What to Know About Choosing Custom Trim Molding

Custom trim molding is a unique and valuable upgrade you can choose to incorporate into your home. This article is going to explore some basic principles to get you started in selecting your very own custom trim pieces. Let’s get started by looking at types of custom trim molding, and then go on to learn about the materials available and their pricing. I’ll include some bonus tips at the end to help finalize some decisions. For more tips or help from your local Carteret County carpenter, feel free to reach out to me!

Types

Chair rail trim wraps around the lower third of the wall. Its original purpose was to protect the walls from furniture, and while it is still functional in that way today, it is mainly decorative. Chair rail also adds an element of dimension to the walls, making them look their full size, or perhaps even bigger.

Baseboard is the trim whose function is to create a nice transition where the bottom of the wall meets the floor. A general rule of thumb with the baseboard is that it should be at least 2 inches taller than the case molding is wide.

 Case molding, also known as a door casing or window casing, is the accent trim used to frame around windows and doors. It is functional and can be as decorative or as simple as you like.

Wainscoting refers to a wood panel trim used to cover any section of the wall. A common version of this, similar to chair rail trim, is to cover the bottom third of the wall.

Crown molding, similar toa baseboard, is the trim that functions as the transition from the top of the wall to the ceiling. Crown molding can become highly ornamental if desired.

Materials

When choosing what material to use for the custom trim molding, there are generally two directions you can go.

The first is known as MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). It is machine-made, so the pieces of trim will come in standardized shapes and sizes. It is economical, and it is relatively easy to work with. MDF bends, so this is useful for walls that are not perfectly flat. The most important thing to understand about MDF is that it is not recommended for use in high-moisture areas, like the bathroom. It also can be damaged more easily than solid wood, so it needs a bit more care than wood during installation. It can be nicked easily as well.

Solid wood is the more natural option for your home. It is a popular choice, but a bit more costly. Solid wood can come with natural imperfections. Because of this, it can be a bit of a trick to find pieces that are uniform. Wood can split during the installation process. However, solid wood is easier to install than MDF.

Bonus Tips

You can mix it up with both MDF and solid wood pieces. Use the same material consistently in each room, but feel free to vary it up from room to room. No one will be able to tell the difference!

A tray ceiling is another type of custom molding, the ceiling’s center raised about a foot higher than the perimeter of the ceiling. This can be a neat trick for hiding ductwork while making the ceiling look more ornamental.

Be extra careful when installing chair rail trim to make it exactly one-third of the ceiling height. If you install it higher than this, it can trick the eyes into thinking the walls are shorter than they actually are.

Custom trim molding can certainly raise your home’s value, but do it for the decorative, custom look. Have fun with it!

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What To Know Before Doing a Custom Attic Conversion

Many homeowners will face the struggle of wanting to build an addition onto their home, but not having the space to do so. While building outwards may not be an option, there’s always the possibility of building upwards with a custom attic conversion.

When you think of an attic, you likely picture all those Christmas-labeled boxes and old junk you wish you could just throw out.. An attic conversion will allow you to transform that wasted space into a fully-functional room.

Before you start looking into a carpentry project of this size, there’s a wide variety of things you should take into consideration.

Benefits of Custom Attic Conversion

An attic conversion will bring you and your family a variety of short-term and long-term benefits to enjoy. At the forefront, it’s giving you an extra room to design however you’d like. Looking further ahead, the extra room will help increase the value of your home.

Many contractors will look towards an attic conversion before an addition due to its simplicity. Already having a majority of the structure in-tact, a majority of the job will be spent finishing the walls, floor, and ceiling. This means a quicker and cheaper job.

An attic conversion will give you a wide range of options when deciding what to do with the room. They make for excellent home offices, bedrooms, recreational rooms, home theaters, and walk-in closets. If you feel comfortable enough, some homeowners will rent the room out for extra income.

Is Your Home Ready for an Attic?

Just because you have an attic, doesn’t mean it’s ready or even able to be converted into a functional room. You’ll have to ensure you follow code and meet the requirements set by your local municipalities. It’s best to have a professional take a look at your attic before getting too far ahead of yourself.

Two of the major drawbacks to an attic conversion will be with ceiling height and temperature. Many attics won’t clear the 7-foot minimum ceiling height requirement, while others will struggle to maintain a temperature of 68 degrees. You might have to raise your roof, lower the ceiling below the attic, or re-do the insulation.

Outside of that, your professional will also be double-checking the structure of the attic and whether or not you will have room for easy access to the attic.

Designing & Building

Once you’ve been cleared to start your project, the fun begins. First, you’ll have to put together a design that exemplifies what you were looking for. The design will include five main talking points — the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the windows, and the stairs.

Space will typically be limited, but creativity can make up for that in a heartbeat. For example, utilizing built-in shelves, drawers, and cabinets will help you add storage without sacrificing space.

The stairs will typically present a difficult decision. Some attics will have enough room for an actual staircase, some will work well with a spiral-staircase, while others might have to settle for a folding staircase. Either way, you’ll need some way of getting up there if you want to enjoy it!

There’s a lot to consider when converting your attic into a functional room, but our professional carpenters in Swansboro, NC and the entire Carteret County area can give you all the necessary advice and help you need for a job well done. You’ll be surprised when you realize that space has been there this whole time; it just wasn’t being utilized properly.

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What To Know When Building A Deck On Your Home

Building a deck on your home is an excellent way to improve the overall value of your property. It’s also just a fantastic addition to make for entertainment and relaxation purposes. Before you get started, there are some things you should consider. Let’s look at some points you should ponder before you dive into building your deck.

Set Your Budget

A deck is no different than any other construction project. Before you start buying or building anything, you MUST have a budget set. Entering a store like Lowe’s or Home Depot when you are contemplating a project is just as bad as going to the grocery store without a list while you’re hungry. You will think you need to buy tons of things you don’t actually need. Set a budget before you go into any type of home store.

Also factored into this would be the quality of materials you plan to use, and how much you plan to pay your contractor if using one. A rule of thumb with construction projects is to set your budget, then add 20%. There may be overruns and delays. If you build in that potential upfront, you won’t go over budget.

Check To See If You Need Any Permits

This will vary widely based on where you live. Not every city/county/state will require you to have a building permit to add a deck onto your existing property. Some do require building permits to expand an existing structure. Contact your city/town to see what the laws are for this style of construction project. You don’t want to run afoul of the law because that will cause your project to get shut down.

Will This Be a DIY Project Or Will You Hire A Contractor?

For individuals with construction know-how, building a deck onto their home isn’t a particularly difficult project. For those who are novices to construction, this is not the best project to try. It is possible that you know enough about construction to stain/paint your deck, or do other projects in that vein. But the building part may be best left to the professional deck contractors in your area. Be honest with yourself about your abilities.

Consider The Purpose You Want Your Deck To Serve 

When you think about your deck, ask yourself what purpose is this deck going to serve? Do you plan to entertain large groups of people on this deck? Will you be using it for cooking outdoors? Is it primarily for relaxation? Once you know what you want your deck to do, then you can properly design it. The amount of space available for you to build on will also factor into how you design your deck.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What type of materiel do you want to use? There are many new options out there.
  2. Do you have a design or plan? You will need plans for a permit and to receive a quote from a contractor.
  3. What is your time line? Most contractors need lead time.
  4. IS YOUR CONTRACTOR LOCAL or FLY BY NIGHT? GET REFERENCES! Go look at their work, in person.
  5. Check with the local lumber yards. Many times, they have great quality, prices, & options.

To Sum Everything Up

A deck is a terrific addition to any home. But before you jump headfirst into this project, make sure you have crossed your t’s and dotted your I’s. Outline a budget, consider your deck’s purpose and design, check about permits, and consider if this is a DIY project or a project for the professionals. Once you have those points covered, you are set to begin your home improvement project!

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What To Know About Using Metal Fasteners Near Salt Water

Whether you’re building a deck on a seaside home or repairing a boat to go fishing, the materials used to make your fasteners may be the most crucial component of your work. Below is a review of the types of fasteners that best fit a seaside environment. Consider this information the next time you’re looking to build anything that will exist near or in a saltwater environment.

Typical types of fastener material

When choosing fasteners to use in a near-ocean water environment, there are typically three different materials to consider: stainless steel, aluminum, and hot-dip galvanized (HDG). There are pros and cons for each and each of them has a different scenario with which they are best used. Let’s review each type.

Pros and Cons

Hot-Dip Galvanized

HDG fasteners can often be found as the most cost-friendly choice of fasteners used near,. This is the case because they are coated in non-corrosive material rather than built completely out of it. The option of coating also allows for more flexibility in how they look, which can be good for builds that will be more visible, like road signs. However, being simply coated with the material leaves HDG fasteners susceptible to a shorter lifespan than the others. This means you will find HDG fasteners more commonly used on shorter life-span builds, such as motorized tools. HDG is also not always the lightest material as the coating can add a weight to each fastener. In general, HDG are best served for aesthetic-necessary projects that are trying to also be cost-efficient.

Stainless Steel

Along with being a more cost-efficient material of the bunch, stainless steel fasteners have many other benefits. For starters, they are typically made completely out of stainless steel, not just coated in it. If the stainless steel is treated than it can be corrosion resistant for an incredibly long time. This is the case whether it is submerged in water or not. However, if it is not coated properly, stainless steel can have less of a lifespan. Because they are typically made of stainless steel, the aesthetics are limited to the material itself. The weight of stainless steel is typically middling between coated and aluminum. The best scenarios for using stainless steel are builds that need to be cost-efficient without sacrificing lifespan above look or anything else.

Aluminum

Aluminum is the most expensive option on the list, but the benefits can be worth the price. Like stainless steel, aluminum fasteners are built out of a solid piece of material, giving them a much longer life span. It is also the lightest material of the group, which makes it incredibly easy to work with. Though light, it is incredibly durable and will withstand a saltwater environment for many years. You can find aluminum used in projects that will need to last a long time, such as docks or other large builds that are submerged in water. When you want to ensure the lifespan and durability of your near-saltwater project, you should look to aluminum above all else.

 Potential Watchout – Mixing Materials

Regardless of what material you use, be sure to use the same material for all parts. In projects that mix materials, it can create a process called galvanic corrosion, which can greatly lessen the lifespan of your fasteners.

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Which Siding is Best: A Comparison Between Masonry, Wood and Vinyl Siding

One of the most important decisions that you can make as a homeowner is the type of siding that you put on your house. After all, your siding is responsible for keeping weather out of your home and for protecting the surfaces underneath. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right material type. Many homeowners struggle with the decision and have trouble deciding between masonry siding, wooden siding, and vinyl. Each option can be found on homes around the country, and each has its purpose. Below is a quick look at each of those popular options to help explain the value of each and when they should be utilized.

When Vinyl Siding is the Answer

Vinyl siding is made from a plastic composite material and offered in a wide range of colors. It’s one of the most popular types of siding because it’s affordable and quick to put on, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best option. Vinyl siding is a more affordable solution, but it’s susceptible to impact and scrape damage. It’s also the least environmentally friendly option out of the three options for buyers worried about sustainability.

It’s the best option for buyers looking to save money while keeping their maintenance requirements to a minimum. It doesn’t age very well, though, and can begin looking cracked or worn sooner than wood or masonry, even when high-quality vinyl is selected.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Available in many colors
  • Low maintenance
  • Simple installation

Cons

  • Weak against impact damage or scrapes
  • Cannot be refinished
  • Not environmentally friendly

When to Use Masonry Siding

Masonry siding or brick siding is a thin layer of masonry that’s added to the exterior of a house. It’s by far the most expensive of the three siding options, but it’s highly durable and does the best against impacts and is the most fire-resistant siding option. Masonry siding is more maintenance than vinyl siding is to keep in good shape, but it’s generally easier to care for than wooden siding is. It’s also heavier and more difficult to install, which accounts for some of the added expense over wood siding. It’s one of the best long-term siding options and it ages well.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Better for the environment
  • Fire resistant

Cons

  • The costliest option

When Wood Siding Makes Sense

Wood siding was by far the most popular form of siding a few centuries ago, and today it’s still a leading option. Generally it’s more costly than vinyl but more affordable than masonry siding is. Wooden siding is an excellent insulator and can help weatherproof a home in a cool climate effectively. This form of siding is simple to install and can be put on efficiently. It’s the most difficult to maintain, though, and requires regular upkeep to protect it from weathering, rot, and insect damage. Wooden siding is the most fragile option when not cared for, and it’s only good when maintained carefully.

Pros

  • Can be refinished
  • Better for the environment
  • Excellent insulator

Cons

  • High maintenance
  • Susceptible to fire damage
  • Prone to rot and insect damage

Conclusion: Which will it Be?

Each of the three siding types hasits own benefits, but one option will likely jump out for you over the others as you read through the information. Vinyl siding is the lowest cost option and also the easiest to maintain. Wooden siding is the most environmentally friendly and the best insulator, but the most work to maintain. Masonry is the most durable but also the most expensive of the three options. No matter which you pick, all three options will protect your home well; just invest in quality siding that you like, and you can’t lose.

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