What it takes to be Successful

Last month, Loren Schirber joined Dan from Chief Experts on his weekly broadcast. They discussed a little Castle history and then dove into what it takes to be successful in the residential remodeling industry. Head to our YouTube channel to catch the replay or click play below!

Want to see more educational videos like this one? Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our most current work or head to our Edu Center!

 

2019_CBRI_Infographic
Featured in the discussion, Loren and Dan chatted about how 2019 looked for Castle and what we are currently experiencing.

The History of the Educational Home Tour

Back in 2012, owner Loren Schirber had one of his many great ideas. He wanted to host a home tour that is unlike any other home tour in the Twin Cities.

 

The Castle Educational Remodeling Home Tour is designed to help people understand what a realistic remodel involves, as well as, but not limited to, what is achievable within their budget to create a project that provides both ROI (return on investment) and ROE (return on enjoyment). Because of the costs to remodelers to participate in other tours (about $1,000 – $2,700 per home) they tend to only show their largest and fanciest projects.

Our goal is to show more typical remodeling projects that the average family is more likely to complete. 

This event is different because it is all projects completed by Castle. It is a weekend to showcase our best work to the public and educate them on our services. The weekend is also unique because, while it is designed to help inspire attendees for their future remodels, it is more importantly designed to educate attendees on their future remodel. We firmly believe in being upfront about all things, and this tour is a great way for us to showcase our honesty behind our work.

Kitchen and pantry doors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Educational topics included how to budget for your remodel, how to choose a contractor, when to spot a bad remodel/flip, using technology to plan your remodel, and more. Last here, we had a home that featured the topic of Working within your Existing Floor Plan. It can be a tough decision to take down walls vs utilizing the current frames.

Download (PDF, 1.29MB)

The first home tour

The first tour in 2013 showcased an impressive twenty-four projects across the cities. When guests visited a home, they were greeted by one or two of our team members, sometimes a preferred trade partner, and a beautifully remodeled space. Guests had the opportunity to “check in” through our app, pick up educational handouts, and leave inspired. We handed out thousands of dollars worth of prizes (Grand Prize was $5000 to put towards a future remodel!) over the two day event. Overall, the inaugural event was a huge success. From an educational standpoint, we made it a priority to give our preferred trade partners and vendors a platform as well.  Many featuring products from our preferred trade partners and vendors. Our event success would not be where it is without their help, both within actual projects and behind the scenes at our events.

Last year’s home tour sponsors included:

2019 Castle Home Tour Gold Sponsors Horizontal Ribbon

 

 

 

Looking ahead

virtual home tour

Unfortunately, given the circumstances of 2020 happening locally and globally, we have made the tough decision to NOT host our Educational Home Tour this year. We are planning to host it in spring of 2021. This will allow more time for our team to plan and for our city to heal. The health and safety of staff, homeowners, and attendees is of utmost importance and we feel we can only do that by postponing this year’s event. In the meantime, you can head to our Instagram for a virtual throwback tour, showcasing some of our favorite past projects on the tour.


The Ins and Outs of Cabinets

Cabinet Basics

Picking a style and look for your cabinets can be a daunting task. But never fear, we are here to help you every step of the way. There are a lot of things that people simply don’t know about cabinets until they get them in their house and only then do they see the difference in construction, function and style.

We are confident that our quality exceeds that of the majority of cabinet shops in this country, and abroad. We take great pride in our work and hope to get the opportunity to serve you and your cabinet needs.

What is the difference between a custom built cabinet box and an imported cabinet box?

Glad you asked. The imported boxes we offer are made in China and shipped to the United States. These boxes are usually our more affordable option and are faster to put together. The materials are sturdy enough to handle most use cases but won’t last as long as a custom built box.

Our custom built boxes are made using our top of the line equipment to ensure that all sizes and measurements are accurate and consistent. We measure down to the 1/16th of an inch. We carefully construct our custom built boxes to last a lifetime, in fact: we guarantee these boxes for your lifetime. We glue and nail or staple every joint to ensure it’s as strong as possible.

If you’re not sure which style you need, imported or custom built consider these questions:

  • What is your budget for cabinets?
  • How long do you plan to live in your home?
  • How many people will use these cabinets?
  • What environment will these cabinets be in (garage, kitchen, bathroom etc.)?

We’ll be happy to discuss your options with you and make sure you get the best solutions for your unique needs.

What is the difference between Face Frame and Frameless cabinets?

See the source image

Another excellent question! Our face frame cabinet has a solid 3/4″ thick wood frame on the front of the box and is constructed in a manner that allows us to use all of the modern European hardware with full overlay doors and drawers (very little cabinet exposed behind the doors and drawers).

We also offer a frameless cabinet. This cabinet is the most common in our industry, having only a thin layer of PVC on the front of the cabinet instead of solid wood. While it is not as sturdy as a face frame cabinet, we have engineered a production process including the blind dado that allows us to build a very sturdy and vastly superior cabinet compared to the most typical butt joint construction used by the majority of our industry.

Both cabinet styles are full overlay, using lifetime guaranteed hinges and drawer guides. Our standard hinge comes with the soft close feature and two of the three options of drawers we build also come with the soft closes feature.

Understanding Your Cabinets

The first step to maintaining your cabinets is to understand their quality and durability. The level of cabinet quality, as in all products, can vary substantially. Good quality cabinets should be regarded as high-end furniture pieces that are installed in “hard-use” rooms. Therefore, they require the same type of care you would give high-end furniture.

When properly cared for, quality cabinets will retain their beauty and function for many years. Today’s cabinets may not only be constructed of solid wood and wood veneers but may also contain a variety of quality engineered products that are durable, attractive, conserve wood and meet all safety and health requirements. Some frequently used surface materials are:

  • Melamine (Formica-like) – commonly used for countertops but may also be used for other surfaces.
  • Vinyl – may be wood grained or solid colors. May be used for all surfaces except countertops.
  • Paper – chemically and finish-treated for durability. May be wood grained or solid colors and used for all surfaces except countertops.

Commonly used panel core materials are: MDF, lumber, wood veneers, flake or particleboard and hardboard.

Preparing for Future Maintenance or Repair

Quality products can be damaged or in time need repair, so when you purchase your cabinets obtain the following items from your cabinet supplier and store them in a permanent location:

  1. Several hinges
  2. Two or three drawer guidance systems
  3. Several pulls
  4. A repair kit, if available from the manufacturer
  5. A small (pint-size) amount of each stain or color coat used for finishing your cabinets (clear top coats are available in aerosol cans from your local store)
  6. The name and address of the cabinet manufacturer and the name of the cabinet style (you may want to add cabinets or replace a damaged part at some future date).

Some Recommended “Do’s & Don’ts”

  1. Don’t hang wet towels on door or drawer fronts.
  2. Don’t permit children to swing on doors or use drawers as step ladders. Hinges or drawer guidance systems that are bent or twisted likely cannot be repaired like new.
  3. Spills should be cleaned promptly. Most finished surfaces are highly resistant to household foods and liquids; however, prompt cleaning will add assurance.
  4. If at some future date you want to paint or refinish your cabinets, be cautious. Many paints are not compatible with cabinet finishes. Severe surface peeling or blistering of the paint could result.

Repair Tips

  1. There are many adhesives available to repair broken wood parts or loose panel surfaces. If properly used, Elmer’s Glue (or equivalent) or a contact adhesive can manage most repairs..
  2. For small loose areas of wood veneer on edges of doors, etc., or at the edge or corner of panels:
    – Carefully clean all old, dry glue from loose surfaces with a
    scraper or sandpaper.
    – Apply a thin, uniform coat of Elmer’s-type glue to one surface.
    Press the loose veneer into place and wipe off the excess glue
    squeezed out. Using a strong tape as a clamp, tape the loose
    veneer down as tightly as is practical and allow 24 hours for
    drying before removing the tape.
  3. For split or broken wood part:
    – Proceed similarly to repairing wood veneer.
    – For split wood, work glue into the split as deeply as possible,
    push tightly together, wipe off squeezed-out glue and clamp as
    tightly as possible with strong tape for 24 hours. If the damaged
    location will permit the use of a metal screw or other type
    clamp, you might rent such clamps at the Rent-All location and
    get more positive clamping action. If removable, such as a
    drawer, clamping in a vice until dry would be excellent.
    – For a small wood section that is bumped and split completely
    loose, apply glue to the loose part and carefully tape it to its
    original position until dry.
  4. For small, loose areas of man-made material surfaces or veneers on edges or panel corners:
    – Clean as in 2 above
    – Apply contact adhesive according to instructions on the
    container and place the loose section firmly in place
  5. For a stripped screw as at a door hinge:
    – Remove the screw and clean dust or chips from the hole. Cut
    wood match sticks to the approximate hole depth. Apply glue to
    the match sticks and in the hole. Lightly hammer the
    matchsticks into the hole, filling the hole tightly. Allow to dry
    for 24 hours. After drying, trim the match sticks flush to the
    surface. Carefully re-drill the screw hole using a drill bit
    approximately the root diameter (screw base diameter not
    counting threads) of the screw. The same screw may then be
    applied, however, a sheet metal screw (local hardware) of the
    same size will provide better holding power, particularly for
    repair purposes.
  6. Should a machine screw (or bolt) holding a door or drawer pull no longer hold (stripped threads), place a small amount of steel wool around the threads and screw carefully into place without heavy pressure. It may hold.
  7. Generally – never use nails for repair. They often split or shatter the wood or particleboard core causing more damage.
  8. Never drive a screw into any part or wall without first pre-drilling to the root diameter of the screw.
  9. Cabinets or heavy objects screwed to wall panels will not hold satisfactorily. They must be screwed properly to structural studs.
  10. Should a pull become broken, or a hinge or drawer guidance system break or not operate properly, replace them from your permanent storage.
Finish Repair

CAUTION – ALL FINISHING MATERIALS MAY BE HIGHLY FLAMMABLE!

Proper finish repair can be rather highly skilled procedure, particularly since several types of finishing materials including man-made materials, may have been used on your cabinets. However, there are four possible sources of correct repair material:

  1. A repair kit from your cabinet manufacturer or supplier.
  2. Small cans of color coats from your supplier.
  3. Felt tipped pens or finish and/or putty sticks in a wide variety of colors from your hardware or home supply store.
  4. Aerosol cans of clear, final top coat spray can be purchased at your hardware or home supply store.

Sprayed-on type standard finishes, which are scratched or lightly dented, can be repaired with these materials. For the inexperienced, practice on a small board or 2×4. Colored putty sticks fill dents with a putty knife. Apply color coats of finish lightly since you can apply more coats to darken to match. Once too dark, colors cannot be easily lightened. Protective top coats are sprayed on last – use according to aerosol can instructions. Practice first, – you may have to “mask” other surfaces to avoid overspray. Be cautious – the sheen or brightness of the topcoat material, when thoroughly dry, may not match your cabinet.


Working with Architects versus Design Build Firms

Kitchen view towards dining room

 

 

 

 

 

Overview

In an effort to provide the best possible value, we have compiled this information for our clients to use as a resource when working with both an architect and Castle Building & Remodeling on their project. This handout is prefaced by saying that we understand that not all architects are the same. We will talk in broad generalizations based on the combined experiences of Castle’s employees, present and past, and their interactions with clients and architects over the past 30 years. Architects work under different fee structures/business models and have a broad and varying level of experience. The generalizations made are based on the typical business model architects are taught, which advocates that an architect first design spaces and specify products and then obtain three or more bids for the project. Lastly, it is not our intent to dissuade you from using an architect. Our intention is to help you have the best design/ build experience you can.

The Differences between Architects and Design/Build Remodelers

The main differences between architects and Design/Build Remodelers focus on how the budget for the project is determined and when the budget is first discussed. At Castle Building & Remodeling, budget is discussed at the first conversation, during the first visit, and while working with our designer when the project scope or idea is locked down. After the first visit, a Budget Estimate is completed that includes details on what was discussed and the costs broken down by project components (such as the addition, kitchen, master bath, and main floor ¾ bath) and a range of project costs such as $30,000 to $40,000. A range is given because the actual scope of work is still to be determined and product selections have not been made.

Typically, architects will meet with clients and discuss the wants and needs of the client, but are much more reluctant to discuss the costs of a potential project because they are not builders and do not complete the work. Architects also have more of a tendency to approach each project as a unique piece of art. Costs often become an afterthought to the design, which in our experience is not reality for many clients. The worst case scenario in this model is that a client falls in love with the design but has no idea what it costs. When the costs are calculated, it is so far outside of the range the client expects that the disappointment is tremendous and the process is disappointing. Often when costs are discussed with the architect, they are based on general costs per square foot, which are quite unreliable and can vary widely depending on the room itself, what is in the room, and the finishes selected.

Billing Differences

Another major difference between Design/Build Remodelers and most architects is how each group bills for their time. Most architects bill for their time on an hourly basis. This method does not encourage a speedy process and can lead to billing surprises and animosity. In contrast, Castle Building & Remodeling and many Design/Build Remodelers charge for design services at a flat pre-determine rate. For instance, Castle Building & Remodeling will give a bid to complete each portion of a project with a fixed cost. Here is an example below for a whole house remodeling project:

Wholehouse DesignFees

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to charging a flat rate, most Design/Build Remodelers charge significantly less for designing the same project. By utilizing a team of experts who are not necessarily licensed architects and defraying some of the costs to the construction process, Design/Build Remodelers are able to offer a similar experience at a significantly better value. For example, the project above is for a whole house remodeling project with a large rear two-story kitchen and master suite addition that was approximately $300,000. Most architects will charge in the range of 10% – 12% of project costs for their services (generally higher if they include project management) vs. 4%-6% generally charged by Castle Building & Remodeling. The team approach that Castle and other Design/Build Remodelers utilizes allows a draftsperson to do the “As Built” drawings and proposed floor plans, an interior designer to review the layout and help with product selections and finishes, and a structural engineer to size the beams and structural members. Throughout this process the same software is used and electronic plan files are shared between members of the team, eliminating redundant drawings and chances for errors.

The real question is how a Design/Build Remodeler is able to offer a similar experience to an architect for a much better value. The answer really is that the Design/Build Remodeler wants to build the project, not just design it. By charging a flat rate and defraying some of the costs to the production of the project, a Design/Build Remodeler has an incentive to design to a realistic budget so that the project will happen and the investment made in the design process can be recouped. In contrast, architects who are paid by the hour have little incentive to design to a budget and actually benefits from the process of drawing, re-drawing, and re-drawing plans again as the project shrinks back down towards feasibility. It has been our observation and general industry knowledge that a relatively small percentage of architect-drawn plans actually get built in comparison to the Design/Build model.

How Castle Building & Remodeling Works with Architects

Castle Building & Remodeling does have several architects that are utilized on larger or more complex projects as a part of the Castle design team. When Castle brings in an architect, the Design/Build model is followed and your budget and design requirements are considered from the start. Here are some basic guidelines we try to follow to help improve our clients’ experiences when plans are brought in from an outside architect.

  1. We like to get involved early to help keep the design realistic and on budget and to maximize the client’s investment in the architect’s design time.
  2. Upon review of a set of conceptual plans and a walk-through of the house, a budget estimate will be completed at no cost. This Budget Estimate is used as a litmus test to ensure that the plans and your budget are realistic.
  3. If this budget estimate sounds doable and you would like to work with Castle Building & Remodeling, we ask that you make a small commitment to go to the next step in the design process.
  4. We are professionals and, as such, need to be paid for our Interior Designer’s time in researching product selections and helping our clients in making final selections. Our unique showroom is well suited for making selections and seeing many items together to simplify the selection process (not most Architect’s strong suit). This step helps Castle Building & Remodeling recommend products that we are familiar with from suppliers with which we are accustomed to working that fit our clients’ budgets.
  5. As the final details are locked down, the specifications that were created by the architect (usually generic) need to be made real for the project and transferred to Castle Building & Remodeling PurpleSoft Estimating system in order to be converted to our extremely detailed line-item estimate. Trade Partners need to be met at the site to walk through the home with the plans and specifications so that an accurate bid can be obtained and a line-item estimate can be created. In contrast, most builders that architects prefer to recommend will skip this step and simply bid based on square footage. This is a recipe for disaster in older homes and leads to more animosity and surprises when the project costs go up wildly as the job progresses. Castle Building & Remodeling averages less than 2% of sales from Change Orders, with about half of this amount being requested by the client – not due to a surprise or, more commonly, dictated by an inspector.
  6. The investment Castle Building & Remodeling asks potential clients to make in completing the selection process and creating a detailed line-item estimate is typically in the range of .75% to 1% of project costs. Castle Building & Remodeling will not complete free estimates and does not believe that this is a system that delivers value or a positive experience to clients.
Recap

To recap, our intention is not to dissuade potential clients from working with or to discontinue their relationship with an architect, but simply to help each client have the best experience possible. It is Castle’s goal that after reading this, our clients understand the major differences in philosophy between architects and Design/Build Remodelers. It is also our intention to convey the differences in value delivered and efficiency of the processes. Last, Castle Building & Remodeling welcomes clients who have hired an architect to create plans and completes multiple projects each year that are designed by architects.

This article was originally shared at our 2013 Castle Educational Home Tour


LumbarCharts_Plywood

Lumber Costs on the Rise

“A do-it-yourself home-improvement and construction boom has sent the price of lumber skyrocketing, as sawmills and strand-board manufacturers, including in Minnesota, scramble to keep up with surging demand.” – Star Tribune

The economy is slowly recovering and with that bounce back we are seeing lumber supply demand out of balance and prices spike. Mark Scholl of Lampart Lumbar provides us some insight on what they have been seeing and how it currently affects construction.

Sharp price increase remained the rule in lumber and panel markets.  Escalating prices had yet to chase off many buyers, who continued to scramble for coverage amid persistently tight supplies. Reports circulated of some buyers pulling back, but plenty others were still in the market. A strong July U.S. housing starts report helped sustain momentum.

LumbarCharts_Page_1_SPF

 

SPF – Strong demand and restricted supplies kept intense upward pressure on random dimension and stud prices at Western SPF mills.  Prices of 2×4 studs increased $40 over last week’s reported levels.

 

LumbarCharts_Page_4_OSBOSB – Buoyed by a robust July housing starts report, OSB prices continued to march higher, posting $15 increase early in the week.  Demand easily outpaced supplies and kept buyers in the market, despite record levels.  A number of producers remained off the market, with order files extended into late September and early October.

 

LumbarCharts_PlywoodPLY – Long lead times, strong recent upward price appreciation, and limited availability kept a lid on early trading.  Demand throughout the distribution pipeline remained steady to strong.  Buyers chased loads and often were unable to secure immediate coverage.

 

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With the lumber market hitting new highs every day and the shingle market taking increases as well, it may not be uncommon for a homeowner to decide to put a project on hold.  Yes, the cost of material is up, but the mortgage rates are very favorable right now and now is a great time to build. So why is now a great time to build? Looking at the statistics below, you can see that a home that costs $300,000 just a couple of months ago could now cost $315,000. We know that the cost of our material has not increased by $15,000 on a project that size. When you look at four different quotes as shown below, you can see that our total cost of the quote does not increase by the 5% represented.

 

  Date Sell Price Margin GM$ Cost Cost increase
  6/17/2020        62,940        21.40        13,469        49,471
7/16/2020        62,940        19.52        12,286        50,654 2.39%
  Date Sell Price Margin GM$  Cost Cost increase
  6/10/2020        72,056        21.96        15,823        56,233
7/16/2020        72,056        20.50        14,771        57,285 1.87%
  Date Sell Price Margin GM$  Cost Cost increase
  6/4/2020        45,794        22.30        10,212        35,582
7/16/2020        45,794        18.69           8,559        37,235 4.65%
  Date Sell Price Margin GM$  Cost Cost increase
  6/10/2020      141,220        37.22        52,562        88,658
7/16/2020      141,220        36.19        51,108        90,112 1.64%

 

We can assume that over the next year, mortgage rates will increase which will have a greater impact on the monthly payment than the rising cost of materials that we are currently experiencing.

The National Association of Home Builders, NAHB, has found that “Lumber demand tends to be a reliable leading indicator of residential construction activity, thus the recent price hikes due to increased demand coupled with reduced mill capacity should be viewed as a sign that mills must ramp up production as the home building industry continues into the [spring] home buying season.”

 

 


July 2020 Impressive Progressive Event

On July 25 we hosted our first ever virtual home tour. Originally, the Impressive Progressive event was designed to be an intimate tour that allowed guests to move from showroom, to project, to project, wrapping up back at the showroom. Each location would provide a tour of the impressive remodel, appetizers, and great conversation. With COVID-19 in mind, we felt it was best for homeowners, staff, and guests alike to suspend our in person events for the remaining 2020 calendar year. While the virtual tour was a new experience, it was still a lively conversation.

NE_kitchen_after

We started the tour off in NE Minneapolis, where designer Ashley Hansen showcased a beautiful kitchen remodel. Homeowner, Alison, also joined in the conversation to provide insight on how her experience was from start to end through the remodeling process.

StP_MasterBed

The second was a second story addition originally designed by the late Mark Benzell, was presented by designer Amy Hinck. Amy not only showcased the craftsmanship of the master bed and bath, which has a luxurious display of marble tile, but was also able to show the technicalities of an addition from the exterior view.

Meanwhile, owner Loren Schirber provided lots of valuable insight about current remodel trends and forecasts.

Normally we are not able to share our live events after the fact, but the beauty of a virtual webinar is that we recorded the whole show. You can catch the replay of our July event below, or head to YouTube to watch the replay, along with many of our other valuable videos.

 

 

The virtual event was hosted through the popular webinar platform GoToWebinar. We plan to host additional virtual home tours, with one happening each quarter. You can catch the next virtual tour on Saturday, October 24.

 

 


Interior Design Ideas for a Master Suite

Project 1427-1 Whole House Remodel 2 Story Addition Kitchen Basement Bath Minneapolis 55410 LR 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A master suite implies a space that goes beyond a simple bedroom and bathroom. The “suite” can include anything from an extra seating area, a fireplace, or a foyer at the entrance. Some master suites even include a home office. The goal of the master suite is to serve as an oasis from the rest of the home, and it can be an important aspect in a potential home buyer’s decision. Below, we’ll cover a few of the most popular interior design ideas for the master suite. 

Create a Seating Area

Creating a seating area will elevate the space from a bedroom to a suite. A seating area will add both functionality and luxury, and will likely lead you to spend more time inside the room. Whether you opt for a couch or a luxurious chair, a seating area in the suite adds a stately feel.  

Built-in Storage Units

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Built-in storage units throughout the suite prevent clutter and allow you to showcase favorite pieces or books, as open shelving gives the space a modern feel. A built-in unit is a particularly good idea for the closet system, as it will free up space to add an island or sitting area within that space as well for additional luxury. 

Wall Art 

Wall art can help segregate the space within the bedroom, and it will add a feel of luxury and style. Playing with texture and design will keep the space interesting and showcase your individual style. If you prefer naked walls, decorative ceiling tiles are another way to add a great dimension to the room. 

Choose an Accent Piece

A grand master suite is anything but a solely neutral space. While you, of course, want to create a calming environment incorporating white solid surfaces in your space, an accent piece can complement neutral walls and bedding to add dimension to the space and add personality. 

 

Incorporate an Office Space

If you don’t have a separate space in your home that can be turned into a home office, the master suite could be your solution. Even a simple desk and chair will add another element of functionality to the suite, and you can create a pony wall (a dividing wall) to separate work from play. 

 

Considering an Addition of a Master Suite

If you’re considering an addition to your home, a grand master suite can give you a large return and attract potential home buyers when it comes time to sell. Designing the space yourself will allow for all of the amenities that you find most attractive, whether that be an office space, high ceilings, or aging in place features such as lowes interior handrails. It’s also a great time to consider a first-floor master suite that’s conducive to aging. 

 

If the goal of the master suite is to serve as an oasis from the rest of the home, investing in a great master suite will pay off in the long run. The suite provides comfort, privacy, and a sense of luxury that’ll benefit you both in the short and long term. 

 

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.


2019: A Year in Review

In an effort to let you know more about Castle Building & Remodeling, we have taken the time to create an infographic. With the data presented in a visual and easy to understand format we hope it is both easy and enjoyable to learn more about our business.

At a glance you can see that in total we completed a total of 174 projects. These projects scaled across both range of project size and project type.

2019Infographic3_effort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continue the trend of focusing on smaller projects, kitchens, bathrooms, and exterior work. Since these are common rooms to remodel, it’s not surprise they continue to top the charts in popularity. However, let’s take a moment to admire that last year we were able to complete 8 projects for our very own employees. Our staff is comprised of extremely talented individuals and when we have the opportunity to turn a part of their home into their dream castle, it holds a special place in our hearts.

2019infographic1_effort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting back to the details of last year, you can see that when it comes to numbers, our small projects continue to take up a large portion of our data. Last year we completed 76 projects that valued no more than $5,000. Remodeling your home may seem expensive, but when you consider the type of work you need done it can in fact not be as lofty as you thought. It’s important to note though, the second highest value range was a total of 34 projects costing between $25,000-$50,000. These will include many bathrooms and other small projects we completed for homeowners last year.

Lastly, let’s take a look just where in the Twin Cities you will find homes being turned into castles.

July_SM_Infographic4_effort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re familiar with our showrooms, you can see that the epicenters of the most popular zones are within the same areas of our brick and mortars. With three locations in Minneapolis, one in St. Paul, and our warehouse in the Longfellow neighborhood, it doesn’t take much effort to notice that most of our projects stay close to the heart of the cities.

To see the complete infographic, as well as previous year’s reports, click here.


Full Home Remodels vs. Partial Renovations

 “Remodel” and “renovation” are often used interchangeably. While the terms are similar in meaning, they aren’t exactly synonyms. What’s the difference? 

The short answer is that renovations generally consist of cosmetic changes, whereas remodels are structural changes. A full-home remodel consists of completely changing up the structure and layout of your entire home. On the other hand, a partial renovation is simply sprucing up the appearance of portions of the house. 

Now, things get confusing when you compare a full-home remodel to a partial remodel. In both cases, structural changes occur, it’s merely the amount of the home being remodeled that’s affected. It’s the same with full-home renovations and partial renovations. 

Are you still confused? Keep reading. Let’s break down the differences in definition, cost, contractors, and more. 

renovation stock image
Restoration Versus Creation

Another way to think about these two terms is to think of them as restoration and creation. In renovations, you’re simply restoring portions of the home. In remodels, you’re creating something new entirely. 

Let’s look at a kitchen renovation versus a kitchen remodel. 

  • In a kitchen renovation, you might repaint the walls, change the quartz counter colors, pull up and replace the floor, and add in new cabinets.
  • In a kitchen remodel, you might knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room to add more space. You might change up the layout to move the cabinets onto a different wall and change where the refrigerator goes. 

Things can get a little dicey because the line between creating something new and giving something a facelift can be quite thin. For instance, changing your home office into a guest bedroom would be a remodel. While many of the changes are cosmetic, you’re still creating an entirely new space. 

Sometimes the most straightforward way to compare the two is with the cost. 

Cost Analysis: Which is Cheaper? 

Generally speaking, renovations are much cheaper. This is particularly true if you compare a partial renovation to a full-house remodel. Remodels change the structure of the house, so there can be electrical rewiring, ductwork, and plumbing involved. All those additional expenses can add up quickly. 

In terms of ROI, renovations tend to win out. Because renovations are cheaper, the return is usually better. For instance, if you replace your garage door, you can expect to recoup 97.5% of your investment, adding roughly $3,520 to the resale value of your home. 

However, dollar-per-dollar remodels increase value by much more. For instance, a full kitchen remodel provides an average ROI of 62.1% and adds around $41,133 to the resale value of your home. 

When it comes to weighing ROI versus resale value, you’ll recoup more of your investment in renovations. However, you’ll add more value to the ticket price with remodels. 

Another cost to consider is the contractors. Many renovations are DIY-friendly, and if they aren’t, you can usually hire a home repair expert or handyman. However, with remodels, you’ll need to hire experts. Remodel jobs are generally more complex, so they require a certain level of expertise. 

Think about roofing, for example. If you wanted to renovate your roof and you simply wanted to replace the old asphalt shingles with new synthetic shingles, that would be a renovation. You aren’t changing anything structurally, and you could likely hire any number of skilled contractors to do the job. 

Alternatively, if you chose to have solar panels added to your roof and your roof faced north instead of south, you’d likely need a remodel. Solar panels are heavy, and often homeowners need their roof reinforced before getting them attached, so there are structural changes that have to happen, and specialized experts are required.

Other Distinctions 

There are a few other distinctions between the two terms and practices: 

  • Remodeling almost always requires a permit. 
  • Some historic homes only allow renovations. 
  • Remodels are the best solutions to a poor home layout. 
  • Renovations can be DIY-friendly. 

It’s easy to see how the two terms can be confused. They’re incredibly similar until you dig a little deeper. A renovation would be adding a home handrail to your walls. A remodel would be adding the handrails, a ramp, and widening the door frames to accommodate a wheelchair. 

Determining which is right for you often comes down to budget and goals. Decide what changes you want, and then see whether a full-home remodel or a partial renovation is the route for you. Below you’ll see an excerpt from our Info Brochure, showing the various levels of pricing when it comes to renovation vs remodeling your kitchen.

2019 Castle Building & Remodeling Intro Brochure Kitchens Pricing_08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankfully, we have an amazing team of designers who can help you navigate those difficult selections and come to the best decision for both your home and wallet.

 

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.


NARI Welcomes New Certified Remodeling Project Manager

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Castle Building & Remodeling is pleased to announce that Steve Carr has recently achieved the prestigious Certified Remodeling Project Manager status.

Before becoming a carpenter, Steve had a boring desk job that was sucking life out of him and turning his hair grey. After a year in the field of showing off his smarts and carpentry skills Steve was promoted to Project Manager. He has been with Castle BRI now for six years.

NARI’s CRPM program measures skill and expertise valued not only by other professional remodelers, but by consumers as well. Highly respected by those who have achieved the designation, the CRPM program identifies professional remodelers who have undergone comprehensive review and testing in areas of business management, ethical conduct, and technical skills.  In addition, they must also adhere to NARI’s strict Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

We sat down with Steve to learn a little more about what went into his new certification and what that means for his future.

Hannah Husemann, Marketing Manager: Tell us Steve, what lead you to take the exam to become a Certified Remodeling Project Manager (CRPM)?

Steve Carr, CRPM: I love learning and hoped to gain some new knowledge. We were having a slow period and this helped fill some of the void.

HH: And what exactly is a CRPM?

SC: The title of a CRPM professionalizes the role of managing a remodeling project. A CRPM has oversight of every aspect of the remodeling project—project planning, communications, project cost management, quality assurance, risk management and recordkeeping. Those with this designation will be taught to work toward mastering these project components in order to drive end-customer satisfaction and profitability of remodeling projects.

HH: Is there a significant difference between Project Manager and CRPM?

SC: There really is no difference.  I continue to do the same work in pretty much the same way.  The review class put an official name to some of the things I do everyday and on every project.

HH: How do you go about obtaining a CRPM certification?

SC: The first step to attaining the Certified Remodeling Project Manager certification is to complete a qualification form, which outlines an individual’s background of experience and education in remodeling. Eligibility requirements include working full time in the remodeling field for at least two years and passing a comprehensive assessment exam.

HH: How long did you prepare for the exam?

SC: I had a 2 hour class once a week for 6 weeks with assigned reading.  It was very helpful and informative.

HH: How will this newly earned certification benefit you in your career? How does it benefit your place of employment?

SC: I am uncertain how this will benefit me or Castle. During the review class I realized Castle does just about everything right. There are a couple areas to do with scheduling, risk assessment and project audits that I hope to add.

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About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  The Association, which represents member companies nationwide—comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors— is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To learn more about membership, visit www.RemodelToday.com or contact national headquarters, based in Des Plaines, Ill., at (847) 298-9200.

 


Black Lives Matter

Eight Minutes and 46 Seconds.

upliftourcommunity

That’s how long it took to shake our city to its knees, but it’s no secret it took even less time for us to rise up and cry for justice. Our city, our nation, our people…we are facing a historic reckoning. At Castle Building and Remodeling, we as a brand and individuals are committed to doing the ongoing work necessary to support racial injustice and fight inequality.

 

Our company motto is “The Best Value in Remodeling,” and we believe that goes beyond our work within a client’s home. Being the best and providing value applies to our everyday lives as well. While we may be small in numbers, we are passionate and engaged individuals who want to see change in our community. As a company we have made a $5,000 donation to We Love Lake Street, along with committing to continue helping with clean up and rebuilding our neighborhoods wherever we possibly can. While our efforts have been impactful, they are not enough. We will strive to continue to seek out more ways to make positive change in the fight for justice.

 

We are actively listening, and we will continue to learn on how we can do better. What can we do to do better and be better? How can we encourage and achieve more diversity in our hiring? How can we support minority owned vendors and trade partners. We want to encourage you to get involved in your community. Change starts with every individual consciously making the effort and taking action to ensure a more just and equitable world. Join us in making the promise to stand up and speak out against racism.

Follow these links to find some great resources both locally and nationally to help out.
Ways to help around the city:

1) Star Tribune

2) Meet Minneapolis

3) City of Minneapolis

4) KSTP

5) Ramsey County

6) TC Mutual Aid Map

7) We Love Lake Street

Educational Resources
Follow the links below to find resources to learn more

1) Juneteenth Day

2) Black Lives Matter

3) BLM Minneapolis Facebook

4) Reading for Racial Justice

Support Black Owned Businesses
Follow the links below to find amazing Black-owned restaurants, shops and more.

1) City Pages

2) MSP Magazine

 

Books, Podcasts, and More
    • His conversation with Ezra Klein (podcast) on redefining racism
    • If your [grand]kids aren’t necessarily white, but are privileged / affluent, this book still applies
    • This podcast with Hagerman gives you a glimpse

 

 

If there is a way to help out that you are passionate about, we would love to share it with our community. Simply send your submission to Hannah Husemann at hannah@castlebri.com

Together we can change the world!


Environmentally Friendly Kitchen Renovations

Kitchen renovations are always exciting. There’s something exhilarating about transforming the appearance or function of a central room in the home. Today, an increasing number of homeowners are looking to not only renovate their kitchens but to do so in a way that is more environmentally friendly. 

Here at Castle Building & Remodeling Inc, we know a thing or two about environmentally-friendly remodeling. We believe strongly in green remodeling and sustainability. In fact, we were awarded the first certified home from the Minnesota Greenstar Pilot program. 

This program developed a standardized metric for remodeling and building that prioritizes eco-sensitivity and efficiency in construction and materials. Essentially, they created a system that measures whether a build or remodel followed specific protocols that promote sustainability and eco-friendly measures. 

So, we have a ton of ideas when it comes to environmentally friendly renovation for your kitchen. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

Choose an Eco-Friendly Flooring Material

One of the first steps to a kitchen renovation is redoing the floors. Floors set the tone for the room and help improve the overall appearance of your kitchen. 

Detail of Marmoleum floors

Cork Flooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s no shortage of eco-friendly flooring options for your kitchen renovation. Some of our favorites include: 

  • Marmoleum – It’s like linoleum except that it’s made from renewable natural ingredients. (pictured above)
  • Cork – Cork floors are a fantastic alternative to wood or tile, and they have a beautiful appearance with a soft underfoot, which means they bounce when you walk on them. Additionally, cork is an incredibly sustainable material. (pictured above right)
  • Friendly Tile Alternatives – If you love the look of tile, there are alternatives like StonePeak, which uses natural materials and doesn’t require sealants, epoxies, or artificial colors. 
  • Reclaimed Hardwood – If you love the look of wood, and are determined to have a wood floor, go with reclaimed wood. This wood is recycled and repurposed, making it a better alternative to traditional hardwood. 

So, start with a beautiful new floor for your kitchen renovation. 

Redo The Countertop with Green Materials 

Is there anything more important than the kitchen countertop? It’s the showstopper of the kitchen. Most homeowners are looking for a mixture of gorgeous appearance and functionality. While solid surface kitchen countertops continue to be a popular choice, there are many other green alternatives available on the market. 

 

Quartz Countertop 3265View of Countertops in Kitchen After Remodel

  • Quartz Countertops – Quartz is a fantastic alternative to natural stones like marble and granite thanks to its durability, low-maintenance, and function. (pictured above right)
  • Crushed Recycled Glass Counters – While it might sound dangerous, recycled glass is a refined countertop material option. It comes in many colors, and it’s made from locally sourced, recycled materials. (pictured above left)
  • Crushed Walnut Shell Counters – Walnuts are sustainable and renewable. They’re also lightweight, high-density, and they have a low moisture absorption rate, making them an ideal option for countertops. 

These aren’t the only countertop options, but they’re some of our favorite, environmentally friendly options for kitchen renovations.  

Focus on Increasing Energy Efficiency

Aside from aesthetics, part of a green home renovation involves addressing energy-efficiency. There are several things you can do in your kitchen remodel to increase energy efficiency.  

energy efficient windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Weatherproofing – Weatherproofing windows and doors in your kitchen, ensure that you aren’t allowing any outside air to seep inside and boost those electricity costs. 
  • Energy-Efficient Windows and Lightbulbs – Swap out any regular panes and bulbs for EnergyStar rated alternatives. These energy-efficient alternatives ensure you aren’t using or losing an unnecessary amount of energy.
  • Energy-Efficient Appliances – Switching out energy-sucking appliances for energy-efficient models can help cut tons of money off of your electric bill each month. 
  • Insulation – Insulation is an essential component to keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you’re redoing your kitchen, be sure all your insulation is up to par, too. 
  • Low Flow Plumbing – Monitor your water usage and waste by exchanging your regular fixtures for low flow alternatives.  

These are a few great renovations and swaps to make while renovating your kitchen to optimize overall efficiency.

Start Your Environmentally Friendly Kitchen Remodel Today

As you can see, creating an environmentally friendly kitchen is all about making a lot of small changes, which, when combined, substantially increase your overall sustainability. The market for sustainability and green building has exploded, so if you love a specific material, the chances are that there’s an environmentally friendly alternative available on the market. 

Natural Built Homes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We’re committed to sustainability, that’s why we recently
acquired Natural Built Homes, an eco-friendly building materials retailer. While the inside looks different since transitioning it into an additional showroom, you can see it’s original brick and mortar above. So, if you’re interested in renovations from a company that knows and truly cares about sustainability, give us a call. 

 

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.


Spring Backyard Remodels in the Twin Cities

Spring is almost here. After the long Minnesota winter, some love and affection on the exterior will do. So, how about I save you, homeowners, the hassle, and show you how you’ll turn your exterior into your little haven.

Whether you’re looking to spruce up your exterior for personal satisfaction or increase your home value for resale, this is the perfect time to take on your project – without worries about the ever-changing climate of the Twin Cities. Successful renovation, however, requires lots of planning and a touch of creativity.

6 Spring Renovations Hacks for your backyard

Curious already? Take a look at some of the six renovations projects that’ll turn your backyard into a sanctuary.

1. Spruce up the Landscaping

Because your backyard and the front lawn is the first beautiful aspect of your home that you and your visitors are going to enjoy, let’s turn it into a botanical garden. Trees in the Twin Cities can get out of hand quickly too.

After Project 2297-2 Minneapolis Kitchen Addition 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re going to tackle an entire outdoor landscaping project, it’s going to be a costly venture. While it’s certainly an option, not everyone has that kind of budget. However, you can start small, and piece together your final project.

Decide in advance the type of flowers, trees and other plants you want, and what area they’ll cover. To save on cost, try planting seeds instead of buying already grown plants. The warm spring weather in the Twin Cities supports germination. If you’re not sure what type of flowers or decorative plants would succeed in your lawn, consider chatting with our friends at Field Outdoor Spaces, LLC. They are award winning and create arboretum-worthy spaces in your yard.

Be mindful of weed maintenance near driveways and walkways. They can be eyesores to look at if they are not tended to on a regular basis.

  • Weed them
  • Trim their edges
  • Mow them

For anything bigger than routine flowers and weeds, consider calling an arborist to remove potentially dangerous branches that could be problematic for your home.

 

2. Redo the Driveways

The driveway receives no love during the winter. The harsh Minnesota winter weather leaves crack on your driveway, especially if it’s made of concrete. Shoveling alone won’t be enough, a little more than a new coat of asphalt layer will do.

Because this is not a project you can do on your own, a professional will suffice. A professional will work on a firmer foundation, correct base material, and proper grading. However, there are driveway maintenance tips you can pursue to curtail long-term weather and erosion on a consistent basis.

Concrete, asphalt, labor, and other materials can be costly. Plan with your constructor and see where you can chip to cut on labor costs. Your constructor should also suggest cheaper yet effective alternatives.

Consider repairing in phases in case you can’t afford all of it at once.

3. Repaint

If you notice the winter left your walls looking dull because paint that is chipping or cracking, perhaps consider a new coat or a new color all together.

2019-10-24 13.10.51
Exterior before clean up and paint.
RobbinsdaleBackyard2
Home repainted and yard cleaned up to make way for potential landscaping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting is one of the few changes you can make to your house that creates an entirely different look without costing a fortune. Depending on your preference, choose colors that go well with the exterior, or complement outdoor accents like your shutters.

Many experts recommend choosing neutral or muted colors because they have a wide appeal, but it’s your house. Paint it exactly as you see fit.

However, sticking to one or two colors will save you on cost. Doing the labor yourself will also alleviate some of your expenses.

4. Install LED lights/Outdoor Entertainment

You cannot overlook the importance of outdoor entertainment and lighting.

Project Project 3419-1 Backyard Living Area Screen Porch Deck Bar LR 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent lighting will do the magic in giving your gloomy backyard an ambiance of a lifetime – making those night gatherings something to look forward to. Additionally, incorporating either a sound system or television (or both) gives you a centerpiece to draw your guest’s attention.

First, ensure the exterior of the house is adequately lit. The driveway, parking, and walking paths are yet other critical parts you cannot overlook.

Depending on your budget and preference, choose your lighting and whatever entertainment piece fits your style. However, unless you have prior knowledge of wiring and electrical wires, be extremely diligent in your research or call an expert.

5. Look into Hardscapes for Your Backyard Renovation

Do you long for a time when you could have company over for drinks and barbeque? Those days feel like a lifetime ago, but there’s hope for them to return soon. When they do come back, you want to be prepared.

firepit2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor hardscapes would be the perfect entertainment area for such an occasion. You can begin your project now while down time is abundant for all and bear the fruits of your labor when society returns to a relative sense of normalcy.

However, your options to choose from are vast. Should you pour a concrete patio? What about installing a hardwood deck? It’s difficult to discern which is best for your living space.

Concrete patios work great for backyards that remain relatively flat. You can butt them against the posterior side of your home, or even run them alongside a swimming pool or your fence line. On the other hand, decks are for more elevated backyard terrain.

Instead of shelling out several hundreds of dollars to level out the yard, homeowners will instead build up and create a new space. Decks are traditionally more expensive long-term and require more upkeep.

Also consider a she-shed to improve your outdoor storage capacity. These are great for storing lawn equipment, seasonal patio furniture, or you can even turn it into a hobby shed to focus on painting, crafting, or whatever your passion is.

6. Plant and Trim Fences

Need a little privacy? Stray dogs and other animals disturbing your peace? Well, it could be time to put up a fence. It’s easier to dig up the holes for poles in the Minnesota spring weather.

Cedar Fence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, this project might require the help of an expert. For the poles, you have an option to choose between wooden, aluminum, steel, and iron. A wooden fence is easier to build. However, they have high maintenance costs considering they require frequent staining, and they could rot over time.

If you already have a fence, consider repairing it. This could include changing poles, greasing where necessary, and replacing destroyed areas.

Ready For a New Look?

An elegant home is a worthy investment. Whether looking to resell your home or just keeping it stylish, taking care of the outdoors is essential. In the Twin Cities, it’s easier to take care of your backyard in spring because of the good weather and perfect condition of the soil.

The above repair projects will turn your backyard into a haven where you, your family, and friends can have a good time.

 

Dominic LoBianco is a guest author on behalf of Crawlspace Depot. Dominic covers a wide array of topics in his writing ranging from home improvement to real estate financing and everything in-between.


The Benefits and Cost of Designing a Home Office

The work-from-home era is at its height, and more people are creating office spaces within their own homes. However, the distinct design of your home office can build to or take away from your productivity, making the creative process a bit tricky. Fortunately, there is a lot of information regarding what works and what doesn’t. Here is what you need to know about devising a successful home office.

home office
How Much Will It Cost?

One of the best things about creating a home office is that you are ultimately in charge of your own budget. Some people may choose to go above and beyond, placing thousands of dollars into the project, but if you are on a cash restriction, you can just invest in the essentials. If you have hopes of expanding, you can always do so when your financial state improves.

With that said: some basics will be required. For example, if you are working in a common business industry such as logistics, marketing, design, etc. you’re probably going to need the following:

● A Working Computer (laptop or desktop)

● Wireless components (mouse, keyboard, additional monitor, necessary cables)

● Desk equipment (table and chair)

● Miscellaneous items (office supplies)

This is personal preference, but it’s recommended to have a whiteboard on the wall so that you can list out daily tasks and deadlines and be sure to note any appointments as well. Make good use of sticky notes, tack boards, and anything else that will conquer your attention.

While quantity wise, this may not sound like much. The associated price tag with these items can add up quickly. If you are going to buy all of these items new, you’re looking at a minimum entry cost of $400-700. But that number can quickly climb into the thousands if you’re not careful.

Where Should You Set Up Shop?

home office2

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re lucky enough to have excess space in your house, there are four obvious answers: spare bedroom, designated office/bonus room, garage, basement or crawlspace, and attic.

Many people are intrigued by trying to turn their unfinished basements or attics into home offices, which is a great place to look. However, you must do your diligence to ensure that the rooms are properly sealed off so your new computer or leather office chair doesn’t overheat or get moldy.

Some home offices are dynamic, and others aren’t even large enough to allow for walking room. Not everyone can spare an entire bedroom to dedicate to their workspace. However, as long as you can fit the necessities into a designated area, a small corner will do just fine. But you should try your best to avoid frequented areas, like dining room tables and living room spaces as it can be quite difficult to separate work from play.

How Does Customization Come into Play?

unfurnished office

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remote offices are perfect for tailoring your environment to suit your own needs. For example, if you struggle with back problems, you may choose a bean bag or massage chair over a standard office one. You can place your workstation by a window so that the natural light makes it easy on your sensitive eyes. You can also purchase a lamp with dimming options and multiple settings to adhere to your various tasks.

People also tend to perform better and remain focused when they are free of distractions and are surrounded by decorations to keep them in the mood. House plants, candles, inspirational quotes, photos, and other additions that resonate will make the office feel more like your own. Also, color schemes play a huge part in how well your office works in your favor. The bright hues, like yellow and orange, are leaked to productivity and creativity, while blue helps with focus and logical thinking.

Try to limit your designs to things that are work-related, will restore your mental and emotional state, and will redirect your attention to the task at hand. If you feel like you cannot quite find the magic combination, we offer counsel via virtual appointments to help field any questions you might have along the way. Our designers are equipped to remotely help you design your perfect home office.

Conclusion

When it comes to creating the best space to aid in your productivity, it is essential to keep the proper amount of storage space so that everything is accessible, eliminating the constant need to abandon your station in search of items or equipment.

Making money from home is the dream of the century. And when your remote office is developed properly, you can effortlessly produce your best work without even changing out of your pajamas.

Dominic LoBianco is a content contributor (or guest author) on behalf of Crawlspace Depot. Dominic covers a wide array of topics in his writing ranging from home improvement to real estate financing and everything in-between. 


Maximize Your Home Storage Spaces

Spring is in the air and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. As you put away your winter gear and start reaching for warmer weather items, you may notice a need for better or more organized storage solutions. Here are our best solutions for the most popular rooms in your home to help you achieve your organizing goals.

1. Basement / Storage Room

Basements and storage rooms are one of the best ways to maximize your storage capabilities. Installing floor to ceiling durable shelving in unfinished areas allows you to store long term items you may not need access to regularly.

 

 

 

basement storage 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another creative solution is to maximize the use of your basement stairwell. If the structure of your home allows for it, consider adding drawers or cabinets along the stairwell for hidden storage that doesn’t take up limited floor space.

 

 

 

basement stairwell basement stairwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, if you utilize your basement for more utilitarian purposes, consider installing custom cabinetry or built ins to fit your needs. They can be both aesthetically pleasing to the eye and functional.

 

 

 

Basement Storage Area Detail

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2. Bathroom Solutions

Your bathroom can feel like you have limited options when it comes to creative solutions. One option is to maximize the storage within your vanity. Cabinet drawers can be shaped to fit around the piping for a unique and functional storage space. You could also add hair dryer/curling iron/flat iron holders into the cabinetry, and varying drawer dividers for makeup and accessories to create the ultimate vanity set up.

 

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Another solution is to utilize built-in shelving. Whether its wall-to-wall in an otherwise unused nook or part of the overall structure, built-ins can bring a lot of visual appeal to a room while remaining functional.

 

 

 

mcinerney_builtins

Project 3414-1 Kitchen Bath Remodel South Minneapolis 55406 LR 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Kitchen Solutions

cutting board cabinet potsandpans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to creating your perfect kitchen, there is more than meets the eye. Once you’ve selected all the “pretty things,” it’s time to think of the functionality. Like a hidden cutting board for easy clean up, as pictured above!

 

drawer organization

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Cabinets can be more than just shelving. Roll outs, lazy susan’s, and drawer pull outs are all popular additions. Another unique option is building your spice rack right into your cabinetry. Knife blocks in drawers, pot/pan/lid storage, tray dividers, the list goes on!

 

 

Project 3408-1 Bright Scandinavian Minneapolis Kitchen Remodel with Movable Island 55406 MN 6_Project 3408-1 Bright Scandinavian Minneapolis Kitchen Remodel with Movable Island 55406 MN LR 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating shallow cabinets around your refrigerator takes a potential wasted corner space and creates additional pantry space or even a small broom closet. And then there’s always the option to take a small corner and turn it into a functional wine storage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project 3476-1 NE Minneapolis Kitchen Remodel 55418 LR 8Project 3414-1 Kitchen Bath Remodel South Minneapolis 55406 LR 11

 

 

 

 

While these are just a few ideas of how to make the most of your functional space, there are countless options on how you can maximize your space.

 

 

 


Design Trends: Kitchen and Bath Traditional Design Influences

project3483 cabinet
Classic, calm, and timeless. These three words describe a home that has been designed with traditional influences. Many homes with a traditional design aesthetic are filled with warm wood tones, graceful lines, and detailed moldings. However, the most appealing aspect of this design trend is how fluid it can be. Pairing with other design aesthetics, it can take a room from ordinary to unique while maintaining a timeless look. As you mix and match, you do not want it to appear visually cluttered so its best to stick to two decorative touches from adjacent eras, creating a more subtle, yet visually appealing look.

Project 3311-1 Kitchen Bath Addition Remodel South Minneapolis 55406 LR 3
Cabinetry and Countertops

The kitchen and bathroom designs heavily rely on color palette, cabinetry style and finishing touches. When you and your designer are creating the space consider selecting warm tones in your cabinetry. If you are looking to mix eras consider white or light colored cabinetry with clean lines. Bathrooms stay on trend with beautiful pedestal sinks or vanities with spa like features. When it comes to selecting the countertops, traditional choices lean towards either natural or faux-natural materials, such as granite, engineered stone, soapstone or even marble.

Project 3378-1 Basement Laundry Room Remodel Minneapolis LR 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall and Flooring Selections

When it comes to selecting wall and flooring tile the most sought after choices are subway or hexagonal tiles. Clean lines throughout and classic hardwood flooring helps bring the look together. The best traditional style homes aren’t married to one particular style as no era or design should overrule another. It is an adaptable style that allows you to be as creative as you’d like.

Project 3414-1 Kitchen Bath Remodel South Minneapolis 55406 LR 29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing Touches

Elevate a room’s overall look by carefully selecting light fixtures, faucets, drawer hardware and even the trim around your bathroom mirrors. The traditional design aesthetic is highlighted throughout textures like wood and metal. Common metal selections are oil-rubbed bronze, iron and copper, providing a touch of beauty and historical authenticity to your design.

Project 3435-1 Kitchen Remodel and Back Deck Addition St. Paul 55116 LR 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Conclusion

Many Castle clients tend to desire, and Castle designers, keeping the traditional millwork/flooring consistent between the original parts of the home and newly remodeled spaces- i.e. we try to match those parts as much as possible. That traditional consistency allows for more play with the other elements previously mentioned.

In the end, traditional style is an excellent choice when you looking for a space to feel timeless and relevant simultaneously. Since you’re highlighting the best in design styles all at once, the look will never feel tired or go out of style.

Be sure to check out our portfolio to get more inspiration for traditional designs, and more!


COVID-19: Castle’s Plan of Action

Updated: Monday, March 23, 2020

We are open for business and plan to take precautions to help avoid the spread of COVID-19, also known as the corona virus.

In the past few days this global pandemic has gripped the nation as we come to terms with how this outbreak will affect our lives for the coming weeks and months. To summarize the issue: There is a severe lack of tests and no clarity on the extent of spread. There are probably many more cases than reported because there aren’t enough tests.  The country now must cancel large events and gatherings and move towards social isolation and a quarantine as the only option remaining to slow the spread and not overwhelm our healthcare system. Small groups and one on one interaction is still considered safe so long as those individuals are healthy and have take precautions to avoid interacting with those infected or large crowds.

Here are additional steps Castle Building & Remodeling is taking to do our part in this national crisis to protect employee health and the health of our clients:

  1. We have shared hygiene and sanitary best practices with all employees and strongly encouraged them stay home if they are sick and use the paid sick leave provided.
  2. We ask all clients who have projects in progress to let us know if they have health concerns or have chosen to self-quarantine in their home.  If needed we will delay the project and don’t want to put employees at risk.
  3. All Showroom hours will be suspended. Showrooms won’t be open for public drop-ins until further notice.
  4. Our employees will work from home unless necessary to meet with co-workers or clients. The sale team will use technology to complete virtual client meetings and utilize email and web services as much as desired.
  5. Cancellation of the April scheduled Impressive Progressive.  July Impressive Progressive will go on as planned.
  6. All in person staff meetings have been cancelled, meeting virtually until further notice.
  7. Thorough cleaning of ProHQ offices and continued regular cleanings of all showrooms. Efforts listed for job sites will be applied to work spaces as deemed appropriate.
  8. Efforts being made at each job site:
      1. We will wipe the door knobs, light switches, shared bath surfaces (faucet handles, countertop, toilet handles) with Clorox wipes (or spray) each morning and at end of day on job sites.
      2. We will wash hands when entering jobsite in morning, before and after lunch/breaks, and when leaving job site end of day. Project manager will designate which sink our workers can use (approved by client)/have paper towels there, or provide alcohol based hand sanitizer.
      3. We will not share the same tools with other workers throughout the day as best we can, but if we must they will be frequently wiped down.
      4. We will be using separate entrances to the work space than the entrance that homeowners use if possible and potentially more dust barriers/zip walls than normal. . i.e. we use back door if work area is in back and clients then use the front door.
      5. We will be scheduling jobs so that trades are not on top of each other and therefore exposure limited as much as possible.
      6. Keeping a 6’ distance from others. Easier said than done with some tasks, but something we are being mindful of.
      7. Masks/gloves/booties – We will wear them if you have them.
      8. Clients and workers may start seeing port a johns on jobsites to try and keep client and worker restroom spaces separate.

We believe that continuing our operations under these restricted operational guidelines is in line with doing our part in this national crisis to protect employee health and the health of our clients. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns.

To stay up to date on all thing COVID-19, please refer to the CDC’s website.

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health during these difficult times reach out to a medical professional. Create a welcoming support team around you and consider checkout this guide about guarding mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Design Trends: Moroccan Influences

Design trends come and go, but the bold look of the Moroccan design has been trending throughout homes since the sixties. Known for its color, texture, and fluid lines, this design style draws much of its inspiration from the Moorish design of the East and from the shapes and colors of the rolling sands of the desert.

One of the most prominent features in Moroccan design is their use of tile throughout design. In 2014, Design Manager Amy Hinck renovated her own kitchen. You can see in the tile backsplash, it is a very pretty arabesque pattern that pulls in the intricate beauty within Moroccan design. The creamy white colored tile darkens at the edges and is enhanced by the tan/yellow grout. They offer great balance between the white and navy cabinetry.

With a well-versed knowledge in remodeling, Hinck and her husband did most of the work themselves. However, with the help of Castle’s carpenters and labor crew, remaining details including window, beam, cabinets, backsplash and butcherblock counter were installed.

Amy is not alone in loving the beautiful design in the tile. Quite a few of our clients have also chosen Moroccan-inspired touches throughout their projects. Whether it’s in the tiling, choice of bold colors or soft curves throughout the room, all of these homes have a touch of the far East.

 

This year American Olean Midwest put out a ton of new amazing tile. One collection is heavily influenced by Moroccan designs and we’re simply obsessed. To see if any of the new Moroccan influenced tiles would work for your project, please contact us to get your project started.

AO Products 2 AO Products 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out other amazing projects completed by Castle’s talented team here.


Winter Home

The 411 on Ice Dams

While the St. Paul Winter Carnival is an ice lovers dream, the ice dams at your own castle can be a nightmare. So what are ice dams and how do we prevent them?

What Are Ice Dams?

Simply put ice dams are a result of the heat escaping from your roof, causing the existing snow and ice on your roof to melt. When your attic is not properly insulated, the heat escapes out of your attic floor through cracks and gaps. The water then pools into your gutter system, and as temperatures drop down the water refreezes.

Ice dams illustration

If you look at the image above you can see the roof on this 1.5 story home.  There are a couple things that you will notice when you looking at the house compared to the neighboring home. Many finished attics have inadequate insulation that allows heat to escape and melt the snow. 

You can actually see the roof rafter lines because the wood conducts heat and may have some insulation between.  Under the knee walls where it isn’t heated in the crawl space there is no heat to escape and the snow doesn’t melt.  The water from above melts and runs down until it freezes near the edge. 

How Do I Prevent Ice Dams?

A common misconception is that your gutters are not working properly. Many homeowners see the blockage and will replace the gutter system. While that may work as a quick fix, it is best to get to the root of the problem to prevent further damage.

Another method many homeowners try is roof rake the snow and ice off.  This can actually damage the shingles.  The melting and thawing repeatedly is what causes the big ice dams and build up of ice. This results in water backing up behind it then comes under the shingles and into the house. 

The hard part is that once the space is finished it’s really hard to retrofit and insulate properly without tearing apart a finished attic at great expense. The easiest solution is to stop warm air from the house from leaking into your attic. Any existing cracks, gaps or holes within the walls and floors will need to be sealed. This will not only prevent further dams but it also will help your electricity bill by keeping the warm air in your home (and not your attic). Here at Castle Building & Remodeling, we have finished a lot of those attics and done closed cell spray foam insulation to help correct those water issues.

If your budget doesn’t presently allow you to re-insulate your home, you could also consider using Heattape. Heattape is a cable that will heat the ice enough to melt it but not cause damage to your home. It is another temporary fix but will suffice until you can go for more permanent solution. There are also companies you can hire that use steam to melt the ice from your roof. Make sure to hire an experienced company and do your research. We have heard good things from our customers about The Ice Dam Company.


Additional Things to Consider

While adding more insulation can be the next big part of the solution, another preventative measure to consider is the ventilation in your attic. It is important to make sure you are not trapping moisture within the space.



The boards that run horizontally under the roof edge are known as soffits. If you have insulation on the floor of your attic, within the soffit should be soffit vents, and in the attic there should be air chutes (sometimes called baffles). These chutes allow the cold air to flow between the attic space and soffit to exterior, therefore helping keep the eaves and roof cold and preventing heat/moisture from accumulating. Most newer homes are equipped with them, but many older homes are not.

If you create a “hot roof” though, where you spray foam the underside of the roof deck/between attic rafters, as is commonly done in story and a ½ attic finishes, you don’t typically use soffit vents or air chutes. The foam creates a barrier between heat in the finished attic space and the cold roof. If the roof can stay cold, you are less likely to get the ice dams. If there is enough room though, and the rafters can be furred down, it is possible to do a continuous vent from soffit to ridge, and use spray foam.  

Asset-5IceDams_4

My home may have ice dams, now what?

If you suspect that your home may have ice dams, it may be time to give our team a call. Our experienced trade team can come out and assess the situation and provide you the best solution to your problem.



Crystal Cabinet Tour

Designers Visit Crystal Cabinet for Onsite Training

This past December, our team of talented designers had the opportunity to visit Crystal Cabinet in Princeton, MN for some onsite training. These experiences allow our designers to become more intimate with the products we utilize in our projects. Design Manager, Amy Hinck, provides some insight on how the day went.


Crystal Cabinet Training
Designers Natalie Hanson and Emily Blonigen look at various cabinet doors

“Staff members showed us how the cabinets are built. They also taught in depth tricks/tips about the cabinet modifications. We learned about various cabinet options, lines and finishes. Staff members also gave us great information on the interactive pdf/spec book and ordering system.”

Amy Hinck, Designer Manager
Crystal Cabinet Training
Our team listens intently as one of the Crystal Cabinet staff members talks.

Various employees took the time to meet with our designers, including: multiple reps, members of their internal design and marketing/catalog team, customer service team, production team, and one of the partners.

Our reasons to work with this amazing company were further solidified after this visit. They are a local, family owned, creative, and a high quality cabinet company. Crystal Cabinets offers both a fully custom and an affordable custom line of cabinetry, so there is something for every client’s budget.

Overall, the training center was inspirational; and the training, hospitality and food were great! Not only did the visit strengthen our connection with the Crystal Cabinets but our designers had a great day learning.

If your home has Crystal Cabinets, check out this guide to keeping your cabinets in mint condition.








Castle Wood Scraps Repurposed for Good

Using scraps of wood from leftover Castle projects, Steve Carr, project manager and skilled carpenter, was able to make this awesome table! We donated it to the Marcy Arts Gala silent auction, and they got $1,500 for it! Way to go, Steve! Extra points for your shirt matching your table!


Clay Squared Hosts Castle Designers Meeting

A huge thank you to our partners at Clay Squared for hosting Castle’s monthly meeting today. We had a great time touring your new location and seeing how you make tile!

P.S. We’ve never had so many of us in a bathroom before!



Project Castle Sponsors Metro IBA Annual Meeting 2019 LR 6

Castle Sponsors Local MetroIBA Annual Meeting

Castle was proud to help sponsor the MetroIBA Annual Meeting on March 26th, 2019 at Bauhaus Brew Labs. Here are some photos from the event.

MetroIBA is a group of dedicated independent business owners who work together to support locally owned businesses in the Twin Cities.  To learn more about this organization, visit
https://www.buylocaltwincities.com/






Induction Cooking: An opinion article by Amy Hinck

Project 3408-1 Bright Scandinavian Minneapolis Kitchen Remodel with Movable Island 55406 MN LR 20

 

Induction cooking is gaining more and more traction with residential use. In big part due to energy efficiency, quick cooking times, and greater demand that has led to more reasonable price points.

 

My husband and I purchased an induction range in 2014 and we really like it a lot. So I’d like to share my opinion on how induction stacks up against the arguments often made about them.

  • Gas is best:  To be honest, I haven’t used many gas cooktops in my life. But I feel like the induction top has very good response times/sensitivity to temperature changes; dare I say even better.  Water boils so fast when I have it on the highest setting! And then when turned down, it instantly adjusts.
  • You need all new cookware: We bought a few additional pans and pots that were compatible with the induction cooking surface, but many of our existing ones worked as well. Cast iron and stainless steel are both suited for induction cooking. You can also check your existing cookware. As long as a magnet sticks to the bottom, it should work with induction tops.
  • They are really loud: Another designer mentioned to me that clients have said a con of the induction top is the noise that it produces. I will say that some pots or pans make more noise than others. In my experience, if you have one that’s a similar size to the heating zone or “burner”, I feel like the sounds are reduced. And yes, sometimes it makes a bit of noise in the beginning when it’s just turned on or there is not much in the pan other than oil. But it quiets down pretty quickly. Personally, the noise is not that noticeable or bothersome to us.

 

Here are some other articles if you’d like to read more about induction cooking:

https://www.consumerreports.org/electric-induction-ranges/pros-and-cons-of-induction-cooktops-and-ranges/

https://www.reviewed.com/ovens/features/induction-101-better-cooking-through-science

https://clankitchen.com/what-is-induction-cookware/

Lastly, if you are considering an induction top or want to know more about them, please contact your local appliance store and see if you can try them out in person or watch a cooking demonstration. We like to send our customers to appliance pros like Warners’ Stellian and All Inc.

 

While I highly recommend induction cooking, it’s best to see for yourself if it’s something you would like.

 

Written by: Amy Hinck

Amy Hinck Employee Photo Headshot HDR 8.16.17 cropped down 2.28.19


Castle Designers Attend KBIS 2019 in Las Vegas

Castle’s designers went to the 2019 KBIS (Kitchen & Bath Industry Show) last month to learn about the latest in products and technology in the design industry. Here’s a photo of the group at the Kohler exhibit.

Castle Designers at kbis 2019




jonathan-scott-home-renovation

Hiring a contractor? Get more for your money with these cost-saving tips from Jonathan Scott.

Jonathan knows a thing or two about great contractors and great clients, thanks to the near 50 renovations he tackles with Drew each year for their shows. He’s always working within a budget to ensure a client is happy when buying, selling, remodeling or rejuvenating their home. Who better to give you the low-down on working efficiently with a contractor?

 

Should I pay for an estimate?
Generally, no, you should not pay for estimates, but you should definitely make sure they are written. The only exception is if it’s specialty work that involves special equipment to survey; you’ll have to pay estimates in that case.

 

I always recommend having three companies bid on major work. You should get a good feeling from them about how organized they are based on how detailed their quote is… If it’s hand written on a napkin with no break down and one total number, you know this is probably not a good contractor.

 

The lowest bid is usually not the best bid. An estimate should include the scope of work, details on the warranty, description of materials and products being used, and timeframe for when it would be completed.

 

Homeowners can help with aspects of demolition, painting, even trim work, but leave the skilled work to the professionals.

 

Read the entire article at https://casaza.com/how-to/tips-for-hiring-a-contractor/







October Castle Newsletter 2018

October 2018
PRIZE WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

1. Grand Prize: $5,000 remodel provided by Castle Building & Remodeling. Winner: Felicia Anderson

2. Custom Vanity Replacement: Vanity from The Woodshop of AvonCambria countertop with Kohler sink and faucet. Includes design, demo and install by Castle Winner: David Salzer

3. $1,000 Gift Certificate to Field Outdoor SpacesWinner: Kerby Pettinelli

4. $1,000 Gift Card to Warners’ Stellian.  Winner: Anne Obst

5. $1,000 Gift Card to All Inc.  Winner: Christine Homsey

6. Custom Closet System from The Woodshop of Avon ($1,000 retail value).  Winner: Brian Samuels

7. $500 off any solar project by All Energy Solar.  Winner: TBD (Go check your email!)

8. $500 Gift Card to Castle’s Salvage Room.  Winner: Rochelle Gresafe

9. Medallion AKA Accent Backsplash above Stove. Tile from American Olean. Installation by Castle.  Winner: Frank Douma

10. Sonos One Speaker from JZ Electric & Homelink EntertainmentWinner: Jocelyn Bell

11.  $100 Gift Card from Clay SquaredWinner: Colleen Brown

12. $100 Gift Card to Cabela’s, provided by Lampert Lumber.  Winner: Greg Kaelyn

13. $100 Gift Card to Menards, provided by Minneapolis GarageWinner: Ross Hyde

14.  Cambria Wine and Cheese Basket.  Winner: Lynda Lundstrom

15. iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi connectivity, provided by Castle.  Winner: Susan Haataja

16. Cutting board and 4 pint glasses from The Woodshop of Avon.  Winner: Catherine Chun

You Voted on Tour… and the Winner of Best in Show is….



1st Place: H6 1559 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105
Most visitors to this whole-house remodel were impressed with the open floorplan as well as Castle’s craftsmanship replicating the coffered ceiling from elsewhere in the home. Congratulations, Ashley Hansen, designer of this project!



2nd Place: H3 3123 Hayes Street NE Minneapolis, MN 55418
Numerous people commented on the overall transformation of the space and how dramatic it was. Congratulations, Amanda Reinert, designer of this project!

 

 

 

 

PROJECT FEATURE:  Split Level Upper Floor Remodel

New owners brought a new vision for this 1986 Golden Valley home. Part of the vision was to reconfigure the main level to better accommodate their lifestyle. This was accomplished by making the kitchenette, kitchen, dining room and living room one large open space. Two large kitchen islands now become the focal point which welcome people in.

 

Another substantial change has been the combination of two bedrooms to make one large master suite. The master suite now includes a bedroom, large master closet, multipurpose room and the master bathroom has almost doubled in size. The idea behind the master’s multipurpose room is that it can function as an office or sitting room or baby’s room.



In addition to the layout changes is an overhaul of the main level finishes. New materials have been selected to create a simplistic and neutral backdrop which transformed the space into a modern design aesthetic.

 

This remodel has created a space that is to set the tone for revamping the home’s exterior and basement. The main level and entryway is now the space these new homeowners envisioned spending the next twenty plus years.

Designed by: Ashley Hansen

EDUCATION FEATURE: Barn Door

Separating this home’s master suite from the rest of the home is a beautiful sliding barn door. Here’s how we did it:

We reused one of their existing swing doors and modified it by filling in the hinge grooves and filling in the knob hole. We also primed and painted all sides of the door. Then, the door was hung using a track from Signature Hardware: Model # 939903, 6′ length, Stainless steel.

Get this look by doing it yourself or giving Castle a call!

 

 

NOW HIRING!

Business is booming! But… there just aren’t enough skilled workers out there and we can’t keep up with demand! So we’ve come to you for help.

Refer someone to us (whom we employ for at least 6 months) and we’ll give you $1,000 in free remodeling. Expires: NEVER!

Our hiring standards are high, but if you know anyone qualified for a Carpenter ApprenticeLead Carpenter, Handyman or Drywall Installer position, have them apply at http://www.castlebri.com/workcastle/ and mention you referred them!

 

Have you worked with Castle before?  Use the links below to leave us a review!

Copyright © 2018 Castle Building & Remodeling, All rights reserved.




Castle is Nominated for a 2018 Indie Business Award

We are honored to be a finalist for the MetroIBA / Buy Local Twin Cities Indie Business Impact Award!

This award is for “a business committed to positively influencing the community through local sourcing and sustainable business practices.” Congratulations to the other finalists and thanks for making a difference in our community!

 

https://www.buylocaltwincities.com/indie-awards/?fbclid=IwAR0TBsZMNl6B2DEUOH4uVV-e_yyrnl7jHRl46mQYVKmxKLNO1vgSvjGGAag 



Open Streets MPLS: Lake + Minnehaha

This Sunday – Open Streets: Lake + Minnehaha – July 22

 

Minneapolis Open Streets 2018 Castle Inflatable Jumper Bounce House + salvage salePlease join Castle on Sunday, July 22nd (11AM – 5PM) at our Longfellow showroom for the 2018 Lake + Minnehaha Open Streets event!

We’ll be having a sidewalk sale of items from our salvage room (such as doors, faucets, lights, windows, sinks, cabinets, tile, and more!) at deeply discounted prices.

Bring the kiddos along for some fun in the Castle Inflatable Bouncy House!

Get the scoop on the rest of the Open Streets events and route here.


July 2018

 

PROJECT FEATURE:   Waite Park 1st Floor Remodel + Kitchen Addition

This whole-level remodel started with the existing kitchen/dining area being cramped and the rear, sunken entrance to the home not fitting the homeowners’ everyday needs. They wanted an open floor plan with plenty of counter space, base cabinetry, natural light, and generous walking spaces for traffic flow to accommodate a busy family of 5. A mudroom was also key to allow for a daily drop spot for coats, shoes, and sports equipment.



The sunken area in the kitchen was framed in to be level with the rest of the floor, and three walls were removed to create a flexible space for their current and future needs. Natural light drove the cabinet design and resulted in primarily base cabinets instead of a standard upper cabinet/base cabinet layout. Deep drawers, accessories, and tall storage replaced what would be wall cabinets to allow for the empty wall space to capture as much natural light as we could. The double sliding door and large window were important factors in maximizing light. The island and peninsula create a multi-functioning space for two prep areas, guests to sit, a homework/work spot, etc.

An exterior deck is currently in the process of being built, and will complete this family’s functional remodel.

 
Come check out this project on our Castle Educational Home Tour, September 29 – 30th, 2018!

   Designed by: Amanda Reinert

 

 

PRODUCT FEATURE:  Cambria Matte Finish Countertops

Cambria Matte provides an appealing low-sheen alternative to Cambria’s standard finish, Cambria High Gloss. Cambria Matte is a distinctive finish that offers uncompromising quality and unbeatable performance.


Cambria High Gloss (left) compared to new Cambria MatteTM (right) Surface finish.
Upcoming Event – Open Streets: Lake + Minnehaha – July 22

Please join Castle on Sunday, July 22nd (11AM – 5PM) at our Longfellow showroom for the 2018 Lake + Minnehaha Open Streets event!

We’ll be having a sidewalk sale of items from our salvage room (such as doors, faucets, lights, windows, sinks, cabinets, tile, and more!) at deeply discounted prices.

Bring the kiddos along for some fun in the Castle Inflatable Bouncy House!

Get the scoop on the rest of the Open Streets events and route here.

NOW HIRING!

We’re desperate… there just aren’t enough skilled workers out there and we can’t keep up with demand! So we’ve come to you for help.

Refer someone to us (whom we employ for at least 6 months) and we’ll give you $1,000 in free remodeling. Expires: NEVER!

Our hiring standards are high, but if you know anyone qualified for a Carpenter ApprenticeLead Carpenter, Handyman or Drywall Installer position, have them apply at http://www.castlebri.com/workcastle/ and mention you referred them!

Did you know we do commercial remodeling too?

This one is recently listed in NE Minneapolis. Check it out!

Have you worked with Castle before?  Use the links below to leave us a review!


CastleBRI designers visit Creative Lighting showroom

CastleBRI designers visit creative lighting showroom
CastleBRI designers visit creative lighting showroom

Many thanks to @CreativeLighting for hosting @Castlebri designers yesterday! We had fun learning about your company and seeing your AMAZING light fixtures!

We especially enjoyed the “bulb lab” where you can put your paint chip in different boxes to see how your walls will look under different types of lighting – so smart!

 


50 micro-apartment building off St. Paul’s Raymond Avenue gets boost from city hall

Guild 842 (a condo building we are designing the interior of) is one step closer to being built!

 

The St. Paul City Council voted 7-0 to rezone the property at 2330 Long Avenue from “Traditional neighborhood 2” to “Traditional Neighborhood 3,” adding 10 feet of maximum height, for a total potential building height of 45 feet.

 

Read more on the Pioneer Press story here: https://www.twincities.com/2018/06/13/micro-apartments-off-st-pauls-raymond-avenue-get-boost-from-city-hall/


June 2018

PROJECT FEATURE:   East Harriet Vintage-Inspired Master Bathroom

The homeowners of this 1906 Victorian in East Harriet are returning customers of Castle. They remodeled their hallway bath a few years ago with a similar vintage style; which went viral via Houzz. (Check out that project’s details and photos on our website.) The clients were so pleased with Castle’s work on the last project, they chose to work with us again for their 2nd bathroom remodel.

After seeing the home and space we had to work with, the designer and homeowners decided an en suite would bring the biggest return on enjoyment and return on investment. By taking an existing dressing room, we were able to make this happen.  We relocated the original hall bedroom entry into the new dressing room space.  We were able to create a beautiful entry to both the bedroom and the new master bath as well as a new, more appropriately-sized dressing space.

Castle was able to salvage the original bedroom and bath doors to be reinstalled at new locations, and then new French doors were installed for a grand entry into the bedroom. By having the glass French doors between the bedroom, new dressing room/en suite entry and bath, the bedroom now has a 2nd source of natural lighting.

 

For this new bathroom, we wanted to create a similar vintage feel to coordinate with the hallway bath. A new clawfoot tub was installed with vintage-inspired shower and curtain rod, a salvaged cast iron radiator, new built-in storage at the attic knee wall, new vanity with carrara marble counters, and to complete the space 1” hex tile floor and beautiful millwork to match the original style in the home.

The homeowners are incredibly happy with their new space and proud to have a Minneapolis home with an en suite! Come check out both bathrooms on our Castle Educational Home Tour, September 29 – 30th, 2018!

  Designed by: Emily Blonigen

 

 

PRODUCT FEATURE:  Hattie Acrylic Slipper Tub with Imperial Feet

Made by Signature Hardware, this luxurious tub transformed the bathroom in the project above. Nothing says elegant quite like a clawfoot tub, especially with feet like these! If you’re looking for that “Wow” element and have the space, a clawfoot tub should do the trick.

 

 

2018 Remodeling 550 List – Castle Ranks #63

 Every year Remodeling Magazine ranks the biggest remodeling companies in America, and this year Castle came in #63!

In Minnesota alone, Castle is the 3rd largest remodeler!

It’s been a busy year and we expect to only get busier! See the full list of top remodelers here.

 

Upcoming Event – Open Streets: Lake + Minnehaha – July 22

Please join Castle on Sunday, July 22nd (11AM – 5PM) at our Longfellow showroom for the 2018 Lake + Minnehaha Open Streets event!

We’ll be having a sidewalk sale of items from our salvage room (such as doors, faucets, lights, windows, sinks, cabinets, tile, and more!) at deeply discounted prices.

Bring the kiddos along for some fun in the Castle Inflatable Bouncy House!

Get the scoop on the rest of the Open Streets events and route here.

 

 

 

 

NOW HIRING!

Refer someone to us (whom we employ for at least 6 months) and we’ll give you $1,000 in free remodeling. Expires: NEVER!

If you know anyone qualified for a Carpenter ApprenticeLead Carpenter or Drywall Installer position, have them apply at http://www.castlebri.com/workcastle/ and mention you referred them!

 

Have you worked with Castle before?  Use the links below to leave us a review!

 

Copyright © 2018 Castle Building & Remodeling, All rights reserved.



Schluter Photo

Schluter Systems Stylish Drains

Check out these stylish drains for your new shower! Manufactured by Schluter, incorporated into your design by Castle! 🙂

Curve Drain Pure Drain Floral Drain

 

https://www.schluter.com/schluter-us/en_US/kerdi-drain-line-style


Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. Named by REMODELING Magazine to its 2018 REMODELING 550 List of America’s Biggest Remodelers

 Remodeling Magazine 550 2018 logo

Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. Named by REMODELING Magazine to its 2018 REMODELING 550 List of America’s Biggest Remodelers

 

 

Minneapolis, MN (May 29, 2018) – Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. ranks 63rd on the 2018 REMODELING 550 list of the nation’s biggest full-service remodelers, Castle announced today.

 

The REMODELING 550 brings together the nation’s 550 biggest full-service remodelers, replacement contractor / home improvement firms, insurance restoration firms, and franchisors. Because the full-service and replacement firms operate so differently, the REMODELING 550 lists and ranks them separately.

 

“We are honored to receive this distinction,” said Loren Schirber, owner, of Castle. “There are roughly 100,000 remodeling firms in this country with payrolls, so it’s great to know that we’re among the top 0.5% in the nation.”

 

REMODELING editor-in-chief Craig Webb noted there’s a high turnover rate in remodeling, with roughly one-sixth of the firms going out of business annually. “In contrast, the bigger firms have a failure rate of less than 2%,” he said. “Thus, becoming a REMODELING 550 company indicates that you have quality and staying power—two traits that customers value most.”

 

REMODELING, published by Hanley Wood, is the leading publication in the home improvement industry. REMODELING has and continues to be the indispensable tool that remodelers cannot do without—delivering the business know-how, product and technical information that home improvement pros need to help make smart decisions that will shape their success.

 

Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. is a professional design/ build remodeling company that specializes in residential remodeling. Castle is a second-generation family business, founded in 1977, which has served over 3,300 past clients in the Twin Cities area.  Its four unique design studios in Minneapolis and St. Paul allow Castle’s professional team to help clients plan any project. Castle strives to help clients get the best value and helps them to get a designer look on a budget they can afford. Castle’s detailed planning process allows a guaranteed favorable experience by ensuring there are no unforeseen costs and by providing a guaranteed completion date. Its professional design team and convenient showrooms sets Castle Building & Remodeling apart from the average remodeler. Visit us at www.castlebri.com to find out more.

 

 

All 550 firms can be found online at http://www.remodeling.hw.net. There you can sort and filter the data, which includes information on the company’s location, 2017 revenues, number of projects, and average job size. The website also includes numerous charts and profiles that illuminate details regarding the group.



Castle Volunteers with Ronald McDonald Cooks for Kids

The Castle team recently volunteered at Children’s Hospital, cooking dinner for children and their families staying there. We signed up through the Ronald McDonald Cooks for Kids program, which we highly recommend!

Ronald McDonald Cooks for Kids Castle BRI Volunteering May 2018-1

We chose to serve Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowls, in an effort to provide veggies in a yummy way! We figure we served 40-50 people and there were still leftovers for lunch the next day!

Ronald McDonald Cooks for Kids Castle BRI Volunteering May 2018-2 Ronald McDonald Cooks for Kids Castle BRI Volunteering May 2018-3


Summer 2018 Education Class Schedule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22nd, 2018
Contact: Colleen Bursaw
Email: Colleen@castlebri.com
Phone: 612-877-8373

Castle Building & Remodeling announces its Summer 2018 Educational Class Schedule

Castle is excited to announce the summer 2018 class schedule, where community members can learn about how to plan for, budget, get a better value from, and prepare for the most common remodeling projects. During the classes, the group will discuss: design process, typical project budgets, cost savings ideas, homeowner participation in the remodel, rebates and incentives, timelines, and design tips. Our Designers or expert partners will lead each class and also answer questions about your remodeling project. In addition, all attendees will receive a certificate for $100 off design and planning services. To attend one of these classes, please sign up in advance on our website: http://www.castlebri.com/education-class-schedule-sign-sheet/.

 

Classes held at Castle’s Northeast location (2600 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418):

• July 17th, 6PM – Paying for Your Home Remodel 101

 

Classes held at Castle’s South Minneapolis location (5 W Diamond Lake Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55419):

• June 12th, 6PM – Planning a Basement Remodel

 

Classes held at Castle’s Longfellow location (4020 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55406):

• June 16th, 10AM – Planning a Bathroom Remodel
• July 21st, 10AM – Planning a Kitchen Remodel
• August 11th, 10AM – Planning a ½ Story (Attic) Remodel
• August 18th, 10AM – Evaluating Your Home for Solar

 

 

Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. is a professional design/ build remodeling company that specializes in residential remodeling. Castle is a second-generation family business, founded in 1977, which has served over 3,300 past clients in the Twin Cities area. Its four unique design studios in Minneapolis and St. Paul allow Castle’s professional team to help clients plan any project. Castle strives to help clients get the best value and helps them to get a designer look on a budget they can afford. Castle’s detailed planning process allows a guaranteed favorable experience by ensuring there are no unforeseen costs and by providing a guaranteed completion date. Its professional design team and convenient showrooms sets Castle Building & Remodeling apart from the average remodeler. Visit us at www.castlebri.com to find out more.


May 2018 Castle Newsletter – We’re What Women Want!

May 2018
PROJECT FEATURE: 1950’s Armatage Contemporary Kitchen and Dining Remodel

1950’s kitchens need love too… and make great remodels! These homeowners contacted Castle for help on their kitchen remodel. The biggest wish-list item was a larger and more functional kitchen layout (with expanded views into the previously completed rear addition/dining room).

After some conceptual design concepts were assessed, we chose to keep this kitchen’s existing footprint and extend the site lines into the rear dining space with a new drywall opening. We expanded the function of the kitchen by wrapping the peninsula around into the dining room with an additional pantry space for kitchen overflow storage. Each cabinet was well thought out for the homeowners use of the space to include functional storage accessories like plate divides, utensil pull-outs, and trash/recycle bins.

Working with the designer, the homeowners found a beautiful balance of some contemporary aesthetics like the overall color scheme combined with some classic elements such as the detailed cabinetry and herringbone tile backsplash. One of our favorite details in the kitchen is the new tile floor that continues into the dining room. The wood texture plank tile adds depth and texture as well as contrasts nicely with the softer and refined finishes above. New Cambria quartz countertops, new cabinetry, herringbone tile backsplash, new tile floors, custom lighting, and new plumbing fixtures complete the space. The new transitional styled kitchen can grow with the family for many years to come. With a swap out of some furniture the whole space can transition between contemporary or traditional. Truly timeless!

 

Make sure to check out this project on the Castle Educational Home Tour, September 29 – 30th, 2018!

   Designed by: Emily Blonigen

What Women Want 2018 – Castle Wins Favorite Home Remodeler


Women’s Press asked and you answered- we’re What Women Want 2018!

Castle Building & Remodeling continues to be the Women’s Press Favorite Home Remodeler (we’ve won the award for YEARS) but it’s an honor every time!

Thanks for voting!

PRODUCT FEATURE:  Wood Texture Plank Tile

 

As seen in the project feature, Wood Texture Plank Tile gives homeowners the best of both worlds (tile and hardwood). Sourced from American Olean, the Historic Bridge line has a special glazing over the top which adds to the genuine effect by creating a slight sheen along the graining. But unlike hardwood, this tile can withstand water! We love this product!!

NOW HIRING!

Refer someone to us (whom we employ for at least 6 months) and we’ll give you $1,000 in free remodeling. Expires: NEVER!

If you know anyone qualified for a Carpenter ApprenticeLead Carpenter or Drywall Installer position, have them apply at http://www.castlebri.com/workcastle/ and mention you referred them!

Have you worked with Castle before?  Use the links below to leave us a review!

            

Copyright © 2018 Castle Building & Remodeling, All rights reserved.


Volunteer t-shirts are here!

Castle’s volunteer t-shirt order just came in! Next stop: Ronald McDonald Cooks for Kids Program at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare (May 16th, 2018). Woot woot! Let’s go get our volunteer on!

2018 Castle Volunteer t-shirts are here




April 2018 Newsletter: Mid-Century Modern

 

April 2018

 

PROJECT FEATURE: Mid-Century Modern Kitchen to be featured in 2018 Castle Educational Home Tour

 

Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Project 1322-20 Rendering

Still a work in progress, it takes some imagination to picture what this demolished Northeast Minneapolis kitchen will look like once completed… although renderings do help!

 

Loren Schirber, an owner of Castle Building & Remodeling, is known to favor Mid-Century Modern design and is not only excited to have his kitchen back, but eager for it to finally match the rest of his home (and personality)! He and his wife have been making updates throughout the years, but a remodeled kitchen is always the most rewarding once completed. After all, most of us use our kitchens every day, use them to entertain and find them central to our home lives… so while living through a kitchen remodel can be inconvenient, the finished result is so worth it (if done correctly, that is)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like many Twin Cities homes built in the 1950’s, this house was ready for some updates. Rather than updating with merely the most contemporary design features, Castle has been working to restore this kitchen’s original character, while ensuring it lasts another 60+ years. How do we do this? Planning and quality craftsmanship.

 

Some locally-made upgrades the Schirber family chose were recycled glass countertops from Dakota Surfaces and accent tile from Mercury Mosaics.

 

Castle Carpenters and trade partners have been working day in and day out, making every detail perfect. We encourage you to come see the final result during this year’s Castle Educational Home Tour, September 29th and 30th, 2018.

 

April mid-century modern kitchen schirber during photos minneapolis

 

Create the Look: Mid-Century Modern Style and Tips

Mid-Century Modern style is IN… and no wonder! The simple, sleek lines appeal to the masses and it is easy to incorporate into almost any home! Largely influenced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (known for the Barcelona Chair) and Le Corbusier, Mid-Century Modern design offers a relaxing, open atmosphere with a hint of nostalgia. And this “trend” isn’t going anywhere… rest assured that if you create a timeless Mid-Century Modern style in your own home, you’ll be diggin’ it for years to come!

 

april mid-century modern create the lookHere are some characteristics of Mid-Century Modern style to keep in mind when creating this look in your home:
  • Lots of natural wood (not just floors, but also go for cabinets, furniture,walls and even ceilings!)
  • Floor to Ceiling windows and sliding doors
  • Warm, neutral color pallets with pops of bright color
  • Geometric shapes and patterns
  • Minimal knick-knack décor and ornamentation to accentuate clean lines
  • Functionality is key- form follows function in Mid-Century Modern design
  • Furniture: Low-standing furniture with shorter backs, tapered legs (wider at the top and narrower at the bottom) at an angle. Understated or absent drawer knobs and handles.
  • Lighting: Bubble Pendants, Sputnik Chandeliers, Overarching floor lamps
  • Fabrics: Tweed, orange/brown leather, the occasional use of velvet
  • Art: Abstract Expressionism in simple frames

 

PRODUCT FEATURE: Mercury Mosaics – Mod Mosaics

 

April-Mod-Mosaics

Come to any Castle showroom to check out our latest handmade tile samples from Mercury Mosaics: Mod Mosaics!

Featured in the Schirber project above, this Mid-Century Modern-friendly tile adds a playful element to any design and comes in a variety of colors. Let’s start planning your Mid-Century Modern remodel today!

 

 

April 28th: Exclusive Talk with Larry Millett!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please join us for this free event (on April 28th at our Longfellow Showroom) where award-winning author and historian Larry Millett will talk about his book Minnesota Modern.

 

Don’t forget to bring a copy of his book for signing!

 

Please RSVP in advance on our website.

 

 

 

 

Have you worked with Castle before? Use the links below to leave us a review!

 

 

 

 

Review NE MPLS Showroom  |  Review St. Paul Showroom  |  Review South MPLS Showroom  |  Review Longfellow Showroom

 

NOW HIRING!

If you know anyone qualified for a Designer Handyman / CarpenterLead Carpenter or Drywall Finisher / Painter position, have them apply at http://www.castlebri.com/workcastle/

 

            


24 HOURS ONLY!

Win 2 FREE tickets to the NCAA Frozen Four Semifinals: April 5th, 2018 (5 PM and 8:30 PM CST games)!

Here’s how:

  1. Leave Castle Building & Remodeling a review on any of the following websites:
  2. Take a screenshot (to prove you left a review) and email it to info@castlebri.com before Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 at 1PM.
    • Let us know your name, phone number, email address so we can contact you!
    • P.S. if you leave reviews on multiple platforms, you will be entered that many times into the drawing. Please send a separate email/screenshot per review to make sure we give you credit for all of them!
  3. Stay tuned to see if you won! We’ll be picking a winner on April 4th, 2018 at 2PM.

SEMIFINALS

Thursday, April 5

  • 5 p.m. CST — Minnesota Duluth vs. Ohio State
  • 8:30 p.m. CST — Michigan vs. Notre Dame

 

Seats are in lower level Section 108 Row 20: Seats 11-12. First game is UMD vs Ohio State 5:00 PM CST and second game Michigan vs Notre Dame 8:30 PM CST.

 

Good luck and thanks for your honest feedback!

 

Need financing for your remodeling project? Click here




March Newsletter 2018 – New Class: Prioritizing Home Improvements

March 2018
New Educational Class: Prioritizing Home Improvements

When it comes to remodeling your home, it can be easy to get carried away with a giant wish list. Ashley Hansen, a Castle designer since 2014, says she often goes to first appointments where clients describe a list of projects they want to eventually do. These projects range from handyman jobs, to exterior replacements, and more focused remodels like a kitchen or bathroom. “Often times, people seem overwhelmed when they’re talking about those things,” explains Ashley. “A person’s budget typically prevents them from doing their complete wish list all at once.”

This common challenge sparked the inception of a new class topic: Prioritizing Home Improvements.

“It’s important to first address home health issues vs. aesthetic issues,” Ashley continues, “That’s where I like to encourage homeowners to start. For example, addressing water in the basement, home mechanics that are not to code, failing exterior materials, and draftiness are projects that need to be prioritized. Ignoring problems like these can lead to a much more costly and inconvenient issues down the road. I prefer to not advise a homeowner to tackle aesthetic issues until the fundamentals are covered.”

Another thing Ashley tries to do is help people understand how to not work backwards. For instance, avoiding doing one cosmetic update when the end goal is to redo the whole room (causing that first cosmetic update to need to be ripped out and redone anyway). People often think they want to remodel a room in phases due to their limited budget… but in the end, doing a whole remodel at once vs. in phases usually saves money.

The photos above show projects from a past client who is a prime example of one who has done due diligence with prioritizing home improvements. Over the years, this homeowner has completed three different, large remodels with the help of Castle. First the exterior, then the kitchen, and finally the mudroom/bathroom/laundry area. Some things the homeowner considered when deciding order of projects included: preserving/protecting the home, budget, aging in place, use of space and what might be the best way to invest in the home’s value.

During the class Prioritizing Home Improvements, Ashley will talk more about functional vs. aesthetic updates and help Twin Cities homeowners create a more concise, actionable list that works within their budget. Sign up on our website to attend and bring your wish list to get expert advice on what you should tackle first.

Get on the Organics Recycling Bandwagon!

Castle is now recycling organics (composting) at our Warehouse / Production Headquarters. And it’s never been easier for you to do it at home as well! Watch this video to find out more.


PRODUCT FEATURE: Renovation LoansRenovation loans are the best kept secret in Home Financing. Call Dave to find out how you can benefit!Benefits of Renovation Loans:

  • Available to homebuyers as well as current homeowners.
  • Can be used to create a personalized remodeled living space now.
  • May add value and can create instant equity.
  • Takes into account the after-improved value to determine how much can be borrowed.
  • Minimizes out of pocket expenses.
Have you worked with Castle before?  Use the links below to leave us a review!

NOW HIRING!
If you know anyone qualified for a Designer Handyman / CarpenterLead Carpenter or Drywall Finisher / Painter position, have them apply at http://www.castlebri.com/workcastle/

Copyright © 2018 Castle Building & Remodeling, All rights reserved.


Minnesota Modern by Larry Millett

Castle Building & Remodeling is offering free educational remodeling classes this spring and an exclusive talk from guest speaker, Larry Millett

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23rd, 2018
Contact: Colleen Bursaw
Email: Colleen@castlebri.com
Phone: 612-877-8373

 

Castle Building & Remodeling is offering free educational remodeling classes this spring and an exclusive talk from guest speaker, Larry Millett!

 

Castle is excited to announce the spring 2018 class schedule. including an exclusive talk by Architectural Historian and Author, Larry Millett. Millett has authored several award-winning books such as Minnesota Modern and Once There Were Castles. Castle is also offering classes on the most common remodeling projects, where the groups will discuss: design process, typical project budgets, cost savings ideas, homeowner participation in the remodel, rebates and incentives, timelines, and affordable design tips. Our Designers or expert partners will lead each class and answer questions about your remodeling project. All attendees will receive a certificate for $100 off design and planning services. To attend any of these free classes, please sign up in advance on Castle’s website: http://www.castlebri.com/education-class-schedule-sign-sheet/.

 

Classes held at Castle’s Northeast location (2600 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418):
April 3rd, 6PM – Planning a ½ Story (Attic) Remodel
May 22nd, 6PM – Prioritizing Home Improvements

 

Classes held at Castle’s St. Paul location (362 Snelling Ave S., St. Paul, MN 55105):
May 8th, 6PM – Planning a Bathroom Remodel

 

Classes held at Castle’s South Mpls location (5 W Diamond Lake Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55419):
April 10th, 6PM – Evaluating Your Home for Solar – by All Energy Solar

 

Classes held at Castle’s Longfellow location (4020 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55406):
April 7th, 10AM – Creative Financing for Your Remodel – by Mary Taylor of Alerus Mortgage
April 28th, 10AM – Minnesota Modern with Larry Millett
May 19th, 10AM – Evaluating Your Home for Solar – by All Energy Solar

 

 

Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. is a professional design/ build remodeling company that specializes in residential remodeling. Castle is a second-generation family business, founded in 1977, which has served over 3,300 past clients in the Twin Cities area. Its four unique design studios in Minneapolis and St. Paul allow Castle’s professional team to help clients plan any project. Castle strives to help clients get the best value and helps them to get a designer look on a budget they can afford. Castle’s detailed planning process allows a guaranteed favorable experience by ensuring there are no unforeseen costs and by providing a guaranteed completion date. Its professional design team and convenient showrooms sets Castle Building & Remodeling apart from the average remodeler. Visit us at www.castlebri.com to find out more.


February Newsletter 2018

February 2018
PROJECT FEATURE: The ULTIMATE Game Day Spot – Woodbury Basement Finish with Built-in Nooks
These Woodbury clients came to Castle to transform their unfinished basement into a multi-functional living space.

They wanted a cozy area with a fireplace, a ¾ bath, a workout room, and plenty of storage space. With kids in college that come home to visit, the basement also needed to act as a living / social space when they’re in town.

Aesthetically, these clients requested tones and materials that blended with their house, while adding natural light and architectural interest to the space so it didn’t feel like a stark basement. This was achieved through natural stone materials for the fireplace, recessed niches for shelving accents and custom Castle craftsman-built floating wood shelves that match the mantel for a warm space.

A common challenge in basement finishes, and no exception in this project, is to work around all of the ductwork, mechanicals and existing elements. Castle achieved this by creating a two-tiered soffit to hide ducts. This added architectural interest and transformed otherwise awkward spaces into useful and attractive storage nooks. We incorporated frosted glass to allow light into the space while hiding mechanicals, and opened up the stairway wall to make the space seem larger. Adding accent lighting along with allowing natural light in was key in this basement’s transformation.

Whether it’s movie night or game day, this basement is the perfect space for this family!
Designed by: Amanda Reinert

See full details on our website
PRODUCT FEATURE: Heat & Glo Cosmo 42 Gas Fireplace

Starting at $3,108, the sleek fireplace used in this project was purchased from Fireside Hearth & Home.

Reap the benefits of form and function. Clean lines and elegant ambiance never go out of style. A linear design and long ribbon flame form a broad and warming firescape.  Several finishing options create a fundamentally modern look for any space. Select a front, interior option or a black reflective glass liner. Choose a traditional or driftwood log. Set the mood with LED lighting. Make the look your own. Operate your fireplace from an intuitive, smart and safe control. Add heat management and direct the heat where you want it.

Have you worked with Castle before?  Use the links below to leave us a review!

NOW HIRING!
If you know anyone qualified for a Designer Handyman / CarpenterLead Carpenter or Drywall Finisher / Painter position, have them apply at http://www.castlebri.com/workcastle/

Copyright © 2018 Castle Building & Remodeling, All rights reserved.


41 Years and in our PRIME!

Castle Building & Remodeling Inc. is celebrating 41 years of business this month!

41 Years and in our Prime! 40 is the new 30! So while some might say we are “over the hill” we say we are in our PRIME (41 is a prime number… get it??)!

Castle Building & Remodeling is celebrating 41 years of experience in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota area
Castle Building & Remodeling is celebrating 41 years of experience in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota area

Since 1977 we have been growing and learning. We thank all our past customers for their continued support – we couldn’t have done it without you!

 

As the most experienced and best value residential remodeler in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, we look forward to serving our Twin Cities community over the next 41 years!

 

 

At Castle we believe in the power of local. We know many of you hire us because we are local and we appreciate that. We make every effort to support our local community by:

  • Hiring Locally
  • Buying Locally
  • Spending Locally
  • Giving Locally through Community Involvement

 

Check out some of our testimonials, times we made the news and awards we’ve won and how we’ve given back to the Twin Cities community in the last 41 years! We’ve been busy!

 

If you hire Castle you will find that our tagline “The Best Value in Professional Remodeling” is our way of life. Our professional team strives to bring a luxury service to the masses. A clearly defined process, direct buying relationships, time tested systems, and efficiency allow Castle to provide a better value and guarantee a better experience. Through our three pronged guarantee we hold ourselves accountable so you do not have to. Our guarantees:

Guaranteed Upfront Pricing
Completion Date Guarantee
Lifetime Warranty

 

Let us help you make your home your castle!

 

 

 

Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. is a professional design/ build remodeling company that specializes in residential remodeling. Castle is a second-generation family business, founded in 1977, which has served over 3,300 past clients in the Twin Cities area.  Its four unique design studios in Minneapolis and St. Paul allow Castle’s professional team to help clients plan any project. Castle strives to help clients get the best value and helps them to get a designer look on a budget they can afford. Castle’s detailed planning process allows a guaranteed favorable experience by ensuring there are no unforeseen costs and by providing a guaranteed completion date. Its professional design team and convenient showrooms sets Castle Building & Remodeling apart from the average remodeler. Visit us at www.castlebri.com to find out more.


Castle December 2017 Newsletter

December 2017
Vote for Castle Building & Remodeling as your favorite remodeler (page 6 of the survey), email us to let us know, and we’ll enter you in an additional drawing for a $50 Target Gift Card!
PROJECT FEATURE –

Tudor Craftsman Kitchen Remodel w/ Opening to Dining Room

This 1926 Tudor home not only needed a larger kitchen, but the homeowners wanted to find a way to open it up to the dining room without losing cabinet or countertop space.

Expanding the kitchen with a 4’ x 6’ addition allowed for significantly more cabinet space, as well as an eat-in dining area.  All new custom Alder cabinetry was designed to take advantage of every square foot of space.  A unique tile backsplash configuration accents Soapstone countertops and stainless steel appliances.  A durable and playful Marmoleum floor provides a perfect contrast to the cabinetry and countertops, as well as the classic wide Oak casings and baseboards.

Castle also created an enlarged opening to the dining room that brings the kitchen and dining spaces together without sacrificing functionality.

Designed by: Mark Benzell
See full details on our website
5 Reasons Recycled Glass Countertops are an Excellent Choice!

1. Customizable – Recycled glass countertops are created via made-to-order slabs, meaning you’ll get a one-of-a-kind work of art! Say, for example, you find a style you like but you want 30% more blue… they can do that!

2. Eco-friendly – These countertops end up being about 80 to 85% recycled material, most of which is glass that could not be recycled otherwise and would have gone straight to a landfill.

3. Local – Most of the glass used for Recycled Glass Countertops comes from our Twin Cities community. Plus, our two preferred vendors Dakota Surfaces and Element Surfaces are local companies so your business helps support the local economy.

4. Healthy – These two brands are made with zero VOC binder, so you can breathe easy knowing you’re not putting harmful chemicals in your home.

5. Easy to Take Care of – Recycled Glass Countertops are maintenance free and no sealing required.

Castle Educational Classes:  2018 Schedule now available!

New this year- Prioritising Your Home Remodels & a series on how to finance your projects. Plus, all the great stuff we normally offer 🙂

Classes held at Castle’s Northeast location (2600 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418):
• January 23rd, 6PM – Planning a Bathroom Remodel
• February 6th, 6PM – Evaluating Your Home for Solar

Classes held at Castle’s St. Paul location (362 Snelling Ave S., St. Paul, MN 55105):
 January 30th, 6PM – Effectively Financing Your Remodeling Project
 February 20th, 6PM – Planning a ½ Story (Attic) Remodel
 March 6th, 6PM – Evaluating Your Home for Solar

Classes held at Castle’s South Mpls location (5 W Diamond Lake Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55419):
• March 20th, 6PM – Planning a Kitchen Remodel

Classes held at Castle’s Longfellow location (4020 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55406):
 February 10th, 10AM – How to Pay for Your Remodel
• March 17th, 10AM – Prioritizing Home Improvements

Castle’s Production Headquarters (and World Headquarters, hehe) recently got a facelift, with the help of local artisan, Forrest Wozniak!

Have you worked with Castle before?  Use the links below to leave us a review!

       
NOW HIRING!
If you know anyone qualified for a Handyman / CarpenterLead Carpenter or Drywall Finisher / Painter position, have them apply at http://castlebri.com/workcastle/

Copyright © 2017 Castle Building & Remodeling, All rights reserved.



Production HQ Gets a Facelift

With the help of Forrest Wozniak, local artisan, Castle Building & Remodeling’s Production Headquarters is getting a facelift!

 

Since the rebranding of The Natural Built Home Store into a Castle showroom, the hand-painted banner across the top of our ProHQ has been outdated. Lucky us- the original artist who hand-paints everything was available to help us modify the banner. Stay tuned for the final reveal of his masterpiece.

 


November 2017 Newsletter








*|MC:SUBJECT|*









PROJECT FEATURE –

Traditional Emerald Green Bathroom with Claw Foot Tub
 

These homeowners came to us with an outdated and non-functional bathroom space. The tub/shower was a poorly-installed, handicapped tub in a very small bathroom.  An adjacent room was so small it couldn’t even be used as a bedroom.  They asked to take some of that space to make a walk-in shower, leaving the option to convert the remaining space to a walk-in closet at a later time.

With a love for the age, history and character of the home, as well as a sharp eye for detail, the homeowners requested a strictly traditional style for their 1902 home’s new space.
 

Designed by: Natalie Hanson
See full details on our website







SNEAK PEEK: 2018 Home Tour

We’re already putting together the lineup of homes on tour for 2018. One project is a whole house remodel on Summit Ave!

Though this stellar home was built as a single-family home in 1920, it was converted to a duplex. Castle is excited about this amazing opportunity to return this rare gem to its original glory!!


The photo above shows a future mudroom area, but it’s currently holding some original wallpaper that was salvaged and will be repurposed on the ceiling of the 1st floor bathroom! This remodel, designed by Ashley Hansen, is a BEAUTIFUL combination of honoring the old character while updating function and comfort elements of the space.

Want to see more??
Make sure to visit the 2018 Castle Home Tour for an in-person look at the finished result!


Most of our employees are field workers and carpenters… and we’re looking for more! Apply at http://castlebri.com/workcastle/


NOW HIRING!
If you know anyone qualified for a Handyman / Carpenter, Lead Carpenter or Drywall Finisher / Painter position, have them apply at http://castlebri.com/workcastle/

SALVAGE ROOM ITEMS:

*PRICE REDUCED! Was $2,000, Now $1,000
1920s Built-in Buffet  |  45.5″h x 20″d 117″w
 
Perfect for holiday entertaining! Enjoy this 1920s Built-in Buffet with glass door side cabinets and mirror backsplash. Note, this item is being held at our warehouse (2710 E 33rd St. Minneapolis, MN 55406), please call 612.877.8376 to arrange a time to stop by.

$350 
Crystal Cabinetry Base  |  48″W x 34.5″H x 25″D

Cherry wood. Cabinet includes Colonial Bronze hardware. 

$75 each (2 available)
(New) Waypoint 18″ Base Cabinets 
 
Cherry Java Finish, soft close door and drawer.

Various sinks, faucets, towel bars and so much more!

The images above include items featured.  We also have many miscellaneous hardware, lights, tile, flooring, samples, and other building materials that you will need to come in to see.

Except where noted otherwise, all items are located at our Longfellow showroom (4020 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406) which is open to the public Mondays and Thursdays, 9AM – 5PM. Please stop in or email colleen@castlebri.com to inquire about a piece.

All Salvage Room sales are final.  Our sales staff is not liable for any missing pieces, providing model numbers, product info, etc.  Please thoroughly inspect all items before purchase.  All items are sold as-is. 

Castle Building & Remodeling Inc. will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, and Friday November 24th.

Have you worked with Castle before?

Use the links below to leave us a review!
 

Castle Edu Classes:
2018 class schedule now available!

New this year- Prioritising Your Home Remodels & a series on how to finance your projects. Plus, all the great stuff we normally offer 🙂 


National rankings don’t lie! We’re #245 according to Qualified Remodeler! (Also, #1 in MN within the Design/Build Remodeler category.) Another win for Castle! 


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Prize Winners Announced – 2017 Castle Home Tour Sweepstakes

Thank you to everyone who entered the 2017 Castle Home Tour Sweepstakes and participated in the Home Tour this year!

 

Here are the winners:

Grand Prize Winner: Ken Cassibo
Our grand prize is a $5000 certificate to put towards a future remodeling project of your choice.
Second Place Winner: Russell Evans
Waypoint_Logo Cambria Kohler Logo Second Place Prize – Bathroom Vanity Replacement with up to 5′ Waypoint vanity.  Includes 10sf Cambria countertop with Kohler sink ($800 list allowance) and faucet ($300 list allowance).  Includes design help and demo and install labor from Castle.  $3,500 total value.

 

3rd Place Winner: Brian Woods

logo Third Place Prize – Field Outdoor Spaces $1,000 Landscape design services (Entries to win only available at Field landscape projects).

4th Place Winner: Nicole Wahl

Fourth Place Prize – Warner’s Stellian – Gift Card $1,000.

5th Place Winner: Chris Melius

Fifth Place Prize – The Woodshop of Avon Custom Closet Organization System. $1,000 value.

6th Place Winner: Katie Knott

mercury-mosaics-L97708 Sixth Place Prize – Mercury Mosaics – $750 In Backsplash tile (2″x4″ Subway Tile or Morrocan Fish Scales)

7th Place Winner: Everyone who attended an All Energy Solar project on the tour.

 Seventh Place Prize – $500 Gift Certificate to All Energy Solar

These prizes must be redeemed by October 25, 2017.

Door Prizes

When you enter for our grand prizes you are also automatically entered for all of our door prizes. Contestants have a total of 26 entries for all prizes, if bonus punch locations and Field Landscaping projects are visited. Once a contestant has won a prize they are no longer eligible to win any other prizes. Castle holds the rights to deny any individual a prize at their own discretion. All prizes worth $1,000 or more must be redeemed by October 25, 2017. If winning prize is not claimed within 15 days of winning it will be awarded to a new person. Questions, comments and concerns about your winning prize may be directed to Colleen Bursaw, colleen@castlebri.com.

but wait, there’s more!

 

  • 8. Castle Salvage Room – $500
    • 8th Place Winner: Leah Vogel
  • 9. Cutting boards from Woodshop of Avon
    • 9th Place Winner: Adrian Perryman

  • 10. Kohler Ladina white undermount bath sink 2214-0 ($321.60 retail value).
    • 10th Place Winner: Ted Schatz
  • 11. Kohler K 8206 CM1 Cairn Under Mount Single Bowl Matte Black Kitchen Sink with Basin Rack 33 1 2 X 18 5 16 X 9 1 2 ($479.25 retail value).
    • 11th Place Winner: Jon Messier

  • 12. $100 Gift Certificate towards House Numbers or Switch Plate Covers from Clay Squared.
    • 12th Place Winner: Katherine Meyer

  • 13. 6 Yard Dumpster from Premier Waste.
    • 13th Place Winner: John Friel

  • 14. 3 Yard Dumpster from Premier Waste.
    • 14th Place Winner: Sarah Voorhies

  • 15. Warners’ Stellian Grill Tools Set ($125 value).
    • 15th Place Winner: Linda Rost
  • 16. Menards – $100 Gift Card.
    • 16th Place Winner: Julie Morphew

  • 17. Cambria Wine and Cheese Basket.
    • 17th Place Winner: Michael Jendro

  • 18. 12′ Lightweight Multi-Purpose Aluminum Folding Ladder
    ($199.95 value).

    • 18th Place Winner: Cal Schmidt

  • 19. MiLocks Bluetooth Entry Keypad & Deadbolt ($250 value).
    • 19th Place Winner: Alana Casey

2017 Educational Home Tour

September 30th – October 1st  |  Noon – 5 PM Daily
Castle’s Educational Home Tour is only 2 weeks away! Mark your calendar!

Preview our Guidebook and get all the details at castlehometour.com

 

 

2017 Castle Educational Home Tour Details

What is the Castle Educational Home Tour?

The Castle Educational Home Tour is designed to help people understand what a realistic remodel involves as well as, but not limited to, what is achievable within their budget to create a project that provides both an ROI (return on investment) and ROE (return on enjoyment). Our goal is to show more typical remodeling projects that the average family is more likely to complete.

The tour itself will feature 13 down-to-earth remodeling projects by Castle Building & Remodeling, 3 solar projects by All Energy Solar, and 3 amazing landscape projects from our sponsor, Field Outdoor Spaces.

 

When is the Castle Educational Home Tour?
Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1; 12 pm – 5 pm daily.

How is the Tour Different From Other Tours Happening Around the Twin Cities?
Because of the costs to remodelers to participate in other tours (about $1,000 – $2,700 per home) they tend to only show their largest and fanciest projects.  Our goal is to show more typical remodeling projects that the average family is more likely to complete. This event is different because it is all projects completed by Castle or our partners. It is a weekend to showcase our best work to the public and educate them on our services. This weekend is also unique because while it is designed to help inspire attendees for their future remodels, it is more importantly designed to educate attendees on their future remodel.

Enter To Win $10,000 in Remodeling and Other Fantastic Prizes:
We want tour goers to get something more than inspiration after seeing all of these great remodeled spaces. So, we’ve decided to offer up some BIG prizes! Each home you visit on the tour gives you an additional chance to win (2 stops are bonus punch locations!). Make sure to pick up an Entry Pass at the first home you visit, fill out your information and have that pass punched by the host, at the next house you visit have that host punch your pass and so on. At the last home you visit, deposit the pass in the envelop near the door to be entered. You can also enter the contest once on the website.

Visit our Website for More Details:
 www.castlehometour.com

 

A Project For Everyone!

Come Check out these great projects and more throughout the Twin Cities.  We have a variety of projects on tour, including our first tiny structure!

KITCHEN
H2 2504 34th Avenue NE
H3 2922 Armour Terrace
H5 1665 Juliet Ave
H6 1680 Wellesley Ave
H7 2109 Wellesley Ave
H8 3856 39th Ave S
H9 3853 Columbus Ave
H10 4832 15th Ave S
H12 5505 Columbus Ave
H13 5940 Russell Ave S
H14 150 Louisiana Ave N

BATH
H2 2504 34th Avenue NE
H6 1680 Wellesley Ave
H8 3856 39th Ave S
H10 4832 15th Ave S
H11 1609 E 53rd St

BASEMENT
H14 150 Louisiana Ave N

ADDITIONS / UPPER LEVEL /
WHOLE HOUSE
H6 1680 Wellesley Ave
H10 4832 15th Ave S
H11 1609 E 53rd St
H14 150 Louisiana Ave N

SHE SHED/ ADU/ TINY STRUCTURE
H1 2939 Benjamin St NE

LANDSCAPES
H15 1400 Hartford Ave
H16 1946 Dayton Ave
H17 957 Goodrich Ave S

SOLAR
H18 1745 Lincoln Ave
H19 4543 17th Ave S
H20 4529 Beard Ave S

 

Click the map to get up to date directions!

 

Download the ‘Castlebri’ App to have the tour at your fingertips:

In an effort to save on printing expenses associated with guide books, we’ve built an app for The Educational Home Tour. The app features directions to each home, a photo gallery, updates and more! Download the app today on Google Play and iTunes:

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40    googleplaylogo



Tree Trust Logo

Trees for NoMi

What happened to all the trees!?

Emerald Ash Borer is set to wipe out thousands of trees in the Twin Cities. Studies have shown that cities like Minneapolis have already lost 50% of the tree canopy compared to 50 years ago. Add the 2011 tornado that destroyed a wide swath of North Minneapolis and we are in the midst of an urban forest epidemic.

 

What are we doing about it?

A group of business owners calling themselves the Autonomous Collective, is jumping in to do something about it. Consisting of 10 local small landscape, arborist and remodeling firms, each in the business of building and improving houses and landscapes, the group is spearheading a direct approach – LET’S PLANT MORE TREES.

 

NoMi Before and After photo of tree coverage in Minneapolis due to 2012 Tornado and Emerald Ash Borer disease
NoMi Before and After photo of tree coverage in Minneapolis due to 2011 Tornado and Emerald Ash Borer disease

 

The Autonomous Collective reached out to Tree Trust in the spring and the two groups are working together on a project called Trees for NoMi. With cash donations from the companies as well as clients and friends, the Autonomous Collective has collected over $20,000 and will plant over 125 trees in private homeowner yards in North Minneapolis on October 6th.   Hanes Brands Inc. has even donated brightly colored t-shirts for volunteers to wear, to keep them safe and identifiable. Tree Trust is running the logistics including soliciting planting locations and running workshops to make sure each tree gets in the right place and is cared for afterwards.

 

 

Autonomous Collective founders, Jason Rathe from Field Landscape and Jim Walsh from Vineland Tree Care, say they just wanted to do something simple and effective. Jim says, “We were talking over a beer about how somebody should really do something to make sure that we re-tree the urban forest… and realized that we were that somebody.” Jason has been amazed at the response from other businesses. “Pretty much all of the companies we talked to have been enthusiastic and jumped in to start donating and help with the planting. That isn’t surprising though. Contractors are really “let’s-just-get-something-done” kind of people.”

 

 

Local developer, Schaefer Richardson, has generously donated $5,000 to help set up donation matching for people interested in helping out (and will be participating in planting). Larkin Hoffman law firm is donating time to help the Collective set up non-profit status and consulting!

 

 

 

How to Get Involved:

Path of Destruction in North Minneapolis from 2012 Tornado
Path of Destruction in North Minneapolis from 2011 Tornado

 

Trees for NoMi
Trees for NoMi


MetroIBA Networking Event

MetroIBA Networking Event September 5th

We’re partnering with MetroIBA to host a networking event at the new 4th Castle location, September 5th, 2017.

Connect with other Local Indie Business owners and Buy Local supporters when you attend a MetroIBA networking event. Casual and comfortable even for those who don’t like networking, enjoy light refreshments, great conversations and opportunities to promote your business. Your MetroIBA co-members are a great resource – come and connect!

Guests welcome – no RSVP needed

  • Tuesday, September 5, 2017
  • 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Castle Building and Remodeling
4020 Minnehaha Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55406

 


Coming Soon! 4th Castle Design Studio

 

The Natural Built Home Store will be converting to a 4th Castle BRI showroom, effective 9/1.

 

Three years after acquiring The Natural Built Home Store, Castle Building & Remodeling has
completed the integration of the store’s eco-friendly products and processes into its project
standards, and has therefore decided to convert the store into a fourth Castle showroom.
 

The transition in signage and hours will take place on September 1st, 2017 and will allow Castle to
focus on its goal of being the most professional and best value design/build remodeler in the
Twin Cities. The change will also allow Castle to serve the South Minneapolis and the
Longfellow neighborhoods with better proximity.

 

Castle Building & Remodeling will continue to offer eco-friendly remodeling, inclusive of all the
products from The Natural Built Home Store, in remodeling projects. Castle will no longer offer
material-only sales, flooring install-only services, or countertop-only replacements. This change
will allow Castle to focus on the continued growth of design/build remodeling services, which
centers on kitchen and bath remodeling. The widespread availability of eco-friendly building
materials at most retailers has made it tough to compete on this specialization alone.

 
A list of eco-friendly retailers that carry similar products and offer similar services is available at naturalbuilthome.com. As of 12/31/17 The Natural Built Home Store brand will be decommissioned with the website and Facebook pages will be taken down. All educational classes for the remainder of 2017 will continue as planned.

 
Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. is a professional design/ build remodeling company that
specializes in residential remodeling. Castle is a second-generation family business, founded in
1977, which has served over 3,200 past clients in the Twin Cities area. Its four unique design
studios in Minneapolis and St. Paul allow Castle’s professional team to help clients plan any
project. Castle Building & Remodeling strives to help clients get the best value and helps them to
get a designer look on a budget they can afford. Castle’s detailed planning process allows a
guaranteed favorable experience by ensuring there are no unforeseen costs and by providing a
guaranteed completion date. Its professional design team and convenient showrooms sets Castle
Building & Remodeling apart from the average remodeler. Visit us at www.castlebri.com to find out more.

 


Castle Building & Remodeling Responds to Minneapolis $15/hour Minimum Wage

Castle Building & Remodeling Increases Company Minimum Wage to $15/hour

Castle Building & Remodeling is committed to growing a progressive company and making the community it serves, a better place to live.  In support of the recently approved Minneapolis $15.00/hour minimum wage increase, Castle has proactively formalized its own $15.00/hour company minimum wage policy, effective immediately.  It believes that in order to provide a professional service with the best overall value, it needs to invest in its employees by paying a living wage.  The company wholeheartedly agrees with the city increase and will not wait for the ordinance to take effect in 2022 to meet this standard.

 

 

Castle hopes to be a leader in this change, encouraging other small businesses to adopt the increase as soon as possible.  It would like to thank the roughly 400 clients who enabled this substantial investment in its people, and pay a living wage to its 40 employees (over $2 million in projected wages in 2017).

 

Castle is currently recruiting experienced tradespeople to join its team and plans to add 3-5 skilled carpenters, tile installers, drywallers and painters in 2017.  Interested candidates can find out more about joining the Castle team by visiting the Work@Castle page at: http://castlebri.com/workcastle/

 

 

Castle Building & Remodeling, Inc. is a professional design/ build remodeling company that specializes in residential remodeling. Castle is a second-generation family business, founded in 1977, which has served over 3,200 past clients in the Twin Cities area.  Its four unique design studios in Minneapolis and St. Paul allow Castle’s professional team to help clients plan any project. Castle Building & Remodeling strives to help clients get the best value and helps them to get a designer look on a budget they can afford. Castle’s detailed planning process allows a guaranteed favorable experience by ensuring there are no unforeseen costs and by providing a guaranteed completion date. Its professional design team and convenient showrooms sets Castle Building & Remodeling apart from the average remodeler. Visit www.castlebri.com to find out more.


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Jobsite Clean-Up

  1. Jobsite Clean-Up

Many consumers have had issues regarding the definition of clean-up as it relates to the construction project. Some contractors assume you don’t want to pay carpenters wages to have someone clean up the construction site. Some contractors clean up at the end of each business day and use terms like “broom-swept clean” to describe the amount of cleaning, and some do an extra clean-up at the end of the week. Some contractors provide a maid service to clean the whole house when the project is done. Some projects can look pretty unorganized if not downright dangerous. Some jobsites never have anything left out of place. It is usually never the condition of the project as much as it is the expectations. If the homeowner assumed one thing and the contractor provided another thing, there could be problems. Included in the contract should be clear statements stating what the contractor will and will not do along the lines of clean-up.

 

Construction is messy, smelly, and can affect other areas of your property that are not under construction. What precautions will be a part of the contract in regards to the rest of the house, the yard or the homeowner’s bathroom? For instance, if the contractor needs to do some excavation work, wouldn’t you like them to be careful with their equipment around that new shrubbery you just planted? If you are reusing appliances, wouldn’t you like the workers to be careful carrying that stove through your house? The key to minimal disruption is in the procedures and processes followed by the contractor to keep the mess, noise and smell to a minimum. The key to not having a problem is clear communication regarding these issues and trying to anticipate all of the possible conditions.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: Clean-up of any kind is not a part of the contract. You never know what you will find when you come home from work. It is not clear what is debris and what might be used tomorrow for the project. Your family’s well-being is at risk.

 

Good: The amount of clean up included in the contract is clearly spelled out.

Everyone is clear about who will handle what.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor never leaves the job site with a surprise for the consumer. The contractor has a checklist of all of the things that will be done at the end of the day by the last person leaving the job site.

 

Best: The contractor has a written agreement with all of his trade partners and suppliers that cover his expectations about clean-up. Everyone in the company works to back each other up if there is a problem, rather than having the attitude that it is someone else’s problem.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Craftsmanship

  1. Craftsmanship

Some companies pay a lot of attention to your home’s details. They are concerned about matching the details of the trim, the windows or the species of the wood. Every house is unique in some particular way, especially if you live in an older home. Do you want some thought given to the project and these details? Do you have some details that you would like to respect and copy in the new parts of your project? Craftsmanship and attention to detail are not developed overnight. They are developed over many years of working in homes like yours and gaining experience. Here is another instance where looking at past jobs helps you determine the capabilities of the prospective contractor. Attention to detail is also a personal trait. A carpenter may be perfectly capable of quality craftsmanship, but his personality will decide whether he has an eye for detail. The same can be said about companies. Will the contractor put in the extra time necessary to achieve the final look desired? Will they support this endeavor or will they cut corners to get the job done?

 

You can tell a lot about the quality of the carpenters and their attention to detail by observing how they work. If their tools are just thrown in the back of the bed of the truck, causing the carpenter to spend a lot of time digging around looking for a tool, if tools aren’t sharpened or cared for on a regular basis or if materials are left all over the job, your project will likely look and be organized in the same fashion. These skills are acquired early in life, and are not changed overnight. Skilled craftsmen have already made the dumb mistakes that all inexperienced tradesmen have made in the past. They have learned the good, better, and best way to complete a project. Don’t pay someone to learn on your project!

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The crew is short on experience and has limited skills in limited areas. When asked for solutions to problems, the worker is short on experience and can’t even make a recommendation.

 

Good: The contractor has experienced employees. He matches their skill level with the tasks at hand. You are comfortable with the level of craftsmanship as evidenced by the daily progress and the finished product.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor cares about the architectural details particular to your home and your project and has all of the resources to complete the task.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor has been in business many years and has found many trades people with the special skills and talents to help him produce anything required in any project.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Guarantees & Warranties

  1. Guarantees & Warranties

There is often a lot of confusion about guarantees and warranty work, both on the part of the homeowner and the contractor. Many contractors fail to be clear about the guarantees they make about their finished products. In response to this, the State of Minnesota has a law that says the dwelling shall be free from major construction

defects due to noncompliance with the building standards for a ten year period after the warranty date. Defects caused by faulty installation of plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems have a two-year warranty. Everything else has a one-year warranty. All projects are subject to this condition and warranties survive passage of title.

 

A guarantee is an assurance that certain conditions will be fulfilled, especially that a product will be of specified quality or last a certain period of time. A warranty is a written guarantee promising to repair or replace an article if necessary within a specified period of time.

 

The clarifications that need to be done in the contract can often be many and complicated. What is guaranteed? Who is making that guarantee? Who will service that guarantee? If a product fails, is the work or labor to replace it also a part of the guarantee? A reputable contractor guarantees his workmanship and services, and in addition guarantees all of the work, services and products provided as a part of the project, whether provided by him, his employees, his trade partners or his suppliers. Many times the manufacturer of a product makes guarantees and these become an important part of the equation. For home improvements, the warranty begins when the project is completed, so it is important to know what defines completion.

 

Some contractors have been known to puff up their warranty or offer longer guarantees as a sales incentive. It does not matter how long the warranty is nor how it reads if the contractor never intends to do any warranty work. This goes back to past issues about the contractor’s stability. Will your contractor be in business as long as necessary to honor your warranties? The homeowner can take action against the contractor for breach of warranty and may recover damages up to the amount necessary to fix the problem.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor doesn’t have a written warranty. His verbal guarantee is vague and he is hard to nail down on the particulars. His guarantees sound too good to be true, are much longer than anyone else in the industry or seem puffed up.

 

Good: The contractor has a written warranty that is a part of his contract and it satisfies state law requirements. The obligations of the consumer and the contractor in regards to guarantees and warranties are clearly stated.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor has provisions for providing to the homeowner in an organized fashion all of the manufacturers’ warranties for products used in the project. It defines clearly the nature of the warranties for labor, if different than the warranties for materials.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor has a process of notifying the consumer a short time before the warranties are due to expire to see if there are any issues that need to be addressed.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Creativity

  1. Creativity

So many times projects cry out for creative ideas that will help the project really reach a satisfying level. A professional contractor will be able to contribute many creative ideas that will enhance the project. A professional contractor has professional relationships with a wealth of designers, architects and other creative people often necessary to your project. So many times, these elements are overlooked by less professional or inexperienced contractors. Ask your prospective contractor enough questions to find out if he is in a position to contribute these services.

 

Ask your prospective contractor if he has a designer or architect on staff or if he has a working relationship with an architect or designer. Does he work with a particular interior decorator or interior designer? Has he run into problems like yours before? Do any solutions come to mind at this time for this particular problem? Usually, if something has been a problem and needs a solution, it is of particular interest to the consumer. It might even be the main impetus for the whole project. Can the contractor give this the necessary consideration and help solve this problem?

 

A creative contractor can help you work within your budget by suggesting alternative materials or plans that achieve the look you want with less material and labor cost. A creative contractor can also let you do some of the work or show you what parts of your project can be completed later. Every project has a budget which requires many skills to meet it.

 

A professional contractor with a lot of experience garnered from many years of working on projects has a wealth of experience. Over those years of experience, many ideas, concepts and solutions have been talked about and advanced. He has gotten a chance to be a tremendous resource for your project. Being able to tap into this experience can add tremendous value to your project.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor has no concept of creativity. If he offers a solution, it seams more like a shortcut or trick to deal with the situation.

 

Good: The contractor has many ideas for solutions to the problems. If he can’t come up with a solution readily, he says so and offers to work on it.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor has many people on his team that he consults on a regular basis to bring a wide range of ideas and solutions to the table. These ideas are openly shared with the consumer. This experience and knowledge and the willingness to share it adds value to the project and enhances the relationship.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor understands the value of working in a collaborative fashion. Everyone on the team has a unique contribution, and his ability to draw the ideas and creativity out of the members of the team greatly enhances every project and adds value to the relationship.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Community Involvement

  1. Community Involvement

A contractors’ business has to exist someplace. A contractor can’t operate in a void or with complete disregard for the community it serves. That same contractor is dependent on a healthy, thriving community, and it is significant if a contractor plays a vibrant and supportive role in the community. What role does your prospective contractor play in your community? What organizations does he support? Of what groups is he an active member? Does he attend neighborhood meetings? Does he go to church in your community? Are his children in local schools and is he active in their education? Does he sponsor a local sports team? Are the employees involved in community groups and organizations? Many times, the importance of participating and giving back to the community is overlooked by disreputable contractors and their employees, but appreciated by professional contractors.

 

Community involvement often shows a respect and understanding of the community at large. They are familiar with community issues and local problems. They are also familiar with the age and type of architecture in the area. Involvement shows commitment to the community and its people. You can often find this information in community newspapers and at community meetings.

 

Is your prospective contractor active on the larger city-wide level? Has he played a role in local elections, served on the school board, held office or volunteered for community functions? Many neighborhoods and communities have home tours or home improvement shows. These are usually set up to support some segment of your community. Has he participated in these? Is he active in the governance of the community? Ask him these questions and afford him the opportunity to share how he participates.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor does not participate in any community activities. He has no understanding of the history or culture of the community. He doesn’t have any connections to civic-minded groups in your community.

 

Good: The contractor takes an active role in the community. You meet him at numerous community gatherings. He understands the value of community and has an overall understanding of the community values and priorities.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor has taken the time to serve in different community organizations. He knows other leaders and is comfortable in leadership roles. He understands this service makes him a valuable asset in the community.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor is a key player in the community. He has served for years on the Board of Directors of local organizations. He knows their mission and values their contributions to the community. He has given his time and money to community functions. He can be counted on as a staunch supporter of community endeavors. A lot of his employees live in the local community and he does business with many of the local businesses.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Customer Service

  1. Customer Service

In the same sense that you will talk about a doctors “bedside manner,” many contractors are rated on their customer service. So many factors can contribute negatively or positively to a consumer’s perception about a contractors’ customer service.

 

Does he believe the customer is always right? Does he emphasize service and value a trusting relationship with you? Does he listen to and understand your needs and wants and works with you to ensure that the plans accurately reflect your expectations? When you discuss your priorities, does the contractor show enthusiasm for your ideas and suggest ways to make them work within your budget? Professional contractors can make suggestions or give examples of how their company has solved similar issues for other customers. They take the time to establish a personal rapport with you.

 

Does the contractor engage in high-pressure sales tactics? How do you feel about working with this person? Is he honest, trustworthy, sexist, racist, chauvinist, ageist or judgmental? In short, do you feel comfortable with the person? It is next to impossible to have a healthy, constructive working relationship with someone you dislike. The construction process can be tough enough by itself, without adding some of these painful dimensions. This is not saying you have to be friends with the person you are asked to deal with, but shouldn’t there be mutual respect and a good working relationship?

 

A remodeling project that is not carefully planned can cause real headaches for the customer in terms of mess, delays, and missed deadlines. You will have to work with, spend time with and interact with the contractor on a regular basis throughout the duration of your project. It is worth a little time at the beginning of the process to choose a contractor that provides great customer service, has a sense of all of the elements needed in the relationship and with whom you get along.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor is rude, does not listen well, interrupts often and is trying to control the whole relationship. There is uneasiness about all of the interactions you have had with him.

 

Good: The contractor understands that he has been asked to make an improvement on your home and is very appreciative of the opportunity to work with you. He takes the time to get to know and understand you and tells you who he is so you can visualize your future working relationship.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor finds out how you make decisions, what your taste is, what your long-term commitment to the house is, what your values are and what your budget is in an effort to better serve you and create a successful project. He understands how to be in relationships and he values what good relationships contribute to the process.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor has programs in place and ongoing training for all employees at all levels so that this kind of customer service becomes a part of the company culture. These values have been clearly communicated to the trade partners and suppliers also.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Source of Business

  1. Source of Business

Talking to a contractor about where the bulk of his business comes from can tell you a lot about the company. Some contractors don’t know where their business comes from and have never bothered to figure it out. Some companies only have a couple of customers and all of their business comes from them. Some companies have a lot of past customers and their business comes from past customers or referrals from past customers. Some companies advertise all over the place with big splashy ads and must rely on a lot of new calls. What about repeat business? Shouldn’t a contractor who does quality work eventually not have to advertise as much as a new contractor due to repeat business and referrals from past customers?

 

 

Every successful contractor, without exception, has satisfied customers by providing a good value. Providing a good value should lead to referrals and a consistent base of customers. Good leads are the lifeblood of every company. Without this base, a contractor cannot succeed. Most established contractors’ primary source of new customers is word of mouth. While every contractor has occasional customer problems, if a company gets too many unhappy customers, no amount of advertising dollars can overcome this situation. Unsatisfied consumers tell too many others of their misfortune.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor does not know where his business is coming from. He does not know why you called him or where you got his name.

 

Good: The contractor understands the importance of the lead source. He tracks leads and knows where his leads are coming from. He values leads that come from one source over leads that come from another source.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor tracks leads and has a lead qualification system that helps him understand better which leads are right for his company. He knows the percentage of leads that convert to sales calls, the percent of sales calls that convert to sales, and works leads based on the anticipated fruition.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor focuses his marketing and advertising strategies to attract the kind of leads that best suit the company. He has come to realize that everything he does creates a perception, and he is careful that the perception he creates is aligned closely with the direction the company wants to go.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Communication with the Homeowner

  1. Communication with the Homeowner

So much of the success of a project can hinge on the communication skills of the people involved in the project. There are so many details, decisions and factors to consider, and all of them are usually significantly affected by time. The construction process usually goes through phases, such as design, estimating, bidding, contract negotiating and production. The success of all of these phases is greatly dependent on the communication that takes place in each phase, while subsequent phases are dependent on the communication in previous phases.

 

What if you are unsure if it is OK to ask questions? What if it isn’t clear who to ask? What if you find yourself always waiting for a return phone call or an answer to your e-mail? What if you find yourself passed to a new person or new phase every time you just get comfortable with someone? What if there is a salesman for sales, a designer for design, an estimator for estimating, a production manager for production and no real connection between any of them? What if the process isn’t clear and always seems to catch you off guard or surprise you? What if you end up feeling like you have to figure out the right question to ask before it is too late to ask it? What if everybody you are dealing with only seems to know about their particular small part of the project and no one can answer the broader questions? What if every question you ask leads to the discovery of a problem in the whole project? These are serious early signs that communication will be an issue in this project.

 

Communication is a skill no less important than floor sanding or electrical wiring and can be the glue that holds a project together. You should feel that the contractors’ job is to answer every question openly and honestly. You need that kind of information to make good decisions. You have a sense about another person that tells you if you like and trust the way that person answers your questions and communicates with you. Trust that instinct. If you are having trouble with the communication process early in the relationship, the chances are very good that you are not the only person that is going to have communication problems with this person or this company.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor has poor communication skills. He does not answer questions directly, the answers are evasive or the answers confuse more than help.

 

Good: The contractor understands the value and importance of clear communication.

 

He values your questions and practices clear communication.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor makes sure there are no misunderstandings and asks for feedback on a regular basis about the communication and understanding to date.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor has attended workshops or classes on communication to improve his communication skills. He has learned some public speaking skills and keeps those skills sharp by offering to speak publicly on a regular basis.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factor to Consider: Does Your Contractor use Employees or Trade Partners?

  1. Does Your Contractor use Employees or Trade Partners?

It seems to matter greatly to some consumers whether or not a contractor will use his own employees or use trade partners. There are several legitimate issues associated with this question, but it really is not an issue in most cases. It just seems consumers have been warned against a contractor who mostly uses trade partners. Understand that the contractor is just as responsible for the trade partners as he is for his own employees. It is solely the responsibility of the professional contractor to decide how and by whom the work will be completed. The contractor needs a wide margin of flexibility in this area because problems may arise and he needs to have the ability to solve the situation in a timely fashion. Some aspects of the remodeling process can only be legally completed by trade partners while some can be completed by just about anyone, but it is only the person performing that task all day, every day that becomes proficient and is cost-effective.

 

Contractors who have their own employees tend to be more stable and in control of all aspects of the project. It takes a steady flow of work and a steady flow of projects to effect steady employment for quality carpenters, leaving them engaged and satisfied. The carpenters tend to control the flow of the day-to-day operation on the job and guide the trade partners in the absence of the contractor himself. Having the same workers there every day leads to better projects. A contractor is familiar with his own carpenters and their strengths and weaknesses.

 

Contractors who subcontract all of the work lose some of the control of the whole process and spend a certain amount of time trying to anticipate everything that could happen. Contractors spend a lot of effort conveying to the trade partners how the work should be done and what has been sold to the consumer. The longer a trade partner has worked with a general contractor, the more these things happen without intervention. Trade partners may send a different crew each time, creating the necessity to stay on top of the project better so everyone is “on the same page.”

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor hires carpenters and other workers on an hourly basis from a day labor work pool. No one on the job is in charge. Every worker is doing “his own thing” and no one is supervised. There really is no plan. Workers come and go in an unpredictable fashion.

 

Good: The contractor has had the same group of employees for years. These employees understand the general contractor’s systems and every one is working together with clear communication between all concerned parties.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor has invested time and money for his employees’ continued education. Many of the employees have taken classes or participated in ongoing education to further their knowledge and understanding of their trade. They take great pride in their contribution to the project as a whole.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor knows the strengths and weaknesses of all employees and has good personal relationships with all of them. The carpenters have secure jobs and they know it. There is room for advancement in the company and the company encourages and supports the growth of all employees.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Job Schedule

  1. Job Schedule

There are many areas where the schedule affects the satisfaction of the project. Did the contractor take too long to get the proposal done or to get back to you with answers to your questions? Did the contractor promise to bring over samples and then have to be reminded? Is the contractor too busy to give you the attention you want? These kinds of things could be early warning signs that schedule may be an issue throughout the project.

 

If you missed all of those early warning signs and signed the contract, schedule still has a real chance of adversely affecting your satisfaction with the job. Did the contractor say he could fit you into his schedule and then something changes at the last minute? Was the permit pulled before the work started? If special materials were needed for your project, did they get ordered so the workers would have them when they needed them? Were trade partner agreements negotiated in a timely fashion? If there were delays, did the contractor anticipate them, have an acceptable alternate plan and inform you of the anticipated changes?

 

In general, scheduling are either always an issue for a contractor on every job or are rarely an issue. Companies have systems and habits, and they seldom do things differently.

 

Do you have special scheduling considerations? Do you want to have your new living room done for Christmas? Do you want this work completed while you are on vacation? These are extremely important considerations since many contractors schedule work many months in advance and many jobs have several elements to coordinate. Find out how you fit into his schedule and be upfront and realistic about a timeline.

 

One of the things that happens most often in remodeling projects is that the scope of work changes by Change Order but the contractor didn’t make it clear that the additional work would add to the timeline of the project. There are many subtle things that can change the flow and progress of the work. The more experience your contractor has, the more these things can be anticipated. The kinds of things the contractor can’t anticipate are how long it takes you to make decisions, how long it will take you to visit showrooms and pick out products or how long it will take you to do your part of the project.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor has no sense about how long the project will take. He can’t count on his trade partners or their schedule.

 

Good: The contractor gets back to all clients in a timely manner. The contractor provides a job schedule to the clients prior to commencement.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor posts the schedule on the job, the lead carpenter is always managing the job on a daily basis and all changes are communicated to everyone who is affected by the changes.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the schedule for your job is on the contractor’s web site and everyone who is affected by the schedule has access to it on the web site. The schedule is regularly updated. All scheduling concerns are addressed in a timely fashion and to everyone’s satisfaction.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Quality of Trade Partners

  1. Quality of Trade Partners

Trade partners are specialty contractors. They have one set of trade skills. They are required to have special licenses for their particular trades, i.e. electrical, plumbing, heating or stucco. In some cases, general contractors are not allowed to perform the work of the trade partner because they are not licensed to do that work. Trade partners are a very key element in almost every project and can make or break them. They are not employees of the general contractor, so the contractor literally has no control over their schedule or how they do their work. If he did, they would be his employees, losing their independence and creating tax ramifications. The relationship between a professional contractor and a trade partner is nurtured over many years of concerted effort on the part of both parties.

 

 

It is important on every project to identify the key trade partners that will be involved in the project. Your task is to determine what kind of relationship your prospective contractor has with his trade partners. Has he worked with them for years? Has he ever had a problem with a trade partner that was not resolved satisfactorily? Do any of his subs have a history of not showing up, not following through or not taking care of warranty work in a timely manner? The trade partners are essential to keeping the job running smoothly. Your general contractor is always only as good as the others on his team.

 

 

The cost of your project can be greatly affected by the cost of the trade partners’ contributions. When a general contractor is bidding a project, there is always a great temptation to find a cheaper trade partner in order to bring the total cost of the project down and have the bid be more competitive. This practice can compromise the project and begs the question about price, bids and the overall cost of the project. There is a correlation between the quality of work and the cost of the trade partner. I think some consumers fear that a general contractor will give a lump sum bid for the job and then use the cheapest trade partners and the cheapest products to produce the project, leaving the most profit attainable left for the general contractor. There are ways to structure the bid so that the homeowner gets what is bid and pays for what they get. Some contractors use allowances for the costs associated with the trade partners, sharing the trade partners’ bids with the consumer.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor hires the cheapest trade partner every time so his bid is the lowest. The jobs suffer for the lack of professionalism.

 

Good: The contractor has a working relationship with trade partners and shares the names of those trade partners with the prospective clients.

 

Better: The contractor has evidence of long, healthy working relationships with professional trade partners and involves them in the project early.

 

Best: The contractor has developed a core group of trade partners in the various areas that he always uses. He knows their workers and managers and how to get a hold of them. Expectations are clearly spelled out in a separate Trade Partner Agreement written up and signed by both parties outlining all policies, procedures and safety issues.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Size of the Company

14. Size of the Company

Consumers believe that size mattered in their failed relationships with contractors. They complain that the contractor was a “one-man operation” and that he took forever to complete the job. Some may also feel that they were dealing with a huge operation and never talked to the same person twice. They experience contractors being “in over their head”, or get handed off to the next division of the company so many times they lose track. All of these experiences relate to size. All of this could have been avoided if the consumer had asked simple questions and the contractor had made simple disclosures on the front end. Do you want to work with a huge company or a small, specialized company? As a rule, a smaller company does fewer jobs and can devote more personalized time to your project. Conversely, large companies typically have more efficient systems, a greater division of labor and are capable of a far greater range of projects. Normally, when working with a small company you will have one or two points of contact versus a large company where you may have more points of contact and a greater chance for miscommunication. Is there a part of you that “likes to deal with the owner?” Is there a part of you that needs to have a relationship with the person doing the work? Is there a part of you that likes to give the business to the little guy? It is just as much a mistake to ask a large company to replace your storm door as it is to ask a handyman to put on an addition or do a whole house remodel.

 

Many companies change size over time and this usually affects the type of work they do and the size of projects they take on. Many small companies are flexible, have fewer rules and are more unpredictable. What you see is what you get. Larger companies have put systems and best practices in place because they can’t leave outcomes to chance. For many years, our industry tended to be more of the small companies. They were good tradesmen but often lacked the business skills to grow the business or be financially successful on a consistent basis. In recent years, the industry has changed greatly. National companies have put franchises in place. Many TV shows feature home improvement and design. The housing stock is getting older. The workforce is changing drastically – the trade schools have all but disappeared and young workers growing up in the trade are a thing of the past. These, and many other issues like the internet, have changed our industry greatly.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor doesn’t understand what his capabilities are. He doesn’t understand the relationship between size and capabilities.

 

Good: The contractor has an understanding of the size of the workforce it will take to complete a project and he does not make commitments he can’t meet.

 

Better: The contractor has a careful hiring process and only hires when he feels that the quality of work will be improved. The contractor has a tracking system so he knows the amount of work on the books and the backlog of work sold. This enables him to clearly communicate his job schedules to his customers.

 

Best: The contractor has a carefully-projected growth strategy for the next 10 years. The contractor has divisions of labor and people are hired for their overlapping skills. The contractor has working relationships with many other contractors, trade partners or labor providers so that his work force can expand or shrink as work load dictates.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Design Services

  1. Design Services

There are many projects that require some level of design. Almost every job that needs a permit needs plans. Some jobs require structural engineering or a registered architect. Some customers want an interior designer to help them with the features of the project. Design can play a small role in some projects and a very large role in others. Design is the process of creating a plan or drawing to show the appearance and workings of something before it is built. There are different levels of design detail in every job and the trick is to match the design skill level of the contractor with those required by the project. First, determine at what level design will play a role in your project. Do you have special features of your home that you would like to match or replicate? Are there special challenges that need sound solutions? Will parts of the project need to be calculated by a structural engineer? Are there special elements that only experts understand and handle? Second, determine what design skills will be required for the project. Do you need a draftsperson, an architect, a structural engineer or an interior designer? These are all people that possess special skill sets that contribute to the overall design of the project. Third, determine if your prospective contractor offers these skill sets and is able to provide the necessary design to have a project that is satisfactory to you. Does the contractor offer these design services? Does the contractor have these people on staff or does he have working relationships with them? Can he show you projects and explain how all of these people collaborated on other projects he has completed for other customers? Do you want to be on the design team and does this fit with the contractor’s practices? How does the contractor balance cost with design?

 

Some contractors and some consumers just don’t value design. They don’t believe it contributes significantly to the project and they are unwilling to provide it or to pay for it. Some consumers and some contractors are very highly motivated by good design. The trick is to match the consumer’s level of desire for design with the contractor’s level of capability to provide design. The benefit to finding out the consumer’s desire for design and the contractor’s level of ability to provide design is to match the levels. There is nothing more frustrating to both parties than a mismatch. Ask questions to find out if the contractor you are considering is a good match. They will seldom change into something more satisfying after the job has started.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor pooh-poohs the need for design. The contractor represents themselves as a designer or an architect when they don’t have the credentials or skills to back it up.

 

Good: The contractor understands and has respect for the relationship between design and construction. These services are talked about and decisions are made to incorporate these services into the project as needed.

 

Better: The contractor has a designer on staff and can offer design services. The contractor knows when to involve other professionals in the project. The contractor has many good ideas, can share solutions that he has used in other projects and is willing to work collaboratively with a team.

 

Best: The contractor has an architect on staff, or a working relationship with an architect and knows when to involve them in a project. The contractor does mostly projects that are design-driven and has a reliable reputation.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Professional Associations or Affiliations

12. Professional Associations or Affiliations

Some contractors find little need to belong to organizations, while others are “joiners.” There are many obvious benefits to belonging to organizations, yet some contractors seem to belong for all of the wrong reasons. Many businesses belong to the Better Business Bureau because it looks good and consumers expect it of them. Some contractors belong to an association to project the image of professionalism. They do it to buy credibility. The trick is to ask enough questions to determine which kind of contractor your prospective contractor is.

 

Local, state and national organizations help to keep their members informed about new products, construction techniques, business practices and industry issues. Through certification programs, these organizations confer designations on those who meet the requirements. Ask your contractor what, if any, associations or organizations they belong to. Ask them about the length of time they have been members. Ask them about what level of participation they have taken in these organizations. Do they go to meetings, seminars, conferences and trade shows? Ask them if they have taken any classes to further their knowledge of the industry or if they have held any leadership positions in these organizations. Ask them if they hold any designations or certifications, have won any design or construction awards or are members of a specially designated group in their industry. Membership should be a given, participation is expected (you only get what you give) and active leadership should speak volumes. Call these organizations and associations and verify the contractor’s claims with the office personnel.

 

Seek referrals from local trade associations, such as your area’s local Minnesota Builders Association, National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) or local Remodelers Council.

 

Participation demonstrates a contractor’s commitment to professionalism and the industry. With all the recent changes in materials and techniques, membership in a professional association is the best way for a contractor to keep up to date and informed through publications, seminars and annual trade shows of professional products. These organizations and associations exist to promote these businesses and have a vested interest in your satisfaction with their members. Peer review and peer pressure is one of the most potent motivators in a contractor’s business experience. These associations are one of their most valuable resources to obtaining professionalism.

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor does not belong to any professional association.

 

Good: The contractor is a member and has paid his dues on a continual basis. He attends some meetings and seminars.

 

Better: In addition to the above, the contractor participates on committees and assumes leadership roles. The contractor enters design and/or construction award competitions and has received industry recognition.

 

Best: In addition to the above, the contractor is an officer and/or has assumed other responsibilities in associations. The contractor has a list of recent awards and is quoted in industry publications. The contractor is featured in local publications and is a resource to others in the industry.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Organization on the Job

  1. Organization on the Job

Many professional contractors are very proactive about the type of organization they are. They have determined whether they want to be large or small. They have chosen whether they want to be a corporation, a limited partnership or a sole proprietorship. They have decided if they are a general contractor (performing many if not all services) or only provide a specialized service. They have a target market and know they only work on residential, commercial or industrial projects. Some companies only work in certain areas or on certain types of structures. Some only perform certain types of projects (additions, second stories, kitchens, restorations, or insurance work). Some companies seem to have a labyrinth of organization and others seem to operate by the “seat of their pants” on a day-to-day basis, reacting to every situation as it comes along. Which type of company are you most comfortable with? Their level of organization will play an important role in the day-to-day interaction they have with you as a customer. Do they complete most of their work with their own employees? Do they subcontract a lot or all of the work? Do they have standards that they share with you outlining their expectations for their employees, their trade partners and their suppliers? Ask to see a job in progress to get a feel for how a contractor does business. Try to imagine the work site in your home. Would this drive you crazy?

 

Many times, a professional contractor will pass on a certain kind of lead, a type of job or a certain type of customer. The longer most contractors have been in business, the better they know what kinds of jobs and customers are right for them. Often it is hard to explain to a consumer why a contractor is passing on a lead, but usually it has to do with incompatibility issues that center around the type of organization the contractor has put together. Sometimes they know their organization isn’t set up to do that kind of job efficiently. Sometimes they feel uncomfortable asking their workers to do that kind of work. Sometimes they have a past experience with a similar situation that makes them reluctant. Sometimes they are unfamiliar with the work. Some contractors will pass because your house is too old, too new, too messy or too clean. Some contractors will pass because your job is too complicated, too simple, too big or too small. Realize the best situation is a good match. Both the contractor and the homeowner have to ask enough questions to determine if it is a good match.

 

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor has no real organizational structure. His lack of organization and scheduling delays jobs. His poorly-maintained tools lead to poor quality work. Good suppliers and trade partners have severed working relations with him.

 

Good: The contractor maintains no formal organization, but gets the job done.

 

Seldom, if ever, is there an issue with the workmanship.

 

Better: The contractor has systems and processes in place for all parts of the projects. These systems and processes allow the owner to complete more projects, satisfy more clients and grow a successful organization.

 

Best: The contractor can document and follow all areas of the project at any time. The contractor is able to take on any size job under many pre-existing conditions and has the wherewithal to complete even the most challenging projects. This is not meant to convey that bigger is better.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.

 

 


Factors to Consider when Hiring Contractors for Remodeling: Company History

  1. Company History

Some companies don’t have any history and some companies have a short history. Some companies have a very long, well-documented history. Some companies have changed over the years. Their focus has changed as well as the type of work they do. How they service their clients has changed. Some companies have experienced quick change every year they have been in business and find it hard to predict where they will go next year. Quick growth can put many strains on a company. Unless a person has served a strong apprenticeship with another contracting firm, it will be almost impossible for an individual to rapidly put together a company and make it grow in an organized fashion. It is difficult to develop a system that ensures great work while a company changes rapidly. Longevity suggests financial stability.

 

There is a fine balance of skills that a successful contractor must have. He must understand both the business end and the building end of the business. The business won’t be successful unless he can at least deal with both ends. For instance, he may have been a talented carpenter before he started this business, but does that mean he can keep the books in order and do payroll for his workers? There are a lot of hats a contractor must wear, and the success of the business depends on his understanding and ability to handle all of these functions.

 

Ask your prospective contractor enough questions to determine where he is on the continuum. There are a lot of acceptable places to land, but many homeowners seem to end up feeling blindsided if they find out later that there was something about their contractor that was different than they had assumed. Many older companies describe periods in the past that had specific characteristics – when they were a small company, when they had one location, when everything was run by the one owner, when they only did a specific type of job or a time before they had a successful business organization. Some companies never seem to change and they are still doing business the same way they did thirty years ago. How will these issues play out in your working relationship with this company? Are the decisions they made that make up their history acceptable to you? Do you think they made good decisions?

 

 

Ratings

Unacceptable: The contractor has worked for or started several failed businesses. He has multiple bankruptcies in his history. He has a very short history with this particular company.

 

Good: The contractor is willing to openly share the history, structure and workings of his business. He may be young, but he takes on jobs he is capable of handling.

 

Better: The contractor has systems in place to ensure the proper functions happen for each job. He manages work flow efficiently.

 

Best: The contractor has office workers dedicated to managing specific areas and has delegated authority to competent people. His employees have job descriptions. He has had slow, steady growth over a period of years. He is willing to share the history of the company and can be proud of many of the accomplishments the company has made.

 

 

Check out the other 24 factors that every smart house-owner use when they consider their remodeling contractor here.