Spring is in the Air!

Each spring, my grandmama would quote this old poem, attributed to Ogden Nash:
“The spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is. Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, come out yourself and see how ‘tiz!”

When you “come out yourself” after a long winter, you may notice that the exterior of your home needs a little TLC. Here are four ways you can spruce up the outside of your home this spring:

Clean it!

Siding, windows, porches, and decks will benefit from an annual cleaning to remove spider webs, dirt, and debris. Sparkling windows bring in the daylight, and enhance your view, while cleaning the siding and trim can make it look brand new again. Cleaning your deck and porch will help you identify any areas that might need repair.

While many homeowners may choose to do this work themselves, a licensed painter or pressure wash company can tackle the job for you and give you more time to relax and enjoy the outdoors again.

Paint it!

A fresh coat of paint on your front door will do wonders for your curb appeal. Today’s trends are for softer shades of blue and tan on the siding, with a pop of bold color like teal or yellow for the door. The do-it-yourselfer should lightly sand the door and surrounding trim, apply a coat of quality primer, and finish with two coats of your new color.

If you notice wood rot or damage to your door, call on a professional contractor to evaluate and possibly replace the door.

Plant it!

Seasonal plants and flowers are an inexpensive way to enhance your home’s exterior. If you don’t want the hassle of dealing with flower beds, consider adding hanging baskets and large flowerpots to your porch or entry. They’re easy to maintain and can be changed out each season.

Visit your local garden center for advice on plants that will thrive in your area.

Light it up!

Now that you have a clean exterior, a new front door, and lots of beautiful plants, it’s time to put them all in the spotlight. Solar lights are a great option if you don’t want to deal with wiring. They can be placed in your planter to light up the foliage, along your driveway or sidewalk, and in your flower beds.

For a more permanent lighting solution, contact a licensed electrician.

2021 Kitchen Makeover in Yorktown

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Like many homes built in the late 1980s, Keith and Dottie’s home in Yorktown featured a kitchen with upper cabinets above the peninsula. While this added storage and helped define the area, it closed the kitchen off from the adjacent dining area and den. The cabinets were dark, stained wood, with laminate countertops, and the flooring was a standard sheet vinyl. We were asked to update the kitchen and remove the upper cabinets to give the area a more open feel.

The clients wanted lighter colors throughout the new kitchen, so they started with custom cabinets painted in a creamy white. Because there is a functional cabinet door on the back of the peninsula, the entire back was finished to look like cabinet doors. This detail was also repeated on the end of the peninsula and on one upper cabinet end. Glass doors on two of the upper cabinets add interest to the wall above the stove, and LED strips add task lighting.

New granite countertops in White Savannah continued the lighter color scheme. New backsplash tile by Marazzi in “Urban District Downtown” extends from the bottom of the cabinets to the top of the granite surface.

New engineered hardwood floors by Impressions in “Terracotta” were installed in the kitchen, dining area, and foyer. In the back hallway, laundry room, and downstairs bath, we installed “Lucinda” Coretec stone flooring.

Finishing touches were new stainless-steel appliances, industrial-style pendant lights above the sink and peninsula, and a few well-placed can lights.

The end result is a new, lighter and brighter kitchen which will serve the homeowners for many years to come!

Roof and Interior Restoration in Newport News

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree”Trees, Joyce Kilmer, 1913

Ah, trees. They give us flowers in the spring, green leaves in the summer, and beautiful shades of red and gold in the fall. In the winter, their bare branches catch the snow and glisten in the sun. They provide a home for the song birds, and shelter our homes from the summer heat. And, sometimes, they  are the cause of our nightmares.

 

During a severe storm with high winds, that some reported as micro-burst tornadoes, our clients in Newport News dealt with the nightmare. The beautiful tree in the front yard came crashing through their home. The tree crushed the roof and rafters, and rain poured into their bedrooms and living room. Luckily, no one was injured, but the clients were facing the near-total destruction of their home and months of repairs.

Our good friends at Inside Drying in Yorktown were first on the scene. They tarped the roof to prevent further damage, and began the process of drying out the home and packing up the clients’ possessions. The drywall was removed from the walls and ceilings in living room and three bedrooms. The floors were removed next. With most of the house reduced to the studs, we were able to assess the situation and develop a plan for the repairs.

 

Working closely with the homeowners and their insurance adjuster was critical at this point. As in any disaster situation, the adjuster will create the initial scope of work for the repairs. This gives us a baseline of what is covered and what the insurance company believes it will cost. Our job is to review this scope, and supplement it with our calculations for the actual cost of materials and labor, and the requirements for the building codes in our area. This usually takes some negotiating, and the adjuster may request a follow up meeting on-site, to review the items that have been added to their scope. Once our estimate was approved, we got to work.

 

The roof was first. The remaining shingles were removed, along with the damaged rafters. New rafters were added where needed, and new roof decking was installed. The homeowner chose CertainTeed Landmark shingles in Resawn Shake. These shingles carry a lifetime limited warranty and a wind rating of 110 mph.

Outside, we also replaced the damaged soffit, fascia and gutters.

 

With the roof restored, it was time to address the interior damage. Since the space was almost completely gutted, we had a clean slate to work with. Electrical and HVAC repairs were made first. New drywall was installed on the ceilings and walls, and painted in the clients’ selected colors. For the floors, the homeowners chose a luxury vinyl plank, which was installed in all the rooms and the hallway. New ceiling fans with light kits completed the repairs.

 

The homeowner left the following comment on our business Facebook page:

“Jim Hicks knows his stuff! If it wasn’t for him helping us through our home repair and dealing with the insurance  company when a tree fell through our house, I don’t know what we would have done!! Jim and his crew did a great job and we love the work they did!!”

 

Start to finish, including several meetings with the insurance adjuster, this project took our team six months. The homeowners’ goal was to be back in their house in time to hand out Halloween candy to the neighborhood kids. Happily, we were able to make this request a reality.

Kitchen Remodel in Hampton

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Excerpt: Kitchen Remodel in Hampton We love repeat clients! In the Spring of 2018, we were asked to update the exterior of this home in Hampton. A former rental property, the siding and trim were showing their age. The homeowner asked us to replace these, and to remove a failing back porch. The new exterior looks great, and it will give the homeowner a carefree exterior for years to come. Check it out here: https://www.jimhicks.com/remodels/siding-and-trim-update/ We were delighted to hear from Janet and her sister Francine when it came time to remodel the kitchen and family room. While the basic layout of the kitchen worked,…

Energy Efficient Sunroom and New Kitchen Countertops in Newport News

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Excerpt: Andy and Jackie had a great sunroom at their home in Newport News. The problem was, it was too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer. Multiple sliding glass doors lining the walls leading out to the deck gave an unobstructed view, but they were very drafty. In the kitchen, the homeowners wanted to update the countertops and sink, eliminate the raised breakfast bar, and add a new slide-in electric range. New energy efficient windows and door were a must in the sunroom. We installed 10 new Low E/Argon filled double hung windows and one new sliding door. Above…

Kitchen Sink With Open Shelving And Granite Countertop In Yorktown, Virginia

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Excerpt: This was the most popular picture on our Jim Hicks Home Improvement Facebook Page in July!  To See October’s Shoe Closet Organizer: Click Here! This picture of a stainless undermount kitchen sink with granite countertop,tile backspash, kitchen cabinets and window was the most popular picture on our Facebook Page in June  This picture is of a kitchen that was certainly done well, but this time it’s not our work.  We would love to know whose work it is to give full credit where it is due!  We asked the question “If you could have one thing from this picture in your kitchen what…

Elegant Entryway Remodel with Dutch Door and Flanking and Transom Windows

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Excerpt: We have a lot of fun on our Facebook Page reposting home remodeling pictures that we find and enjoying the feedback that our fans give us.  It’s always amazing to read the divergence of opinions on each picture! Most of our Facebook Fans are from our local area of Hampton Roads, VA – which is made up of the cities of Yorktown, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Williamsburg, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, Portsmouth, but their opinions are hardly homogeneous! What’s really interesting is when we receive an overwhelming response, either positive or negative, on a home improvement or remodeling picture.   That’s when I enjoy sharing…

Beadboard Wainscoting in Bathroom Remodel Design

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Excerpt: We have a lot of fun on our Facebook Page reposting home remodeling pictures that we find and enjoying the feedback that our fans give us.  It’s always amazing to read the divergence of opinions on each picture! Most of our Facebook Fans are from our local area of Hampton Roads, VA – which is made up of the cities of Yorktown, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Williamsburg, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, Portsmouth, but their opinions are hardly homogeneous! What’s really interesting is when we receive an overwhelming response, either positive or negative, on a home improvement or remodeling picture.   That’s when I enjoy sharing…

Window Seat with Books!

Archived; click post to view.
Excerpt: We have a lot of fun on our Facebook Page reposting home remodeling pictures that we find and enjoying the feedback that our fans give us.  It’s always amazing to read the divergence of opinions on each picture! Most of our Facebook Fans are from our local area of Hampton Roads, VA – which is made up of the cities of Yorktown, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Williamsburg, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, Portsmouth, but their opinions are hardly homogeneous! What’s really interesting is when we receive an overwhelming response, either positive or negative, on a home improvement or remodeling picture.   That’s when I enjoy sharing…

Should You Replace Your Leaking Slate Roof In Norfolk or Newport News

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Excerpt: In our area of Virginia, known as Hampton Roads or Tidewater, there are still many slate roofs in key areas of  Yorktown, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Williamsburg, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, and Portsmouth. The most common areas for Slate Roofs being in Ghent and Larchmont in Norfolk and Hilton Village and Huntington Heights in Newport News. A question that we receive over and over is “I had a leak in my slate roof and a roofing contractor said I had to replace it, is that true?”  The short answer is “not necessarily.” Slate may be the best roofing product ever used.  We are…