Spray Foam for Residential Homes

Spray Foam and How It Can Improve the Residential Home The use of expanding spray foam in the residential home is a relatively new innovation. Spray foam is the process of spraying two different chemicals through a spray gun system that is engineered to combine the two chemicals just prior to the spray nozzle. The […]

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Low Budget Kitchen Modifications

As we have indicated several times in this website, the kitchen is the most important room in the home. The kitchen has been the gathering place for families for hundreds of years. This is where the majority of the conversations occur within a family as well as arguments and solutions to life’s problems. The kitchen […]

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Reasons to Buy an Existing Home

The real estate market around the country has be shaken by the financial instability of the economy, as well as the banking debacle that occurred during the last decade. Financial issues, and out of control lending, caused the inflation of the real estate market, overshadowing any rational thinking that home buyers may have possessed as […]

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Composting at Home

How to Compost at Home The ability to compost at home is a very rewarding experience. I grew up on a farm property where composting was second nature. Everyone had a compost constructed of various materials that they had around the farm. What is composting? Composting is the decomposition of organic material, resulting in a […]

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How to Control Hard Water

Hard water: what is it and how can I control it? Hard water is basically water that has too much calcium and magnesium in solution. There can be other minerals present, but the majority of hard water issues are due to the calcium and magnesium content. Water that has passed through limestone or chalk deposits […]

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Kitchen Renovation Considerations

MY NEW KITCHEN:  costs, insights and construction If you are going to design your own kitchen, or you are thinking of removing the existing kitchen and replacing it with a new and modern kitchen installation. What must you consider? The kitchen area is the most important aspect of a new or renovated home. If you […]

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Attic Flooring Renovations

What Should I Consider When Renovating Attic Floors? The attic of a residential home is many times forgotten space. In a colonial or cape design, this space can be substantial, and can offer storage as well as living space potential. What is the best construction procedure to gain usability of this space? Access into the […]

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What are the options for the exterior of our home?

This question is asked by countless homeowners, both building their new home, or renovating an existing home. The selection of sidings, coatings, finishes, etc. is extremely broad, and can offer any type of appearance imaginable. The selection of the exterior siding is totally a personal decision, based on architectural preference as well as financial capabilities. […]

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What to look for when analyzing commercial properties

The decision to purchase and eventually renovate a large commercial building is a difficult and involved decision. Large commercial structures must be carefully evaluated prior to any decision to purchase and renovate, or simply purchase and demolish, for a future new structure. Although the decision is based upon extensive evaluation and financial review, there are […]

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Practical considerations when designing a New Home

Practical considerations as well as Creative possibilities, when designing a New Home There are several practical, as well as creative considerations that should be discussed and entertained, prior to making the final determination, regarding the building plans and specifications for a new home. Many of them will be immediately dismissed, based upon your personal taste, budget […]

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Construction Project Cost Control / Best Practice

The cost control on any construction project is the heart and soul of the project. Proper financial management, from the onset of the project, is a necessary requisite of any successful construction project. Although there are many contractors that would disagree, a successful project, is a project that allows all parties to make money, and […]

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Construction Contracts / Best Practice

The development of the proper construction contract is a never ending saga of updates, additions, addendums and attachments. I have personally been involved in the quest for the proper construction contract for the last 40 years, and have yet to develop the perfect format. The problem with any construction contract is that it is only […]

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What is a Retaining Wall? How Are They Built?

What is a retaining wall and how are they built? What is a retaining wall? A retaining wall is any structure that holds back another element. This element could be earth, stone, water, sand, etc. The retention of a material is required for various reasons, however, there are typical common occurrences in construction, where the […]

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Should I Do Renovation Work Myself?

Difficult question. If you listen to all the DIY shows you should definitely do it yourself! If you listen to my version of the DDIY show entitled don’t do it yourself, you definitely should not. The best way to determine if you should actually perform the work yourself, is to ask yourself a number of […]

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Help, my roof is leaking, what can I do?

OK, we all told you that your roof needed to be replaced. We identified the issues, as well as the pointed out all the signs of a roof that needed replacement. Why aren’t you replacing your roof?? One of the most difficult issues in the renovation, construction business, is convincing someone, that their roof needs […]

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What is a Construction Punchlist?

What is a Punchlist and how to manage it? The punchlist, on a construction project, is a list of items that are either incomplete, or have not been started. These items, are part of the original scope, together with additional scope items that have been added to the contract by formal change orders. In most […]

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What is a Change Order?

The Change Order System Whether the project is a complicated commercial project, or a simple residential addition, the cost control on the project, centers on a properly managed change order system. A change order, is a directive issued by the party controlling the money, to change something on the project with a formal document. The […]

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How to control costs on my construction project?

What a question! This is probably the most sought after answer within the construction industry. How do we control the cost of any construction project? This has been a goal for all owners, since the inception of the construction project. The horror stories of projects doubling or tripling in price are part of the weekend […]

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When can I call my contractor, MY BUILDER?

You have a contractor working on your home or business. They have been engaged for an extended period of time, and communication has been good, with positive results on the project. At what point in the construction project or projects, can the owner feel comfortable enough to call this contractor YOUR BUILDER? This is a […]

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I hired a BUM!! Now what?

Sorry, but I hired a BUM. Now what ? This is such a common question throughout the country as owners attempt to manage their own relationships with builders. You can thank the DIY movement for a lot of these headaches. It is difficult for me to respond to this question without sounding like the typical […]

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How to steal space ?

Who needs additional space and can’t seem to find it anywhere? Probably the majority of homeowners who have purchased a home, and have outgrown that home, in terms of where to put all their stuff? This is a construction website and not a psychology class, however, based upon personal experience, your stuff will expand to […]

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Why does my builder hate me?

So many homeowners are afraid of constructing a new home, deciding to construct an addition, or renovating the home they already live in. Why are individuals afraid to venture out into the world of construction? Reputation, the grapevine, editorial comments, as well as normal day to day conversations, have led the average homeowner to believe […]

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What should we look for when purchasing our first home ?

The purchase of a home, whether it is new construction or existing, is a traumatic and confusing ordeal for many people. As contractors, it is much easier to identify various elements that help focus the purchase in the right direction. Unfortunately this focus only develops after years of experience in the building trades as well […]

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What is a Sump, a Pump and a Sump Pump?

What are a sump, a pump, and a sump pump and can they solve water and moisture problems in the basement or elsewhere on the property. The term sump references a low collection point for a liquid. This can be used in the automotive field as an oil sump or with other types of lubricants. […]

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How to Install a Sump Pump?

The installation of a sump pump in a residential basement space is relatively straight forward. Location / the location of the sump pump should be in the corner of the basement if at all possible. This will allow the use of the remainder of the basement without hampering the access to the sump pump, and […]

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How to Solve Foundation Wall Moisture Problems?

A very common problem in basement spaces is the presence of moisture on the perimeter walls. This occurs due to a number of conditions that can allow water to penetrate the walls or merely condense on the inner surface of the foundation wall. Let’s look at the condensation issue, it is the most common and […]

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Quick and Cheap Exterior Home Curb Appeal

Exterior Curb Appeal – Quick and Cheap There is several quick and inexpensive ways to improve the curb appeal of your home. The initial impression of any home, from the street, is an important aspect of selling the home. In many cases, the Realtor indicates, “ Not a Drive-bye “ / Hopefully by using some […]

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Quick and Cheap Interior Home Renovations

Interior Home Appeal – Quick and Cheap The house is going on the market and we are anxious to make the sale. However, the real estate market is slow and there are several comparable homes on the market. How can we make the interior of the home a memorable experience, and remain in the minds […]

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Basement Bathroom Remodel

Basement Bathrooms: What to Consider when Planning a Bathroom in the Basement A bathroom in the basement, is a great addition to a home. The ability to send the kids down to play with facilities available has great resale value as well as contributes to the quality of life within the home. Whether the basement […]

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Managing Water & Moisture in the Basement

Water and Moisture in the Basement / What are the options? 06.24.16 Water and moisture concerns and issues in the basement area, have become a very delicate issue, as the presence of mold has become a major health concern. It was not long ago that the answer to the issue was simply, stay out of […]

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Where is the best place to shop for homeowner supplies?

Now that everyone has been either seduced, shamed or basically hog tied into performing all your own work around the house, there are several options for finding the best material, the most insightful and knowledgeable sales associates, and the best prices. When I grew up, we all performed work around the home, whether it be […]

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How to Save Money on a Residential Project ?

How many times does this topic, become the primary focus of discussion, whether it is at a Saturday night cocktail party, the local Brew Fest, a family discussion or a heated debate. Everyone is looking to save money on their residential project! It becomes the focus of relationships between husband and wife as well as […]

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Should I Finish My Basement?

There are several questions that need to be answered, prior to making a decision whether to finish your basement or not. Is the basement currently dry? The moisture in a basement is one of the most important obstacles to finishing a basement. In many cases the inherent construction of the basement space, below the level […]

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How Involved Should I be in My Construction Project? 

If you are asking this question, you have made a number of decisions already. You have decided what type of construction project best suits your needs, you have decided on a contractor and you are ready to move forward. Dependent upon the reasoning for your question the answer may be different. Do you feel uncomfortable […]

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Summary of a Basic Construction Project

Brief summary of a Construction Project It is necessary to understand the construction industry to offer a brief and certainly streamlined summary of this business. Obviously this is intended more for the individual that is not on the inside, but the individual that maybe for whatever reason finding it necessary to be presented an outline […]

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How to Estimate a Project when Documentation is Unclear?

How to Estimate a Project when the documents are unclear?? I have to laugh at this title, because the majority of your estimates will fall into this category. The economic pressures of today have caused owners to limit their architectural and engineering budgets; therefore the documents that are being produced are generally not the type […]

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What is a Procurement Schedule?

The use of a Procurement Schedule is a tool that has provided me with the management and scheduling ability to foresee, and thereby solve, difficult issues on a construction project. Whether the procurement schedule is for a residential home, a commercial housing project, high end retail fit up, medical facilities or any other type of […]

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How to Develop and Manage a Construction Estimate?

It is important that the following points are understood, prior to attempting to successfully develop, and manage an estimate, or develop an estimating division. At the current time in the construction industry, the estimator is alluded to as the key element of success. All contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers are frantically looking for that individual […]

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Should I start my own Construction Company?

This the KEY question! Should I start my own Construction Company is a thought that haunts and in some cases liberates the individual involved in construction, if they are like me, EVERYDAY! When I was young and influenced by the environment around me, I had all the ambition, energy and, I thought, the talent to […]

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What is a Construction Change Order?

The question everyone is afraid to ask, thinks they understand, has a totally negative connotation, dominates the cocktail conversation, and is the neighborhood’s constant boogey man, hiding within every new house, every addition and renovation. Everyone has a story, everyone has a solution and no one has a clue! What is THE Change Order??? A […]

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What New Technology Should We Consider for our New Home?

This discussion is a brief summary of some of the new technologies that are being offered to homeowners. Of course, each day, new and better advances in material, equipment, finishes are being developed and marketed for consumer consumption. As is always the case, some of the new technology will offer more efficient and improved benefits […]

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Should We Renovate or Buy?

A very popular question to many homeowners. Does the existing location and basic layout of the structure allow renovation to accommodate goals and future plans, or does it make more sense to simply move? As with so many questions within this website, there are so many local and specific personal parameters surrounding this question, that […]

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What comes first, the Architect or the Contractor?

Interesting question, and totally dependent upon the type of work, the extent of the scope of work and the relationships that the purchaser may, or may not, have with any local contractors or architects. If the purchaser has any personal relationship with either an architect or a contractor and is planning on using either one, […]

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How should I select a Contractor?

How many times are experienced contractors asked this very difficult and certainly emotionally biased charged question? The countless horror stories of individuals selecting the wrong contractor are certainly prevalent over the hiring of honest, competent and knowledgeable contractor stories. Why are there so many issues with contractors that have not performed to the expectation of […]

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What are the Building Permit Procedures?

What are the Building Permit procedures?  What are the procedures required to obtain a building permit? This is a common question for all individuals considering an addition, a new home or a renovation to their existing home? First / what is a Building Permit A Building Permit is a document issued by the local authority […]

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What is a Construction Punchlist?

What is a punchlist? The term punchlist, refers to a list of items that are incomplete on a construction project, residential or commercial. These items are originally part of the contract scope of work, as indicated within the construction documents for the project. In addition to the original scope of work, any additional approved change […]

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Using Consultants in Residential Contruction

Should the use of professional consultants such as designers be considered in residential construction? The answer to this question is best stated by noting that my daughter and son – law just completed a major renovation on their home. The house was a historic home of masonry construction and was a challenging, large renovation. The […]

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Considerations When Purchasing a Newly Completed Home

What needs to be considered when purchasing a newly constructed home? There are several elements and priorities that need to be considered when purchasing a new, completed home. Obviously the part of the country the home is being purchased, the makeup of the individuals that will occupy the home as well as the personal needs […]

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What will my new home cost me ?

Probably the most frequently asked question in the home building industry, by potential purchasers of new homes. How much will my home cost? Unfortunately the most asked question is responded to, by the most allusive of answers, due to many factors that will influence the cost of your home. First I will identify several factors […]

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How do I know I am being treated honestly by my builder?

Much aligned and overdone, the term honesty is in many cases an assumed trademark of the majority of industries. However, there are those industries that have been burdened with the reputation of dishonesty and underhanded operations, deals and partnerships. Unfortunately construction is one of these industries. You, as the purchaser of a new home must […]

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What is a Construction Cost Report?

How important is the Cost Report in Construction ? First and foremost what is a Cost Report? A cost report is a means of reporting the revenue and the costs of construction projects on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It is the bible according to the numbers for the survival of all construction companies. […]

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How is a Construction Estimate Put Together?

Although we all tend to take it for granted, the estimate process is an interesting phenomenon within the construction industry. I am not sure if there is any other business where the accuracy, timing and procedural processes come together in such a directly competitive arena. The construction process of bidding a project and providing an […]

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What is a Construction Project Manager?

What is a Construction Project Manager and what their role in the process? The position, Project Manager, is used throughout the marketplace as an identification of the mid level leader of a project whatever that project entails. It could be the development of a new pharmaceutical product, the creation of a new car, the development […]

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