The Painting Experts Explain How to Fix Painting Mistakes and Problems

Painting is undoubtedly one of the quickest and least expensive ways to transform your home. It can update an area, hide flaws, highlight architectural details and so much more. If you follow the 10 commandments of painting, you’re on the road to success. However, mistakes and problems do happen. If you encounter a hiccup, the painting experts explain how to fix it.

Blistering can be caused by heat.

Blistering can be caused by heat. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

The paint is blistering/bubbling  

Fortunately, this type of blister doesn’t hurt, but it can be painful to look at. “Paint blisters or bubbles occur when the paint film lifts from the underlying surface,” says Mike Mundwiller, Field Development Manager at Benjamin Moore.

So what causes a paint blister? “The loss of adhesion between the paint film and surface is usually caused by heat, moisture or a combination of both,” Mundwiller says. And it eventually leads to peeling. While it can be corrected, he says you need to figure out what’s causing the problem or it will occur again.

Moisture is another cause of blistering.

Moisture is another cause of blistering. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

How to fix blistering/bubbling paint

You can scrape and sand the blisters to remove them (if they don’t go down to the substrate). Once the area is smooth, Mundwiller says you should apply a coat of primer and then apply the paint. “However, you’ll need to find and remove the source of moisture if the blisters go down to the substrate.”

To stop paint from blistering or bubbling, Mundwiller says you should always start with a clean, dry surface. “Apply primer-sealer over any stains and give it time to dry completely,” he says. “Always make sure that the paint is completely dry before you expose the surface to moisture,” Mundwiller adds. He also recommends using (or installing) exhaust fans or vents in high-humidity areas. 

Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one.

Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

The paint is cracking or flaking

When you see a hairline crack, don’t ignore it. “Cracks in paint can start small, but will worsen over time if they are not fixed,” Mundwiller says. Cracks or flakes can be caused by a variety of issues, including not preparing the surface or applying oil-based paint over latex paint. “Also, if you use a cheap paint, it’s not going to adhere properly or be flexible,” Mundwiller says. Sometimes, the paint is old, or it’s being applied in the wrong environment and, therefore, is drying too quickly.

Extreme cracking, sometimes called ‘alligatoring,’ is caused when a second or third coat of paint is applied before the previous coat dries completely, or when the undercoat is incompatible with the finish coat,” he explains.

Always remove loose paint.

Always remove loose paint before repainting. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

How to fix cracked or flaking paint

You can use a wire brush or scraper to remove loose paint (if the cracking isn’t down to the substrate). “Then, sand the area to feather the edges, prime any bare spots and repaint the surface,” Mundwiller explains. You may need to use a filler if flaking happens in multiple layers of paint.

“If the cracking goes down to the substrate, remove all of the paint by scraping or using a heat gun, sand the surface until smooth and even, prime, and then repaint with a quality latex paint,” Mundwiller says.

For a perfect finish, use the right amount of paint.

For a perfect finish, use the right amount of paint. Image courtesy of PPG Paints.

The paint is spread too thin

Colors are powerful and that’s why your color choices are important. But it’s also important to use the proper techniques when painting. A common mistake is spreading paint too thin, according to Jenny Burroughs, PPG Paint Brand Senior Product Manager. “Always ensure that your brush is evenly covered but not soaking wet, and follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions for application,” she says.

Touch up paint should be seamless.

Touch up paint should be seamless. Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams.

Touch up mistakes

Sometimes, you don’t need to paint a whole room, you just want to touch up a small area. “It’s not uncommon to see a noticeable difference in appearance between the original finish and the touched-up areas,” according to Mark Eichelberger, Senior Product Manager of Architectural Paint at Sherwin-Williams.

Always clean the surface before applying touch-up paint.

Always clean the surface before applying touch-up paint. Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams.

“To avoid this, I recommend trying to clean marks with a soft sponge and liquid detergent before touching up,” he says. If it’s possible, he also recommends using the original batch of paint and a similar applicator to the one used in the original job.

 

New boards must be properly cured.

New boards must be properly cured. Image: BondRocketImage/Shutterstock

Deck staining issues

Interior paint isn’t the only place you can run into issues, either. Staining a newly replaced deck can produce undesirable results. “People do not allow for proper curing time. Once cured, they also don’t know that they have to remove the mill glaze prior to staining,” says Michael Nungesser, Owner of Five Star Painting of Central Georgia and Fayette/Coweta.

“Allow 30 to 60 days for new boards to cure,” Nungesser advises. He says that most homeowners aren’t aware that the new decking has a mill glaze (a glossy film that forms on the deck). The glaze can be removed with a wood deck cleaner, but Nungesser says this is another area prone to mistakes. “People often wash a deck with bleach and don’t neutralize the bleach with a wash prior to staining.” He also warns against using a pressure washer since it will impregnate the wood with water. For the best finish, he says to “allow the deck to dry to 20% moisture, and then apply two new coats of stain.”

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These are the Most Popular Rooms to Remodel – And the Cost for Each

A new report by Houzz reveals that kitchen renovations are still the most popular remodel – and also the most expensive. In 2018, the kitchen was the top interior room renovation among homeowners who renovated last year.

The report also notes that costs are rising. “Last year’s 10 percent increase in tariffs on imported building materials is clearly hitting consumer pockets in areas such as kitchens and bathroom remodels that are heavily dependent on imports of cabinetry, countertops, ceramic tile, plumbing fixtures and vinyl flooring from China,” Nino Sitchinava, Houzz’s principal economist, tells Freshome. “We expect similar effects to take place in 2019.”

Below, Freshome breaks down the most popular rooms to remodel, along with Houzz’s median cost data and the percentages of homeowners who did a remodel vs. an addition.

Homeowners are recreating designer kitchens.

Homeowners are recreating designer kitchens. ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Kitchen: $14,000

28% remodel/30% addition

Kitchens remained the most popular and most expensive room to renovate in 2018. In fact, the median spend on kitchen renovations jumped 27 percent in 2018, following a 10 percent increase in 2017,” Sitchinava says.

Some homeowners are looking for ways to expose concrete walls in their home, but Josu Gaubeka, President of La Cuisine Appliances also recommends concrete countertops in the kitchen. “Concrete is definitely in when it comes to kitchens. Even though marble and quartz countertops will never go out of style, what is currently trending is the industrial touch that cement adds to the designs.”

There’s plenty of room in this Kitchenaid Built-in French Door Refrigerator.

There’s plenty of room in this Kitchenaid Built-in French Door Refrigerator. Image courtesy of La Cuisine Appliances.

No matter the style of kitchen that you have, from the most elaborate in terms of sophistication to the simplest and utilitarian, if you have a stylish appliance in the kitchen, the appliance will certainly make the difference,” Gaubeka says.

Another trend that Gaubeka has observed is having everything out in the open. “Obviously, kitchens with open shelves or storage areas require a lot of order, but it’s also a simpler way to optimize time in the kitchen, since everything is on display.”

The 2019 faucet trends include vintage styles. “Even though the use of vintage faucets is a matter of taste, they are frequently found in many current kitchen designs. It’s part of a new country chic trend that recently became very popular, and works well with farmhouse styles, Gaubeka says.

Guests are no longer relegated to small powder rooms.

Guests are no longer relegated to small powder rooms. Image:Krista Abel/Shutterstock

Guest/other bathroom: $3,500

25% remodel/27% addition

“Median spend on guest bathroom remodels, the most popular type of bathroom to renovate, grew by 17 percent,” says Sitchinava.

If you’re remodeling your home for resale, the best return on your investment will come from focusing on bathrooms and kitchens, according to Jonathan Self, a realtor at Center Coast Realty in Chicago. “Using a reputable designer can be a smart money saving – and possibly money making – move. Also, depending on how large the scope of work, my pro tip is to factor in the cost for a project manager.”

Even if you have a general contractor and a great designer, Self warns that neither position is really tasked for project management. “Both of them end up getting roped into the job of project managing, and you end up adding more chaos to a chaotic process.”

Bathrooms recreate spa experiences.

Bathrooms recreate spa experiences. Image: Beyond Time/Shutterstock

Master bathroom: $8,000

22% remodel/23% addition

“Median spend on master bathroom remodels, the third most popular room to renovate, grew by 14 percent,” says Sitchinava. Homeowners want spa-styled bathrooms with natural light, open showers, and bathtubs that make you want to soak for hours.

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, transitional bathrooms are the most popular design style. It’s a mix of traditional and contemporary styles, with clean lines.

Homeowners are also incorporating some of the 2019 bathroom technology trends, including Wi-Fi/cloud-based digital showers with personal presets to control the temperature, outlets, and shower time. Intelligent toilets with personalized cleaning and dry functions, and a heated seat, can help to create the ultimate master bathroom.

Living areas can recreate the elegance of hotel suites.

Living areas can recreate the elegance of hotel suites. Image: Pai/Shutterstock

Living/family room: $3,400

21% remodel/23% addition

Whether a formal living room or a more casual living/family room where everyone – including the family’s pets – can feel right at home, homeowners are updating these spaces. Open floorplans that create clean sightlines to the kitchen are also popular for entertaining and keeping an eye on the kids.

Bedrooms are luxurious and comfy.

Bedrooms are luxurious and comfy. Image: Beyond Time/Shutterstock

Master bedroom: $2,000

14% remodel/15% addition

Master bedroom remodels continue to be popular as homeowners strive to create a sanctuary. Sometimes, this entails a master suite addition. Other times, it involves remodeling the area, and may include knocking down walls to open up the room. This allows homeowners to create an area for lounging on a sofa or large chairs.  Other upgrades include painting the walls, ceiling, and trim, adding a ceiling fan and lighting, and changing out the flooring.

Closets are as glamorous as bedrooms.

Closets are as glamorous as bedrooms. Image courtesy of Ornare

Closet: $700

13% remodel/15% addition

Closets, in general, and walk-in closets, in particular, are increasing in popularity, according to Claudio Faria, Director of Ornare USA, which offers luxury kitchen, baths, closets and cabinetry. In fact, he says he’s seeing the highest rise in closet orders. “People are putting more importance into them as the home for all their most valuable possessions. Many are looking for a more retail/boutique design with clear glass doors to showcase their favorite items,” Faria says.

“Others are looking for new solutions for more efficient storage with a more glamorous experience for themselves. That might include dedicating an entire room to also work as a dressing lounge or integrating it with the master bedroom to make it part of the design.”

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Porthole Windows: They’re Not Just for Ships and Boats

Porthole windows are standard on ships and boats. However, they’re now showing up in residential homes. Just as garage doors aren’t just for garages anymore, porthole windows are being used in other applications. And since porthole windows are available in a variety of materials and sizes, they can add a completely unique touch to your house (from both the interior and exterior). But, how do you know if a porthole window is right for your home?

Advantages of a Porthole Window

Porthole window perfect for stargazing

This porthole window is perfect for stargazing. Image: Relentless_one/Getty Images

“Porthole windows have the ability to turn a seemingly plain room anywhere in the home into a unique space,” according to Brad Roberson, president of Glass Doctor. He says bathrooms are a popular location. “Why should bathrooms be boring? A porthole window can enhance even the simplest spaces, and that includes bathrooms,” Roberson says.  “And as a bonus, it can also give the nautical illusion of being on a cruise, and who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on vacation?”

Porthole window artwork

A porthole window can also serve as artwork. Image: asbe/Getty Images

Porthole windows can also be used to line the walls of a staircase, according to Roberson. “Using these rounded windows there can help not only draw in light when transitioning levels but also create the illusion of more space,” Roberson says.

Another fun place for them is in the ceiling. “We all have seen a skylight, but circular windows in the ceiling can create a fun illusion of the sun when the light shines through.” Roberson says.

Porthole window above the door

When the curtains are drawn, this porthole window takes center stage. Image: Astronaut Image/Getty Images

Many homeowners use porthole windows as artwork.  “Depending on your home’s scenery, whether it’s overlooking a beautiful beach or lake or the city lights, a large circular window can be thought of as a piece of artwork and a focal point in any room, particularly a living room.” Besides bathrooms, attics and loft areas, porthole windows are also being used in other areas of the home, and there are even doors with porthole windows in them.

Porthole bunkroom

This bunkroom porthole window helps to create a nautical feeling. Image courtesy of Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Dan Nelson, principal at Designs Northwest Architects, has installed porthole windows in several projects. In the photo above, Nelson installed a porthole window in this bunk room. Due to the room’s design, which includes an arched ceiling, a porthole window works well.

Porthole home gym

Portholes add a stylish touch to this home gym. Image courtesy of Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Nelson also installed a series of porthole windows in this exercise room. “We use porthole windows quite a bit in our work because we specialize in waterfront residences,” he explains. “Porthole windows fit naturally into the nautical theme of many of our homes.”

Disadvantages of a Porthole Window

Porthole complements design

The porthole complements this home’s design. Image courtesy of Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

However, there are some factors homeowners should consider before installing porthole windows. “I think porthole style windows are fine as long as a home owner is just using them for aesthetic purposes,” according to Nathan Outlaw, president at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA.

“They can look great with an appropriately themed room or home but don’t serve much of a purpose,” Outlaws explains.” The light brought in is minimal, they can’t let as much breeze in.” He says another issue is that they don’t serve as egress windows. In the event of an emergency (like a fire), you need a window large enough, and placed low enough, to crawl through. If you’re considering a porthole window, make sure that you have at least one other larger window in the room.

This metal porthole fits perfectly in the metal wall. Image courtesy of Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

“There is also the problem of making them look good in relation to the outside of the home, Outlaw says. “Many times they look great in the room they are placed but mismatch the exterior architectural style.” That’s not a problem for the well-designed homes in the two photos immediately above, but it is something to consider.

Resale Value

Porthole window light and air

Porthole windows can be designed to let in a cool breeze. Image: BenAkiba/Getty Images

Porthole windows are trendy, but will they affect your home’s resale value or not?

“I do think that buyers may see the window type as an obstacle when they start to think about reselling in the future,” says Nicole Durosko of Warburg Realty.

“Anything that a homeowner does that is too specific, no matter how trendy or cute, will narrow the audience of potential buyers,” warns Steven Gottlieb of Warburg Realty. “If a potential buyer doesn’t want a porthole window, it adds to the number of ‘renovation tasks.’” He believes that it won’t widen the potential buying audience, but says it could narrow the field of buyers.

Porthole windows focal point.

Porthole windows can be a focal point. Image: numismarty/Getty Images

And Karen Kostiw of Warburg Realty believes a porthole window could be a distraction, and it might turn off a buyer. “Today’s buyers are looking for large windows and lots of light,” she says. However, if there are other windows that provide natural light, it probably won’t be a deal-breaker. And in waterfront homes, it could actually be a selling point.

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What is a Transitional Kitchen?

Transitional is the most popular kitchen design in the National Kitchen + Bath Association’s 2019 kitchen design trends. In fact, 65% of kitchens designed in the past year were transitional, more than double the kitchens that were traditional, contemporary or farmhouse, according to Tricia Zack, Market Research Analyst at the NKBA.

Why are transitional kitchens so popular? And, perhaps more importantly, would this style fit your design aesthetic? Freshome asked Zack and John Starck, CEO and Owner of Showcase Kitchens in Manhasset, NY, to explain the features that define a transitional kitchen.

Clean, light and airy.

Clean, light and airy. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Clean and relaxed

“Transitional design offers the best of both worlds, blending the textures of traditional with the sleekness of contemporary design,” says Starck. “For kitchens, think geometric, clean and practical lines for the countertops, cabinetry, crown molding and other crafted elements.”

Starck says non-fussy is a key element of transitional kitchens. “Never would you include corbels or ornate appliques or other heavily decorative features typical of traditional kitchens,” he explains.

Floor to ceiling subway tiles.

Floor-to-ceiling subway tiles. Image courtesy of Showcase Kitchens.

Colors

Since transitional kitchens often open to the living area, designers are opting for smooth features that blend in. What’s more, they often aim to achieve a light and airy effect. “Designers report using clean colors such as whites, grays, beiges, bones and blues,” Zack says. Those are good choices for now — and when homeowners decide to sell since neutral colors appeal to buyers.

Cabinet drawers in abundance.

Cabinet drawers in abundance. Image courtesy of Showcase Kitchens.

Cabinets

In transitional kitchens, cabinets are usually a light or medium color in painted wood, wood grain or mixed materials. “Our report reveals that designers are using integrated storage with recessed panels, and doors are not as prevalent as drawers,” Zack says. Matte decorative hardware or integrated hardware are also traits of this design style.

Updraft hoods are a staple of transitional kitchens.

Updraft hoods are a staple of transitional kitchens. Image courtesy of Showcase Kitchens.

Appliances

“White kitchens with stainless steel appliances are still king — with frequently contrasting island and perimeter cabinetry,” explains Starck. Also, expect to find fully-integrated French-door refrigerators in transitional kitchens. “Designers have told us there will either be an induction cooktop along with a wall oven and microwave, or a dual-fuel or gas range,” Zack says. Updraft hoods and standard-door dishwashers are other staples in this design.

Countertops with waterfall edges. I

Countertops with waterfall edges. Image: C Wood Photography/Shutterstock

Countertops and backsplashes

“Marble countertops and even marble backsplashes work beautifully for transitional kitchens,” Starck says. Other popular features that define transitional kitchens include quartz and quartzite. “Designers say countertops are thick (1¼ inch) and are either traditional or they have waterfall edges,” Zack explains.

“Subway tile for backsplashes is still a favorite, but mosaics and glass tile in a variety of sizes work great, too,” Starck explains.

The Elkay Circuit Chef Sink. Image courtesy of Elkay.

Sinks and faucets

Popular sinks styles among designers include stainless steel single bowl or apron sinks,” Zack says.

The Moen One-Handle Pulldown Faucet. Image courtesy of Moen.

Among faucets, brushed stainless steel finishes reign; matte, polished or satin finishes are also popular. However, there is no preference regarding faucet functionality. “Designers are selecting faucets that are motion-controlled, touch or even manual,” she says.

Dark wood floors provide contrast.

Dark wood floors provide contrast. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Flooring and lighting

“The flooring can be either tile or wood, typically high gloss, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Starck. Designers are using both hardwood and engineered wood plank, continuing the debate on using hardwood floors in kitchens and bathrooms. “The various types of large-format tile used in transitional kitchens include ceramic, porcelain and stone,” Zack says. “Some designers are also using luxury vinyl.”

Designers are incorporating a variety of lighting options in transitional kitchens. “This includes recessed lights and pendants and dimmer and traditional switches,” Zack says. Undercabinet lighting and interior cabinet lighting are also features of this kitchen style. And designers are more frequently adding motion sensors and keypads.

“Lighting, seating and hardware are areas where our clients have fun,” Starck says. “Contemporary, mid-century modern, industrial, glam and even traditional elements can blend successfully into a transitional kitchen.”

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Incorporating Dome Ceilings in Your Home’s Design

A dome ceiling adds beauty and architectural interest, while making the room look larger and more spacious.  Whether it is a recessed ceiling dome, a surface mount ceiling dome, or a combination of the two, this is one design element that becomes the obvious focus point in the room. Our team of experts reveal what you need to know if you’re considering a dome ceiling in your home

Incorporating Dome Ceilings

Dome Garret Michael Eakin

This dome ceiling brings the outdoors inside. Image courtesy of Garret Michael Eakin Architect

“A dome ceiling is classical by nature and symmetrical by design,” according to Garret Eakin of Garret Eakin Architect in Chicago, IL. “If you like the drama of symmetry, a domed ceiling is for you.”

This photo above shows one of Eakin’s dome ceiling projects. “We employed the form with the intent to integrate clear story windows above the countertops, washing the space with natural and artificial light,” he explains. “A dome integrates a functional roof with the aesthetics of great natural light.”

Dome ceiling define dining area

The dome ceiling helps to define the eating area in this open concept home. Image: James Brey/Getty Images

Domed ceilings are popular in entryways and living and dining areas, but they can also be used in other locations. “I like a domed ceiling above a breakfast nook or even a small reading room off the master bedroom,” says Nathan Outlaw, president at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA.

Dome ceiling entrance

The dome ceiling is the focal point in this grand entrance. Image: John M Lund Photography/Getty Images

When used in an entryway, Outlaw says it’s important to think about the type of impression you’re trying to make. “I think that they make a cool impression in a front entry, but can be off putting with how grand they feel,” Outlaw says. “You want a home to feel inviting and an ill placed dome ceiling could come across as pretentious.”

“A dome ceiling can take more planning in the construction and design and will take skilled tradesmen to pull off correctly,” Outlaw says. “If a homeowner wants a dome ceiling, I would suggest looking for a contractor who has done one before and to ask to see – in person – an example of their work.”

Dome center

The dome opens the lid of the ceiling in this room. Image courtesy of Leslie Saul.

“Domes add a sense of space and a sense of place to a room,” according to Leslie Saul of Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Design in Cambridge, MA. “They add space because the higher ceiling opens up the lid of the ceiling,” she says. “They add place because the dome gives a centering, an identity, and a sense of comfort to those who sit or stand under it.” The photo above is of one of Saul’s dome ceiling designs.

Dome ceiling with handpainted details

Dome ceiling with handpainted details. Image: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/Getty Images

“A domed or rounded ceiling detail is a great custom feature that will set your room apart from others,” according to Terry Southwick of Southwick Construction in North Hampton, NH. “A foyer, over a dining table, or an office are the best applications in my opinion,” she says. “You can keep it light and white, or paint it with sky colors, or embellish with custom paint depending on your decor.”

Dome ceiling and chandelier

This dome design allows the chandelier to be several inches higher. Image courtesy of Southwick Construction

The photo above is one of Southwick’s dome designs. “A dome ceiling is really a statement feature that can set off a room – with a lighting fixture in the center,” Southwick says. “With LED lighting around the perimeter, it can make a great impression or be a subtle classic detail to your home,” she explains. “It is a specialty feature, and obviously adds some cost to your project, but should be reasonable with a good contractor.”

Dome Ceiling Kits

Small dome ceiling

Dome ceilings don’t have to be large. Image: TimAbramowitz/Getty Images

“There are kits available that can be mounted in the ceiling and trimmed out and painted,” Southwick says. “The nicest way would be to custom frame and plaster in with the addition of crown mouldings to finish off the entire room.” Archways & Ceilings is one company that makes dome ceiling kits. The company provides instructions on how to measure for a dome kit and determine if you want a light ring. The dome ceiling ships in boxes, and can arrive in 3 to 10 business days.

Resale Value

Dome ceiling sunlight

This dome ceiling creates a burst of sunlight. Image: Hoxton-Martin Barraud/Getty Images

If you incorporate a dome ceiling, how will it affect your home’s resale value? Will home buyers share your love of this unique design element?

“Dome ceilings should not be confined to museums, according to Nicole Durosko of Warburg Realty. “When found in a New York City apartment, an elaborate, classical charm is automatically added to the home.” But she admits that it’s not being asked for by popular demand.

Karen Kostiw of Warburg Realty doesn’t think that dome ceilings are that popular in large, urban areas like New York City – at least not among her clients – but she says they’re very popular in homes commutable to the City.  “Buyers outside of the city like architecturally-designed ceilings in the master bedroom and great room,” Kostiw says. “You’re also likely to see this type of ceiling in dining and living rooms.

Dome ceiling ornate

The dome ceiling complements this ornately designed and decorated room. Image: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/GettyImages

However, Howard Margolis of Douglas Elliman says it’s hard to accurately predict which homebuyers will like this style or not. “When it comes to dome ceilings, it depends on an individual’s personal taste and the existing style of their residence,” he says. “I find dome ceilings more often on Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue homes.” He says they’re most likely to be found in the entry foyer or rotunda. “But in general, I think they are a bit dated,” he concludes.

 

 

 

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Should You Rebuild After a Tornado?

The U.S. has more tornadoes than any other country in the world. According to the NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, there were 555 preliminary tornado reports just in the month of May. (Note: it takes several months to confirm preliminary tornadoes.) These storms have the potential to rip off roofs and doors, shatter windows, fell trees, and cause significant structural damage – including flattening a building. If a tornado damages your home, should you rebuild or move to another area?

There are several factors that could affect your decision.

You can also make upgrades while making repairs.

You can also make upgrades while making repairs. Image: Franck Boston/Shutterstock

Level of damage

Sometimes, homes are completely destroyed and must be rebuilt from the ground up. “However, in many cases, the entire structure does not need to be rebuilt,” says Andy Lindus, COO at Lindus Construction in Baldwin WI. “Depending on the quality of the home build and the material used, it is frequent to find that homes are primarily in need of the replacement of exterior features.”

Lindus defines these as repairs to the roof, gutters, windows, and decks. “At times, interior drywall repair may be necessary due to impact from large debris hitting a home during a tornado.”

His company has been in western Wisconsin and Minneapolis/St Paul for 40 years, and Lindus says most homeowners who experience tornado damage opt to make home repairs and continue living in the same space.  “In many cases, homeowners use a severe storm as an opportunity to make additional upgrades to their home that they had been contemplating, but had not yet opted to do.”

To accurately determine how much damage the house as sustained, Robert Himmaugh, manager at Acadian Windows and Siding, in Kenner, LA,  recommends having a registered design engineer assess the damage to see whether it can be rebuilt or if it’s better to move on.

If it can be rebuilt, the next step involves your insurance.

Your home may be uninhabitable.

Your home may be uninhabitable for a while. Image: J Bicking/Shutterstock

Insurance

Your insurance coverage may play a significant role in whether you rebuild or move on. Heather Sims at Ebby Halliday Realtors in Dallas TX, helps buyers purchase fixer-uppers, and she says there are 2 essential insurance questions that need to be answered. “Do you have enough insurance to rebuild your home to the standard that you would want? If this answer is yes, then you have the financial freedom to make decisions without too much financial concern.” In this scenario, Sims agrees with Himmaugh that you could rebuild the home and make it even better than before.

However, if you don’t have enough insurance to rebuild to the pre-tornado level, Sims has another question. “Do you have enough insurance to sell the remainder of the property, take the insurance money, and then rebuild or buy a home elsewhere with those combined funds?” Again, if the answer if ‘yes,’ she says you have more freedom to decide. But if the answer is ‘no,’ Sims says rebuilding is probably your best choice. Keep in mind that unlike buying a fixer-upper, you won’t be fixing the home at your own pace. You’ll need to get it to a livable status in a short period of time.

Not all storms are covered by insurance.

Not all storms are covered by insurance. Image: Terry Alexander/Shutterstock

Coverage and cash settlements

According to Stefan Tirschler, Product + Underwriting Manager at Square One Insurance Services, in Vancouver BC, which specializes in home and renters insurance in Canada and the U.S., you should always select a limit of coverage that will be sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding your home after a total loss.

“Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover damage caused by wind. However, most home insurance policies don’t include coverage for inland or coastal flooding,” Tirschler explains. “If you live in a region where flooding may occur, it’s important to purchase a flood insurance policy.”

Your mortgage payments are still due after a tornado.

Your mortgage payments are still due after a tornado. Image: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock

Also, if you’re considering accepting a cash settlement from your insurance provider, Tirschler says it’s important to carefully consider how much you’ll receive. “If you choose to ‘cash out’ instead of rebuilding the home, many home insurance providers will offer a settlement equivalent to the value of your home less depreciation, which can vary significantly depending on the age and condition of your home.” As a result, he says you might receive far less in a cash settlement than you would if you rebuilt the home instead.

And here’s something else to consider: “The mortgage company doesn’t absolve you from the debt because the home is destroyed,” warns Christi Houser, agency manager with Country Financial in Clackamas, OR. “You will need to continue to pay your mortgage even if your home is uninhabitable.” Fortunately most policies include a benefit for additional living expenses, and Houser says this will cover the cost of a place to live while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

“This coverage generally includes the extra cost of other living expenses -such as eating out at restaurants or having laundry done – that you would not have incurred had you not had the covered loss. Insurance is designed to make you whole again,” Houser says.

Don’t make rash decisions.

Don’t make rash decisions. Image: Vizual Studio/Shutterstock

Emotional considerations

But level of damage and insurance aren’t the only factors that Sims believes you should consider. There are also emotional considerations. “Do you have time to avoid making a quick decision? This would be the case if you have insurance that provides money for you to rent a living space somewhere while you decide what to do.” Your house is a safe haven, and when it’s been damaged in a storm, you need time to absorb that emotional impact. Sims says this is an important step before making a final decision regarding rebuilding or walking away.

“What do you want in your core?” Sims says this is what she also asks buyers when they walk into a home.  “If it’s ‘the one’ for you, there will be an immediate gut feeling and sense of belonging.  “Will you be able to feel safe, secure, and ultimately happy in the same location and home, or is it best for your emotional health to walk away and make your home in another space that doesn’t have any sort of negative feelings attached to it?”

Understand all of the costs. Image: Vizual Studio/Shutterstock

Understand all of the costs. Image: Vizual Studio/Shutterstock

Next steps

If you decide to rebuild, and you’ve received estimates from your insurance company, Himmaugh says there are other steps you also need to take. For example, building code upgrades should be reviewed. “Don’t go into a project blindly and expect to stay in your budget. Talk with your local building department, and contractors so you can properly plan before you consider rebuilding.”

The right contractor makes all the difference.

The right contractor makes all the difference. Image: Pu kibin/Shutterstock

Choosing a contractor

“It’s important that you choose a contractor you trust because when rebuilding your home, you, the contractor, and the insurance company will all have to work together,” Himmaugh says.

“The cost of building materials can become expensive, so you’ll want to talk with both your contractor and insurance company to see what will be covered in your policy.” For example, if your roof has completely caved in, he says the amount of money you’ll need to fix it often isn’t worth the amount you’ll get in coverage.  “Talk to your contractor and assess the damages to see if you can save more money by moving on to a new home.”

The post Should You Rebuild After a Tornado? appeared first on Freshome.com.

Which DIY Projects are Most Likely to Go Over Budget and Why?

While homeowners typically take on DIY projects to save money, it turns out that many of them are breaking their fixer-upper budgets and spending much more than they planned, according to a recent survey by Porch. While 5% of homeowners finished their fixer-upper projects under budget, and 52% finished on budget, 44% went over budget.  And the homeowners who went over budget, spent, on average, 38% more than planned.

“One of the most common issues that can affect all of these projects is not understanding what your budget really is before you begin,” says Mick Lynch, Senior Vice President of Installations at Power Home Remodeling in Chester, PA. “It’s so important to set a proper budget and identify what you really need and how much those items actually cost before you start your work.”

In addition to having an unrealistic budget, sometimes, unexpected problems occur. The highest percentage of survey respondents named these as the projects in which they went over budget.

New HVAC: 54%

There’s no one-size-fits-all HVAC. Image: John Royal/Shutterstock

There’s no one-size-fits-all HVAC. Image: John Royal/Shutterstock

The size of your house plays a role in the cost of installing a new HVAC. Homeowners often underestimate how many BTUs they’ll need to cool the house. Ductwork is another area that can increase costs. Yet another factor is the type of HVAC that’s installed. Some brands are (relatively) inexpensive, while other brands cost significantly more. In addition, installation costs vary by company. That’s why your HVAC budget shouldn’t be based on how much a co-worker or family friend paid for their system.

However, Nathan Outlaw, President of Onvico, a construction company in Thomasville, GA, says it’s quite possible to stay under budget. “You need to find a good company, get a firm proposal, and use a contract,” Outlaw advises.

Plumbing: 52%

Plumbing components often need to be replaced. Image:

Plumbing components often need to be replaced. Image: OlegDoroshin Shutterstock

 “Plumbing can go over budget during repairs or remodels when issues with existing lines are found.  Sometimes old pipes start falling apart or can’t be used anymore and need to be replaced,” says Outlaw.

Homeowners might encounter another problem when they decide to move plumbing components around. For example, Audrey Monell, President of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and AC in Phoenix, AZ, believes that you should think carefully before moving your shower. “While it will improve the overall appearance and layout of the bathroom, it will create more work and expense,” she warns. “That is because you have to move the shower drain as well, which can become a major plumbing project. If the drain is incorrectly installed or sealed, you run the risk of allowing sewer gases into your home – a serious health hazard.” Even if you’re only moving it a short distance, Monell says you will probably need to have new pipes installed or you might have serious water damage down the road.

Basement: 52%

Basements are often dark and cold.

Basements are often dark and cold. Image: David Papa/Shutterstock

If you’re thinking about transforming your basement, you need to be clear on the goal of the space “If you’re remodeling it to be a fun space to hang out, that’s one project. But if you’re trying to create a entertainment lounge with a home theatre, that’s a completely different project which will require a different scope of work, and drastically increase your budget,” Lynch says.

Also, sometimes, homeowners don’t consider that the basement will need to be heated. “Physically heating a cool basement is a bigger task, as it usually requires infrastructure improvements to be made to the space, including the addition of ductwork or a heat source,” according to Marla Mock, VP of Operations at Air Serv Heating & Air Conditioning. She says you may need additional heat vents, a heated floor, or a basement-specific heating option. “But be advised that an electric space heater is not an ideal everyday solution.” Mock explains.

Bathrooms: 51%

Trendy bathrooms can bust your budget.

Trendy bathrooms can bust your budget. Image Flow/Shutterstock

“Bathrooms can frequently be affected by the ‘Pinterest Diet,’ in which homeowners begin shopping around and decide they must have what they see on imageboards,” Outlaw says. “This can turn stock vanities into custom built pieces, simple tile into intricate designs, and solid walls into glass.”

Lynch agrees, and says his customers get really excited when picking out items for the bathroom. “It’s fun for them to do a brief walkthrough in a home improvement store and establish their budgets based on the products they see in the store.” But then, he says they go home, do more research, and decide to start swapping out light fixtures, sinks, etc.  “Now, they find their overall total has skyrocketed, but at this point they’ve become attached to those new features and are now committed to them.”

New Appliances: 51%

High-end appliances have end-end prices.

High-end appliances have end-end prices. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

The 2019 kitchen design trends can can provide inspiration – but sometimes, they also temp homeowners to spend more than they should. “Appliances generally go over budget when a homeowner goes shopping and decides they need the latest and greatest features – like maybe sending a tweet from the fridge,” Outlaw explains.

Another problem can occur when homeowners try to save money by shopping online for their own appliances. “If the appliances end up not working in the space, that’s wasted money,” warns Larry Greene, President of Case Design/Remodeling in Carmel, IN.  “It could be helpful to clue in a remodeling firm for this step, as they’ll have helpful connections with local suppliers, saving you money on shipping and time if returns or exchanges need to be made.” In addition, Greene says a professional would be aware of common sizing mistakes and able to assist homeowners in comparing materials. 

Roof: 50%

Your roof could be hiding numerous problems.

Your roof could be hiding numerous problems. Image: Karamysh/Shutterstock

It’s hard to guess what’s hiding under your roof, and Outlaw says that’s why roofing projects tend to go over budget. “If water has been leaking through, there could be a lot of plywood to replace. Improperly installed crickets can lead to water getting behind chimneys. Roofs become expensive when they become framing jobs,” he says.

Also, this is another case in which DIY efforts may be counterproductive. “Last year, we completed nearly 18,000 roofing installations, and I found time after time that homeowners first tried to complete the job themselves,” Lynch says. “But they quickly realized that they didn’t have the knowledge — or the proper tools — to finish the job, and needed to bring in professional reinforcement.”

The post Which DIY Projects are Most Likely to Go Over Budget and Why? appeared first on Freshome.com.

DIY Disagreements: These Home Improvement Projects are Most Likely to Cause Fights With Your Significant Other

A recent survey by Porch reveals that DIY projects can cause disagreements among couples (to put it mildly), and some of these arguments can get quite heated. Whether DIYers are married or in another stage of the relationship, fights among couples are pretty common during a DIY project. Sometimes they fight over whether the other person made a mistake or not. They also fight over the direction or the duration of the project, the cost, or the final result.

As a general rule, it’s important for couples not to bite off more than they can chew – and that’s advice for the budget and the work, according to Michael DiMartino, Senior Vice President of Installations at Power Home Remodeling in Chester, PA.

Some DIY projects can cause stress, mistakes, and arguments. Image: Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

“This is an area where I see couples struggle a lot during the remodeling process, both DIY and professional,” he says. “Oftentimes homeowners will choose to DIY a project because they think it’ll save them money. But if they take on too much, too fast, it can become overwhelming,” Di Martino says.

“Especially with older homes, I recommend breaking down the long list of remodeling jobs to do into smaller ones, thinking carefully about what can be accomplished in the next three months, six months and twelve months,” he says. “Prioritize any time-sensitive projects — big or small — first.” In fact, when buying a fixer-upper, know where to draw the line before it turns into a money pit.

Below are the DIY projects most likely to cause disagreements and the percentage of survey respondents who admitted they did indeed fight either before, during, or after, the project. In addition to DiMartino, Freshome also asked a few experts to weigh in on why these projects could lead to complications – and arguments.

There’s no room for mistakes when dealing with electrical wiring. Image:

There’s no room for mistakes when dealing with electrical wiring. Image: Sturti/Getty Images

Electrical wiring or rewiring: 43.6%

Our experts are in agreement that the potential for serious errors outweighs any money that might be saved. “I always recommend that people avoid doing DIY electrical work because the consequences of a poorly done job can be as simple as a light not working or as extreme as a hidden fire source,” warns Nathan Outlaw, President of Onvico, a construction company in Thomasville, GA.

It might look like a simple project, but Mark Scott, President of Mark IV Builders, which builds luxury homes in Bethesda, MD and Washington, DC., warns that there are more than a handful of mistakes you could make when taking on an electrical project. “Not only is it unsafe, but it could also cost you much more to fix than you ultimately saved by taking on the project yourself.”

With the stakes so high, it’s no surprise that couples would argue over this project. “I always recommend to my customers to save their energy and their sweat equity for a project where the consequences of an incorrect or incomplete job don’t have the potential to be dire,” DiMartino says.

It’s going to take a long time to achieve the desired effect.

It’s going to take a long time to achieve the desired effect. Image: Welcomia/Shutterstock

Drywall hanging or patching: 41.7%

This isn’t a difficult project, so why would it lead to so many disagreements? Unless you have a lot of practice, it may be difficult to achieve a high-quality finish,” warns Outlaw. “Hanging drywall is something that is easy to start and hard to finish for DIYers. Even a good-looking patch can take several coats of drywall with sanding.” While he says it’s not difficult to learn the technique of hanging, Outlaw warns it can be hard, dusty work – and most people don’t enjoy doing it.

That’s why Michael McDermott, Owner/Production Manager at CRD Design Build in Seattle, WA, doesn’t find it hard to believe that this project could lead to relationship strife. “There’s a reason general contractors almost never have their own crews hang drywall. They practically always give that task to professional drywall subcontractors, because it’s extremely dusty, physical work that usually takes even handy people much longer than they expect.” If you’re doing anything besides minor drywall patches, McDermott recommends leaving the hanging, taping, and mudding to a pro.

The ceiling box is as important as the ceiling fan.

The ceiling box is as important as the ceiling fan. Image: AntonioDIaz/Shutterstock

Installing a ceiling fan: 38.2%

Although this borders on the side of electrical work, Scott thinks it’s a fairly simple project that any couple could take on. “If you don’t have much experience with this kind of project, we recommend ‘easy-install’ ceiling fans, which often come 90% assembled, and only require the homeowner to click the different parts — blades, bowl — into place.” However, as with any new fixture, he says you need to test that the ceiling box can hold the weight of the new fan. “That’s a mistake that can create some serious damage that’s costly and dangerous,” Scott warns.

Preparation is the key to a professional job.

Preparation is the key to a professional job. Image: Brian McEntire/Shutterstock

Exterior paint: 32.7%

This sounds like an easy project, but it can be more complicated than you think. “One thing that is important to proper painting is proper prep work. Many DIYers find themselves not applying the correct paint or primer for an exterior application, which can lead to flaking, mildew issues, or just an unprofessional look,” says Outlaw.

And there are other considerations if you want to do the job right. “When doing work on the side of the house or the roof, make sure you’ve got someone to hold the bottom of the ladder, so you can be sure you complete the project safely,” Scott advises. Also, you can run into a variety of problem if you don’t know the right temperature range for exterior painting.

Measure twice so you can cut once.

Measure twice so you can cut once. Image: dotshock/Shutterstock

Flooring installation: 30.0%

Our experts believe that flooring installation is a very doable DIY project, but there are some caveats. “Proper flooring installation also comes down to prep. The existing subfloor or concrete slab may need to have leveling completed or repairs made,” explains Outlaw.  “Use measuring tapes, start or lay out from the center of the room, and use spaces when laying tile.”

Scott agrees that it can be done by DIYers and reiterates that measuring is critical. “This is one case in remodeling where it’s not ok to cut corners. Ensuring that you’ve got the right measurements, especially near obstructions like fireplaces or islands, is crucial to the success of the project.” Scott recommends consulting a remodeling professional or someone at a local hardware store, if you have any questions.

The post DIY Disagreements: These Home Improvement Projects are Most Likely to Cause Fights With Your Significant Other appeared first on Freshome.com.

Lawn and Landscaping Projects You Should Definitely Leave to the Pros

As a homeowner, you probably like the challenge and the cost-savings of handling many of your own lawn and landscaping projects. For example, cutting your grass weekly is a home maintenance task that most DIYers can successfully complete.

However, there are other scenarios in which homeowners are taking matters into their own hands – with disastrous results. These are some of the lawn and landscaping projects you should leave to the pros.

Testing the soil before planting

Acidic or alkaline?

Acidic or alkaline? Image: Aroon phadee/Shutterstock

This is a project that can be done DIY with an at-home soil tester, but our experts don’t recommend it. “Bringing a soil sample to your local county extension service offers the most detailed information on soil pH levels – acidity and alkalinity – as well as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus levels,” according to Keven Shanks, manager of retailer training at Scotts Miracle-Gro.

It’s important to test the soil, especially if you’re planting a vegetable garden, because different types of plants prefer different types of soil. “Plants like asparagus, onions, garlic, cucumbers and tomatoes prefer acidic soil (pH 5.8-6.5), which tends to dominate in wet climates,” Shanks explains. On the other hand, plants like Brussel sprouts, turnips, cabbage and mustard like a more alkaline soil (pH 6.0-7.5) that Shanks says is typically found in dry areas.

Aerating the lawn

Professionals can correctly aerate your lawn.

Professionals can correctly aerate your lawn. Image: Taweesak Sriwannawit/Shutterstock

Aerating can be a DIY project, but you’ll need to rent and transport an aerator. So, what is aerating? “It is the process of removing plugs from the turf area using a core aerator, thereby creating an artificial system of large pores,” Shanks explains. And it’s important because it allows air, water and nutrients to reach the roots. “Aeration alleviates problems with soil compaction and/or thatch,” Shanks says.

This is a task to complete on a yearly basis. However, renting and maneuvering the specialized equipment isn’t the only DIY issue.

“Many homeowners also have underground infrastructure, including septic, pet fencing and/or irrigation,” according to Dr. Brad DeBels, director of operations at Weed Man Lawn Care. This means it’s possible to damage the infrastructure. However, according to DeBels, professionals know how to avoid this – and if any damage occurs, they’re responsible for the repair cost.

Planning and installing a permanent in-ground irrigation system

An irrigation system need to provide adequate coverage.

An irrigation system needs to provide adequate coverage. Image: kvww/Shutterstock

If you’re comfortable undertaking building projects, you may be able to plan and install a watering system. “You should be familiar with plumbing, electricity, and local building codes, and be willing to take the time to research and design the system well,” Shanks says. This will also entail digging trenches. However, he says it’s the paper and pencil process that usually trips up DIYers.

“Irrigation specialists are by far best equipped to design and install an irrigation system that waters both completely and efficiently,” Shanks advises.  “Find a specialist who has been certified by a professional group, such as the Irrigation Society of America, to ensure you’re getting good advice.” And if you have a large lawn, it includes significant elevation changes, or has very poor drainage, Shanks says you should definitely consult a professional irrigation designer.

Brad Unruh, director of new product development for Hustler Turf Equipment, agrees that DIYers should just call in the pros. “This is an involved project, and professionals have the correct equipment to make it a lot less painful and disruptive to your current landscape,” he says.  “It’s important that your irrigation system has the correct coverage to ensure everything works like it’s supposed to, which will ultimately benefit your future landscaping plans.”

Pesticide treatments

Application rates and timing are crucial.

Application rates and timing are crucial. Image: lightpoen/Shutterstock

You might consider yourself quite handy around the house with a can of bug spray, but landscape pesticides are a little different. And DeBels recommends leaving these pesticide treatments to the professionals. “Highly-effective weed, insect and fungus control can be very dependent on how and when you apply off-the-shelf products, making it difficult to achieve maximum effectiveness,” he explains.

And if you have a full-time job and a life, you’re just randomly applying treatments when you think about it. However, DeBels explains that professionals have spent a significant amount of time perfecting application rates and timing, and don’t forget – they’re actually trained and licensed. “This leads to the most effective control of pests, while limiting pesticide resistance and optimizing environmental safety,” he says.

Most troubleshooting projects

Take the guesswork out of troubleshooting.

Take the guesswork out of troubleshooting. Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock

“When your lawn begins to get patchy, weeds take over, or your soil becomes compacted, it can be difficult to reset the yard to a healthy state,” Sherrington says. “At these times, it is more important than ever to ensure your lawn is properly aerated, the soil’s PH levels are up to par, and weed control is added to the correct areas.” And if done incorrectly, he says these procedures can have disastrous effects on a yard. 

For example, overapplying nitrogen can result in burning a lawn overnight,” Sherrington reveals. He says it can also be confusing trying to purchase the right product, store it correctly, and apply it properly. “That is why we recommend homeowners call in experts to test their soil, handle products and take the necessary steps to maintain their lawn and quickly get it to a thriving state,” Sherrington explains.

Skill level makes a difference

Expertise produces expert results.

Expertise produces expert results. Image: aimful/Shutterstock

While many of these lawn and landscaping projects are best left to the pros, sometimes, the answer is dependent on the homeowner’s skill level. For example, Unruh does believe that homeowners can fertilize grass and spray weeds – but they are best done with some knowledge.

He says you should know what you’re spraying, how it affects the foliage, and what it is intended to kill or enhance. “Also, I recommend becoming familiar with the plants, trees, bushes and grass on your property to know which types of fertilizer would be best and when to use them.” He suggests visiting your local nursery or garden store if you need help. And don’t forget that your lawn isn’t just eye candy. Turfgrass lawns have environmental and health benefits.

The post Lawn and Landscaping Projects You Should Definitely Leave to the Pros appeared first on Freshome.com.

Plan on Entertaining Outdoors This Summer? Here’s What You Need to Do It Right

Warmer weather entices people outside, and let’s face it, wide open spaces can provide more room to move around and reduce the potential for damage to your home’s interior.

However, to truly provide an outstanding outdoor entertaining experience, you’ll need to create a fun and inviting environment, Here’s what you need to create the type of outdoor space that neighbors won’t want to leave.

More than a grill

You’ll gain a lot of friends with this Artisan Fire Pizza Oven by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.

You’ll gain a lot of friends with this Artisan Fire Pizza Oven by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. Image courtesy of La Cuisine Appliances.

A grill is an obvious starting place. “You’ve got to have a good looking and functional grill,” says Daniel Germani, founder and creative director of Daniel Germani Designs.  “My favorite is the one has a lid that folds all the way back and goes flush with the countertop.”

However, Josu Gaubeka, president of La Cuisine Appliances, a kitchen appliances distributor, says he’s also seeing an increasing number of other appliances and accessories in summer kitchens.  “They’re going beyond the BBQ, and building out full kitchens. In fact, many families are adding pizza ovens to keep the kids and their friends close by.”

Specialized cookers

Increase your cooking options with the Goucho Grill by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.

Increase your cooking options with the Goucho Grill by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. Image courtesy of La Cuisine Appliances.

In addition to grills and pizza ovens, homeowners are also adding other types of cookers. “We’re seeing specialized cookers, such as side burners for boiling seafood or wok cooking, and smokers,” according to Mitch Slater, CEO and Founder, Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens and Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens.

However, if you want to put a specialty appliance, like an Argentinian grill, in cabinetry, Slater warns that you’ll need to use non-combustible materials, like stainless steel, “Also, it’s best to line your cabinets with firebrick so they won’t become discolored due to extreme heat exposure,” he says.

Another point to keep in mind is that your exterior kitchen layout is as important as your indoor kitchen layout.

Water and refrigeration

Sinks and refrigerators add convenience.

Sinks and refrigerators add convenience. Image: Ozgur Coskun/Shutterstock

“I’m being called on by developers of luxury condominiums to add summer kitchens on each unit – including an electric grill, ice maker, and sink,” says Gaubeka. That comes as no surprise to Germani.  “A sink and a refrigerator are must-have items, and I like to include 2 fridges in my outdoor kitchens — one for food and one for beverages,’ he says.

In fact, if you want to maximize time with guests by avoiding trips indoors, Slater recommends duplicating your indoor kitchen. “In addition to a sink and refrigerator, you could also include trash cabinets, and even dishwashers manufactured for outdoor use.”

However, in lieu of an actual refrigerator, Gaubeka says some homeowners are installing refrigerated drawers.

Shade

Be sure to provide shelter from the heat.

Be sure to provide shelter from the heat. Image courtesy of Belgard

When the sun is beaming down, you’ll need to protect your friends and family members from those damaging rays. “Cantilevered overhangs provide lots of shade while cooking/lounging outdoors,” according to Miami-based architect Choeff Levy Fischman. But that’s not your only option. Slater recommends using fans, misters, and light-colored furniture as additional cooling sources.

Lighting

Lighting provides safety and highlights design features.

Lighting provides safety and highlights design features. Image courtesy of Belgard

“Having good lighting allows you to create a mood, grill and entertain far after the sun goes down and the martinis start to flow,” says Germani. In addition to being an entertainment element, lights also create a safe environment, so you won’t get sued because someone tripped and fell in the dark. HGTV/DIY host Matt Blashaw’s outdoor lighting tips are a good guide for using light strips, spotlights, etc. Also, Duane Draughon, owner and lead designer at VizX Design Studios in Lisle, IL, recommends an overhead structure trellis pergola with lighting. 

Entertainment

Cheer for your favorite team with an outdoor TV.

Cheer for your favorite team with an outdoor TV. Image courtesy of Belgard

“As we navigate from the inside to the outdoor kitchen, entertainment will also transform these spaces with additions like outdoor speakers and big screen TVs,” says Wendy Hammerman, Founder & Lead Designer at WLH Interiors, a full-service interior design studio in New City, NY.

But as popular as TVs are, Patti Wynkoop, VP of Product Development and Purchasing for Miller & Smith, which builds new homes and develops real estate in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland, believes that music is even more popular as an outdoor entertainment feature. “Outdoor ceiling speakers make it easy to enjoy your favorite music while you cook or entertain guests,” she says.

However, when incorporating technology, consider the needs of your guests. “Be sure to include several usable power outlets for cell phone charging,” advises Draughon.

Seating/Furniture

Multiple seating options.

Provide multiple seating options. Image courtesy of Miller & Smith

Seating is an important choice as it will determine your entertaining options. “While outdoor wicker furniture has been popular in the past, we see a lot more built-in bench seating styled with throw pillows and cushions for a casual, comfortable feel that’s able to accommodate more people,” according to Hammerman.

You’ll probably prefer to have guests sitting upright at tables to reduce spills when they’re eating. However, consider mixing this type of seating with more relaxing options. “Sunken seating areas provide depth and additional space for entertaining,” according to Fischman.

And there’s something else you should keep in mind when choosing furniture. “Composite furniture such as sofas, lounge chairs and end tables are maintenance free, fade resistant and easy on the eyes,” says Wynkoop.

Flooring and ceiling considerations

Your flooring should be durable. I

Your flooring should be durable. Image courtesy of Dekton Nilium Flooring

Flooring should be durable, yet stylish. “Beadboard is a solid choice in flooring materials for an entertainment space and it is often used to seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor living areas,” Wynkoop says. For decks, she recommends Duadek outdoor waterproof flooring. “The suede color is often the best neutral choice for entertainment spaces as it provides flexibility with decor and rugs.”

Maintain the flow between your interior and exterior places.

Maintain the flow between your interior and exterior areas. Image courtesy of Miller & Smith

Just as the connection in flooring is important for flow, Wynkoop says consistency in ceiling height and material will also marry indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces. “If you have a ceiling in your outdoor entertainment space, adding tongue & groove planks or panels gives the appearance of a plank installation – painted or stained – and is perceived as a more refined level of detail.”

Planning for colder weather

You can entertain outdoors at least 3 seasons of the year.

With the right setup, you can entertain outdoors at least 3 seasons of the year. Image: TimAbramowitz/Getty Images

Summer will be over before you know it, but by planning wisely, you can continue to entertain outdoors well into the fall months. “Just like indoor furniture, you can add cushions, throw blankets and pillows to your outdoor furniture for comfort and enjoyability throughout the year,” Wynkoop says.  Firepits and outdoor fireplaces can also keep you warm and toasty when the weather turns colder.

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