Category Archives: Home Improvement

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

Build the kitchen of your dreams!

Get your no-obligation quote!

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

Improve your outside space

Get your no-obligation quote!

Exterior Home Improvement: Choosing Between Deck, Patio and Porch

With the return of the warm weather, many homeowners look to the outdoors when they cast an eye to home improvement projects. Options abound: decks, patios and porches are all popular, and they can all boost your home’s resale value and livability.

Yet, many homeowners struggle when it comes to committing to one of these options, hemming and hawing over their relative advantages, disadvantages and costs.

To help you reach the decision that’s right for your home and your budget, we’ve complied a quick guide to choosing between decks, patios and porches.

Exterior Home Improvement: Choosing Between Deck, Patio and Porch

Exterior Home Improvement: Choosing Between Deck, Patio and Porch

Step #1: Set Your Budget

As with any home improvement project, the first thing you should do is set a budget limit. Identify a soft lower limit that represents the amount of money you would like to spend, but has enough flexibility to accommodate the unforeseen surprises that invariably accompany renovations. Then, create a hard upper limit that represents the absolute maximum amount of money you can comfortably commit to the project without jeopardizing your other financial commitments.

As a general rule of thumb, porches are usually the least expensive to build, with patios being second and decks usually being the most expensive option.

If your budget is limited, it may be a better idea to stick with a patio or deck, and use whatever financial flexibility you have to make sure it’s well-built and pleasing to the eye. If you’ve got the means to absorb a more expensive project, move on to considering the pros and cons of each exterior home improvement option.

Step #2: Consider Benefits and Drawbacks

Porches offer the following advantages:

  • Quick, relatively easy and practical to build
  • Immediate boost to curb appeal, since they occupy front rather than back yards
  • Low-maintenance
  • Can be covered for protection from weather elements

Yet, they come with these drawbacks:

  • Limited space relative to patios and decks
  • Lower return on investment (ROI) rates, compared to patios and decks
  • Do not usually provide an immediate, impactful increase in property resale value

The pros of patios include:

  • Great ROI rates, with Gallup data indicating they increased a home’s perceived value by about 12%
  • Little to no maintenance
  • A long life of up to 25 years or more, when properly built using sturdy raw materials like natural stone
  • Ideal for low-grade slopes and flat yards

Patios also come with these downsides:

  • Major limitations when dealing with higher-grade slopes and hilly yards
  • Costs tend to rise significantly when building patios on sloped ground, since slopes need to be filled in prior to construction

Decks are great because:

  • Decks have excellent ROI rates, increasing perceived home value by about 10%
  • They are one of the most versatile options, and can be built from a wide range of materials including wood, stone, metal, or composite materials
  • They are the easiest and most practical option for yards with steep slopes

Beyond their higher cost, decks also come with these disadvantages:

  • They typically require seasonal or annual care and maintenance, especially if they are built from wood (this can be avoided by installing a composite deck)
  • Even with proper maintenance, most decks start to wear down faster than patios

Consult a Home Improvement Expert

If you’re still unsure which option is right for you, or if you want to compare specific costs, contact a reputable local construction contractor to discuss your situation and obtain estimates. You can ask for comparative estimates that will specify the relative cost of each option and help guide you to the right decision.

Whether you’re thinking of installing a deck, patio or porch, careful planning goes 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

Extend your living space outside

Get your no-obligation quote!