Category: Informative

We are often asked what type of flooring we recommend in homes and commercial buildings. We are big fans of Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) instead of hardwoods and laminate flooring. LVP is water resistant, less expensive, and easier to install than laminate or hardwoods. In addition, LVP has many more applications than laminate and hardwood flooring. As the case for all types of flooring, there are many levels of quality and price for LVP flooring.

01. How durable are laminate floors?

Laminate flooring is long-lasting and highly durable. The surface is made with aluminum oxide which is one of the hardest substances on earth and provides a very robust and wear resistant surface relative to other types of flooring. The core is made out of high density fiberboard that makes laminate flooring highly dent resistant. However, they are not indestructible; care should be taken to help avoid scratching and damage. With a small amount of maintenance, laminate floors will last a very long time.
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02. What are laminate floors and how are they made?

Laminate flooring is made by covering a High Density Fiberboard (HDF) with melamine impregnated paper. The HDF is sandwiched between the melamine papers and permanently bonded together under heat and pressure. The decor paper image is designed from a photograph of wood. The layers of a laminate are: Wear Layer; Decor Paper; HDF core board; backer paper.
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03. What is the difference between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring?

Both laminate flooring and hardwood flooring are made of wood but are fundamentally different. Hardwood is wood in its natural form, cut and finished to be installed as a floor. Laminate is refined wood compressed together with a printed paper providing the visual. The advantages of laminate are that it has superior wear properties over hardwood and can be produced at a much lower cost. Laminate flooring’s durability is better as it is engineered to have excellent wear properties where wood flooring can be enhanced but is generally limited to the natural values of the wood. Wood dents and often changes color with sunlight, unlike laminate. This is part of the natural characteristic of wood and is part of the attraction of a natural product. Laminate, due to its engineered properties, can be installed below grade (in a basement). Laminate flooring has a great flexibility in design as any color or design can be printed. Laminate can provide exotic wood looks without the harvesting of rare or potentially endangered species of wood. The visual for hardwood is provided from nature.
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04. How are laminate floors installed?

Laminate floors are installed as a floating floor, meaning that they are not actually connected to the subfloor. The laminates lay on top of the subfloor and are cut during installation to allow an expansion gap around the edge of the flooring installation. Note that it is essential that a 3/8” space be left around the perimeter of the floor. This allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in humidity and temperature throughout the year.
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05. Can laminate flooring be installed on stairs?

Yes, laminate flooring can be installed on stairs. The planks should be glued down with construction adhesive and a stair nose transition used. The stair nose should also be glued and nailed to the subfloor to ensure stability of the installation.
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06. Can laminate be installed in damp areas?

It is not recommended to install laminate in any area of the home that will be consistently subjected to high levels of moisture. Installations in wet locations such as full bathrooms, rooms containing saunas, enclosed porches or verandas and rooms with floor drains, laminates should not be used. Extended exposure to moisture can cause the core of the laminate flooring to swell and or warp. When installing laminate in any area that could be subject to moisture, such as bathrooms, a mold resistant waterproof silicon seal should be used to completely fill all of the expansion joints around the perimeter of the floor. This will prevent water from getting below the floor which could cause the floor to fail.
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07. How do I repair minor scratches?

Minor scratches or nicks can be masked with a color matched furniture pencil or similar. Deeper gouges or chips can be repaired with color matched wood filler.
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08. Can a plank in the middle of the floor be replaced?

Yes, if a plank is damaged and needs replacement there are two options. The floor can be uninstalled and reinstalled. Alternatively the plank can be cut and removed.
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09. What is a laminate flooring AC rating?

AC stands for Abrasion Class and is a wear rating that has been standardized by NALFA (North American Laminate Flooring Association). The AC rating measure the abrasion resistance of the floor which determines how well the floor will withstand day to day wear. The AC rating generally ranges from 1 to 5. AC 3 is the industry standard for everyday residential use. AC 4 and AC 5 are considered commercial for heavier traffic areas.
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10. Are laminate floors suitable for wheelchair use?

Yes, laminate flooring is suitable for wheelchair use. Note that caution should be taken to remove any sharp debris that could be embedded in the rubber of the wheels as this could cause scratching of the floor.
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11. What if I have allergies, is laminate flooring a good product?

Yes, laminate flooring is a hard surface floor and is considered hypoallergenic. Its closed cell surface means that there is limited ability to trap dust, dust mites and other allergy-causing organisms. This can be important for people suffering from asthma or dust allergies.
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12. Can I change the gloss level of my laminate floor?

No, the appearance of the laminate floor is determined during manufacturing when the top melamine surface is cured under heat. From this point on it is a closed cell surface that is robust and resists any type of surface alterations. It cannot be waxed, oiled, polished, sanded or alternated in anyway.
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13. Does LVP need to be acclimated?

Yes, at least 48 hrs.
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14. Does LVP expand and/or contract?

It does, not because of moisture, but more so from heat.
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15. Is an expansion gap needed for LVP?

Yes ¼” around the perimeter of the room.
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16. Can LVP be installed over existing ceramic tile?

Yes, any deep or wide grout lines must be leveled so they are flush with the tile surface.
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17. Can LVP be installed over an existing vinyl floor?

It can be installed over a single layer of sheet vinyl.
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18. Can LVP be installed over a radiant heat system?

Only a system that uses water for heat. Electrical systems are not recommended or covered under warranty.
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19. Why should I work out of more than one carton during installation?

To ensure a more random natural appearance in the floor. Because LVP is a man-made product, there will be repeating planks in a carton.
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20. Where can you install LVP?

Anywhere in the home, all levels and all rooms. It just has to be “in” the house not outside.
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21. Can the click vinyl be glued down?

Yes, use the same adhesive that is used for the dry back/glue down products.
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22. Is an underlayment required?

No it is not required, but recommended in most cases, especially installation upstairs.
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23. Can I wet-mop a luxury vinyl plank floor?

Yes, the vinyl plank flooring is virtually waterproof and can be wet mopped frequently.

7 Tips to Prevent Spring Flooding in Your Home

Spring can be a welcome relief after a long winter of cold and snow. But it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, especially as warmer temps cause snow to melt in mass while also leading to rainier weather from up above. Before you know it, flooding is on the rise, and your home is at risk for water damage.

Spring rains cause basement flooding | Water damage restoration service by A&J Specialty Services Inc DKI of Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Milwaukee, WI Dells, Fort Atkinson, Watertown, and Waukesha, Wisconsin

As you anticipate the blooming tulips and nesting robins, use the following tips to help strengthen your home’s fight against any spring moisture the season sends your way.

Here are 7 ways to prevent basement flooding or water damage to your home this spring:

 

  1. Relocated snow piles to help prevent basement flooding and water damage | Water damage restoration services by A&J Specialty Services Inc DKI of Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Milwaukee, WI Dells, Fort Atkinson, Watertown, and Waukesha, WisconsinRelocate snow

    The closer piles of snow are to your home, the easier it is for it to melt and make its way into your home. Clear snow away from around the foundation and and move it to be at least three to five feet away from the exterior.

  2. Check gutters and downspouts

    When debris, such as leaves, sticks, and dirt, gets trapped in gutters, it can block the passage of water from flowing freely off of roofs and away from the home. Clearing out debris from both gutters and downspouts can help to prevent water from seeping into attics, walls, and foundations. If necessary, also add downspout extensions to ensure water is draining at least three to feet from the home’s foundation.

  3. Fix foundation cracks to help prevent basement water damage | Water damage restoration services by A&J Specialty Services Inc DKI of Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Milwaukee, WI Dells, Fort Atkinson, Watertown, and Waukesha, WisconsinInspect and mend foundation cracks

    Water can get in more easily when there are cracks in the foundation. For minor repairs, fill cracks with a concrete patch. For bigger concerns, it’s best to bring in a professional to make sure your foundation is repaired in such a way that it acts as a waterproof barrier between the interior and exterior.

  4. Grade the landscape properly

    If weather permits, regrade landscaping surrounding your home to make sure water drains away from the home instead of toward it. If necessary, pull plant material and add more soil where needed.

  5. Install and maintain sump pumps

    Sump pumps help to send water away from the home in areas such as basements and below-grade rooms that tend to flood more easily. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a sump pump or investing in a more portable version. If you already have a sump pump, inspect it to make sure it is in good working order and is clear of debris.

  6. Cover window wells

    Installing window well covers not only allows for natural light in below ground rooms but also prevents melting snow and rain from making its way into the home.

  7. Home inspection

    Bring in a skilled professional to investigate your home in more depth than you might feel confident doing on your own. A professional will be able to specify vulnerabilities where water damage could occur as well as provide recommendations on how to mediate any concerns.

The unfortunate truth is that water damage can happen no matter what measures you take to reinforce your home. In the event of flooding, equip your home with tools to help you quickly respond to any potential damage, including: a generator, a wet/dry vac, fans, contact information for water damage restoration service professionals in your area, and National Flood Insurance, should your community participate.

Custom made fireplace, cabinetry, and mantel built by our craftsman to showcase a flat screen television for entertaining. The fireplace opening is surrounded by Italian marble. The two custom made ash countertops will be stained to match the flooring. The rest of the fireplace will be painted a high gloss white. To put the size of this piece in to perspective, it is 17 feet wide and over 8 feet tall!

Stay tuned for completion photos!Poage Fireplace

Big Street Construction, Inc. of Fairbanks, AK

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2017Houzz award

 

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

 

Fairbanks, AK, January 2017Big Street Construction, Inc has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 14 year old Residential and Commercial Construction Company was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

 

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of  their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

 

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Big Street Construction, Inc,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

 

“Thank you to all of our clients over the years for putting your trust in us to complete your projects.” From the Big Street Construction Family

 

Follow Big Street Construction, Inc on Houzz https://www.houzz.com/pro/bigstreet/big-street-construction-inc

 

About Big Street Construction

Our mission is to provide the Fairbanks North Star Borough community quality and professional service and a superior product. The Big Street Team is honest, professional, efficient, and hard working. Whether we are building your dream home, commercial project, restoring a home damaged by fire or flood, or meeting your remodel needs, our team is always approachable and concerned with giving you the best finished product possible.

 

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

The Proven Benefits of Fireplace Replacements

 

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The traditional fireplace has become a symbol of comfort and warmth over the years. When people list the attributes of their ideal ‘dream’ home, a traditional open-air fireplace usually ranks pretty high on the list. Unfortunately, the traditional open-air fireplace is a notoriously inefficient heat source. In today’s modern homes, the traditional open-air fireplace has serious drawbacks in the area of safety and energy efficiency that simply can not be ignored. For this reason, fireplace replacements like high-efficiency fireplaces and wood burning stoves are recommended for their low operating costs and high energy efficiency.

The Problem With Traditional Fireplaces

The traditional open air fireplace was popular at a time when our heating, insulation and ventilation standards were not as high as they are today. By today’s standards, traditional fireplaces are extremely inefficient. Traditional fireplaces suffer from a serious design flaw which not only sends soot and smoke up the chimney but also a good portion of the heat energy that the fireplace generates.

Most traditional fireplaces, while looking nice, tend to have a variety of problems that could result in higher home heating costs. In most homes, traditional fireplaces develop a number of serious structural problems that simply can not be ignored, including:

loose, cracked bricks and missing mortar joints which could result in your home catching fire

a buildup of soot and creosote in the chimney that is an ever present fire hazard

missing or damaged chimney cap, allowing rain and snow to get inside your chimney causing moisture damage to your home

damaged or missing flue, meaning that smoke and soot could potentially back up into your home

If your home features a traditional open-air fireplace, you may need to upgrade your system before one of these problems leads to structural and safety concerns that could cost you a great deal in remodeling costs.

The Benefits of Fireplace Replacements

Fireplace replacement products like wood burning stoves and high-efficiency fireplaces offer you a number of safety and efficiency advantages that make them the ideal upgrade for the old fireplace in your home. Today’s wood burning stoves are more energy efficient than ever before, able to keep your home warm for up to 10 hours without having to refuel. With the right sized wood burning stove and dry fuel, you can expect to reduce your present home heating bill by up to 70%. Wood burning stoves can also be used during power outages, functioning as a heat source for cooking and heating water. Though wood burning stoves are more advanced than ever before, they still give your home the same rustic look.

High-efficiency fireplaces are another excellent way to upgrade your current fireplace while retaining the rustic look of a traditional fireplace. High-efficiency fireplaces are installed right in the place of your present fireplace. Because they fit in your current fireplace, they can be installed without costly remodeling. Like a wood burning stove, a high-efficiency fireplace will drastically reduce your home heating bills, offering reliable and safe home heating while preserving the rustic charm that you get from a traditional fireplace.

The Environmentally Friendly Alternative

Fireplace replacement products like high-efficiency fireplaces and wood burning stoves represent the perfect way to deal with the problem of a decaying open-air fireplace. Today’s fireplace replacement products are environmentally friendly alternatives to an open-air fireplace, meeting all current EPA emission standards. To learn more about the benefits of having a fireplace replacement product installed in your home contact a general contractor at Big Street Construction and schedule a consultation.

https://www.mychimney.com/blog/about/benefits-fireplace-insert/

http://www.ohiovalleyfireplaces.com/products/wood-burning-products/wood-stoves-and-high-efficiency-fireplaces/

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/high-efficiency-fireplace-zmaz03onzgoe.aspx?PageId=1

 

Money Savings Found in Energy Efficient Windows

Maybe you are renovating your current house or rental. Maybe you are just wanting to do some updating. Whatever your project, switching out old single pane windows with new energy efficient windows should be on the list.
windows

When comparing energy efficient windows with traditional single pane windows, it could seem like the energy efficient options come at a higher price. However, over the long run, the savings you will accumulate with lower heating and cooling costs if you choose energy efficient windows will easily justify that initial price — and actually put money back in your pocket.

How? Switching from single-pane glass to energy efficient double, or even triple pane, windows will better protect you from outside temperatures. Energy efficient windows have a space that prevents outside air and temperatures from invading your home, making it easier to regulate your in-home temperature. This means no more turning the heat up to compensate for chilly drafts coming from a window. No more cranking the air conditioner up because hot summer heat is creeping in through the single pane. Choosing energy efficient windows also opens the door to further savings by providing the option and benefit of installing smaller heating and cooling units, further reducing costs to you.

Another cost benefit to choosing energy efficient windows can be found in maintenance expenses. Condensation buildup happens less with energy efficient windows than with the traditional single-pane window. This means you don’t have to spend your time and money on mold cleanup, water spot damage or buildup.

An added bonus to selecting energy efficient windows is the impact caused to the environment. Less energy used by not having to turn the heat up in low-temperature chilly months means you are producing less greenhouse gas emissions. We all want to have smaller carbon footprints. Energy efficient windows is one step in the right direction.

If you want to gain the most in long-term cost effectiveness while also adding the bonuses of maximum comfort when it comes to temperature in your home, a smaller carbon foot-prints and lower maintenance, energy efficient windows are a great option.

If you’re in charge of running a construction project, then you obviously want the entire process to go as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re managing such a project for the first time, or you’ve been doing it for years, you can likely benefit from tips that can make the project go without a hitch. Here are some smart ways to run your next construction project so everything goes as smoothly as possible:

 

If you're in charge of running a construction project, then you obviously want the entire process to go as smoothly as possible. Whether you're managing such a project for the first time, or you've been doing it for years, you can likely benefit from tips that can make the project go without a hitch.

Staying on budget

If you don’t create a budget in advance and stick to it, then your stress levels are likely to increase significantly. In addition, by spending more than you’ve budgeted for, you can prevent future projects, delay the process as you wait for orders to be delivered, additional funds or research products to make up the difference in other areas, and these are only to name a couple of the potential problems. It’s not difficult to create a realistic budget but is a critical step in your smooth running project. If you’re not sure how to go about doing so, there are many tutorials available online.

Create a list of goals and stick to it

It may seem time-consuming and possibly even unnecessary, but if you take the time to create a list of goals to achieve throughout the project and you actually stick to it, this will help immensely. Your decisions are focused and prioritized. Just like you may make a to-do list each day, a list of goals can help you step-by-step through the entire process, dramatically increasing your chances of success as well as staying on budget. Without a list of goals to follow, you may quickly become overwhelmed, confused, lose focus, or simply fail to prioritize in the proper manner.  All of which can result in construction delays.

Communicate properly with your contractor

The old saying “communication is the key to make any relationship successful” is very true, but not only when it comes to personal relationships. Just as it is imperative for couples to communicate well, it is also important that you communicate well with your contractors. Here are some key points to remember when communicating with your contractors:

  • Allow him or her to voice an opinion
  • Listen thoroughly
  • Treat him or her with respect
  • Be fair, honest and consistent

While some problems are unforeseeable and must be handled as they arise because realistically the time invested in “planning for everything” that could come up would waste a lot of your time. As long as you’re willing to do a bit of planning prior to launching your project, as well as give your contractor a clear vision/goal, any construction project that you oversee has a high probability of running smoothly.

Remodeling your kitchen is often an overwhelming project. There are many decisions to be made, from choosing countertop material to creating the ideal layout. The pressure is on to get it right since it’s a big investment and one of the most impactful things you can do to increase the resale value of your home.

To alleviate some stress and help you get started, here are five things to consider when planning your kitchen remodel.
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  1. Think about the work triangle first. This is an interior design approach that places emphasis on the distance and ease of stepping between the cooktop, the sink and the refrigerator – the three key areas used in a kitchen. Often times, a kitchen feels cramped or non-functional because there is no work triangle, the triangle is too big, or the triangle cuts through an island or peninsula. For work triangle examples, check out the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).
  2. How much do you want to spend? Establishing a budget prior to starting your kitchen remodel will help guide you in the selection of materials. It will make decisions such as whether to go with granite or laminate countertops fairly simple.
  3. How will you use your new kitchen? This question seems like a no-brainer, but for some people, the kitchen is used as more of a gathering place than a place for cooking and eating. For others, the kitchen is used for cooking and baking. These use will help determine your ideal layout and influence the materials you will select.

If you like to entertain, it makes sense to design an open-concept kitchen with casual seating options around an island or peninsula so that guests or family members can converse and spend time there. If you are a serious cook or pastry chef, you may integrate a butcher block counter top, or install a marble slab somewhere in the space for rolling pastry dough.

  1. What is the style or era of your home? Many of the decisions made around remodeling your kitchen will be based on the desired function of the space, but don’t forget about the overall look and feel. Do you live in a mid-century modern masterpiece, or is your home reminiscent of a country cottage? The style of the rest of your interior may influence the look of your kitchen.
  2. What is your design inspiration? On the flip side, perhaps you love the look of a sleek modern kitchen with concrete and stainless steel, but your home is a 1920’s bungalow. The designs you love and want to emulate should inspire your remodel. Bring your ideas to the table by ripping out pages from a magazine or creating a Houzz board. The looks you love can, and should, inspire your remodel. We are here to help bring your vision to life in a way that melds with your existing home’s materials or style.