Kitchen Remodel: Homeowners Guide to Countertop Choices

Kitchen renovations are among the most popular home improvement projects. In most homes, the kitchen is one of the busiest rooms, making it an obvious area of focus when the time comes to upgrade. Remodeling the kitchen is also a great way to boost the resale value of your home, and when it’s done with care, you can even generate a positive return on your investment in the form of appreciation.

If you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen, chances are you’re looking long and hard at your countertop options. A kitchen’s counters are one of its most visible elements, and you’ll need a good balance of beauty and practicality, while not breaking the bank. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most popular options to help you narrow down your list of possibilities.

Kitchen Remodel: Homeowners Guide to Countertop Choices by Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement

Performance Characteristics of Popular Countertop Materials

It’s important to look beyond the surface when evaluating the various materials on the market. A certain option might look great, but it may not be the best fit from a performance standpoint.

Here’s the low-down on 10 popular countertop materials:

  • Bamboo. This environmentally friendly option looks great, especially when it’s new. However, moisture can warp it, making it a poor choice for use near sinks. It’s also easily damaged and stained, so you’ll have to take extra precautions to protect it.
  • Butcher block. Like bamboo, butcher block isn’t a great idea near sinks, as water can damage it. However, it is an economical option for larger areas, especially if you like the look of natural wood. It also has outstanding stain resistance characteristics.
  • Concrete. Excellent at resisting moisture, concrete is also very stain-resistant. However, heat can damage it, and it can also crack and chip easily. Expensive, but worth the investment if you take care of it.
  • Granite. This is one of the most popular options for a reason: granite is extremely versatile, and holds up very well under practically all usage conditions. It’s also available in a broad range of colors and patterns, making it easy to match with any design scheme.
  • Laminate. Be sure a cutting board and this economical option will never let you down. Knives will damage it, but otherwise, it holds up well against heat, stains, and moisture.
  • Limestone. If your counter is serving a more decorative than functional purpose, limestone is worth considering. However, it’s not the most practical option for everyday use and heavy wear and tear, as it scratches easily. Limestone does excel at resisting heat, though.
  • Marble. Another premium option, marble is fantastic as long as you’re careful not to chip or crack it…and it tends to chip quite easily, so proceed with caution.
  • Quartz. Designed to look like stone, quartz is a high-performing option with very few drawbacks. It’s easy to care for and maintain, and resists abrasions, chipping, heat, and moisture with ease.
  • Recycled glass. Another eco-friendly option, recycled glass is prone to chipping, but otherwise, it performs well and is a great way to add a colorful, vibrant feel to any kitchen.
  • Soapstone. While it can chip, scratch, and stain easily, soapstone is highly resistant to heat and looks dazzling, especially when it’s new.

Still not sure? A home renovation expert or professional contractor can help you sift through options and decide which style will work best for you.

Whether you need to upgrade your kitchen, add a bath or paint your interiors, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience in residential construction & home improvement.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote

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Home Water Damage: 5 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

Water damage is a major headache that often necessitates costly repairs. Aside from immediate damage it creates, it can also lead to serious problems later on, including toxic mold and problems with your home’s structural and foundational elements.

However, the good news is that most types of water damage are preventable. You can even take action to reduce the chances of suffering serious damage as the result of something you can’t prevent, such as a flood or backed-up city sewer.

Home Water Damage: 5 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

5 Most Common Types of Water Damage and How to Prevent Them

Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing it is an important part of home maintenance. No matter the type of damage, there are numerous things your can do to protect your property.

#1. Floods

Floods caused by natural events such as major storms are among the leading culprits when it comes to home water damage. While nobody can control Mother Nature, there are several things you can do to safeguard against storm-related flooding:

  • Keep valuables off the basement floor. Most storm-related floods affect basements. As such, it’s not a good idea to keep valuable items, like high-end furniture and electronics, in these areas of your home. This is particularly true if you live in a flood-prone geographic region.
  • Raise your electric sockets. Flood damage will wreak havoc on affected parts of your home’s electrical system. One strategy is to elevate the position of the electric sockets in your basement. Instead of placing them near the floor, move them higher up on the wall.
  • Install a basement sump pump. A battery-powered basement sump pump will help you clear water in the event of a flood.
  • Put indoor/outdoor carpeting in basements. Use stone, tile, sealed concrete, waterproof wallboard and other water-resistant building materials in areas prone to flooding.
  • Seal foundation cracks. Water in the foundation can cause serious damage to your home’s structure. Make sure that the grounds around the house slope away from the home to keep water from the foundations and basement.

#2. Burst pipes

Burst pipes can be a major problem, especially during the winter months. Water can freeze inside the pipes, causing expansion that can lead to a burst…and thousands of dollars’ worth of water damage. The good news is there’s an easy three-step method to avoid such a situation:

  • Set your water thermostat to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius)
  • Turn on your faucets ever so slightly, so any water in your pipes will drip out
  • Once your pipes are empty, insulate all exposed pipes to help trap heat inside so water will not freeze.
  • Fix and replace leaking pipes, clogged drains, and malfunctioning drainage systems immediately.
  • Check washing machine and dishwasher hoses to make sure that they aren’t cracked.

#3. Water heater failures

Water heater failures usually result from slow leaks or bursts inside the water tank. Performing regular routine maintenance is the best way to avoid these problems.

  • Have your water heater regularly serviced by a qualified technician, and flush out built-up sediment on a regular basis according to manufacturer guidelines. Consult your owner’s manual for specifics.
  • Replace your aging water heater – if your water heater reaches its life expectancy, the risk of a slow leak or sudden burst increases.

#4. Roof leaks

Roof leaks are another common culprit of home flooding, and you can avoid them by being vigilant about possible problems with your roofing and performing regular maintenance of your roofing system.

  • Every spring and fall, you should perform a detailed inspection of your roof, noting any areas where shingles or roofing elements show signs of wear. Have them repaired promptly.
  • Replace shingles that are coming loose, and pay extra attention to areas around the chimney and vents.
  • Do the same if you notice leaks coming from your roof, even if you didn’t notice signs of damage during your inspection. Something may have eluded your eye, and a professional can help diagnose and solve these problems.
  • Use galvanized or stainless-steel nails and fasteners.
  • Make sure that gutters drain water away from the house, and that all the joints are all properly sealed.

#5. Toilet and drain backups

Finally, beware of toilet and drain backups. Regular inspections and preventative maintenance will help you avoid problems with your toilets and drains.

  • Check your toilet’s supply valve, supply line, and flush valve at least once a year, and replace any components showing signs of wear.
  • Act promptly if any of your home’s toilets stop functioning normally.
  • With drains, do periodic checks to make sure water isn’t clearing unusually slowly. If it is, something is likely clogging your drain. Drain cleaners are readily available at home improvement stores, and they’ll help in most situations.
  • For persistent problems, or for issues that you can’t readily solve using frontline techniques, contact your local plumber.

If Water Damage Has Occurred…

If you have water damage in your home, there’s a series of steps you need to follow to solve your problem. These include identifying the source of the damage, fixing that problem and then dealing with the water damage itself.

If you’ve been affected by water damage, you will be dealing with your homeowner’s insurance. Here are few tips:

  • call your insurance agent right away,
  • list all of your damaged property before beginning the cleanup process, including pictures if possible,
  • keep receipts for all of your cleanup supplies and any services that you hire,
  • know that flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance, you will need flood insurance purchased separately,
  • additionally, not all water damage is covered by insurance, especially if the damage resulted from lack of proper maintenance or was ongoing but ignored.

In the aftermath of water damage, hiring a quality contractor is the best way to ensure your water damage gets fixed right, the first time, every time. For immediate help, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement, a family owned/operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home renovation contractor with over 40 years of experience. We are experts at insurance restoration and offer 24/7 emergency service to our Virginia customers!.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

With warm temperatures and long hours of daylight, summer is the ideal time to work on a home improvement project, especially those that are going to spruce up your home’s exterior.

If you get a prompt start, you’ll even be finished in time to enjoy the fruits of your labor before the cool weather makes its inevitable comeback.

Focusing on minor upgrades and energy efficiency that will add appeal and comfort to your home is the smartest thing you can do, especially if you’re considering selling in the near future.

Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

If you’re looking for ideas for summer home improvement projects, considering the relative costs of popular home upgrades is a great place to start. That way, you can undertake a project that fits in your budget range and get a jump start on planning future renovations.

Lower-Cost Summer Home Renovation Projects

Looking for a quick upgrade that’s easy on your budget? Consider these popular options:

  • Spruce up your yard: Landscaping is alwasy at the top of every summer home improvement list, and is one of the biggest home improvements that add value to a property. Boosting your curb appeal can be as cheap and easy as laying a new lawn, adding some shrubs and trees and applying a fresh coat of paint to your home’s exterior. Spending on landscaping and doing it wisely, you can greatly add to the value of your home.
  • Update your lighting: Good exterior lighting helps keep your home safe and secure, while improving your home’s curb appeal. Add new fixtures, install motion-detecting sensors and sleep easy.
  • Install a new front door: One of the cheapest, yet most effective exterior changes is as simple as a new front door. Swap your old one out for an energy-efficient, attractive upgrade for just a few hundred dollars.

Summer Projects for Mid-Range Budgets

If you’re looking to spend a little more money without breaking the bank, these mid-range projects are excellent:

  • Install a new HVAC system: This will require an investment of a few thousand dollars, but you’ll dramatically reduce your heating and cooling costs for years to come. And if your central air was installed a few decades ago, upgrading to a more efficient condenser will be a treat for both your family and your wallet!
  • Replace your windows: Swap out your old, drafty windows for dual-pane energy-efficient replacements that help keep cool air in during the summer and prevent warm air from escaping during the winter. Now is also a good time to think about installing curtains, shades, blinds, awnings and window films to help control summer heat gain through windows.
  • Add insulation: Attic insulation plays an extremely important role in the health of your roof and the overall energy efficiency of your home. Review your home’s insulation protection and address problem areas with products that have a suitable R-value for your climate.
  • Do a minor indoor remodeling: Kitchens and bathrooms are high-profile areas that see a lot of traffic. They both offer a high ROI, and you don’t have to break the bank for a high impact result. Invest in a kitchen face-lift: replace your cabinet faces, install new sinks and plumbing fixtures, add a backsplash, update the lighting and add an island. For bathrooms, replacing your dated vanity is always recommended. You’ll be glad you did when the time comes to sell your home.

High-End Exterior Upgrades If You Can Splurge

Making a significant investment in home improvement is a major decision, but it’s one that can pay off in big ways down the road in the form of a dramatically increased resale value.

With summer being a really good time to take a good look at how you experience outdoor living, ask yourself: What do you love about your back yard? How do you use your outdoor space? How can you improve your outdoor living?

Here are some high-budget projects that can further expand your living space to the outdoors:

  • Build a porch, deck or patio: Make better use of your outdoor space by adding a covered porch, raised deck or backyard patio (this post will help you choose your best option). Each offers great ROI,
  • Install a swimming pool: While certainly on the very expensive side of home improvements, this elaborate upgrade will help you make the most of the summer months for as long as you live in your home.
  • Add outbuildings: If you’re running out of space, building a detached garage or shed will solve your storage woes while adding a lot of value to your home.
  • Install a sunroom: When part of your deck is converted to a screened-in porch or sunroom you can enjoy the summer weather without the mosquitoes. A sunroom will extend the season and keep you sheltered from the elements, and it might just be your favorite part of the house no matter the time of the year!

Hire A Professional Home Improvement Contractor

Summer is the best time to take care of your exterior home improvement projects in order to maintain and enhance your home, but unless you’ve got extensive construction skills and experience, you’ll achieve the best results by working with a professional contractor, especially if you’re considering one of the higher-end projects this summer.

Choose a local professional with a proven track record of success in the same kind of work you’re planning, but compare quotes and do your research before committing to a single contractor.

Whether you’re thinking of installing a deck, replacing windows, or building a shed, investing in a skilled contractor can go a long way. Here at Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement, we can help you turn your dreams into reality. We are a family owned and operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience in interior and exterior renovation and construction, and we make it our mission to exceed our customers’ expectations and provide exceptional service!

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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