Tag Archives: how to buy remodeling

The Benefits of Visiting Our Showroom

The majority of our potential clients will initiate their contact with us by sending an email or calling us on the phone, and requesting a free in-home consultation. While we in no way discourage this, I would humbly suggest that the better route to take would be to first stop by our Showroom. We are open from 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, which should accommodate almost any schedule.

The reason I see it most beneficial to visit our Showroom before making an in-home consultation appointment is, by visiting, you will have the opportunity to meet with multiple members of our staff, from design, to pricing, to production. Even potentially the installers who will be working on your job, the bookkeeper who can answer any questions related to financing, and the marketing team who will gift you with a promotional item or two! We might be having an employee’s birthday party and invite you in for a slice of ice cream cake. You will have an inside view into our company culture instead of one stranger appearing on your doorstep.

Sometimes a walk-in client will be greeted by one of our designers, begin a discussion about their project, and come to a technical question that that individual is not an expert on. We can easily grab the nearby expert, and answer your question for you right there. Have a question about how long your project will take to start? Ask our production department, who know their schedules better than anyone. You can even meet the owner and shake his hand. I think you are beginning to get my point.

Additionally, we have thousands of product samples here that will inspire you. You will have a much better direction of which samples you would like brought out to your home during the in-home consultation. You can even borrow some to take home with you!

I would sincerely suggest visiting us here, developing a rapport with a design consultant, and then making an appointment for him/her to meet with you at your home to proceed further. By visiting us you will have a much clearer picture of whether or not our company is a good fit for you. Call 596-777-6633 to make an appointment to come visit, or walk-ins are always welcome!

Why We Don’t Email Quotes or Leave Them in the Mailbox

About once a month we receive a call from someone asking us:

“Can you please stop by my home, give me a roof quote, and then leave it in the mailbox?”

The short answer is no.

The long answer is, yes, we’d love to work with you to develop an accurate quote for replacing your roof. But just looking at your current roof is not going to give us all the information we need to develop that quote. There are many different types of roofs! What about insulation, gutters, etc? We need to meet with the homeowner one-on-one to have these important discussions and show them all of their options.

For kitchens and bathroom quotes, we often times will gather sample boards around our showroom, and develop an on-screen presentation to show the client, all things that cannot be relayed adequately through email. Our preference is for the client to visit our showroom for the second meeting, where the proposal will be discussed.

Still, many clients request that we “just email the quote”. All you will be getting that way is some technical verbage, some drawings, and a price. You will either love it or hate it, and if it is not perfect, you might dismiss us as a company.

If you were here in the showroom, however, we could take everything you didn’t love, and make revisions right there! Price too high? We can show you alternate materials to help save money. Everything is right here. We understand when clients cannot make it to our showroom for different reasons, and we will gladly come back to you, bringing as many samples as we can, but emailing quotes just does not make sense 99% of the time. It is just too impersonal. We put so much time and effort into developing these quotes, we do not like to simply press “send” and shoot off a PDF to you, we want to show off all the details!

Of course there are always exceptions. Some of our customers live out of state, and others have unique needs that we gladly fulfill. I just wanted to express the reasons you should let us go over the quote with you, if you are able to. You will definitely find it beneficial, and our time and advice are always free!

How to Compare Multiple Bids the Smart Way

You’ve surely heard the phrase “Comparing Apples with Oranges”.

If you change your design every time you interview a contractor and ask them to bid, then comparing their bids will be a worthless exercise.  Each contractor will be bidding on a different thing.

Avoiding this problem is obvious: have a clear detailed plan and give the same set of prints to each contractor you ask to bid.

However, even if you give ten contractors the same plans, when you receive the bids you must look further than their bottom line price.  You should not always go for low bid, assuming you will save money; or high bid, assuming you’ll get the best quality; or middle bid, assuming you’ll get the best of both worlds.  Smart comparison means reviewing exactly what you will get for your money.

For example, if one contractor takes responsibility for mistakes, and has a built-in 5% allowance for unexpected costs, their bid will naturally be higher and still be a better value.

Or a contractor might be high bid because the other contractors left out portions of the remodel on the bid, relying on charging for change orders to finish the project.

Or a contractor might be the lowest bid not because they are basing it on cheaper materials or omitting parts of the project, but because they have an original and unique solution no one else has thought of.

The thing is to be smart when you compare.  A good idea is to choose your bidding contractors by reputation and involve them in the budget.  A good contractor can help you make the correct decisions that will allow you to stay within your budget.

Basement Finishing: How Much Does it Cost?

Are you thinking about remodeling your basement space, but aren’t sure how much it will cost, how much value it will add to your home, and whether or not this is the right choice for you?  If so, I am writing this article just for you!

In the real estate world, basements (even walk-out basements) are not techincally allowed to be factored into the square footage of your home.

In the home pictured here, this is the case, even though the basement could be considered an entirely separate, 3,000 square foot apartment.

Basement remodels at Kopke range from $30-75 per square foot.  Add up the square footage of your basement (ignore the realtors, we all know finished basements “count”), and do a quick multiplication to figure out the range.  For example, a 1,000 square foot basement could cost $30,000 to $75,000 to finish, depending on the materials and layout selected.

Down the hall (and not pictured) is a large bedroom, a pool table room, a home gym, an office, a utility closet, a tool room, and a full bathroom with shower and walk-in tub.  To the left behind this wall is a storage room fit for an excessive collector / holiday enthusiast.

And what did it cost to finish this basement? $135,000.  At 3,000 square feet, this remodel came out on top of the price spectrum, at $45 per square foot.  This is because all top-of-the-line products were used, and very few items from the wishlist were overlooked.

I know what you are thinking: “Why spend $135,000 on a remodel that won’t add any value to my home?!!!??” That is where the debate comes in.  How can you deny the value of all the amenities I listed above?  And how about all the new friends you will make when people find out about the incredible bar in your basement?

All joking aside, every remodel increases the value of your home.  Each in a different way, relative to the wants and needs of the prospective buyer.  For example, if the buyer is handicapped, the walk-in-tub will be a tremendous value, and if the buyer is a chef, the wood-fired pizza oven* would fire him/her up, and the bathtub could be an unsightly nuisance.

If you plan to live in your home for a long time, update it to fit your lifestyle.  If you plan to sell soon, avoid trendy or niche products, and go towards something more universal. And I would say to be mindful of “technicalities”, but don’t get bogged down by them; each person has their own criteria for what is valuable.

Currently, we are finishing a basement in St. Clair Shores that is 1,000 square feet, and the price is about $27,000.  This one is at the bottom of the price spectrum, at $27 per square foot.  To keep costs low, we are salvaging as much as we can from the old basement to be reused, selecting “standard” products instead of “custom” as much as possible, all while still maintaining the Kopke standard for Quality.

To get started on turning your underused basement into extra living space, give us a call.  We can develop a customized plan to fit your needs, wishes and dreams!  www.kopkehome.com (586) 777-6633

*Unfortunately, the wood-fired pizza oven was one item on the wishlist that had to be forfeited.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Contractor

Mistake #4: Incomplete Research on the Contractor

Remodeling your home is like having guests come to stay for a few months.  They hang around you and your spouse, your kids, your pets.  Would you let just anybody into your home? The more you know about your contractor the better you will feel about having them there.  You need to know they are honest, honorable and competent.

Remodeling can be a stressful time.  The stress can be lessened greatly by knowing you can trust your contractor.  If you research your contractor you can let yourself be excited about the project, and let your worry go.

Following are some questions you should ask your contractor. (We’ve included Kopke Remodeling & Design’s answers for you!)

Company Name: Kopke Remodeling & Design
Address: 38200 Van Dyke Ave. Sterling Heights, MI 48312
Telephone: 586-777-6633
Fax: 586-883-9806
Email: kkopke@kopkehome.com
Contact Person: Kayla Kopke
License Number: 2102112787
Do you carry Workers Compensation? Yes
Do you carry liability insurance? Yes
Will your insurance company send me a copy directly? Yes
Is this business your sole means of support? Yes
How long have you been in business? Since 1993 – in our 21st year
Do you belong to professional organizations? Which Ones? Yes, NKBA, NARI
Do you respond to emergencies? Yes for current and past clients
Will the work be ongoing? Yes
Who do I call for changes and for information on the Schedule? Curt Goebel (interior) or Dale Dexter (exterior)
What is your policy on clean-up? Everyday pick up and weekend deeper clean
What is your warranty? Lifetime Workmanship Warranty – never expires
When are payments made? Progressive
Are your materials new? Yes
Have you done similar projects? Most Likely
May I have a list of your 5 last projects without prejudice (not just “selected” references)? Yes
How do you treat changes? Written change order
Who pays if an inspector requests a change? Depends on circumstances
Do you provide a contract that is clear about what is included and what is not? Yes
How long will my project take? We run very tight schedules

How Can I Tell if a Cabinet is Good Quality?

“How to Buy Remodeling” Blog Series – Part Four

Cabinets are basically designed in two categories: Budget-priced and Custom.  There is a middle category called semi-custom but it doesn’t have anything to do with the construction of the cabinet, it has to do with the available sizes and stain colors.

Your budget cabinetry is made out of as much particle board as possible to keep the price down.  Particle board is not a good product for the box, or the shelves, or the tops, or the bottoms of a cabinet.  The goal would be to have the least amount of particle board as possible.  A good quality cabinet has no particle board in it at all.  It has plywood veneers, MDF veneers, or other types of veneers or solid woods.  That is how you tell the difference: look and see, with the top removed, how much of it is particle board. Every cabinet manufacturer has a specification sheet with an exploded view of the cabinet and how it’s made, every part is identified.  I’m pretty sure it’s like a Cabinet Manufacturer Associations Pledge to Honesty.  No one would lie about the way their cabinet is made.  It’s just a matter of what you are looking for: Quality or Price?

Next are the Doors themselves.  Everybody makes a face frame that is of solid wood, and most offer a door that is solid wood, but with some companies, the door itself is MDF (which is not bad) or a combination of real wood and veneers, where the center portion is veneer and the outer portion is real wood.  Those are going to be lower quality and less durable.  A lot of companies that are making furniture that you see in furniture stores are made that way.  Where the appearance is very nice (the shine and the color), but the quality is very low and they don’t last.

The real question is: how long are the cabinets going to last?  Again, like countertops, moisture is the enemy of a cabinet.  And the more particle board you have in the manufacturing of the product, the more it is going to fall apart when it’s exposed to moisture.  A quick example would be the sink cabinet.  As you know, everybody’s sink once in a while drips water underneath, you don’t notice it, and it eventually rots out the bottom of the cabinet.  If that cabinet was made out of plywood, it would last a lot longer than if it were made out of particle board.  As a matter of fact, a lot of companies are now selling a vinyl covering for their particle board sink cabinets to try and stop the water from penetrating when it drips.  So that is something you could look for.

The next thing about cabinetry quality would be the drawers.  Drawers can be made out of particle board, MDF, plywood, or solid wood.  It doesn’t matter to me what it’s made out of, because they all are rated to hold approximately 75 or more pounds.  The rating of the drawer is based on the drawer guide, not the drawer itself.  A lot of companies are showing and pushing 5/8” thick, full dovetail, solid birch, pine or maple drawer boxes.

They are pretty to look at, but they’re just holding your silverware.  If you had a particle board drawer, it still holds silverware.  What makes the difference is the drawer glide system.  If you have a weak glide system, eventually the drawer is going to fall off.  If you drop a drawer and it’s made out of particle board, it will break.  If it’s made out of dovetail solid wood, it will bounce.  You can put it right back in and it won’t be a problem.  But most people don’t drop the drawers so it’s really not an issue.  If you have broken your drawer, then the manufacturer is going to get you a new one.  Or any reface company can make you a new one relatively inexpensively and put it in.  I’m not necessarily condoning particle board as a drawer box, I’m just saying it doesn’t matter that much.

How do you know if you have a good drawer glide system?

Well, you can look at them.  The ones that are bigger are better.  The ones that are real thin are not going to work for the long run.  Visually inspect it: you can tell a good one, a more expensive one, from a cheaper one. As a general rule, the ones that are mounted on the sides are cheaper, and the ones mounted underneath are better.  Some of them are very sophisticated where they close by themselves, soft-close they’re called – when you give them a little nudge, they finish closing on their own.  Those are the high-tech ones.  If the drawer opens all the way out, full-extension, they are more expensive than if the drawer opens ¾ of the way out.

Your standard, side-mount drawer guide is real flimsy, the drawer shakes if you wiggle it, and it only extends ¾ of the way. Your stronger ones are full-extension, they don’t wobble as much, and then your soft-close are the best.

I recommend a nice looking drawer that is durable.  And usually if you are buying an all-plywood cabinet it’s going to come with a plywood or solid wood drawer box.  If you’re buying an all particle board cabinet, it’s going to have a particle board drawer box.  And they will have upgrades available just to upgrade the drawer box.

A lot of cabinet companies, Kraftmaid for example, will give you a particle board box, but then they offer you a plywood side on all exposed sides.  Between the cabinets where it doesn’t matter it is particle board, but everywhere you can see is plywood with a veneer.  So that is an interesting option that they offer.  The problem is that by the time you take a particle board box, and add your plywood sides as an upgrade (they make a lot of money on their option upgrades), you could have just as easily bought a plywood cabinet to begin with.  So there is really no reason to take a particle board cabinet and try to upgrade it.  Just buy a better cabinet to begin with.  Obviously different cabinet shops are going to give you different advice, there are 1,000 different brands of cabinets out there.

What I advise is to look at the box of the cabinet without a countertop on it (so you can see how it’s made), or an exploded view from their pamphlet, ask about plywood vs. particle board, and look at the shelves and see how thick they are (they should be a minimum of 5/8”, I wouldn’t recommend any ½” shelves because they warp).

Feel free to stop by our showroom for a hands-on look at all the different cabinet styles that Dave has discussed, from particle board to soft-close systems, we have the right cabinet for every style and budget.  Located at 38200 Van Dyke Ave. in Sterling Heights, MI Kopke Remodeling & Design is known for happy customers, good quality products, and fair prices.  586-777-6633