your line of sight.

Optimize Your Home Office to Work for You

You should feel comfortable in your home office. It’s where you need to apply the most focus to complete your tasks. Above all, make sure you have a dedicated space that isn’t somewhere you typically try to relax and unwind. You can fit your workspace in even the smallest of areas, and you can work with just about anything.

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Our 7 Favorite Home Renovation Trends for 2022

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

Are you considering a renovation in the new year? Maybe you’re looking for inspiration on how to redesign your home, but you’re not sure where to start.

Here are seven exciting renovation trends for 2022 that will breathe new life into your home.

1.  Natural Lighting

Natural lighting will always be a timeless trend, but this style is in the spotlight now. The pandemic has forced many people to spend a significant amount of time at home. Large windows and high ceilings are crucial for making natural lighting work, from the smallest apartment to the biggest property. They provide ample daylight and enhance outside views, lowering stress.

If you need to upgrade your windows in 2022, consider adding a few more to increase your natural lighting. You could also enhance the size of your windows to allow more sun in during the day. This is one renovation trend that will add value to your home and last for generations.

2.  Versatile Rooms

Another trend from pandemic living is a high value on versatility. We’ve become used to a kitchen table operating as a desk for eight hours during the day and a dining table at night. It’s time to take things a step further — homeowners are renovating rooms to be specifically multipurpose.

Property owners are opting for converting smaller rooms into open spaces that can accommodate different activities. The key is finding appropriate furniture that can accompany all needed projects, such as a kitchen island with storage space for office supplies and cooking equipment.

This versatility trend might not suit all homeowners but could be particularly useful for those who have limited space or wish to get creative with their current layout. Some people might welcome the idea of using their dining room table for something other than a place to store bills and unread mail. This trend is really up to the property owner to decide if they think it’s wise to pursue.

3.  Living Room Bars

If you enjoy having a drink, you might appreciate this next trend — living room bars and drink trolleys. Due to more people staying home during the pandemic and folks growing more comfortable drinking at home, you can expect this trend to take off in 2022.

What separates a living room bar from a home bar is that the latter is located in a separate room of your house. What makes a living room bar special is the convenience. Where do you spend most evenings in your home? Your living room. Now imagine having access to a full bar in the same area.

Often homeowners will renovate a living room nook or wall and set up the smaller, fully functional bar space. Homeowners can choose a drink trolley and utilize the tinier capacity to achieve the same effect if space is an issue. This is the sort of trend that could date your home if you later decide to sell, so take time to consider if you want to move forward with your living room bar.

4.  More Marble

Marble is making a comeback. It’s been gaining momentum in interior design since late 2020, and now it looks like it’s here to stay. If you plan to renovate your kitchen or bathroom, consider adding marble countertops or backsplashes. Incorporating marble is a fantastic way to give your home a classic look and stay modern.

If you’re looking to increase your home’s value, consider adding marble floors. They give any room a touch of elegance and luxury, and when it comes to a return on investment (ROI), marble floors offer a 70%-80% increase in value to your home.

Keep in mind marble is a porous material, so it must be regularly maintained and polished every year. However, if managed correctly, marble floors can last at least 25 years, making your renovation well worth the effort.

5.  The Way of Wainscoting

Have you jumped on the wainscoting wagon yet? Wainscoting is decorative wood paneling typically seen on the bottom half of walls. This current trend began as early as the 1300s and is a beautiful way to guard against scuffs and bumps that usually riddle your walls.

Today, homeowners are leaning toward using dark colors when choosing wainscoting options. Deep hues transform any room into a regal space. Your home may be cookie-cutter in every other way, but wainscoting will make it unique.

Wainscoting is relatively easy to install yourself. You can order options that arrive fully assembled and ready to apply to your walls. Because it’s been around for centuries, the renovation will give any home a timeless look even if the current trend fades.

6.  Plenty of House Plants

Don’t forget to incorporate more house plants as you go about your home renovations in the new year. They’ve been trending since the pandemic, and they’ll continue to be vital in renovation trends.

Homeowners crave wellness in their properties, and indoor plants are one way to accomplish this. NASA found that plants can clear air toxins from your home, and researchers have also found they can soothe individuals experiencing stress.

If you wish to pair house plants to your next renovation project, try incorporating the following types:

  • Snake plant laurentii
  • Rubber tree
  • Aloe vera
  • Monstera deliciosa
  • Marble queen pothos
  • ZZ plant

Most of these plants are relatively low responsibility — they won’t require too much watering or attention. However, if you have furry friends, you’ll want to make sure they’re pet-friendly.

7.  Floored by Flooring

Hardwood floors will still dominate trends in 2022. However, things will look a little different. Geometric patterns like herringbone are currently the hot ticket in hardwood. When renovating your floors, choosing a pattern can undoubtedly make any room more sophisticated. However, it’s wise to stick to a neutral color scheme so your room doesn’t look too busy when redesigning.

Adding a geometric pattern to your floor follows a trend, but you’ll likely see an ROI of 70%-80% if you choose to renovate in hardwood. Currently, property owners and buyers love hardwood floors because of their durability and lack of maintenance. It’s likely the overall positive hardwood trend will continue for years to come.

Check Out These Exciting Trends

Now that you’ve seen the 2022 home renovation trends, what do you think you’ll incorporate in your home? Will you add more windows for natural light, or will you opt for a living room bar? Maybe you love the idea of wainscoting in your hallways or marble in your kitchen. Whatever you decide, enjoy a happy and upgraded new year.

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5 Water Damage Prevention Tips You Need to Know

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

Rainy weather is inevitable, especially if you live in areas where there are four seasons. During those rainy seasons, your home might experience leaks or damage, depending on the condition of your house. If you’re lucky enough, simply patching up that hole on the ceiling might solve all your problems. But for homes that have more damage than usual, no amount of mopping and towels will solve the problem.

No matter how much you try to keep your home in its best condition, pipes can leak, rainfall can find a way into your home, and chaotic weather might come across your house. The simplest things can become problematic in a matter of minutes if you leave damages unchecked.

The good news is that you can prevent water damage early on and keep the damage to a minimum. In this article, we’re going to list five simple things you can do to avoid water damage in your home.

The ultimate way to prevent water damage, in the long run, is to waterproof your home. Waterproofing your home provides a layer of protection and prevents the worst from happening if external damages were to happen.

Here are five practical ways to prevent water damage and waterproof your home.

  1. Don’t use too much water during rainy weather.

The least you can do during heavy rainfall is reduce your water usage. This might seem like a trivial thing to do, but it helps keep your home safe from potential floods. Your sewer system already works hard to keep waterways clean of rainwater, so adding more water to the mix will overwhelm it— causing floods. When the sewer system is overwhelmed, it can also discharge raw sewage into livers, which causes overflow.

  1. Be vigilant in repairing damages.

One of the most common water damage causes is untreated problems such as leaks or cracks in your home. These might be minor issues that you think won’t be a big problem. When you leave these untreated, they can grow into something more significant such as mold growth or water damage. By simply being observant and repairing damages as soon as you can, you’ll keep damages to a minimum and reduce the chances of water flooding your home.

  1. Keep an eye on your appliances.

Your appliances, such as refrigerators or washing machines, rely heavily on water to function. Like most gadgets, these appliances can break down over time. When your refrigerator, washing machine, or dishwasher malfunctions, floods in your home can happen. Before you experience this, it’s recommended that you keep an eye on your appliances and repair or replace them if needed. If you’re unsure, ask a professional to help inspect your appliances beforehand.

  1. Opt for waterproof paint.

Your home is made of walls, and they are prone to damage if they are constantly exposed to water or moisture. An excellent way to protect your walls is by using waterproof paint. This is an affordable and effective way to protect your home from moisture and water seeping through. Waterproofed walls are easy to clean and prevent the growth of mold. Waterproof paint is extremely easy to apply, and they come in a variety of colors.

  1. Clear your drains.

Lastly, regularly clean your drains. Clogged drains that are filled with debris can cause floods and water damage. An excellent way to keep your drains clean and clog-free is by cleaning them regularly to prevent them from getting blocked completely. You can wash out your drains with boiling water on a weekly basis and be extra careful of what you flush down the toilets.

Wrapping Up

Although these steps won’t be able to prevent rainfall or unpredictable damages from happening completely, they will reduce the chances of it happening in the first place. By giving your home a layer of protection, your mind will be at ease knowing that the cleanup won’t be so bad even if your home experiences extreme weather problems or floods. The earlier you start waterproofing your home, the less likely it will be severely damaged.


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How Do I Make a Hidden Access Door With Recessed Access Panels

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

Commercial building owners always prefer a seamless look, which should be practical, efficient, and pleasant to the eyes. Mechanical systems are one of the most critical aspects of your building. They must be regularly checked and maintained to avoid unwanted mishaps and uncomfortable situations for your occupants.

It is why access doors are a must-have for any establishment. An access door allows your maintenance crew to have easy access to your electric system, HVAC, plumbing, or any other extra space. In addition, you won’t have to worry about access doors ruining your room’s aesthetic since manufacturers have created recessed access panels that can blend right into your drywall.

Follow these essential tips, and you’ll have your recessed access panels installed in a short time while keeping the room seamless:

Hide Your Access Panels with Decor

If you have an access panel visible in the room, you can try putting decorative items like furniture or plants in front of it to hide them. Make sure to choose a durable and secure piece but can also be quickly removed by maintenance staff when necessary. In addition, light-weighted decorations like a painting are preferable.

Add an Air Return

You can also add a frameless, louvered air return to the access panel door. This material gives the access door a dual purpose and fits into the room. The advantage of installing air ventilation is that you can customize it to different sizes. They rest directly on the drywall and don’t extend too far. Like air return, you can also include the access panel as part of the room design. For instance, if you want to install a roof hatch for your balcony, you can consider installing a skylight roof hatch that will serve as a door that will open to your patio.

Match the Finish to the Surface

Access doors are manufactured with different finishes or coatings that you can choose. In addition, you can apply a powder coat or aluminum coat if you want your wall to match your panel’s overall look. If you want it to have a more seamless finish, some access doors can also paint on them unless they interfere with their function. Sometimes, you have to paint a sign on it to warn or caution. Choose a paint that matches the background perfectly, or you can also try hiding it by painting a mural on your wall.

Choose a Low Traffic Area

It would be best to place your access doors and panels in a spacious and low-traffic area. It will create an aesthetically pleasing interior for your commercial building by partnering with contractors and designers.

Professionals have successfully created different methods in granting easy access to your mechanical systems without ruining the aesthetic ambiance of your establishment. But before installing one of your own, it is still advisable to seek assistance and advice from licensed and reputable professionals. In this way, you can have a more guaranteed outcome.

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Building-Fire Safety Codes: Installing Commercial Smoke Vents

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

Whether you manage a commercial or residential establishment, fire incidents are an all-consuming threat that can instantly annihilate your most valued investment. Contrary to belief, studies suggest that smoke inhalation is far more dangerous to humans than the actual fire itself since it limits visibility and its harmful effects stretch far beyond just being toxic.

The danger that fire accidents present necessitated fire prevention and control systems essential to help keep the fire under control. Smoke ventilation, in particular, helps release smoke and hot air from a burning commercial establishment. It prevents smoke from spreading throughout the building, ensures visibility for the occupants, and, most importantly, allows firefighters to quickly navigate the premises without suffering smoke-related injuries or complications.

As a crucial life security system, installing and maintaining smoke control solutions is essential to ensure optimum performance when needed. But how do you know which ventilation system is best for your business and the fire regulations you should follow? Before we elaborate on these questions further, let us first discuss the three main types of smoke ventilation systems for smoke control:

Types of Smoke Ventilation Systems

Smoke vents are roof openings that release smoke and heat from fires inside buildings. The main objective of smoke vents is to effectively eliminate smoke that cannot be removed by opening the windows alone.

Despite having similar objectives, there are primarily three types of smoke vents to choose from:

  1. Smoke Ventilation Systems – The ventilation system is ideal for roofs, smoke shafts, corridors, and stairwells. A well-engineered smoke system is valuable in fire emergencies as it allows the occupants to quickly evacuate the building while minimizing the harmful effects of the smoke fumes. The system is mainly used in hotels, hospitals, agricultural buildings, and high-rise buildings.
  2. Natural Ventilation Systems – As the name suggests, this type of ventilation draws out the smoke or hot air to let the cooler, natural air enter the interior to lower the temperature and provide a safe evacuation egress point. Residential properties and relatively smaller buildings often install natural ventilation for smoke control.
  3. Mechanical Ventilation Systems – Unlike natural ventilation systems, its mechanical counterpart is ideal for facilities that cannot fully benefit from natural airflow. This ventilation system, composed of mechanical fans, draws the smoke and allows clean and fresh air.

Smoke systems can be made with different components and methods to achieve various design objectives. The objective may vary depending on the location or facility, like hospitals and commercial buildings may require very different designs.

Which Smoke Vent is Ideal for Your Building?

The type of smoke ventilation you obtain will primarily depend on the kind of establishment that you’re trying to protect. Different buildings require different levels of smoke control management on which you have a legal obligation to ensure its safety.

Here are some examples of commercial facilities and their smoke venting requirements:


Fires spread faster in a large, single-story warehouse than in other facilities. The reason being is mainly due to its large volume compartment. Because of this high probability, there are essential considerations that designers need to factor in when designing smoke control systems for large, single-story buildings:

  • Fire size
  • Heat output
  • Ceiling jet
  • Clear layer
  • Smoke zones
  • Wind effects
  • Air inlet/replacement air

The main goal of ventilation systems is to limit the spread of smoke and provide a means by which the vents can effectively disperse the smoke and heat from the burning facility. They should also maintain sufficient smoke-free escape conditions to minimize the hazardous effect of fire and smoke.

Industrial and Manufacturing Sites

A trading facility requires industry-level ventilation systems that can dilute air contaminants while removing dust or smoke since factory workers and their occupants are prone to harmful toxins inside the manufacturing site. Industrial ventilation systems are also economically efficient as it provides and boosts air quality.

Some of its other notable features include:

  • Contaminant protection
  • Economically efficient
  • Regulation and air control
  • Accident protection
  • Boost air quality

Commercial manufacturing facilities have a legal obligation to fulfill all the required health regulations from their governing municipality.

Apartments and Residential Properties

A reliable smoke management system and escape routes in communal facilities are crucial to residential facilities that are several stories high. Building owners must have sufficient smoke management measures in the corridors, lobbies, and stairwells.

When appropriately installed, smoke management systems must keep escape routes free of smoke and facilitate firefighters to prevent the fire from developing further into the building.

Smoke Ventilation Maintenance

As a building owner, you must comprehend the importance of regularly maintaining smoke ventilation systems and the dire consequences that come along should you fail to maintain their functionality.

Ideally, you need to inspect smoke control systems every six months to ensure that all segments perform to the required standard. Moreover, the building management is responsible for providing the appropriate level of fire safety within the premises. It is crucial to appoint a safety inspector to ensure that all fire safety equipment and smoke systems are in working condition.

Here are some essential details to take note of when inspecting smoke vents:

  • Changes in appearance
  • Damage to any components
  • Fastening security
  • Weather tightness
  • Adjacent roofing and flashing condition
  • Any deficiencies
  • Any other pertinent items

While you may already have assigned personnel for building maintenance, it would be ideal to hire an expert to maintain or install the ventilation system. Qualified personnel must have relative experience in fire strategy verification, system design, installation, and commissioning under the relevant industry standards.

Successful routine maintenance not only ensures that your smoke vents work correctly but also provides significant cost savings since the preventative upkeep helps identify minor issues while snoring that the system will efficiently run longer.

As a building owner, you cannot overestimate the importance of a reliable smoke control system. Regardless of the type of facility you manage, ventilation systems must be designed, installed, and maintained under local fire regulations and building codes. Ensuring the occupants’ safety and protecting your valuable investments must always be of utmost importance.

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The Efficiency Of Having A Fire-Rated Laundry Access Panels

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

All commercial buildings or spaces have various safety measures to protect the occupants when accidents happen. The most common scenario is that commercial areas face fire within a room with so much wiring required for its operation, such as laundry facilities. Most fire safety features ensure the site’s safety and let assigned personnel extinguish the fire as quickly as possible.

Laundry rooms are primarily overlooked in fire safety hazards designs, especially when it comes to cost savings interest. Designing an efficient laundry room needs careful consideration for its electrical connections by incorporating adequate fire safety features such as fire-rated laundry access panels to conceal those valuable electrical connections properly. Its safety requires appropriate planning as it deals with many electrical connections and water, which is very hazardous when accidentally coming in contact.

Here are some reasons why fire-rated access panels are essential in laundry facilities:

  1. Safely Conceal Electrical Cables

It is essential to install fire-rated access panels in the laundry area to safely and adequately organize all the electrical connections. Leaving this electrical cable exposed can lead to severe hazards such as electrocution and can potentially cause a fire. Incorporating fire-rated access panels will prevent this from happening as it will safely conceal all electrical connections and other valuable components from moisture and water contact.

  1. Provide Enough Time to Evacuate or Extinguish the Fire

The design of every fire-rated access panel can withstand flame and heat at a specific time before failing. When a fire incident occurs, this time frame will allow all workers or occupants in the laundry area to evacuate the space. Some fire-rated access panels feature 60 minutes of fire rating, giving enough time to evacuate the area and call for a firefighter to control or extinguish the fire. It also provides easy and quick access during emergencies, like if any equipment is on fire and you need to shut off the primary electrical control immediately.

  1. Protect the Equipment

Fire-rated access panels can help protect the equipment in the laundry facility. Without the panels, the essential equipment and assets in the facility, such as dryers, washing machines, etc., can get damaged during a fire. They can conceal the equipment at a specific time, preventing the fire from spreading to the whole area, thus saving essential assets from getting damaged.

  1. Enable Efficient Operation in the Laundry Facility

Incorporating safety features in the laundry area, such as fire-rated access doors and panels, can help with the efficient operation of the facility. It helps ensure the adequate supply of all the power requirements to its operation activities without interruptions due to electrical connection issues.

While laundry spaces often overlook their fire-safety measure, some local government building codes require the installation of fire-rated access doors and any additional features in the laundry spaces. Because of its dryer operation, laundry shops must have adequate protection due to their high current voltage. Fire-rated access doors can help mitigate all of these potential hazards in the laundry space for everybody’s safety.


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8 Affordable Home Upgrades to Gift Yourself This Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

Home improvement projects are growing in popularity. Kitchen and bath remodeling has increased 40% as of June 2020. Renovations can increase the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the space and can also increase resale value.

Consider adding home upgrades to your Christmas list as the holiday season approaches. Here are some affordable projects to gift yourself this season.

1. Update Your Entryway

Adding a steel door can increase your home’s curb appeal and resale value. It is also an affordable option with an average cost of $1,000 and an added resale value of $850. Steel is a durable material that protects your home from the elements and deters thieves.

In addition, these types of doors are easy to maintain. You can simply clean them with a wet sponge and all-purpose cleaners. Make sure to also regularly check the door and frames for any signs of damage.

Here are some more reasons to add a steel entryway:

  • It’s energy-efficient
  • It can block out noise
  • It can be customizable
  • It won’t rot or warp like a wood door

2. Replace Your Windows

Updating your windows can be a great way to enhance your exterior. Also, having properly fitted windows can decrease your energy bills. Consider adding vinyl versions, which have better insulation, require minimal maintenance and are durable.

Another perk is they come in various styles, so you can easily find one that matches your home’s design. The best part is installing vinyl windows won’t break the bank. They are cheaper than other options, costing around $400-$800 to install.

Once a contractor has installed the windows, add caulk or weather-stripping to seal any gaps. It helps to improve your home’s energy efficiency and keep out unwanted pests. Also, add some fun patterned curtains to help liven up the space.

3. Build a Wooden Deck

Many homeowners enjoy having a deck to entertain or spend quality family time on. This can be a cost-effective way to add value to your home. It can cost around $3,565-$5,122 to build a deck, but it provides a 70% return on investment (ROI).

Once your deck is built, add in some comfortable seating and a table. Decorating with potted plants or lights can also enhance the area. If there’s room in the budget, a fire pit or outdoor kitchen can be an attractive feature to potential buyers.

4. Remodel Your Kitchen

Kitchen remodels are one of the more popular renovation projects, with an 81% ROI. It’s well worth the investment since you spend most of your time here. Make simple changes such as repainting and updating hardware. Natural colors and earth tones are popular choices for homeowners.

Some improvements will need help from professionals, such as installing new countertops. If there is enough room in your budget, granite or marble can give the space a classic look. However, laminate is more affordable, costing around $8-$40 per square foot. It’s also easy to install and can mimic stone options.

5. Refresh Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are other popular amenities buyers look at closely, and remodels can have about a 50% ROI. Updating your bathroom can increase its functionality, especially for a larger family. One of the first things you want to do is update old fixtures, such as your toilet or faucets. Also, upgrading lighting and installing a tile backsplash can further enhance the space.

Another thing to keep in mind is adding additional storage. Floating shelves over the sink can help you organize your toiletries. If you have more room in your budget, you can replace your shower or add a double vanity.

6. Update Your Flooring

Your floors receive a lot of foot traffic, so they should be durable and comfortable. They can also tie a room together. However, there are many materials to choose from. If you’re not sure which flooring to add, you should consider your lifestyle.

For example, do you own a pet? Consider installing vinyl flooring, which offers good traction and is comfortable for dogs. Vinyl is also durable and low-maintenance. Plus, it doesn’t trap pet dander and is scratch-resistant. It’s also a good option for homeowners with families.

Carpets are another comfortable option for children. If you’re looking to increase your home’s value, hardwood floors are attractive features to potential buyers.

Here are some other questions to consider before installing new floors:

  • How much foot traffic will it get?
  • Where are you installing the flooring?
  • Who is walking on it?
  • How much time do you want to spend on maintenance?

7. Construct a Walk-in Closet

Having more storage space for your clothes is very convenient. Instead of garments getting wrinkled in drawers, you can easily hang them up. You can also build more shelving to increase your organization and place some wire baskets to hold shoes.

A bigger closet will also add value when you sell because extra storage space is a popular amenity for many homeowners.

8. Add Another Bedroom

Adding a bedroom can give extra space for guests or another child. To create one, you can build out, construct a room on the side of your house or add a second level. Keep in mind you will need to obtain the proper permits before making any additions. It’s also important to review your local zoning laws.

Adding an extra bedroom provides short-term convenience and long-term value. You can add about $30,000 to $50,000 to your home’s asking price.

When creating an extra bedroom, consider the location carefully. Attics or finished basements are great spaces. Plus, it can reduce costs, since you don’t have to build new walls.

Be sure to add character by hanging fun artwork or tapestries on the wall. Also, consider adding larger windows or sheer curtains to allow more natural light. It can help boost your mood and make you feel more relaxed.

Cost-Effective Updates for Your Wish List

Making improvements to your home doesn’t have to break the bank — simple upgrades can be affordable. Larger remodels can also increase your property’s value, saving you money down the line. Gift yourself one of these improvement projects this holiday season and reap the rewards.

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7 Statement Pieces to Add to Your New Year’s Renovation

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

Updating your home can be an excellent way to ring in the new year. When it comes to renovations, designing is one of the fun parts. Statement pieces can help add the extra wow factor to any room. However, it can be hard to find the perfect piece. Here are seven statement items to add to your New Year’s renovation.

Tips for Selecting Statement Pieces

Choosing the right pieces can feel a little tricky. You want ones that will stand out for all the right reasons. Here are some tips for finding the perfect statement piece.

1. Keep the Space Cohesive

Keep your overall design in mind when planning your statement pieces. You want to be creative with your choices but still have a cohesive layout. Try to match it with the room’s architectural style and color scheme. Also, have one standout item per room, so the space feels less cluttered.

2. Pay Attention to Scale

Make sure your piece isn’t too big or small for the space. For example, smaller-scaled artwork may look out of place in a larger room. Consider the size of the area and the other elements to determine the proper sizing.

3. Mix up Patterns and Textures

A little bit of mismatching creates a more exciting look and draws attention to your focal point. Play with opposites, such as organic and geometric shapes. You can also combine different patterns, like small polka dots and stripes. Keep in mind you want to mix patterns of different scales. A large bold stripe would pair well with a smaller print.

Color is another way to add variety. Combine lighter shades with darker tones, but be sure to stick with three colors only. Any more can make the space feel too busy.

4. Be Intentional With Color

Colors can impact our mood. When picking one, consider how it will make you feel. For example, blues and greens are calming colors and are great for living rooms or bedrooms. On the other hand, reds can cause a feeling of excitement and energy. This hue is good for office spaces to promote productivity, and it also works well in kitchens since it increases your appetite.

5. Pick Meaningful Pieces

Remember, you’re the one who will look at the piece the most. You want to find something that fits with your personality. Be creative and think outside of the box. For example, a stunning sideboard could be an excellent focal point in your dining room.

Statement Piece Ideas

Finding statement pieces can help elevate any space. Now that you know the basics, here are some design ideas to get you started.

1. Fireplace

Fireplaces give your space a cozy feeling. They are perfect for snuggling around during the winter. A fireplace can also help tie the room together and create a stunning focal point. When designing the feature, try to match it with the rest of your furniture. For example, does the surrounding wall fit with the overall color scheme?

Another thing to consider is the aesthetic you want to create. For example, a stone or brick fireplace provides a classic appearance. On the other hand, a tile pattern offers a more modern look.

Once you have the style down, think about the furniture arrangement. You want the layout to allow easy movement to and from the fireplace. Place a chair beside it, but make sure your sofa is not blocking your view of the flames.

2.  Range Hood

Your kitchen hood is already a unique focal point, so why not make it stand out even more? Adding a steel hood can create a sleek appearance and match your appliances. You can also play with different metals to create a striking look. Copper is a good option that actually has health benefits, including certain antibacterial priorities that make cleaning much easier.

Kitchen hoods are functional as well as physically appealing. They can remove excess heat and odors, making the space more comfortable.

3. Light Fixtures

Decorative light fixtures, such as chandeliers, can make someone stop and take notice. These lights can also influence a room’s mood. For example, recessed lighting can create a soft glow for more intimate gatherings. If you want to mimic the feeling of natural light, skylights can create an open and airy atmosphere. Statement lights can also help separate areas of the room.

Here are some types of lighting to enhance your space:

  • Lanterns
  • Vintage sconces
  • LED strips
  • Sculptural lighting
  • Table lamps

4. Freestanding Tub

A freestanding tub can elevate your bathroom design. It can also free up space to easily move around the room. There are multiple styles to choose from, such as clawfoot or jetted versions.

When choosing your style, consider how you will use it. Single-ended tubs are a great option that provides a sloped edge for lounging if you plan to take long, relaxing baths. Keep in mind that you also want the style to match other elements in the room.

5. Sofa

A stunning sofa can be a great statement piece for your living room. Find one with interesting features, such as bold colors or fun patterns. Pink or purple sofas can catch your guests’ attention. You can also make your couch stand out even more with ornate throw pillows.

Besides just the color, play around with the sofa’s shape. For example, curved sofas can look unique and allow for more seating options. In addition, change up the fabric. Velvet can create a luxurious appearance.

6. Curtains

Drapes can spruce up your plain-looking windows. Play around with different colors and patterns. Red curtains can bring energy to your kitchen, while green works well for a bedroom by creating a relaxing atmosphere.

Thicker fabrics, like black-out drapes, can help keep your home warm in the winter. During summer, switch to sheer curtains that are thinner and can bring in more natural light.

7. Accent Walls

An accent wall can create a stunning focal point. A gallery wall is a fun way to decorate with family photos or beautiful artwork. Hanging a mirror can create a unique focal point, as well. It can even make the space feel larger.

If you want to keep it simple, add a pop of color by painting the wall a contrasting shade to the rest of the space. Consider using black for a dramatic impact. Reds or yellows can create an energetic atmosphere if you want to go brighter.

Decor to Enhance Your Space

It’s important to think about accent pieces when renovating your space. These can help create stunning focal points and tie a room together. Consider adding some of these pieces to your next remodeling project and welcome the new year in style.

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