Tag Archives: Home Remodeling Contractor

What to Consider When Planning for a Home Addition

What to Consider When Planning for a Home Addition - home remodeling contractor - Mares Dow

Are you looking to add more square footage to your home? If so, you may be considering a room addition. Adding living space provides more options for your family and adds value to your property. Before you begin your project, you may want to discuss several considerations with your home remodeling contractor.

For instance, you’ll want to pay special attention during the designing and planning phase. Also, you’ll want to consider building codes, zoning regulations, building outward, or adding a second floor, as well as staying within your budget. By working out the details, your home addition project will go more smoothly. Let’s take a closer look at what to consider when planning for a home addition.

The Design Phase

The most critical stage in a home addition project is the design and planning phase. During this stage, you will work with the home remodeling contractor on several items such as:

  • Drawing up floor plans and the overall design scheme
  • Choosing building materials
  • Creating a budget that you can work within
  • Ensuring a seamless transition between the existing house and the added space
  • Establishing timelines and deadlines
  • Preparing your home for demolition and construction

Blending the new addition with the current structure requires extensive planning and precision if the project is going to be successful. Make sure you allocate extra time for planning and design so that the addition is completed to your specifications.

Building Codes and Zoning Regulations

One of the most common mistakes that homeowners make is thinking that they can do whatever they want with the plot of land they own. However, zoning regulations and building codes prevent homeowners from launching specific projects or remodeling their homes in certain ways.

Before you start your project, your contractor can review all local planning and zoning regulations. They can ensure that you have the necessary space on your property for a room addition. Once you understand the zoning regulation, then you’ll have a better idea of your building options.

System and Structural Integration

Your house contains a vast network of systems that provide comfort and security from the outside elements. Your home’s design is engineered for maximum structural integrity, ensuring that it can support the framework, all materials, and all contents inside.

When you add a new room to the house, consider how it will affect the following:

  • Structural framework
  • HVAC/Air conditioning system
  • Electrical wiring and panel
  • Plumbing
  • Load-bearing walls

If you are building upward and adding a second floor, you need to make sure that the existing framework can support the added load. You’ll also need to make sure that all systems can handle the additional floor space. Will you need to add a larger electrical panel? How will the addition affect your water pressure? Is your HVAC large enough to heat or cool the added room?

Setting a Proper Budget

The average room addition project ranges from $21,000 to $69,000. Umbrella costs can include materials, demolition, permits, and labor. Therefore, before you move forward with your project, you need to know what type of financial commitment it will require.

Your home remodeling contractor can help you determine how much you need to budget for with a bottom-line figure that includes materials and labor. Having a budget and knowing what you are paying for will eliminate any problems that could cause your project to come to a halt.

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights 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!

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 & Skylights 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 Ways to Redo Your Bedroom and Increase Your Home’s Value

bedroom-renovation-Mares Dow

Of all the home remodeling projects you can do to increase your home value – whether it’s working with siding contractors to update your home’s exterior or hiring retaining wall contractors to make the most of your landscape and boost curb appeal – redoing your bedroom should have a second and equally important motivation. As you consider your bedroom remodel, its important to not only think of your home’s value but also your comfort. After all, most people spend a good deal of time in their bedroom and creating a space that is warm, inviting, and relaxing should be a key objective. 

When it comes to undertaking a bedroom remodel that prioritizes both increasing your home’s value and maximizing your comfort, there are many options. Here are some ideas for projects that can transform your space while also being a good investment. 

1. Renovating the master bathroom 

A spacious master bathroom with luxe and modern features is both an indulgence and a very practical renovation project. Depending on your home’s layout, you can increase your master bathroom’s square footage by building into an adjoining room or buy constructing a bump-out off the side of your house. After you’ve created more space, you can turn your attention to the fixtures: frameless glass shower enclosures, venting skylights, expansive sink tops, clever and stylish storage. It’s hard to go wrong with a well-appointed master bathroom. 

2. Expanding closet space

Adding a closet or expanding existing closet space is a very popular bedroom remodel project and one that any homeowner can benefit from. An additional closet can help reduce clutter and open up your room, offering you the peace of mind of a clean, organized space. If you are interested in turning your current closet into a walk-in, there are many smart, space-saving shelving configurations to choose from and additional perks you can include like a storage bench or vanity. On top of that, ample closet space is a great selling point with homebuyers. 

3. Updating windows

If your bedroom is burdened with old windows, you are doing a disservice to your experience of the space and negatively impacting your home’s value. Old windows tend to be leaky and can become filmy and let less natural light into your bedroom. Replace single-pane windows with double or triple-pane options to better regulate the temperature in the room and save on utility costs. Or you can trade out old window frames for casement or picture window styles. With new windows, you won’t have to worry about winter drafts or miss out on cool summer breezes anymore. 

4. Refreshing the paint

A professional paint job can go along way in giving a room a new look. For the bedroom, consider warm and soothing colors that make the most of the natural light in the room and help you to feel relaxed. You can also add crown molding as an elegant detail that instantly elevates the aesthetic of your bedroom. And if you are painting before you sell your home, it’s a good idea to stick to a neutral color palette that allows potential buyers to see the room as a canvas for their dream bedroom. 

5. Refinishing the floors

With all the stylish flooring options available, you won’t have a hard time finding something that suits you and your bedroom. You can trade-in your old carpet for a new, plush carpet in a vibrant color or opt for hardwood, bamboo, ceramic, or stone. Whatever you choose, you can trust that quality flooring does a lot to enhance the look and feel of a bedroom.   

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights 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 & Skylights 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. 

What does “green remodeling” entail?

 

Over the past decade, there has been a significant push in residential construction to achieve LEED certification and “green building” status in design and construction, and homeowners are reaping the substantial benefits. Many homeowners, however, are also realizing that the benefits of green buildings no longer need to be reserved for newly constructed homes. On the contrary, those who live in the millions of older homes across the US are partnering with home remodeling contractors to improve their houses with “green remodeling” projects.

Green remodeling concepts

Like the principles that underlie the residential LEED Certification guidelines, green remodeling focuses on energy efficiency, healthy indoor air, durability, and resource efficiency. Improving homes in these four areas and thinking about the house less as a collection of spaces and more as an interdependent system has immediate and resonant results: decreased utility bills, increased occupant comfort and wellbeing, and redirecting home maintenance cost savings into spending that benefits local communities. These are goals that every homeowner can get behind and can achieve with their next remodeling project.

Green remodeling project ideas

There are several green remodeling projects a homeowner can undertake, with varying degrees of complexity and costs, but with a guaranteed return on investment in the long term.

Roofs

Roof repair or replacement is an excellent green remodel. Not only can this project immediately improve a home’s energy efficiency, but it can also greatly enhance it with modern solar cell roofing materials which can provide off-grid electricity to the home.

Windows

Many older homes also use energy inefficiently due to leaky windows. Window replacement is an opportunity to recapture those lost utility costs while updating the look of the home and increase curb appeal.

Retaining walls

Working with retaining wall contractors to optimize the landscape around the home is also an ideal green project. Retaining walls can protect the foundation of the home from soil erosion and water damage, which can eventually lead to costly and resource-heavy repairs in the worst case scenarios. Additionally, retaining walls can be made of recycled materials and can function as a component of a water catchment system, managing and collecting groundwater for reuse in the yard or the home.

Skylights

One of the simplest green remodel projects can be installing venting skylights. In addition to the incorporation of natural light and reduction in electricity use that skylights are known for, venting skylights allow homeowners to remotely-control or automate their open/close functions, allowing healthier outdoor air to circulate throughout the home.

Spring Home Refresh: Adding a Front Porch

Why should you consider a front porch addition this season? There are several good reasons, primarily that front porches freshen curb appeal, offer a connection to your neighbors and community, and they provide a warm welcome for your guests. This type of remodel/addition project can be relatively straightforward, and with the help of a local general contractor, it can be a project that stretches your creativity and your dollar.

Explore styles and design options

As you consider undertaking a new front porch addition on your home, be sure to take time to explore the many porch options that will suit your style and budget. Front porches can be quaint, simple affairs, using poured or decorative concrete for the base and steps with a small portico over the front door, or they can be elaborate wraparounds with separate areas for seating, dining, and even outdoor fireplaces. Small or large, it’s important to give enough depth to your porch and it’s recommended to make it at least 6 feet deep. Other porch designs include a raised wooden base with posts supporting a roof, or a screened-in porch with fiberglass or aluminum mesh or sun-blocking screens. Some of these types of porches even have remote-controlled screens, lifting and lowering depending on the homeowner’s needs.

Prep the site

After you’ve decided on your design, work with your general contractor to finalize your budget and outline the construction schedule. Naturally, the front door is a high traffic area and access to your home will need to be ironed out while the project is underway. Construction teams may be able to flex their schedule to only work on site when you are out of the home, but many homeowners will opt to utilize a back door or garage entrance for the duration of construction anyway. Once you and your family have determined how to adjust your day-to-day routines to accommodate your exciting porch addition project, you can help clear the areas of the yard and home interior that will be impacted. This might include relocating plants or raised beds, moving outdoor furniture, or taking pictures or paintings from the walls that might experience shuddering from the exterior construction.

Sit back and relax

Now that you’ve done all you can to ease the beginning of your project for all involved, you can take a step back and enjoy the fruits of your planning efforts. With an experienced general or Home Remodeling Contractors, you can expect your porch addition and any adjacent updates or remodel projects you’ve included to proceed according to the design and schedule you worked out. If there are any hiccups, your
contractor will communicate and troubleshoot with you promptly. So sit back and relax, soon you will be enjoying the summer breeze from the swing on your new porch.

Mares & Dow Construction has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our team of general contractors are home remodeling experts and can help you with your next project. Contact us today to get started!

2019 Home Remodeling Trends

Home Remodeling Trends

A new year means new resolutions, fresh starts, and, for some, big ideas for home remodeling projects. Whether you are planning something large or small, there are several trends to keep an eye on for 2019. Some of the popular projects of the year lend themselves to DIY-ers with a healthy Pinterest habit, while still others may benefit from the expertise of your local home remodeling contractor. Whatever categories your project falls under, here are a few ideas and trends to consider for your next home remodel.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

A nice, transformative kitchen or bathroom remodel is an annual favorite and 2019 is no different. There are several ways to approach this type of remodel, and the one you choose may depend on your vision, budget, and space. One way to transform a kitchen or bathroom is to update a selection of high impact features or fixtures. In the coming year, many people are opting to drop overhead cabinets in kitchens and instead embrace a more minimalist aesthetic. In order to compensate for the loss of storage of overhead cabinets, some people will install a floor-to-ceiling storage wall, like an updated butler’s pantry – ideal for smaller spaces. In bathrooms, a statement shower enclosure can have a big impact and completely change the look of a space. In both kitchens and bathrooms, trading out old fixtures like tiles, sinks, or cabinets can be an easier, but no less impactful, project. In 2019, designers are predicting that fixtures with seamless features, clean lines, and subtle metallic finishes or splashes of bold color will be the popular trends to watch out for. Of course, for some people, this may be the year that they gut the kitchen or bathroom for a clean slate and opt for all of the above!

Exterior Renovations

Though exterior renovations might not be considered as glamorous as a new master bathroom, they are some of the remodeling projects with the greatest return on investment and can also have a significant effect on the look and feel of your front or backyard. Roofing projects or foundation repair immediately improve the value and integrity of your home, while installing skylights or adding a retaining wall with a decorative concrete finish can also increase curb appeal. Additionally, these projects can have a big impact on the energy efficiency of the home, which means you begin earning your money back with your first utility bill. In 2019, many homeowners may opt for the path of exterior renovations, as it is a solid investment and can provide an updated outdoor landscape for them to enjoy in the years to come.

Serving the Bay Area since 1983, Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights are home remodeling experts that also offer experienced general contracting services.  Contact us today to discuss your next home remodel project.

Creating a Schedule for your Next Home Remodel

Home Remodeling Contractors in San Francisco CA

Home remodel projects, whether you are adding another level to your home or simply adding a small bump-out, can alter your typical routine and disrupt the normal order of your home until they are finally wrapped up. The end result is always worth it, but it can be a relief when you get your newly remodeled home to yourself again. But how long before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor? Putting together a schedule for your next project can help you get an idea of what to expect and is an essential tool for evaluating if the remodel is on time and on budget.

Plan it out

The first step in your home remodel should be a thorough and well-researched planning process, which you can anticipate taking around one month. This portion of your project includes articulating your vision, budgeting, and yes, creating a timeline. At this point, it is also a good idea to acquire any permits or wiring or plumbing schematics you may need to begin your remodel.

This phase of your project can also be helped along with the expertise of a home remodeling contractor or general contractor in your area – don’t hesitate to use them as a resource. At Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights, we are happy to walk through the project with you, discuss the experience we have with the type of remodel you are doing, and share our insights in the planning process.

The next several steps of your remodel will vary depending on the size and complexity of what you are doing with your home, but generally speaking, most projects take between three and eight months to complete. When constructing your home remodel timeline, be sure to give yourself a little wiggle room. No matter how well prepared you and your team are for your project, it is very normal for there to be timing hiccups. Giving yourself a little padding in your schedule acknowledges Murphy’s Law while reducing your stress levels.

Schedule the project parts

For the bulk of your home remodel, there is usually an order of operations that is standard and ensures your project will go smoothly. For example, it makes sense to plan to do electrical and plumbing work after demolition and before framing and drywall. Once you know in what order to tackle the different parts of your project, you can start to build your timeline. As an example of a generic home remodel timeline, you can estimate two weeks for demolition; five days for electrical and plumbing; ten days for framing and drywall; one week for painting; ten days for installing fixtures and cabinets; five days for doors and windows; one day for cleaning up the project area and cleaning your air vents; one week for flooring; and one week for trim and finishing work. Lastly, be sure to keep in mind that some of these components of a home remodel may be able to overlap, while others will require the completion of the previous step before the next can begin.

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights 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 Remodeling Trends

Trends in Home Remodeling

Every year there is a new wave of remodeling and design trends that seek to capture home owners’ attention. This year, many of the trends are driven by a homeowner population that is staying longer in their homes and are seeking to revitalize their space and utilize more of it in efficient ways to fit their changing needs, all without breaking the budget. These remodeling goals can also be summarized by a trending design concept: lagom, which is a Swedish word meaning, “just the right amount,” and is meant to evoke designs that are understated and balanced. When you start working with your home remodeling contractor to put together your next project, consider these simple yet impactful ideas.

Large, open spaces

Many homeowners are embracing large, open spaces in their kitchens and living room, methodically removing walls and counters that break up the rooms. These spaces are also being remodeled to be diffused with natural light by adding large, energy efficient windows and skylights. For an even more minimalist design effect, kitchens are also being outfitted with open shelves instead of cabinets. An open kitchen or living room allows for more friends and family to gather, sharing the space for a dinner party or game night with ease.

Finished basements and attics

Why undertake an involved home addition when there is perfectly good space already available? Often underutilized, basements and attic designs are now the subject of many homeowners’ remodeling projects. Basements are transformed into offices and craft rooms or a place to lounge in solitude. Attics are reimagined as reading nooks and playrooms. Instead of using them as just another storage space, finishing one of these previously forgotten rooms can feel like your home just gained a significant amount of desirable square footage.

Remodeling for accessibility

A more functional but no less popular remodeling trend is to adapt homes for their multi-generational residents with greater accessibility needs. Many families now require houses that not only accommodate the new arrivals of children, but also parents and grandparents. For some homes, this means widening doorways and hallways and renovating bathrooms so they are wheelchair accessible or introducing ramps at entrances. In other situations, it may mean constructing a new room on the ground floor for easy, stair-free access. As more and more families welcome more generations into their homes, they are turning to creative remodeling solutions to reimagine their space in a way that can comfortably accommodate their changing needs.

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our team of general contractors are home remodeling experts and can help you with your next project.  Contact us today to get started!

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