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September 18, 2017
Welcome Matt's Baby + Growing Family Projects

Our Estimator/Project Manager, Matt Cecko, and his wife Rachael welcomed their latest addition, Wilder Kenneth. He was born on September 14th, 7 lbs and 19" long. Congratulations, Cecko family!! 

Matt is on paternity leave this week, but will return on Monday, September 25th. Thanks in advance for your patience while he is out of the office.

Remodeling for a Growing Family

A growing family is a common motivator for doing many home remodeling projects. With additional people often comes the need for additional space. Or maybe modifications need to be made to better suit your family and lifestyle. Here are some common home remodeling projects for growing families.

Basement Finish
Finishing a basement adds additional living space. The basement can be divided into various rooms. Some options include: bedroom, bathroom, storage (can you ever have enough?) and living and/or play area. 

Kitchen Remodel
In most homes, the kitchen serves as the hub and main gathering area. It is where family meals are prepared and cooked, school lunches are made, homework is completed, etc. Being the kitchen is an important room, remodeling the space to make it functional and enjoyable is a worthwhile investment.

Open Concept Layout
An open concept floor plan helps make it easier to keep your eye on the kids while doing other things. 

Master Suite
Create your own master suite oasis. A place where you can escape the kid's toys, leave your worries behind and take time to relax & unwind...or try to anyway. 

Home Addition
When your home simply needs more square footage, an addition is a perfect solution. Expanding will allow space for bedrooms, living area, etc.

Garage Addition
Building an additional garage stall or two is quite common. The garage area can be used to store kid strollers, bikes, toys and once they reach the driving age...a car!

Wet Bar
No explanation necessary. Sometimes easy access to a glass of wine or cold beer is essential :) 

August 10, 2017
HCP Kitchen Remodeling Questionnaire

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? It is great to start the process early and consider design elements, colors and products that best suit you. Below we have some questions and things to think about to help determine your needs. 

Kitchen Remodel Questions

What do you like about your current kitchen?

What don’t you like about your current kitchen?

What is on your kitchen wish list?

Where do you eat your meals? Kitchen or dining room?

Do you like to entertain?  What is your entertaining style?

What other activities would you like to do in your kitchen? (Watch TV? Homework? Pay Bills?)

Is the primary cook right or left handed?

Do you have enough storage space?

What is your shopping style? Weekly? Monthly? Bulk?

Do you have enough fridge and freezer space?

Is your kitchen easy to clean?

Kitchen Features

Appliances 

  • Range
  • Wall Oven(s)
  • Cooktop
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Coffee/Espresso Maker
  • Vent Hood
  • Wine Chiller
  • Built-in Icemaker
  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Trash Compactor
  • Microwave
  • Warming Drawer
  • Extra Refrigerator or Freezer

Cabinetry/Storage

  • Spice Rack
  • Wine Rack
  • Pull-Out Trash
  • Tall Pantry Cabinet
  • Recycling Area
  • Divided Tray Storage
  • Cutlery Storage
  • Pull-Out Pantry
  • Small Appliance Storage
  • Computer Work Area
  • Pull-Out Trays
  • Lazy Susan Storage
  • Bookshelf for Cookbooks
  • Adjustable Shelving
  • Breadbox

Lighting/Electrical

  • Task Lighting
  • Recessed Lighting
  • Under Cabinet Lighting
  • Toe Kick Lighting
  • Pendant Lights or Island/Peninsula
  • Additional Outlets
  • Electronic Charging Station

Plumbing

  • Prep or Bar Sink
  • Pot Filler
  • Water Filter/Dispenser

Miscellaneous

  • Television
  • Audio Equipment
  • Message Center

Ready to get started on your kitchen remodel? We'd love the opportunity to work with you. Contact us today! Phone: 320-529-4800. Email: rachel@homecheckplus.com

May 12, 2017
May is National Home Remodeling Month!

It's our favorite month of the year...May is National Home Remodeling Month! We enjoy our client's excitement and eagerness to get started their next home remodeling project. 

Not to toot our own horn, but we are honored to be featured in the April issue of Trend magazine for a remodel project we worked on with the talented Mark Suess. Click here to check it out. Also, Home Check Plus was included in Remodeling Magazine's top 550 remodeling contractors. We ranked 183 in the nation! 

What can Home Check Plus do for you?

As a full-service remodeling contractor, we are your trusted contractor for all your home improvement needs. Here's a list of some of our services:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Additions
  • Porches & Decks
  • Windows & Doors
  • Roofing & Siding
  • Basement Finishing
  • Garages

Remodeling Advice

Here are some helpful guides to check out.

Remodeling Info & Ideas

Click on each of these for great information on various remodeling projects. 

Do you have a remodeling project you've been dreaming about? We'd love to work with you. Give us a call, 320-529-4800 or email rachel@homecheckplus.com

February 1, 2017
Featured Products from International Builders Show 2017!

Our Estimator/Project Manager, Matt Cecko, recently was in Orlando for National Association Home Builders International Builders' Show. While he spent most of the time in meetings representing the CMBA as president, he was able to walk through the vendor show. Here are a some products from IBS that we'd like to highlight.

Formica Writable 

Formica has come out with a new product that is just like wipe off boards! The Writable Surfaces are available in a few patterns as well as classic white. They can be mounted on walls, cabinets, countertops, etc. Formica Writable would be perfect for many applications -- kitchens, kids play rooms, homework zones & more. They would work great in businesses for brainstorming sessions too! 

Formica Writable

Sterling Shower Bench

Sterling shower surround is a product we use for our clients quite frequently. They now have the option of a removable bench! Ladies and aging adults can definitely appreciate having a small bench in the shower. An added bonus: the benches are economical! 

Sterling Shower Bench

Kohler Workstation Sink 

This Kohler kitchen sink is one of many brands that are helping make food prep a breeze. There are several workstation accessory options available including a cutting board and colander.

Kohler Workstation Sink

 

Azek Lanscape Pavers

Azek interlocking pavers are made from a high performance composite material, but look like natural stone. They are easy to install, durable, come in a variety of colors and are made with 95% recycled material! Azek pavers are great for patios, walkways, decks, driveways and more. 

Azek Pavers

 

Kitchen Products

Cambria Quartz - Roxwell

Cambria Quartz Countertops

New Cambria designs! We like the wavy pattern in Roxwell. One of the many great features of Cambria is all designs are the same price. Click here to check out all the design palette options.  

Kitchen - Wall Mounted Pot Filler

Wall Mounted Pot Filler

A wall mounted pot filler is a super convenient feature to include in a kitchen. The photo is of a pot filler from Moen. This kitchen design idea is especially nice for anyone that loves cooking and/or doesn't love going to the gym (a pot full of water is heavy!!)

Kitchen Cabinetry Options

Custom Cabinetry

Customize your kitchen cabinetry with elements that are fitting for your lifestyle. Some options include: garbage & recycling compartments, kitchen utensils, coffee bars, pull out pantries, spice racks and more.

 

Bathroom Products

Bathroom Soaking Tub 

Freestanding Bathtub

Freestanding bathtubs have been gaining popularity over the last few years. Their simple, beautiful design creates a focal point feature and spa-like feel to any bathroom. Freestanding bathtubs are available in a variety of shapes and styles.

Panasonic Bathroom Fan 

Panasonic Bathroom Fan

We can't stress enough the importance of having and using your bathroom fan. Panasonic has a bathroom fan with an adjustable CFM. This element is great if after installation it is determined your bathroom needs additional airflow. 

Bathroom Shower Heads 

Shower Head Options 

Steam shower, rain shower head, multiple shower heads, body sprays...so many shower options to choose from!

 

Exterior Products

Andersen Windows VeriLock

Andersen Windows VeriLock

Andersen windows & doors with VeriLock technology have integrated security sensors that can tell you when they are opened or not locked. As an Andersen Certified Installer, we are trained to properly install Andersen windows & doors.

GAF Shingles

GAF Roof Shingles

GAF makes a quality shingle product. If you'd like something a little different than your standard shingle, check out their Sienna collection - provides a classic old world elegance at an affordable price. Home Check Plus is proud to be a GAF Certified Installer. 

Velux Skylights

Velux Skylights

Skylights are a great way to create additional light in any room. We've installed Velux skylights in many of our clients' homes. 

February 10, 2016
Remodeling Cost vs Value

Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value report is out! This report compares the average cost of  popular remodeling projects with the value the projects retain if one were to sell their home. The national average is 64.4%, which is the 2nd highest in the last eight years!

If you're looking to make some improvements to your home before putting it on the market, this report can help you gauge your ROI. However, many of our clients remodel their home to better suit their needs/wants and you can't exactly put a dollar amount on enjoying your home. 

Click here for the report. 

May 13, 2015
How Long Will a Home Remodel Take?

We often are asked questions relating to the timing of remodel projects – when should I contact a contractor about my project? How long will it take to get a bid? When can you start my project? While it depends on the size and type of project, here’s a little timeline or breakdown of how the process usually works:

1. Site Visit – once you contact us, we determine a date/time when both parties are available. Time: 1-2 weeks

2. 2nd Site Visit – depending on the project, we may invite some of our subcontractors to visit the site. Time: 1-2 weeks

3. Estimate/Proposal – next we develop a scope of work, material list, contact vendors to get prices on material, contact subcontractors to get a quote, write up a detailed proposal. Time: 2-3 weeks

4. Review & Accept Proposal – if there are no changes, great! Any changes involve repeating step 3. Time: 1 week

5. Project Set-Up – Time: 2-5 weeks

Permits – when applicable, we submit for a permit through the city/township. 

Order Materials – once selections are made, we can order the materials. We don’t like to start a project until ALL materials have arrived as this minimizes the time your home is “under construction.” 

6. Start/Finish Project – our projects are carefully scheduled as we want the project and remodeling process to go as quick and smooth as possible. Availability of subcontractors, weather and any change orders can affect the timing. Time: 2+ weeks

As you can see, there are many steps and elements that are factored into a remodeling project. We hope this timeline is a helpful guide and explains the process so you know what to expect. Although every situation is different, we definitely recommend contacting a contractor early on in your remodeling planning.

We hope to get to work with you on your next home remodeling project. Have a wonderful spring!

-Dale

April 9, 2014
Kitchen Remodel - Before & After Photos!

We transformed this outdated 1960s kitchen into a beautiful, bright and modern kitchen. By taking out a wall, the space gained square footage and created a more open feeling. Details of this kitchen remodel include:

  • Cabinets: Painted Maple, Mission Paneled Doors and Crown Molding
  • Backsplash: White Subway Tile 
  • Floor: Hardwood Floor
  • Appliances: Stainless Steel, Double Wall Oven
  • Lighting: Recessed and Pendant
  • Countertops: Cambria Quartz Torquay
  • Fixtures: Kohler Stainless Steel
  • Large Island with Microwave Cabinet

For more photos of kitchen remodel projects, click here.

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Before

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After

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Before

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After

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Before

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After

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Before

Kitchen_Remodel_5.JPG 
After

February 26, 2014
CMBA HomeShow!

Come visit Home Check Plus at the CMBA HomeShow March 7-9th at River's Edge Convention Center, St Cloud. Stop by our booth #1302 to get ideas and discuss your next remodeling project!

We'll be giving away FREE tickets to the HomeShow on our Facebook page, so make sure to LIKE Home Check Plus on Facebook!

Hours:
Friday 12pm-9pm
Saturday 9am-7pm
Sunday 10am-4pm

Seminars & Entertainment:

  • Mike Moran - Free Appraisals!
  • Kids Build a Butterfly House
  • Home Buying & Selling Seminars
  • Home Improvement Seminars
  • Fish Fry on Friday
  • Alan Godage & Sundown on Friday! 

Adults $5 | Seniors $4| 12 & under free. Click here for $1.00 off admission coupon.

poster_2014_small.jpg

January 28, 2014
Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report

Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value report is now out! A few projects with the highest return on your investment are:

1. Window Replacement (wood)

Andersen Wood Window

2. Deck Addition (wood)

Deck - After - Treated Wood

3. Minor Kitchen Remodel

 Kitchen Remodel

4. Basement Remodel

Entertainment Area

Click here for the complete Cost vs. Value report.

December 3, 2013
Winter Remodeling Projects

Just as Santa's Workshop is busing working all year long, so too are we! A common misconception is that once the ground freezes, all projects need to be put off until spring time. Winter is actually an ideal time to complete various home improvement and remodeling projects. Some common winter projects are:

  • Kitchen Remodel
  • Bathroom Remodel
  • Basement Finishing
  • Garage Finishing
  • Flooring
  • New Windows
  • Paint Interior of Home
  • Improve Insulation
  • Re-face Cabinets

Give us a call at 320-529-4800 to help with your winter home remodeling project. And let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Happy Holidays!

-Dale

October 2, 2013
Basement Finishing Design Ideas

Finishing the basement is one of the best ways to expand your living space.  It can also be a pretty complicated process, so it is wise to leave it to a professional-trained contractor...like, us (wink, wink -- nudge, nudge)!  Here are some basement finishing ideas and things to keep in mind.

Basement Design Ideas:

Home Theater

Home theater
Get the same feeling of being at the cinema with a large screen, theater system & comfortable chairs. 
Hobby Area

Hobby area
Personalize the space to match your hobbies like games, crafts or a play area for the kids. 
Wet Bar  Wet bar
Ideal for entertaining -- no need to tip! 
Home Gym  Home gym
Make use of your exercise equipment by creating your own personal gym. 
Wine Cellar  Wine cellar
If you are a wine connoisseur, your basement is a perfect place to store your collection of wines. 
Laundry Room  Relocate laundry
A laundry area in the basement will free up space on the main level. 
Light Colored Walls & Floors  Light colored flooring & wall finishes
Help brighten the space up or use a mixture of light and dark to create shadows similar to main levels. 
Window Well  Maximize natural light
Add more light in from outside with new windows or enlarge the existing ones. Creating expansive window well retaining walls also do the trick. 
Basement Lighting  Artificial light
A mix of indirect and recessed lighting with open the space up and allow for a variety of lighting moods. 
Mirrors  Mirrors
Mirrors, mirrors on the wall will make the space appear not as small. 
Bright Accents  Bright accents
Add cheer and drama with bright furniture or accent pillows, rugs and artwork. 

October 2, 2013
Aging-In-Place Design Ideas

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." -- Warren Buffett

It is never too early to think and plan for the future! While you may not be at the point in your life where you need a walker to move about your home...you may need one someday! Designing your home remodel with this in mind, will help enable you to age in your own space. Baby boomers especially should consider some of these aging-in-place home modification ideas:

1. Make doorways a minimum of 32 inches wide for easier maneuvering.

2. A curbless tiled shower with bench and grab bars, making getting in and out of the shower easy & safe!

3. Toilet with higher seat height and grab bars.

4. Single handle faucets are easier to grab and adjust.

5. Hardwood floors versus carpet throughout most of the house.

6. A seated work space in the kitchen, so you don't have to always stand while prepping meals.

7. Side by side refrigerators tend to be easier to open.

8. Countertop or drawer model microwave instead of an over-the-oven to avoid lifting things above your head.

9. Brighter lights and LOTS of them!

10. Outlets located higher up -- less bending down.

11. Walkways and hallways 48 inches wide for easy maneuvering

12. No step entry into your home.

July 15, 2013
Tips for Building an Addition

Are you thinking about adding on to your home?  Here are some things to keep in mind when building an addition, so the new works well with the old.  

Wish Wildly
The best place to start is with a wish list. Ask yourself what problems you want to solve and what goals you want to achieve. Once you have the list, rank the improvements in order of priority. 

Respect the Rules
It is important to look into any legal restrictions of what can be built on the property, such as how close a structure can be built to property lines or height restrictions.

Stay in Scale 
You don't want your new master suite to overpower the house or make a room that could hardly be considered a closet.  Keep things in proportion.   

Plan Positively 
When designing your new space, be open to new possibilities. Being open to change allows you to use your new space to the best of its ability.  

Expand Efficiently
Though additions are about getting extra room, they don't need to be large. 

Attractive Angles 
An angled arrangement offers opportunities to add interesting exterior elements. 

Consider Material Matters 
A perfect or complimentary match can help make a new addition look like it's been there all along. 

Review Rooflines 
Mimicking the style and pitch, or angle, of a building's original roofline helps an addition fit in with the original structure.

Detail Deftly
Repetition of architectural features including windows, trim, doors, gutters, lighting and hardware is key to a well-designed addition.  

Landscape Logically 
An otherwise well-designed addition can look like it was hastly tacked on if the landscaping doesn't follow the style of the original house.

Verify Views 
Pay attention to how the addition looks from the outside and inside your home.

May 16, 2013
The Remodeling Unknowns

If you've ever watched any show on HGTV, DIY Network or the like, you're familiar with the story -- homeowners embark on a remodeling project and along the way come across something that they didn't expect...AHHH!  The shock, horror, frustration, drama sure makes for good tv, right?  Here's the deal...when remodeling your home, whether it is a kitchen, bathroom or other project, you MAY encounter something you did not plan for.  Unfortunately, we don't have superhero powers to see inside walls or under flooring material. Sure would be nice if we did! Experienced remodeling contractors can usually make some good predictions, but there will always be unknowns.  A few common discoveries include:

  • Rotted wood
  • Plumbing pipes not up to code
  • Mold

Your contractor should inform you about the items in questions AND your contractor should state how they will be handled.  The key is to plan for remodeling unknowns -- both financially and mentally.  You will then be prepared to make decisions and successfully continue the project through completion.

Here's to taking all of life's unknowns in stride!

-Dale Gruber

April 26, 2013
Kitchen & Bathroom Remodel Project - Before & After

Once a remodeling project is complete, we love to look at the "before" and "after" photos and see how the space was transformed. This is one of those projects that was especially fun because we remodeled our client's kitchen and bathroom! We do many kitchen and bathroom remodel projects every year and every one is unique. Between the countertops, cabinets, tile work & flooring, there are a variety of ways to put your own personal touch on the space. For this particular project, the client chose:

  • White Poplar Custom Cabinets
  • Chrome Hardware & Fixture Finishes
  • Vinyl Flooring
  • Cambria Countertops - Windermere Color
  • Marble Shower Surround
  • Pale Beige Paint Color for Walls
  • Complimentary Light Fixtures  
Kitchen-home-remodeling-before
Before
Kitchen Remodel
After
Kitchen Remodel - Before
Before
Kitchen Remodel - After
After
Kitchen Remodel - Dining Room with Floating Shelf
Dining Area
Kitchen Remodel - Tile Backsplash & Cambria Countertops
Countertops & Backsplash
Bathroom Remodel - Before
Before
Bathroom Remodel - After
After
Bathroom Remodel - Before
Before
Bathroom Remodel - After - Cambria Countertops
After

Click here to view more project photos!

April 16, 2013
Helpful Guide to Selecting a Professional Remodeler

When planning to remodel your home, you want nothing less than a professional job. Who wouldn’t want the best quality in terms of workmanship and materials when it comes to improving your most prized and most valuable asset? However, when it comes to selecting a remodeler, too many times people forget the time-proven adage that “you get what you pay for.”

The dilemma that confronts many homeowners is the desire for a top-notch job at the lowest possible price. With price as the primary focus, you may be ignoring other criteria that may carry more weight in producing a successfully completed project and a smooth working relationship with the remodeler. 

It’s understandable that price is a major consideration when it comes to remodeling. As a homeowner, it is important to understand that remodeling is a service and not merely a product. This service encompasses the intangibles that make up the process of remodeling – how everything comes together and results in a satisfying experience and an acceptable finished product. The materials and products that go into it can’t define a professional job alone. 

Rather than selecting a remodeler based on where one bid falls compared to others, shift your focus to finding a professional remodeler; then go about getting a bid on your job.

Some important characteristics you should be looking for to ensure that you hire a professional remodeler are: 

Experience – Ask how long the remodeler has been in business. Longevity suggests financial stability, which is necessary for the remodeler to finish the job and still be available if problems crop up after the job is completed. Also, the more jobs the company has completed, the more expertise the remodeler will bring to your project and the hidden surprises that remodeling typically entails.

Reputation – Look to the remodelers’ former and current customers to gauge the company’s reputation. Obtain the names and phone numbers of customers you can call to get their impressions of the company’s work and customer service.

Business Credentials - A good place to start your search for a remodeler is with your local builders association and it’s affiliated local Remodelers Council. Groups like these help to keep their members informed about new products, construction techniques, business practices and industry issues. Participation demonstrates a remodeler’s commitment to professionalism and to the remodeling industry.

License and Insurance - Ask to see a copy of the remodeler’s license.  It is also important to verify that the remodeler carries workers’ compensation and liability insurance.

If your goal is a professional remodeling project, then your best bet is to hire a professional remodeler who possesses these recommended characteristics. The extra cost will pay for itself in the satisfaction you receive while the project is in progress and during the many years you will enjoy the completed project. 

Home Check Plus would be happy to be the remodeling contractor you select! Give us a call 320-529-4800 or email rachel@homecheckplus.com

Featured Posts

Welcome Matt's Baby + Growing Family Projects
September 18, 2017
Meet Matt's baby and learn about common home projects for growing families.
Types of Proposals
September 6, 2017
At Home Check Plus, we have a few types of proposal options. The reason being, we do a wide variety of different projects of all sizes and complexity. Learn more.
Dale's Corner: Aging-in-Place
August 24, 2017
Check out Dale Gruber's aging-in-place remodeling design ideas.
HCP Kitchen Remodeling Questionnaire
August 10, 2017
Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Check out our kitchen remodeling questionnaire to help determine your needs & wants.
Tape Measure Fun Facts!
July 14, 2017
Interesting history & fun facts about a tool we use all the time, the tape measure.
5 Great Deck Railing Options
June 8, 2017
We've built many beautiful decks using a variety of railing systems. Check out a few of them.
May is National Home Remodeling Month!
May 12, 2017
Great home remodeling ideas and information, including how to select a remodeling contractor. Check it out!
Is your home ready for April showers?
April 26, 2017
April showers are here! Is your home ready? Here are some of our tips!
6 Reasons You'd Love Eze-Breeze Porch Windows
March 9, 2017
Enhance your porch with Eze-Breeze porch windows! They let the cool breeze in, but also have the option of full closure. Learn more!
Featured Products from International Builders Show 2017!
February 1, 2017
Check out these products that caught our eye at the International Builders Show!