Choosing The Right Rooms To Undergo A Home Renovation

The most important rooms to undergo a home renovation are the kitchen and the bathrooms in any home. The reasons are quite simple. To begin with, both of these rooms happen to be the busiest in most households. With regards to the kitchen, many things go on here. There is meal preparation, food storage, cooking and eating.

In addition to these, the kitchen serves many other purposes for different people. Sometimes it serves as the place for homework, to sew, to do arts and crafts, and the list goes on to entertaining and gathering among family and friends.

It isn’t uncommon for big dinners and parties to be going on and the majority of the guests end up in this particular room. There is something welcoming and inviting about this room, the preparations that go on within it, and the different aromas that calls out to people of all ages.

As for the bathrooms, they are used very frequently throughout the day or night by family members and guests. They should be well organized, provide storage and be as convenient as possible. The layout should enable the users enough space to allow them to prepare themselves for their day ahead. As people have many things that they use each day to look their best, the storage has to accommodate for all of them. That could be a challenge in smaller bathrooms, but it isn’t impossible.

Going about either home renovation project, whether it’s the kitchen or the bathroom requires thorough planning. Careful thought to layout and storage is of essence in order for it to be successful. But that is only the beginning. Color, materials, style and design will all play a huge role. Of course, budget will dictate a lot that has to do with the materials as well as the layout. For instance, moving key items like the sink, a bathtub or a toilet will cost much more. The same is true if walls will be moved.

With thorough planning and patience everything is possible. What is important is that all the needs of the homeowner are met. In the kitchen, along with all the above, there must be ample counter space. This will facilitate meal preparation. In both rooms, maximizing space is the key. Every square inch must be used accordingly to make them practical and functional, as well as beautiful.

Therefore, it is recommended to list all the must-haves of both rooms. Then, do some research. The research will give plenty of insight as to what falls into the budget available. It will also give some great ideas about layout, style, color and materials. Information can be found in home renovation magazines, books, on television, in showrooms, and online.

Taking the time to get ideas will prove beneficial. It can be the difference between a so-so improvement and the best possible. It will be well worth it to provide the homeowner with a completed project that not only works great but looks fantastic and increases the property’s value extensively.

Kitchen Counters – The Latest Trend

I have visited a lot of homes since I have been with Re/Max Houston over the past 20 years. I’ve been selling Houston real estate now since 1981. For most of these years, I have been advising homeowners on the proper “staging” of their home in order to facilitate a sell. Heck, back in the dark ages, staging was not even in our vernacular. If memory serves me, we called it, “Hey lady, you need to do something with your home if you want to sell it.” Staging sounds much more professional.

During this time, there have been a number of hot button trends that have come and gone with time. I should say, with the passing of decades. With another of my landmark birthdays on the horizon, let me just say that trends come and go. A wise seller and Realtor will be in tune with these trends if they want to maximize the value of their property much less sell it as well.

For example, in the 1980′s, new carpet was a must for the proper staging of a home for sale in Houston, TX. That orange or green shag carpet from the previous decade just had to go. Peace, love and Jimmie Hendricks lives, but not if they wanted to sell their home. It was time to move on, tune in and change the carpet. Oh! That butcher block laminate kitchen counter was to die for. Try to sell a production built home in Houston then without butcher block. Forget it!

The early 1990′s was all about tile. Just install tile on the floor, the counters, bathtub, walls and even the front porch and you were all set. Ok, a little wood flooring here and there could not hurt either. Now, that was staging, 1990′s style.

Today, one of the significant hot-button trends are kitchen counters. What Re/Max Houston professional doesn’t hear daily, “Is there granite in the kitchen,” the buyer asks? Your home in Katy, Texas or Sugar Land for example, needs to have four bedrooms, a game room or media room and it would be really great if it had granite kitchen counters. While granite seems to be the soup de jour, granite is not the only game in town. In fact, you might be surprised what countertop still reigns at the top of the heap.

As you can imagine, homeowners have a plethora of kitchen counter options. Have small children? You might prefer a counter that be cut, eat, spill, and even do homework on. Ok, is has to look good too and it must fit into the family budget. Just keep in mind, when marketing a home in the Houston real estate market, the appearance of the kitchen is very important today. A nice countertop can add pizzazz to your kitchen and facilitate a sell. So, here is the “low down” on the current “up town” kitchen countertops.

When touring homes, buyers are quite surprised to find lovely stone backsplashes and-laminate counters? That’s right! Hold on to your hat because laminate, not stone is still the most common material used for kitchen counters. Laminate tops are inexpensive, durable, come in an array of colors and are easy to install. Did I mention less expensive. Manufacturing technologies have improved the appearance providing a variety of looks. Many production builders in the greater Houston real estate market still rely on laminate counters to keep their costs down. You want granite? Well, here is your upgrade price.

Fifteen years ago, granite was still somewhat of a rarity. Today, due to greater availability and an increased number of fabricators, granite tops are much more common and more affordable. On the average, the retail price of a typical granite countertop will run about $30.00 to $35.00 a square foot installed. A little more exotic granite could cost about $80.00 a square foot installed. Granite is available in many colors. Since each piece of granite is unique, it is important to visit the fabricator to select the exact slabs you would like to use. Granite requires little maintenance, but you must be careful with unsealed granite being damaged by hot grease. Granite is usually installed by a professional.

Engineered stone, such as “Corian” and “Silestone,” combine the beauty of natural stone and the functional benefits of a solid-surface material. They are composed of a blend consisting of crushed natural stone bound together with synthetic materials. They are non-porous countertops, difficult to stain and have excellent scratch resistance qualities. These products are typically installed by authorized contractors of the manufacturer which can increase the cost of installation. The retail price of these engineered stone products can run about $55.00 a square foot and more. A natural stone such as granite can actually cost less depending on which stone you select.

Acrylic and polyester tops such as the old cultured marble that is installed in many bathroom counters, are available now in hundreds of different colors and textures. They are non-porous which makes them excellent for food preparation. They can be formed into many shapes and sizes. Correctly installed, these products appear seamless as well unlike laminate. If burned or scratched, the damage can usually be buffed and sanded out. They are durable products, and they typically should be installed by a trained professional.

Of course, there is always tile. Tile now comes in a huge variety of colors, materials and prices. Tile does offer great design flexibility too. Granite, porcelain and glazed tiles are the least porous and work well in the kitchen environment. Marble, unglazed clay and limestone tiles are softer and more absorbent. These products are best used for bathrooms. With tile, grout is part of the equation. The proper grout material and color must be selected with the appropriate tile.

It’s now decision time. As a homeowner, what kitchen counter do you install that adds value, looks nice and will facilitate a sell in the future? Oh, it must fit your pocketbook too. If we have learned anything, the answer can depend upon what decade you decide to sell your home. Today, the smart choice is probably with granite based on demand, cost and appearance. In 2010 however, it’s anyone’s guess. Best recommendation: install and enjoy. You are the one who has to live there now. If you have the right home in a good location, a buyer in the future will still buy your home, even if aluminum foil is the product of choice. Trends, after all, come and go.

The World of Microfibre

Over the years new materials have been made for different purposes. Microfibre was one of the latest. It started in the 1950′s when a new spinning technique was found to produce ultra fine fibres in one continuous filament. These fibres are so minute that 9000 only weighs an impressive 1 gram. They are that small that they only measure 1 denier which, as you women who wear tights and stockings, is very fine. Once the filament is made it is then woven into a variety of products for example towels and dusters.

They make excellent cleaning cloths. Because of how the fibres have been knitted together the microfibre material is extremely soft, so unless residue has been left behind from a previous use they will not scratch. Due to the size there are many filaments is a small space enabling the microfiber to hold up to eight times its weight in water making them excellent for mopping up spills as well as being able to absorb fats and grease.

Microfibre has electrostatic properties, which means it leaves no dust behind. This makes them very popular in the car industry for polishing paintwork, cleaning glasswork and the important interior valet. They also last longer than conventional cloths due to the way that they have been knitted together. This makes them more cost effective despite the initial cost being slightly more.

It has been proved by doing test that microfibre materials clean on a microscopic scale reducing the number of bacteria left on surfaces by a massive 99% where normal cleaning cloths only reduce by a disappointing 33%.

As they are so soft and gentle makes them attractive to photographers for cleaning oily residues from lenses without scratching. Likewise opticians use small pieces of microfibre for cleaning spectacles. Where it is not always recommended to use microfibre on sensitive surfaces such as plasma screens, as they can retain debris from previous use scratching the surface, they do make a special microfibre material just for this that has a flat, non-rugged surface making it more unlikely to hold debris.

They do not need any cleaning fluids such as polish making them another cost efficient reason to use microfibre. In order to prolong their life, wash in ordinary non-oily washing detergents but fabric softener must not be used.

Liquids form a bead on microbfibre materials repelling them, making it easier to dab fluids cleaning them and making them less likely to stain. This makes microfibre an excellent choice of material for tablecloths and furniture with its suede like finish. On the flip side they also make excellent towels due to being able to hold up to eight times their weight in water. In order to do this effectively the towel must first be soaked and pressed. The microfibre filaments dry much more quickly than your conventional cotton towel which means that is less likely to go stale giving off that musty smell which is evident with most towels if not dried immediately.

Microfibre therefore makes a good all rounder. Excellent in the kitchen, in the bathroom, on mirrors and glass, for drying up spills or that nice soft towel after your well deserved bath.