Avoid These Bathroom Remodel Mistakes

A bathroom renovation can be an expensive project. Whether you’re updating the entire space or just replacing a few outdated features, there are many common mistakes that homeowners make during the remodel process. When you know what to expect,  you’ll be able to plan ahead for common headaches and minimize stress during your bathroom remodel. Here are a few of the most common issues homeowners run into during a bathroom remodel.

Letting Water Out of the Shower

Showers that spray or leak water can be incredibly frustrating. The last thing you want to deal with in your finished bathroom is a soaked floor after every shower. That’s why it’s important to pay attention when you’re installing shower tiles. Make sure the tile is slightly sloped towards the drain so that all of the water from the shower is directed to the right place. Accounting for this common mistake could save you money in the future by preventing deterioration and water damage. 

Not Incorporating Enough Storage Space 

Another aspect of bathroom design that many people don’t consider is adequate storage space. While many like to include more space between fixtures, it’s important for your design not to be too minimalistic. Make sure you have enough space to store personal items, paper products, and linens. Make sure to be practical and include plenty of cabinets, closet space, and built-in nooks for storage. 

Failing to Plan Out the Details

Before you start the demolition process, it’s critical to map out a thorough replacement plan. The smallest of decisions, such as paint color or shower tile, shouldn’t be saved for the last minute. These details could end up having a huge influence on the aesthetics of your new bathroom. Planning out every detail meticulously will also make for a much quicker timeline. 

Cutting Corners On Plumbing 

Many big box stores and discount outlets offer cheap plumbing kits. While the initial reduced price may seem attractive, you should educate yourself on how opting for a cheap kit could cost you in the future. Oftentimes, plumbing fixtures from big box stores are made with low-quality plastic parts rather than metal. Most experienced plumbers will often refuse to install cheap plastic hardware. Specify plumbing for your project through a professional plumbing supply company.

Installing an Exterior Window in the Wrong Spot

While it should go without saying, you need to be careful when choosing the placement of a bathroom window (especially on the ground floor). There are builders that will recommend using a fan with an outside window as a backup method of ventilation, but make sure you are accounting for the view in and out of the bathroom. Keep in mind that bushes do wonders for privacy in the warmer months, but won’t be much help in concealing bathroom windows during the winter. 

Conclusion

Thinking about renovating a bathroom but don’t know where to start? We’d be happy to help, contact us today!

Install A His & Hers Walk-In Closet

Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to battle over space in a shared closet, walk-in or not. It’s difficult to make the most of a cramped, dark closet that doesn’t have enough space for all of your clothing, accessories, and miscellaneous items. If you are prepared to renovate, consider transforming your small master bedroom closet into a modern-day his and hers styled closet. Maximize every inch of your closet with these helpful tips. 

Divide Space

The first thing you should do when you start designing your walk-in closet is to distinguish clear sides of the closet. Be realistic when dividing up space, if one person has more clothes, shoes, or accessories that need space should be reflected in the design of the closet. Once you have your dimensions, your builder will be able to tailor your space to your exact needs. 

Utilize shelving and baskets

Storage tools will be your best friend when it comes to organizing your his & hers closet. They’re a great way to organize jewelry racks, ties, hats, socks, and any other small item that doesn’t necessarily need to be hung up or take up an entire drawer. For maximum organization, you can even label baskets and shelves.

Make The Most Of Empty Space

Adjusting the hanging space in a closet to fit your clothes will do wonders for making the most of the space. Most closets are designed with one single rod and shelf at the top, which leaves large gaps of unused storage below your clothes and often a large unused block above the upper shelf. You can double your storage by including double hanging sections that feature an upper and lower rod in the same vertical section. 

Don’t Forget The Little Things

When designing your closet, small additions can make a world of difference. Use a wardrobe rod to stage your outfits for the next day or incorporate a jewelry rack to organize your favorite pieces. 

Conclusion

A His & Hers closet can make a world of difference in the organization of your home. If you have questions about updating your closet, contact us today!

Advantages Of Living On A Corner Lot

When buying a home, the location is a key consideration in the decision-making process. While factors like the neighborhood or proximity to schools and downtown areas are a common topic of conversation, the lot placement is also an important aspect to consider when shopping for a home. In recent years, plenty of drawbacks of living on a corner property have become apparent to buyers, but many people overlook the feeling of openness and light that a corner property brings to the table. We’ve outlined some of the benefits of living on a corner property to consider in your home buying process.

More Parking

In busy urban areas, extra parking is a huge advantage of owning a corner property. There are many more parking spaces available when your property is surrounded by twice the amount of street space than a traditional lot. This hidden benefit is especially useful if you plan on entertaining large groups of people in your home.

Great Lighting

Corner homes in densely settled areas are distinguished due to the amount of sunlight they get through extra windows. While most homeowners look to maximize any bit of sunlight they get, inhabitants of corner lots have ample light to utilize when decorating the interior of their homes.

Reduced Costs

Corner lots tend to be noisy, especially ones on busy roads. The benefit of the possible increased noise pollution is that you may find a house that’s perfect for you AND affordable. Corner lots on busy roads tend to be priced lower than surrounding homes, so if you can deal with a little noise you’ll likely save a considerable amount of money. 

There’s also a significant chance that you’ll save money on insurance rates when it comes to a corner property. If you live in an urban area, your city may use your corner as a place to put safety features such as fire hydrants. The proximity of safety features may decrease your home insurance.

Extra Space

In general, corner lots are larger in yard size and home size. For a similar price to surrounding homes, you’ll get a more spacious house as well as room outdoors to utilize for gardening, a pool, or entertaining. If you’re looking for an investment property, consider landscaping the yard to perfection and adding fun outdoor features to increase the home value.

Conclusion

When you consider all the benefits of a corner home, it may mean more to you than noisy traffic and extra yard work in the spring. Recently, corner properties have started to become more sought after by homebuyers. If you’re wondering about the potential projects for your home on a corner lot, reach out to us today!

Should You Include a Skylight in Your Home?

If you’re looking for more natural sunlight in a living room, to heat up a bedroom, or have better ventilation in your home, you’ve probably thought about installing a skylight. You might not be sure if a skylight is the right investment for you. We’ve created this guide of benefits and drawbacks to take into consideration when deciding whether or not a skylight is a good fit for your home.

Pros of Skylights

Improved Ventilation For Your Space

Skylight windows can be opened to let in fresh air, which aids with cross ventilation. Especially in stuffy rooms, skylights can cool down the space and freshen up the air without the costs of other ventilation methods, such as air conditioning

Saving on Energy Costs

Skylights can be useful in both the heating and cooling of your space. They can warm up areas of your home that are cold and stuffy due to inadequate lighting as well as provide heat during the daytime. Energy costs can pile up quickly, so a skylight is a great alternative. Just make sure the skylight you choose to install features laminated glass and is leakproof!

Aesthetic Changes Increase Home Value

Skylights are a popular and sought-after cosmetic enhancement. They can add value to your home if you ever decide to put it on the market, as they provide a natural light that creates a beautiful ambiance.

Make a Room Feel Bigger

Skylights often have the potential to make a room feel more spacious. They also allow for beautiful views of the night sky.

Cons of Skylights

Improper Placement

The placement of a skylight is crucial to its effectiveness in the aforementioned benefits above. Make sure to consult a professional about the placement of your skylight

Too Much Light

Sometimes, the placement of the skylight brings in too much light or heat during the day. Proper consultation could help fix this potential problem, making sure you install a skylight in an area that will fit your needs without letting a space get too hot or cold.

Cleaning Issues

Skylights can be difficult and sometimes downright unsafe to clean. From the inside, you’ll likely have to use a ladder to clean. From the outside, you’re likely to have leaves and branches fall on the skylight from time to time, and getting on the roof to brush them off can be a pain.

Conclusion

There are several compelling arguments for and against skylights. Here at the Horton Group, we’re here to assist you with considerations to make when deciding to install a skylight as well as proper installation techniques.

Install a Spiral Staircase

Many homes can benefit from installing a spiral staircase. They’re a versatile design option that can work well in homes with open floor plans as well as ones without extra space to spare. Installing a spiral staircase can add a simple yet sophisticated element to any home. We’ve outlined a couple of reasons that you should consider investing in a spiral staircase.

Seamless Installation

Spiral staircases are a lot more affordable than one might think. Some people even choose to order the materials in a kit to install them by themselves! They are easier to assemble than regular stairs and often much cheaper.

Add Value to Your Home

Spiral staircases are very attractive to architects and homebuyers alike. While they are relatively inexpensive to install, they are one of the most desired elements that boost the value of a home.

Save Space

Spiral staircases can be put in where other types of staircases may not fit, such as cottages or apartments. Even when it’s not a top priority to save space when selecting a staircase, they can make the largest of rooms feel even more spacious.

Versatile

Spiral staircases are known to compliment almost every interior. The material and color used in the construction of spiral staircases can vary greatly while still preserving the aesthetic of your space. Wood, glass, and iron are all elements that you can feature in your spiral staircase.

Conclusion:

Spiral staircases have stood the test of time and have continually stayed popular in a variety of different home styles. If you’re looking for a customizable and aesthetically pleasing update to your home, a spiral staircase might be the perfect option for you. Want to start a project with us? Get to know some of our skilled professionals and give us a call at 203-624-6873.

The Benefits of Recessed Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important things to consider when renovating or updating a home. Apart from improving the way a home looks and feels, the right lighting can increase the value of a property. While chandeliers,  wall mount fixtures, and track lights are all right for certain spaces in your home, recessed lighting is the right choice for anyone looking to brighten up a space without installing a fixture that extends into a room and changes elements of its decor. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of adding recessed lighting to your home.

Increase the Value of Your Home

Recent data from the most popular U.S. home trends suggests that homes with recessed lighting receive around 1,110 views per listing on real estate websites, which is higher than any other top 10 home trend. It’s also been reported that on average, homes with recessed lighting are more likely to sell above list price.

Illusion of Space

Recessed lights naturally make a room feel bigger because there is less physical space being taken up with light cans being set into the ceiling. Different types of trim can also cast more light around the room, especially when spaced further away from the wall and other fixtures.

Highlight Aspects of Your home

When installing recessed lighting, you’re able to highlight specific designs or aesthetics of your home. Use a recessed light to shed light on an art piece, unique structural feature, or special collection. Recessed light can also act as a spotlight in a home office or kitchen.

Safety

The casing of a recessed light keeps it safe and out of reach of children and pets, as opposed to hanging light fixtures.

Versatility

Recessed lighting has many options that you can choose from to customize your lighting setup. A few things you can consider when customizing your recessed lighting:

  • Fixture sizes:  based on the height of the ceiling & size of the area you want to light.
  • Light Bulb Type: control temperature, cost, lifespan, and intensity of light. 
  • Trim styles: an eyeball trim can help with wall-wash lighting, while a flat trim is ideal for a minimalist finish.

Conclusion:

Recessed lighting allows you to upgrade your home in a way that’s both stylish and discreet. The Horton Group has been serving the Northeastern United States for over 20 years, and we’d love to help you, too. Want to start a project with us? Get to know some of our skilled professionals and give us a call at 203-624-6873.

Increase Your Home Security

While burglary rates have steadily declined over the last decade, a burglar still strikes every 25.7 seconds in the United States. In order to avoid becoming an easy target for break-ins and feel safer in your home, consider the following home security tips.

Common Sense

Most break-ins that occur are crimes of opportunity, where burglars are able to walk right through the front door. While always locking doors is easy enough, also be sure to secure mail slots, use deadbolts as reinforcement, and avoid doors that have glass near the handle. Be sure to always change your locks when moving to a new place.

Security Systems

A security system isn’t a guarantee to keep burglars out, but it does make the task riskier. Security systems can serve as a deterrent as well as proof of a crime after the fact.

Outdoor Lighting

Anyone looking to break into a home will want to avoid being in the spotlight. Using motion-activated lights around the perimeter of your home will likely deter criminals in the initial casing of the property or even when they’re attempting a break-in.

Secure Valubles

Technology, cash, and jewelry are the main things burglars look for. Make sure to keep valuables in a safe or out of plain sight.

Plan for Vacation

Another way to ensure your home’s security is to avoid advertising when you’ll be away from your home for long stretches of time. If you know your neighbors well, ask them to keep an eye on your place. Have your mail held at the post office and save posting on social media about your trip until you get home.

Conclusion:

increase your home security

Securing your home doesn’t always have to be costly or time-consuming. By using a few of these tips you can feel safer and know that your home is unlikely to become a target for burglary.

Protect Your Home From A Fire

As discussed in the past, we’ve gone over how to protect yourselves from a flood. But what about other disasters, like a fire? While achieving a fireproof house is difficult, there are ways to prevent a small fire from growing and potentially engulfing your entire home.

The Roof

A roof can often make the difference between if your home survives a fire or not, as many fires begin when embers find their way onto the roof. Make sure your roof is constructed of a non-flammable material like asphalt, metal, slate, or tile. Keep your gutters clean of leaves, and pine needles, as these can be the perfect kindling for any embers that land on your roof.

Cover Openings

Your home is full of flammable items, and it is vital to keep embers out. You’ll want to cover any openings into your home with hardware cloth to prevent embers from entering the house and sparking a flame. Also, invest in double-paned, tempered-glass windows that will withstand high temperatures better.

Defensible Zone Around Your House

In the event of a fire, you’ll want to keep highly flammable objects at least 30 feet away from your home. These are items like any firewood or fuel that you store outside. Mulch is also highly flammable, and stone or gravel is recommended for landscaping instead if you live in an area prone to fires. Water your outdoor plants regularly, and trim any low-hanging branches near your home. Keep your property as debris-free as possible.

Be Prepared

As with any disaster, preparedness is key. Create a disaster plan well before you ever need it. You should know exactly which flammable objects you’ll need to relocate away from your home and where you will meet up with family if separated. Make sure your house is well-stocked with several functioning fire extinguishers in easy-to-access locations. All fire extinguishers should be inspected regularly, and everyone in your household should know how to use one.

Conclusion:

Don’t be caught unprepared when faced with a fire disaster. Remember these vital tips to protect your home. Ask us about fire-resistant materials in your next construction project.

A Home Maintenance Guide For Homeowners

About to purchase your first home and not sure what kind of maintenance will come with it? Like many things in adulthood, owning a home comes with a lot of responsibilities. Aside from paying the light bill and Wi-Fi, the up-keep is just as essential as cleaning out your garbage disposal. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common maintenance needs as a homeowner.

Frequent Maintenance

When you first move in, change the locks! While it is uncommon for previous owners to break into your home, you always want to lower the possibility of anyone other than yourself having access. Every month or so, be sure to change the batteries to all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you hear any beeping sounds, don’t ignore them. That’s its way of alerting you to change the battery pack. 

Ever wondered why you always get a stuffy nose at night? Or why do you constantly have an urge to sneeze from time to time? Try changing your HVAC filters. When left untouched, all that dust and debris can build up and will likely be the cause of your restless nights. Try it out. You’ll see a change in your sleep pattern and HVAC appliances.

Check for leaks around the house, and if you need to recaulk the bathroom or windows, replace them. You don’t have to worry about it so soon if done professionally, but it can wear down after a while. 

Inspect your fire extinguisher. While it’s true fire extinguishers don’t come with an expiration date, forever isn’t promised. You’d be surprised how little previous owners checked theirs.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry in case of emergencies.

Finally, locate essential items like the water shut-off valve and circuit breaker. This is second-hand knowledge that could be helpful if inspectors plan a visit or any kind of renovation that needs to be done regarding sinks, showers, toilets, lighting, etc. 

Long-term Maintenance

Moving forward are some examples that need to be handled less often but should always be kept in mind for the future. The following repairs or replacements can get expensive, so it is crucial that you do your research. Think ahead of the uncertainties and set aside money to properly maintain your at-home paradise. 

Inspect your chimney, mainly if it’s not being used often or adequately. Cover your AC unit, empty your lawn mower fuel tank, and winterize any exposed pipes before the seasons change. Check for any winter damage like the roof and siding, and clean out those gutters every spring. During the summer, reseal your deck, open up your pool (if you have one), tend to your landscape paradise, and inspect for pests. 

After every six months, clean your refrigerator coil, vacuum your air vents, and clean your showerheads. After a year, drain your water heater, clean out the dryer vent, and get your septic cleaned out too. We know this may sound like a list of chores, but imagine all the money you’d be saving if you didn’t have to pay for heavy-duty replacements all at once. 

From 5 to 10 years, replace the dishwasher, microwave, and kitchen sink. In the meantime, set applicable appliances, like the dishwasher to self-clean. Get rid of that old water smell and mold that could be growing. After about 15 years, and if you still live in the same home, replace your water heater and refrigerator. Also, and this is something that usually gets overlooked, replace your garage door opener or motor. 

Conclusion

Many people think in an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix” scenario which isn’t always the safest idea. Your home is your greatest investment, and it’s important that you maintain its beauty. Do your research and follow up on the signs like random puddles of water by the fridge, or clanking pipes by the boiler. Beeping usually means changing the battery, and a stuffy nose can lead to clogged AC filters. While we hope this list helps you prepare for your homeownership journey, contact us if you have any questions.

Look For Credentials When Hiring

If you’re planning a home remodel and want to hire a professional, then you’ve likely heard some horror stories.

No one wants to be taken advantage of – whether it’s your time, money, and especially not your home. When researching contractors in the area, make sure you look at their credentials just as much as their portfolio online. A pretty picture is nothing without a few testimonials.

Remodeling professionals have the training, experience, skills, and solid references. Homeowners can hire the best remodeler for the job by checking credentials and choosing the most qualified candidate.

Ask about these credentials when hiring a professional remodeler:

Insurance and Licensing

All professional home remodelers should be insured and able to display a certificate proving possession of insurance. While not all states require remodelers to be licensed, the ones that do, contractors are mandated to share proof of licensure. Up-to-date insurance and licensing demonstrate that the remodeling firm is in good standing. 

Education

The most skilled professional remodelers not only have experience on the job but education. There are many ways contractors continue their education and numerous certifications, designations one can hold. Find a professional who continues to invest in professional development to keep their remodeling and business skills sharp and better serves their customers.

References and Reviews

Happy homeowners enjoy sharing their good experiences and appreciation of their newly upgraded space. Take a look at reviews online, or ask friends and neighbors for their referrals. 

Business Skills

Experienced remodelers know how to manage their business, which provides stability and security for their customers. These professionals will provide a written contract for a home remodeling project, a scheduled timeline, and guarantees and warranties for their work. 

Another vital sign of honest business practices from a remodeler is outlining a clear payment schedule and not requiring large amounts of cash upfront. Professional remodelers should also have a good reputation with the Better Business Bureau and a good credit report, indicating stable business operations.

Association Membership

Many successful remodelers are members of trade associations like the National Association of Home Builders because it offers business resources and continuing education. Membership also provides opportunities for professional growth and expanding knowledge of the remodeling industry.

Conduct thorough research when hiring a professional home remodeler so that you hire someone with good credentials. Verifying intelligent business practices and remodeling experts will better ensure that your home remodel will be completed successfully and safely. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry rather than trusting someone’s word.

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