Category Archives: Home remodeling contractor

Your Guide to Stunning Decorative Siding Patterns

siding-pattern

Today’s siding gives homeowners more options for sparking their creativity and implementing a design that enhances their home exterior. When working with siding contractors, you can complete nearly any project to your specifications, choosing the pattern that is right for you. Let’s take a closer look at the most popular siding patterns available today.

Horizontal Patterns

The most common type of siding pattern is horizontal. This traditional siding may include styles such as beaded, Dutch lap, or traditional lap siding. 

Traditional Lap

Traditional lap siding offers a straightforward, simple, and effective layout that works in almost any home setting. In a traditional lap, each siding board is layered over the board below. The design offers a water barrier and reduces airflow through the siding. 

Dutch Lap

Dutch siding features a groove cut out of the top of each board. It’s similar to a traditional lap but offers more textured contrast across the facade due to the shadow that each board creates. 

Beaded

Beaded vinyl is named for the ‘bead’ or added texture at the bottom of each board. Beads come in a variety of shapes and textures, giving you more choices for your home. Beaded siding is ideal if you want to create a more interesting composition on your wall exterior.

Vertical Patterns

Although horizontal patterns are the most common, you may be looking for an alternative to the traditional design. Vertical patterns may your best bet. They work incredibly well with certain home styles and can accent the eaves across your home’s façade. 

Panel Siding

If you took horizontal siding and made it vertical, then you would get panel siding. Panels are placed over each other to create a uniform flush layout. Panel siding comes in a broad range of colors and textures.

Board and Batten

Most board and batten siding is fabricated from natural wood. The vertical boards are installed on the house. Battens are used to cover any cracks so that the home is sealed from moisture and airflow.

Shake Patterns

Shake patterns are traditionally made from wood. However, today’s shakes offer the same patterns, but different materials such as vinyl or cement. There are endless shapes and designs that form patterns, allowing you to customize your siding design.

There are too many shake patterns to name, but some of the most popular include:

  • Square
  • Round
  • Staggered
  • Mitered corner
  • Octagonal & Hexagonal
  • Fish scale
  • Half cove

When using shake patterns, you can combine more than one shape, color, texture, or dimension to create your own layout. Your siding contractors can work with you to complete your design and implement your ideas on your home. 

What to Consider Before Choosing Your Pattern

Before you land on an idea for your siding pattern there are a few things you may want to consider. First, choose high-quality siding products. Quality vinyl siding can last up to 40 years with ongoing care and maintenance. Next, choose a pattern that truly complements your home exterior. Think about how the pattern will look once the project is complete.

Also, make sure that your pattern provides a proper seal and offers the highest level of energy efficiency inside the home. A decorative pattern may look attractive, but cause your energy usage to skyrocket inside. Last, consider your replacement or maintenance costs over the years. Horizontal siding may require less maintenance but replacement of more sections. In a smaller pattern, you may have more maintenance, but you can easily replace smaller pieces. 

Siding Contractors in San Francisco, California

Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling and commercial skylight experts. Contact us today to get started on your next project or for a consultation!

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling and commercial skylight experts. Contact us today to get started on your next project or for a consultation!

5 Kitchen Trends for Your Next Home Remodel

kitchen skylight-Mares Dow

Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen may be the one area that requires the most light. However, keeping the kitchen bright can cause an increase in your energy and lighting costs. What’s the solution? How about kitchen skylights?

Home remodeling contractors love skylights because of modern design, easy installation, and energy efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at 5 kitchen trends for your next home remodel. Let these captivating kitchen ideas light up your room!

Single, Slender Skylight

If you have a narrow, long kitchen, you may think that there is no room for a skylight. However, the solution is to install a single, slender skylight that spans the room. Long skylights give you plenty of sunlight with balanced illumination that spreads across all four walls and the floor. 

A residential or commercial skylight contractors can easily install a single glass panel into the framework. Best of all, a single skylight makes your kitchen look more spacious. You will love the results!

Trendy Trusses

A current trend in home remodeling is adaptive reuse of existing structures in older homes. For instance, you can create a unique skylight design by preserving the trusses that are already a part of your roof’s framework. Trusses provide stability while giving your skylight an added dimension.

You can either paint the trusses to match your ceiling and skylight or stain them, allowing the natural wood color to complement the other elements of the room.  Trusses offer an affordable option that requires little effort to renovate.

Vaulted Ceilings

Vaulted ceilings create the perfect backdrop for skylights. With elevated design, a vaulted ceiling allows more light into the room while channeling the light in a specific direction. Since the ceilings are often taller, you have more room to expand the windows across a larger ceiling.

The skylights can stand out as a distinct architectural feature while enhancing both the ceiling and the rest of the kitchen. They create an ambiance that cannot be matched by interior lighting.

Match the Skylights with Other Elements

From shapes to shades, skylights present an opportunity to add a decorative element to your kitchen’s layout. For instance, if you have a largely symmetrical kitchen design, home remodeling contractors can install glass that is square or rectangular in shape. Curved lines may call for glass that has a round shape.

In addition, you can also enhance the skylights with bold colors, patterns, or textures around the framework. Add shades that match your countertops, flooring, or décor. When it comes to designing your skylights, the ‘sky’ is the limit.

Add Framework

Just like windows or door glass, skylights offer an opportunity for you to get a little creative with framework patterns and designs. Thin trim adds a subtle touch while providing structural integrity to the glass. Big, bold frames become a part of the overall skylight concept and command attention.

Like trusses, you can customize your framework to match or complement both the glass and your kitchen design. The options are endless. Home remodeling contractors can design and install your framework to your exact specifications.

Contact Your Home Remodeling Contractors in Concord, CA

Mares & Dow offer quality construction and home improvement services for homeowners in Concord and the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area. To find out more about our skylight products and services, contact us at 925.671.9500. We can help you with all your skylight needs.

Why Choose Siding For Your Home

house-siding-siding-contractor-Mares Dow

For homeowners in the midst of construction of their home, or for those looking for a high-impact project for their home remodeling contractors, new siding is likely an option up for consideration. If you are wondering why you should choose siding for your home, it is a good idea to take into account these three basic benefits of siding. 

Protection

Whether you live in the Southwest with its extreme heat, in the Northeast with its rough winters, or the many places in between, your home is subject to the erosive effects of your local climate. Siding is the main barrier that protects the vulnerable materials that make up the interior and framework of your home from all the elements that would damage it. One of the most important functions of siding is to keep moisture from reaching a house’s interior components which, when damaged, can compromise the integrity of the whole structure. If you consider all the materials that constitute the bones of your home – wood frames, plywood, drywall, wiring – it is easy to see the necessity of an impermeable barrier like exterior siding. Siding also helps keep pests and critters from making a home out of your home, saving you from a begrudgingly close relationship with your local exterminator. No matter where you live, most homeowners would prefer to work with siding contractors instead.  

Curb Appeal

Siding covers a house from the foundation to the roof and is one of the first things people notice about a home. This means there is a great opportunity to make a good first impression with your choice in siding. You may have a gorgeous master bedroom, a sleek modern kitchen, or a beautifully manicured backyard, but if your home’s exterior is wanting it can’t help but be an eyesore. There are many styles of siding made from a variety of materials and offering endless color options, so homeowners can create an aesthetic for the exterior of their home that suits them. With the range of textures and colors that are available, siding can complement any architectural style and highlight your favorite features of your home. With quality siding, guests, neighbors, and passers-by will appreciate the beauty of your home as much as you do. 

Energy Efficiency

Siding not only protects your home and spruces up its aesthetic, but it also has the very economical benefit of aiding its energy efficiency. Siding is a key part of a secure building envelope, which is essential for efficiently regulating your home’s internal temperatures. The layer of insulation siding provides can help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, just like you want and have programmed in your thermostat. When houses lack this insulating barrier, HVAC systems have to work overtime to keep the interior at the desired temperature setpoint. This wastes energy and money. Opting for quality siding for your home is a simple step toward saving you money in utility costs, which is something any homeowner can get behind. 

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling and siding experts. We enjoy working with homeowners as they start the process with their next project.  Contact us today to get started on your home remodel or siding project!

Is It Possible to DIY Install a Skylight?

home-skylight

If you are like many homeowners, you likely have a do-it-yourself itch when it comes to home remodeling projects. And there are many projects where a DIY sensibility can not only save you money but also provide an opportunity for your skills and creativity to shine in your handiwork. But when it comes to skylights, asking if it is possible to DIY install a skylight brings up another question: is it the best approach for the project? Here we’ll explore both those questions and weigh the cost and benefit of installing your own skylights. 

What is involved in skylight installation?

With the right tools and know-how, a person can certainly take on a skylight installation project for their own home. If you have the skillset and resources of home remodeling contractors, for example, putting in a skylight can seem like a surmountable challenge. 

There are several steps for this project, which starts with acquiring all the necessary materials. There are multiple types of skylights and some are self-flashing or come with flashing kits, which are needed for sealing the skylight against the surface of your roof. When you have chosen your skylight and gotten the materials for the installation, next you will need to identify the best place to put it. This is not as simple as deciding which space would benefit from natural light, but instead also involves finding a location that will not impact important elements of your house’s infrastructure like the roof trusses. 

Once you’ve gathered your materials and scouted your skylight location, you will need to precisely measure and cut a hole in your roof that will perfectly fit the skylight frame – because once you’ve sawed through your roof, it can’t be undone. From there you will need to remove the shingles surrounding the opening and then drop the frame and skylight in place. The process of affixing and sealing the skylight to the roof involves laying down the flashing so it is secure and waterproof and reinstalling your shingles. Applying a silicone caulk around the edge of the flashing or any joints might also be helpful to further seal the skylight. 

What is the downside of DIY skylight installation?

While the installation steps might seem straightforward, there are a few additional considerations to take into account before you cut into your roof. First, there are the safety hazards of doing significant construction work on your roof. Any costs you avoided in not hiring a professional can be quickly spent with a trip to the ER. Additionally, some older homes still have asbestos insulation in the attic that you could unknowingly and unnecessarily come in contact with when installing your skylight. Lastly, some skylight manufacturers have specific guidelines for installation, including having certified commercial skylight installers do the job. If you don’t follow the guidelines you may void your warranty, which will cost you money in the long run. 

If you are excited about doing a DIY home remodel project, skylight installation might not be the easiest or best option. But if you are excited about adding a skylight to your home, the good news is that there are professionals like Mares & Dow Construction who can help with the project. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

What is Lap Siding?

lap-siding-Mares Dow

If you are a homeowner who is working with siding contractors on your next renovation project, you have likely had the term lap siding come up. But what is lap siding? Very simply, it is siding that is made of long boards laid horizontally to overlap each other. This simple definition, however, can get a little more complicated when you take into account the options for materials the boards can be made of and the several ways they can be made to overlap. Here is a brief overview of these many options, and their benefits for your home. 

Materials

For much of the history of this style of house siding, lap siding has been made of wood. Today you can still install wood lap siding, but you can also look into vinyl, fiberglass, or fiber cement options. Fiber cement is an increasingly popular material because it is less expensive than wood and more durable than vinyl. It is also low maintenance, typically only needing replacement every 50 years, and can utilize different pigmentation technology that offers homeowners a range of colors without the hassle of traditional paint. 

Installation styles

There is more than one way siding can be made to overlap. If you ask home remodeling contractors, they will likely be able to rattle off more than a few – shiplap, channel lap, dutch lap, nickel gap, bevel, and clapboard are some examples. Clapboard is the most common and likely what you think of when you think of traditional lap siding. Each of these installation styles has its benefits, but the main difference is in the aesthetic and what appeals to the homeowner. 

Benefits of lap siding

No matter the material or installation style, there are many benefits of lap siding which is why it is the most popular siding in the US. When weighing the pros and cons of lap siding, consider these benefits: 

 

  • Easy installation – For wood lap siding, it is one of the easiest ways to mill the board. Additionally, other materials such as vinyl and fiber cement are manufactured for ease of installation, which can also help to decrease the cost of siding installation overall.

 

  • Excellent water-resistance – The main purpose of siding is to keep the outdoor elements from the vulnerable infrastructure of your house, which if damaged, can lead to costly and complicated repairs. Lap siding does an excellent job of repelling exterior moisture by nature of its installation style. The overlapping of the boards wicks water down and away so water leaks are much less common with lap siding. 

 

  • Timeless aesthetic – Lap siding has an aesthetic appeal that lasts as long as its materials. It has been the most popular siding style for a long time, and will be for years to come. And as a classic, lap siding is a good investment for any homeowner because it is not likely to go the way of fleeting trends and in turn diminish home value. Lap siding will always be in fashion. 

 

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983. We are experienced home remodeling contractors, commercial skylight experts & siding contractors. We enjoy working with homeowners & businesses to ensure their vision becomes a reality. Contact us today to get started on your next project!

Benefits of Natural Light

dayight-office-Mares Dow

While artificial lighting certainly has its place in commercial buildings, natural light has been shown to offer a range of benefits to building occupants. Many modern office buildings are designed around natural light for this very reason. For most of us, a majority of the daylight hours are spent in the workplace, so it’s no wonder that the desk by the window becomes the most coveted position in the office. Beyond the superficial benefit of having a nice view, employees who enjoy a good amount of natural light during their day also enjoy improved health, well-being, and productivity – while businesses simultaneously enjoy improved revenues. Read on to learn more about these benefits of natural light. 

Improved health

It is common knowledge that exposure to natural light is essential for good physical health. It is our easiest source of vitamin D, which is important for our bodies’ ability to absorb several key nutrients. Natural light is also pivotal for healthy natural sleeping patterns. Because the white light from the sun is what sets our internal clocks or circadian rhythms, those who get greater exposure to natural light tend to sleep better and longer. This has resonating health benefits as healthy sleep patterns are connected to better health overall. And improved health is an ideal outcome that not only positively impacts employees but their employers too. Something as simple as commercial skylights can potentially cut down on sick days.

Improved well-being

Vitamin D is not just necessary for good physical health, but it also impacts a person’s sense of well-being. Natural light has been shown to combat depression and elevate moods, even help with chronic pain. For employers, having a staff that is in a good mood does a lot of good in the workplace. For example, Pacific Gas & Electric studied the impact of skylights across several Walmarts in the same geographic area. The study reported that the Walmarts that had more natural light from the skylights had 40% higher sales than the Walmarts that only used fluorescent lighting. Employees and customers alike could feel the positive effects of natural light. 

Improved productivity

Employees who enjoy a good amount of natural light during their workday are more productive than those who do not. While improved health and well-being directly impact productivity in decreased sick days and elevated mood, those with natural light in their workplace also say they feel more engaged. This increased level of engagement allows employees to better focus and collaborate, getting more done with more successful outcomes. 

Improved revenues

A more productive workforce certainly has its positive impacts on revenue generation for a business, but there are other ways natural light in the workplace influences the bottom line. For anyone who has worked with home remodeling contractors to install large windows or skylights, it is no surprise that those features help to increase the home’s value. Plenty of natural light is a key selling point. The same is true for commercial buildings. Prospective tenants are more likely to pay more for a space that provides ample natural light. Additionally, building owners who install features that promote natural light experience a reduction in energy costs as building occupants don’t need to rely only on electricity to light the space. 

 

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983. We are experienced home remodeling contractors, commercial skylight experts & siding contractors. We enjoy working with homeowners & businesses to ensure their vision becomes a reality. Contact us today to get started on your next project!

How Long Do Retaining Walls Last?

retaining wall - Mares Dow

Retaining walls, when properly designed, built from durable materials, and maintained appropriately can last quite a long time. Consider the Great Wall of China or the Hoover Dam – while it may seem a stretch to talk about these artifacts of history in the same breath as your local home remodeling contractors, these structures are fundamentally similar to and the monumental ancestors of your common backyard retaining wall. When it comes to building a lasting structure, there are several elements to factor into your project plan. 

Proper design is key

Retaining walls have seven basic components: The wall itself, drainage stone, filter fabric, batter, weep hole, footing, footing drain. How these components are designed to all work together with the unique conditions of the retaining wall site is a big predictor of how long the retaining wall will last. For example, if the batter of the wall, or the backward lean of the wall toward the earth it is retaining, is not sufficient for the wall height, the structure will not last as long as it could. Eventually, the wall will break down under pressures it wasn’t successfully engineered to withstand. Simple miscalculations in the design can have a far reaching impact, which is something retaining wall contractors can help you to avoid. 

Durable materials make walls last a lifetime

As you can imagine, the material you use to construct your retaining wall has a huge influence on the structure’s longevity. Walls made of timber, for example, will not last as long as walls made of masonry. Timber retaining walls can last up to 40 years if the wood is high quality, while masonry walls if properly designed and installed, can last until someone decides to tear them down. Concrete block or poured concrete retaining walls are particularly long-lasting, as concrete is known for its strength and durability. In the end, it is up to you to decide how permanent you want your retaining wall to be. 

Good maintenance covers the rest of your bases

In themselves, retaining walls are fairly low-maintenance structures but doing what little upkeep is required can ensure the structure lasts. It is important to regularly inspect your wall to make sure groundwater is draining properly from the footing drain, weep holes are unobstructed, and the filter fabric isn’t damaged. Additionally, even the best retaining walls can be compromised by harsh changes in environmental conditions, such as soil erosion or extreme seismic or weather events. In these circumstances, you can work with a professional to identify and repair any damage. 

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling experts and enjoy working with homeowners as they start the process with their next project.  Contact us today to get started on your home remodel!

Is It Time to Replace Your Siding?

siding-contractor-Mares-Dow

The siding on your house is the key to preserving the integrity of everything behind it. When your siding is compromised, it can lead to damage to the structure of your house and eventually cause multiple problems inside your home. Unsightly siding can also negatively impact the value of your house, undermining even the best work of your home remodeling contractors. But how do you know when you need to replace your siding? Here are four signs it’s time to go out with the old and in with the new. 

 

  1. Pervasive dry rot

Dry rot is caused by fungi that eat away at wood siding, causing it to decay and crumble. You may notice your siding is cracked, brittle, or depositing spore dust. If this sort of damage isn’t already visible to the naked eye, it can be detected by knocking on your wood siding to see if the wood has become soft or spongy compared to undamaged wood. If dry rot is localized, the affected area can be treated before the fungus spreads. However, if the damage can’t be contained in this way, it is time to replace your siding. Non-wood siding materials can help you to avoid this issue in the future. 

 

  1. Cracks, gaps, bulges

Like dry rot, these siding issues are important to take care of before they lead to further damage to your home. Cracks and gaps in siding allow moisture to reach the materials that make up the infrastructure of your home, which can result in costly problems and necessary repairs. If you also notice bulges or warped siding that doesn’t lay flat, this may indicate that the infrastructure has already been damaged. Inside your home, you might even notice mold or mildew, peeling paint, or drafts around wall fixtures. Siding contractors are skilled in identifying and remedying these harder-to-detect issues. 

 

  1. Too high-maintenance

If you find yourself needing to spruce up your siding with a power wash or a fresh coat of paint more often than you’d like, it may be worth looking at more low maintenance and higher quality siding options. Quality siding should last several years without fading or losing its shape, and in general vinyl siding doesn’t require the same upkeep as other siding materials. When the demands of maintaining your siding are more than you want to deal with, consider replacing it with a siding material that is more your speed. 

 

  1. Faded color or just out-of-date

No matter how great the interior of your house looks, if your siding is severely faded and discolored, or it looks like it is from a bygone era, your home value is not what it could be. Today’s siding comes in a range of striking colors and styles that can immediately improve the curb appeal of your house. Additionally, when you take advantage of modern siding options, you benefit from materials that are engineered to last and increase your home’s energy efficiency. 

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling experts and enjoy working with homeowners as they start the process with their next project.  Contact us today to get started on your home remodel!

Should you add a bathroom to your home?

bathroom-remodeling-Mares Dow

There are several reasons homeowners work with home remodeling contractors to add a bathroom to their home. For some, they are anticipating changing household needs like new or growing children or older relatives who are coming to live with them. For others, they are looking to increase their home’s value with a renovation project. Depending on your needs, a bathroom addition may be a great remodeling project for your home as well. 

Bump-Out bathroom to manage family traffic

If your family is growing, you might be experiencing an increasing demand for bathroom time. Adding a half bathroom can help alleviate any bathroom bottlenecks and hopefully lessen any conflict around this shared commodity. You don’t need a lot of space for a half bathroom, so a small bump-out can accommodate a sink, toilet, and shower. Consider locating your bump-out bathroom at the end of a hallway or adjoining a bedroom. Alternatively, some homeowners are able to convert a larger closet if it is conveniently located near existing plumbing. 

Ground floor bathroom for easy accessibility

More and more homeowners are welcoming older relatives to come live with them for extended periods, so the accessibility of their home becomes a consideration. Having the necessary amenities on the ground floor is important, as is constructing those amenities so they can be navigated with walkers or wheelchairs. If this scenario is similar to yours, it is a good idea to add a spacious bathroom that features supportive handrails and a wide doorway with a sliding door. The full bathroom can be added to the guest room or carved out of other spaces like the garage. 

En-suite bathroom in the master bedroom

A master bathroom to accompany the master bedroom is a great project for increasing the value of your home. If you are considering a master bathroom, there are endless design options that can create a truly luxurious space. From spacious bathtubs and glass-enclosed showers to double-sink bathroom vanities and commercial skylights to let the natural light in – you are only limited by the square footage you can spare. Some homeowners choose to construct their en-suite bathroom from the existing space of their bedrooms, while others will build a full addition to accommodate the master bathroom of their dreams. No matter the path you take, this bathroom addition is sure to increase your enjoyment of your home and your home’s value

 

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling experts and enjoy working with homeowners as they start the process with their next project.  Contact us today to get started on your home remodel!

Home Remodel: 5 Reasons to Renovate Your Kitchen

Home remodel - Mares Dow

As you work with your home remodeling contractors on your next project, consider these five reasons to focus your efforts on a modern, on-trend kitchen renovation. 

 

  1. New color trends

For several years the all-white kitchen has been the predominant trend. While this clean and minimalist look may still have some staying power yet, other hues are making an appearance and looking to overtake monochromatic white color schemes. Pastel pink cabinets, for one, are a popular option that offers a beautiful complement to natural materials such as butcher block countertops or granite tiles. On the other end of the color spectrum, moody hues for the kitchen, such as navy or forest green, provide a bold accent to lighter walls and counters and pair beautifully with gold hardware and fixtures.  

 

  1. Cabinets are back

Though the open-shelving trend has an undeniably appealing aesthetic in the glossy pages of magazines or the bright glow of your browser, many homeowners have found them to be impractical in their real-life application. The epitome of unencumbered minimalism, open shelving can, unfortunately, tend to feel more cluttered in practice. As a result, cabinets are making a comeback. With the endless styles of cabinets to choose from, now is a great time to renovate and ditch your open shelving if they aren’t working for you. 

 

  1. Modern room dividers

There are multiple unique ways to designate and partition the kitchen from other household spaces without sacrificing the spacious and connected feeling of an open floor plan. Glass and steel room dividers, for example, can keep the kitchen sounds and smells out of your living room while still letting the spaces visually interact. Like the work of skilled retaining wall contractors, this modern take on partitions can transform how your kitchen and surrounding rooms look and feel. 

 

  1. Exciting texture options

Whether its rough-hewn stone tiles or polished concrete countertops or a live-edge wooden table or island, there are many dynamic textures to explore in your next kitchen renovation. To make a statement with texture, some homeowners are extending their tiled kitchen backsplash all the way up to the ceiling. This bold accent draws the eye and creates a stunning and visually interesting addition to any kitchen. 

 

  1. Enjoy a deep bench

Built-in bench seating for the kitchen table is a popular new renovation for homeowners looking to create a cozy dining nook that invites people to lounge and spend time at the table. Benches also have the benefit of offering additional storage for items like games, place settings, blankets, and any other accessories you may need to settle in for a while and spend time with friends and family. 

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