The home remodeling industry has experienced great advances in the materials used both for interiors and exteriors. Much of this has been driven by the green movement and the goal to make a home more energy efficient. Another facet is to create materials that look high end but are priced more affordably. Any way you look at it, if you are thinking of remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, it is a great time to do so.
As we will address later in this article, advances in the doors, windows, roofing and insulation help create an air-tight envelope inside the house. That is the goal of helping to reduce energy consumption for air conditioning and heating. But that tight seal could mean the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emitted from the materials used inside the home have nowhere to escape. Add to that the typical dust, dander, and bacteria created by everyday living and you have yourself quite the potentially toxic stew.
Alas, you can breathe easier knowing that many of these materials were created with this problem in mind. Driven by stringent indoor air quality concerns in the state of California, home construction product manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to reduce or eliminate gases such as not adding urea, formaldehyde or other harsh chemicals. Drywall is now made to be mold and fire resistant and provide better soundproofing. When you consult with your remodeling contractor ask them if the materials they are planning to use meet low emission standards.
If the answer is yes than also be prepared to hear that these materials are typically American made and more expensive. There are better, though, in ways above and behind indoor air quality concerns.
HVAC To The Rescue
As noted by the term the industry uses, “low emissions,” it doesn’t mean there aren’t some emissions. That is where your HVAC helps. Advances in the types of systems available at the residential level now pump fresh air into a home and discharges stale air. These provide a healthy indoor environment without forsaking energy efficiency.
The Wow Factor
Countertops, flooring, and cabinets are the stars when it comes to a remodeling project and the prices on what type of materials are used vary greatly. Quartz or granite countertops, for example, are top shelf, but may not be in your financial reach. Don’t fret it, today’s laminates and cultured marble show nicely at a fraction of the cost.
The same goes for flooring where ceramic tile is at the high end, but advances in composite and luxury vinyl and the myriad styles from which to choose offer the look you want at an affordable price.
We can check off the list with cabinets, shower enclosures, lighting fixtures, faucets and more. Once you have set a budget for your remodeling project, sit down with your contractor and discuss where you want the lion’s share of it to be allocated. Expect the contractor to come back to you with options for each aspect of the project.
What’s Upfront That Counts
As noted, advances in windows and doors make them more energy efficient and more maintenance free. Many homeowners do not think about replacing windows or doors during a remodeling project, but if it is needed and can be put in the budget this is the perfect time to do so.
From the outdoor living aspect, there are also exciting new options that provide great aesthetics at a reduced cost. Stamped concrete, for example, gives you that brick sidewalk or patio look, but also allows you to choose from countless styles and colors to customize it to your own tastes.
If you are building a deck, are traditional wood or composite. Wood is about 60 percent less expensive than composite when the long-term maintenance costs and durability are factored in it just might be worth the extra money upfront if you can afford it.
It Starts With The Selections
Product and material selections are some of the initial steps in a home remodeling project. Depending on the type of remodeling contractor you are looking at, you might have to educate yourself on the choices available. A design-build contractor like JT McDermott will be able to tell you the differences in the materials, the price ranges and be able to put together the ingredients for a successful remodeling project.