Home Upgrades with The Best Return On Investment

Home Upgrades with The Best Return On Investment

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You have decided the time is right to start undertaking some remodeling projects on your home but you are not exactly sure where to begin. You aren’t necessarily planning on moving anytime soon, but you are definitely remodeling with the thought in mind that you want to add value to your home and recoup the majority of the costs of these projects. Here at North Star Stone we were interested in knowing this as well, so we did a little digging and found out some interesting things about the monetary return certain remodeling projects may or may not add to your home. Continue reading to learn more.

 

Landscaping

If selling your home down the road is definitely in the cards for you, make sure to invest some money into improving your home’s curb appeal. It is well known that many prospective buyers will keep driving if the outside of your home is unappealing. Adding stone walls, walkways and paths is a great way to add value. Current estimates state that your home’s average return on landscaping is 100 percent.

 

Stone Veneers

Homeowners today are capitalizing on the beauty, customization and cost benefits of stone veneers. Incredibly versatile, stone veneer is another excellent way to add value to your home. You can really boost some of your home’s features by installing stone veneer to accent points around your home’s exterior and even the entire facade of your home. It doesn’t end there. You can take your stone veneer inside and add it to almost any room of your home such as kitchens, wine cellars and living rooms; and let’s not forget how beautiful an outdated fireplace can become after a stone veneer updating. There is a stone veneer option available for every style, taste and budget. According to HouZZ.com in collaboration with the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, homeowners can expect to see a up to a 92 percent payoff when adding stone veneer.

 

Exterior Upgrades and Improvements

There are several things you can do to the exterior of your home to increase it’s value. These include the following:

 

  • Offering up to an 88 percent return, fiber-cement siding like Hardie Board, which is much more enduring and weather resistant than aluminum or vinyl siding. Hardie board also looks great when paired with stone veneer.
  • Painting – A fresh coat of paint can totally transform and improve the exterior of your home and is fairly inexpensive when considering other upgrades.
  • New exterior door – Adding a steel door has security and cosmetic benefits. According to the Harvard Study, a new front door can provide a return of up to 102 percent.

 

Kitchen & Bath Remodel

You really can’t go wrong when it comes to improving your home’s kitchen and bathrooms. Some choose to do partial upgrades by replacing old appliances, giving old cabinets a face-lift or replacing hardware, while others will choose a total overhaul of these spaces and transform these rooms into havens of culinary bliss or sanctuaries of bathing tranquility. Resale returns on kitchens range from 91 percent to 98 percent, while bathrooms range from 93 percent to 102 percent.

 

Adding a Bathroom

A good rule of thumb is before updating your current bathroom, especially if it is your only bathroom, then you should probably add one first. Many older homes have a disproportionate number of bathrooms to bedrooms so spending your money on this addition first is wise. Adding a bathroom can increase the sale price of your home by 8.7 percent.

 

New Windows

New windows can do wonders for the appearance of a home and the resale value. Also, many of the new windows on the market today are amazingly energy efficient and may even lower your heating and cooling costs. Expect up to an 87 percent return on new windows.

 

Attic Bedroom Conversion

It can’t be argued that adding another bedroom to any home is a benefit, especially if your house tends to be on the smaller side with only two or three bedrooms. If you have an attic with the right bones, then you may want to consider converting it into a bedroom. Add a bathroom if possible and make sure your HVAC can handle the extra load. You could recover 93 percent when reselling.

 

Garage Door

Garage doors can really take a beating, which may show with a rundown appearance, ultimately detracting from our home’s appearance. Consider replacing your garage door because according to the Harvard University study, you may find that you get up to 88 percent back in the resale of your home.

 

Wood Deck

Adding a wood deck to your home can really change the way you interact with your home especially when it comes to outdoor living. A well-constructed deck is an extension of your home and if done right, should show a seamless transition from interior to exterior living. Consider adding a few stone veneer accents to enhance your new decks finer points. Some estimates show up to an 87 percent return on their initial cost.

RELATED: Choosing Colors For Your Home’s Exterior Stone & Siding

Things to consider when remodeling

 

  • Make sure that the upgrade is relative to the price of the house. For example, you wouldn’t want to install a $40,000 kitchen in a $200,000 house unless your very confident in seeing that value returned to your home.
  • Before deciding to do any major home improvements make sure that the major components of your home like siding, roofing, foundation and HVAC are all sound. A prospective homebuyer will overlook a brand new bathroom or kitchen if they notice seepage in your basement.
  • Consider when and if you plan on selling your home. If you don’t see you or your family moving anytime soon, then spend money on your home where it will return the most enjoyment back to you. If you live in a household full of foodies then updating your kitchen with state of the art appliances and stone countertops may be where you chose to invest your money versus gutting and replacing a perfectly functional yet dated bathroom.
  • Keep your neighborhood in mind. If adding on to your home, make sure it still stays comparable to your neighborhood or you will probably have a difficult time trying to sell it. In other words, don’t price yourself out of your housing market.

 

If you are considering adding the elegance and beauty of stone veneer to your home, please visit North Star Stone. Our knowledgeable staff is excited to work with you and to discuss how stone may be an option for you. For more information, contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new stone.

 

3 More Things to Consider Before Undertaking a DIY Project

3 More Things to Consider Before Undertaking a DIY Project

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Last week we began our discussion on things to consider before undertaking a do-it-yourself project. This week we will pick up where we left off and talk about the needed skills for your project, time constraints and knowing when to hire a professional. Continue reading to learn more.

 

Do you have the ability to complete the task?

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have the skill set required to carry out your DIY project? In other words, will you need any special training or practice before you take a jackhammer to the driveway in an effort to carry out your vision of laying a stone driving path?
  • Can you do it alone or will you need the help of family or friends?
  • Are these family and friends available to help you and do they want to help you?

 

Are there any time constraints on your project?

As previously mentioned, many of the DIY gurus you have encountered on television have this magical ability to make everything they do look fast and easy. This is usually not the case, especially if you run into a hiccup. If you offered to host your parents 40th anniversary party, which is two weeks away, but you want to put down a new stone tile floor in your kitchen first, be sure that the two valuable vacation days you have taken off work will be enough. You may need to prepare yourself for having to carry your project over into the nights and weekends leading up to your event.

 

Know when to hire a professional

This might be the hardest thing to consider for some of us on the verge of a DIY project because we don’t like to think that we wont be able to accomplish something we set out to do. Try and remember there is no shame in being able to acknowledge when a project is simply too big or complicated to undertake or finish. Contractors, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and other skilled individuals in the home improvement world have undergone years of training followed by years of on-the job experience to carry out the work they do. Experience, we might add, these individuals are always building upon. At the end of the day hiring a professional may save you money, time, and the disharmony that can occur in a household during a DIY project.

 

DIY projects can be a rewarding experience. Not only will you learn something new you will also get a great sense of accomplishment when you take that step back and admire what you have done. Keeping in mind the helpful hints above will help your project stay on track. If you are from the Chicagoland area and one of your DIY projects consists of adding stone to your home, call or visit the experts at North Star Stone at 847-996-6850. With years of experience stone is their passion. If you still have questions please visit our Exterior Stone FAQ page or contact us at info@northstarstone.biz

 

5 Reasons You Should Consider Updating Your Fireplace with Stone Veneer

5 Reasons You Should Consider Updating Your Fireplace with Stone Veneer

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Sitting around the cozy warmth of a crackling fire has been something that human beings have done for hundreds of thousands of years. All those years ago man used fire to provide light and heat, keep predators at bay and to cook food. Some research may even suggest that without fire, human beings would not have evolved into what they are today.

Still, for many of us, being near the warmth of a stone fireplace feels familiar and inviting; this may be why so many people have opted to have a fireplace in their home. Additionally, because of the timelessness of a fireplace, many homeowners are choosing to give their older hearths a face-lift by renovating this important space. If you are on the fence about whether or not to update your current fireplace here are 5 helpful attributes to consider.

Beauty

It cannot be denied that there is something beautiful and tranquil about a fireplace, especially today with so many styles and sizes to select from when considering updating your current fireplace. Stone veneer fireplaces today range in appearance and texture from the classic elegance of a cobblestone design to the more contemporary and ornate cut stone arrangement. In short, there is a design for every taste and every home.

Budget

Better still, there is a stone veneer fireplace for almost every budget. Today many fireplace owners are choosing to go with stone veneer when remodeling their fireplace. With stone veneer you get the quality and appearance of stone but with much less expense. Moreover, a stone veneer fireplace can be installed more quickly than building a new fireplace.  Depending on the size of your project you can be sitting in front of your beautiful new fireplace within two days.

A Preferred Amenity

According to the National Association of Home Builders, groups they surveyed ranked a fireplace among one of the top three home amenities that people look for when purchasing a new home. This could also mean that it might be easier for you to sell your home if you have a fireplace. If you are thinking about possibly selling your home at some point in the future now might be a good time to update your current fireplace with more modern and organic looking stone.

Improving an Additional Heat and Light Source

How many times has the power gone out during frigid weather and you found yourself longing for the warmth of the fireplace you stopped using for some long forgotten reason? When used properly, a fireplace can not only provide warmth but also light until the power comes back on. You may even find yourself not missing the power so much after some time in front of a cozy fire. With this in mind, now might be a great time to get that fireplace back into working order and its former glory with some beautiful stone updating.

Transform Your Home

Do you love the natural light and decor of your living room but feel like it needs just a little something extra to make it perfect? Do you spend a lot of time in your home office and wish it didn’t feel so much like an office? Then updating your fireplace may be just the thing. You can dramatically change the tone and appearance of any room simply by updating the fireplace.  You may even find yourself spending less money with fireplace options now on the market. Many homeowners are choosing to go with manufactured stone and or a custom colored fireplace veneer when designing or updating their fireplace because of the cost savings as well as the near limitless choices available.

If updating your fireplace sounds like the right option for your home remember there are many directions you can go in nowadays. Why not consider the beauty and cost savings of a stone veneer fireplace? For more information about adding stone to your fireplace, visit our stone fireplace FAQ page or contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new stone fireplace.

Fireplace Safety

Fireplace Safety

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As frigid temperatures, howling winds and deep snows make themselves at home this winter, folks flock to warm themselves in front of a roaring fireplace.

Therefore, it’s a good time to talk about fireplace safety.

Every winter, fireplaces all over the United States glow brightly with the warming flames tickling the hearth.

However, most homeowners are not aware a dirty, soot-filled fireplace can actually cause a fire in their home.

Creosote

As wood burns, providing heat for your living room, it also emits a byproduct called creosote. Creosote forms when firewood burns at low temperatures, causing incomplete combustion of the oils in wood. These oils, or creosote, leave deposits in the chimney and flu after a fire has burned.

After a season of fires in your hearth, the creosote deposits in your chimney can accumulate to several inches. This causes a two-part fire hazard.

1. As creosote deposits collect, they prevent the flow of oxygen to the fire in the hearth. In turn, this prevents the wood from burning at an optimal temperature, causing more creosote to form.

2. A fire in the fireplace produces lots of hot oxygen, and as it comes in contact with the creosote deposits in your fireplace, it can ignite a chimney fire.

In fact, 25% of all residential fires can be attributed to creosote buildups in chimneys and fireplaces.

Safety: Creosote Cleanup & Prevention

There are a number of things you can do to mitigate the chances of a fire starting in your chimney or fireplace.

• Have a chimney sweep inspect and, if necessary, clean your fireplace and chimney once a year.

• Only use hard, seasoned wood. Soft wood still contains lots of moisture and doesn’t burn efficiently, which contributes more creosote to your chimney.

• While burning a fire, keep nearby glass doors open to encourage a strong flow of oxygen, which will burn your wood more completely.

• Never use flammable liquids to start a fire. Also, do not burn cardboard, trash or debris in your fireplace.

• Never leave a fire unattended. Completely extinguish a fire and any embers before going to bed.

• Make sure there are no trees, branches, leaves or other obstructions above your chimney.

• Cover the chimney with a mesh spark arrester

Follow these steps to ensure your home stays safe while enjoying a wood burning fire.

Fireplace Safety: How to Safely Use & Maintain a Fireplace

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As frigid temperatures, howling winds and deep snows make themselves at home this winter, folks flock to warm themselves in front of a roaring fireplace.

Therefore, it’s a good time to talk about fireplace safety.

Every winter, fireplaces all over the United States glow brightly with the warming flames tickling the hearth.

However, most homeowners are not aware a dirty, soot-filled fireplace can actually cause a fire in their home.

Creosote

Cobble Field Stone Fireplace 8As wood burns, providing heat for your living room, it also emits a byproduct called creosote. Creosote forms when firewood burns at low temperatures, causing incomplete combustion of the oils in wood. These oils, or creosote, leave deposits in the chimney and flu after a fire has burned.

After a season of fires in your hearth, the creosote deposits in your chimney can accumulate to several inches. This causes a two-part fire hazard.

1. As creosote deposits collect, they prevent the flow of oxygen to the fire in the hearth. In turn, this prevents the wood from burning at an optimal temperature, causing more creosote to form.

2. A fire in the fireplace produces lots of hot oxygen, and as it comes in contact with the creosote deposits in your fireplace, it can ignite a chimney fire.

In fact, 25% of all residential fires can be attributed to creosote buildups in chimneys and fireplaces.

Safety: Creosote Cleanup & Prevention

Mountain Stack Stone Fireplace 7There are a number of things you can do to mitigate the chances of a fire starting in your chimney or fireplace.

• Have a chimney sweep inspect and, if necessary, clean your fireplace and chimney once a year.

• Only use hard, seasoned wood. Soft wood still contains lots of moisture and doesn’t burn efficiently, which contributes more creosote to your chimney.

• While burning a fire, keep nearby glass doors open to encourage a strong flow of oxygen, which will burn your wood more completely.

• Never use flammable liquids to start a fire. Also, do not burn cardboard, trash or debris in your fireplace.

• Never leave a fire unattended. Completely extinguish a fire and any embers before going to bed.

• Make sure there are no trees, branches, leaves or other obstructions above your chimney.

• Cover the chimney with a mesh spark arrester

Follow these steps to ensure your home stays safe while enjoying a wood burning fire.