Though for some it may go without saying, items such as roof leaks, electrical problems, antiquated plumbing or a wobbly porch railing absolutely need to be addressed before considering aesthetic enhancing renovations. Over time, needed repairs left undone can become a real problem.
These kinds of safety jobs should not be ignored given their potential harm to your family and to avoid the potential devaluation or destruction of your home. That slow water leak in your kitchen or bathroom can turn into a costly construction project once it leads to dry rot (see photo below for what was discovered under the bathroom tile in a Sunnyvale home) and, inevitably, lead to structural damage. Remember: first things first!
Given that your home's plumbing is the lifeblood of the property, when you think about remodeling and home maintenance, it’s imperative that you think about your plumbing. When talking about a remodel, one of the first things to do is to update all of the major plumbing fixtures in your bathrooms. This includes bathtubs, showers, sinks and toilets. Not only will such an easy change improve the look of your bathrooms, but it will add to your comfort and safety, especially if you consider things like a curb-less shower and the installation of handrails. The bonus here is that these newer bathroom fixtures dramatically conserve water as well as saving you money through the reduction of water usage.
While you could elect to open a window or run an exhaust fan, or, alternatively, choose to install an electric or induction stove (which cuts back on fume emissions, however, it still produces smoke and consumes higher cost electricity), if you want to use gas for cooking, then the best option, from a safety standpoint, is to install a ventilation hood over the range. While these hoods (available in a wide range of styles and finishes) work similarly to an exhaust fan, they are focused on the cooking area, serving to capture smoke and grease while ventilating the air around the cooktop.
As an example, things like a zero-step entry can be highly desirable to not just parents with children in strollers, but to aging family members using walkers or wheelchairs. Why not also look at the following items that can make a huge difference for those in various stages of life:
- Target one or more entrances without steps to offer both convenience and unlimited access.
- Design bathroom for easier access (i.e. consider a curbless, walk-in shower), convenience and to help prevent falls, making sure the walls can accommodate grab bars, and that the sink, shower and toilet are accessible to people of all ages, heights and mobility.
- Ensure a good blend of natural and artificial light, not just for aesthetics, but also for personal safety and convenience.
- Consider adding a first-floor bedroom and bath given this works for multiple life stages, from life with a new baby, college student, empty-nester or elderly parents.
- I’ve had several clients of mine elect to add “accessory dwelling units” or ADUs to their properties given the greater flexibility it affords them (when housing adult children or aging parents).
- Really think about the placement and types of outlets, light switches and doorknobs, ensuring that they are easily reached and easy to grasp/use, even if your hands are full, injured, arthritic or otherwise impaired.
In the meantime, if you have a question about this blog or are interested in a free estimate for your home remodeling or repair project, please text or call me at 408-368-7162, or send me an email me at email@example.com!
Ed Neir Construction
License # 928715