All On Deck!

deck awning 9aSpring is here and we find ourselves wanting to be outdoors. Get “all on deck” this month in planning a new deck for your home or making the most of your current deck.

After a long winter, we are ready to spend time outdoors and enjoy the fresh air! In the spring and summer months (part of the fall season as well), a deck becomes another “room” at your home where you and your family may spend the majority of leisure time – dining, relaxing, hosting get-togethers, surfing the web, reading, etc.

Your home deck can be the place where so many memories are made. Here are some facts that will get you thinking about a new installation, upgrade and maintenance. What better time than early spring to get things started so that you and your family can get the most out of the time spent on your home deck this year!

Installation

  • A deck is a good investment — returning about 80% of its original cost according to Remodeling magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report.”
  • Adding a retractable awning to a deck is an affordable and hugely enjoyable investment! Keep the sun and wet weather at bay to extend the hours and comfort of your deck. An awning can reduce the temperature on your deck by about 20 degrees and it protects you from the sun’s UV Rays.

  • Upgrade

  • A composite deck with PVC railings is beautiful!
  • The original foundation may be used if found to be in good condition. Replacing the wood boards and railings with composite and PVC will transform your deck and the maintenance is easy peasy!
  • Composite boards eliminate the need for staining and sealing and they are cool to the touch. No more splinters on bare feet to worry about!
  • Maintenance

    It’s a good idea to establish a routine of upkeep that will protect your deck and prevent expensive repairs. Check out this seasonal deck maintenance calendar:

    Late Spring

  • Wash your deck with an appropriate cleanser. For wood decks, use a standard deck cleaner and follow its directions. For composite decks, use a cleaner specifically formulated for composite material. Some commercial degreaser and detergents are safe to use for grease and oil stains. For Vinyl (cellular PVC) decking, you’ll only need to use warm water and a mild soap to remove mold, mildew and dirt.
  • Apply fresh sealer to your wood deck at least every 2 years.
  • Fall

  • Inspect your deck for popped nails, cracks and rot. Individual boards can be replaced if the problem is isolated.
  • Trim back bushes and shrubs around your deck.
  • Are You Looking for a Contractor?

    With over 30 years of hands-on experience, Jeff DeNicola is a leading contractor in Manalapan, NJ and has provided hundreds of satisfied clients with quality work at affordable prices. Craftsmanship and individual attention given to each client is unparalleled.

    Jeff DeNicola welcomes the opportunity for you to choose Jeff’s Carpentry for all of your home improvement needs. Call for a FREE estimate. Don’t wait, call (732) 851-5575!

    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Time To Sell?

    Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.As spring approaches, the real estate market should see activity across the country. If you are considering listing your home, there are a handful of improvement projects that can make your home much more appealing and can attract a higher sale price yet you won’t have to dip too far into your pocket.

    Many buyers want long-term homes where they can raise children and retire in so they are looking for beauty and function. Keep these items in mind when you stage your home:

    1. Give the front door a new look – The front door sets the tone for your home’s curb appeal and security and it signals how well you maintain everything else. Buyers will be walking into your home via the front door, so be sure to give them a good first impression. If your door is in good shape, you might just need to give it a refreshing new coat of paint or new hardware. But if it’s seen some wear and tear over the years, consider replacing it with a steel door – one that will show buyers your home is safe.

    2. Update the most-used entryway - While the front door needs curb appeal, the garage door is traditionally the most-used door in the home. Old wooden garage doors will start to sag and the paint will peel, giving your home a run-down look. Replacing this door with an insulated steel door will not only improve the exterior look of your home, but also keep the garage space warmer. Finishing off the garage can also be a big draw for buyers, but you probably won’t be able to recoup as much of the expense as you would by replacing only the garage door.

    3. Add additional living space - You might not think about adding a deck as the same thing as adding an extra room to the house, but if you’re selling your home during the warmer months, that’s how buyers will see it. They’ll be able to picture themselves enjoying breakfast and picnic dinners outside, or curling up on a lounge chair with a good book on a summer afternoon. To make your deck a good selling feature, consider using a composite material for low maintenance. This means your buyers can easily move into your house and can enjoy the space without the annual chore of staining. Realtor.com estimates that homeowners can recoup 87 percent of the investment of adding a deck when they sell.

    4. Create a bathroom retreat - As the smallest room in the house, the bathroom tends to cost the least to remodel. If you have a guest or master bath that can use a little help to transform into a relaxing oasis, take the opportunity to replace the flooring, add cushy rugs, paint the walls and replace the accessories with more modern styles. Faucets, showerheads, the mirror and even the toilet can all be upgraded with water-saving and stylish designs. Buyers will take note of a maintenance-free bath, making your home one they’ll remember as move-in ready.

    5. Turn the backyard into a private paradise - Buyers will be visualizing themselves in your backyard when touring your home. They’re looking to see how quiet and secure the space is. Consider adding a beautiful wooden fence to enhance the privacy. It will make the home attractive to families with children and pets and for couples who aren’t interested in having a conversation with the neighbors every time they go outside. To make your fence an attractive selling feature of the home, consider using low maintenance options. You can match it to the deck coloring for a beautiful accent look that connects the colors in your backyard.

    Call A Professional Contractor For A Job Well Done

    Whether you decide to act on these improvements to list your home or to simply enjoy for yourself, calling a professional contractor to do the work for you will most likely save you time and money. Jeff DeNicola of Jeff’s Carpentry has over 30 years of hands-on experience. He has provided hundreds of satisfied clients with quality work at affordable prices. Craftsmanship and individual attention given to each client is unparalleled. Call him at (732) 851-5575 for a free estimate!

    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Home Improvement | Tagged | Comments Off

    Protect Your Home From Old Man Winter

    ice damsTemperatures have dipped considerably in the northeast and across the country. Most homeowners address window and door drafts to keep homes warm and utility bills reasonable. Some may even have a supply of salt or sand to keep walkways and driveways safe from ice. But, there seems to be something that way too many homeowners fail to address that can wreak havoc. Old man winter can do major damage to our homes starting at the roof.

    Ice Dams

    In an effort to protect your home, be aware of “ice dams” and how to prevent them. Ice dams occur when snow gathers on your roof and then starts to melt at the top due to the heating inside your home. The snow slides down your roof until the point where your roof is 32 degrees or under and then refreezes. This creates a barrier of ice that traps water on the top of your roof. That water can find its way between shingles and seams in your roof, creating cracks that allow water to seep into your home.

    Gutters on the roof can exacerbate the problem because they aren’t as affected by your home’s heat. Leaves and debris that have collected in the gutters can trap ice, so it’s important to clean them before winter.

    To prevent ice dams, rake the roof after major snowstorms that leave more than six inches. You can purchase a roof rake and do it yourself or pay a company to remove the snow/ice for you.

    Attics that aren’t properly insulated release a lot of heat so to get at the root of the problem, homeowners should make sure that their attic is properly insulated and ventilated.

    Another option is to install deicing cables on your roof, which are essentially heated wires that melt the snow.

    Insulate

    Go a step further and protect your garage from old man winter. Not all garages are finished with drywall and insulation, which means the temperature can drop below freezing. If you use the garage as a laundry room, storage or work space, you’ll want to keep it warm. The best way to prevent your garage from freezing is to finish it with insulation and drywall.

    Protect your Investment

    Keep warm, be safe and protect your investment. Call on Jeff’s Carpentry for all your home improvement and maintenance needs. Call us at (732) 851-5575 for expert services that will keep your home well maintained and well built.

    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Must-Know’s Before A Bathroom Renovation

    bathroomTackling a bathroom renovation can improve your everyday life. The question is “How dramatic should the renovation be?” This list of 5 considerations by Tim Laehn is worthy reading for homeowners considering a bathroom renovation.

    1. Start a wish list. Evaluate your existing bathroom — what you like and what you want to change. List features you’ve always wanted. Group them according to must-haves and nice-to-haves, and number them by importance. Tour model homes and showrooms and scan magazines and websites to gather inspiration.

    2. Establish a budget. Whether you want to gut your bathroom and start from scratch or just make cosmetic changes, it’s important to know how much you want to spend before you start. Also set money aside for the unexpected, such as water or mold problems.

    3. Call an expert. Even if you’re planning a small-scale makeover or tackling some of the remodel yourself, consult a professional. Pros know what your budget can buy and they provide solid advice on how to save and where to splurge. They can also help you avoid costly mistakes. Be sure to call in experts for plumbing and wiring and always get more than one estimate for a job.

    4. Get the biggest bang for your buck. Whatever the size of your bath, keep in mind that the more walls containing plumbing pipes, the higher the price tag. Working within a room’s existing footprint might not offer the ideal design solution but it almost always saves money. Moving the toilet or the drain for the shower or tub can be expensive. However, if electrical or plumbing systems are outdated, it can be cheaper in the long run to gut the room and start from scratch. “The most important thing is to have high-quality installers,” says Linda Welch, a certified master kitchen and bath designer from Monroe, Michigan. Welch recommends spending more on installation than on products. Also, invest in items that can’t be changed easily, such as flooring, the tub, and shower and don’t overlook practical features such as good lighting and storage.

    5. Make smart choices. Design with resale in mind if you’re planning to stay in your home five years or fewer, says Kathie Maughan Francis, principal and founder of Maughan Design, Inc. in Portland, Oregon. “And if you’re planning to stay more than seven years, design your room for yourself, because the look will be considered dated by the time you put the home on the market,” she says.

    Make The Call

    Jeff’s Carpentry is your trusted expert to help you plan a bathroom renovation that suits your design and budget needs. Call for a free estimate and put your mind at ease and your project to work. Make your new bathroom a change that you can enjoy and afford!

    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Loose the Draft with New Windows

    3Have you noticed that home heating and cooling bills are skyrocketing? Is there an unsightly fogging between the panes of the glass? It may be time to finally replace the windows in your home.

    Your old single-pane windows are not energy-efficient, making your furnace and air conditioner work harder. New windows with high-performance insulating glass technology will help eliminate drafts and will help keep the glass from conducting heat or cold — making your home more comfortable and energy efficient year-round.

    Reduce heating and cooling costs by replacing your windows and doors with Low-E (Low-Emissivity) insulating, double- or triple-pane glass. Additionally, Low-E glass coatings reflect the sun’s UV rays away from your home to help protect your furniture, drapes and carpets from fade damage. For maximum energy savings, purchase ENERGY STAR® qualified products.

    Most new windows with sealed insulated glass come with a 20 year warranty against fogging. The clear glass of a new window will give your home a refreshed and clean look once again.

    Today’s replacement wood, fiberglass and vinyl windows open and close almost effortlessly. And, they’re designed to make cleaning the exterior glass from inside your house easy and they require little maintenance. Plus you won’t have to worry about hunting down replacement parts.

    New windows and doors will dramatically improve the beauty of your home — inside and out.

    Call Your Contractor

    The experts of Jeff’s Carpentry can install windows, repair windows, weatherize windows or replace windows. We can resize windows, change window moldings, replace blind systems or even redo window treatments. Dormer windows, palladium windows or bay windows — we service all types of windows.

    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Add Warmth This Fall

    iStock_000002567238XSmallCooler days and nights bring us to spending more time indoors and enjoying our inside spaces again. As we are looking to add warmth to our homes, these three options can be used in almost any home. Consider cozying up your space with these “warm” ideas:

    Wall Charm

    Exposed walls, brick walls and natural stone walls combined with soft home decorating fabrics look especially attractive and stylish in homes. The warmth and comfort of a terracotta brick can complement even modern furnishings and artwork and result in a gorgeous room!

    Symbolizing strength and stability, brick walls have a universal appeal for both men and women. When brick or stone isn’t an option, look to creating a statement wall with decorative glass, contrasting paint, wallpaper or resin art panels. A statement wall can lift your room to a whole new level while adding warmth and charm to the space.

    Fireplace Possibilities

    When you think of snuggling up on a winter night, what comes to mind? A fireplace! Gas fueled models make it possible to add a fireplace to almost any room and space. As Bob Villa explains, since no actual combustion occurs in gas fireplaces, zero-clearance installation is possible, which, according to Monessen Hearth Systems, means that “these fireplaces can be installed in direct contact with combustible walls and floors. Their inner and outer shell construction allows for maximum heat insulation.”

    As long as you have a natural gas connection or propane availability, you can install a gas fireplace almost anywhere in your home — under a window, in either an outside or inside wall, at wainscot or floor level, in a corner or even in the center of a room. Shielded by tempered or ceramic glass, gas fireplaces can be exposed on three sides (a peninsula of glassed-in warmth) or four sides (a virtual see-through island).

    Heated Floors
    Installing radiant heating, also known as underfloor heating, is an energy-efficient way to keep warm throughout the cold months. Invented by the engineering-savvy ancient Romans who had slaves fanning wood-burning fires under elevated marble floors, radiant floor heating is an under the floor heating system that conducts heat through the floor surface, rather than through the air as in conventional forced-air heating systems.

    The two most common types of radiant floor heating systems are electric (heat via electric wires) and hydronic (heat via hot water tubes), both of which are buried underneath the floor.

    Electric radiant floor heating systems are easier and more affordable to install but more expensive to operate, making them ideal for heating small areas.

    Hydronic systems are less expensive to operate, so they work well for large floor areas and even entire houses. The caveat is that they come with higher initial costs because they’re more complicated to install and require heated water from a boiler or a water heater.

    Call Your Local Professional Contractor
    Contact Jeff’s Carpentry for your home and business renovations this fall. We are happy to discuss these and other ideas and provide a free estimate.

    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Renovations on Historical Homes

    iStock_000002889308SmallWhat constitutes a historic home?

    A home is deemed historic or “architecturally significant” by the National Register of Historic Places—or by the local historic board—if it exemplifies a signature architectural style, captures the essence of a given time period, or is associated with famous people from the past.

    Also included in this category are homes located in neighborhoods designated as historic districts.

    Restrictions

    In keeping with the home’s true nature and original construction, there are restrictions on renovations that homeowners must follow. Special permits need to be attained and because of the special requirements, there are usually extra costs involved.


    Here are some of the typical restrictions and extra costs:

    Additions- Rarely are homeowners permitted to add footage to historic homes, including extra stories.

    Windows, shutters and roofs- Since house exteriors such as windows, shutters and roofs embody the original architecture or design style, they are to be preserved and can only be replaced in kind.

    Paint- “Painted ladies” are Victorian and Edwardian houses painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. Painted Ladies are known for their vibrant colors and intricate detailing. Some preservationists use the term polychrome for the style.

    Taxes- Although you may qualify for tax benefits for investing in a home or in a district where preservation and restoration are priorities, tax levies for merely living in a historic neighborhood may be higher than other neighborhoods.

    Utility bills- Before you seal the deal, study the previous year’s energy bills. It may cost you significantly more to heat and cool an older home than a new one.

    Review the Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings imposed by local and state laws on owners of historic structures. Some remodeling and expansion plans may not be able to fulfilled on historic homes.

    Benefits

    The beauty and charm of historic homes is very appealing. The architecture and design of the home and the neighborhood is distinct and very valuable. In addition, there can be tax credits and lower interest loans for preserving and restoring historic buildings.

    Contact A Professional Contractor

    A professional contractor, like Jeff DeNicola of Jeff’s Carpentry, with experience in dealing with historical and other architectural style buildings will provide advice and guidance on projects for your home or office. Attention to detail is important when improving and restoring your home or office. Call today!


    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Make Your Home Efficient and Green!

    iStock_000004171786XSmallThis summer, as our schedules are a little looser, daylight hours are longer, and nature’s beauty inspires our souls, take time to evaluate the efficiency and green efforts of your home. This is the perfect time to make your home efficient and green!

    Install a programmable thermostat for energy efficiency and family harmony. Instead of constant arguments over the house temperature, install a programmable thermostat and agree on the program. Not only will everybody keep their cool (or heat!), but you’ll save money too. According to Consumer Reports, the thermostat pays for itself in less than a year if you set it automatically to lower your house temperature by 5 to 10 degrees while you’re out, and again at night when you’re sleeping.

    Green your home — literally — with plants. Houseplants can add the feeling of bringing the outdoors into your home, and they also help serve a more practical purpose: purifying the air. Plants can absorb toxic substances in the air, and release oxygen into your home. NASA has even done studies on house plants as a means of purifying the air in space stations. When picking out houseplants, be sure to research types that are safe to keep around small children and pets.

    Commit to greening your home. Take a walk around your house and survey for opportunities to ‘green’ your space. Switch to energy efficient CFL (compact fluorescent lights) bulbs; look for areas that are drafty and could be improved with additional installation or weather stripping, and set up a recycling station in your garage to help reduce waste. These small updates can add up to energy savings in the long run too.

    Simple home renovations and small projects that are aesthetically enjoyable may also turn out to be energy efficient. Updating a bathroom’s leaky faucet, replacing a temperamental outlet, sealing cracks in window panes are usually resolved with home projects thus in the end saving you money on utility bills.

    Jeff’s Carpentry Loves Efficiency

    Jeff’s Carpentry helps clients plan and design new home construction and home renovations with energy efficiency in mind. With over 30 years of hands on experience, Jeff DeNicola is a leading contractor in Monmouth county. Jeff welcomes the opportunity for you to choose Jeff’s Carpentry for all of your home improvement needs. Make your home efficient and green with the help of Jeff’s Carpentry.

    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    When is the Best Time for Remodeling Projects?

    iStock_000000143564SmallSpring and summer months are notably the best months for home improvements and renovations mainly for weather and the schedules of homeowners. The warmer weather allows better working conditions for contractors especially for outdoor work. Also, construction projects may be less of a hassle in summer for families since time can be spent outdoors and they are not confined to indoor living space as they are in winter months. Families can barbecue and use decks and patios for having meals. Many families take summer vacations allowing contractors to work in an empty house to tackle projects without disrupting a family’s routine. Ok, so spring and summer is typically the best time for obvious reasons, but is it right for you?

    Remodeling projects that are not high priority can be done in the fall and sometimes winter months for a savings. Some indoor projects that don’t require major disruptions , unlike kitchens and bathrooms, are usually not high priority and can wait until the better time. Fall and winter may actually be the best time for your project since contractors’ schedules free up and estimates may reflect more flexibility.

    HomeAdvisor relates doing a home project in summer as going to a restaurant during the lunch or dinner rush. “Just as your sandwich is more likely to come without the extra pickles you ordered during a restaurant’s busiest hours, your contractor is more likely to make mistakes when he or she is juggling several other, similar jobs. Additionally, when every contractor within a 6 mile radius is putting in orders for hardwood flooring or replacement windows, there’s a greater chance that orders will get delayed or mixed up, causing everyone involved a little more aggravation!”

    The best time for remodeling projects is when the time is better for these reasons:

    Project Priority
    Limited Disruption To Family Routine
    Contractor Availability

    Contact Us

    Start thinking about the home projects that you would like to tackle and plan out when the best time is for each. Holidays fall in all seasons and an be considered “good time” or “bad time” depending on your family and schedule. Contact Jeff’s Carpentry to discuss your options and we are happy to work around your family’s needs. We have over 2 decades of experience and we can address all indoor, outdoor, and landscaping projects that you have in mind for your home. Call (732) 851-5575 for a free estimate.

    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Outdoor Kitchens

    Adding an outdoor kitchen may make your dream backyard complete! Your outdoor kitchen will require utility connections and then your imagination can run wild for designing ideas best suited for your family and entertaining uses.

    The kitchen island comes in modular pieces that are made of steel-stud construction with permabased exterior cladding. These island components are attached with screws and brackets and then covered with tile or stone such as granite for the top where food is prepared and stone, bricks, or weather resistant wood like marine grade teak for the sides. If tile is used for the counter, it is recommended to go with 12×12 tiles and dark grout since it won’t stain as easily.

    Electric, gas and plumbing lines may be needed for the appliances you choose. Common appliances used for outdoor kitchens are grills, pizza ovens, cooktops, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Sinks can be selected in various styles and sizes. The weather tight cabinets of stainless steel or weather grade wood will finish off the the island’s look.

    Depending on your space, your outdoor kitchen can include ceiling fans, light sconces, a mister system which emits a mist for cooling, or heat lamps for cool nights. Some outdoor kitchens are under a roof and others are open-aired and even have fireplaces. Your outdoor kitchen flooring can be an existing patio surface or a new surface. Keep safety in mind when selecting appropriate flooring for an outdoor kitchen. Avoid glazed or porous tiles since they are slippery. Materials that meet the safety criteria include concrete, brick and natural stone.

    Depending on the location of your outdoor kitchen, landscaping may be used around the kitchen to keep the feel of the outdoors. Obviously, choose flowers and greenery that will not attract bees and other bugs.

    Qualified Contractor

    Jeff DeNicola of Jeff’s Carpentry has over 30 years of experience with home improvement projects including kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, molding & trim, window installation, door installation, deck installation, painting, commercial installations of acoustal ceilings, metal studs and sheetrock,as well as handyman type services where “no job is too small.” Call (732) 851-5575 for your free estimate.


    Bookmark and Share
    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off