Category Archives: Kearns Brothers

Home Renovation Preparation

DIY home improvements always have the chance to go terribly wrong because most of us are not professional contractors and therefore really have no idea what they are doing.  In this installment we are going to prepare the average homeowner for what they can expect during the home renovation process.  Whether you hire a professional contractor or attempt renovations around your home there are a few things you will need to do to prepare.

Preparing for Your Homes Renovations

Budget

It is crucial to have a realistic budget when it comes to any home improvement project.  Take time to research the average cost of the budget you are interested in.  Once you know about how much you will need you can start to allocate funds accordingly.

Larger home renovation projects require you to have a substantial amount of money on hand.  If your remodel is not something you wish to cover with cash out of pocket, you can look into a home equity loan or line of credit.  The benefit of borrowing against your home’s equity is that often the interest that you are paying on the loan can be deducted off of your taxes each year, up to $750,000 dollars.  Other options for funding a renovation include a reverse mortgage and contractor financing.

Scope

The scope of your project is another element to consider.  It is necessary to take into consideration your budget and what you want to see completed during your renovation.  Are you considering a complete overhaul of your 1980’s kitchen and hoping to create an open concept where it opens into the living area?  Or are you thinking that a fresh look could be achieved with some freshly painted cabinets with updated hardware?

Your budget needs to be comparative with the tasks that you want to accomplish.  It is important that you work with your contractor to make sure that between the materials and labor your budget is large enough to cover your renovation while having a reserve just in case some aspect of the project doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Materials

Sometimes the materials that you choose are simply out of necessity and exactly what you need to accomplish within a limited budget.  For years you may have dreamed of installing granite throughout your home but as the time approaches the realization of just how much more the cost of the renovation will be with granite vs engineered quartz hits.  You suddenly realize that engineered quartz is quite elegant and helps you get more out of your limited budget.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

Is It Time to Replace the Windows in Your Home?

Our homes can’t tell us when something is wrong or not working in the manner that we need it to.  It does however give us a number of signs when something isn’t running exactly as it should be.  This is especially true when it comes to our home’s windows.  The windows on our home can last upwards of 20+ years when high-quality windows are purchased are well-maintained.  It is important that homeowners pay attention to their homes and know what to look for when it comes to replacing the windows of their homes.

Are the windows damaged, warped, or broken?

Sometimes windows need to be repaired instead of replaced.  Minor problems like replacing broken hardware, adding new weather-stripping, or fresh caulking are some of the simpler repairs that can be done on windows. Replacing a window that has a broken sash, has become damaged, or warped may be the better option.  The window may still be in “working” order but really need to be replaced.  Windows that have a draft, fog up, stick, or won’t stay open are telling you they need to be replaced.

Are you ready to lower your energy bills?

Properly installed windows lower your monthly utility bills year-round.  Drafty windows can increase your energy bills upwards of twenty five percent.  Replacing the windows in the home with more energy-efficient windows can reduce your heating and cooling bills.  It can also be a huge selling point down the road when you are considering putting your house up for sale.

Can your home’s curb appeal use an update?

The windows and doors of your homes are one of its most noticeable characteristics.  If they appear old and damaged the overall look and feel of your home will seem outdated.  Look at the color on the window frames and screens, are they faded, do the screens have holes in them? Curb appeal is everything when it comes to your home and your homes windows are a huge part of the overall look of your home.

The type of windows that you choose can also change the total appeal of your home.  Some homeowners choose to go from fixed sash windows to new ones that open.  Another option is to increase the size of the windows to increase the amount of natural light that comes into the home.  Daylight increases the productivity, adds coziness, and creates a warmth within your home.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

The Lowest Price Isn’t Always the Deal Homeowners Think It Is

It doesn’t matter if you are starting on a new construction project or a simple home remodel, going for simple or extravagant, sticking within your budget is important.  Although the price of any job is important there are many other factors that should come into play when choosing a contractor to create your dream home or produce a kitchen your neighbors will envy.  The lowest bid is not always the best choice.  Below are circumstances that may make you think about signing on the dotted line of the lowest bid.

  • Sometimes the lowest bid equates to a contractor using inferior materials. Lower quality is often synonymous with a low bid however not always that is why it is important to have open communication with your contractor.  Materials that are substandard often need to be replaced or repaired more often than those of higher quality.  This means you are spending what you would of on better materials later on repairs.  That just doesn’t make sense.  In many situations when you are renovating or building a new home it is cost effective to look into materials that are of better quality rather than settling for bottom budget options.
  • A lower bid may mean that your job could take longer than it should. Professional companies with several contractors on staff may cost a bit more than a single contractor because of the efficiency they can guarantee.  With more contractors on staff your project will continue to move along without hiccups no matter what other projects the company has in que.  This however, is not always true with independent contractors.

Often times companies are working on more than one project at a time and if a snafu occurs on another job a single contractor company is obligated to make necessary adjustments.  This means your kitchen renovation that was only going to take a month could stretch into two or three months.  Time is money, and this can quickly add to the stress and costs associated with renovating.

  • Often times contractors use a low bid to lure in clients. They produce a contract with a lower bid than the competition by not including the “extras”.  However, often the “extras” aren’t above and beyond and are actually needed elements of the project.  Contractors that specialize in low bid offers do so in a way that makes the extra costs come across as unexpected expenses.  This can be avoided by having a detailed contract that lays out all of the costs from materials to labor.  It is best to receive an up-front price for your project with any changes whether in budget, materials, time, labor, or anything not included in the contract must be approved in writing by the homeowner and the contractor with an agreed upon cost.

You certainly get what you pay for in new construction and home renovations but that does not mean that the highest bid will be any better than the lowest bid.  It just may mean that they included more in their proposal.  To get an accurate assessment of the bang you are getting for your buck you must have a detailed contract with a reputable company that is known for providing superior craftsmanship at industry average wage.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

Motivations in Home Improvement

It doesn’t matter if you have lived in your current home for 15 years or just purchased your first home, a fixer-upper, there is a great chance that some home improvement projects are in your future.  From small renovations such as the installation of a new front door or something major like a complete kitchen remodel you will most likely turn to a company that specializes in home construction.

Updates can be something as simple as changing the way a room looks or updating the function a space serves or as grand as a adding an addition or modification to an existing room that is not being properly utilized.  The reasons for renovations to your home vary a great deal, the one thing that doesn’t is the need to ensure you and your family are prepared for the renovations.

Remodeling: Know Why

It is important to understand why you are taking on any renovation project before getting started.  If you are adding an addition or gutting your kitchen in favor of a newly designed space, it is crucial to know why you are doing it.  Does the plumbing and electricity need to be updated?  Do you need a space that is more practical or a more usable floor plan? Are you just bored? No matter why it is important to get a hold of the motivation for the project as it will better help you to budget and prioritize.

Maintenance

It doesn’t matter if you have a new construction home or a historical home, maintenance is required to ensure that the everything needed to keep the home up and running is working smoothly.  Homes that are over a decade old must have regular inspections on electrical, plumbing, and structural elements in order to keep your home safe for your family.

Renovations driven based solely by maintenance will often mean that the budget for the renovation will mostly go towards hiring professional licensed contractor specializing in services like plumbing and electrical.  More often than not this type of work will require permits and inspections.

Updates

The plumbing and electrical in the home may be up to date however, the rooms may not function as you need them too or may just be an eyesore.  Plenty of times renovation are done just to bring a space up to date.  If this is the reason for renovations you will see a difference in your budget allocation as more of your budget will go to design elements, state of the art appliances, and trending home improvement materials.

Improving Efficiency

Other renovations are done just to improve the efficiency of the home. New windows, doors, siding, chimney updates, and insulation are all renovations that are completed to shrink energy waste and decrease their utility bills.  Other renovations may include new thermostats and solar panels.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

Should I Hire A Professional Contractor for Renovations?

If you are like most homeowners, there will come a time when you must consider renovations around your home.  It could be the kitchen is outdated or the plumbing in the bathroom is no longer working properly; whatever the reason you will start to consider whether you should tackle the renovations by yourself or if you should hire a professional to get the job done.   Most homeowners will opt to hire a professional contractor because it saves time and money in the long run.  The question than becomes who will you hire and how will you know that they are reputable?

Choosing a contractor starts with a search of the local area to find licensed, insured, and reputable professionals who offer services in your area.  After meeting with contractors, you will be able to narrow down the selection based on the following:

  • Familiarity with Home Improvements That are Similar to Yours

Although no two home improvement projects are quite the same there are usually some common elements amongst them.  It is important to hire a professional home improvement contractor that is familiar with the type of renovation you are seeking.  If you are looking to renovate your kitchen or bathroom than it is important to find a contractor that has experience in kitchens and baths.  If you are looking to do exterior home improvements then it is crucial you seek a contractor with experience in siding, window installation, chimney repair, roofing, and more.

  • Vendor Connections

To complete any project your contractor must have access to the materials and supplies that are needed. Better yet is when the contractor that you hire has access to materials and supplies through vendors that offer significant discounts thus allowing your budget to stretch further.

  • Experience in Various Home Improvement Skills

Not only is it crucial that the contractor you choose has expertise in the area in which you are seeking to have renovated but also that they have a wide range of expertise that have been developed overtime with on-site experience.  The contractor that you hire should have experience with the pitfalls that can occur in your project.  This way if they should incur any with yours they will know how to handle them effectively.  From hanging windows, mounting doors, framing walls, or installing a new subfloor your contractor should have experience to keep your project running smoother.

  • An Understanding of the Importance of Safety in Renovations

Safety should be of the utmost concern when it comes to your home and family.   When a contractor performs their job with safety as their top priority it means your job will be done correctly and without injury or property damage.  The contractor should pull the proper permits for the job, understand OSHA regulations, and be compliant with local codes.  Not only will they be schooled in safety surrounding home improvements so should their employees.

There is never a reason not to hire a contractor when it comes to all your home improvement needs.  Not only can they save you time and money, it will help to ensure that your project is done correctly from the start.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

Window Options That Work with your Home

Windows are indeed one of the most obvious features of a house. Homeowner must ensure that windows are installed properly and that the style compliments the architectural design of the home.  As a homeowner it is important to work with your contractor to ensure the exterior of your home goes with the windows that are chosen.  Little things like the shape, size, and style of the new windows should be considered.  It is important that the windows that are chosen are useful and stylish for both the interior and exterior of your home.

There are several window replacement options that you should consider regardless of whether you are building a new house or remodeling your present one. Although, the options you might be faced with might at first seem a little bit overwhelming, choosing the most suitable new windows will make your home a lot more enjoyable and beautiful.

Below are some options of window installations that could work with your home:

Single/Double Hung Windows

Single hung windows consist of two sashes, the top being stationary while the lower one moves upward to allow for little breeze into the house. These types of window installations were common in earlier years but have started gaining attention again in recent times. They are more energy efficient but are limited in some ways.

Double hung windows are like the single hung windows however, both sashes of the double hung windows can be opened. The sashes move vertically along the window frame, just opening a crack or more. This window installation is however not very energy efficient as they are known to allow air escape more than other windows.

Sliding Windows

This is a very common window replacement for old homes as well as for new homes. It makes use of a panel same as the hung windows however, the sliding windows move sideways to open. It opens easily and is usually safe from bugs. A large sliding window can serve as an added emergency exit in the event of a disaster as the screen can be easily and quickly removed.

Casement Windows

When installing new windows, the casement windows are usually perfect on both sides of a bay window so far adequate space is available for them to comfortably open. These windows unfortunately can’t be installed near a deck simply because of their design.

This window installation works via a crank, which when turned, the window opens on a hinge from the right or left. Casement windows open outwards; this allows you to choose how far you want to crank it. When closed, they seal tight and are energy efficient.

Fixed Windows

As the name implies, this type of window installation can’t be opened, it only functions as a passage of light and to offer an amazing view. A lot of large windows are fixed simply because practically, they are too large to open. If perhaps there’s a room in your home which you might most likely never open its window, but only need it to get more sunlight then you should consider a fixed window installation. Fixed windows are much more secure than the other window styles. Make sure the seal works fine and air can’t get out through it. This will help reduce cooling and heating bill during the summer and winter respectively.

In conclusion, when searching for window replacements or perhaps you’re simply just installing new windows; you should consider every option so that you can choose those that best fit your home. Incorporating different types of window installations into your home is a great idea as it depends on the room, the position and many other factors. It is just important to get the best value and energy efficient ones.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

How Simple Chimney Maintenance Improves Its Lifespan

The chimney or fireplace is a beautiful and important part of the home. However, this part of the house can be potentially dangerous if it is not properly cleaned and maintained. Hiring a professional chimney repair contractor can keep your family safe and improve the lifespan of your fireplace. Chimney repair and maintenance contractors can visit your home regularly for routine maintenance and repairs.

Chimney Hazards

As easy as simple chimney maintenance can be, it can save you a lot of potential chimney hazards. One common problem of traditional chimneys is the accumulation of creosote. Creosote is a substance produced by burning coal and wood in fireplaces and is highly flammable. This substance is usually dark brown in appearance and can appear tar-like and sticky, dry and flaky, or shine and hard depending on the type of fuel you burn and the rate of condensation inside your chimney.

Dangerous chimney fire if you allow creosote to build up inside your chimney. These can be slow-burning fires that cause severe damages to the internal structures of your chimney. A popular sign of creosote buildup and slow-burning fires is low rumbling sound. This issue, if not immediately attended to, can escalate into explosive fires that your neighbors will see and hear.

In fact, modern chimneys that do not use either wood or coal for fuel have their own shortcomings too. They can become rust, corroded or wear away. These natural deteriorations can still have a dangerous effect on your house.

Likewise, old chimneys made of bricks and stones also require rebuilding or reinforcement. Remember that brinks can become weak over time and may crumble during earthquakes or erosion. All these effects can reduce the effectiveness of your chimney and ultimately shorten its lifespan.

Preventing Chimney Problems

A simple chimney maintenance and instant repair of structural problems as soon as they start developing are two key ways of preventing chimney fires and improving chimneys lifespan. Chimney cleaning is not as easy as you might think. You need some gadget and equipment to effectively clean a chimney. Therefore, you require the assistance of chimney repair contractor to keep every part of your chimney in a good shape.

Usually, the companies that offer chimney cleaning services also offer chimney repair services. Therefore, in case your chimney needs to be repaired, the contractor will also handle the process for you. Furthermore, chimney inspection comes in three levels.

  • Level 1 chimney cleaning is for standard annual inspections
  • Level 2 chimney cleaning is for more in-depth inspections of the chimney and the rooms closer to it.
  • Level 3 chimney cleaning is for thorough inspection when level 1 or 2 has revealed a possible problem with your chimney. A simple chimney cleaning can reveal the areas that need repair and the types of repair that are needed.

Finding Professional Cleaners

If you have a chimney, you need the services of a chimney repair contractor to inspect your chimney, perform simple cleaning, and make necessary repairs. This will prevent your home from any potential hazard and likewise improve the overall lifespan of the chimney. When was the last time you cleaned your chimney? Do you need a chimney cleaning contractor right now? Contact us today!

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

 

Bloating, Swelling, & Warping: Causes of Damage to Vinyl Siding

Many homeowners choose to have vinyl siding installed on their homes.  It is known for lasting for a very long time and it is practically maintenance free.  However, there are certain situations that can cause vinyl siding to bloat, swell, and even warp, which will make it look horrendous from any vantage point.  Since all homeowners want their home to look beautiful inside and out, they are not going to want their vinyl siding to look bad at any time and therefore should take proper precautions to avoid these issues.

When a homeowner hires an exterior home improvement contractor, they will want to make sure that the contractor is a professional and has years of experience hanging vinyl siding.  Without this experience, exterior home improvement contractors might nail the vinyl siding too closely to the house.  That means that the vinyl siding will not be able to move as it needs to from thermal expansion and it will buckle and warp.

The elements can really wreak havoc on vinyl siding as well, and it is common for the siding to become buckled and warped after being exposed to many different elements for months or years.  Some of the elements that are the worst include severely windy conditions, intense sunlight, and even extreme rain.

Of course, homeowners also need to consider chemical exposure or heat from nearby buildings if they start to see their vinyl siding bloating, swelling, or warping, because those two things can create a lot of damage too.

Exterior home improvement contractors all agree that homeowners should inspect their vinyl siding on a regular basis.  This will allow them to catch the buckling and warping much sooner, when there is a possibility of it being repaired easily.  Regular maintenance on your homes exterior will prevent siding issues from turning into siding catastrophes.

Unfortunately, if damaged vinyl siding isn’t repaired quickly, there will be no way for exterior home improvement contractors to fix it.  The reason for this is that the buckling and warping will continue to spread to larger areas and the only way to make the siding look nice again is completely replacing it.  At least, when the damage is limited to a smaller section, there is a chance that only that section would need to be replaced.

We always recommend that homeowners hold onto the vinyl siding that is leftover from the installation, so if a small section does buckle or warp, it is easy to replace those pieces.  However, those few pieces will not be of any help if an entire side of a house needs to be redone.

No matter what, homeowners will want to call their exterior home improvement contractor as soon as they see their vinyl siding bloating, swelling, or warping.  This phone call can save a homeowner thousands of dollars if they do it quickly enough.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

 

Invest In Home Improvement To Boost Your Home’s Value

When it comes to spending money on home improvements there are renovations that are done to boost a homes value while other remodeling projects are done only to bring more enjoyment.  In this installment on home improvement we will discuss ways to increase the value of your home.

  • Curb Appeal/Front Yard Makeover

So many updates can be done on the exterior of the home from major home improvements such as the installation of new siding or windows to smaller renovation such as the installation of new pavers to create a walkway or some colorful planters.  People do judge your home based on their first impression, so it is important to take pride in it, allow it to stand out from the others, and add some bright colors with the addition of flowers.

  • HVAC/Furnace Replacement

No one really thinks about furnaces or central air conditioners when considering ways to improve their homes but truly it is a great way to add value while offering new home buyers’ peace of mind upon seeing new systems in place.  There are several rebates on energy saving heating and cooling systems, not to mention the rebates and tax savings.  This is an improvement to consider making especially if you plan on being in the home for a while.

  • Adding Insulation

If your home doesn’t have enough insulation adding blow in insulation to the attic helps to keep your home warm in the winter and cold in the summer.  Adding in insulation to your homes attic can be relatively inexpensive while offering you energy savings.  Attic insulation and updating caulking around doors and windows can save you a bundle of cash over the course of a year.

  • Bring in The Light

An easy way to brighten up a space is with the addition of lighting.  The addition of recessed lighting with a dimmer switch is a great way to make a dramatic change without adding too much of a good thing.

  • Renovate Plumbing and Electrical

Improving the guts of your home is always a good investment.  If the home has rusty old iron pipes, then replace the plumbing.  New flexible tubing makes replacing plumbing easier than ever.  It is true that there is no reason to put money into a home when the mechanics are faulty.  New homeowners always fret at the scary thought that the electrical or plumbing needs updating.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

Preventing Roof Damage from Heat and Humidity

Your homes roof is under constant attach from several fronts.  If you are not careful you can end up with costly repairs that could have been avoided.  You may be surprised to know that wind and hail, normal weather elements that we associate with roof damage are not the biggest threats to your homes roof.  In fact, the two factors that can do far more extensive damage are heat and humidity.

It is wise to hire a roofing contractor to perform a yearly inspection on your homes roof.  This will help homeowners catch potential dangers in the homes attic and rafters before it becomes overwhelming and costly to repair.  Roofing contractors are experienced in seeking out damage that is caused from excessive heat and moisture build up.  If they find you are dealing with potential roof damage they can remedy the situation before you as a homeowner ends up with a costly repair.

Hidden Damage Caused by Heat

While roof vents are installed to help prevent damage caused by the buildup of excessive heat if the vents do not work properly you could end up with the rafters, decking material, and roof joists damage caused by expansion due to the heat. The sun can also cause damage to the flashing whether it is made or metal or plastic, this could lead to moisture getting in. The heat can also cause the shingles on your house to shrink and this could lead to the nails to pop and this will allow more moisture to get.

Hidden Damage Caused by Excessive Moisture

Moisture that can penetrate your roof and getting into the attic space can end up doing a surprising amount of damage to your home. Unless you are someone who goes up into the attic frequently, it may be quite some time before you are able to discover the problem. There are two major issues that can be caused by excessive moisture: mold and condensation.

Mold Damage

When moisture gets into your attic space from under your roof the damage could remain hidden for many years. The excessive moisture can easily cause mold to begin growing on the all the wood and sheetrock where ever it can get in. Depending on how long it takes to find the damage it could end up causing extensive damage to your home before you have any idea.

Excessive Condensation

Damage caused by condensation is generally is thought to come from bathroom vents that have allowed the warm, moist air to get into the attic area. It can also come from leaking dryer venting system that allows the warm air to also enter the attic. If you have noticed any mold growth you would want to eliminate the mold and then add additional insulation.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.