Q: How can I evaluate whether this project makes sense financially for my home and neighborhood?
- MA - Morganville, NJ
A: Great question! Homeowners are often faced with the move or improve decision. The importance of resale and over improving are directly proportional to how long you expect to stay in your home. The longer, the less important it is, in our opinion. For a quick value reference we suggest you estimate the current value of your home simply by looking it up on zillow.com. Add the amount of the anticipated remodeling work. Then search for the remodeled version of your home in your zip code on realtor.com to compare what is available and what you plan for your home. Once you have that information for comparison you need to calculate all the other anticipated moving cost such as realtor fees, closing costs, moving expensive, and redecorating. This is not an exact science and many more factors go into making the move or improve decision. Mark of Excellence Remodeling often assists homeowners with this process during design and budget consultations.
Q: What is the right time to call in a contractor for my project? - BE – West Islip, NY
A: There are many more reasons to contact a contractor for the initial consultation sooner as opposed to waiting for a certain time of year. Most often the earlier you start the process, the more you can control the timetable. Factoring in preliminary discussions, designs, product selection, and the permit process it is usually two plus months before most remodeling projects can start. Planning well in advance usually allows you to select an installation period that works best for your family. Also your contractor can plan its backlog to set up your project to be done during favorable weather seasons based on the type of renovation you are anticipating.
Q: Is there anything I can do personally to reduce the cost of a project? - MC - Milford, NJ
A: Owner participation in the physical aspect of a remodeling project is referred to “sweat equity.” For example you can perform the initial demolition, painting, or some finishing detail work. A homeowner performing these tasks will undoubtedly be less expensive than the contractor doing them. To be considered though: is the cost savings enough to justify the time investment and possible delays in the overall project?
Q: How many recessed lights should I install in my family room? - SD - Woodbridge, NJ
A: A standard 5” recessed light installed in a flat 8’ high ceiling will light a circular area with an approximate diameter of 8’ wide. Therefore place lights no more than 8’ apart and no more than 4’ from each side wall.
Q: I have heard about electric heat products for under tile floors, but can they used under hardwood flooring or carpeting also? - Cindy - Elkton, MD
A: Yes, most electric radiant heating systems have a product or installation method designed for all types of flooring.
Q: If I want my outside deck flooring to be diagonal, is there anything needed to be done differently?
- RT - Millstone, NJ
A: Because the span of the floor board becomes greater at a 45° angle as opposed to a 90° angle it is suggested that the joist framing below become closer. In this case we would place the joists 12” apart instead of 16”.
Q: What are my options for added insulation for an addition we are planning? What is the extra cost?
- Always Cold - Newington, CT
A: As an upgrade to typical fiberglass batt insulation, polyurethane closed-cell, spray insulation is growing in popularity. The R-value (resistance to heat transfer) is about twice as much as that of fiberglass in the same size cavity, but also twice the cost for material and installation. Recently, probably as a result of supply and demand, the cost of the polystyrene insulation has been dropping.
Q: I'm currently looking to have a Kitchen Refacing and met with a sales person yesterday from Xxxxx Remodelers of Pennsylvania who gave me a quote of $12,637 for replacing my cabinet doors with Furniture Core doors (cathedral arches on top cabinets and squares on the bottom cabinets) and my countertops with Formica laminate (beveled edge to run straight up to the wall cabinets.) He also said that he would install a new 30” x 12” for proper microwave height and replace my two Lazy Susan units and covered with two door piano hinged. He measured my kitchen as 10’ X10’ X8’.
Since I'm not familiar with Furniture Core or Formica laminate, is the above quote reasonable? I originally wanted wood cabinet doors with Corian, Silestone or Zodiac countertops since I hear that they are the standard non-granite material but the sales person said that they would by extremely expensive. He says that he's giving us 20% discount because he wants to use two kitchens in my neighborhood for advertisement purposes since my neighborhood is prime for this type of remodeling (I live in Howell, NJ and the homes in my neighborhood are 20 years old.) If I don't act fast, he said that I will lose the discount and pay the original price of $15,796.25. I want to know if this is a good deal or not. Please respond as soon as possible as need to let him know by this weekend. - LC - Howell, NJ
A: First, if that “offer” was acceptable to them for two homes. It will be acceptable for three plus and for a longer period. Please do not allow yourself to be pressured into making a decision. Also after you do, you have 3 business days to fully review the contract yourself or with others and may cancel without penalty, for any reason during that period, with a full refund.
Second, I would seriously consider Corian, granite or quartz (Silestone, Zodiac…etc.) for your countertop material. These materials look better, hold up better over time and are more advantageous as far as re-sale. These choices should add $1,000 - $3,000 more to the price, depending on style and material selection. Often kitchen refacing companies will suggest laminate countertops because they can fabricate and install themselves which helps with profit and speed. The other materials need to be templated and fabricated by others which adds time to the project.
Furniture Core, I assume, refers to a particle board material covered with a “thermo-foil” or laminate finish for the new doors. While not as good as real wood (oak, maple, cherry) it is still used by many builders.
With that said, without digging deeper into the information, the price of $12,637 seems fair – assuming it includes a new sink/faucet, hook-up and all related debris removal. Wood cabinets with an upgraded countertop would be more than double that amount.