general contractor fort collinsAre you a Northern Colorado homeowner thinking about a home renovation project? Thinking about what your home can be like after a renovation is exciting. The thought of finding a reliable home remodeling contractor to bring your vision to life… not so exciting. A lot of homeowners hesitate to get their renovation project underway because they fear hiring the wrong contractor. They’ve heard stories about contractors who don’t communicate well, worked too slowly, or do a poor job.

When you’re making a big investment you want to know you’re working with the right people. The good news is there are ways you can check to see if you’re hiring the right contractor before you hire them. This guide will give you the tools necessary to ensure you’ve done everything possible to hire a qualified and reliable home remodeling contractor.

Talk to People You Already Trust

 

The foundation of any healthy relationship is TRUST. The first step to finding a remodeling contractor you trust is asking friends and family for recommendations. From there you can move onto the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. Talk with local building inspectors; they will know which home renovation contractors consistently meet code requirements.

Social Proof

 

You’ve talked to the people you know directly, now see what past customers are saying. Reading online reviews is a great way to see the experience the community has had working with any business. It’s also a smart move to look into whether the company in question is a BBB member, and whether they have any previous complaints.

Pick up the Phone

 

Once you’ve assembled a list of candidates, make a quick call to each prospect and ask them these questions:

 

  • Can they take on a project like yours?
  • Can they give you a list of previous clients?
  • How many projects do they work on at the same time?
  • If they use subcontractors, how long have they used them?

 

The answers to these questions will reveal their availability, reliability, and how much attention they can give your project.

 

Meet in Person

 

You will have learned a lot and narrowed down your search after your phone interviews.  Choose three or four contractors to meet for estimates.  A contractor should be able to comfortably answer your questions.  When you meet in person, you can get a “feel” for another person. Pay attention to how you feel when communicating. Do they put you at ease with their transparency and ability to clearly communicate? Remember the contractor you choose will be in your home for days or weeks.

 

If you like their personality that’s good, but always check with the state consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau before you hire a contractor to make sure they don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

 

Investigate

 

You’ve narrowed down your list, you’ve met in person, you have your estimates, now double check to see if the facts check out. Call the contractor’s former clients and ask about how the project went and ask if you can see the final result. If possible, go to a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Check to see if the site looks organized and safe. See if the workers are professional and are careful with the homeowner’s property.

 

Plans & Bids

 

You’ve done your homework, and you have the information you need, now it’s time to get your project moving. Choose two or three contractors you that passed the vetting process and get some bids. A good renovation contractor will ask for your goals and what you hope to spend. The best way to compare bids is to ask for the contractors to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and expenses. Usually, materials will account for 40 percent of the total cost, overhead and labor will also account for about 40 percent, which typically leaves a profit margin of about 15-20 percent.

 

Payment Schedule

 

It’s important to work out your payment schedule before you hire a contractor. Payment schedules can reveal a lot about a contractor’s financial security and work ethic. If they ask for a 50% deposit before any work takes place, they may have some financial issues or be worried you won’t pay after you see their workmanship. With Artisan Remodeling & Design, payment starts with an initial deposit for materials, and then weekly or bi-weekly payments ONLY based on work completed.

 

Don’t Let Price Guide You

 

If you take several bids and one bid is way lower than the others, throw it out. Contractors that present below market value bids are usually desperate for work, cutting corners, or both. You want a quality job, with good materials, done right the first time.  The great thing about getting multiple bids is it gives you an idea of what appropriate pricing should be for your project. If you receive a high bid ask the contractor why it’s higher, and they may give a good reason, and you may hire them because of it.

 

Get it in Writing

 

Once you’ve found the right contractor, you’ll want a contract that details every step of the project. It should include:

 

  • Payment schedule
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Start date
  • Projected completion date
  • Specific materials & products to be used

Any change in the project, whether you change your mind about products or ask for additions, should be written into the contract, dated and signed by you and the contractor.

 

Ready for Your Home Renovation Project?

 

Now you have the knowledge to move forward and finally get started on your project. If you know you want to change your home, but are not sure exactly how, a good home renovation contractor will be able to help you, like US!! We will also be happy to show you different designs, suggest the best materials that will work with your style of home, and give you lots of fun options to choose from. But regardless of who you choose, just be sure to follow these guidelines. You’ll be glad you did.

 

If you have any questions about any step in the process of home renovation, call us today at 970-691-6995and check our work.

Kitchen Remodel Fort Collins

 

Quartz vs. Granite Countertops

Are you shopping for countertops and trying to decide between quartz and granite? Both quartz and granite are good choices when it comes to beautiful and durable countertops. However, there are some differences worth noting that can help you make a more informed choice. For starters, granite tends to have a more natural look, while quartz requires lower maintenance. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at quartz and granite countertops so you can walk away knowing the pros and cons of choosing each one for your kitchen project.

What is the Difference Between Granite and Quartz?

Granite

Granite is a 100% natural stone. It’s formed during the cooling of hot magma. The flecked pattern seen on quartz comes from mica and other trace minerals. The combination of the different minerals gives granite its unique color. Whites and creams are common granite colors, but pink and red color variations and darker colors like black are also available.

Quartz

Quartz, the second most abundant material in the earth’s crust, is created when silicon crystallizes. When we talk about quartz, we generally are discussing two different types of quartz.

  • Quartzite – a naturally occurring form of sandstone that has undergone intense heat and pressure. Quartzite countertop slabs are very common, but like other natural stones, the porous surface needs regular resealing.
  • Engineered Quartz – fabricated, unlike quartzite. It’s made by crushing rocks and then binding them together with resins. Caesarstone and Cambria are the two major manufacturers of engineered quartz.

So, which is better when it comes to your countertops? It really just depends on your goals. What we can do is break down the characteristics of granite and quartz by evaluating aesthetics, affordability, durability, and maintenance.

Appearance & Colors

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Natural appearance
  • Found in a wide variety of colors ranging from common off-whites to exotic blacks and greens.
  • Seams are more noticeable.
  • Can have naturally occurring imperfections, although some consider this appealing.
  • Can only be found in naturally occurring colors.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Can come in almost any color you can imagine, from a natural marble look to bright greens and reds. White with light gray or beige highlights are most common
  • Slabs have a consistent look throughout, which reduces the appearance of seams.
  • Over time, exposure to direct sunlight can discolor the resin that binds the slab.
  • Some think it doesn’t look as ‘natural’ as other types of stone, because of the more uniform look and size of the crystals.

 

Most Natural Looking Winner: Quartz

 

Cost Comparison

Granite

  • Averages $60 per square foot. If it features unusual colors or larger sizes, the price can be increased. Smaller pieces or tiles come in at a lower price point.

Quartz

  • Averages $75 per square foot. Special edges can increase the price.

The Most Affordable: Granite

 

Maintenance 

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Natural stone is very durable and can last a long time when properly cared for.
  • The porous stone will absorb spilled liquids if they’re not wiped up quickly, resulting in stains and bacterial growth.
  • Regular sealing every 1 to 2 years is a must to help resist absorption.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • The non-porous material is highly resistant to staining and bacterial growth as it will not absorb liquids.
  • Some liquids or foods with heavy dyes can stain the surface of the counter, so make sure to wipe clean right away.

 

The Easiest Maintenance Winner: Quartz

 

Installation

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Slabs can be cut to fit precisely into the exact shape of your kitchen counter layout.
  • Professionals should be used to measure and cut because a small mistake can require re-cutting or even replacing an entire slab.
  • Extra care should be taken during the transportation of the slab and placing to avoid cracking.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Manufacturers will shape the slab to fit your requirements. Any seams will be less noticeable.
  • Cabinets will need to be reinforced because of the heavy weight of quartz. Special equipment is needed to transport, carry, and move into place.
  • Aligning cutouts for sinks can be a challenge to get right if you choose to install yourself.

 

The Ease of Installation Winner: TIE

 

 

Durability, Hardness, & Strength

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Chip, crack, and scratch-resistant. However, it’s not recommended to use your countertop as a cutting surface.
  • Can chip if struck with hard objects.
  • Edges and corners are vulnerable to chipping. Rounded edges can help reduce this risk.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Highly resistant to chipping and cracking.
  • Because of resin used in the manufacturing process, it’s more flexible than natural stone, making it less prone to breaking during installation.
  • Although it’s very scratch resistant, it’s not 100% scratch proof.
  • Scratches that do occur may be more visible because of the uniform color.

 

The Toughness Winner: Quartz

 

Heat Resistance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Because it’s formed through the cooling of molten rock, granite is very heat resistant.
  • A possibility of cracking from thermal shock exists. Always use a trivet and never place hot pots or pans directly on the surface.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  •  Can easily take temperatures up to 150 degrees, so hot water or warm plates pose no threat.
  • Although its relatively heat resistant, the resin used to bind the stone together can become discolored when repeatedly exposed to excessive heat. Always use a trivet or hot pad.

 

 

The Heat Resistant Winner: Quartz

 

Moisture Resistance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Resistant to moisture and staining when polished well and sealed with a proper sealing compound.
  • Sealant wears down over time, making the stone more susceptible to moisture.
  • Moisture absorbed by the stone can result in staining.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • The non-porous surface will not absorb moisture.
  • Dark-colored liquids with dyes can stain the surface if left sitting for extended periods of time.

 

 

The Moisture and Staining Resistant Winner: Quartz

 

Repair and Maintenance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Repairs for small chips or scratches can be done with an epoxy kit that is available at most home improvement and flooring stores.
  • Can be accomplished yourself, but for larger or multiple scratches, it’s best to hire a professional.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Small nicks and cracks can be easily filled with epoxy.
  • Discoloration from heat is permanent.
  • Cracks are difficult to repair because the consistent coloring makes them more visible.

 

 

The Ease of Repair  Winner: Granite

 

Environmentally Friendly

Granite

Lots of energy is used to mine and transport large pieces of natural stone. Buying locally is one way to reduce the carbon footprint.

Quartz

Made from crushed rock, the mining is easier, and there is no need to preserve large slabs. Sometimes “waste” product from other uses is the raw material for engineered quartz slabs.

 

The Green Choice Winner: Quartz

 

 

Resale Value

 

Granite

It USED to be that granite countertops were specifically sought out when buyers were looking for a home and it USED to be that having granite in the home added resale value that was equal to 100% of the initial cost. But, alas…it seems quartz is becoming the new granite.

Quartz

Quartz is all the rage these days, and can actually be the tipping point when a buyer is making a choice between your home and another one without quartz countertops.

 

The Most Likely to Pay for Itself Winner: Quartz

 

The Winner: Quartz

Whether you’re planning an upcoming bathroom remodel or have your sights set on the kitchen, we feel quartz is the way to go. In the bathroom, countertops receive a lot of moisture that can sit for prolonged periods of time. Unless you want to always be wiping up water on your bathroom countertop, stain-resistant quartz is the better choice. In kitchens, quartz yet again edges out granite as the better choice. Just like bathrooms, your kitchen countertops receive a lot of moisture, especially around the sink. Plus, quartz is more heat resistant and has a wider variety of colors to choose from. But, if you love granite and are diligent with maintenance, it can work great for your kitchen remodel as well. Feel free to reach out to us for more information at 970-691-6995.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time American workers didn’t NEED a home office, or a home gym, or a home theater. These were optional spaces, nice extras for those who sometimes had to answer some emails after hours, or who didn’t feel like hiking out to the gym, or who really liked their at-home film experience.

But a lot has changed in 2020, and as of this article’s publish date hundreds of millions of Americans are stuck at home round the clock, and it’s getting REALLY old REALLY fast.

Fortunately, there is a Fort Collins Finished Basement solution that can help you make the most of this difficult situation. And that solution is your basement, professionally finished by none other than yours truly: Artisan Remodeling & Design!

Reason #1 why you should finish your basement: Space

The more time you and your family spend in your house the smaller your space is going to feel—and the crazier everyone is going to feel stuck inside it. Finishing your basement is the easiest way to add significant livable square footage to your home, which provides more space for everyone to spread out and get off each other’s nerves.

Reason #2: Comfort

Finished basements are naturally cozy. They’re cool in the summer and warm in the winter, making them the perfect at-home sanctuary during extreme temperatures and pandemics alike.

Reason #3: Purpose Built Spaces

Unfinished basements are a natural fit for all the much-needed spaces of the moment like home gyms and fitness centers, home offices, craft and hobby rooms, home bars, and in-home theaters where you and your family can spend some peaceful quality time.

You can choose to go with the basics (drywall, flooring, electrical) and get up and running fast, or go with a more comprehensive basement remodel to create a lasting, useful, and beautiful space for your own use in the short term, and for entertaining and hosting once social distancing ends.

Reason #4: Home Value

Remodeling does more than just improve your experience at home in the short term. It also benefits home value and resale potential years down the road.

We all know the financial system is unstable right now, and we definitely can’t tell you how to invest or where to put your money. But we can say that in ten years people will still need houses and at that point, if you’re looking to make a move, a finished basement would be a great asset to show off.

Ready to Serve

If you’ve been struggling with all this time at home and remodeling to finish your basement sounds like something you’d be interested in, let us know! Artisan Remodeling & Design serves the Fort Collins and Loveland areas of Colorado and we are open for business as we take every precaution to limit social interaction and protect the health and safety of our team members, partners, and clients.

Call us today at 970-691-6995 for more information about our Fort Collins Finished Basement service.

The world won’t soon forget the pandemic of 2020, and there’s no telling when the need for social distancing will end. While we all want things to go back to normal, many of us are still feeling a bit weary and prefer to stay at home, where we can remain safe and healthy. In this strange new reality it’s fair to say that at-home exercise and fitness solutions are no longer a luxury for health-minded homeowners. Fort Collins Home gyms have become a necessity.

Fortunately, designing and developing your own home gym is easier than you might think. Here’s how to get started!

1. Choose your Equipment

While you could design the space first and fill it later, working the other way around has its advantages. Different types of equipment may have different structural or electrical requirements, and laying out your equipment ahead of time will give you a good idea of how much space you’ll need.

A few examples of home exercise equipment to choose from include punching bags, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, elliptical trainers, treadmills, weight machines, and free weights/a weight bench, just to name a few.

Make sure to include both strength and endurance-focused equipment that you’ll enjoy using, along with floor space for stretching, in order to balance your workouts.

2. Find Your Space

Depending on your equipment and the amount of space it takes up you may be able to use a spare bedroom or a portion of your basement as-is. Or, you may find that you need to make some changes.

Finishing or remodeling a portion of the basement is probably the most common solution we see. Basements offer a cool, private, and out of the way space with plenty of room. With some drywall, good flooring, lighting, ventilation, and electrical access, basement gyms can be a winning choice. However, some homeowners find that the lack of natural light negatively impacts their motivation.

Spare bedrooms, on the other hand, already have light, power, and ventilation, but often lack the same wide-open open space and lack of distraction that you get in the basement. And when using an upper-level space you need to make sure that the weight of any heavy equipment is safely spread across your floor joists, not placed between them.

homegymfortcollins3. Make It Your Own

A home gym can be a simple as a floor mat and some headphones in the living room, or as complex as a brand new walk-out home addition with professional equipment. It’s up to you to do what you need to do to make your space a space that you’ll enjoy using in the long term, allowing you to cultivate healthy habits without heading out into public.

Some other elements and features you should consider including are:

  • Oversize mirrors for you to watch your form and track your progress
  • Audio/visual solutions so you can follow along with online classes or listen to music
  • Tough, non-slip, easy-to-clean hard flooring
  • Easy-clean rubber or foam floor pads and mats
  • Wall racks, hangers, and other accessible storage options
  • Ventilation, heating, or cooling to keep the air comfortable and remove stale odors
  • Lighting (preferably plenty of natural lighting as well)
  • Personal touches and décor to make you feel comfortable and at-home
Professional Basement and Home Remodeling

Remember, most home gyms pay for themselves surprisingly fast compared to a monthly gym membership. They’re an investment—an investment in your own health and convenience. 

If you’re interested designing and building your own home exercise center, contact Artisan Remodeling & Design at 970-691-6995 today. We’re an expert, local Fort Collins home remodeling company, and we would love to do what we can to help you get healthy and stay healthy right where you are.

Why do businesses spend so much money making offices comfortable and attractive for their employees? Because the spaces we inhabit change the way we work. That’s the value and power of a well-designed, fully furnished home office.

Designing, decorating, and remodeling your home to include a home office is a real option that can give you a purpose-built, high productivity, social-distancing approved hub with everything you need to bring your profession home and get work done.

Check out some remodeling important key points for our Fort Collins Remodeling Services. Here’s how to start:

homeofficeinfortcollinsco1. Choose Your Location

Contrary to popular opinion your home office doesn’t need to be a standalone room or share space with your guest bedroom. That’s an option, and a good one for many people, but everyone is wired differently and your space should reflect that.

  • Do you work better in perfect quiet with no distractions? Or do you enjoy hearing conversations and having a feeling of activity nearby?
  • Do you need to be able to close a door in order to take calls with privacy, or are you ok operating while you spouse or children cook, snack, and play just around the corner?

Depending on your home’s layout you may be quite well-off establishing your home office in your porch, off your kitchen, or in a corner of your living room. Of, if you need more privacy, you can convert a portion of your bedroom or a spare bedroom, you can finish a portion of your basement, or even build out your attic.

It all depends on what is available, what is possible, and what will work best for you!

 

homeofficefortcollins

2. Take Care of the Basics

Your average home office requires need a few specific amenities, all of which need to be considered:

  • Electrical access
  • Internet access (Ethernet or strong WIFI signal)
  • A desk or work surface
  • Lighting (natural light is always preferred)
  • Ventilation
  • Storage

covidhomeofficce3. Consider Ergonomics

If there’s one productivity item you should never skimp on, it’s a comfortable chair. But home office ergonomics goes well beyond seating, encompassing the entire physical layout of your work area and how it contributes to your productivity and health.

Elements to consider include:

  • “Happy” sunlight therapy lighting, especially if natural light isn’t available
  • Mouse selection (adjustable DPI, form factor, hand size, grip style)
  • Additional external monitors to expand your screen area
  • Laptop/monitor risers to help keep your head and chin up for good posture
  • External keyboard to keep your wrists low and avoid carpal tunnel
  • An ergonomic and comfortable chair set to the correct height

 

homeofficebohofortcollins4. Furnish and Finish

Now it’s time to bring it all together. Your home office should be a comfortable and attractive space, one that makes you feel at-home and in control. If you’re working in a stark white room you might not have distractions, but you probably aren’t going to feel fully in your element either.

Work to make your space a fitting part of your overall home design and décor, and consider artwork and indoor plants if you have the space and sunlight.

You may also want to go the extra mile to remove clutter. Wireless computer peripherals are a good option, along with storage solutions and cable tamers to keep your wires and cords safely gathered, covered, and out of the way.

And let’s not forget what’s behind you either. With video conferencing now a critical part of the work from home experience, having an attractive, well-furnished, professional-looking space behind your head and shoulders can really pay off.

Develop Your Perfect Space

If you really need to crack down and get work done on your own terms, in your own space, Artisan Remodeling & Design can help with Fort Collins remodeling services. Contact us or call us directly at (970) 691-6995 and we’ll provide custom home office renovations designed with you in mind, as well as comprehensive home bathroom, kitchen, and basement remodeling services.

Proudly serving Fort Collins, Loveland, and the surrounding communities.