Home Check Plus Logo Bottom

Our Remodeling Blog

November 15, 2017
How to Prep your Home for the Holidays!

It's that time of year again, the holidays are quickly approaching. Thanksgiving is already next week! The holidays are fun and exciting, but the food prep, traveling, gift exchanges, etc can make it a little busy and chaotic. So many things to do!! 

While everyone's "to do" lists are likely quite long already, it is important to remember to prep your home for the holidays; especially if you are hosting! Of course there's decorating and planning tablescapes, but here are some other tasks to get your home ready for the holidays.

Living/All Areas

  • Replace burned out light bulbs in every room
  • Tighten any loose cabinets, drawers & handles
  • Check all handrails to make sure they are secure.
  • Schedule a professional carpet cleaning if the carpets are looking dirty
  • Clean windows so your guests can see your decorations or beautifully falling snow
  • A fresh coat of paint can really spruce up any room in the house

Entry/Outside

  • Check that your snow blower works
  • Clear driveway and walkways of snow and ice - don't want anyone to slip and fall
  • Make sure your outdoor house lights are functioning properly and they are turned on when it's dark
  • Check the caulking and weather stripping around windows & doors -- no one likes a cold draft

Kitchen

  • Go through and clear out your fridge, so there is room for all the delicious food
  • Clean the microwave - it's bound to get used by a guest
  • Make sure the garbage disposal is working
  • Clearly define your recycling and garbage containers to make it easy for your guests
  • Have leftover containers available or invite your guests to bring their own

Bathrooms

  • Make sure the toilets are operating properly
  • Check that your bath fans are working -- ventilation is an important part of keeping your bathroom clean & mildew free
  • Make sure you have enough guest bath and/or hand towels
  • Always wise to have extra toilet paper in site and maybe a plunger; just in case :)

We hope you found our guide on prepping your home for the holidays helpful. If you have any questions, feel free contact us.

October 24, 2017
Career In Construction!

Did you know, October is Career In Construction month? We may be biased, but we think it is the best industry to work in! A career in construction is exciting, rewarding and challenging. Within the construction industry, there are many roles and career paths you can take.

Construction Positions:

  • Carpenter
  • Construction Superintendent
  • Estimator
  • Project Manager
  • And More!

Other construction trades including mechanical, electrical, engineering, and architectural are also great construction career options. There are construction jobs suited for all different interests and skill sets...something for everyone.

career in construction means:

  • High Job Placement 
  • Great Salary & Growth Opportunities
  • Less College Debt (Compared to 4 Year College Degrees)

Here's what a few of our team members have to say about their career in construction.

HCP - Roger Kirchner.jpg

Roger Kirchner - Carpenter

Growing up on a farm got me interested in the construction industry. We'd tear down every building on the farm and then rebuild it with my dad. Now, I like starting with something not so great and making it look beautiful. It is nice to see what you've accomplished at the end of the day. 

 

Matt Cecko - Estimator/PM

What I like most about my career in construction is the variety of projects we do. Each project is different and unique, so I learn something new each day. 

HCP - Matt Cecko.jpg

 

HCP - Tony Knier.jpg

Tony Knier - Lead Carpenter

I loved LEGOS as a child. Building in construction is very similar to building with LEGOS. You have certain types and shapes of building pieces that can "go together" in a variety of different ways, depending on what the instructions (or plans) call for. Each build is different, but the essential "building blocks" for them remain the same, allowing for infinite creativity. 

 

Hope Schroeder - Carpenter

I went into the construction industry because I wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps! He worked as a carpenter for 34 years and continues to do so in his retirement.

HCP - Hope Schroeder.jpg

 

HCP - Dale Gruber.jpg

Dale Gruber - Owner/Everything

When I first started out, I worked as a carpenter and after about 10 years in the industry, I started my own business. I went into carpentry because I always liked working with my hands and building things. For many years, I wore the hat of carpenter, estimator, project manager and accountant. Now as a general contractor estimator/project manager, I enjoy seeing a project being built and how happy the customers are when completed...it is a great feeling. 

September 18, 2017
Welcome Matt's Baby + Growing Family Projects

Our Estimator/Project Manager, Matt Cecko, and his wife Rachael welcomed their latest addition, Wilder Kenneth. He was born on September 14th, 7 lbs and 19" long. Congratulations, Cecko family!! 

Matt is on paternity leave this week, but will return on Monday, September 25th. Thanks in advance for your patience while he is out of the office.

Remodeling for a Growing Family

A growing family is a common motivator for doing many home remodeling projects. With additional people often comes the need for additional space. Or maybe modifications need to be made to better suit your family and lifestyle. Here are some common home remodeling projects for growing families.

Basement Finish
Finishing a basement adds additional living space. The basement can be divided into various rooms. Some options include: bedroom, bathroom, storage (can you ever have enough?) and living and/or play area. 

Kitchen Remodel
In most homes, the kitchen serves as the hub and main gathering area. It is where family meals are prepared and cooked, school lunches are made, homework is completed, etc. Being the kitchen is an important room, remodeling the space to make it functional and enjoyable is a worthwhile investment.

Open Concept Layout
An open concept floor plan helps make it easier to keep your eye on the kids while doing other things. 

Master Suite
Create your own master suite oasis. A place where you can escape the kid's toys, leave your worries behind and take time to relax & unwind...or try to anyway. 

Home Addition
When your home simply needs more square footage, an addition is a perfect solution. Expanding will allow space for bedrooms, living area, etc.

Garage Addition
Building an additional garage stall or two is quite common. The garage area can be used to store kid strollers, bikes, toys and once they reach the driving age...a car!

Wet Bar
No explanation necessary. Sometimes easy access to a glass of wine or cold beer is essential :) 

September 6, 2017
Types of Proposals

At Home Check Plus, we have a few types of proposal options. The reason being, we do a wide variety of different projects of all sizes and complexity. Continue reading to learn more about each proposal type.

 

1. Time & Material or T & M 

Time & Material proposals are as the name suggests...we provide our hourly rates and your project invoice will include the time and material required to complete the project. This is a very efficient process. There is less office time involved being we don't develop a complete scope of work and receive material or subcontractor pricing. With over 30 years in the remodeling industry and our highly skilled carpenters, we have the knowledge to tackle any project. T & M proposals are often used for smaller projects (i.e.: replacing doors) or projects with some unknowns (i.e.: potential rotted wood). T & M proposals also work well for large scale projects, where having an exact project cost might not be essential. 

 

2. Hard Bid 

The hard and thorough bid is our most common proposal type. It is very detailed and outlines exactly what is all included. We likely will include allowances (i.e.: cabinetry, countertop, flooring), which means we've factored in a certain amount for that aspect of the project. Depending on the selections chosen during that phase of the project, that amount could end up being more, less or right on the money. If your project should come in under our bid price, we always provide a credit on your invoice. Hard bid proposals are popular for kitchens, bathrooms, porches and window replacement projects.

 

3. Budget 

Our budget proposal isn't quite as formal as the above two, however it is worth noting. We often provide a budget when you're in the planning phase of a project, maybe not 100% sure if you want to do it or would like to know how much to save. We've completed many remodeling projects over the years, so while we won't know the exact details, we can provide a range for your particular project. So when we ask for your budget, our intention isn't to get the most money out of you. We simply know what most projects will cost and we want to make sure we both are on the same page. Or with your budget number, we can share with you what is feasible with your budget amount and how to get the most bang for your buck.


During our initial phone conversation with you, we learn more about your project and help determine the best proposal option for you. Regardless of the type of proposal we use for your project, we believe in being honest and fair with our clients. We guarantee we'll provide you with the best value and quality workmanship.

August 24, 2017
Dale's Corner: Aging-in-Place

Hello everyone, Dale here. As many of you know, the house I built and lived in for 34 years is for sale. My wife, Dianne, and I enjoyed our time there and we considered growing old(er) in the home. However, in the end we purchased a house that better suits our needs. A few aging-in-place design improvements we completed include:

  • Installed a lot of LED lighting with dimmers including reading lights above the bed.
  • Installed plate and cup storage drawers in the base cabinets for easier access.
  • Made a large main floor laundry room.
  • Installed easy to grab knobs on all cabinets.
  • Designed access to walkout back yard from the front with a low sloping walk path or we can use the steps as well.
  • Put bench in front foyer so I can sit down to put shoes on, etc.
  • Installed smooth easy to maintain quartz counters.
  • Added mudroom entry from garage for easy access to kitchen.

Whether you're looking to remodel your home, build a new home or buy - there are many aging-in-place elements you can incorporate or look for. 

Aging-in-Place Design Ideas

General

  • Main living on single story (including laundry & full bath)
  • Open floor plan
  • Wider & well lit hallways
  • Minimal or no step entries
  • Plenty of windows for natural light
  • Easy to operate windows
  • Flooring: hardwood, tile or short pile carpet & smooth transitions between fooring types
  • Wider than standard stairways with handrails on both sides

Kitchen

  • Wide walkways in between island
  • Lots of base cabinetry/storage (no step stool required)
  • Pull out or drawer cabinetry instead of shelves
  • Wall mounted oven
  • Microwave at lower height in lieu of over the range
  • Lever handle faucets
  • Varying countertop heights to accomodate different needs

Bathroom

  • Walk-in shower
  • Built-in bench in shower
  • Adjustable or handheld showerhead
  • Toilet higher than standard height with elongated bowl
  • Vanity height higher than standard
  • Lever handle faucets
  • Grab bars
  • Easy to clean surfaces

Lighting/Electrical

  • Task lighting in applicable areas
  • Auto-lighting
  • Adjustable/dimmer lighting
  • Rocker or touch light switches
  • Security system (especially for snow birds)

HVAC

  • Zoned heating & cooling, so you can easily control temperature & reduce energy costs
  • Fresh air ventilation exchanges - minimize dust & improve indoor air quality
  • Easily accessible filters

All my fellow baby boomers or anyone planning for the future, it is usually possible to make most aging-in-place modifications. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic. 

-Dale Gruber
Owner of Home Check Plus