Our Service Areas
When you think of Skydell, we hope you already think “best kitchen / bath / basement / porch / remodel / home addition / deck builder in the known universe.” 🙂
However, many of you aren’t aware that there’s a whole other side to Skydell…
Now that summer is winding down, it’s time to get your home ready for winter. We’ve gathered together a list of what we believe are the 5 most important things to do before the snow starts falling.
If you can squeeze in one task each weekend between now and Halloween, you’ll be putting your feet up by the fireplace long before your neighbors! 🙂
Step 1: Check your heating sources
We’re all guilty of ignoring our furnaces—until they break. If it’s been a few years (or longer), hire a professional for a basic furnace maintenance check. If nothing else, make sure you clean or replace the filters, and check your home’s air ducts and vents to ensure open circulation.
Planning to use your fireplace or woodstove this winter? Hire a professional chimneysweep to inspect and clean your chimney. Remember, hot fires using well-seasoned wood produce less creosote, which keeps your chimney cleaner, longer!
Step 2: Store your outdoor furniture
Get a warm sudsy bucket of water, a sturdy rag, and wipe down any dirt, dust, pollen or cobwebs from your outdoor tables, chairs, and barbecue.
Send the cushions to a dry cleaner if they got stained over the summer.
Oil your barbecue grill’s moving parts, clean the cooking surface, and give it a rub of oil too.
Once everything is dry, cover each piece with a tarp or made-to-fit covers, which you can find at most larger hardware and home supply stores.
Raise furniture legs off the ground to help water from reaching the feet, which can rust or rot wooden legs. Look for plastic spiked carpet protector feet (shown at right)—place them spike-side-up underneath each foot of your outdoor tables and chairs to lift them off the ground and provide maximum air circulation—especially important for teak and other furnishings.
Where possible, bring everything under a covered area, or up against the house under the eaves to provide added weather protection.
Step 3: Wrap your pipes
Pipes that are located in unheated areas of your home can burst during severe weather, causing water leaks and damage. Because unheated areas are often seldom visited, the leaks and damage can go undiscovered for a while, causing an even bigger problem. Depending on what type of pipes you have in your home, consider purchasing and wrapping these areas with pipe insulation materials.
CLICK HERE for more great info about protecting your pipes during winter.
Step 4: Clear Away Leaves and Branches
Keeping your gutters and roof clean and clear can prevent all sorts of damage to your home—from the gradual build-up of ice dams that can rot your home’s eaves, to more severe damage to gutters and roofs from branches that fall under the weight of a heavy snow.
Need a good gutter cleaning company and/or tree trimming service? Give us a call for a referral!
Step 5: A Few Little Things
You’ve made so much progress with the first four steps, now you’re ready to reward yourself with these remaining small and super-easy tasks:
- Change all the batteries of your smoke detectors (and any other alarm systems in your home).
- Check all the windows of your home (basement and attic included) to make sure one hasn’t been left open from the summer.
- Heaters run more often in the winter; set your thermostat on a timer to save a little money during those times that no one is home.
- Consider purchasing door draft stoppers for those doorways that always have cold air coming from underneath.
- If your home has a ceiling fan, reverse the blades to run clockwise: this will help bring warm air from the ceiling back down to the rest of the room.
- Last but not least, reward yourself with a cup of crock pot hot cocoa! 🙂
Remodeling Magazine recently released their 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, containing the latest data on how much real estate experts estimate a home’s resale value will increase according to the 30 most popular home remodeling / improvement projects.
- Fiberglass attic insulation – 116.9%
- Manufactured exterior stone veneer – 92.9%
- Garage door replacement – 91.5%
- Entry door replacement (steel or fiberglass) – 91.1% or 82.3%
- Kitchen remodel (moderate or major) – 83.1% or 64.9%
- Siding replacement (engineered or vinyl) – 78.6% or 73.2%
- New deck (wood or composite) – 75% or 64.4%
- Roofing replacement – 71.7%
- Basement remodel – 70.4%
- Adding a second story – 69.3%
- Family room addition – 67.9%
- Bathroom remodel – 65.7%
Given that real estate professionals’ views on the value of remodeling are often tied to the status of the local real estate market, many of these percentages have gone up since last year, thanks to the stronger housing market in most major U.S. regions: through October 2015, prices for existing homes were up 5.9% from the year earlier, and that’s on top of a 5.7% gain in 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The prognosis is clear: 2016 is a great year for getting that long-dreamed-of kitchen, basement, or home improvement job done. The increased value on your home will go a long way to offset, if not cover, the entire expense.
Best of all, you know someone with the knowledge and expertise to get the work done correctly. Skydell has spent the past 28 years helping people do nearly every one of the projects listed above.
Give us a call and let’s help improve your home’s function, character, and value today!
Skydell loved helping this Basking Ridge family update three bathrooms in their home—a first floor powder room, a second floor hallway bathroom, and a major expansion and remodel to their Master Bathroom.
We began by providing initial floor plan concepts, followed by detailed computerized renderings of each space:
This allowed our client not only to visualize the layout, flow, and feel of each bathroom before construction took place… it also enabled them to begin identifying their preferred look for cabinets, finishes and color tones.
A small existing bathroom was combined with an underutilized dressing area and an extra closet…
…and then transformed into an elegant and spacious master bathroom retreat, complete with dual sinks, a walk-in shower, a large soaking tub, and abundant cabinet storage space (photos below):
Second Floor Hallway Bathroom:
An outdated bathroom on the second floor was given new life with all new furnishings and finishes.
First Floor Powder Room / Bathroom:
Last but not least, the main floor bathroom / powder room was updated and improved:
The end result? Very happy clients and significantly improved home value!
Richard Skydell, founder and owner of Skydell Contracting, has been selected by REMODELING magazine as one of the REMODELING Big50 companies—in recognition of his “exceptionally high standards for professionalism and integrity through exemplary business practices, craftsmanship, and impact in their community or the industry at large.”
Each year since 1986, The Big50 award has become increasingly rigorous, involving a lengthy evaluation and interview process by REMODELING editors, columnists, industry leaders, and other remodeling companies. Says REMODELING magazine, “Big50 remodelers (represent) companies that have taken the lead in raising industry standards and demonstrate proven practices that serve as examples to other remodelers.” In addition to an award ceremony at the Remodeling Leadership Conference in Washington, DC, on May 7, 2015, the 2015 Big50 winners are featured in the May issue of REMODELING magazine, with longer profiles of the winners posted on the REMODELING website. “We were extremely honored to receive this distinction,” said Richard Skydell. “The award recognizes excellence and leadership, and we are privileged to be named to this select group of remodelers.”
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While a Somerville, New Jersey family was away on vacation, their large two-story home became flooded with water for over a week due to a leaky upstairs toilet. The water damage itself was extensive, but the situation grew even more complicated when the water removal company stirred … Continue reading