How To Create The Ideal, Functional Home Office

How To Create The Ideal, Functional Home Office

How to set up a home officeIn this unique time of social distancing, working from home has become part of the new norm. We find ourselves in Zoom meetings, typing away on our home keyboards, and making office calls while making breakfast for the kids. It is the way of the world now and very possibly a new way to do business for the future. We find ourselves unprepared for disruptions, unable to stay focused, and drifting off to do household choirs instead of that next spreadsheet that our boss needs. These are real problems that the American workforce is now facing. Building a home office can help you tackle these distraction issues and help you stay organized in ways you never thought possible. We put together some great home office tips that are functional, stylish, and game-changers for your future as a stay-at-home employee or boss.  

1) Consider the space. Do you have an extra bedroom? Or do you have unutilized space that can convert into a home office?  A good-sized home office space should be a minimum of at least 100 sq ft or a small bedroom size. For those who do not have any spare space, consider adding an addition to your home or converting a garage into an office space. Speak to your accountant about possible tax write off. 

Wherever space is, make sure that you are considering traffic flow and your ability to withstand distractions. Do not put yourself into a closet with smushed seating. This will be your area to work for many hours each week. Your home office should take priority over the rarely used guest room or a toy area for the kids. 

2) Consider Lighting. You will want good lighting in your home office. A small table lamp will not be enough light for long hours of work. Does the area have any natural lighting from a window? If not, can you have a window installed? Do you have good quality ceiling lights? Planning for the light in your home office is essential to help avoid headaches and eye strain. If your room does not have the lighting you need, consider contacting a professional to improve the situation. 

3) Connectivity– Unless you are working strictly from paper, a home office will need to have the ability to connect to the Wi-Fi internet and possibly fax machine and or phone. Be sure that the space you have decided on has a good connection and several outlets. Your internet service provider can help you to install the proper equipment and set up your devices. We searched the web for recommended equipment and found that PC Magazine’s article, https://www.pcmag.com/news/working-from-home-101-must-have-devices-for-your-home-office-setup“, is full of great options for your home office.

4) Focus on room layout. Now that you know where your office will be and have determined your lighting and connectivity needs, it is time to plan the room layout. You will want to have space for shelving to hold any manuals or books that you need to reference, a place for a desk, and a comfortable chair, as well as where you want to place office equipment such as a printer, fax machine, phone, etc. It is a good idea to design this on paper first to avoid holes in the walls and back strain from moving the furniture too much. 

5) Furnishings- Time to move into the home office with some solid, sensible furnishings. Choose a chair that is both comfortable and supportive to help avoid back and neck strain. Find a desk that works not only at the height you will need but will provide storage for pens, papers, files, and other staples. Computer, mouse pad, speakers, shelves, and a few personal items such as a plant or photos will complete the space. 

Remember, this will be the hub where you will be working for many hours to come. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that the corner of the kitchen under a cabinet will be the best place for you to do your work unless you work great among the chaos, dirty dishes, and chocolate chip cookies left out. You deserve to make your home office the best possible working area. 

Three Things That Happen When You Wait to Replace Your Roof

Three Things That Happen When You Wait to Replace Your Roof

No one wants to drop large amounts of money for home repairs unexpectedly. Many homeowners fail to plan for things like new windows, updating the HVAC system, and replacing the old roof.  The problem with that is that sooner or later, all of these things need to be done on every home, and when we delay the repairs, sometimes we cause ourselves to be put into an emergency situation where last-minute, late-night maintenance specialists must be called. When it comes to roofs, we should never delay.  Here are three things that happen when you wait to replace your roof.

Health Risks Develop- 

Mold Spores on lungs

Mold spores on lungs

There are several possibilities that can develop and cause health risks to yourself and your family when you do not repair your roof. Roof leaks cause two types of mold growth; systemic or limited growth. These mold spores begin growing and can produce allergens, irritants and potentially toxic substances. Indoor air quality testing will check for high levels of mold spores in the home. When mold spores get into the air in your home, they are breathed into your lungs. Continuous exposure to a moldy environment can cause or worsen pre-existing health effects. These spores could cause serious infections in your lungs that can spread. They tend to worsen and sometimes cause asthma. Children and the elderly, as well as the immune-compromised, are at higher risk of these infections. For more information on this, read up on it at The Building Performance Institue, Inc. 

Structural Damage- 

Mold from damaged roof Damage to your health is not the only problem you will have to deal with if you do not repair a damaged roof. Structural damage can become very costly as it affects the entire integrity of your home. First, there is a security issue when a damaged roof has continued to remain unrepaired. With heavy rain or snow, a roof can collapse leaving the residence inside at risk of being hurt.  Water can begin to leak into the home causing mold issues, rotting wood, mildewing insulation, sagging ceilings, and leaks around the windows.  Animals can get in through openings in the roof and create nests and further damage with chewing and feces. When a roof is left unrepaired, a small amount of damage can continue to grow into a very hefty repair bill. 

Decreased Home Value- 

When a roof on a home is left unrepaired, the value of a home will decrease as time goes on. With the increased damage, mold issues, rotten structure, the value will continue to plummet. It’s not uncommon for these types of issues to lower your property value by tens of thousands of dollars. Resale of the home will become harder because future homeowners do not want to take the risk of what is under all that roof damage.  There is also a huge increase in heating and air conditioning costs as the heating and air will leak through open spaces. 

 

5 Common Mistakes When Renovating Your Bathroom

5 Common Mistakes When Renovating Your Bathroom

Luxurious marble bathroom with window

Renovating your bathroom into the perfect space requires more thought than many people think. Planning, and finding the ideal products are just part of what makes a bathroom renovation successful. Here are the top mistakes people make when renovating their bathroom and what we do to avoid them.  

Not Enough Storage

Often homeowners do not use all of the space that they have a bathroom and lose out on opportunities for storage. When designing the bathroom space with the contractor, be sure that every area available is used for something. Sometimes a contractor can open up a wall or build in a shelving unit or closet.

Fixtures and Materials that Date

Following a trend can be dangerous because trends come and go. The average life span of a remodeling trend is two years. Stay away from crazy patterns such as pink tiles, chocolate sanitary ware, and crazy border tiles. Stick with classic and clean lines, colors, and fixtures. Elegant bathrooms have a broad appeal that lasts for years to come.  

Poor Lighting & Power Sources

Lighting is an item that many homeowners ignore, yet, can make a massive difference in value and profitability. When remodeling your bath, check to make sure you have enough GFCI outlets for things like hairdryers, shavers, and curling irons. Next, review your lighting options. Would special, heated lighting make your bath experience more pleasant? Are there options to dim lights or brighten them? Are the lighting fixtures up to date with the latest technology making your life easier? Now is the time to visit these options. Even the addition of a single outlet can make a big difference in the bathroom.  

Poor Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential when remodeling a bathroom. It can reduce moisture and mold issues, reduce the growth of harmful bacteria, and make the area more comfortable. Showering, flushing the toilet and washing your hands’ increases moisture to the air. High humidity in a bathroom can cause mold and mildew issues as well as grow harmful bacteria such as staphylococcus and streptococcus. Ways you can improve the ventilation in your bathroom are by adding a window or a new, more powerful fan system.  

Cutting Costs on Waterproofing

Although some projects are simple enough for the average DIY person, who is looking to save money, cutting corners and costs on waterproofing is a bad idea. In the long run, when your quick fix fails, you will be looking at costly repairs and a possible hazmat situation if black mold grows where the waterproofing failed. To ensure you do not have future issues in the bathroom, hire a professional to waterproof the area.

Remodel Your Home in Time for the Holidays

Remodel Your Home in Time for the Holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching. Halloween is right around the corner and then boom– Time to Celebrate! Family, friends, and festive meals are everywhere. Is your home ready?

Before you string up the lights and start baking that cranberry orange bread, maybe it is time to remodel. This seasons remodeling can take your home to new levels in entertainment, functionality, and peace of mind.

Consider our holiday remodeling tips to prepare your home for the busy season ahead!

Home Renovations to Consider

Before inviting everyone over for the holidays, you first need to decide where to start with your remodeling. We have put together the key areas of every home.

The Kitchen

The center of every holiday is food, and so we begin with kitchen remodeling. There are areas that you should consider when remodeling your kitchen, such as:

  • Flooring -For effortless cleanup and durability consider hardwood flooring or tiles.
  • Install new counters – Granite, tile, quartz, and butcher block countertops update the focal point in your kitchen.
  • Upgrade appliances- New Smart Appliances can help assist you in your holiday meal planning.
  • Install new cabinets- Replace cabinets with organizational cabinets that allow for a space for everything.
  • Install new lighting- Nothing worse than working in a dimly lit kitchen. Adding new upgraded energy-efficient lighting can help.

Bathroom Remodels

The next space that is often used is the bathroom. Impress your guests with an updated area.

  • Update old sinks and tubs
  • Consider a stand-in shower with high-quality tiles.
  • Replace outdated flooring and add new tile flooring.
  • Install new cabinets or more cabinets if you do not have enough storage space.

Entertainment Upgrades

After a good meal, the guests can enjoy the quality time together in a great new entertainment area.

  • Add a built-in movie theater room.
  • Create a gaming room with a billiards table.
  • Build in a custom bar with seating for everyone.
  • Install surround sound for music and sporting events like Thanksgiving football.
  • Perhaps if you have a hunting sportsman in the family, a trophy room would be nice.
  • Don’t forget a play area for the kids. Include a gaming system, surround sound, and comfortable seating.

Entryway Upgrades

When guests first enter your home, the first thing they see is the entryway. Make that space, both useful and welcoming with some of these great ideas:

  • Add a mudroom with space for coats, umbrellas, hats, and boots.
  • Upgrade your front door to a stylish energy-efficient door.
  • Upgrade entry windows with energy-efficient windows.
  • Add new floorings such as tile or hardwood.
  • Create built-in shelving or custom closet space
  • Decorate with holiday decor.

The holidays do not have to be hectic. With a few great remodeling projects, your home can be both inviting and functional. For your holiday updates, contact High Quality Contracting today at 414-405-7542.

5 Home Safety Tips Every Homeowner Should Follow

5 Home Safety Tips Every Homeowner Should Follow

Protecting your family from home safety hazards is a top priority for any homeowner. According to the National Safety Council’s 2016 report, an estimated 161,374 people died from unintentional injury-related deaths in their homes. Adding an extra layer of safety to your house can help keep your family and friends safe year round. Below is our TOP 5 safety tips every homeowner should follow.

Stove Safety-

Three out of every five house fires start with the stove. To prevent home cooking fires, objects such as towels, curtains, etc. should stay at least 3 feet away from the heating surface of your stove. Furthermore, maintaining a clean stove and oven where grease has been removed can also prevent a fire. Don’t neglect the range hood. Maintaining the fan features in the hood and keeping it also free of grease is a priority. 

Clothes Dryer-

The National Safety Council further sites that home dryer fires happen at approximately 17,800 a year. These fires are preventable and usually start because of built-up lint. Remember to clean the lint trap after each use.  Moreover, scheduling the dryer vent for a good cleaning semi-annually is imperative. If you need a good HVAC person to come and help you clean these vents, contact the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau. They have a list of companies who provide this service.

Carbon Monoxide and Radon Detectors-

Over 400 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide inhalation each year, and the number of lung cancer deaths associated with high levels of radon in homes is over 21,000 a year. These numbers can significantly be reduced and so can your chances of experiencing symptoms or death related to carbon monoxide or radon by merely installing and maintaining the detectors. Be sure to check your detector’s batteries monthly. Because radon comes from the ground, be sure to install a radon detector in your basement.

Electrical Cord Fires

According to the EFSI, an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly than 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage each year come from electrical fires. The majority of these are due to frayed cords, damaged cords, or products that were not in use but plugged in. Whenever an appliance is plugged in, it is live and able to catch fire. Unplugging things like curling irons, kitchen appliances, and charger cords can help prevent a fire. Be sure to check cords if you have pets regularly, as some pets tend to chew wires. 

Other Electrical Fires

Homeowners also need to be aware of what is going on in the walls of their home. Listen for strange buzzing sounds or watch for lights that flicker. Be sure to not overload outlets with too many cords, and if you decide to get any work done on your property such as installing outlets, be sure to use an expert. Keeping fire detectors working and a family evacuation plan on hand in the event of a fire. If you suspect your electrical system is old or may not be working correctly, contact an expert and licensed professional as soon as possible to have the issues inspected. 

Keeping your family safe is a priority for High Quality Contracting. This list of 5 home safety tips is not an end all list, however, it will help keep you from harm. If you would like more information, contact your High Quality Contracting team today.

6 Home Renovations with High ROI

6 Home Renovations with High ROI

We all want home renovations with high ROI. If you are trying to decide which home projects you should do first, or if you are considering listing your home soon, you may be interested to know which home renovations give you the best bang for your buck. You may be considering updating appliances, carpeting, and paint to be the place to spend the money, but, don’t be so quick. According to a recent article in US News and annual reports in Remodeling Magazine, you may be better off spending your money in other areas instead.

Here are six great projects to consider that offer the best return on your investment.

Kitchen Remodel

It is true that the hub of any home is the kitchen. A kitchen remodel can recoup anywhere from 65- 80% and add value to your home quickly. It is a crucial selling point for most buyers as well. When remodeling your kitchen, consider upgraded modern countertops, cabinets, flooring, and lighting. You do not necessarily need to make a complete overhaul of the kitchen, however, consider at least a few of these options to get that updated look. If the kitchen is closed off from the rest of the house, look at opening up a wall to allow for an open concept. This may mean the difference between a quick sale or one that sits on the market for months.

Bathroom Remodel

Another prime area for investment is the bathroom. Remodeling a current bathroom will recoup a higher return than adding a bathroom. However, according to Remodeling Magazine and the National Association of Realtors, if you only have one bathroom and multiple people are sharing it, an additional bathroom may mean the difference between a sale or not.
When considering upgrading your current bathroom, updated tiles, tubs, sinks and cabinetry is vital. Increase lighting and space where possible. If adding a bathroom, the placement of where this bathroom is can be significant. Many people enjoy having an en-suite to the master bedroom. Your High Quality Contracting, Inc. remodeling expert can help design the perfect bathroom for you.

More Square Footage

According to the National Association of Realtors,  a home renovations with high ROI include increasing your square footage. A homeowner can expect to recoup upwards of 69% for refinishing a basement, attic, or other space in a home. By increasing the livable space in a home, you can assure that you will dramatically improve your home’s value.

Research the going rate per square foot for living space in your area to get an estimate for the value of the increase.

New Windows

Remodeling Magazine states that you should not invest in the top of the line for a window upgrade if you are planning to sell. Instead, invest in a midgrade product that is energy efficient. It increases the possibility for a faster sale, as well as brightens the room. You can expect to recoup upwards of 74% on vinyl replacement windows.

Added Insulation

2017 Cost Vs. Value Report in Remodeling Magazine reports that the number one ROI investment into your home was professionally installed attic insulation. Because of the substantial improvements in insulation products becoming more energy efficient and lasting longer, this upgrade makes sense if you are planning to stay or leave. Not only do you lower heating and cooling costs, but, you ROI is roughly around 108%.

Updated Home Siding

This one is just common sense, one home renovations with high ROI is home siding.  Updating your home siding can improve many aspects of your home as well as enhance the chances of a sale. Realtors insist on creating curb appeal when selling your home, first impressions count. So what is the ROI for the siding change? That depends on the product you choose as well as making sure it is professionally installed. The foam-back provides at least three times the R-Value as the hollow-backed siding. This reduces the overall heating and cooling budget for the home. The price is higher than the hollow-backed siding, but, it pays off in resale value and energy costs. Choose from a wide array of colors and textures to meet the structure of your home. If you are a little unsure as to what products would best fit your home and budget, one of our siding experts can help you decide by explaining the options.

There are many other projects that you can do around your home that have a good ROI; however, these are our top 6 for this year. If you are considering selling your property, give us a call and set up a free consultation. High Quality Contracting Inc. can assist you in deciding which projects might best help you increase your resale value.