Kitchen Remodeling: How to Create an Open Kitchen Layout

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If you’re remodeling your home and want to create and open kitchen floor plan, there are several ways that you can go about it. Not every option works well for every kitchen.

Here are remodeling steps that you might want to consider if you desire an open floor plan.

  • Wall removal: Removing a wall if a great place to start. It immediately creates open space. If considering wall removal, you will need to consult with your contractor to make sure it is even possible. Your contractor will need to determine if the wall is load bearing, or concealing important electrical/plumbing/HVAC components. In some cases the cost to move structural elements may be too costly and not make sense in the scope of the project.
  • Remove Upper Cabinets & Peninsula: Upper cabinets above a peninsula are dated. Although this design is great for storage space, it does not present an open environment. This design simulates a solid wall and give the impression of a smaller space. Removing the upper cabinets extends the line of sight and give the room a larger feel.
  • Eliminate Soffits: Soffits in the kitchen make the ceiling look lower, and makes the room feel smaller than it really is. If your budget allows, remove the soffits and install cabinets that go to the ceiling to give your kitchen added space.
  • Add Natural Light: Adding natural light will create openness within the room. Removing a wall or upper cabinets can provide more natural light to enter your kitchen. Adding an additional window, widening an existing window, or installing a skylight is another way to add more natural light to your kitchen during the remodeling stages.

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Although we have outlined a few options that can increase natural light to your kitchen, we strongly advise you consulting with your contractor. At ABF Remodeling, our design team will assess your current kitchen and review potential design options that will create an open design. Our designers will then be better able to gauge exactly what needs to be done and how much it will cost to get your open kitchen.


Home Improvements: 6 Tips on Taking Care of Roof Leaks

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The first thing you need to do in order to take care of a roof leak is to identify where the roof is leaking from. Check out the 5 tips below to repair complex roofing and home challenges with efficiency.

1. Replace Shingles

More often than not the reason why a roof is leaking is because the roof shingles have either become worn, have curled on themselves, are broken or completely missing altogether. The best (and only) thing to do in such cases is to replace the damaged shingle with a new one. Carefully remove the torn or rotten pieces of shingle from the place, apply a generous dollop of roof cement or caulk to the bottom and re-attach in place, pressing down on it firmly.

2. Repair Vent Boots

A vent boot is basically the cover which slides on top of the PVC vent or plumbing pipes protruding from the roof. The purpose of these vent boots is to facilitate the waterproofing of the junctions between the pipe and the roof. Made from metal, plastic, or rubber, they can easily become worn out over time. Luckily though, they’re quite easy to remove and replace. You can buy premade vent boots from any home-store, pull the old one off with the aid of a screwdriver or knife, and adjust the new one on top.

3. Reseal Flashing

Flashing is a thin metal strip molded and installed at the various junction points across the roof to waterproof it against leaks. They’re commonly used around vent pipes, chimneys, and skylights installed in the roof. If the flashing seal has come undone, you can easily reseal it with the use of a lead sealant applied carefully around the flashing area.

4. Refit Skylights

Skylights when improperly fit or installed can be the source of a roof leak. A skylight needs to be properly adjusted into place and then sealed with rubber to prevent water from penetrating into your home. In case your skylight is the source of your leaking roof, it’s advisable to have the skylight refit correctly.

5. Patch the Sidings

Wall or window sidings can become old, worn out from the weather, or cracked as time goes by, allowing water to go straight through the flashing and into the house. If you have broken or cracked siding, patch it up by replacing the old caulk with a silicone one, or replace the entire piece of siding entirely. However, if you choose the latter rather than the former, be sure to ascertain correct placement of the siding.

Know When You Need To Call A Professional

Repairing a leaking roof is not to be taken lightly. Simple repairs can escalate into a much larger issue if not properly addressed. If you find yourself over your head of level of comfort, or in a situation that you do not know the proper resolution, it is est to call in the professional. It is much better to ask for help than regret costly repairs in the long run.


Home Remodeling: 5 Ways To Bring More Light Into Your Home

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Apply A Frosted Privacy Window Film

Are you always reluctant to open your blinds during the day because it will expose your home to everyone across the street? Keeping your blinds open will ensure your home gets adequate natural light during the day. One way to prevent the eyes on the street from peeking through your windows is to apply a frosted window film on the glass. This is an adhesive vinyl film that enhances privacy in your home with minimal loss of natural light.

You can even add the film on your next kitchen renovation instead of blinds. It has a classy and sleek frosted design that will instantly add some style to any room whether the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or living area. It mimics the look of specialty glass and adds texture while allowing natural light to pass through your windows. The best part is that it’s very affordable. For an affordable price, you can get the frosted window film for privacy and even get rid of the blinds. The films come in different designs and finishes. Some appear like a stained, mirrored or textured glass. The process of installing a frosted window film is quite simple. No specialty tools needed, in most cases a knife and squeegee will do.

Paint Your Walls

The other way to brighten up a dark room is to apply a fresh coat of paint. Paint on the walls can become outdated and dull overtime. Sometimes the paint color is what’s contributing to the dull and dreary look in your home. White paint usually makes the room brighter and opens up a small space. But if you think white is too plain for your home’s design, you can choose other light color shades that complement your overall look.

Good options include the lighter shades of yellow, green and pink, if your intention is to paint the walls in order to brighten up the space. These colors appear bright and bold especially in open areas such as hallways or spacious rooms. Remember that if you paint a color that’s too bold in a small room, it may make the space appear much smaller. Alternatively, go for the white walls but create color pops by painting items in the room such as shelving and furniture in a different color. Also, consider choosing an ecofriendly paint for your well such as low VOC.

Get Organized

There’s something about having a messy room that makes it dull and dark. One way to brighten up your home without spending much is to get rid of any clutter that’s in the space. It could be bulky kitchen furniture or an appliance that’s never used. Getting rid of items that contribute to mess and clutter can make the area less stuffy and dark. Look for ways to free up the floor space by giving away items that you don’t use or placing them in the attic/basement when not in use. Take steps to maximize the space you have such as getting rid of a bulky bookcase and replacing it with a built-in section to store your books. Consider changing your TV on the wall to free up floor space. Better yet, get the help of a home organizer who will help you if you have no idea where to start.

Tear Down A Wall

If you are willing to go all the way with a complete home renovation, consider opening up the space by tearing down a wall that’s between two adjoining rooms. For instance, you can open up your living area and kitchen by removing a wall that is adjoining these two rooms. When you do this, adequate light flows through the space spreading around to all areas so there’s little chance of having dark areas in the room.

Removing an adjoining wall may appear to be a complex process but it really isn’t. This project can completely transform a home’s entire look and feel. The rooms would not only feel larger but also create a free flow that you’ll certainly enjoy. Make sure you have the necessary building permits and you hire a qualified contractor to take on the project. Wall removal or any form of demolition can be a dangerous process so don’t attempt to turn it into your next DIY project. Get quotes from different contractors and compare them before making the right option.

Upgrade Light Fixtures And Bulbs

Sometimes natural light in your home is not sufficient to make your rooms brighter especially during winter. As you take steps to improve your home’s natural lighting, it’s also fine to invest in light fixtures and bulbs that will suit your needs. There are fixtures and bulbs designed for interior lighting whereas others are meant to be used outdoors. Note the difference and buy the right product for each room/area.

When it comes to interior lighting, perhaps you need to get rid of any compact incandescent light bulbs in your home. These bulbs are not only inefficient but they also have a short lifespan. Consider investing in light fixtures and bulbs that have a high energy rating. CFL bulbs are highly recommended mainly because they have a long lifespan and are energy efficient.

Also, when choosing a bulb for brightening a room, check its lumens other than the wattage. Lumens will tell you how bright the bulb is whereas its Wattage will only give the energy it uses. For instance, a 60Watt bulb can give 600 lumens of light whereas a 30Watt bulb gives 800 lumens. This means that the latter is a better option because it’s brighter and uses less energy.

Remember you can also make changes in your home’s exterior to improve natural lighting in your home. Hire an expert in tree removal Toronto to get rid of any bushes or trees that could be blocking your view or preventing your home from access to adequate natural light.

Five Common Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid

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If you’re looking to avoid these common pitfalls at all costs, remain aware of the five missteps below while building your dream bathroom.

Forgetting to Add or Maintain Ceiling Vents

Stepping into a steaming shower or running a hot bath is incredibly soothing, but all that humidity and moisture can take a huge toll on your bathroom’s comfort and hygiene over time. Condensation that permeates your walls can deteriorate paint and grout, while also weakening wooden or overly porous underlayment. Make sure to cap off your bathroom remodel by either installing a ceiling vent, or cleaning your current one to promote sufficient airflow.

Installing Overly Trendy Fixtures

There’s nothing wrong with a little style, especially if you don’t have any plans to sell your home; but if you’re remodeling specifically for that purpose, having a design scheme that’s too trendy could be limiting to future buyers. It’s also important to remember that today’s top designs will likely become tomorrow’s forgotten fads.

Some fixture trends are so momentary and closely tied to a particular time period, that in five years, they may be considered tacky and require immediate replacement. The same goes for overly bold paint choices and accessories. A good strategy is to rely on classically designed fixtures and a neutral color palate that won’t leave your space feeling too personalized.

Using Porous Material to Construct Wall Surrounds and Flooring

Remember, preventing moisture permeation is one of your greatest functional concerns when renovating your bathroom. Avoid furnishing your space with materials that are overly absorbent or particularly vulnerable to water damage, like wood, textiles or porous stone. Too much moisture accumulation will not only lead to frequent repairs down the road, it will also make mold and mildew growth an ongoing concern.

Skimping on Product Quality to Get a Good Deal

It’s no secret that bathroom remodeling can be expensive, and value hunting is certainly a priority; but if you’re going to make such a significant investment either way, why not choose fixtures that are well-crafted and built for longevity? When you don’t consider product quality, you’re essentially opting for several less-expensive renovations over time that, ultimately, surpass the price of a single, high-quality remodel.

Also, depending on how you skimp, you may rack up additional utility costs. For example, if you choose to replace your toilet with a less-efficient model because of its lower price tag, you’ll increase your monthly water bills and greatly reduce the new toilet’s ROI since it won’t add to the overall value of your home.

Rushing to the Finish Line

Bathroom remodeling is a time-intensive process, but it begins so enticingly. In the preliminary stages, it’s all about your vision and planning how to make it happen, but less attention is paid to how complex the task will be.

When most people think about bath renovations, they condense it to several focal areas: the sink, toilet, shower, bathtub, etc. For example, say there’s a family looking to make their morning routines more efficient; tub conversions, in this instance, may be their primary focus, but they may not be paying enough attention to other important aspects of their space, like its lighting or accessibility. By the time they’ve converted their old tub to a new shower, they’re already mentally winding down from the remodeling process, even though there may be other vulnerabilities that need to be addressed, like rusted pipes or, as discussed above, clogged ceiling vents.

Instead of allotting the same amount of care and consideration to these equally crucial issues, the homeowners rush through their fixes and inevitably set themselves up for future costly repairs. Always remember that bathroom remodeling is a marathon, not a sprint; otherwise, you risk being left with an unevenly crafted result.

Though there is a wide range of mistakes a person can make during a bath remodel, you should feel comforted by the fact that they can all be prevented with a little patience and forethought. Sometimes those can be in short supply when you just want to complete a passion project, but staying attentive and adaptable during the process will help you deliver a bathing oasis that you and your family can enjoy for years to come.

Interior Painting: How To Select The Best Paint Finish

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Flat – A non-reflective appearance that helps hide surface blemishes, making walls look smooth. This finish, which cleans easily with a damp sponge, is ideal for:

  • Adult bedrooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Formal living rooms
  • Ceilings

Satin – With its slight gloss, this finish offers the benefits of richer look. It works best for high-traffic areas such as:

  • Halls
  • Woodwork
  • Children’s bedrooms
  • Family rooms

Semi-Gloss – This lustrous, durable finish is perfect for areas that get cleaned frequently, such as:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Utility area
  • Closet doors
  • Trim

Gloss – This lustrous, durable finish is great for windows, doors and trim or any area that you would like to highlight and is excellent for:

  • Wood trim
  • Cabinets
  • Doors
  • Furniture

Pearl- A subtle shimmer midway between egg-shell and semi-gloss offering a lustrous finishing touch.

Flat Enamel- A non-reflective appearance that helps conceal surface imperfections while providing some washability.

Matte- This flat finish is great for hiding surface imperfections, while its angular shine helps make walls smooth and washable

Egg-Shell- Great to use for walls, egg-shell finish has a slight hint of shine and holds up better to cleaning.

Low-Luster- A smooth, subtle sheen that’s durable and easy to clean.

Medium-Luster- This higher-gloss finish is perfect for doors and trim.

How To Keep Your Hardwood Floors Looking Their Best

Proper floor care for your hardwoods

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Basic Hardwood Floor Maintenance

Basic hardwood floor cleaning starts with basic preventative maintenance. This can be started by routinely dusting the floor with a mop that has been treated with some sort of dusting agent. A dusting agent will assist with picking up dust, dirt, pet hair and other small particles that could potentially scratch your hardwood floor.

Every one to two weeks, it would be a good idea to use the floor brush attachment on your vacuum on an electric broom to do a more thorough cleaning of your floor. Be careful, however, of using a vacuum with a beater bar attachment. This beater bar could scratch the hardwood floor’s finish, which is something you absolutely do not want to do. If none of those things are available, a dry Swiffer or something like it will do the trick.

Even though doing a weekly or biweekly cleaning will get your ahead of the game, it will not prevent dirt, oil and grime build up that can happen over time. For these things, it will take a little extra elbow greens to keep those hardwood floors sparkling.

Make it look even better!

To give you hardwood floors that extra attention, use a wood cleaning product and follow the directions on how to dilute it. If you don’t dilute the cleaning product correctly, you could cause more harm to your floor than good.

Damp-mop the floor, making sure that the mop that you’re using is not oversaturated and does not leave standing water on your hardwood floor. Once you’ve applied the wood cleaner to the surface, follow up with a once over with the mop in clean water. Wipe up any excess liquid, and in areas that you can, turn on a ceiling fan or the air conditioner to speed up the drying process.

If you ever have any questions about a specific way to clean your hardwood floor, reach out to one of our trained hardwood floor professional and they can put you on the right track, as well as assessing any current needs you might have to keep your floor sparkling and bright.

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Kitchen Remodel

The average kitchen renovation runs between about $20,000-$50,000, depending on how serious an overhaul it is. But you really can get more bang for less buck if you take down a few tips from the experts on ways to save money during a kitchen remodel.

Have a Grand Plan

If you’re doing more than just painting the cabinets or replacing the countertops during your kitchen remodel, don’t try to save money out of the gate by not hiring a professional to create a design plan. “Hiring a designer saves you time and money in the long run, so you don’t make expensive errors,” says south Florida-based designer Meredith Marlow.

Be Prepared Before You Start

After coming up with a plan for your kitchen remodel, decide on absolutely everything you want in the kitchen, and have it on-site before a single inch of space sees the sledgehammer.  One of the factors that sends a budget spiraling out of control is a homeowner picking products during the renovation. If a product is backordered, the homeowner is often faced with a choice: pick a different item that is often pricier, or wait for their original choice, when their trades people may have other jobs scheduled and the homeowner may be charged extra for the work

Bright White Can Hide Outdated Cabinet Design

One of the biggest expenses in any kitchen renovation is new cabinets. If yours are in good shape, though, consider keeping them and just giving them a new look. A great solution to preserving your cabinets, but updaing the look is going bright white when painting cabinets in a kitchen remodel. White paint does wonders for outdated cabinets and can save you money. We recommend washing, then priming and painting cabinets with high-quality white semi-gloss. Adding new hardware will enhance the bright white effect.

Doors Conceal Outdated Cabinets

If your cabinets are too outdated to be salvaged even by the snazziest coat of paint, consider if they could be spruced up with some new doors. If the structure is sound, you don’t have to toss out the whole cabinet: just get good measurements and find a style of door you like. We offer cabinet refacing and have decades of experience. It’s a whole new look for a fraction of the price.

Cut Corners, Literally

Your backsplash may technically be functional and keep food and oils off the walls behind the stove, but let’s be honest: in a kitchen renovation, the backsplash is a style leader. It can be a cost driver, as well. Rather than turning the corners with your backsplash and carrying it all along the kitchen wall, just finish the tile where the walls meet. That ensures you have the tile where it’s most visually and functionally important. Then you can budget for some really mind-blowing tile in the area behind the sink or stove, and go budget in the other areas around it

Light It Up

Bringing in more and better lighting is a smart move in any renovation, but that’s especially true in the kitchen. Hang well-designed pendants for style and light, and make sure overhead lighting is bright and concentrated in areas where the cook will be working. Don’t forget the details: adding under-cabinet lighting won’t bust your budget but will make a big impact.

Keep Plumbing Where It Is

Another reason to work with a designer on your kitchen renovation: using the existing piping and utility layout will save you big bucks. It costs about $5,000 on average each time you move appliances like a dishwasher, sink or a gas stove.

They’ll Never Know It’s Remnant Stone

Granite and solid-surface counters don’t have to break your bank: We can go to granite supply yards and check out their remnants. Especially if you don’t have huge swaths of countertop to cover, you may find yourself a very good deal.

You Paid for It … Use It!

Don’t let the end pieces and remnants of your own materials go to waste either. The average project wastes between 5-15% of its material. If you’re conscientious, however, you can create high-end features like cutting boards from granite pieces or rollout inserts in cabinets from leftover lumber from cabinets, moldings and countertops.

Add Architectural Interest

You can get a high-end look with impact details small and large: try adding bun feet to free-standing cabinetry to give it a furniture-feel, or add some beadboard paneling to spruce up an island. Or you can get really creative with a focal point that is less expensive than mosaic tile but packs a big punch, like stacked stone on the back of your kitchen island.