A renovation project that has managed to stay under or on budget is a great success in the world of home remodeling. One of the keys to achieving this much sought after outcome is a well-researched home remodel estimate. As homeowners commission and complete multiple remodels over time, they may develop a method to creating an estimate for their projects and will likely utilize the same trusted resources each time. If you are in the planning phases of your first remodel, you may not have the benefit of this experience just yet, but the good news is that there are a few tips and tools already at your disposal.
Resources for informing your estimate
To start, a skilled home remodeling contractor can be an excellent resource in terms of outlining region- or locality-specific costing, such as materials that may be cheaper due to their abundance in or convenience to your area. Additionally, your choice of contractor might be informed by the cost-reducing benefits they bring to the table, for example, lower prices for materials or lower rates for subcontractors due to their strong professional relationships, all of which can significantly impact your estimate.
Beyond mining the area general contractor for information, there a few rules of thumb you can account for in your estimate. As a budget guide, it is advised to spend on the renovation project the same amount as the room being remodeled is valued at, in terms of its percentage of your overall home value. For example, if your home is valued at $300,000, and a kitchen generally accounts for 10-15% of a home’s value, then you should spend around $45,000 on a kitchen remodel. This metric also relates to the trends in various home renovation returns on investment (ROI). On average, home remodel projects ROI can be 64%, meaning for every dollar you spend on your remodel, you will get 64 cents back if you sell your home. Keeping in mind these general guides of how to cap your budget and how you can anticipate the remodel to impact the value of your home, you can continue to work with your contractor to find the design, materials, and fixtures that fit your needs.
Things to keep in mind
In addition to the rote work of listing what type, how much, and what price for all the components involved in your home remodel, it is important to keep a few other expenses in mind. In addition to the other costs, anticipate 10 to 15% of the total cost going to the contractor you’ve chosen to partner with on your project in payment for their services. Further, when contacting general contractors for bids to determine who will be the best fit for your project, it may serve you better in the long run to toss out the lowest bidder – it can be a red flag that corners may be cut that will cost you later. Lastly, if you are doing the project yourself, it is also a good idea to pad your budget by ten to twenty percent, to accommodate those unforeseen expenses that tend to come up in any home remodel.
Since 1983, Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area as general contractors and home remodeling experts. We will work with you as you prepare the budget for your next remodel and can help you make strategic decisions to keep the project on budget. Before you get started on your next home remodeling project, contact us today!
Concrete is an extremely versatile building material. With the ability to be poured into forms and cure to withstand enormous compressive forces while being composed of some of the most plentiful materials on earth, concrete is a wonderful material. However, the curing process is temperature dependent. Historically, this made it difficult for concrete contractors in extreme temperatures or during poor weather, but today techniques have been developed that allow concrete to be poured in most environments.
Why temperature matters to concrete
Curing is the process during which concrete hardens, changing its compressive strength from very little as a liquid to tremendous strength as a solid. The strength of the concrete does not simply come from the process of drying, but hardening over a period of time that allows the material’s strength to build. Wet conditions help the curing process to happen in the desired time frame and to create hardened concrete. The chemical reaction in curing comes from silica reacting with calcium hydroxide in the cement in the presence of water to create mineral hydrates that solidify in interlocking patterns that give concrete its strength. The rate of this reaction depends on the temperature and presence of water, making the temperature important when pouring concrete.
Placing concrete in cold weather
It is generally recommended that concrete be poured above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The American Concrete Institute defines cold weather concreting as “a period when for more than three successive days the average daily air temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.” The first risk to proper curing in cold weather is ice developing early on. Ice occupies significantly more volume than liquid water, which can expand the concrete itself and diminish its ultimate strength by up to 50 percent. Once concrete reaches a strength of 500 psi, usually within 24 hours, it is capable of repelling the force of ice creation and is protected against freezing. In cold weather, this is accomplished by using heated components, either the aggregate, water or both, as well as heated enclosures. These techniques keep the concrete temperature high enough for the curing process to develop the concrete’s strength.
Placing concrete in hot weather
When the outside temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit it can also negatively impact the curing process. In these situations, the concrete can dry too quickly. This can remove water from the concrete too early, stopping the curing process before adequate strength is developed. Concrete can also dry unevenly at high temperatures. As concrete dries, it shrinks, and when a slab of concrete dries unevenly, the shrinking top layers can create stress throughout the slab, changing the resulting concrete’s properties. To address these issues, cold components such as water, aggregate or both are used when mixing concrete; placing windbreaks that reduce evaporation; or including additives that decrease the curing time of the concrete.
The Conco Companies mission is to be the best supplier of concrete services in the Western United States and to bring expertise, experience, and quality of each project. We continue to upgrade and expand facilities to better serve the growing market for commercial, educational, public works, and parking structure projects as well as other construction development. Please call or email for more information on how Conco can assist your next project with Confoam™, our cost-saving cellular concrete.
Concrete is placed on location as a liquid that hardens during curing over the coming days and weeks. To ensure concrete reaches its designed strength and other characteristics, experienced teams must accurately mix and test the concrete being placed as well as ensure the formwork is constructed properly. Whether a project uses a standard concrete mixture or newer innovations like cellular concrete, formwork is the mold that holds it all in the desired shape while curing.
Safety in Formwork
Formwork construction often requires that scaffolding is built first, followed by the formwork itself. This means that much of the work is done at heights with heavy construction machinery and is part of why formwork follows strict safety protocols. OSHA has outlined specific standards for the design, fabrication, and inspection of formwork. Ensuring that a construction team is certified in safety procedures and has experience working together safely and efficiently helps make formwork a successful part of the concrete construction process.
Formwork style for traditional concrete
Traditionally, formwork is required for all placed concrete. It also must be built to counteract the forces of the concrete poured inside, which when wet, can place a significant amount of force on the formwork. This includes being strong enough to prevent bowing on its sides, braced at joints to prevent any leaks, and accounting for shrinkage during curing. This makes formwork a large part of the total costs in traditional concrete construction, and an experienced concrete contractor can be the difference between an on-time and on-budget project and an overrun one.
Reduced formwork techniques
There are concrete techniques that reduce the amount of formwork needed including lightweight cellular concrete and shotcrete. Lightweight cellular concrete, or foam concrete, is lighter weight, allowing for a reduction in the materials needed for formwork and propping. Shotcrete is concrete that is shot at high velocity towards the target site, not poured like traditional concrete. This means that it does not require formwork to counteract lateral pressures. This allows shotcrete to save time and costs through quick placement and reduced formwork.
At The Conco Companies, we are one of the leading concrete contractors in the Western U.S. and offer a wide range of quality services and products. Our experience includes providing services for commercial, educational, parking and other construction development as well as public works projects. Please contact us for more information about our full range of premium Portland area concrete services including shotcrete.
At The Lumber Baron, we think of reclaimed lumber as an appropriate addition in any home or office. The fireplace mantel is an excellent place to apply reclaimed lumber as the fireplace forms a central focal point in many homes. The mantel is often chosen carefully with an eye for how well it integrates into the home and the aesthetic environment it contributes toward. When you add a mantel to your fireplace using reclaimed lumber, the history and exposure of the material play major roles in those considerations.
Strength and Durability
A majority of reclaimed lumber comes from old-growth forests. Because the trees had never been harvested or managed, the trees grew impressively large. As a result, there was more of the dense hardwood available in the center, or heart, of every tree. And heartwood is recognized for being stronger, more durable and resistant to rot, insects, and wear. A mantel built from reclaimed lumber has the potential to outlast the other lumber used in building the home.
Coloration and Wood Grain
Old-growth lumber tends to have a tight wood grain. And because reclaimed lumber was used in exterior applications, the lumber has naturally colored over time. Some lumber was previously used for bridges, water tanks, and wine vats - years of exposure to various liquids caused distinct coloration which is not available from younger lumber. This makes reclaimed redwood or Douglas fir an excellent choice for mantels where the wood is intended to be a prominent feature.
Reclaimed Lumber has History
Because the fireplace mantel plays a prominent role in the look and feel of the room, using reclaimed lumber adds conversational value as well. The Lumber Baron's hand-selected reclaimed lumber comes from buildings, tanks, and bridges that have been decommissioned. In many cases, the reclaimed materials have historic value, and it all contains a bit of Americana in its grain and color. You will be looking at your fireplace mantel for many years, so make it something to talk about and add character to the home.
Unlike those big box lumber stores, The Lumber Baron is also a functioning sawmill. Whether you are building a cedar fence from reclaimed slats or creating a one-of-a-kind fireplace mantel, we have a unique selection of lumber available and the equipment to shape and finish it in the size you are looking for. To learn out more about reclaimed lumber or to find the perfect mantel lumber, stop by and visit The Lumber Baron today.