Our Blog - #FCSRemodels

An ongoing series of informational entries

Surviving your First Remodel Project

May 16, 2019

Some people say remodeling your home can be one of the most daunting experiences of your life...we say IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE! 


Here are a few things to keep in mind to make the whole process easier: 


  1. Take your time in hiring a contractor that you feel comfortable with because you will be spending a lot of time with them once the project starts. 
  2. Remember that the space has to be torn down before it can be built back up, so it WILL look worse before it looks better. 
  3.  If you are remodeling your kitchen or your remodel will prevent full use of your kitchen - be sure to make a plan for how you and your family will eat during the process. Honestly, do not just plan to eat out all the time, it will get "old" fast. 
  4.  Be prepared for the unknown complications - no one can know what is inside your wall before cutting it open. So make sure you can cover roughly 10% of the original bid by the end of the process. And if you get lucky and don't need it - you just saved up for a post-remodel vkay! 
  5. If you don't like how something looks - SAY SOMETHING. Say it loud and say it right away. Maybe that's not how it will look in the end, but let your contractor tell you that, don't assume. Or maybe what you selected, didn't turn out the way you wanted. It can take much longer - and cost a lot more - to fix something ten steps ago, than right away. So every day, take a walk around the space, as long as it's safe, and see what's new. 
  6. Creative differences will happen - between you and your partner, between you and your contractor. Remember one simple thing - you started this project to build a home together, so you will want to be able to enjoy it together in the end. You can fires your contractor, but you probably don't want to fire your partner! Remodels are a huge test in "Picking your battles." If it really matters to you, say something, if you can live with it, let them say something. Unless you are living in the home alone, you have to consider the other's perspective. 


The most important Tip we can give you for Surviving your First Remodel Project - is DON'T PANIC! This is just a brief portion of you life, whether it's a smaller 1-2 week project or a huge 6-12 month project, in the grand scheme of life, it's just a chapter. 

WoodVsCompositeDecking

Wood or Composite Decking?

May 23, 2019

If you have a deck or have been considering adding a deck to your home, you have probably encountered composite decking products. Traditionally, pressure treated wood products are the go-to for decking. So what’s the difference? Well, let’s start with some definitions.

  • Pressure-Treated Wood – the lumber is submerged into a sealed chamber filled with a chemical substance that protects against decay and insects. In the chamber, the pressure is increased to a point that the substance is literally infused into the lumber, permeating through and through.
  • Composite Wood – a combination of wood flour (very fine sawdust) and recycled construction waste (mostly plastics) are pressed together, infused with coloring (usually also created by recycling) and all held together by an adhesive that makes the project as rigid, if not more so than, real wood.

Each product does the job, but here are some details and pros and cons to consider when choosing which is right for your project.


Pressure-Treated Wood:

General Lifespan: 10-15 years (if properly maintained)

Availability: Can be found in just about any lumber yard in a variety of sizes

Pros:

  • Real wood tends to be stronger of a distance. This means that less cross supports may be needed for a larger deck.
  • It tends to be less expensive on the initial purchase
  • Many feel that real wood is much more aesthetically pleasing

Cons:

  • Real wood requires regular maintenance over time. Most manufactures suggest re-staining or painting at least every two years.
  • The required maintenance is ultimately the downfall of the wood as it can only absorb so much protectant before it starts to break down.

Composite Wood Decking:

General Lifespan: 25+ years (if properly maintained)

Availability: Usually has to be ordered, but is available in a variety of sizes

Pros:

  • Available in a variety of colors that can enhance your outdoor living spaceMade from recycled products making it a eco-friendlier choice (Did you know Trex – one of the leading suppliers of composite wood decking – is considered the leading recycler of plastic film in the US?) On average, a 16ft board contains the equivalent of 2250 plastic bags.
  • Requires little to no maintenance while lasting two and three times longer.
  • In the event of a fire, it is more likely to start melting before catching fire, reducing the “fuel to the fire”

Cons:

  • The cost can be significantly more than real wood – both because of availability and product costs. More cross supports are usually needed to prevent bowing over time. Also, special blades to cut and screws to install are needed.
  • While the product is not likely to break down, it will fade with UV exposure over time and staining is not usually as effective.

Which ever product you select, one of the most important choices is who you have install it. It is very important that you select someone that has experience with the product you have chosen.

If you are looking for a professional to install a deck on your property – we can help! Call Forrest Creative Solutions, LLC to set us a FREE Estimate today! 541-228-0831 or [email protected]

Does my Project Need a Building Permit?

Does my project need a Building Permit?

May 30, 2019

Why are permits necessary?

Depending on the size of your project, or maybe even just the type, permits may be needed before any work can be done. When you are working with a Contractor, it generally falls to them to obtain the appropriate permits. If you are doing the work yourself, you are still responsible for permits and following building codes.


What is a Building Permit?

Simply put, it is approval from the City (or other governing body) to move forward with your intended project. This also means that you are following zoning rules regarding your property and construction regulations for your area. Ultimately, they are in place to make sure that your home meets minimum safety and structural standards.


What do you need a Building Permit for?

Every City has different rules about what you must get a permit for, so you (or your Contractor) should always check about your specific project. But here are some guidelines:


  1. If you are changing the footprint of your home. This means an addition of any sort, even garages, sheds and sometimes porches and decks, if they change your roofline.
  2. If you are making a structural change, regardless of increases to the square footage. These are projects like taking out or adding a wall or converting an attic or garage to livable space.
  3. If you are installing or drastically changing any of the major systems of your home. This include plumbing, electrical or HVAC and are usually projects like adding a bathroom, changing the layout of your kitchen, going from room-to-room heaters to centralized units, or upgrading your panel.
  4. In some localities, projects like new Fences and even Windows may require permits.


What happens if you don’t get a Building Permit?

Some people like to treat permits with a “Ask for forgiveness, rather than permission” attitude. What’s the worst that can happen, right? Well the answer is – the City can force you to remove the changes, at your cost, in addition to steep fines. Here are some other things that may result from a failure to get permits:

  1.  If you attempt to sell the home with unpermitted additions/changes, you will not be able to claim that square footage on your listing. This could result in you having to drastically lower your price for a buyer to get financing, among other repercussions.
  2.  If you have a disaster, your homeowner’s insurance may – and can - decline your claim if the property has unpermitted work.
  3.  In some cases, if your work is not permitted, your Contractor’s liability insurance may not pay out on a claim, should something happen.
  4. If you contractor does not want to get permits, you may want to reconsider hiring them. If they aren’t willing to “play by the rules”, it’s highly likely they are cutting other corners as well.


In the end, it is usually best to err on the side of caution and get the permits. It is a small price to pay for some piece of mind that you are improving the value of what is most likely your largest personal investment. Usually, a project that is essentially self-contained, changing the look of a space without changing the location of electrical or plumbing, a permit is unnecessary.  

Does my Project Need a Building Permit?

Rental Property Upgrades with the Best ROI

June 6, 2019

If you own rental properties, then you know how important it is to have a fresh up-to-date living space. Most property owners will wait until the home is vacant to do any sort of remodel or repairs, but you really don’t have to. In fact, you may be keeping your tenants happier by updating FOR them instead of after them. If you do choose to wait for vacancy, it is a great time to increase your rental income. Really, it is all about the ROI (Return on Investment) – a nicer property gets a nicer rent amount! But what sorts of upgrades should you be considering for your Rental?

  1. Flooring is almost always at the top of the list when it comes to Rentals. One of the first things a potential tenant looks at is the flooring. And, honestly, if there is carpet in the rental – you may consider converting to wood or vinyl plank/tile.
  2. Interior & Exterior Paint is another important item to consider. A simple coat of fresh paint can brighten up a whole home. While you may not want to just go stark white for the interior, you should probably stick to very light colors – creams, pale yellows, light grays.
  3. Updated lighting can really add some pop to your property. If you can, update the fixtures to LEDs and maybe add a few more to make every room well-lit and energy-efficient.
  4. Focus on the two specific areas – the Kitchen & Bathrooms! You want all the fixtures to be in good working order and visually appealing. Updated Cabinets and vanities are also great features.
  5. Doors, Doors, Doors – make sure they all work appropriately, and are up to the current codes for fire ratings.
  6. Don’t forget about the outside! Consider a deck, patio or other landscaping features.

Just because it is a rental, doesn’t mean the tenant isn’t going to take pride in the house they call home. If it looks great when they move in, they are more likely to keep it that way. You will also attract a tenant willing to pay a little more for newer, well kept properties.


Forrest Creative Solutions, LLC has experience working on single property rentals, as well as multi-unit apartment complexes and all the duplexes in between. Give us a call if you are ready to grow your rental income and make the most of your investments. 

Does my Project Need a Building Permit?

Semi-Gloss? Eggshell? Flat? What Finish is right for you?

June 13, 2019

If you have ever been to the paint counter for interior paint, you know there is more to answer than “What color?” The next question is typically what finish you would like. So what is the real difference? Here are some details to help:

Finishes:

  • Gloss – a high shine finish that creates a beautiful, bright look. It does tend to show every imperfection of the surface of whatever you are painting. It may also take longer to dry fully as several coats are needed for coverage.
  • Semi-Gloss – probably the easiest paint to clean, so it is great for high traffic areas like walls, and trim. Provides just enough shine to still add brightness to the room, without overpowering wall coverings and furniture.
  • Eggshell – gives the best coverage per gallon of the finishes. Does better to hide the imperfections of the surface but has little to no shine. Good for Kitchens and Bathrooms.
  • Satin – also good for high traffic areas, as it is very easy to clean and can be cleaned frequently without effecting the look. Good for Kitchens, Bathrooms & Entryways.
  • Matte or Flat – no shine, making it great for ceilings and walls. However, it scuffs easily so requires regular retouching. Good for living rooms, common spaces and bedrooms.

Depending on the finish you select, your color choice may need to be altered slightly. Since the finish or sheen is basically a measure of the shine a paint has, it can make color appear differently on the wall. In general, the color on a swatch is eggshell or even matte/flat, with little shine. The shine in a paint comes from its ability to reflect light. As the shine levels rise, most colors will get darker in appearance and vice versa. As a result of this, you will want to think about the lighting in the area you are painting. Well-lit rooms can handle darker hues better while windowless rooms, as they would need a lot of artificial lighting to stand up to a dark wall.


A few more tips about paint:

1. Splurge for the good stuff – you will thank us later! The saying holds true when it comes to paint “You get what you pay for!”. If you don’t want to have to repaint in 2-3 years, get something more than the least expensive.

2. Get the small sample tins in the exact color and finish you are settled on and paint a part of the wall in a conspicuous place. Then give it a few days of just living your life around it. If you can live with it, you will. If it bugs you, you will know!

3. Let your contractor prep the area by fixing trim, and drywall. No amount of paint is going to hide that time the kids were roughhousing, and someone’s head put a dent in the wall, or when the puppy was teething on your windowsill.

4. Speaking of your contractor – USE ONE! Painting is a simple task, which means it’s also easy to mess up. Plus do you really want to have to buy all the brushes and rollers and drop clothes and plastic and masking tape and….for a one time deal? 

Lisensed, Bonded & Insured?

Licensed, Bonded & Insured – What does it mean?

June 26, 2019

More and more you may be seeing the term “Refresh” instead of “Remodel”. In truth, these are two very different concepts when it comes to your home. One of the biggest differences is COST – a refresh is a way to improve an area with a limited budget. Here are some other tips for deciding which is right for you.

Refresh

In a Refresh, the homeowner is usually looking to change things up without changing the layout of the space. In general, all the utilities (plumbing, lighting) and appliances stay where they are.


Cabinets: If you have a decent frame to the existing cabinetry, you can paint or refinish or even replace the cabinet doors and drawers to create a whole new look at a fraction of the cost of having new cabinets installed.


Countertops: If you have laminate countertops, these can be resurfaced without having to put new counters on.


Fixtures: This is everything from lights to faucets. You can choose to work with what you have make upgrades that fit into the existing space. This typically limits the changes, as they have work with the current placement.


Paint: Honestly, one of the best ways to refresh a space is to change the paint! Think about using more than one color to add depth and fun.


Remodel

With a Remodel, a total gutting of the space occurs. Utilities may or may not be moved.

Cabinets: Complete removal and replacement, often with a change in the layout of the cabinets can drastically change the look of a space. Keep in mind that moving the appliances and/or sink can create a bit more work with needing to reroute plumbing and electrical.


Fixtures: If you are looking for a completely different style (for example going from a modern feel to a rustic farmhouse), changing the lighting, hardware and faucet/sinks can play a big role. Again, these changes often require moving the plumbing and electrical.


Flooring: New flooring is a must on any remodel. Carpet, stone tile, real hardwood, luxury vinyl planks…whatever you pick, make sure it adds to the room but is still neutral enough to survive a style change later.


Windows & Doors: When a room is gutted down to the frames, it is a great time to update doors and windows, both for function and aesthetic. If you do not already have appropriately rated (for fire and energy) doors and windows, you will want to make this upgrade.


All told, Remodels and Refreshes are all about reimagining your space – one is working with what you have and the other is creating a blank canvas. Whichever you choose – Forrest Creative Solutions, LLC is ready to help – call, text, email or message us to set up your FREE Estimate today. 

Remodel Vs Refresh

Remodel Vs. Refresh

July 3, 2019

More and more you may be seeing the term “Refresh” instead of “Remodel”. In truth, these are two very different concepts when it comes to your home. One of the biggest differences is COST – a refresh is a way to improve an area with a limited budget. Here are some other tips for deciding which is right for you.

Refresh

In a Refresh, the homeowner is usually looking to change things up without changing the layout of the space. In general, all the utilities (plumbing, lighting) and appliances stay where they are.

Cabinets: If you have a decent frame to the existing cabinetry, you can paint or refinish or even replace the cabinet doors and drawers to create a whole new look at a fraction of the cost of having new cabinets installed.

Countertops: If you have laminate countertops, these can be resurfaced without having to put new counters on.

Fixtures: This is everything from lights to faucets. You can choose to work with what you have make upgrades that fit into the existing space. This typically limits the changes, as they have work with the current placement.

Paint: Honestly, one of the best ways to refresh a space is to change the paint! Think about using more than one color to add depth and fun.

Remodel

With a Remodel, a total gutting of the space occurs. Utilities may or may not be moved.

Cabinets: Complete removal and replacement, often with a change in the layout of the cabinets can drastically change the look of a space. Keep in mind that moving the appliances and/or sink can create a bit more work with needing to reroute plumbing and electrical.

Fixtures: If you are looking for a completely different style (for example going from a modern feel to a rustic farmhouse), changing the lighting, hardware and faucet/sinks can play a big role. Again, these changes often require moving the plumbing and electrical.

Flooring: New flooring is a must on any remodel. Carpet, stone tile, real hardwood, luxury vinyl planks…whatever you pick, make sure it adds to the room but is still neutral enough to survive a style change later.

Windows & Doors: When a room is gutted down to the frames, it is a great time to update doors and windows, both for function and aesthetic. If you do not already have appropriately rated (for fire and energy) doors and windows, you will want to make this upgrade.

All told, Remodels and Refreshes are all about reimagining your space – one is working with what you have and the other is creating a blank canvas. Whichever you choose – Forrest Creative Solutions, LLC is ready to help – call, text, email or message us to set up your FREE Estimate today. 

What should your Construction Contract include?

Things your Construction Contract Should Include

July 12, 2019

Once you have accepted a Contractor’s estimate, you will likely be asked to sign a contract. The general rule of thumb is that if the total estimated cost of the project is at least $2000.00 you should be signing a contract. Some company’s do contracts for every job. If you have concerns about signing or not being asked to sign a contract you should contact your state’s construction board to determine the regulations. A contract not only serves as a guideline for the project, but also may be the only thing you have as evidence in the event of an insurance claim.

There are some basic pieces every contract should include:

  • Company’s name, address, phone number, and license numbers
  • Property Owner’s name, address, phone number – as well as project site info, if different.
  • The estimated Start Date as well as how long the contractor believes it will take to complete the project. Often this will have a grace period attached to account for product availability, weather and other incidentals that can slow down a project.
  • A brief but specific scope of work outline. Some contracts will get very specific on this (like listing the exact product to be used or paint colors) which is not required.
  • Estimated price and payment terms. This should match up with the estimate, show any deposits and any payment arrangements that have been made. For projects that take several months, there is likely to be so sort of regular payout. This can be based on a monthly or weekly invoice or on a task completion plan.
  • Property Owner’s Rights specific to the state/county they are in. This should specifically inform you that you have a right to resolve issues with the states license boards, as well as other property owner rights to protect you. These may be listed in the body of the contract as well as found in separate notices provided by the State.
  • Signatures of the Property Owner & the Contractor or a representative of the company. An unsigned contract is really just a piece of paper.

Here are some items that may or may not be part of your contract:

  • Warranty information may be included, even if just say there isn’t one. In the state of Oregon, contractors are only required to provide a warranty on new construction. Most contractors will adhere to manufacture's warranty guidelines for the product used.
  • Liability Insurance information should be provided so that the Property Owner is aware of the information – which should include the amount as well as the contact information for the policy guarantor.
  • Late Payment penalties may be included as well. Most contractors give 30 days after the date of completion to receive the final payment before they tack on a finance charge and/or pursue lien proceedings.

Make sure you get a complete copy of the contract for your records. This will protect you if the contractor does something outside of the contract or “loses it”.