Last Updated on January 30, 2015

Homeowners today are paying more attention to their bathrooms for both functionality and aesthetic reasons. They have transitioned into a room of luxury and convenience, bringing our everyday routines into a personal space.

How do you know it’s time to give your bathroom a makeover? Take this quiz to find out!

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Last Updated on January 7, 2020

There are many reasons why homeowners choose to remodel their homes. Generally, the main reasons are to improve the look and feel of their space, increase its value, and nowadays, improve energy efficiency. In extreme situations (such as natural disasters), homeowners may be faced with less cosmetic renovations that may include securing a foundation or improving the insulation. In any event, it’s important to assess the situation and ask yourself: “Which room do I need to renovate the most and will the renovation bring a maximum return on my investment (ROI)?”

Kitchen and bathroom remodeling still remain the most popular projects to budget and plan for, as financially savvy homeowners realize these projects will ultimately increase the value of their homes. In today’s competitive housing market, showcasing new kitchens and baths will help keep sellers in the game and keep buyers at your door.

The kitchen is often referred to as the “hub of the home,” where family and friends gather and spend most of their time. Today’s kitchen renovation experts are seeing an increase in homeowners who want to transform their kitchen areas into an open concept space or great room, combining the kitchen and family room area. Additional storage, a working island, new countertops and cabinetry, as well as investing in new energy-efficient appliances are just a few other popular reasons to place on the list.

Bathroom remodel with custom mosaic tile wall by Granite Transformations

Bathroom renovations, although popular, are taking on a new twist in concept design. There’s no question the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in your home, not only by your family, but by your guests as well. Homeowners are embracing the bathroom as not just a room of necessity, but one of aesthetical comfort and luxury. The addition of better lighting, a larger window, a more modern shower, double sinks (and even a flat screen television) are just a few of today’s more popular bathroom tweaks.

So what will be the return on your investment (ROI) in these kitchen and bath remodeling projects? According to Remodeling magazine’s 2014 ‘Cost vs. Value’ national report, the average cost of a minor kitchen remodel in the US (that costs $18,856) returns 82.7% of your investment. And, a minor bathroom remodel that costs $16,128 returns 72.5%. These are national averages – as you would expect, the remodeling cost of a major renovation varies depending on the region (New England and the Pacific regions tend to have higher remodeling averages than say the Mid-Atlantic or Mountain regions, but they also vary based on the type of project).

Below is a list of projects that produce a great return on your investment:

  1. Steel front door replacements (costing $1,162) yield a 96.6% return
  2. Attic bedroom remodels (costing $49,428) yield a 84.3% return
  3. Garage door replacements (costing $1,532) yield a 83.7% return
  4. Minor kitchen remodels (costing $18,856) yield a 82.7% return
  5. Basement remodels (costing $62,834) yield a 77.6% return
  6. Bathroom remodels (costing $16,128) yield a 72.5% return
  7. Garage additions (costing $49,911) yield a 69.3% return
  8. Family room additions (costing $80,765) yield a 68.8% return
  9. Bathroom additions (costing $38,186) yield a 60.1% return
  10. Home office remodels (costing $28,000) yield a 48.9% return

(Source: Remodeling magazine’s 2014 ‘Cost vs. Value’ national report)

Although front door replacements and wood deck additions can yield a high return on your investment, they are probably not at the top of a buyer’s must-have list, whereas kitchens and bathrooms typically are the biggest selling points for homes. So if you are going to sell your home at some point in the future, a kitchen and/or bath remodel will likely help you to do that. Don’t forget that it’s also wise to keep an emergency stash of cash for unexpected home repairs, which always seem to crop up at the worst times!

Check out Granite Transformations for all your kitchen and bathroom remodeling needs. We offer a wide variety of quartz, granite and recycled glass countertops, as well as mosaic tile backsplashes and cabinet refacing. You can sign up for a free in-home design consultation and get a free quote, plus a complimentary home remodeling Starter Guide.

If you found this blog helpful or have any personal experiences pertaining to this topic to share, please post a comment below.

Last Updated on January 5, 2015

Every year, on January 1st, you begin to think about all of the things you want to do differently in the New Year. Lose weight. Exercise more. Drink less. Save money. Pay off debt. Spend more time with the family. But what about setting some goals for your home improvement objectives? Meeting goals for your home can help you feel less stressed and more organized in your life. You can even pick one thing to focus on per month, so you won’t feel overwhelmed about having to get everything done at once!

1) Clear the Clutter! Make folders where you can store different kinds of mail – bills, coupons, magazines, receipts, etc. Once you’ve paid a bill, transfer it into a “paid bills” file. Sort through drawers in your kitchen and throw out things you don’t need. Keep similar things together. Go through your closet and donate clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year.

2) Watch Your Energy Use. Little things like shutting off lights after you leave a room, turning down your thermostat at night and when you leave the house, or minimizing the number of times you flush the toilet are small home improvements that can really add up and help you save in the long run. (Each time you flush the toilet, it uses two gallons of water!) There are so many things that can be done that you might not have thought of – like choosing energy-efficient light bulbs, running the dish washer or washing machine only when they are full, and line drying your clothes. Every little bit helps!

3) Safety First! Make sure that your home is protected by ensuring you have working carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. Replace batteries in smoke detectors, and create a fire safety plan for your family. Check your home for radon (a radioactive, colorless, odorless gas). You can check for radon with a simple device that you can get at your local hardware store ­– saving you from lung cancer. Your health is worth the investment.

4) Refresh and Invigorate. Pick a room in your home that you don’t use and create purpose for it – and design it based on that purpose. Whether it becomes an office, a relaxing/reading room, or exercise space, take it on as a project and make it a space you’ll use. Make it fun – like a design challenge on a home remodeling show!

5) Purify Indoor Air. According to the EPA, indoor air quality is one of the top environmental health hazards and is worst during the winter months, when windows and doors are closed tight. Potential indoor contaminants that included dust, mold spores, pollen and viruses can be harmful to our lungs. Making a few adjustments such as maintaining your HVAC system, using low VOC paints, burning real firewood rather than pressed wood, and using a portable air cleaner can help improve indoor air quality, which in turn benefits your health.

6) Budget for Home Improvements. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average annual home maintenance and upkeep expenditures for U.S. households are about $3,300. Creating an annual budget for home improvement and maintenance is a great way to prevent overspending and encourages homeowners to set aside money for major necessary replacements (like a new roof or kitchen appliances). About 1% to 3% of your home’s initial purchase price should be set aside for yearly maintenance and upkeep. For example, the owner of a $250,000 home should budget between $2,500 to $7,500 each year for upkeep and replacements.

Remodeled bathroom with glass mosaic tile wall by Granite Transformations

Granite Transformations wishes you a happy and healthy New Year! Don’t forget to sign up for a free in-home design consultation from Granite Transformations for your New Year’s kitchen or bathroom renovation project. When you sign up, you’ll receive a complimentary home remodeling Starter Guide, which outlines the entire renovation process from start to finish, so you’ll know exactly what to expect every step of the way.

What home resolutions will you be working toward in the New Year? Share them with us below.

Last Updated on January 2, 2020

With 2015 upon us, there’s no doubt the majority of Americans have already formulated a list of well-intentioned resolutions – and may have even included some type of home improvement project in the mix. Financial experts say that Americans took more control of their finances and made money-related resolutions more of a priority in 2014 than they have in the last five years. According to the Fidelity Investments®: Fidelity 2014 New Year Financial Study, short-term savings goals are becoming more prevalent, making it easier to stay focused on turning smaller resolutions into reality. Long-term savings goals, however, still prevail over short-term ones (but the gap between the two shrank considerably in 2014).

As with any goal, commitment is key. Although home remodeling projects require a financial commitment, the benefit to your family’s enjoyment, improved functionality and possible heightened resale value down the road could serve as great motivation to keep on saving.

So…how do you save money for your dream kitchen or bath? First and foremost, closely examine your family’s financial resources, bills and existing commitments to determine how much you can afford to set aside per month in order to meet your savings goal by the targeted date. You will need to formulate the best strategy to budget for this without strapping yourself. Here are some money-saving tips and budget planning strategies that will help turn your home improvement resolutions into a reality:

  1. Determine Needs Over Wants – Home improvement projects can be divided into needs and wants. Determine the reasons behind your renovation. Is it because your cabinets aren’t functional? Your appliances aren’t working? You don’t have enough space to store all of your stuff? Reasons like these could prove that your renovation is a need. If your kitchen is still functioning properly, it could be a want that can wait.
  2. Hire a Professional for an Estimate – Unless you are a professional contractor, most homeowners who have undergone a renovation will say they went over budget. Having a realistic estimate upfront on the cost of materials, labor and timing will help you to set a solid budget for your home remodeling project, and enable you to determine how much you need to save each month (and for how long) in order to reach your budgeted amount.
  3. Budget a ‘Cushion’ – The reality of a home remodeling project is that unforeseen circumstances will almost always arise that you didn’t plan on or budget for. It is therefore always wise to save more than your estimate, so that you have a cushion. It can be a life saver and help reduce the stress of being faced with higher costs that you didn’t expect.
  4. Take On Smaller Projects First – If you’re planning your first home renovation project, budget for a small one first (like a porch addition or a front door replacement). This will get your feet wet, and help you understand how the construction process works and how much labor and materials typically cost. Once completed, you will be armed with the experience to effectively negotiate with contractors on larger projects in the future.
  5. Streamline Personal and Lifestyle Spending – While saving for your remodel, limit your spending on needless items – ask yourself if you really need what you are buying. Expenses such as dining out on a regular basis can be real budget-busters. If you typically have Friday date night with your spouse, rent a movie or make a special dinner at home instead of going out. It can save you a lot of money over time. Even bringing your lunch to work as opposed to buying it every day can help you save more money for the “renovation fund” more quickly. The same goes for entertainment costs and also adopting the “do I really need this?” theory. Again, determining needs over wants will help keep your goals in check. You’ll be watching your money add up in no time!
  6. Set Up Automatic Deposit into Your Savings Account – You won’t miss what you don’t see! Having a specified amount of your earnings automatically deposited into your savings account is a great way to save for your renovation project without feeling the pinch. Learning to budget on your new specified earnings is a rewarding way to budget and save for any financial goal.
  7. Avoid Personal Loans and Credit Cards with High Interest – Rolling the cost of your renovation into a long-term loan or putting it on a credit card will end up costing you more in the long run. Depending on the scope of the renovation, you may have to take out a home equity loan or line of credit, but saving along the way and paying cash whenever possible (to avoid tax costs) is always the most cost-effective option.

Infinity bath and multi-head shower home improvement project.

Now that you have determined how you will budget and save for your home improvement project, here are a few suggested saving techniques on the actual renovation:

  • Refurbish Structural Elements – If your project involves replacing ceiling beams or wood floors, for example, consider refurbishing these surfaces instead of replacing them. Consider recycling materials and using them in a new, creative way. A great way to save money on a kitchen remodel is to ‘reface’ the cabinets (i.e., install new doors and hardware) if the boxes are still in good shape, as opposed to ripping them out completely and installing new ones. Granite Transformations offers cabinet refacing and an extensive array of door styles, colors and hardware to suit any design need.
  • Build Up Instead of Out – If you’re considering an addition, experts say it’s always more expensive to build outward instead of upward. Foundation costs can be considerable. Also, consider repurposing a spare room for other uses – like turning an attic into another bedroom or bathroom, as shown in the photo below.

This attic was transformed into a vibrant bathroom by Granite Transformations

  • Keep the Plumbing and Electrical Where It Is – Moving plumbing and electrical wiring can almost double the cost of your project. Planning and designing your project around existing plumbing can save you a considerable amount of money and free up additional funds to use somewhere else. The installation professionals from Granite Transformations will work with your plumbers and electricians on your remodel (or call on their repertoire of reliable plumbers and electricians to work on your job), based on your preference and need.

Granite Transformation wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. We invite you to explore our beautiful granite, quartz, recycled glass, mosaic tile and cabinet refacing products. If a kitchen or bath renovation project is in your home improvement plans for 2015, we invite you to sign up for a free in-home design consultation and receive our complimentary home remodeling Starter Guide which maps out the entire remodeling process, so you know what to expect every step of the way. Our goal is to make the process fast, easy and stress-free!

From our family to yours…Happy New Year!