Category Archives: Our Blog

Bathroom Remodeling Errors Avoided by Quality Contractors, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the common bathroom remodeling mistakes a quality remodeling contractor will help you avoid. Those who choose not to work with a general contractor for their remodel, or those who choose a subpar professional to work with, are risking areas ranging from quality and safety to budget, timing and more.

At Topp Remodeling & Construction, we’re proud to offer a wide range of bathroom remodeling services as part of our overall home remodeling solutions. We’ve helped numerous clients avoid common errors and keep their remodeling job on track throughout each stage of the process, and we’re here to do the same for you while helping you achieve your ideal bathroom remodel. Here are a few other pitfalls we’ll help steer you away from.

bathroom remodeling errors avoided contractors

Unnecessary Changes

One common error we’ve seen from homeowners during a bathroom remodel is an error of overexuberance: Thinking more needs to be done during the remodel than is really necessary. There are some bathroom remodels that don’t require a full-on overhaul of the space – maybe you’re changing out the vanity, for instance, or installing new countertops while leaving much of the remaining space the same.

Once again, this is an area where a skilled contractor taking part in your planning phases will be enormously valuable. Our contractors will help you determine the true needs present in your bathroom, plus any desired additions you’re considering – plus how these work with your budget and how significant a job should be undertaken. We have specific knowledge of areas like plumbing connections that may or may not need to be involved, allowing us to give you accurate timelines and expectations for the job.

Lack of Attention to Detail

Another area where a quality contractor is hugely beneficial during a bathroom remodel is their attention to detail. It’s easy to overlook certain small areas if you’ve never performed a bathroom remodel before, from lights to sink height, fixture placement and properly hiding plumbing connections – but an experienced contractor handles these with ease.

One particular detail area to keep high in mind is the bathroom fan. This item is vital for ventilation and preventing mold or mildew from forming, and should not only be considered during the remodel, but also cleaned and maintained regularly.

Not Enough Storage

Finally, in their excitement to consider a variety of other new features or designs, some homeowners gloss over one of the most important parts of any bathroom remodel or setup: Storage. You must ensure there’s enough space for proper storage, or else find yourself with a beautiful-looking remodel – but nowhere to put bathroom items like towels, hygiene products and others.

For more on avoiding common bathroom remodeling mistakes, or to learn about any of our home remodeling or home addition services, speak to the staff at Topp Remodeling & Construction today.

Bathroom Remodeling Errors Avoided by Quality Contractors, Part 1

When it comes to bathroom remodeling within the home, the general contractors at Topp Remodeling & Construction are your number one choice here in Utah. We’ve helped numerous Utah homeowners with their home remodeling and home addition needs throughout the structure, with numerous quality bathroom remodels in our portfolio.

Not only are we here to provide fantastic value on materials and labor to bring you the desired final product for an affordable cost, we’re also present to help keep your remodeling project on-track. Those who do not work with a general contractor during a major bathroom remodel, or those who choose a subpar contractor, risk several errors taking place that can sidetrack or even derail the remodel altogether, both from a cost and time perspective. This two-part blog will go over some of the common bathroom remodeling mistakes out there, many of which trace back to a failure to work with the right professionals.

bathroom remodeling errors contractors

DIY Without Proper Skills

As we noted above, those who do not work with a contractor for major bathroom remodeling tasks are risking quality, cost and even safety during the process. Just because you have some time available and can swing a hammer doesn’t mean you’re qualified to perform many of the detailed tasks our contractors carry out, from plumbing connections to electrical circuits and numerous other potentially hazardous areas for those without training.

Even those who are handier than the typical homeowner will run into issues at some point without quality contractors on their side. Violating local building codes is a common result of such an approach, for instance, but our team will steer you clear of this and several related issues.

Improper Planning

One major area a quality general contractor assists with is planning for your entire project, from demolition through completion of the new bathroom. Many of those who attempt bathroom remodels on their own do not have a full plan before they begin demolition, leading to cost and other issues that arise during the process.

Unrealistic Budget

Down similar lines, a good general contractor will keep you realistic about your budget and how it matches your desires. Many homeowners who badly want a nicer remodel than they can afford will subconsciously try to stretch every dollar as far as possible, even to the point where they’re being completely oblivious to major cost issues building up on their budget right in front of them. Even if you were well-intentioned in this process and did not mean to extend yourself too far financially, you may reach the end of the road and find you’ve exceeded your initial estimates by large amounts.

For more on avoiding common bathroom remodeling mistakes, many of which come back to hiring the right team around you, or to learn about any of our home additions or home remodeling services, speak to the staff at Topp Remodeling & Construction today.

Optimal Seasons for Various Home Remodels

Like many other home service areas, there are elements of home remodeling and home contracting that can be viewed seasonally. Certain remodeling types or products may be best performed during a given time of year for a few different reasons, from weather conditions to material availability and several others.

At Topp Remodeling & Construction, we’re here to assist you with a huge variety of home remodeling and home addition needs during any time of the year. And while many of our general contractor services can be performed year-round without much issue, there are certainly a few job types or themes that tend to do best when prioritized in certain seasons. Here’s a quick primer on the best time of year for various remodeling projects, starting with the spring season we’re in now and moving forward.

optimal seasons home remodels

Spring

As nearly any general contractor will tell you, spring tends to be the busiest season for several of our services, including home remodeling and additions. The weather is often ideal, still a bit cool from winter but not yet into the 100-degree heat we experience in Utah summers, making it perfect for many large-scale jobs.

Speaking of large-scale, spring is by far the most common time period for home additions as well. Areas like sunroom conversions, decks, patios and even pools are most commonly installed during spring or early summer seasons for several reasons, including the ability to test them in relatively similar weather conditions to what will be in place for much of their usage.

Summer

As any longtime Utahn knows, the summers here can get fairly intense. And while we can technically complete pretty much any job you require during the heat of summer, we will sometimes recommend holding off on a few – things like attic conversions or large-scale outdoor projects, for instance, might be better off during a cooler part of the year.

On the flip side, kitchen and bathroom remodels are often great themes during summer. This is especially true for families who take a summer vacation – this trip might be the perfect period to hire our professionals for an in-home remodel, as our work will not get in your way while you’re out of the house.

Fall

Fall may be a period where some homeowners return to considering outdoor jobs and home additions, though it’s important to be careful with timing here: You don’t want these projects to run into the early winter where snow might have begun to fall. This is an area where it’s important to maintain a viable contractor who will keep you on-schedule.

Winter

Finally, while the ground hardens during winter and makes certain contracting jobs a bit less sensible, certain others are ideal for this time. In particular, foundation building and related themes are easily handled during winter, plus contractors often tend to have slightly less packed schedules and can get started on such a project.

For more on the ideal season of the year for various home remodeling or addition projects, or to learn about any of our general contractor services, speak to the staff at Topp Remodeling & Construction today.

Available Size Designations for Bathroom Remodels

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel or addition to your home, you’ll have several big potential choices ahead of you. One of the first and most prominent to think about: The “size” you’ll be choosing for the new bathroom space, which really speaks to the kinds of fixtures and accessories that will be present in your bathroom.

At Topp Remodeling & Construction, we proudly offer a wide variety of bathroom remodeling services in addition to our general contractor and home addition solutions. There are a few common size designations out there when it comes to bathrooms, each of which describe a varying level of fixtures included in the space. Let’s look at each of these designations and what they mean so you can have a good idea of the format you’ll be looking at for your new bathroom.

size designations bathroom remodels

Quarter Bathroom

The smallest and rarest of these designations is the quarter bathroom, which you will almost never see in homes. Quarter bathrooms are rooms that have only a toilet – no sink, no other fixtures of any kind. They are sometimes present in certain commercial buildings or other facilities, though even these kinds of buildings tend not to feature them when newly-built. There’s almost no reason you would ever consider a quarter bathroom in your home.

Half Bathroom

The half bathroom is a much more common option in homes, particularly any large enough to hold multiple floors and potentially host guests. A half bathroom features a toilet plus a sink – just enough for someone to be able to use the bathroom for its basic purposes and stay sanitary. Many homes turn their half bathroom into a “powder” room or something similar, with many great designs available for homes that regularly have guests.

Three-Quarter Bathroom

There’s only one bathroom designation that may actually vary somewhat, and it’s the three-quarter bathroom. There are really four possible elements in a bathroom: The toilet and sink we’ve already gone over, plus the potential for a shower and a bathtub.

A three-quarter bathroom, then, refers to a bathroom that has precisely three of these items. In the vast majority of cases, the tub will be the piece missing in a three-quarter bathroom – though there are many cases where a tub-shower combination can be used and still counted as a three-quarter format.

Full Bathroom

Finally, as you may have guessed, the full bathroom is the only option that contains all four elements: Toilet, sink, shower and a full bathtub. Many homeowners choose to upgrade their full bathroom into a true luxury area, with things like whirlpool jets, multiple sinks and various other accessories.

For more on the different bathroom size designations out there, or to learn about any of our home remodeling or home addition services, speak to the staff at Topp Remodeling & Construction today.

Layout and Design Themes for Bathroom Remodels

Any home remodeling project you’re considering will involve design elements that require you to properly utilize your space available, and a bathroom remodel is no exception. While the specific fixtures and materials you utilize are of great importance, they won’t matter as much if your overall spatial layout is not well-designed.

At Topp Construction, planning and design phases are just one part of the comprehensive bathroom remodeling process we’ll help walk you through from start to finish. The bathroom is one of the most valuable and most-used rooms in any home, and we’ll ensure your upgrades are stylish and add value in important areas. Let’s go over a few themes we’ll often speak to our clients about when it comes to designing and laying out their bathroom remodel in advance to ensure they get the perfect new bathroom design.

No “Work Triangle” To Utilize

Bathroom remodel designs may be similar to kitchen remodeling projects in a few areas, but one area where they broadly differ is the lack of a “work triangle.” This triangle is present in the kitchen, made up of the sink, stove and fridge (or other major storage area) – and it often serves as a foundational theme for design templates that are built around it.

In the bathroom, however, there is no such work triangle. Everyone uses the bathroom for different distinct purposes, and some might have very different habits than others. This means you have more freedom in your design potential, but there’s also more room for error if you aren’t careful.

Work in Zones

Generally speaking, we recommend working in zones when it comes to your bathroom remodel. By this, we mean thinking about various different areas – the sink, the toilet, the shower, the counter and others – individually, considering their purposes and how often they’ll be used in your new bathroom. A few tips and considerations here as you move through zones:

  • Toilet: Many consider their toilet first, as it has plumbing attachments that often restrict it to a certain part of the room – you don’t want to find out later that your design is ruined because your toilet can’t be placed where you want it.
  • Traffic: As you move through zones, consider the bathroom’s expected traffic. How much storage will be needed for items like towels or toilet paper to fill regular needs?
  • Space around zones: Also consider how close each zone or object is to one another. Items that are too close together will lead to a cramped bathroom space – our pros will be happy to help you keep the appropriate amounts of space present.

Ventilation Themes

One additional theme we wanted to highlight that’s particularly important for the bathroom space: Ventilation. The bathroom tends to involve significant moisture and water vapor, so it needs to be properly ventilated to ensure mold, mildew and other risks do not develop. Ventilation should be considered as part of the design phase, not as a secondary afterthought.

For more on important design themes for your bathroom remodel, or to learn about any of our home remodeling or general contractor services, speak to the staff at Topp Construction today.

Understanding Focal Points in Kitchen Remodels

While part of any kitchen remodeling project involves the kind of direct detail you expect from a construction project, there’s another part that’s a bit more down the artistic and creative pathway. Kitchen design is often a vital part of a home, from its aesthetics to its actual value, and determining important parts of it during the kitchen remodeling process can help define the space.

At Topp Remodeling & Construction, the kitchen remodel is one of our numerous specialties when it comes to home remodeling and general contractor needs. And while we’re always on top of your construction and material details during such a remodel, we’re also happy to provide tips and expertise on the creative side of things, including what industry pros would refer to as “focal points” within the kitchen. What are these, and what role do they play in kitchen design? Here’s everything you need to know.

focal points kitchen remodels

Focal Point Basics

Broadly speaking, a focal point in any room is one that draws attention from those who enter the room. As you might imagine, this can be a widely varied category – depending on the general design theme, numerous different items or areas might draw eyes.

In many cases, focal points are found in major art pieces, accent lighting areas, wall-mounted screens, fireplaces or brighter-colored areas in a generally darker room. Contrasts play a big role here: If most of a room is a given color or theme but a certain area diverts from this significantly, this area often becomes a focal point.

Kitchen Focal Point Options

What are some of the common focal points that open up in the kitchen? Here are a few to consider:

  • Island: One of the most popular remodeling themes is a kitchen island, which increases workspace and is great for social activities. Islands are virtually always focal points, meaning they need to be carefully designed and kept clean and uncluttered.
  • Backsplash: The material that covers the kitchen wall between countertops and cabinets is the backsplash, and many homeowners choose to make it a focal point as well. Specifically, the area directly behind the range or sink is one where eyes will go – consider making it a catchy color or something that differentiates from the rest of the kitchen.
  • Sink: The sink itself can be a focal point as well, especially if you utilize modern items like stainless steel, undermounts, fireclay and more.

Organizing Kitchen Focal Points

Now, it’s important to keep track of your number of focal points and how they complement each other within the kitchen. Too many focal points will be distracting, but too few will lead to a bland, boring kitchen space. The important theme here is balance – you want focal points that support each other and the other designs in the kitchen, and never compete with one another for attention. The larger the space, the more focal points it will require.

For more on focal points within a kitchen remodel, or to learn about any of our home remodeling, home additions or other general contractor services, speak to the staff at Topp Remodeling & Construction today.

Water Conservation Themes During a Bathroom Remodel

Home remodeling projects can be done for a variety of purposes, from improving aesthetics to upping home value and several in between. One additional area some homeowners consider when thinking about a remodel: Improving efficiency or decreasing utility costs in some specific way.

At Topp Remodeling & Construction, we’ve assisted with numerous such remodeling projects, including one particular type that’s becoming more and more popular today: A bathroom remodel that, among other things, looks to incorporate water conservation into the new space in several areas. Here are several of the elements you might consider in such a bathroom remodel to not only upgrade the visual and practical elements of the space, but also to help conserve water.

water conservation bathroom remodel

Showerhead Options

The shower is a commonly remodeled area within the bathroom, whether to switch to a walk-in option, expand the space or change the showerhead configuration. Within this latter area are multiple options when it comes to saving water, including options that do not require any reduction in comfort.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of water-saving showerheads available today:

  • Low-flow showerhead: This is an option that limits the water pressure used in the shower, sending the water through smaller holes. Those who have used these will tell you about their expert designs that allow you to still experience similar flow rates without using up so much water.
  • Aerating showerhead: This is a type that mixes the water being used with air, reducing the overall volume of water that’s required. This will create a bit of a different shower experience, one our general contractors will be happy to explain to you.

Low-Flow Toilet

One of the single most common home upgrades today is the low-flow toilet, which comes in a variety of types and models on today’s market. There are dual-flush options, which have one button for solid waste and another, which uses less water, for the liquid waste option.

Previous generations may have worried about the aesthetics of a low-flow toilet, but this is a thing of the past. Today, they are manufactured in stylish and modern formats, allowing you to maintain a modern room upgrade without sacrificing quality.

Bathtub Considerations

Finally, when considering a bathtub change, think about how often you utilize the bathtub to begin with. Do you take a bath every day or multiple times per week, or just occasionally? If it’s the latter, you might consider a walk-in shower that does away with the bathtub altogether. If it’s the former, a water-conserving bath that takes the shape of your body and limits the amount of water you use should be a strong consideration if this is your goal.

For more on water conservation themes to consider during a bathroom remodel, or to learn about any of our general contractor or home remodeling services, speak to the staff at Topp Remodeling & Construction today.

How Hiring a General Contractor Benefits You

Whether you’re looking for home additions, single room remodeling or even a custom home built from the ground up, you need an experienced, high-quality general contractor on your team. This is a professional who not only physically completes several areas of your required job, but also has the knowledge and expertise to hire out other sub-contractors and coordinate your entire project to ensure it meets the high standards you require.

At Topp Remodeling & Construction, we’re proud to serve as Utah’s best general contractors, offering services ranging from custom home framing to a wide variety of home remodeling services, plus everything in between. Why does it pay to hire a general contractor rather than attempting to coordinate every individual contractor on your own? Here are several reasons, ranging from ease and convenience to saving you time and money.

hiring general contractor benefits

Understanding Codes and Regulations

One area that many homeowners simply aren’t fully up to speed on is varying building codes and regulations that must be followed in detail. Our contractors have significant experience here, meaning we’ll keep everything in line in terms of meeting code at all times. We know all the local codes and any possible variants present – individual sub-contractors or building managers generally don’t maintain the same level of knowledge.

Licensing, Insurance and Worker’s Comp

In addition, working with a general contractor covers you in the rare case where something goes wrong. Our general contractors have not only a state license, but also liability insurance and worker’s compensation in place.

This shields you from liability for any accidents or incidents that come up – these are very rare with our team, but we want you to be protected just in case. This means we understand safety standards and will keep conditions optimal on your job site at all times.

Saving Money

Some think that hiring contractors themselves “cuts out the middleman” and saves money, but the reality is essentially the opposite. For one, general contractors can buy materials in bulk to lower the costs – you’ll spend less in this major area.

For another, general contractors are far more likely to get the job done right without any concerns. This stops expensive mistakes and also brings a higher return-on-investment and home value.

Saving Time

And finally, a general contractor who is experienced like ours will streamline your entire project from start to finish. From acquiring permits all the way to putting the final touches on your remodel or home addition, the general contractor serves as your broad project organizer, saving you huge amounts of time you might have spent researching sub-contractors, calling around for price quotes and sourcing materials. If any issues come up that threaten the schedule, the general contractor can deal with it while leaving you to attend to other areas of your life. General contractors often take weeks or even months off your overall project timetable.

For more on why a general contractor is the right choice, or to learn about any of our services, speak to the staff at Topp Remodeling & Construction today.

Comparing Home Remodeling to Home Renovations

At Topp Remodeling & Construction, we’re proud to offer a wide range of home remodeling services to clients throughout Utah. Whether you need a basement finishing job, a bathroom remodel or a home addition, our general contractors are on-hand to assist you with every step of the job.

One of the single most common questions we’re asked by current and prospective clients: What’s the difference between “remodeling” and “renovating” a home? And while there’s nothing wrong with sometimes using these terms interchangeably – especially when dealing with pros like ours who will go into great detail to understand precisely what your needs are – they technically are not the same thing. Let’s go over the proper definitions of each, what they generally refer to in today’s construction world, plus how you can often accomplish both within the same project.
comparing home remodeling renovations

Renovation

The term renovation comes from a Latin root word “renovare,” which can be defined as “to renew, restore or revive.” Its application within construction basically follows this definition: Renovations are generally performed to restore a given area or item to a previous condition.

So in many cases, renovations are done to buildings that are in poor condition and need to be restored to a better one. This is often due to aging or lack of maintenance. Some renovations are massive projects, such as building up an abandoned home into a livable property. But others can be small and relatively specific.

Remodeling

Remodeling, on the other hand, can be defined simply as “to model again.” This means taking an existing, generally functioning element of a given structure and changing its form or structure in some notable way. Maybe you’re looking at a room in your home and visualizing it with a different appearance, and/or a different form or function.

You might turn a previously unfinished basement into a living room area or a play-place for the kids, for instance. Another popular remodel is the kitchen, which has numerous practical and aesthetic areas you can consider changing out.

Both Together

Now, it’s important to note that not only are these terms interchangeable and often irrelevant in the end, you can also combine them even if you’re sticking to the technical definitions. Take a bathroom that’s still somewhat functional, but has worn down in several areas and also looks bad – you can restore this area in a renovation, but also change its appearance and form through remodeling services simultaneously. This really all depends on the precise nature of your needs, the current state of the area and what you want it to look like when you’re finished.

For more on the differences and similarities between remodeling and renovating, or to learn about any of our home contractor services, speak to the staff at Topp Remodeling & Construction today.

Custom Home Designs to Fit Your Lifestyle & Budget

Building a custom home lets you create the perfect living space for your lifestyle and your budget. The design of your home should reflect the way your family lives and create a comfortable, livable space with all the amenities you desire.

But how much should you base your design and finish selections on current trends?

The answer to this question depends on how long you plan to say in your home and how much you may be willing to compromise your own design sensibilities to maximize the future value of your home.

Custom home builder serving Salt Lake City

Choosing Your Custom Home Design & Layout

One of the most important benefits of designing and building a new house is how flexible you can be in your selections.

When you purchase a house in an established new home community, you are limited to the elevations and floorplans offered by the builder. You have some degree of flexibility to make changes; however, most tract builders limit your options and charge a substantial premium for design changes.

The current trend – which has been firmly in place since the 1990s – is an open concept floorplan. This creates expansive, open spaces for common living, typically encompassing the kitchen, dining and living areas. Some plans do have separate formal living and dining rooms, but these separate spaces are becoming more of a rarity. Instead, that space is now being used for more practical purposes, in accordance with how families live today.

If an open concept doesn’t suit your preferences, you can design your common areas to be less open. However, that may mean that it won’t appeal as much to future buyers.

The same can be said of your interior finish choices. If you prefer a more eclectic style – orange cabinets or lime green countertops – you should be prepared to renovate before you sell your home or recognize that it might be more difficult to sell.

Finding Compromise to Maximize Value & Livability

When you work closely with an experienced custom home builder, you can find compromises that allow you to have the home you want and still ensure its future value to potential buyers.

For example, your builder can recommend ways to partition off common spaces that can later be removed without extensive renovations. Or you could add innovative rolling doors and partition walls that fold away or roll up when you wish to open up the space.

For those eclectic finish selections you prefer, your builder can recommend a specific type or style of cabinet that can easily be re-faced in the future, for example.

Designing Your Ideal Custom Home

When you choose an experienced builder, you can rest assured that you will have a high-quality home that will endure the test of time. Aesthetic choices such as paint colors, tile selection and other interior finishes, can always be changed over time, as your preferences change and new trends emerge.

Topp Remodeling and Construction, based in Murray, Utah, specializes in assisting clients throughout the Salt Lake City area and along the Wasatch Front. Our team works closely with you to establish a design that suits your needs while working within your budgetary constraints. Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule a consultation to discuss your new Utah custom home.