The Higher Price of Electrical For Your Home

A special kind of circuit breaker is now required for most circuits in your home.  Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) have been required for circuits in bedrooms under the National Electrical Code since 2002, but are now required on most other circuits as well.    Their steep price tag will mean an increase in electrical costs for homeowners remodeling, adding onto their homes or building new homes.  The NEC code is adopted differently and with varying timing depending on the jurisdiction in which you live. The AFCI breaker is far less well known than the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), which is … Continue reading

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KBIS & IBS — Design & Construction Week

For the first time, two of the biggest national design and construction conferences met at the same time in the same place.  The result was Design & Construction Week 2014–an event at the Las Vegas Convention Center that drew tens of thousands of designers, architects, builders, remodelers and the vendors who sell to them. The Convention Center appeared to be nearly at capacity, with three halls filled with vendors from the US, Canada, other international suppliers and a special section devoted just to China.  The “village” outside included model modular homes and an Ultimate Kitchen display. The Kitchen & Bath … Continue reading

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Seattle Remodeling Expo

We are making our second appearance at the Seattle Remodeling Expo this weekend at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.  A couple of thoughts after being at our booth for two days and a few tips if you are planning to come tomorrow: There was an excellent turnout today on a beautiful, sunny day.  This tells us that lots of people have remodeling on their mind.  There are a wide variety of projects that are either being actively planned or are just in the first stages of conceptualization.  We talked with dozens of couples and families whose projects … Continue reading

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Lumber Prices Up and Down and Up Again

If Seattle had an official bird, it might be the crane.  Well more than a dozen of them dot the downtown area with long arms and flashing lights above.  West Seattle alone is about to have its third crane go up in the Alaska Junction.  It’s a sign of strong commercial construction, but residential is also booming. That is also a harbinger of the predictable roller-coaster of lumber prices that follows high activity in construction.  Prices have actually already been up this year, per the National Association of Home Builders’ weekly board foot lumber price survey.  Lumber hit a peak price … Continue reading

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Water, Water Everywhere

It’s like clockwork:  The weather changes to cool and wet and a flood of calls ensues.  Furnaces are on the fritz, drains are clogged and the drip drip drip of a mystery leak threatens to push an otherwise calm and collected homeowner to the brink. It’s definitely autumn, so it’s time to arm yourself against the onslaught.  Consider these steps that you may want to tackle over the next few weeks: Schedule a tune-up of your furnace or boiler.  You need a whole season’s worth of action out of them, so make sure they’re running well and have new filters … Continue reading

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Why You Need A Design Professional (and some plans)

There are three things homeowners tend to care the most about when remodeling: cost, schedule and quality.  This trifecta of construction bliss is hard to achieve, however, without careful planning and specifically, plans.  In remodeling, this means a dimensioned drawing looking down from above at the floor (a floor plan), and dimensioned elevations (drawings that provide a vertical look toward each wall of the room) that include things like tile layout, location of bath accessories, and ideally, electrical placement. There is a temptation, particularly with small projects like bathrooms and decks, to forge ahead with construction sans plans.  “It’s a … Continue reading

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Busy, Busy, Busy! :)

Our phone is ringing off the hook. It’s a sign that locally, at least, the economic recovery is in full swing.   More phone calls and larger projects mean better job security for everyone in residential construction.  But booming business also has a few potential downsides for homeowners looking to start a project right now.  Here are few things to keep in mind as you plan your project. Backlogs  When contractors have committed to projects that haven’t yet started, that’s called a backlog.  Many contractors (ourselves included) have backlogs many months long right now.  It’s a similar situation for the … Continue reading

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Ventana Construction wins REX and Chamber of Commerce Awards

Business awards are wonderful to receive.  They are affirmations from business peers that the work you do is exceptional and makes a difference.  They also let our clients know that our company stands out not just for the work we do, but also for those with whom we compete for business. This year we are honored to accept two awards from two different local business groups.  They celebrate what we do and how we do it, and we couldn’t be more proud. In early June we learned we were to be the recipients of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s … Continue reading

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Why We Shop AND Buy Local

It is hard to not be tempted by the Internet.  Many web-based vendors offer competitive pricing, free shipping and even fail to collect sales tax that is due for your state.  There are dozens of vendors to choose from, and a wide variety of shipping options.  So why does our company only use Internet vendors as a last-ditch option? As general contractors, a significant part of the work we do is source materials, have them delivered and then warranty them on installation.  We see a huge range of reliability and efficiency around the availability, delivery and quality of material.   … Continue reading

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What’s in Your Walls?

When we open up a wall during a remodeling project on a home more than 50 years old we never really know what we will find.  It’s one of the most vexing and intriguing aspects of remodeling. Sometimes we find a litany of unpleasantries: creative framing, questionable wiring, asbestos-wrapped ductwork, even dessicated rats.  It all has to be cleaned out, and cleaned up, whether with a broom, a hammer and new studs, or an abatement company.   The expense involved varies, though it invariably is named the same thing: Change Order. Some of those unpleasantries can be generally anticipated based … Continue reading

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