When asked, a majority of homeowners can quickly come up with a list of things that they would like to improve in their home.  The best part about residential remodeling projects is that they offer a lot of flexibility—you can do as little or as much as you want, and moreover, you can choose when to accomplish your goals and who to help you in the event that you need assistance.  Look no further for inspiration, tips and helpful information from those who have the experience and knowledge to assist you with getting the job done the way you want it.

Updating and Controlling Your Home’s Appliances and Systems

Photo_Ruth_Hiedtbrink_Black_Hills_Energy_Lincoln_NebraskaDuring a home remodeling project it is also common for homeowners to replace and upgrade appliances.  Most of the time, this will involve appliances that utilize natural gas, which is a safe, reliable energy source. Ruth Hietbrink of Black Hills Energy states, “A couple benefits of natural gas in homes are that it allows for warmer air to be emitted from a high-efficiency furnace or fireplace and it allows more temperature control when cooking on a natural gas range.  Additionally, homeowners have become quite creative in using natural gas as an energy source.  Some current home remodeling trends include using natural gas for new, modern styles of fireplaces, outdoor fire pits, natural gas grills, and pool heaters.  We have also seen beautiful outdoor kitchens that give homes more living space.  We work together with home owners and the companies that are involved in the remodeling project to meet and improve safety and environmental practices, and we are solely responsible for maintaining the gas line that runs from the gas main to your home.  Our main concern during home remodeling projects is the damage that could potentially be done to existing gas lines on the property.  If you are doing any projects around your home, please “Call Before You Dig” at 811.

For more information about residential service or for any questions you have about your upcoming home remodeling project, please call us at (402) 437-1814, toll free at (888) 890-5554, or visit our website at www.blackhillsenergy.com.”

John Henry’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning can help out with your plumbing needs for a home remodel project.  Before you even get started, they can provide you with a free estimate to replace existing plumbing or install brand new equipment and systems.  Additionally, John Henry’s offers service 7 days a week from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm without overtime charges, plus true 24-hour emergency service.

Photo_Lindsey_Reinke_John_Henry's_Plumbing_Heating_and_Air_Conditioning_Lincoln_NebraskaLindsey Reinke of John Henry’s explains, “A lot of our customers are specifically remodeling their bathrooms and/or kitchens. We can provide sinks, faucets, drinking water systems, water heaters, toilets, and water softeners…just to name a few! On demand (or tankless) water heaters are also very common right now because they can provide continuous hot water.

Our technicians carry many of the necessary items on their vans to eliminate the extra time for delivery, which allows us to provide the quickest service for our customers. There are also supply houses around town that have showrooms where customers can go and pick out specialty items if they want something different. We feel options are very important for everyone!

Customers want the newest and best thing when it comes to remodeling and we want to provide that for them! That could be a copper sink, or even a sink that looks like a rock! However, make sure before a new item is purchased it is laid out with the proper measurements to ensure it will fit!”

She adds, “Something we are also seeing is that our customers are tired of buying bottled water and are concerned with the potential chemicals that could be in the water or coming from the plastic bottle itself. We provide drinking water systems that are customized to fit your needs!  If you’re interested in a free estimate for any of our services, call us at (402) 435-5555 or request work at www.jhlincoln.com.”

Photo_Pat_Killeen_Engineered_Controls_Control_Depot_Lincoln_NebraskaPat Killeen of Engineered Controls and Control Depot offers the following information about the benefits of upgrading or incorporating controls for your home’s systems during a remodeling project:

“Every residential remodel project starts with a dream. Homeowners may enjoy their home, but over time they would like things to be different. Their home no longer reflects their taste or their lifestyle. Maybe their family’s dynamics have changed or they would like their home to be more environmentally friendly.  In order to turn those dreams into reality, detailed planning is required and you can start by considering the purpose of your project. Would you like to use the current space differently, or are you looking to add innovation and technology to your home?  When looking into remodeling your home, consider that Control Depot offers a whole host of Honeywell products that will improve your home’s comfort and help you operate your home more efficiently.  From the most state-of-the-art thermostats and zoning systems, to whole-house air cleaning systems, whole-house humidification and dehumidification systems, security and video systems; everything is geared to make homes more energy-efficient and secure.  No other manufacturer offers more for homeowners to increase comfort and save energy and protect your home.  Honeywell…the most trusted and recognized name in home comfort and security.

There are many benefits of upgrading a home’s environmental control system during a remodel project. When a contractor installs upgraded controls their goal is that everything is out of sight.  Although most of today’s cutting edge technology is wireless, there are going to be times when your remodeling contractor may need to add new equipment above ceilings or in the basement and run additional wiring that requires disrupting the existing walls and ceilings.   For this reason, home remodel project presents the perfect opportunity for homeowners to upgrade their home’s technology infrastructure and to add new environmentally friendly equipment.

However, the most important benefit of upgrading a home control system is that homeowners can now take advantage of new, cutting edge residential technology that improves their environment and living comfort, reduces energy and provides increased security.  Today’s smart phones and wireless devices will keep homeowners connected everywhere. Honeywell’s Total Connect Service provides a personalized web portal with mobile apps that allow the homeowner to stay connected to their home’s heating and cooling system and home security system from their smart phone, tablet or personal computer.  Total Connect by Honeywell can make a dramatic positive impact on home control technology. Total Connect will allow the home owner to remotely monitor and control their home (or business) at any time and from anywhere.  With Total Connect, you can take advantage of all the amazing benefits next-generation digital technology has to offer – including enhanced communication and the ability to stay connected to your home and business from anywhere in the world.  The state-of-the-art security, lighting and HVAC controllers provides you with an affordable way to control your security system, video cameras and heating and air conditioning needs all in one simple to use system.

Homeowners can receive alerts via emails, view live video and control and access their security system, control lighting and lock and unlock doors remotely and more.  Plus the simplicity and comfort that Honeywell’s new wireless Prestige IAQ HVAC system provides offers a full-suite of wireless enabled accessories that help you meet home owners comfort and security needs.  Items such as universal diagnostics, water sensor alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, ventilation filtration alarms are just a few of the added benefits of owning such a home automation system.  The system also provides customizable reminders for replacing the humidifier pad or UV lamp replacement reminders.  Homeowners can also perform these functions wherever they are with Honeywell Total Connect Remote Services.  A built-in web server lets your customers control their systems anywhere in their homes on smartphones, tablets, web-enabled TVs or any compatible wireless mobile device anywhere in the world.

In the beginning stages of a home remodeling project, think about how your lifestyle has changed and what you would like or need to be different. Are you simply looking to expand your existing kitchen or add new windows or maybe replace your home’s central heating and cooling system? When looking into remodeling your home, don’t overlook the importance of improving your home’s environmental control system – it will improve the air you are breathing, it will increase your HVAC equipment’s energy efficiency, increase your home’s comfort and offer peace-of-mind by increasing your home’s safety and security.

When starting a residential (or commercial) remodel project, think of Control Depot and Honeywell. In more than 100 million homes and 5 million buildings worldwide, Honeywell products, components and systems deliver temperature control, comfort, energy conservation and safety.”

Photo_RJ_Lipert_Alarm_Link_USA_Lincoln_NebraskaIn addition to controlling the systems in your home, such as heating and cooling, an important aspect to consider is your security system.  Incorporating an alarm system during a remodel is another excellent way to add value to your home while providing you and your family with peace of mind.  RJ Lipert of AlarmLink USA says, “Our systems offer simple control of your security system while enjoying the comfort of automation through Total Connect, which we utilize as well.  This way you can remotely control your home’s lighting, heating and cooling, electronics and security through one system.  Not only does a security system provide you with peace of mind, but it can also save you money.  Most insurance companies offer a discount for having a home security system—often up to 20% off of your policy.  Not all systems are created equal, and there are plenty of customizable options that include door access systems, camera surveillance, fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detection, remote access and control from your smart phone, tablet or PC, safety alerts, and much more.  We offer free estimates and inspection, as well as 24-hour assistance for our clients.  Because the lives and assets of our clients are at stake, we are committed to the flawless execution of all of our systems.”

From Bottom to Top and Inside-Out:  Remodeling Projects All Around Your House

In the entire scope of a home remodeling project, flooring is generally last to get installed but not least important by any means.  The flooring you choose will tie the other features in the space together, giving it the complete look and feel that you are trying to achieve.  EMO Flooring is your local flooring expert, offering a wide variety of flooring options including carpet, tile, wood, laminate and vinyl.  They provide excellent customer service including in-home measurement for those who are not sure about the necessary quantities and supplies.  With their many years of industry experience installing flooring, they not only offer expertise but piece of mind that the job will be done right the first time.  Their in-house designers will work with you to create a space that expresses your taste and lifestyle, with the goal of making your house a uniquely beautiful home.  Jacque Lee of EMO Flooring advises, “Especially regarding residential remodeling endeavors, we always try to find out the location of the project, such as whether it is specific to the kitchen or bathroom.  There are different factors that have likely already been at play prior to our involvement, such as the color and style of countertops, cabinetry, etc. so we build off of that information in order to get the perfect end result.  For example, new cabinets and hardwood we need to know the wood to contrast it or for granite to flow and work together with the flooring instead of fighting each other.  Based upon what type of materials our clients choose, we always offer education on how to best care for them after installation.  If the customer chooses a hardwood, it is essential to be aware that they will need a certain level of humidity year round and a humidifier will be crucial.  At EMO Flooring, we pride ourselves in being able to provide our clients a wealth of information that is useful for just about any type of home remodeling project.”

Photo_Oak_Williams_ABC_Seamless_Lincoln_NebraskaExterior aspects of your home such as siding, roofing and windows will affect its curb appeal as well as many functional aspects.  ABC Seamless proudly installs durable, beautiful seamless steel siding and steel home products including gutters and roofing.  They use heavy-gauge, hot-dipped G-90 galvanized steel, which won’t crack, warp or peel.  Steel also minimizes expansion and contraction with diverse temperature changes (I.E. Nebraska weather).  Additionally, it won’t need to be painted, scraped or replaced in the future.  ABC Seamless products are all completely customizable.  In addition to seamless home siding, they offer steel roofing that provides maximum resistance to impacts, harsh weather and high winds.  Moreover, their high-capacity seamless steel rain gutters and downspouts are designed to disappear as they blend into your home’s exterior and are just as dependable.  Oak Williams, owner of ABC Seamless of Lincoln, states, “Our company offers some of the best exterior products on the market.  Seamless steel is a premier product that is extremely popular for homeowners looking for a solid product that comes with a lifetime warranty. We are able to provide homeowners with peace of mind that their homes are going to be protected.  Here at ABC Seamless we are currently seeing a lot of interest in our steel roof system.  We offer a steel roof that encompasses all the benefits and the same warranty as our seamless steel siding. It is becoming increasingly popular with our customers as they realize it will be the last time they ever have to put a roof on their home. I advise homeowners to do their homework on the products they choose for their remodel project.  There are a lot of options out there.  Do you know what the product will do in one year, or what the product will do in 10 years?  What type of upkeep is needed to preserve the product?  Does the material have a manufacturer’s warranty?  There are a lot of good craftsmen out there, the question is the product.  When working with a homeowner I tell them ‘this is the last time you will do this if you go with ABC.’”

Photo_Ken_Svoboda_Rays_Lawn_Care_Lincoln_NebraskaLandscaping is another exterior facet that can help make a dull house feel more like an exciting home by adding curb appeal, finishing touches to the house and property, and by creating outdoor living spaces.  These features are particularly important to consider because they allow you to customize your property in a way that will enhance the enjoyment of the home and set the stage for lasting memories to be made,” states Ken Svoboda with Ray’s Lawn & Home Care.  “Much like the interior of the home is furnished with comfortable furniture, wall hangings, accessories and other personal touches, the outside of your home should also express your personality.  Additionally, outdoor living areas and family rooms are easily becoming as important as the interior family rooms.  With the increased availability of LED lighting choices, as well as a wealth of indoor appliances being adapted for outdoor use, the sky—and budget—is the limit with exterior home remodeling projects.”

Sometimes it’s not about adding a great deal to your landscape, but about fixing problems that already exist.  “Generally speaking, the biggest problem occurs when a lawn or landscape is out of control,” explains Ken.  “If regular maintenance isn’t so regular, the lawn can become full of weeds and undesirables and the trees and shrubbery can be overtaken with weeds and growth.  Routine maintenance is important.  Renovation due to neglect can be costly and damage to the home’s siding and exterior often occurs when trees and shrubbery are able to grow uncontrolled.”

Taking care of your own lawn and installing or upkeep of your own landscaping can be a time-intensive, complicated process.  “Maintaining your lawn is a weekly event in Nebraska from early April to the end of October,” Ken says.  “Applying the various fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides is a more monthly event throughout the summer.  Landscapes should be maintained as often as necessary depending on the type of landscape you have, and although many homeowners desire a low maintenance landscape, it is wise to utilize the expertise of a professional.  Most professional landscapers have the knowledge and experience that a normal homeowner does not.  Though most home owners have internet access to research the proper landscape, there’s nothing like the face-to-face consultation we provide.  For example, professional landscapers can better judge the angle of the sun to recommend a planting that will thrive in specific areas of your property instead of just survive, which makes caring for them a much easier task for the homeowner.  All professional landscapers have made the mistakes that can sometimes be costly if left to the inexperience of do-it-yourselfers.  However, we do encourage client involvement in every aspect of the project.  Nearly every one of my customers has a very distinct vision for their home. Now in most cases it’s not that these customers have acquired great design talents, but mainly because the internet is full of websites that offer them more ideas than any of the printed material that has been around for decades. Customers are coming to me with website links, pictures from Pinterest and Houzz, and layouts which then I adapt to their wants, needs and budget. Google ‘landscape ideas’ and you have 119 million choices. We can incorporate just about anything into the landscape design and renovation plan.  The more the customer is involved the more likely their dreams will come true.”

Improving or adding features to your existing landscape can make a big difference in the appearance and value of your property.  Rays Lawn Care will work with you to update and maintain the face of your property through renovation or a fresh new look.  Their extensive knowledge of landscaping, helpful ideas, planning and attention to your budget are all complimentary features with any project.  In addition to landscaping, planting, mulching, shrubbery shaping, and tree trimming, pruning and treatments; Rays also offers lawn care, power raking, gutter cleaning, and can build retaining walls or water features.

Sometimes all you need to make a room or space in your home look and feel different is some updated design elements.  The Coop, located at 1265 S. Cotner Blvd., Suite 24, is a fun small business that sells vintage décor, primitives, antiques, soy candles, and many other treasures.  They have a great selection of vintage décor and painted furniture as well as a selection of repurposed items and burlap décor.  They are also Lincoln’s only stockist of Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan and offer classes on many different techniques to do with Chalk Paint® for the do-it-yourselfers.  Stacey Clark, owner of The Coop, says, “This paint was developed in the UK over 20 years ago for painting furniture with little to no prep or priming.  It is definitely not your typical chalkboard paint as it adheres to wood, laminate, plastic, metal, glass, cement, concrete…and you can even paint fabric with it!  This makes it perfect for painting kitchen cabinets, walls, furniture, frames, mirrors, various accessories, upholstery, and much more. We also offer classes which provide the opportunity for our customers to learn new techniques and get creative in jazzing up an old or outdated piece of furniture—and no artistic experience is necessary!  Many homeowners enjoy doing their own remodeling projects around the house, and it can definitely save you money as well as give you a sense of pride in knowing that you did it yourself.  For the ladies, why not have a girls’ night out learning new decorative tips?  However, if you don’t feel comfortable painting yourself, we do offer custom painting services for our customers.”  She adds, “In addition to decorative items we offer in our store, we also offer staging services that will assist you in using your current décor, rearranging a room, and also in suggesting what new items to incorporate with your current items.”

Photo_sue_crawford_precast_products_lincoln_nebraskaAs another innovative option, Precast Products and Landscape Village is the only authorized Nebraska distributor for beautiful, maintenance-free outdoor furniture made from recycled plastic milk jugs and beverage containers!  The quality construction and attention to detail makes this a perfect solution for your front porch or patio.  The classic designs are available in nine different colors, and you can choose from chairs, benches, gliders, rockers, and side or main tables.  This furniture is guaranteed not to crack or peel and is UV stabilized against fading.  This means they are designed to last a lifetime, and you will never have to paint them or store them during the winter.  Not only are you improving the appearance of your outdoor entertaining or relaxing areas, you are being kind to the environment at the same time!  If you are thinking about adding a pond to enjoy this summer and fall, the knowledgeable staff at Precast Products can help you design the water feature of your dreams.  They can even install a stream or waterfall to incorporate with your new pond. Sue Crawford of Precast Products and Landscape Village adds, “We offer all types of landscape material and exterior home products.  The exterior appeal of a new home is just as important as the interior, but by planning ahead, landscaping can be done in stages, whether you are hiring a professional or doing it yourself.  We are a material supplier, but do not do installation, so we can work with you or your contractor throughout your projects.  Another thing to consider during a home remodel is egress window wells for your basement if your plan involves finishing the space.  The Scapewel is a great way to add light and living space to your basement area. “

Photo_Terri_Rediger_Malibu_Sunrooms_Lincoln_NebraskaSunrooms are an excellent way for homeowners to add square feet during a remodel, while also adding a feature to their home that will provide their family enjoyment year round.  Remodeling can often be necessary for keeping your property in shape and updated.  Terri Rediger, owner of Malibu Sunrooms, explains, “Upkeep is just a part of being a homeowner.  When our homes are well cared for, our property values go up.  Now, there is upkeep, and then there’s the ‘wow factor.’  Landscaping, beautiful decks and outdoor entertaining spaces, or concrete and water features add tremendous appeal to your home.  Sunrooms not only add beauty to your home, but also additional finished square feet!  I haven’t met one person who was sorry they added a sunroom.  Who wouldn’t want to feel like they are outside all year long?  And aside from adding a classy look outside of your home, a sunroom adds class, sunshine and architectural appeal from the inside of your home.  Most people who own a sunroom will tell you that they literally ‘live’ in their room and the ‘feeling of the outdoors’ is what gets them.  No other room in the house will get used as much as a sunroom, that’s for sure!”

She adds, “The cost of a new sunroom is generally about the same price as a new car.  Some people are okay with a new Toyota, and some people want a new BMW.  There are plenty of options available that will fit your specifications.  However, a new car won’t be worth half of what you paid for it in five years.  A new sunroom will likely be worth one and a half times what you paid for it!  Sometimes, we just need to put things into perspective.  We live in our homes and this is where we naturally invest most of our money.  Cars are nice, but they won’t provide additional living space, a place to have Thanksgiving dinner, a space to relax, to watch TV, to read a book, to play with grandchildren, to open Christmas presents or to watch the wildlife that takes place in your own backyard–and those are just a few examples of how you could utilize your sunroom.  As far as adding value to your home, there is no question that a sunroom fits the bill.  But adding value to your LIFE and your lifestyle, well I don’t think there’s a price you can put on that.”

In line with other aspects that add aesthetic and functional value; an effective, durable and well-designed garage door system is essential.  Raynor Doors of Nebraska offers a wide variety of garage doors and openers to help the homeowner achieve their specific goals during a remodel. Their staff will personally come out to your home and take a picture with an iPad, or upload a picture you provide, and show you the different looks, styles, windows and colors they have to offer on the spot.  They also oil, service and adjust any garage door that simply needs a little bit of work. Gene Hiatt, owner of Raynor Doors of Nebraska, says “When it comes to picking out a new garage door and opener, there are several simple questions that we initially like to ask in order to find the right fit. What direction does your door face? Is your garage insulated and are you planning on insulating anytime in the future? These aspects are essential to keeping your garage cool in the summer and warm during winter. Do you have children with bikes and toys that may be playing around the garage door?  Your safety is definitely one of our main concerns. Do you have a smart phone? You can now control your garage door opener with your phone or a computer. What ideas do you have, or what look and level of function are you trying to achieve? All of these questions help us to determine what tips and advice we can share with our clients in order to help them make the best decision for a garage door and opener.”  He adds “We invite everyone to come visit our showroom. We pride ourselves with having the nicest one around. Homeowners, contractors and architects are all welcome! The showroom is our way of encouraging visitors to see, touch and learn more about our garage doors, openers and services.  We have two working garage doors with the newest openers for visitors to test out, and six other doors on display. We also offer actual metal color samples and literature that anyone can take with them. Our goal is to have addressed and answered all your garage door and opener questions by the time you leave our showroom.”

For those who want a change without a complete renovation, simple improvements like a new coat of paint can completely transform your space. The Restoration Pros provides many services that would be perfect for home remodeling—especially drywall finishing, painting and staining, and tiling.  If you have ever painted a room before, you know how much work that can be.  Moreover, painting larger areas or an entire home is a time and labor intensive project that you may not want to take on by yourself.  Hiring a professional painting contractor not only saves you time and effort, but it ensures that a high quality job is done by technicians who pay close attention to detail and know exactly what materials and techniques are required for a flawless finish.

Planning for the Process

Currently a lot more homeowners are opting to stay in their current homes and remodel, compared to a few years ago when many were purchasing newer, larger homes.  There are many ways to upgrade your home, but for any tasks that you can’t do yourself, finding a reputable contractor is a good way to begin.  One thing to keep in mind when selecting a contractor is to do your homework on the company and the products that they carry.  It is helpful to check the company’s BBB rating, research the product manufacturer, find out what type of workmanship warranty the company offers to back their work, ask for references, and get more than one estimate.  Choosing a contractor who is insured, provides a warranty for their work, and has a portfolio of work to share with you is a must.  If they don’t look professional, their quality of work probably isn’t either.  As a basic guideline to remember:  do your homework, go with your gut, ask plenty of questions, and get references.  And don’t skimp and try to save money on the cheapest price or the lowest bid.  Instead, it is best to evaluate all of these factors before making the final decision.

Photo_Scott_Niederhaus_Niederhaus_Refuse_Lincoln_NebraskaDuring any residential remodeling project, there will be waste that needs to be removed and disposed of. Roll off containers are a very efficient way to get this job done smoothly.  Scott Niederhaus, owner of Niederhaus Refuse, says, “Providing waste removal services for residential remodeling projects of any size and scope is right up our alley—we can supply containers ranging from 2 yards up to 40 yard roll off containers, which are very practical for large items. So if you’re tearing down some walls, tearing up concrete, re-roofing, tearing down a deck or maybe cutting down some trees, our 20yd to 40yd roll offs are ideal. If you have the space for a roll off or will be responsible for your own waste removal during or as a result of the project, be sure to keep us in mind.  However, if your space is limited we can also provide you with something a little smaller. Our 2 or 3yd containers are very popular, and even better, some are on wheels so you can easily move them around.”

Photo_Thomas_Friedman_Strong_Box_Storage_Lincoln_NebraskaFurthermore, during a remodel there is also likely going to be some chaos in your house and things will need to be moved around.  It may be a good idea to relocate some of your items to avoid damage or clutter.  Thomas Friedman of Strong Box Storage says, “We offer a variety of sizes of storage for those who need to move things around while their home is being remodeled, from 5×5 to 10×40, and we always try to find the right size that fits the customer’s needs.  Our office, which is open six days a week, offers a dozen different sizes of moving boxes, packing peanuts, wrapping paper, tape, and many other items that help our customers during their transportation of their belongings.  Another one of our features that offers flexibility and is popular among our clients is 24/7 access.  Our facility offers lighted and paved roadways to make it easy and safe to get around, and if there are any problems we have staff on site six days a week.  You can access your unit at whatever time is most convenient for you with no hassle, and we also have U-Haul trucks for rent if you need to move items to and from our facility and you don’t have access to an appropriate vehicle.”

Have you been considering sprucing things up a bit (or a lot!) around your home with a remodeling project?  There really is no better time than the present, as there are so many ways in which a home can be upgraded that will not only increase its value and efficiency but also the enjoyment of the homeowner.  With so many options for improvement, the key to achieving the result you want is working with knowledgeable and experienced professionals!