February 20, 2013
As we approach warmer weather, it may be time to start thinking about creating and maintaining a healthy lawn. Although it’s still early for activities, planning your spring lawn care can start now. Here are some steps to take towards preparing your yard for spring.
Begin by using a rake to remove debris, sticks, and leaves. This will remove any accumulations of dead grass and loosen the surface of the soil, encouraging healthy air flow. Be sure to wait until the soil in your lawn has dried out for the most part before raking. Raking on a soggy surface can be detrimental to your grass.
Identify areas in your lawn with dead grass or weak grass growth. It is helpful to mix the grass seed with new, healthy soil before sprinkling in your lawn. Remember, of course, to water this area to help faster growth. Hydroseeding is also an option but can be costly. This would be more for a very large area where hand seeding isn’t an option.
Depending on the temperature outside, you may not need to fertilize if you did in the fall. This usually only needs to be done twice a year. If you fertilized last fall, wait until late April-May. If not, we recommend waiting until after the first three mowings.
It’s best to only water when your lawn needs it, and with a lot of water. If you water deep, the roots will extend deeper into the soil instead of staying at the top for only light watering. However, in the case of fresh grass seed, water this often and lightly. You only want to dampen the seeds and not wash them away. Also, keep in mind your grass type when it comes to watering.
By taking these steps to planning ahead for spring lawn care, you should find your lawn easy to maintain. Ready for an upgrade? Contact us for all of your landscaping needs.
February 1, 2013
Looking to install a laminate flooring on your own? Follow these eight simple steps.
- Get your laminate, prepare it for installation – Purchase about 10 percent more laminate flooring than needed because you’ll waste some just from cutting the pieces out. 48-72 hours before installation, you should stack the laminate flooring in your home flat on the floor. This will allow it to become assimilated to the temperature and humidity in your home to prevent mistakes.
- Clean and prepare your floor – You should clean the subfloor to remove dirt and debris. We have found nails from previous installations underneath the old lamination before. Make sure you remove all base molding (if you have any).
- Install the Vapor Barrier – Lay down the vapor barrier a row at a time. Read the instructions about whether or not you need to overlap the vapor barrier and some need to go up against each other.
- Trim the door jambs – make sure the new flooring is able to slide underneath the door jambs.
- Install first row of laminate – Lay the planks parallel to the longest wall. Install a 1/2″ spacer against the wall between the laminate so the floor is able to expand or contract without warping or buckling. The base molding will cover these spacers eventually. Place the spacers every foot or so along the wall.
- Install the rest of the flooring – Make sure the pieces of flooring fit together, leaving no gaps. The subsequent rows should have staggered joints to make sure the planks are not uniform (which can make them weaker, and look weird).
- Install the last plank – You will need to trim the last plank to have it fit. Measure the gap between the last plank and the wall. Trace the amount needed to be removed from the last plank to make a cut.
- Install the thresholds and base molding – Install thresholds where the end of the flooring meets doors. Remove the spacers from against the walls and install base moldings to cover up the gaps left for expansion.
When looking to make renovations to your home, give Total Renovation Group a call at (913) 451-7800 or contact us on our website,
December 10, 2012
Winter time provides great opportunities to give your house a new look. If you are hosting a party, you have the chance to impress your guests as they walk up to your door. From lights to wreaths, here are some of our favorite decoration tips for your front porch:
- Lights – Everyone’s favorite winter decoration is lights. You are sure to see houses decked in lights as you drive through your neighborhood. Wrapping them around trees, railings, windows and other fixtures around your house provides a great festive look. Check out our previous blog on Christmas lights for your home.
- Evergreens -Wreaths, garlands and Christmas trees. Evergreen provides the green during the white-out of winter. Wreaths are perfect for your front door. Garlands are perfect for wrapping around posts and railings. It is always nice to see a Christmas tree through the window of a house, as well.
- Poinsettia – Besides evergreen, poinsettias are the signature plant of Christmas time. It is best to keep the real poinsettias inside the home as they will not be able to handle the extreme cold temperatures. However, you can add fake poinsettias to your front porch decorations for an extra bit of color.
- Doormats – The doormats’ main use is to keep your guests from dragging in snow and dirt but it is also great to add a bit of decoration to your front porch!
- Candles – If you are planning on having guests over, lighting candles that have protection from the wind are a perfect addition to your front porch. Be careful that they are out of the way of dry evergreen!
If you are looking for ideas for your front porch or you need help decorating your home, call Total Renovation Group at (913) 451-7800 or contact us on our website,
November 16, 2012
One of the signature scenes of Winter are neighborhood full of houses that are lit up by Christmas lights. If you just became a homeowner or you had never thought about hanging lights before, it might be somewhat intimidating about the thought of hanging lights from your house. However, it is not as difficult as you might think.
Here are some tips to help you plan out your own Winter Wonderland:
- Evaluate your house – Go outside and analyze your house. Do you have a lot of trees or bushes around the house? Do you have a lot of stairs and railings? Can you easily access your roof or do you have a cantilever or overhang that could provide a place to hang lights without going on the roof? Also, you should evaluate your outdoor electricity access. You do not want to run a cord from inside to outside.
- Budget – If this is your first time ever hanging lights, you should consider making a budget so you do not overspend. Remember, these lights can be used for more than one winter. You can always buy more next year.
- Proper equipment– There are certain pieces of equipment that will help keep your house safe in case of an accident. An exterior Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a safety feature which will automatically shut off electricity if there is an electrical surge or short circuit. use 12-gage or 14-gage exterior extension cords with a ground (these have three prongs). Getting an automatic timer is crucial if you do not want to walk outside each night to shut them off (Crucial during those below-freezing nights). This will also help you save money.If you are planning on hanging lights from an elevated height, you should get a sturdy ladder. Make sure you are on steady ground, not on patches of ice or snow, and always have someone there to hold the bottom of the ladder. Only purchase lights that are rated for outdoor use only. It is also recommended to plug your lights in before you get up on a ladder to hang them. This will reduce frustration later on if they do not work.
- Here are the best places to install your lights and which types of lights work best in these locations:
- Bushes – Bushes provide a great place for lights as they should be relatively easy and safest to install. Instead of running lights around the whole bush, get the “net” style lights. This will save time during installation and when you are cleaning up your set-up.
- Trees – Wrap lights around the base of the tree and around branches. Circle around the base for a more attractive look (see below)
- Roof, porch or overhang – Icicle lights look great if properly spaced on a roof, porch or overhang.
- Stairs and railings – If you are decorating around a porch, using the railings around stairs is an attractive look. (See below for example)
Now that you have attempted your first Christmas house lighting, you can start planning on your project for next year. Soon enough, you’ll be Clark Griswold…
October 26, 2012
Fall offers one last chance to get renovations done before winter brings ice and snow. Here are the top five Fall “Do It Yourself” projects to get your house ready for winter
- Replace Drafty Windows – Fall is the perfect time to replace your windows. Replacing old windows will save you money on your electric or gas bill in the long run by keeping the cold air out and the heat inside. You will get an immediate return on investment and you will be able to track your savings based on your utility bills. DIYNetwork.com has great tips on replacing your windows, from choosing the type of window you want and budgeting tips.
- Clear your gutters – Autumn means falling leaves and falling leaves means clogged gutters. Clear your gutters as soon as most of the trees around the house have lost their leaves. A properly cleaned gutter will help prevent flooding after the snow melts from a big storm. After you are done cleaning the gutters, you would be best served to install a gutter cover.
- Replace your Air Filter – You will be spending a lot more time indoors with incoming winter weather. Make sure you replace your air filter to prevent allergens and germs from lingering inside your home. This is particularly helpful if your kids constantly get sick.If you do not have central air, you should consider purchasing an air purifier.
- Paint your living room’s walls – With the holiday season coming up, painting your walls can provide an ambiance that will make your winter more cheerful. Painting your walls in the winter time poses problems as the temperature may not properly dry the paint.
- Make a fire pit – If you don’t want to spend money on installing an outdoor fireplace, making a fire pit is an inexpensive alternative. You can go as inexpensive as digging a hole and placing rocks around it or you can make a stacked-stone fire-pit as a $200-450 solution. There’s nothing better than sitting around an outdoor fire on a cold Autumn evening with a group of friends. It will also give you any easy way to dispose of fallen branches in your lawn.
If any of these ideas appeal to you and you do not have the time or energy to complete the project, make sure to contact us. At Total Renovation Group, we strive to help better your place. Call us now to get your free estimate!
September 27, 2012
One of the biggest questions when undertaking a big remodeling project is whether or not it will be worth the investment. When the remodeling process interferes even more than usual with your everyday life, like with a kitchen remodel, that question is even more important.
Out of all remodeling projects, there is none that increases your home’s value more than a kitchen remodel. According toKitchens.com, the national average for return on investment for a kitchen remodel can range anywhere from almost 60 to almost 73 percent.
Minor Kitchen Remodels Have the Best ROI
For the budget-minded, it’s probably good news that, while all kitchen remodels offer a great ROI, minor, mid-range kitchen remodels — defined as “a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops” that receive cabinet refacing, raised-panel wood doors, drawers and hardware, new laminate countertops and vinyl flooring in updated colors and patterns, energy-efficient oven and stove, new mid-priced sink and faucet, new wall covering, and a new paint job — receive the best average ROI a year later. These remodels cost around $20,000 and can make a huge difference in how your kitchen looks.
Make the Most of Your Investment Dollars
The best way to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth is to work with a contractor you can trust. A good contractor — like the ones at Total Renovation Group — will help you find options that work within your budget to get you the most bang for your buck when it comes to your kitchen remodel. Choosing colors, patterns and designs that are to your taste but that will also appeal to future buyers is key in getting the most from your investment, and our contractors know how to help you do just that.
Kitchen Renovation with Total Renovation Group
If you’re ready to increase the value of your home by investing in a kitchen remodel, Total Renovation Group is here to serve you. We take pride in each and every one of the projects we take on, and you can view some photos of our work in our Project Gallery. We’d love to have a project manager call and give you a free, no-obligation estimate. You can learn more about our services on our website, or give us a call at 913-451-7800.
September 17, 2012
When you’re trying to sell your home in a market like the current one, you want to have every advantage you can get. One way to add value to your home — and appeal — is with renovations. But which ones are worth the money and the effort? Read on to find out.
Three Renovations That Add Value
It’s hard to balance pouring more money into your home when you’re looking to sell it, but there are certain projects that can increase the value.
Kitchen upgrades always catch the eye of people looking to buy homes. Whether you go all out and upgrade cabinets, add islands, custom cooktops and ovens and more or keep it simple with staining or painting the cabinets, updating the fixtures or replacing countertops that have seen better days, you’re sure to add value to your home.
Bathroom renovations can be a little easier than kitchen renovations because they’re generally more contained and less of a disruption to your everyday life. Similar to kitchen renovations, you can completely gut a bathroom and install a new custom designed shower or a Jacuzzi hot tub, or you can update the fixtures, replace cracked pedestals and outdated mirrors and lighting. You’ve got plenty of options, and isn’t it always a relief when you walk into the bathroom in someone’s home and find out it’s nice?
Replace Your Floors
Whether it’s your carpet that needs an update or linoleum that needs to be ripped out and replaced with something new, the options are nearly endless when it comes to updating your floors. If you have pets or active kids, carpets can get mucked up fast, but fresh new carpet, classic wood floors or stylish tile can really turn heads when it comes to adding value to your home and selling it.
Add Value to Your Home With Total Renovation Group
We take pride in each and every one of the projects we take on, and you can view some photos of our work in our Project Gallery. If you’ve got a home improvement project in mind, we’d love to have a project manager call and give you a free, no-obligation estimate. You can learn more about our services on our website, or give us a call at 913-451-7800.