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Our Remodeling Blog

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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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


  • 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

August 10, 2017
HCP Kitchen Remodeling Questionnaire

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? It is great to start the process early and consider design elements, colors and products that best suit you. Below we have some questions and things to think about to help determine your needs. 

Kitchen Remodel Questions

What do you like about your current kitchen?

What don’t you like about your current kitchen?

What is on your kitchen wish list?

Where do you eat your meals? Kitchen or dining room?

Do you like to entertain?  What is your entertaining style?

What other activities would you like to do in your kitchen? (Watch TV? Homework? Pay Bills?)

Is the primary cook right or left handed?

Do you have enough storage space?

What is your shopping style? Weekly? Monthly? Bulk?

Do you have enough fridge and freezer space?

Is your kitchen easy to clean?

Kitchen Features


  • Range
  • Wall Oven(s)
  • Cooktop
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Coffee/Espresso Maker
  • Vent Hood
  • Wine Chiller
  • Built-in Icemaker
  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Trash Compactor
  • Microwave
  • Warming Drawer
  • Extra Refrigerator or Freezer


  • Spice Rack
  • Wine Rack
  • Pull-Out Trash
  • Tall Pantry Cabinet
  • Recycling Area
  • Divided Tray Storage
  • Cutlery Storage
  • Pull-Out Pantry
  • Small Appliance Storage
  • Computer Work Area
  • Pull-Out Trays
  • Lazy Susan Storage
  • Bookshelf for Cookbooks
  • Adjustable Shelving
  • Breadbox


  • Task Lighting
  • Recessed Lighting
  • Under Cabinet Lighting
  • Toe Kick Lighting
  • Pendant Lights or Island/Peninsula
  • Additional Outlets
  • Electronic Charging Station


  • Prep or Bar Sink
  • Pot Filler
  • Water Filter/Dispenser


  • Television
  • Audio Equipment
  • Message Center

Ready to get started on your kitchen remodel? We'd love the opportunity to work with you. Contact us today! Phone: 320-529-4800. Email: rachel@homecheckplus.com

July 14, 2017
Tape Measure Fun Facts!

The tape measure is easily the most used and important tool in our tool box. Dale always says, "Measure twice, cut once." In honor of National Tape Measure Day, here are some interesting history and fun facts about the tape measure.

  • Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut received the patent for a spring-click tape measure in 1868.
  • The invention originated in Sheffield, England by James Chesterman around 1829.
  • Chesterman was in the business of making "flat wire" for crinoline hoop skirts that were in fashion back then.  He developed a heat treated process that made the flat wire stronger.  When that fashion trend faded, he was left with a surplus of metal tape.
  • Chesterman then decided to put graduated marks on very long steel tapes, so he could market them to surveyors -- hoping they'd find his product's lightweight, more accurate and easy to coil & uncoil design appealing.
  • Chesterman's tapes sold in the United States for $17, which is about $300 in today's money.
  • Fellows' main contribution was the method of attaching the spring clip, which locks the tape and doesn't retract until you release the clip.
  • The steel tape measure didn't become popular until the 1940s.  Before that, the carpenter's folding wooden ruler was the most commonly used collapsible measuring device in the United States.
  • In 1876, Justus Roe & Sons began manufacturing steel tape measures in the United States.
  • Some tape measures have an additional black diamond mark every 19.2 inches, which is used for floor trusses and a special mark every 16 inches, which is the standard interval for studs in housing.
  • With the advancement in technology, tape measures are now available in digital form and some styles use lasers and ultrasonic technology to measure.