• M-Th 7am-5pm, F 7am-4pm
  • 651-497-7715
  • Archives for Tips

    Why Does a Small Project Cost so Much?

    “Your price makes me feel like you are taking advantage of me.”  That was the response from a past client who needed some new handrails for their stairway.  In their mind, it was only a 2-hour job.  In reality, there were several hours involved in this seemingly small project.

    To begin, there is traveling to the home for a meeting.  During this meeting we will measure and discuss what is needed.  Next comes planning, texting, emailing, sharing information and ideas of what they’re looking for. Trying to find a source for materials that match what is already in the home.  Then there is the time it takes to work up cost for materials, finishing, and labor for all of it. Submission of a proposal and discussion of scope and confirmation.  Note that at this point, we have almost 3 hours of work involved and have not yet picked up a tool.

    Moving on to planning and prep for the install. Thought, design, and engineering of everything takes place. This is to decide the method of install and how things should be assembled to achieve the desired look. Then there is purchasing materials.  At the shop, there is cutting, assembly, sanding, and prep for finishing of all parts.  After that, hours of time for finishing. Staining, sealer coat, sanding, seal again, sand, finish coat, sand and finish coat again, done on all sides as these railing components are visible from many angles.

    After all of this, there is coordinating install and the team. How, when, who, what’s involved.  Will this be done in a finished space and require protecting existing surfaces and finishes?  We need to plan for that too. Organizing all equipment and checking to be sure everything is in order for the install.   What do we need to load up for this installation?  Answer:  Everything.  An arsenal of tools are needed for this seemingly small project.  After the job is complete, back at the shop we need to unload the truck and put away the tools and equipment.

    In the client’s mind, this was a 2-hour job, because that was all of the “visible” time that we spent with tools in our hands at his home.  In reality, small projects take more time than you may think and require the same level of planning as a large project takes.

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715 or 651-497-7714; or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

     

    Read more

    The Best Contractors are Worth Waiting For

    The Best Contractors are Worth Waiting for

    Yay!  You’ve decided to remodel your home.  Now that this difficult choice is made, you’re ready for the changes to happen RIGHT NOW!  If this sounds like you, it’s time to slow down.

    Many folks believe that their project can be scheduled and built quickly once they’ve decided to move forward.  Reality is that timelines rarely move as fast as you’d like them to.  While some smaller, single trade projects like painting or flooring replacement can happen quickly, larger scale remodeling and renovations take much longer to plan and build.  This article is intended to help you develop a realistic timeline for your project.

     

    HIGH DEMAND

    The best contractors are in high demand.  Clients are more eager than ever to renovate their homes, while the industry is facing a labor shortage.  This results in many of the best contractors to have several months of work in their queue.  Typically, a firm that is booked out is in demand because they have a reputation for creating high-quality projects and treating their clients right.

     

    LEAVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME

    Get started early!  Here are some typical timelines.  Keep in mind, this is assuming that your contractor has no other projects or clients already lined up.  Timelines for busy contractors may be even longer.

    • Set up appointments and interview contractors:  3-6 weeks
    • Planning and design work:  3-6 weeks
    • Order materials and submit city permit applications:  3-6 weeks

    As you can see, it can easily be 2-4 months from when you decide to do something before the project can even begin to be built.  Once construction starts, the actual construction process takes time as well!

    • Bathrooms 3-6 weeks
    • Kitchens 6-12 weeks
    • Basements 6-12 weeks
    • Full home remodels can take several months

     

    WORTH WAITING FOR

    You may say to yourself, “I’m not going to wait for this contractor to fit me in.  I’m going to hire this other company instead because they can start right away.”  We implore you to ask the other company why they are available so soon and don’t have a lot of work lined up.  Often it is because they have a poor reputation.  Other times, the company may be so large that they have the ability to take on many projects.  This often results in you becoming “just a number” to them, with little or no personal service.

    If you are considering a home remodeling project in a few months, give us a call today at 651-497-7715 to get the process started.

     

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715 or 651-497-7714; or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

    Read more

    Small Changes Make a Big Difference

    Sometimes the desire or budget isn’t in place for a full-scale renovation.  Here are some examples of smaller improvements that can make a big difference in the function and aesthetic of your home.

    COUNTERTOPS

    If you like your layout and function, and your cabinets are still in great shape, replacing your countertops might be a great improvement.  There are many great modern surfaces to choose from, including quartz, solid surface, and even traditional laminate.  New countertops are a great improvement to kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

    FLOORING

    Is it time to get rid of that dingy carpet?  Maybe the vinyl in the kitchen is starting to curl up?  Do you have hardwood floors that have seen better days?  Just swapping out the surface or refinishing the hardwood can bring a space back to life, as well as getting rid of years of trapped dirt and odors.

     

    PAINTING

    Most folks paint their walls for a change of color now and then.  Don’t forget the ceilings too!  We are always amazed at how a fresh coat of ceiling white can really brighten up a space.  Likewise, Old dingy doors and trim can be revitalized by painting them as well.

    INTERIOR DOORS

    Picture your old hollow core doors.  They probably don’t shut properly, and may even have holes in them from a careless wrestling match.  Our team can order new solid wood panel doors, have them prefinished to match the other woodwork in the home, and install the new doors and hardware in a day.  It’s an easy way to up the elegance factor in your home.

    LIGHTING

    This is another simple project that can typically be completed in a day.  Simply updating existing light fixtures in a modern style with high-efficiency LED bulbs can greatly improve the look and safety of your home.  This is also a great time to replace light switches with dimmers for even more efficiency and control.

    CABINET REFACING OR REFINISHING

    Do you love the layout, function, and storage of your kitchen but just wish that the style was more up-to-date?  Our team can build new cabinet doors and reface or paint the existing cabinet boxes to create an entirely new look without the cost of a full remodel.

    CABINET HARDWARE

    Tired of looking at those 1980s bright brass cabinet handles?  You’d be surprised at what a difference some new hardware can make.

     

    Of course, we are always happy to help with a full-scale re-design and remodel as well!

     

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715 or 651-497-7714; or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

     

    Read more

    How Does the Design Process Work?

    Most of our projects require some level of design work.  For a simple bath remodel where nothing is being relocated, this design work may simply involve a few hours with our interior designer to help pick out tile, fixtures, paint colors, etc.  For more intensive projects, such as kitchen remodels or renovations involving moving walls around, more extensive design work is required.

    Sometimes our clients come to us with definite ideas of how they’d like things configured, and other times they have no idea.  Either way, our design team plays a critical role in the success of the project.

    Here are some examples of our design process for different types of projects.  Click on any image to enlarge it.

     

                                                                                     

    SIMPLE PROJECTS

    Simple projects such as bath remodels often don’t require a formal set of plans or drawings, especially if we are just swapping out fixtures and finishes in the same locations.  In these cases, the design simply involves working with our interior designers to pick out finishes and fixtures.  Getting the perfect combination of cabinet color, countertops, tile, paint colors, and faucets really makes the room feel like your own.

     

                                                                              

    MID-LEVEL PROJECTS

    For kitchen remodels and more intensive bath remodels, our team develops drawings to help visualize what the remodeled space will look like.  Using modern design software, our designers can play around with different layouts until everything fits just right.  Once the layout is dialed in, the designer can then impose different colors and finishes onto the drawings to give our clients an even better idea of how things will look.  After this, our team helps with the selections of finishes and fixtures.

     

                                                                                               

    COMPLEX PROJECTS

    In this example, our team is undertaking the renovation of a complete floor.  The existing space contains 3 bedrooms and a bathroom and will be renovated into a master suite.   The initial client meetings and discussions resulted in some crude hand drawn sketches.  These serve to just give a general idea of what everyone is thinking about.

    Next, our team works to take these crude sketches and turn them into detailed and scaled plans. In this case, multiple options were drawn as there were multiple ways to approach the project.  Additional client discussions are held, and a direction is decided on.

    Once narrowed down, final plans are drawn with all details included, ready to submit to the city for permits.  As with all of our projects, our design team helps with the selection of finishes and fixtures.  Once these design steps are complete, we can provide a fixed-cost proposal for the construction and schedule the project.

                                                                                      

     

     

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715 or 651-497-7714; or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

    Read more

    Making Life Easier with Universal Home Design

    Universal Design is a concept in home design.  The idea is that there are little things that you can do within your home to make the home easier to use for persons of all abilities, thus making the home more “universal”.  The concept gets its roots from the Aging in Place concepts of the past, which is a design concept of adding features to allow a person to stay in their home as they get older and less physically capable.

    Some Universal Design ideas are one-floor living, no or minimal step entries, better lighting, grab bars in bathrooms, lever handles instead of knobs on doors, more thoughtful doorways, minimal or no transitions in the flooring, and placing electrical switches and receptacles at more favorable heights.  Let’s take a brief look at some of these ideas.

    One-Floor Living.  This is probably the most important concept.  Having all of your living spaces, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and laundry on the same floor means that you don’t need to go up and down stairs to get to your spaces.  If you live in a two-story or split-level home, consider moving to a rambler or single level home.

    Entries.  The easier it is to get into your home, the better.  Design sidewalks and entry points to minimize or eliminate the number of stairs needed to get into the home.

    Bad: Multiple Steps Required to Enter the Home

     

    Better: Single Step Entry

    Grab Bars.  This item receives more pushback from clients than any other.  We often hear comments such as “that stuff is for old people” or “We’ll just move when we get to the point where we need those things”.  After Ruth broke her foot a few months ago, we suddenly found ourselves needing multiple grab bars in our bathroom.  So naturally, we did what most people in our situation do:  We ran to the store and bought the least expensive “hospital style” grab bars and quickly installed them so that Ruth could use the room safely.  And it looks like we did just that.  Manufacturers have designed some great looking grab bars that look more like a towel rack.  With a little foresight, these designer grab bars can be installed and used as towel holders without being that noticeable.  I actually find myself using them to steady myself in the shower, even though I’m supposedly young and able bodied.

    Poorly planned grab bar installed under duress looks like an afterthought because it is!

     

    Well-Planned Grab Bar looks like a Towel Holder

    Door Levers.  This item hits home for me personally, as I’ve developed tendonitis in my hand.  This condition makes it very difficult to grasp and turn a door knob.  The lever style handles are far easier for persons of all abilities to simply push down on to open a door.

    Door Knob is difficult to grasp and turn for persons with hand injuries

     

    Lever handles are easier to operate, even with your hands full!

     

    Better Lighting.  Our home was built in the 1950’s, and most of the rooms have a single ceiling light or no lights at all with a receptacle controlled by a switch, which we are supposed to plug a lamp into.  As we get older, our eyes have a harder time seeing in these dimly lit rooms.  Adding light helps people of all ages to see well.  This is why we tend to specify a lot of lighting in our projects.

    Doors.  A conventional swinging door takes up space within the room.  A pocket door or sliding door does not add to the footprint of the room.  This is another concept that we faced when Ruth broke her foot.   Adding crutches to a person increases their width by several inches.  Older houses like ours have narrow bathroom doorways to start with, and the crutches made it difficult to get through the narrow doorway.   We actually had to remove our bathroom door for a few days until Ruth got used to the crutches.  Whenever possible, we try to specify wider doors and/or pocket doors, which provide more space for getting in and out of a room.

    Floor Transitions.  Very few homes have the same continuous flooring throughout.  Often times, Carpet will abut wood or tile.  In these transition areas, the different flooring materials are at different thicknesses or heights, which can cause toe-stubbing or tripping hazards.  Whenever possible, we try to eliminate these transition areas.  When a transition is needed, we try to “ramp” it rather than having an abrupt jog in the flooring height.

    We try to avoid toe-stubbing floor transitions such as this one, which poses a tripping hazard.

     

    Better: This transition is designed like a ramp, reducing the risk of a trip or fall

    Electrical Devices.  For years, the “standard” heights for electric receptacles has been 12” off of the floor.  There is no code or requirement that they be at this height, it’s just the way it’s always been done.  This height requires a user to bend over to plug something in.  Consider placing receptacles higher off the floor to save the backaches of bending over.  Likewise, switches located at the typical 48” height off of the floor are convenient for persons who are standing.  However, somebody in a wheelchair or scooter may struggle to reach switches at this height.  Consider placing the switches at a lower location on the wall to make reaching them easier for everyone.  In addition, consider the decora-style switches, which can be operated without needing to curl your finger under it.

    Many young clients are reluctant to incorporate universal design ideas into their homes, thinking that these concepts are only for the old or disabled.  We’ve learned firsthand that your physical condition can change in a moment’s notice, and having some of these concepts in place before you need them will make life easier for persons of all abilities.  When working with us to plan your remodel, ask what Universal Design features may be of benefit to you and your family.

     

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715, or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

     

    Read more

    Living Through Your Kitchen Remodel

    One of the things that often gets forgotten when deciding to remodel your kitchen is the fact that you will not have a kitchen for 6+ weeks!  If you are an avid camper, you probably are used to cooking with the bare essentials, but if you are like most people, there will be a significant adjustment to cooking without a kitchen.  In a perfect world, you’d move elsewhere during the project, but reality is that you will most likely be living in your house during your renovation.

    Here are a few tips to help you live through your kitchen remodeling project.

    Know What to Expect.  This will suck, and any contractor who tells you otherwise is lying to you.  There will be noise, dust, and severe disruption to your normal routines.  Parts of your home will be gutted out.   Even the most careful contractors will leave a stray nail on the floor now and then, so forget about walking around barefoot in the construction area.

    Hey, where did the kitchen go?

    Plan Ahead.  Think about where you will set up a small temporary kitchen.  If you have a wet bar or similar space elsewhere in the house, this is a great spot.  Think about what you can cook using a hot plate, microwave, and crock pot.  Likewise, think about where you will wash dishes.  You may only have a small bathroom sink, so forget about big pots and multi-course meals.  Baking is probably not going to happen.  Your BBQ grill will become your favorite cooking appliance during this time.  This is also a great time to dig out all of those restaurant gift cards that you’ve been given, and try some new places.

    Ask your contractor for help with a temporary sink during construction

    Find a Peaceful Spot.  Ask your contractor to block off an area that is just for you and your family.  You’ll be amazed at how much this will help with your mentality during the project.  Not having to look at a construction zone at all times will help you maintain a small sense of normalcy amongst the chaos.

    This Temporary Plastic Wall with Magnetic Door keeps the Construction Separate from Family Areas.

    Communicate.  A good contractor will keep in touch during the project, and make you aware of what happened today, as well as what to expect tomorrow and beyond.  In addition, a good organized contractor will be able to provide an approximate completion date ahead of the job, so you’ll have a “light at the end of the tunnel” to look forward to.

    During your remodeling project, it may seem like the job will go on forever.  Rest assured, once the project is done, you’ll love your new space so much that all of the “pain” that you’ve endured during the project will be a distant memory.  When interviewing potential contractors for your kitchen remodeling project, ask them what steps they will take to make the process as livable as possible during the job.

     

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715, or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

    Read more

    Fire Prevention in your Home: Plan 2 Ways Out!

    Plan Two ways out of your home in case of a fire

    In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

    That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:

    • FPW 2017 Escape Plan Grid
    • Draw a map of your home by using our grid in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF) with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
    • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
    • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
    • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
    • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
    • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

    If you have questions, please visit www.NFPA.org, or talk with your friends at your local fire department.

     

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715 or 651-497-7714; or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

    Read more

    A new Kitchen for Christmas? Maybe next year!

    It’s that time of year when we get folks calling and asking us to complete a kitchen remodel for them before their family arrives for the holidays.

    Let’s presume a targeted completion date of December 15th.  This gives you a little over a week to clean up, decorate, and stock the liquor cabinet for your Christmas party.

    Most kitchen projects take about 6-8 weeks of construction time.  This means that we need to get started on construction no later than October 15th.

    Kitchen has been insulated and awaits city inspection.

    Backing up further, we have the design process.  After meeting with our kitchen designer for the first time, it typically takes a little back and forth with revisions and perfections to get the design just how you like it.  Then we need to bring in the construction team (plumber, electrician, carpenters, drywallers, etc.) to review the plans at your home, iron out details, and submit bids.  After that, we submit everything to the city for permits.  This process can take another 4-8 weeks, which puts us at August 15th.  Oops, that was 2 weeks ago!

    Kitchen plan shown during the design revision process

    Our kitchen remodeling projects are successful because of the high level of thought and planning that goes into them long before the old cabinets start getting torn out.  As our clients can attest, this careful planning and attention to detail ahead of the project results in a finished kitchen that is completed on time, on budget, and will serve your needs beautifully for many years.

    If you’d like to get started on your St. Patricks Day kitchen, please give Ruth a call at 651-497-7715.

     

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715 or 651-497-7714; or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

    Read more

    August Home Maintenance Checklist

    Here is your home maintenance checklist for the month of August!  Keep your Twin Cities home in top shape by performing these simple tasks this month.

    • Inspect and clean dryer vents and other exhaust vents
    • Clean Garage
    • Get carpets professionally cleaned (call us for a referral to a company that we trust!)
    • Inspect HVAC filters, replace if necessary
    • Inspect fire extinguishers, replace if necessary
    • Clean your kitchen food disposer
    • Clean your range hood filters

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715 or 651-497-7714; or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

    Read more

    July Home Maintenance Checklist

    Here is your home maintenance checklist for the month of July!  Keep your Twin Cities home in top shape by performing these simple tasks this month.

    • Take care of insect problems–call an exterminator if needed
    • Clean and repair decks and patios as needed
    • Take time to relax and enjoy the MN summer on above mentioned deck or patio!
    • Clear window wells of debris
    • Inspect HVAC filters, replace if necessary
    • Inspect fire extinguishers, replace if necessary
    • Clean your kitchen food disposer
    • Clean your range hood filters

    Allrounder Remodeling Inc. provides residential home design and remodeling services in the southeast Twin Cities metro area, including the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Oakdale, and Maplewood.

    For more information, please call 651-497-7715 or 651-497-7714; or visit http://www.AllrounderRemodeling.com

    Read more