Boost Home Value

homeWhether you plan to sell your home now or plan to stay there for long term, it is always wise to invest in your home to capitalize on its value. Real estate professionals share advice for how to not spend tons of cash and yet focus on projects that pay off whether you are selling now or in the future.

• Create Open Floor Plan
Buyers want a wide open floor plan like the living room right off the kitchen. They are into big spaces and it may pay to remove a non-structural wall for an open space feeling.

• Pay Attention to Landscape
Overgrown and unkept landscaping can be a problem for any price point home. It can give obscure views, create mold and darken interiors. Landscaping is one of the top three investments that bring the biggest return.

• Enhance Lighting
Natural light from windows, lights with motion detectors and sun tubes (light pipes) are very inexpensive ways to increase light in a home and set the mood.

• Maintenance Before Upgrade
The basic care and maintenance of a home that is kept up to date will always pay off. Insulate the attic, repair plumbing leaks, replace rusty rain gutters, inspect the furnace and the septic system, replace or repair leaky windows, install storm doors and weed the flower beds.

• Go Green
Updating heating and air conditioning systems can save you in efficiency and utility bills. Energy savers are always more desirable.

• Flooring
Most real estate pros recommend spending some money on floors. Repairing broken tile, patching damaged floor boards, updating wall-to-wall carpeting, re-finishing wood floors or replacing carpet with laminate flooring.

• Updated Bathrooms
Replace frosted glass for clear glass, clean the grout, remove rust stains, apply fresh caulk, update doorknobs and cabinet pulls, replace faucets and install a low-flush toilet.

• Paint Neutral
Buyers want to be able to project their own ideas onto a space and a toned-down wall color allows for most decorating tastes and keeps the home looking current.

Choose Wisely With Your Home Improvements and Home Maintenance
Jeff’s Carpentry offers the best combination of experience and expertise for every aspect of your home project. Call (732) 851-5575 for a free estimate.

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Identify Load Bearing Walls

load bearing wall
Are you looking to redesign the layout of a room to create an open floor plan? If so, one of the first things to note are the “load bearing” walls. What are load bearing walls you ask? These walls hold or transfer the weight load of the structure from one section to another. If you take down part of or all of a non-load bearing wall, then what is left of the structure will stay intact. But, if you take down all or part of a load bearing wall, part or all of the structure will most likely collapse. It is crucial to know what each wall is to plan the renovation appropriately.

There are several ways to determine if a wall is a load bearing wall. Identifying load bearing walls is more difficult in newer structures than in older ones. Most of the older structures use all of the exterior walls as load bearing walls, while some much newer homes use only the front and back walls to bear the structure’s load. Never attempt to do a renovation without knowing this important information, as collapsing walls can be fatal.

Check the Basement
The best place to start looking is the lowest part of your home – in the basement. If you don’t have a basement, start at the concrete pad.

Check the Walls
Look for the walls that sit on the foundation walls. They support the weight of the roof and are load bearing walls. Any exterior wall that rests on the foundation sill is considered a load bearing structure.

Check the First Floor
While you’re in the basement, look at the first floor joists. Find the walls that run parallel to those joists. Those are non-load bearing walls.

Check the Center of the House
On the 1st and 2nd floors of the house, locate any wall that sits comparatively in the center of the house and parallel above the center basement beam. Those are most likely load bearing walls.

Check Perpendicular Walls
Most often, any wall that runs perpendicular to floor joists will be a load bearing wall, while those that lay parallel to floor joists are not.

Check Posts or Columns
Another visual cue of load bearing walls are those that end in large posts or columns. Some columns simply appear to be decorative but it probably helps support the weight of other walls and portions of the roof above.

Consult with Jeff’s Carpentry
If you have any doubt at all as to which walls in your home are load bearing walls, consult with a professional prior to modifying your existing structure. Modifying or moving a load bearing wall without proper bracing can cause not only structural damage and collapsing wall events, but can be fatal to those inside the home.

Jeff’s Carpentry assures that plans for new construction and renovations correctly account for weight bearing walls and the integrity of the structure.

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Appeal of a Fireplace


The appeal of gathering around flickering flame satisfies most. Surveys of potential home buyers consistently show that even in the warmest climates, 90 percent of shoppers want a fireplace. Part of the appeal is psychological – a primal connection between hearth and home that even climate or technology cannot break. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, there are ways to enhance its appeal. Some updates are simple decorating tips and other updates may require some modifications for utility and venting. Here are a few ideas:

– Paint the mantel
– Detail the interior
– Add bold artwork
– Update the base tile or stone
– Accessorize the mantel or add a screen
– Add a gas insert for ease and efficiency

If you are looking to add a fireplace, there are so many options for homeowners. The simplest fireplace can provide the visual appeal and some can even provide added warmth. A fireplace can be added to a kitchen, family room, bedroom, bathroom or in a finished basement and business owners are incorporating fireplaces into their interiors. Many restaurants add fireplaces to dining areas and a fireplace in an office lobby adds to the comfort for visitors. The possibilities are really endless. Depending on the room, budget and utility connections, there are many options to consider. Here are a few options:

– Wall mount electric fireplace
– Free standing electric fireplace
– Gas fireplace
– Prefabricated fireplaces

Contact a professional contractor for an estimate. You will see that costs can range from a couple hundred dollars for an electric fireplace to a few thousand dollars depending on how elaborate you would like your fireplace to be.

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.

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Time for an Update?


Some home projects are planned out ahead of time and then there are other home projects or upgrades that get done due to unforeseen circumstances. For example, painting a room or upgrading a bathroom or adding overhead lighting are common projects that you can usually plan into your budget and into your lifestyle. We recommend using a licensed professional for projects like these and other home projects such as kitchen renovations, adding a deck or patio, changing flooring, etc. where skill and experience will actually save you time and money in the long run.

Then there are the unforeseen projects. This may be the hot water heater that burst and now your downstairs family room has been overhauled with new flooring, wainscoting, new electric in the walls and the list goes on. These type of unforeseen projects can really have an impact on a household and using a professional contractor is even more important with these projects.

We thought that it would be useful to share a list of common household replacements and what the average lifespan is for each. Take a look and you may want to think about planning for the next replacement before you are scrambling due to wear and tear.

Doorbell – 45 years
Garage Door – 25 years
Gas Fireplace – 25 Years
Linoleum Flooring – 25 years
Whirlpool Bathtub – 20 years
Sink Faucets – 20 years
Gas Oven – 18 years
Garage Door Opener – 15 years
Sofa – 15 years
Washing Machine – 15 years
Refrigerator – 13 years
Dryer – 13 years
Food Disposal – 12 years
Water Heater – 12 years
Carpet – 10 years
Microwave – 9 years
Dishwasher – 9 years

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.

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Window Trends


HGTV boasts trends in window treatments:

Hot Colors in Latest Fabrics – jewel tones of deep reds to subtle blues offer sophisticated luxury and also amethyst and turquoise are popular mixed with soft metallics such as platinum or brushed nickel.

Natural Sheers – simple panels of sheer fabrics will add warmth to the room but still let light. Popular in all colors, not just white or cream. Linen blends with more contemporary patterns work nicely as well.

Ornamental Trim – beads, buttons, shells, etc on Roman shades complete the look for a personalized treatment.

Eco – Friendly – bamboo, matchstick blinds and natural woven shades layered with simple sheer linen panels create an elegant yet earthy sophistication in any space.

Layering – sheer shades over blackout shades is trendy and very efficient. Layering panels and sheers is always fun.

Creative Patterns – Large geometric patterns create a dramatic look and focal point.

Metals – stainless steel and other metallic curtain rods through simple eyelets at the top of panels create a simple unadorned look.

Dark Neutral – charcoal and slate are the new neutrals and blend beautifully with the metallic trends.

Outdoor Curtains – use them to create a relaxing indoor feel on a porch with outdoor-proof or easy-to-wash fabrics.

Build to Decorate

We hope this information provides fun decorating tips for your home. If you are considering renovating, adding an addition or updating a room in your home, leave it to the expertise of a reputable home contractor. Call Jeff’s Carpentry for a free estimate.

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How is the air quality in your home?

zzWe all know that there are pollutants outdoors. But have you thought about the air in your home?

We may fail to recognize that our homes may have poor air quality and can cause us to get sick. Indoor pollutants can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches and make you feel like you are coming down with a cold. Poor air quality can have long term effects on our health.

Follow these tips to make sure that the air in your home isn’t making you sick.

Use an exhaust fan that vents to the outdoors.

Exhaust fans need to vent to the outdoors. If an exhaust fan vents into an enclosed space like an attic this can lead to mold issues which can spread throughout the home and cause asthma, cold symptoms and breathing problems. After you bathe or shower, give your exhaust fan time to pull the moisture from the bathroom and to remove the water droplets completely from the exhaust fan vent duct.

Steam clean upholstery and carpets.

Fabrics, carpets and padding is a breeding ground for allergens. Professional cleaning uses hot water extraction to remove all the dust, dirt and allergenic particles like pet dander that bury deep in the carpet. Dirt can be abrasive and walking on dirty carpet can make the fibers wear out more quickly. Steam cleaning gives you healthier air and it can prolong the life of carpets.

Clean the air ducts in your home.

Air ducts are the lungs of your home. Whatever is in the air (pollen, dander, dust, etc.) collects on the sides of your ducts and is recirculated into your home every time you turn on the air conditioning or heat. If there is a persistent odor in your home or you start sneezing every time the heat comes on, air duct cleaning could be a must for your home.

Replace air filters in your furnace.

The recommendations of your heating and cooling unit should be followed for replacing filters. Some units use washable filters that can be reused and cleaned every couple months and others require replaceable filters. Removing airborne particles is a very easy yet extremely effective way to keep the air you breathe free of pollutants.

De-Clutter rooms.

Try to minimize stuffed animals and nick-nacks in bedrooms. Allergens and dust will build up in these cozy places and can cause coughing and asthma like symptoms.

Manalapan, New Jersey’s leading home contractor, Jeff’s Carpentry, cares about you and your family. Enjoy the summer months creating memories in your home and yard. Free estimates for home improvement projects are always available. Contact Jeff’s Carpentry for all your residential and commercial improvements.

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What Does Your Home Say About You?

exteriorIt was recently noted by Houzz that the exterior of your home should be a direct reflection of you and what you like. Here is what they had to say:

“If you’re looking to enhance your curb appeal, nothing packs a bigger punch than revamping your architectural design. Since it’s the first thing visitors see, it makes or breaks your home’s first impression — it can easily become the neighborhood star or the neighborhood dud. The exterior often reflects the overall style of the house and the family that lives there, so it sets the pace for the rest of your space. In the end, whether you have stone, wood, brick, steel or vinyl siding, make sure your materials, paint colors and overall design represent what you like and who you are.

When you get ready to remake your exterior, it’s important to consider all the components. If you’re starting from scratch, you must first decide what architectural designs you prefer. There are several different options to choose from — including Victorian, Mediterranean, Craftsman and Midcentury Modern — so do your research and determine which one reflects you and is reasonable given your space or current home. Once that’s decided, it’s time to consider the materials and color. Your overall style will help determine this, but your personal taste and resell ability should also be factors. Finally, add some finishing touches for a personalized, lived-in look.”

Once you decide on a look, the overall style and your budget will determine the materials needed – siding, stone, brick, wood, etc. Neutral colors may work best unless the choice is Victorian or in a beach neighborhood. You may want to add a color contrast with your front door or garage doors. House numbers are a great way to add personality – you can try a unique font or brighter colors for a different look. Mailboxes, doormats and lighting also help enhance your house’s character.

Make your home exterior a reflection of you and your family. Let us help you make this a reality! Call us for a free estimate.

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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!


  • 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!

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    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. 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!

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    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.


    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.

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