The Importance of Fire Blocking Techniques and Products In Construction

The last thing that homeowners want or deserve from their contractor is short cuts taken in their home improvement project.  When doing any renovation around the home from installing a new door between your garage and your home, as in the picture above, or adding a new room onto an existing structure, the homeowner’s safety, now and in the future, is of utmost importance.

The need for for stopping or blocking

One safety issue we have found in many house’s that we have worked on is the lack of fire stopping or fire blocking with in the walls and door jams of homes.  Even though building codes and regulations state that fire blocking materials are included in construction, it is an all too often short cut that less than professional contractors take.  Talk with any firefighter and they will agree that this is a huge mistake.  Proper installation of fire blocks and fire blocking materials within walls and doorways is a property and life saver.

People have been seriously injured or lost their lives because of the lack of simple fire stopping blocks.  Fire stopping blocks are a simple component used in framing homes that when done correctly can help decrease the speed at which fire ravages your home, giving your family more time to escape.  This building technique is not as common in older homes, thus leading to a total loss of many older homes.

Modern day home construction

In modern day construction horizontal double 2×4’s can be seen on top of vertical studs to create a wall blocking system.  This helps to seal in the cavity and separate it from the one next to it which in turn works to prevent the rapid spread of fire throughout your home.

Without properly installed fire stop, the framing in your home can act like many mini chimneys throughout the home.  In older homes it was common to be able to drop an item from the homes attic only to have it shoot out on the basement floor moments later.  With out a barrier between the floors, flames are sucked up through the walls, acting very much like a chimney.

It may be hard to believe but the use of a single solid piece of wood at the top and bottom of the wall in between the studs can significantly reduce how fast fire spreads throughout the home.  If a fire does occur within the wall, the top block will help stop the fire from shooting upwards and into the home’s attic. Fire blocking at the intersections of joists and walls as well as sideways between floor and ceiling joists can literally save your family.

Materials used for fire blocking

Another material that can be used in construction and during renovations is known as Fireblock foam insulation and fire barrier caulk. When a hole is created within the home it is important that it is filled.  Not only will it help to prevent drafts, it also helps to stall fires from sneaking between the walls. Fireblock products should always be used when contractors are installing door jams or have created holes.  Plumbers, electricians, heating contractors, and even general contractors should all be well versed in the use of Fireblock products.

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.

What Should You Know About Aging in Place?

Financially, It’s Worth Tweaking

The average cost in the United States to live in an assisted living community is upwards of around thirty-six hundred dollars a month, that is roughly forty-two thousand dollars a year.  Age in place modifications for the average single-story home on the other hand are roughly between ten and fifteen thousand dollars.  That is one heck of a cost savings over the course of seven to ten years.  If simple age in place modifications can keep you at home even one year longer than you anticipated the amount you save is astronomical.

Don’t Over Complicate

Even the smallest updates can make a huge difference in how you co-exist with your home.  Start with something as little as replacing the hardware on doorknobs, cabinets, and more.  In bathrooms it is important to install sturdy grab bars, replace dual faucets with single-handled faucets, upgrade the toilet to a comfort height style, and increase the amount of lighting.  Kitchens are much like bathrooms with the addition of roll-out shelving and undercabinet lighting.

Renovate for Accessibility

Accessibility modifications are costlier than the previously mentioned simpler updates in hardware and lighting but can add more independent living years for you.   Consider installing a handicap ramp to entry ways with steps.  Depending on the length and incline needed a wheelchair ramp can be installed for under three thousand dollars.  Another common accessibility renovation that is recommended is the installation of a lip free shower.  If you choose custom-tiles, upgraded materials, fixtures, and fixings a custom, curb-free shower can run a family up to fifteen thousand dollars whereas simple, modular options run around three thousand dollars installed.

Think Bigger

Sometimes structural changes to the home are needed.  Some of these options can include widening doorways, creating a more open floor plan by eliminating walls, and event he addition of elevators in some cases.  If you are doing a major renovation to the home that is the time to think about the longevity of your life in the home.  It is less expense to do large structural changes while doing major renovations within your home.

Considering Using the Equity in Your Home

With the equity that has built up in your home over time there are multiple ways to pay for age in place modifications:

  • Cash-Out Refinance of Your Mortgage
  • A Home Equity Loan
  • Line of Credit
  • Reverse Mortgage

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.

 

 

The Realities of Age in Place Remodeling

Although a new concept, aging in place has become a notion that not only seniors but middle-aged people have started to appreciate the importance of.  Not only does it make sense because it makes life easier for you but also from a financial stand point.

 

No one ever wants to discuss getting older and not being able to care for themselves as they are today.  Trust me, I get that; I know for me it is one thing that is brought up all to often among my kids when talking with me and it is the last thing I really want to talk with them about.  However, the facts exist, whether we want to talk about it or plan for it, we will get older.

 

It is important to understand that if your goal is to remain in your home for as long as possible then the sooner you start preparing for the aging process the better.  Yes, you may only be in your forties but if you are already considering renovations around the home then you should start to include features that will make it easier to grow old with.

 

Aging isn’t really the problem.  The issue arises from the affects of aging.  There are several changes that occur mentally, physically, and your abilities overall tend to slow down.  It becomes harder to navigate the terrain later in life as the freedoms you once had become more difficult.

What Are Dangers In Waiting to Renovate To Accommodate Aging Needs

There are two areas in which I want to focus today as we discuss aging and the desire to stay within our homes, caring for ourselves: What are the most realistic dangers physically, mentally, and financially? and What will occur if you wait to act now?

Risk Of Falling

The biggest issue found in emergency rooms involving seniors comes from accidental falls.  Not only does the fall impact you today but also your future lifestyle.  Protecting yourself from accidental spills around the home is just one of the precautions that need to be considered sooner than later.  If you are considering an update to your flooring be sure to use materials that offer some type of slip resistance, even when wet.  The flooring should also take into consideration navigation, if a wheelchair or walker should be needed, the ease of maintenance, as well as the about of cushion and comfort it provides.  A side effect of falling is an increase in serious, debilitating, long lasting issues from broken hips to an increase in dementia.  It is crucial that steps are taken very early on to prevent the risk of falling as a fall will significantly decrease your quality of life.

 

If you wait to start planning and remodeling until after an incident you are really putting yourself in danger not only physically but mentally and financially as well.  The less able you are to take care of your self the more mentally frustrated you will become.  Especially for those of us who have remained active and are living a physical lifestyle.  Financially we are also affected because are ability to earn income will decrease and our care expenses will increase.

 

It comes down to the reality that designing and preparing your home for aging in place when renovating not only is a solid financial investment but also makes your home safer to live in right now.  Added safety around your home whether you are in your thirties or fifties can’t hurt.   Age in place remodeling helps increase your longevity and preventing accidents such as unexpected falls.   Without remodeling with aging in mind you could lose tens of thousands of dollars each year as you pay for assisted living and nursing home care.

 

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.

Remodeling for a More Accessible Home For Seniors

As people age, there always seems to be more and more limitation that makes it difficult for them to be able to do the simple things that they once took for granted. Whether it not being able to climb the stairs like you used to, to be able to stand for long periods of time or even reach items in the kitchen like you used to. All of these things could happen over time or change due to a medical issue that makes it difficult to do the things that you use to do with relative ease.

 

These days more and more families are taking in their senior parents rather than see them have to live out their senior years in a home. While some medical reasons may make that necessary, most people would rather make it where their parents can either stay in their own home longer or simply move into their home.

 

To be able to do this there are often things that can be done to remodel their home or your home in order to make life a bit better for them. Some things are quite easy and other things will require a bit of remodeling and that usually means hiring a contractor and could cost a pretty penny. Below is a short list of some of the things that we came up with. Remember, not all of these will apply to your unique situation.

 

10 Things to consider when remodeling for a senior person

 

Pay attention to the specific needs of your senior parent or loved one – Always remember that you are doing this for your loved one and you need to include them in any changes to be sure they fit with them. One size remodeling truly does not fit all.

 

Be sure you have a complete plan of what you want to do – Be sure to formulate a plan and put it in writing so that you have something to follow when you go to put your plan into action.

 

If you have any doubts bring in a professional to evaluate the home – While you may be able to come up with some good ideas, you may want to have a professional come in and evaluate the home and make some recommendation.

 

Remove any obstruction in all access points – A very simple change that virtually anyone can make is to remove any and all obstructions at points of entry in a room. When you have difficulty walking even a bump in the carpeting can cause an obstruction.

 

Talk to all of the professional caregivers of your parents to get ideas – Another great resource for you to consider is to talk to all of the people who provide care for them to get some ideas on how to make their home life better.

 

Get a professional contractor – When the time comes that you need to do any type of structural changes to your home you should bring in a professional contractor for advice and help.

 

No-step entry is the first best step – Like the obstructions at all access points into/out of a room, a no-step entry point into and out of the home is a must. This will more than likely require you to hire a professional.

 

Consider pocket doors versus swinging doors – Turning door knobs and twisting handles on doors can be difficult for seniors, if it is possible you should consider replacing all of them in the home.

 

Electric stair lifts – Having a two-story home climbing stairs for many seniors is not only a chore but at times it can be potentially extremely dangerous. If you can afford it look into the electric stair lifts, it will give all of you peace of mind.

 

Reconfiguring the home – If climbing stairs are completely out of the question then you should immediately look into reconfiguring the lower level to have everything on one that level for them.

 

Learn more about licensed and insured general contractor Glen Miller the Home Doctor and the variety of home improvement services he offers clients including: home maintenance plans, handyman services, kitchen remodels, bathroom renovations, handicap ramp installations, age in place modifications, basements transformations, and hardwood flooring installation and refinishing at www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com.  To contact Glen Miller the Home Doctor call 734.255.9793 for a free estimate.

 

Changes To Keep In Mind For Age In Place Remodels

I have met with a significant number of homeowners that are concerned about making their homes accessible for their ever-changing needs as they age.  As a specialist in age in place remodeling it has become my mission to create spaces, when remodeling, that ensure clients changing needs will be met through the renovation process.  Aging comes with enough complications; the last thing that homeowners need is added complications surrounding their home.

Ranch vs Two Story

We don’t ever think about growing old when we purchase our first homes but often are first homes become are only home.  With that being said it is important to note that not every homeowner thinks about the hitches that come with owning a two-story home as you get older.  Many older homeowners have decided they want to stay in their two-story home, so it is my job to make it safe for them to access the second floor.  Obviously, an elevator can be installed however this can be quite cost prohibitive, upwards of $30,000 to $65,000, along with ongoing maintenance.  Another option is the installation of a stair lift, which allows the user to go up and down the stairs using an automatic chair.  This is a much more cost-effective option, ranging between $2,500 to $5,500.

Entrance

Depending on the type of entry way that currently exists the installation of a special ramp that allows access into the home via wheelchair or with walker assistance.    Handicap ramps can be designed to match the homes exterior or able to be removed and transported.  The actual door entrance as well should be evaluated.  A no-step entry way is as important as an entrance without stairs to individuals using devices to assist in maneuvering around.

Wide-Pocket Doors

Wider doors accommodate for the ease of movement using walkers, canes, and wheelchairs.  Another element that is helpful is to switch out commonly used doors throughout the home with pocket doors, when able.  Pocket doors do not need to swing in or out which allows for accessibility to two users if an individual were to need assistance or if mobility assistance devices were used.

Bathroom Modifications

The bathroom and kitchen spaces are the two areas that are of utmost concern when it comes to aging in place.  To combat worry from within the bathroom area there are a number of options to present to homeowners from walk-in tubs to built in shower seats.  My preference for safety and efficiency is the installation of a walk-in shower with a built-in bench.  This however will not satisfy homeowners looking to take a bath.  If an actual tub is desired a walk-in tub can be installed.  Along with these modifications it is important to add grab bars and a raised toilet to just add to ease of use with-in the space.

Learn more about licensed and insured general contractor Glen Miller the Home Doctor and the variety of home improvement services he offers clients including: home maintenance plans, handyman services, kitchen remodels, bathroom renovations, handicap ramp installations, age in place modifications, basements transformations, and hardwood flooring installation and refinishing at www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com.  To contact Glen Miller the Home Doctor call 734.255.9793 for a free estimate.

Things to Keep in Mind When Finding a Contractor

A Home Improvement Contractor is defined as any person who possesses or runs a contracting business who, through himself or others, undertakes, reasons to have the capacity to undertake, offers to undertake, or submits a bid for residential contracting work to a homeowner.

A Home Improvement Contracting Registration is governed by M.G.L c. 142A. Contractors who engage in residential contracting agreements with homeowners for work on their primary residence of 4 units or less, are required to register with OCABR. Residential contracting is defined under the law as “the reconstruction, alteration, renovation, repair, modernization, conversion, improvement, removal or demolition or the construction of an addition to any pre-existing, owner-occupied, building containing at least one but not more than four dwelling units.

But before you start flipping through the Yellow Pages and calling every contractor in the book, let’s get your expectations on the right planet. You should expect that in this day and age, skilled contractors are in high demand, good contractors are very, very busy.

This means when you do start buzzing contractors, don’t be amazed that they don’t instantly answer their phones – they are possibly standing on a ladder somewhere with their hands full when you call. Don’t take it personally or shoulder they are not interested in talking to you, but contractors won’t answer their cell phones every time it rings. Continuous disturbances slow down a jobsite. For this reason alone, most contractors wait until they are away from the jobsite before they return your calls.

Whether you work with a common contractor for house remodeling or act as one on your own project, getting a sight into the mind of a contractor can give you a new angle into renovation projects around your home. But what are the things you have to do before you start remodeling your house?

Here are a few things:

  • Interview candidate contractors:

When looking for contractors for house remodeling it is very important to get into the mind of contractors so that you know that they are able to do what you want and that they understand what you exactly want.

  • Do not delay your decisions:

If you want that your remodel goes well never delay decisions. Make sure that everything has already been planned out by you so that there is no hustle at the time you start your work and by that nothing will be left behind.

  • Don’t change your mind again and again:

Not everyone changes mind again and again but if you are one of those people who does then remember that every time you will change your mind a new order will have to be executed. Although to you the changes might seem minor but there are always added and hidden expenses which will show on later. So always be very sure about what you want to do at the first place. Do all the research and then execute.

  • Don’t work without a design:

The most important thing to remember when home remodeling is that never work without a design. Believe me it will result in devastation of all the resources and stuff. Make sure you have a pretty and a good sorted out design and all the design considerations.

The Home Doctor, based in Livingston County including Brighton and Howell Michigan, offers a variety of home renovations to clients ranging from bathroom remodeling to age in place home modifications.  Contact http://glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/ today all of your home renovating needs.

Renovation Contractors Advice for Smooth Home Improvements

Home improvement renovations often don’t go as planned.  It is difficult without forethought and proper planning to stay on task and within budget.  There are a number of things that homeowners can do to help their renovation contractor to ensure a smooth renovation that sticks within the time table and budget allotted.

Top Advice from Contractors

Make Timely Decisions:  One thing that homeowners can do to make renovation projects smoother is to make decisions regarding the job ahead of time.  Most projects are delayed because of decisions related to the materials needed for the job.  Many times renovations will be going along smoothly until it comes time to finalize something simple like the color paint that should be used.

Don’t let what should be a simple decision derail your entire timeline.  By making the decisions ahead of time you allow contractors to schedule sub-contractors in a timely fashion.  When you change something as simple as the faucet to be installed after the renovation has begun the whole project can be thrown off.  If the faucet needs to be ordered and the order is delayed this will throw off when the plumber can come in and so on.  A change in something so small can throw a project off by a few weeks.  Make decisions at the beginning of the renovation and stick with them.

Leave Purchasing Materials To The Contractor:  Buying your own materials might seem like a great way to save money.  The truth is that yes, contractors do have to mark up materials but after the discount contractors receive the price they pass on to the homeowner will still be less than what they would cost at a home improvement store.

Renovations Only Go So Far:  Many times homeowners have million dollar dreams for a hundred thousand dollar house.  This is a big mistake that many people make.  The idea in a renovation is to improve the enjoyment homeowners receive out of their home.  The problem comes that comes in to play is that some homes max out their potential.  Also be careful where you spend your renovation dollars.  If your foundation is sinking then investing money into fancy cupboards is fruitless.  If you are in an area with ranch homes an upper level addition may not recoup its cost.

It is crucial that homeowners and renovation contractors have the ability to have an open dialogue throughout the remodeling process.  It is important that homeowners feel like their input is important but equally as important that they let the contractor do their job without being too much of a distraction.

The Home Doctor, based in Livingston County including Brighton and Howell Michigan, offers a variety of home renovations to clients ranging from bathroom remodeling to age in place home modifications.  Contact http://glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/ today all of your home renovating needs.

 

Follow These Tips When Hiring A Professional Contractor

There are times when hiring a contractor to take on home renovations rather than doing it yourself.  If this is the case it is important to choose the right contractor to work with.  A contractor that is subpar can lead to a number of problems down the road.  The guidelines below are helpful when looking to hire a professional contractor to do work on your home.

  • First things first, it is important to always trust your gut instincts when hiring people that will be working in close contact with your family. A contractor that is hired to do a renovation project will be working in your home for weeks or possibly months depending on the size of the job.  If you don’t feel comfortable around the contractor that is reason enough not to hire them.
  • Check to make sure that the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. These accolades give credibility to the contractor’s knowledge and abilities to provide home renovation services.  If a contractor is not insured the liability resides on you as the homeowner.  If they or someone they employ is hurt while working on your homes project then the liability falls to you, the homeowner.
  • Contractors are known to specialize in the services they provide. While some contractors are jacks of all trades like a handyman there are some that offer special talents in kitchen, bathroom or basement design as a specialty.  If your renovation is of a specific nature seek to find a contractor that specializes in the renovation you are seeking.
  • Before any work is performed be sure to have a contract in place. A contract is between the homeowner and contractor to specify what work is to be done, what materials are to be used, a time frame and a detailed list of costs involved.  Most contracts on projects of any length with break down the costs that are associated with each stage of the project and go into further detail concerning expectations.
  • When hiring a contractor it is important to understand the scope at which they will be providing services verse members of their crew. If they will be hiring out individual contractors to work on plumbing or electrical it is important that they note that upfront.
  • Any contractor that you employ should be willing to work within a reasonable set of guidelines put in place. For instance, it is reasonable to state that you desire work to be performed within a specified time frame during the day.  If you only want a contractor to perform services from 9:30 to 4:00 it is reasonable to expect that to be obliged.  Note this may cost you extra because of the additional length of time to complete the project but is well within reasonable guidelines.
  • Define what responsibilities fall on you as the homeowner verse what is expected out of the contractor. Who is in charge of removing obstructions that may hinder work that needs to be done such as furniture or fencing?  This should be in writing to ensure that each party knows their responsibilities upfront.

Hiring a contractor to do renovations around your home is not any easy task and should not be done in haste.  It is true that you get out the effort you put into things.  Take time to find a local contractor with a proven track record to complete renovations around your home.

The Home Doctor, based in Livingston County including Brighton and Howell Michigan, offers a variety of home renovations to clients ranging from bathroom remodeling to age in place home modifications.  Contact http://glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/ today all of your home renovating needs.

Home Improvement Trends For 2017

Are you thinking about putting your house up for sale during the next peak selling season?  If you are considering this it is time to think about inexpensive trends to incorporate into home improvements that you are contemplating right now.  When you put your house on the market the goal is to make the home appeal to the most buyers possible.  This can be done by creating a more general environment that offers less personalization and more generalization to the space.

Homeowners considering new appliances will want to consider some of the newer finishes available.  Even if you prefer white or black it is imperative that if your plan is to leave the appliances with the home that you consider upgrading to matte or stainless steel finishes.  Matte appliances are quickly outweighing the popularity of stainless steel but both are still preferred over colored appliances.  Matte finishes on appliances are great for families as they hide fingerprints, dirt and smudges that other finishes don’t.

Another popular home improvement project that is in style is cork flooring.  Cement flooring has had its day in the sun but quickly is being replaced with cushioned flooring options.  Cork is popular because it is compliments a variety of home environments.  It is offered in a variety of styles and color options.

As flooring trends go, in 2017 shag and pile carpeting will be viewed as outdated with a more popular option being cut and loop carpet.  Textures and patterns in carpet will be popular as well.  If you decide on using texture and pattern in flooring remember to remain neutral and complimentary on the walls, counter and furniture.  This will keep the home from becoming too personalized and keep it neutral for buyers to be able to visualize themselves in the space.

Technology is another popular trend that people are looking to incorporate into home improvement, especially in lighting.  Circadian lighting is a popular upgrade that is helping to sell homes to modern day buyers.  This type of lighting is in sync with the rhythm of our bodies.  The technology communicated with a phone to allow the homeowner to control the temperature settings throughout the day.  Homeowners can set the day lighting to be warmer and whiter while fading to an orange glow in the evening for a calmer more relaxed lighting option.

Water quality is another trend that has become more important to new buyers as well.  If you are looking to increase the attractiveness of your home a great way to do this is with an improved whole-home water filtration system.  This is a trend that goes right along with the popularity we have seen in previous years for home to be more eco-friendly.

The Home Doctor, based in Livingston County including Brighton and Howell Michigan, offers a variety of home renovations to clients ranging from bathroom remodeling to age in place home modifications.  Contact http://glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/ today all of your home renovating needs.

Tips When Hiring A Handyman

Many of us are not handy when it comes to even the smallest home improvement project.  This is why it is important to have a professional handyman on speed dial at all times.  In order to get the most out of hiring a handyman consider the advice below.

Get organized and maintain an ongoing list of work that needs to be accomplished.  This will allow you to maximize the work that is done when the handyman is at your home.  When it comes to the repairs and work needed on your home be upfront with your expectations.  Handyman services vary between companies and therefore it is important to make sure what you need is something that can be accomplished using the individual you have contracted.  If your request is not within the services that they offer they will be more than happy to refer you to someone who can handle your request.

When hiring a handyman look no further than friends and family for referrals.  Most handymen businesses are grown based on word of mouth alone.  If the person you are looking to hire can’t provide at least three local references then pass on them.  Any good handyman will have a large handful of regular clients that use their services on an ongoing basis.

As with any contractor working within your home or business it is crucial that they are not only licensed and insured but also bonded.  If they are injured on your property while performing work for you it is important that they have insurance otherwise you will be fully liable.

Before you allow a handyman to perform any work within your home make sure you get a signed, written estimate that includes both the cost of labor and materials.  Reputablehandyman will be able to estimate jobs within ten percent.  Make it clear to potential handyman that you are looking to hire that you understand this fact and aren’t interested in any low ball estimates.

You have to be one hundred percent comfortable with this individual as they will be working in your home close to your family.  It is pertinent that you are not only comfortable with their work and pricing but also their demeanor.

Establish a detailed schedule of when work is to be accomplished.  It should include when work is to start, an estimate on finishing with check in points throughout the project.  This schedule should be agreed upon between both parties to avoid any miscommunication in what is to be done.

Finally ask about guarantees on materials and craftsmanship.  If the handyman you are looking to hire does not offer any type of satisfaction guarantee then avoid hiring them.  You should get in writing a statement of from the handyman ensuring that they will take care of quality issues and workmanship failures for a specific amount of time, free of extra charge.

 

The Home Doctor, based in Livingston County including Brighton and Howell Michigan, offers a variety of home renovations to clients ranging from bathroom remodeling to age in place home modifications.  Contact http://glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/ today all of your home renovating needs.