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Our Remodeling Blog

January 31, 2017
HCP Wins Best of Houzz 2017!

All of us at Home Check Plus are so honored to receive "Best of Customer Service" on Houzz

We truly value our clients and strive to provide them with the best service and workmanship in the home remodeling industry. Building client relationships where they trust us, are happy with their remodeling experience and choose us again for their next project is very important to us. Home Check Plus is celebrating our 20th year in business this year - we'd like to say THANK YOU to our wonderful clients for the many years of success and we look forward to another 20 years of servicing your home remodeling needs.  

The Best of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews. A "Best of Houzz 2017" badge will appear on our profile as a sign of our commitment to excellence.

Check out our Houzz profile, here.

If you've had a positive experience working with Home Check Plus, we'd love for you to write a review for us. Click here.

Not familiar with Houzz? Well, it is the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The website has tons of photos, so it is great for getting design ideas for all types of home projects. Let's say you want to remodel your kitchen -- you can create a "Kitchen Remodel" ideabook and save photos of kitchen design elements you like. Then share your idea book with Home Check Plus! 

January 10, 2017
Matt Cecko CMBA President 2017

A note from Matt...

Hello, my name is Matt Cecko, and I'm the 2017 Central Minnesota Builders Association President. Since 2005, I have worked as a project manager for Dale Gruber's Home Check Plus, an experienced full-service home remodeling contractor in St. Cloud.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I was born and raised in Little Falls and reside in St. Augusta with my wife Rachael. We have been married for four years and have two wonderful children, Flynn and Flora, who keep us on our toes! Flynn is two and a half and Flora is nine months. 

Being the 2017 CMBA President is something I've been looking forward to. For more than a decade, I have been an active CMBA member, serving as the President of the Remodeler's Council in 2010 and the Chair of the Spike Club in 2011, and currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Builders Association of Minnesota.

As the 2017 president, you will find I am passionate about the housing industry and can't wait to see what the New Year brings. My goals as CMBA president are to help recruit new members, strengthen membership value, create revenue from the On The Level magazine to ensure future publications, advocate for all aspects of the housing industry and to continue to invest in our future workforce with programs like, "Tools for School." It is so important to expose our youth to our industry. 

Happy New Year to you and your family!

-Matt Cecko

September 1, 2016
DGC & HCP Olympics Recap!

At Home Check Plus, we love the Olympics (who doesn't?). Since none of us our quite athletically gifted to make it to Rio, we decided to host our own Olympics on Osseo (Avenue). The DGC & HCP Olympics lasted 2 1/2 weeks and involved opening ceremonies - including the passing of the torch, highly competitive events, medals...we did it all. The staff was divided into the following teams:

Receders 3 1/2 - Travis, Doug, Bob and Dale
The Young & The Restless - Roger, Kevin and Randy
Slap Hands - Matt, Hope, Tony and Dawson
Change Order One - Bear, Paul and Steve

Continue reading for a complete recap of the DGC & HCP Olympics 2016.

Group Ceremonies.jpg

Hammer Throw

We kicked off the DGC & HCP Olympics with the carpenter's version of the hammer throw. The rules were simple - throw 12 inflatable hammers into five gallon buckets - the person who gets the most in the bucket, wins. Believe it or not, Tony Knier (who has only one good arm at the moment) won gold! Bob Eisenreich received the silver medal and Hope Schroeder bronze.

Hammer Throw - Tony.jpg

Hammer Throw - Kevin.jpg
Kevin Schmidt

Hammer Throw - Randy.jpg
Randy Olson

Hammer Throw - Hope.jpg
Hope Schroeder 
Hammer Throw - Roger.jpg
Roger Kirchner

Hammer Throw - Steve.jpg
Steve Raeker

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Bob Eisenreich 

Ladder Sprint

Ladder Sprint was the second event. For this event, the athletes had to channel their inner Usain Bolt and sprint to a ladder staged near one of our buildings, climb up the ladder, grab a tape measure on the building's roof, step back down the ladder and run back. Two lessons learned: loafers don't make good running shoes and we have a small dip in our lot (almost caused a wipeout).

 Ladder Sprint (4).jpg

 Ladder Sprint (5).jpg
Paul Gruber
 Ladder Sprint (2).jpg
Doug Heinen
 Ladder Sprint (1).jpg
Dawson Harris
 Ladder Sprint (3).jpg
Bear Holtslander
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Dale Gruber 
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Matt Cecko 

Team Water Balloon Toss

Team Water Balloon Toss closed out the games. It was a tough battle, but team Slap Hands won gold, silver went to Receders 3 1/2 and The Young & The Restless got their first medal of the games, taking home the bronze. 

Water Balloon Winners.jpg

 Closing Ceremonies 

As you can see from the final medal count, Team Slap Hands dominated the games, receiving a total of 6 medals! Congratulations to all DGC & HCP Olympic athletes...you did great!! 

Final Medal Count.JPG

Olympic Spread.jpg

August 10, 2016
10 Reasons to Replace Your Windows

Replacing your home's windows may seem like a big and costly undertaking. However, the benefits far outweigh any drawback. Here are our top 10 reasons you should replace your windows. 

1. Decreased Utility Costs. Many older homes have the original windows built with single-pane glass. Replacing aging and drafty windows with tight fitting and energy efficient windows can significantly reduce energy bills. New windows offer heat reflecting low-E coatings and argon filled glass. Homeowners can expect to save 10-25% each year on heating and cooling costs. 

2. Environmental Impacts. Not only do energy efficient windows reduce your energy bills, but they also reduce your home's carbon footprint. It pays to go green!

3. Increased Curb Appeal. New windows can really enhance your home's curb appeal. There are a wide variety of style options available that are aesthetically pleasing and will complement your home's architectural style. 

4. Fade Protection. The sun's ultraviolet rays are powerful and cause furniture, artwork, carpet and finishes to fade. Newer windows are constructed with glass to block ultraviolet rays to prevent fading from the sun. 

5. Reduce Noise. Replacing your single-pane windows with dual pane or laminated glass will reduce the amount of outside noise you can hear inside your home. 

6. Eliminate Storm Windows. No more dealing with storm windows! Enough said. 

7. Clean Windows With Ease. The design of new windows make it incredibly easier & safer to clean. 

8. Increase Safety. Speaking of safety, having windows that are easy to open and close is important, especially in the event of a fire.

9. Reduce Water & Air Leaks. Older windows are more susceptible to issues caused by rain and other weather related elements. Leaking windows can lead to water damage, mold and mildew.  

10. Less Maintenance. Replacing your old windows can reduce maintenance and the costs involved in doing so (ie: painting). 

If you're considering replacing your windows, we'd love the opportunity to provide you an estimate to do so. During our site visit we can determine the best window option for you based on your needs, home's architecture and budget. Our staff is skilled in measuring your windows to ensure proper fit as well as installing windows, so they perform as intended and you can reap all the above benefits. 

We are also Certified Andersen Window Installers. Find out what that means, here.

CALL US (320-529-4800) or EMAIL (rachel@homecheckplus.com) today for your FREE estimate! 

May 19, 2016
HCP's 10 Painting Tips!
1. Picking a Paint Color

It is really difficult to tell how an entire room will look just by a small paint swatch. We highly recommend buying a few samples to see how they look in the room and at different times of the day. Sherwin Williams also has a neat color visualizer tool. Click here to check it out. 


2. How much paint to buy

It is important to buy ALL the paint you will need for a room prior to starting. If you underestimate the quantity, you run the risk of the next batch of paint not matching your existing paint. Measure the height and length of the room, then add up the square footage. Generally speaking one gallon of paint covers 250-350 sqft. Factors such as wall texture and paint color will affect the amount of paint needed. 


3. Wall prep

To get the best results, wipe down the walls prior to painting. Using a swiffer works wells for this task. This way any dust or dirt is removed and not buried under the paint.


4. Drop cloths

Using drops cloths can save yourself from having to replace your carpet; especially if you are using free labor (aka your kids). Label your drop cloths so you know which side is clean & safe to place on your floor and which side should always face up!

Drop Cloth.jpg

5. Paint Vertically

This may seem obvious for some, but you want to make sure to roll the paint on vertically in a slight "W" pattern. 

Paint Vertically.jpg

6. Cutting In

For cutting in, it is best to use an angled 2"-2.5" brush. Also, cutting in as you go versus waiting until you've rolled the entire room, prevents color variations.

Cutting In.jpg

7. Taking breaks 

Need to take a break? A simple trick is to wrap your roller with Glad wrap - it prevents the paint from drying. 

Paint Roller.jpg

8. Minimize hassle on small jobs

If you're just doing a touch up or small job, you might not want to go through the entire process of pouring paint into the tray, etc. Placing a rubber band around the can is a great solution to eliminate extra paint on the brush.

6-4-13 Paint Can Rubber Band.jpg

9. Take the tape off

Mask off areas with blue painters tape. We suggest removing the tape soon after you finish the project, so you can check for any paint. Do so at a 45 degree angle and moderate pace.

Paint Tape.jpg

10. Label your paint

Place a little dollop of the paint color on the top of the lid and also label the room where it was used, so you know in the future.

label paint.jpg