Home Improvement In 2019

Not always are the industry trends that we experience centered around the materials we will use or the changes in how the space is utilized.  Sometimes the trends that are called out have to do with the way in which the process of renovating occurs.  In this installment we will look at some not so pleasant trends that seem to be on the rise going into 2019 and how you can avoid falling victim.

DIY Homeowners Will Emerge

To be honest, for contractors, DIY homeowners are both a blessing and a curse.  Yes, one would think that when renovation jobs are done without hiring a professional contractor that we as an industry lose however, in my experience, this is never the case. 

Everyone thinks that with the help and guidance of YouTube and smartphones that they can tackle anything their homes throw at them.  The one thing that happens more often than not, is that even though it is possible for DIYers to physically accomplish a renovation, they flat out run out of time to do it.  There have been many a project that we have been brought to finish that DIY homeowners have run into issues with time management.  Let’s face the facts here, renovating rooms within your home often ends up requiring more time than homeowners have.  Working a full-time job, kid commitments, and keeping up on basic household chores leaves most of us without a lot of downtime.  Although homeowners begin DIY home improvement with fierceness and plan a few weekends to complete them, life gets in the way, the drive stalls, and the professionals come in to save the day.

As a contractor, I always support the DIY movement.  If this trend prevails into 2019 as industry experts say it will I won’t be out of work anytime soon. 

Regret from Missed Execution

This phenomenon is common when working with homeowners who under budget and over inspire with their renovations.  It is not worth starting a renovation when you are already considering ways to cut corners to get the results you desire. Most homeowners, however, don’t heed this warning.  This has become a greater issue over the past few years because of the many sources to draw inspiration from.  With magazines, Pinterest, social media, and the internet in general ideas for renovations are abundant.  What homeowners see in their vision verse what they have budgeted for are often two different things. 

They work to simplify the requests to fit the budget but don’t simplify their expectations for the actual execution. We as contractors struggle to avoid when working with clients whose ideas stretch beyond their budget.  The best suggestions we offer to fend off this 2019 trend from happening to you with your renovation is to wait until you have saved enough that your budget matches your expectations.  Lowering expectations to meet a budget will lead to regret upon execution of the project because it will never be exactly what has been pictured all along.

The one thing that we always stress to our clients when renovating a space, whether it is a kitchen remodel, bathroom modification, or even the installation of new flooring is to envision the final product.  Share that image with us.  As home improvement industry experts, we strive to give clients their dream space and this can only be done if we know what the end goal looks like to them.  If this final picture isn’t realistic with their space, time constraints, budget, or whatever else we work with them towards a solution.  Sometimes it means waiting until the budget is able to accomplish what they want, sometimes it is reimaging the space they have and creating the space they want within it, and sometimes its as simple as drawing a new final picture for them to see. 

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

Before Any Home Renovations These 8 Things Are Important

Home improvement projects can easily be derailed by the smallest of mistakes.  Ordering the wrong material, an unprofessional contractor, or unrealistic budget, can take a plan and turn it upside down.  As a homeowner it is up to you to be prepared for your renovation.  Here are a few things to consider before taking on another renovation whether you hire a professional contractor such as Kearns Brothers or attempt to DIY.

Understand What You Like

If you have been considering renovations to your home for awhile now you probably have created a number of Pinterest boards for each room in your house.  You most likely have some ideas of exactly what you want your renovated space however, it is important to plan whether your renovation is cosmetic only or if you will be changing the structure of the home.  Structural changes will take a number of specialty contractors working together to ensure the plumbing, electrical, and structure of the home functions properly with the newly renovated space.


The phrase “dream house” wasn’t invented because it exists in real life.  Obviously when renovating, the goal is to create your dream space however in the real world this needs to be accomplished within a manageable budget.  Before you become to invested in any one concept or material take time to check out the costs of materials at your local home improvement center and average labor costs in your area.

Myth vs Reality

Sometimes what we want just can’t happen because it is not feasible in our home.  It may seem like adding a bathroom to your upstairs master bedroom should be simple however, sometimes it because unrealistic because of the budget needed to configure plumbing where it is needed.  Before committing to a project of any magnitude it is crucial to meet with an architect and contractor for insight.  You may decide the idea needs to be scraped or reinvented.

Hire a Professional Contractor or DIY

For all but the simplest renovations hiring a professional contractor is the best option in home improvement.  I can’t express in numbers the amount of times I am called into clean up a mess from a renovation that a homeowner began but just can’t finish.  Before you begin a renovation, consider the amount of free time you have to complete the project at hand.  Not many homeowners have the time for renovations on top of their full-time jobs and general commitments. Enlisting the help of a contractor not only saves you time but often money as well.

Colors and Materials

Another element of renovation that is often forgotten is how different colors and materials that are used with look in the space especially as the light changes.  Place samples of the colors and materials you are looking at using throughout the space you are renovating and walk through the area a few times a day for a couple of days to see if you really love them as much as you think you do.  Oak cabinets may look simply unbelievable in the aisle of the home improvement store but when in your space, light, and surrounded by the colors you desire, oak might just not look like you desired.

Thoroughly Check Out Your Vet

We aren’t just talking about online reviews and testimonials, do research into:

  • Licensing
  • Insurance
  • Workers’ Comp
  • Bond Certification
  • Lien History

After meeting with several contractors, going over their credentials and your project, you should have a pretty good feel for what working like with each contractor.

Detailed Contract

Everyone, contractors and homeowners, are all elated at the start of a new home improvement project.  However, it is crucial to be prepared.  Contracts with any outside professionals, including home improvement contractors, need to be airtight, detailed, and specific to your project.  They should include:

  • A Schedule for Payments
  • Penalties for Missed Milestones (for both contractor and homeowner)
  • Details on All Work to Be Done

Having a detailed layout of what is expected, in writing can save both contractors and homeowners from hassles and headaches down the line.


If you think of terms that are synonymous with home improvement timeliness is not one of them.  Remodeling is often notorious for requiring more time than what was budgeted.  It could be weather, delays, order issues, subcontractor issues, and more.  The most important aspect is to plan accordingly.  Don’t plan a major family dinner party for the day after you expect your kitchen renovation to be completed.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

Is It Time to Replace the Windows in Your Home?

Our homes can’t tell us when something is wrong or not working in the manner that we need it to.  It does however give us a number of signs when something isn’t running exactly as it should be.  This is especially true when it comes to our home’s windows.  The windows on our home can last upwards of 20+ years when high-quality windows are purchased are well-maintained.  It is important that homeowners pay attention to their homes and know what to look for when it comes to replacing the windows of their homes.

Are the windows damaged, warped, or broken?

Sometimes windows need to be repaired instead of replaced.  Minor problems like replacing broken hardware, adding new weather-stripping, or fresh caulking are some of the simpler repairs that can be done on windows. Replacing a window that has a broken sash, has become damaged, or warped may be the better option.  The window may still be in “working” order but really need to be replaced.  Windows that have a draft, fog up, stick, or won’t stay open are telling you they need to be replaced.

Are you ready to lower your energy bills?

Properly installed windows lower your monthly utility bills year-round.  Drafty windows can increase your energy bills upwards of twenty five percent.  Replacing the windows in the home with more energy-efficient windows can reduce your heating and cooling bills.  It can also be a huge selling point down the road when you are considering putting your house up for sale.

Can your home’s curb appeal use an update?

The windows and doors of your homes are one of its most noticeable characteristics.  If they appear old and damaged the overall look and feel of your home will seem outdated.  Look at the color on the window frames and screens, are they faded, do the screens have holes in them? Curb appeal is everything when it comes to your home and your homes windows are a huge part of the overall look of your home.

The type of windows that you choose can also change the total appeal of your home.  Some homeowners choose to go from fixed sash windows to new ones that open.  Another option is to increase the size of the windows to increase the amount of natural light that comes into the home.  Daylight increases the productivity, adds coziness, and creates a warmth within your home.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

Motivations in Home Improvement

It doesn’t matter if you have lived in your current home for 15 years or just purchased your first home, a fixer-upper, there is a great chance that some home improvement projects are in your future.  From small renovations such as the installation of a new front door or something major like a complete kitchen remodel you will most likely turn to a company that specializes in home construction.

Updates can be something as simple as changing the way a room looks or updating the function a space serves or as grand as a adding an addition or modification to an existing room that is not being properly utilized.  The reasons for renovations to your home vary a great deal, the one thing that doesn’t is the need to ensure you and your family are prepared for the renovations.

Remodeling: Know Why

It is important to understand why you are taking on any renovation project before getting started.  If you are adding an addition or gutting your kitchen in favor of a newly designed space, it is crucial to know why you are doing it.  Does the plumbing and electricity need to be updated?  Do you need a space that is more practical or a more usable floor plan? Are you just bored? No matter why it is important to get a hold of the motivation for the project as it will better help you to budget and prioritize.


It doesn’t matter if you have a new construction home or a historical home, maintenance is required to ensure that the everything needed to keep the home up and running is working smoothly.  Homes that are over a decade old must have regular inspections on electrical, plumbing, and structural elements in order to keep your home safe for your family.

Renovations driven based solely by maintenance will often mean that the budget for the renovation will mostly go towards hiring professional licensed contractor specializing in services like plumbing and electrical.  More often than not this type of work will require permits and inspections.


The plumbing and electrical in the home may be up to date however, the rooms may not function as you need them too or may just be an eyesore.  Plenty of times renovation are done just to bring a space up to date.  If this is the reason for renovations you will see a difference in your budget allocation as more of your budget will go to design elements, state of the art appliances, and trending home improvement materials.

Improving Efficiency

Other renovations are done just to improve the efficiency of the home. New windows, doors, siding, chimney updates, and insulation are all renovations that are completed to shrink energy waste and decrease their utility bills.  Other renovations may include new thermostats and solar panels.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.


Window Options That Work with your Home

Windows are indeed one of the most obvious features of a house. Homeowner must ensure that windows are installed properly and that the style compliments the architectural design of the home.  As a homeowner it is important to work with your contractor to ensure the exterior of your home goes with the windows that are chosen.  Little things like the shape, size, and style of the new windows should be considered.  It is important that the windows that are chosen are useful and stylish for both the interior and exterior of your home.

There are several window replacement options that you should consider regardless of whether you are building a new house or remodeling your present one. Although, the options you might be faced with might at first seem a little bit overwhelming, choosing the most suitable new windows will make your home a lot more enjoyable and beautiful.

Below are some options of window installations that could work with your home:

Single/Double Hung Windows

Single hung windows consist of two sashes, the top being stationary while the lower one moves upward to allow for little breeze into the house. These types of window installations were common in earlier years but have started gaining attention again in recent times. They are more energy efficient but are limited in some ways.

Double hung windows are like the single hung windows however, both sashes of the double hung windows can be opened. The sashes move vertically along the window frame, just opening a crack or more. This window installation is however not very energy efficient as they are known to allow air escape more than other windows.

Sliding Windows

This is a very common window replacement for old homes as well as for new homes. It makes use of a panel same as the hung windows however, the sliding windows move sideways to open. It opens easily and is usually safe from bugs. A large sliding window can serve as an added emergency exit in the event of a disaster as the screen can be easily and quickly removed.

Casement Windows

When installing new windows, the casement windows are usually perfect on both sides of a bay window so far adequate space is available for them to comfortably open. These windows unfortunately can’t be installed near a deck simply because of their design.

This window installation works via a crank, which when turned, the window opens on a hinge from the right or left. Casement windows open outwards; this allows you to choose how far you want to crank it. When closed, they seal tight and are energy efficient.

Fixed Windows

As the name implies, this type of window installation can’t be opened, it only functions as a passage of light and to offer an amazing view. A lot of large windows are fixed simply because practically, they are too large to open. If perhaps there’s a room in your home which you might most likely never open its window, but only need it to get more sunlight then you should consider a fixed window installation. Fixed windows are much more secure than the other window styles. Make sure the seal works fine and air can’t get out through it. This will help reduce cooling and heating bill during the summer and winter respectively.

In conclusion, when searching for window replacements or perhaps you’re simply just installing new windows; you should consider every option so that you can choose those that best fit your home. Incorporating different types of window installations into your home is a great idea as it depends on the room, the position and many other factors. It is just important to get the best value and energy efficient ones.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.


How Do I Know When My Homes Windows Need to Be Replaced?

The windows in your home allow you to keep cold or extremely hot air out or let fresh air inside when there is a nice breeze flowing.  You may not give your windows much thought, especially if you can still open and close them with ease, but you may want to look at them carefully to see if they need to be replaced.

Here are 5 clues that you need to replace the windows in your home:

  1. Your Windows Will Not Open or They Frequently Get Stuck

When you begin to struggle opening or closing your windows, it is time to consider calling a window contractor to have your windows replaced.  The foundation of your home may have shifted, causing your windows to become wedged in place, or the frame may have deteriorated to the point where it will not allow the window to move up and down any longer.

  1. Your Energy Bills Are Rising

You may want to consider a home improvement or two when you notice a cold draft coming in through your windows during the winter months or you notice that your energy bills are much higher than they have ever been.  Old windows with only one pane do not do a good job of keeping outside air out, which is why you may want to hire a window contractor to replace all your windows with a more energy efficient option.

  1. The Window Frame is Cracking or Rotting Away

Any noticeable cracking or rotting of your window frame signals that your windows need to be replaced sooner than later.  If you do not replace them, you may find that you are dealing with additional structural damage to your home, which could have been easily avoided.

  1. Your Window Pane is Cracked

A cracked window pane can mean that your window or windows need to be replaced.  While you can have a new window pane installed, the chances that a window contractor can find the exact same type of window pane is slim, especially if you have older windows.

  1. You are Updating Your Home

Home improvement projects encompass numerous items around your house.  While you can do home improvements like replacing your siding or roof without replacing your windows, you may want to consider doing them all at once.  After all, you will already have easy access to your windows when your siding is off, and that will make it simpler for a window contractor to replace them in a short amount of time.  Plus, once everything is completed, your home will look amazing.

You don’t need to wait until it is too late to replace the windows in your home.  Catching these small clues right away will ensure that you can hire a window contractor to get your windows in working order sooner, so that you do not need to be uncomfortable inside your own home.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

Advantages of Replacing Your Home’s Windows

Owning a home means continuous home improvement projects to make your place your dream home. As you tackle various projects, don’t forget about your home’s windows. They’ve probably been there since the house was built and are most likely in need of replacement.

Many times, homeowners forget that windows offer high returns on the investment, which could explain why some homeowners keep their homes windows in place well past their prime.  Homeowners know that windows can be expensive and therefore put replacing them out of their minds while renovating more visible aspects of the home.  Replacement windows do more than just bring up the cost of your home and have several advantages for your household in general. If you’re considering replacing your home’s windows, here are some of the benefits of doing so:

Lower Energy Bills

If you want to lower your energy bills, replacing your windows can greatly help. If you opt for well-insulated windows, they will keep extreme outside conditions from affecting the inside of your home. When it’s hot out, your home will remain cool, which means your air conditioner doesn’t have to run as long. And when it’s cold, you won’t have to run your heater all day and night since the windows will do a great job at keeping the heat in.

Protection from The Sun’s UV Rays

And there are even window replacement options that can block the sun’s ultraviolet rays to help reduce your energy bill while also increasing comfort. If you love natural light in your home, then you most likely have your blinds open all the time. But having too much sun means excessive ultraviolet rays that can fade your home’s interior space. With the right window replacement, you can protect your floors, walls and furnishings by opting for windows that feature Low-E insulating double-pane (or triple-pane) glass.

Easy to Maintain

Windows can be a pain to clean, but not if you choose some with advanced designs like easy-clean features, quality construction and durability. With new designs like between-the-glass blinds or shades, you won’t have to spend as much time cleaning and they can reduce the allergens or dust in your home.

Noise Reduction

Newly installed windows throughout your home can greatly reduce the outside noise, allowing you peace and quiet when you need it most!  Peace and quiet within your home is much needed.

Increased Curb Appeal

New windows can also enhance your home’s curb appeal, providing it with visual interest that will increase your home’s value.   Homeowners should be well versed on their homes curb appeal as it is one of the most important aspects.  People’s first impressions are of utmost importance.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700


The Importance of Your Homes Exterior Appearance

There are many ways to add aesthetic value to your home; the trick though is to get a return on your investment along with it.  Most homeowners think about the interior of the home when considering upgrades however, renovations on the exterior of the home are just as important.  Exterior home improvements that boost your homes curb appeal can go a long way in increasing the value of your home.  First impressions often make or break how buyers look at a home.  The exterior appeal of your home can literally change the way your home is perceived to future buyers.

Of course, most homeowners don’t move forward with renovations to our homes because we will one day will sell the home.  We make upgrades to improve the quality of our experiences in the home.  It is important homeowners consider both their personal enjoyment and added value.  Here are five exterior projects that we believe will add value now and later.

Add a Deck and/or Porch

Sitting in a comfortable chair enjoying a cup of coffee or glass of wine on your porch or deck is a feeling better than any amount of money.  Even the smallest of homes with a yard of any size can enjoy the benefits of a space outdoor that is able to be used as a livable space.  It is important that the area be in proportion with the landscape.  The addition of the deck or porch should only consist of 1/5th of the overall space.  Even a small patio space, set aside, can make a world of difference.  The perception, and hopefully the reality, is that it is a space that used to relax and contemplate the beginning or end of the day.

Replace the Front Door

The first thing you see when you come upon your home is the front door.  An older style door can really date your home.  The front door of a home not only adds to the appeal of your home it is a big part of the home’s safety.  Consider replacing an older front door with a new steel or fiberglass front door with a little bit of artistry to add to the overall look of the home and entry way.

New Window Installation

New windows for a home can be quite expensive; most homeowners don’t consider replacing windows until they absolutely need to.  That however, can be a huge mistake.  Your homes windows are crucial in providing light, ventilation, and insulation.  New windows are a great way to improve the energy efficiency within the home while increasing the appeal to the exterior.  Windows are one of the first renovations to consider in older homes as advancements in windows with both durability and energy efficiency far surpasses that of older window technologies.

Maintenance: Roof, Gutters, Siding, and Landscape

Twice a year it is important to take time to do complete a thorough cleaning of the exterior of your home.  This is above and beyond the normal weekly maintenance.  A homes roof should be inspected and maintained at the beginning of spring and the end of fall.  This will ensure that any cracks in the caulking are filled, missing shingles replaced, and leaks are caught before causing damage to the structure of the home.

Gutters should be cleaned as well during this time to ensure that leaves and extra debris are removed, and the gutters are allowing water to properly flow away from the home.  There are many problems that come from improperly functioning gutters including ice dams that lead to roof and structural damage.

It is important to keep up on your homes exterior such as siding and masonry.  Power washing and touch ups should be performed as needed to prevent any major build ups of mold, algae, or fungus.  This will keep the siding in tip top shape both structurally and aesthetically.

Your homes landscaping is another element that cannot be ignored.  It is a huge part of the exterior view of your home.  Homeowners are wise to complete weekly maintenance such as mowing, weeding, and watering on-top of the chores that need to be completed at least twice a season such as tree trimming, edging, fresh mulch, separating over grown plants, and grass care.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s interior and exterior construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

Home Improvements To Increase Energy Efficiency

Here at Kearns Brothers we are often asked about energy efficient upgrades.  Many homeowners are finding it quite costly to heat and cool their homes thus compelling them to investigate ways to increase the energy efficiency of their homes.  When considering enhancements to your home that increase its overall efficiency it is important to start by evaluating the exterior “envelope” of your home.

The first step in improving the efficiency of your home and decreasing your overall utilities comes from eliminating air from entering or exiting the home unnecessarily.  A new, bigger furnace or air conditioning unit will do nothing to decrease your utility bills if the air is still seeping through windows, doors, walls, or the roof.

Window Replacements

New windows are one of the first home improvements that we would suggest to homeowners with older homes or worn out windows to improve a homes energy efficiency.  Yes, high-quality replacement windows can put a large dent in a homeowner’s home improvement budget however, not only do they provide energy savings they also provide a solid return on investment when going to sell your home.

If new windows are out of the question, another option is weather-stripping.  This process includes sealing areas where air is seeping in and out of the home such as windows, doors, cracks found in attic piping, chimney, wiring, and recessed lighting. Little crevices can radically increase heating and cooling expenses.  These minor, open areas need to be addressed before insulation issues are addressed.

Additional Insulation

The next area to address is insulation. Adding insulation, of at least ten inches, on the attic floor is a must.  Since heat naturally rises this is the first place that should be taken care of with additional insulation.  Adding insulation to the walls of an existing home is often a little trickier than with new construction.  The best time to add insulation to older homes is when you are in the process of installing new siding or updating the exterior such as adding stone veneer or other masonry upgrades.

Another budget conscience way to increase the energy efficiency in your home is by having a home improvement contractor seal and insulate your homes duct work.  Ducts are responsible for leaking heated and cooled air throughout the attic, basement, and crawlspaces of the house.  By having a professional contractor seal and insulate the duct work in your home can cut your heating and cooling expenses upwards of thirty percent.

Look Into your Heating and Cooling Systems

Once your home has been effectively sealed homeowners will see a significant decrease in heating and cooling expenses.  Heating and cooling systems over ten years old are often considered inefficient by many HVAC specialists.  Of course, there is always going to be a new and improved, high efficiency upgrades you can install but without the maintenance mentioned above this won’t help provide any cost savings to homeowners.  Reputable HVAC specialist and home improvement contractors will always suggest making the modifications within the space to create an air tight seal before unnecessarily removing working heating and cooling systems.  If your home is already sealed and insulated properly and you are still looking to increase energy efficiency then and only then should you look into the latest and greatest high efficiency heating and cooling unit.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.