If you're considering a remodeling project for your home, chances are you're going to need a contractor. Here are six things to keep in mind before hiring a professional to help.
1. Know what you want
Before you make any phone calls, make sure you have a clear picture of what you want to remodel and what you'd like the outcome to be. Even if it's not crystal clear, a vision or sample images you can show a contractor will help immensely in getting an accurate estimate. A contractor who can bring ideas to the table are great, but make sure you get an estimate on what you're looking for so you can make 'apples to apples' comparisons.
2. Ask your friends and family
Good remodeling contractors typically generate a lot of positive recommendations. Ask your friends, family, neighbors and other people you trust if they have ever worked with a contractor that they liked. Asking not only helps you narrow down your list for who to contact but also who to avoid. Knowing who does, and doesn’t, do a good job is a key part of how to choose a contractor for your home remodel.
3. Look for online reviews
Online reviews can be very helpful. If you seek these out, you'll get a broad range of experiences customers have had with the contractors you're researching. Keep in mind every contractor will have good reviews and bad reviews. Treat these like a bell curve, throwing out the best and the worst. But, look for the average and look for any themes... Is customer service a persistent concern? Did the contractor regularly go over budget? Were timelines an issue? Also, look at how complaints were handled. Did the contractor work to resolve the issues at hand?
4. Speak with multiple contractors
Always get multiple bids on your project. Even if you love the first plan you get, stopping there means you’ll never know if the estimate you received offers good value. Home remodeling contractors may charge different rates because they may have different specialties, so getting multiple bids is a good idea. Be sure to ask if they work on projects of your size, and what their availability is for your desired timeline.
5. Check references
References, such as current customers and subcontractors, can help you learn about the quality of the work. Current customers can share personal experiences and subcontractors can provide red flags, such as not paying on time or cutting corners by using less than stellar materials. You can also check to see if any complaints are registered with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.
6. Seek well-defined bids
To best compare estimates, ask each contractor to provide details about the costs for labor, materials and any other related expenses. Once you have an estimate you like, start the negotiation process. Make sure the contract is detailed and that you’re comfortable with it before the project starts. Once work begins, communication is the key to a happy and successful remodel.
At Fort Rock Construction, we take great pride in our honest, straightforward approach to contract bids. We may not always be the lowest bid, but you can trust that we've included everything from start to finish so you're not hit with surprises later on. Give us a call today to schedule a consult, and we'll prepare a no-obligation quote. 541-767-1611
If you're considering adding accessibility features to your home, one of the more prominent features on the exterior is a ramp. Whether it's to your front door or getting from the back door out to your yard, ramps assist those in wheelchairs as well as those who have difficulty with stairs.
When it comes to construction of a ramp, there are several material options from which to choose. Here is a brief overview of those options so you can choose the material that will work best for your needs and your home's design.
By far, wood is the most popular choice for building a ramp. You can choose from a variety of wood types to match your preferred aesthetic. Be sure to include the addition of a non-slip surface. Even wood gets slippery when wet or icy. A handrail is also helpful so you don't accidentally go off the side of the ramp.
Second in popularity, aluminum ramps offer convenience and manufacturers often have a variety of configurations from which to choose. Aluminum ramps also typically come with textured surfaces so the addition of a non-slip surface is not necessary. One downside to aluminum is that they have the potential to be noisier than other materials.
Galvanized Steel Ramps
Galvanized steel ramps offer a nicer aesthetic than aluminum, and the open slotted material prevents the buildup of water, snow, ice, or dirt. One downside is that the openness can be pretty uncomfortable for bare feet and can cause issues for those wearing high-heeled shoes.
If you want the look and feel of a standard concrete walking surface, a poured concrete ramp could be right. You'll get a nice aesthetic with the reliability of a concrete surface for non-slip. Concrete is poured on flat surfaces that are then attached to a metal structure. It's a less permanent, affordable solution.
If you're considering adding a ramp to your home or even to your commercial space, we can help. The Fort Rock Construction team has been building ramps for residential and commercial properties in Eugene, Springfield, Cottage Grove and the surrounding areas. Please give us a call today to discuss your ramp project. 541-767-1611
If you're looking to do a kitchen remodel, one of the most prominent features will be your countertop. While beauty is a key consideration, it would be wise to also take into account the ease (or lack thereof) of maintenance. After all, not all countertops are created equally.
Hands down, engineered stone is the easiest to maintain as it is a solid surface solution, it won't stain, and it is non-porous. You can do just about anything to these countertops and the chance of any real damage is minimal. In addition, because engineered stone comes in an enormous array of colors and patterns, you can select one that meets your esthetic AND hides any imperfections such as minor scratches or marks. There are several popular brands and we can help select just the right option for your home.
Another popular option is laminate. But we're not talking laminate from the 70's or 80's. Today's laminate will make your head turn. It's incredibly versatile, less expensive than other options, and it has a 'wipe and go' maintenance plan. We'd be happy to show you today's laminate — you'd be amazed by the choices available.
Last, but not least, zinc makes for a beautiful, modern countertop with also low maintenance needs. While stainless steel will leave you wiping up every fingerprint, zinc darkens over time, developing a gorgeous patina. It is also non-porous and bacteria-resistant, needing only a quick wipe-down to be cleaned.
If you live in the Eugene, Springfield, or Cottage Grove area, we'd love to help you with your kitchen remodel. At Fort Rock Construction, we're experts at kitchen remodels and can help you turn your vision into reality. Give us a call today. 541-767-1611
If you're planning a remodel for your kitchen to accommodate ADA or general accessibility issues, choosing appliances and determining where they get placed are key decisions. Remember, it's about removing barriers and increasing convenience so that your space is not a source of frustration. Accessible appliances have certain characteristics in common, but typically their designs could fit right into any home.
Here’s what to look for when you go shopping and for when you’re planning the layout of your kitchen:
Cooktop — For easier use, it is best to have your cooktop separate from your oven. This separation allows for space to accommodate legroom beneath. Also, a cooktop with front controls prevents having to reach over hot burners. Staggered burners also minimize the risk of injuries.
Oven — When it comes to selecting an over, wall ovens are ideal because their placement height can be customized to meet your needs. If you're in a wheelchair, a side-hinged model can be helpful.
Refrigerator — When choosing a refrigerator, choose a model with a bottom, pull-out drawer freezer as this provides the most accessibility, but side-by-side models are also popular. You'll want to check that controls are low enough to be reached from a seated position and that they are simple to use.
Microwave — When considering where to place your microwave, over the stove is not ideal. Instead, plan a space that is at or just under the counter height.
Dishwasher — While most appliances are lowered for accessibility, you'll want your dishwasher raised from standard installation height. This adjustment makes access more comfortable for seated persons. For placement, make sure you have ample space on either side. Racks must move smoothly with little pressure.
Certified ADA-compliant appliances must meet more specific criteria than these generalized descriptions, but this is intended to give you an idea of what to look for and ask for when shopping. If you need assistance with planning your kitchen remodel, please give the Fort Rock Construction team a call. We're experts in accessibility design and would love to help create a space you can enjoy. 541-767-1611
As you age, it's not uncommon to contemplate where you want to live as you get older. Depending on your health needs, there are several options available, from luxury retirement to independent or assisted living communities. But what if you want to stay in your own home? With the proper accommodations, staying in your own home, or aging in place, can be achieved.
What does aging in place require?
Most homes are constructed to meet minimum requirements for things like entry access (typically stairs), door width, hallway width, counter height, the height of knobs, door locks, etc. A standard is set that accommodates the typical able-bodied adult. But, as you age, your body may start to experience limitations. Maybe you can't climb those stairs as easily, maybe reaching the top shelf in the kitchen is difficult, or perhaps you no longer have the finger strength to open up kitchen or bathroom cabinets. The list goes on depending on your individual needs.
Aging in place takes a person's physical limitations into account for how a space is designed. When aging in place standards are used, you'll see adaptations like a ramp to the front door instead of steps, pull handles on cabinets instead of finger grooves, shower and bathtub modifications to provide greater safety, etc.
If you suspect you'll want to stay in your own home as you age, it's best to start that planning early. Working with an aging in place specialist can help you look at each room in your home with fresh eyes. He or she will be able to address your specific concerns and also make suggestions for needs you might not know to anticipate.
At Fort Rock Construction, we are certified aging in place experts. We've been helping homeowners in the Eugene, Springfield and Cottage Grove area remodel their homes since 2001. Please give us a call to schedule a consultation for your home. 541-767-1611
By definition “furniture” is generally understood to mean movable pieces, however we use this term when referring to built-ins since this type of construction serves dual purposes. Serving as both architectural features as well as functional furniture, built-in furniture has been around for a long, long time dating back to the Middle Ages. But even though it has been around for centuries, the concept remains as popular as ever and can be a wonderful customization for your home.
Examples of built-in furniture include wall benches, shelving and cupboards, bookcases, mirrors, entertainment centers, window seats, closets, and even intricate fireplace mantels.
These days, it is not uncommon to see built-ins in older homes, especially those from the late 1800’s to the 1960’s. But, built-ins are gaining popularity again and you’ll see them in newer construction homes as well. Classic examples in modern architecture include bookcases and large entertainment centers, shelving built into the walls surrounding either a fireplace or a space on the wall where you can place a television. We’re also seeing built-in shelves in areas like hallways and entryways where you can display your treasures, family portraits, etc.
If your home has built-ins already, some things to consider is the upkeep. Depending on the finish of your built-ins, you may need to periodically repaint or varnish to maintain the luster of the wood. You’ll also want to check longer shelves to make sure they’re not sagging. If they are, consider replacing the sections with newer materials designed to withstand heavier objects.
Benefits of built-ins include the ability to take advantage of typically unused storage space giving you more room for your belongings, they create beautiful focal points for the rooms in which they are located, they can create more floorspace since some are actually recessed into the walls, and you can use them to create stunning displays of all your favorite things.
If your home does not have built-ins and you’d like to add them, you have a wide array of options from which to choose. From low-cost configurable solutions (think IKEA) to high-end custom woodwork, there is a solution for nearly every budget. Get creative and think outside the box. Built-ins can offer endless storage solutions and help create a beautiful floor-to-ceiling aesthetic. You can think of them as a part of your interior design, not just furniture.
If you’re not sure where to begin, we can help. At Fort Rock Construction, we’ve been assisting homeowners in the Eugene, Oregon area with home remodels, including built-ins, since 2001. Please contact us today at 541-767-1611 to see how we can help you, too.
If you’re considering a remodel for your home, you’ll want to keep your storage needs in mind. Whether its a kitchen or bathroom remodel, it’s easy to get swept up in style of the room vs. the functionality. Planning ahead to add storage into your design makes the space more useful for you now and helps if you later decide to sell. Here are a few ideas for bringing more storage into your kitchen or bathroom remodel.
Cabinets today are not bound by the same restrictions of generations past. Today’s cabinetry comes with a wide range of storage solutions designed with ease of access. In the kitchen, for example, you can get cabinets with large drawer systems to store your pots and pans and other countertop appliances. Now, instead of getting on your hands and knees and stretching to the back of the cupboard, you can pull open the drawer and your items are right there for you. Built-In lazy susans and retractable shelving systems are available for the typically underutilized corner spaces, too.
In the bathroom, look for cabinets that make good use of the space around the sink plumbing. Often this space is ignored and you’re left with a big awkward space. A simple solution to make the most of the space under the sink is to bring in sliding organizers like those typically seen in your office. You can fill each one with like items and simply pull out the one you need. Ideas include filling one with cleaning items, one with hair styling items, one with hygiene products, etc. You can also buy expandable shelves that fit around the plumbing.
Shelving can help when you need certain items easily accessible on a regular basis. Think about places where this might occur most often such as near the kitchen sink or stove, the kitchen island, the bathroom sink, and the bathtub. Look for shelving that complements the design of your cabinetry to create a consistent style. Also, make sure the shelving you select gives you enough depth for holding a variety of items so you’re not limited on what you can display.
When it comes to storage, seating isn’t often the first thing considered but there is lots of space that can be used. A couple easy ways to add storage include selecting benches or chairs with lift tops. You can easily store less frequently used items here like seasonal table place settings and tablecloths, booster cushions for younger guests, etc. You can also look at choosing barstools that nest or tuck under your countertop. This makes your space more streamlined and creates an open feeling.
Popular in older homes and making a comeback in newer homes, built-ins offer great storage and functionality. Whether it’s pocket storage in the bathroom walls for your perfumes, makeup, shaving goods, etc. or a built-in buffet in your dining area for your China and serving dishes, every inch is available for your use in a beautiful and stylish way.
At Fort Rock Construction, we’ve been helping homeowners in the Eugene, Oregon area with kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels since 2001. Please contact us at 541-767-1611 today to see how we can help you, too.
With the colder weather fast approaching, your home's heating system should be a priority. The Pacific Northwest, in recent years, has had its fair share of severe weather. This year is shaping up to be another chilly year. Thinking about the efficiency of your heating system now can save you money and keep you comfortable during the cold months. Here are some steps to take before the cold weather sets in and it is too late.
The first thing every homeowner should consider before cold weather hits is an energy audit. This process involves an inspection of your home and, if done right, your utility bills to determine if your house is able to maintain temperatures efficiently. This process will alert you to any potential problem areas such as windows, doors, and insulation. After fixing any discovered issues, your heating system will be able to work less and provide more comfort.
The most common types of home heating systems are boilers, furnaces, and heat pumps. All of these systems have pros and cons, and often homeowners are at the mercy of what was previously installed. The most important thing to remember is that a properly functioning system is an efficient one. If it is time for a replacement, be sure to shop around and find the most energy-efficient model available. For all types of heating, efficiency has dramatically improved over the years. Also, be sure to find a contractor who will take measurements to ensure proper sizing of your new heating system. Fort Rock Construction works with reputable heating professionals and can make recommendations for whom to contact.
For homes that don’t have existing ducting, ductless heat pumps are the way to go. Installation of these systems is minimally invasive. This type of system is extremely energy efficient and allows you to heat zones, rather than your entire home. As with all kinds of heating systems, it is strongly suggested to have an experienced professional take measurements of your home. This step ensures you will get the proper equipment size and placement for your home's size and layout.
There are many ways to keep your home warm during the frigid winter months. While we at Fort Rock Construction do not install or maintain heating systems, we have relationships with reputable vendors in the Eugene, Springfield, Cottage Grove and surrounding areas that do. And, we can help perform any of the structural or retrofitting work that might be necessary with a heating new system. Please give us a call with any questions you might have. 541-767-1611
A basement remodel is often a homeowner’s best option when trying to add space to their home. Rather than adding to the existing structure, which requires extra permits, it is often easier to take advantage of the bare bones that already exist. Transforming a basement from large closet to livable space is one of the best ways to add value to a home. It can also save you from having to sell if you are starting to outgrow your current space.
Often, homeowners try to take this project on themselves, and it can be gratifying. However, before you embark on this journey, be aware that there are several things to consider to ensure your project is a success. Knowing what to watch out for can make all the difference in avoiding a nightmare down the road.
Here are a few crucial things to think about during the planning stages of your basement remodel.
Check all local codes to ensure that everything you do will pass an inspection. Your locale may have requirements for factors such as ceiling height, plumbing, and egress, among others. Additionally, you may need to obtain permits before you start your remodel which requires a detailed plan and proof that you will meet the code requirements. The permit process can be lengthy, be sure to submit the necessary materials on time and double check all forms for accuracy.
One of the most significant concerns in a basement remodel is moisture. It is vital for you to test your basement for moisture before you begin work. Every situation is different. Some basements are free from moisture while others need lots of work to protect and prevent damage from the wet conditions. If you find that your basement is full of moisture, it is merely a matter of taking proper precautions. Ensuring adequate drainage away from the foundation and including the right waterproof barriers are two of the many steps you can take to protect your investment.
Avoid wishful thinking after completing your project by considering where to place individual elements in your new space. Basements are usually lacking in natural light. It is helpful to know where the most light comes from and which feature you want in that light. The TV room, for instance, might not need as much natural light. It is also crucial to think about ceiling height. Adding lighting and other fixtures decrease ceiling height. For this reason, predetermine your possible lighting configurations and plan accordingly.
This is a small sample of a large list of things to consider before a DIY basement remodel. If you're located in Eugene, Springfield, Cottage Grove or any of the surrounding areas and this project becomes too overwhelming, our professional team of contractors with years of experience is available to help. Our staff will make sure your project is done right, the first time. Call today to get your project started. 541-767-1611
One of the biggest decisions you will face during a kitchen or bathroom remodel is that of cabinet material. With so many options, it is helpful to know the pros and cons of each material. Speaking with an experienced contractor who can help guide you to an informed decision is another good step to take. We have compiled a list of different materials for you to use as a starting point when trying to make this choice.
Particleboard -- Particleboard is made by mixing wood particles, shavings, and sawdust. A bonding agent holds the mixture together, and the finished product is sometimes coated with wax or other finishes to give it a resistance to water and heat changes.
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) -- Like particleboard, MDF is created by mixing a glue and sawdust. The mixture is formed into sheets and subjected to extreme pressure to form a dense board-like material. MDF is thus subject to similar pros and cons.
Plywood -- Because of its construction, plywood is stronger than the other types of manufactured wood on this list. Plywood is constructed by bonding layers together, each time rotating the new layer by 90 degrees to add strength and durability.
Solid wood -- Many species of solid wood are available for you to choose from. Each type of wood comes with a different grain, color, and texture. Choose the type of wood that best matches the aesthetic you are going for. Each type of wood is different; therefore, this pros and cons list is generalized.
This list is intended to give you a basic understanding of some of the most popular options on the market for cabinets. To learn more, call us to speak with one of our experienced contractors who will ensure that you pick the best material for the job. At Fort Rock Construction, we strive to help our customers in all aspects of their kitchen and bathroom remodels. We will help you create a space that you will want to spend time in.
Tricks of the construction trade, inspiration for your next project, and highlights of completed projects.