Being a homeowner means never finishing your long checklist of building and landscaping tasks to get done each season. However, that doesn’t mean you have to contact a dozen Northern Colorado companies whether you need a wall removed, a dumpster delivered or the best battery-powered equipment to cut and trim that lawn.
Greeley’s NS&S Service originally focused on landscaping and installing sod and sprinklers, but as customers requested other services, they expanded the nearly 20-year-old family-owned company.
“Now we specialize in doing a little bit of everything,” says Maria Martinez, a manager at NS&S.
“Everything” includes fencing, painting, cleaning, demolition, property maintenance and more.
NS&S Service also rents roll-off dumpsters for clean-up jobs of all sizes. “A lot of people rent a small 6-yarder for a bathroom demo or a garage clean-out. Unlike trash companies, we rent them by the day and week, not just by the month. We also have pickups for bulk items like couches if you don’t want to go to the dump,” Martinez says.
In the past year as home-bound homeowners took on new building and landscape improvement projects, many realized their old power tools just weren’t up to the job.
As a result, it has been a hectic 12 months at Longmont Outdoor Power Equipment, a family-owned authorized Stihl Dealer that sells new and used equipment and services all makes and models.
“What we have seen is a lot of customers transitioning to equipment powered by newer lithium batteries from gas-powered or corded equipment. The new equipment is more powerful, cleaner and quieter,” says Ryan Brown, manager of Longmont Outdoor Power Equipment.
The Longmont company sells more than fifty pieces of equipment that all can use the same quick-charging battery. “There are several different platforms and price points depending on what you need,” Brown says. His biggest piece of advice for homeowners is to make sure your power equipment is clean, lubricated with cutting surfaces sharpened regularly.
Sometimes the best way to start anew is from the ground up, or in the case of a remodeling project, from the floor up.
And until the world becomes a safer place in which to travel, many homeowners are now using their vacation funds for home remodeling projects that had once been left on the back burner until who knows when.
Those projects – be they a whole-home redo, turning a bedroom into a home office (or yoga studio) or reimagining that ho-hum master bath into a luxurious spa – all need the perfect flooring.
So to help make sense of flooring trends for 2021, we checked in with one local expert.
Kelley McDonald of McDonald Carpet One in Boulder said, “We always tell people to have fun with their projects, to think out of the box and to open their vision to try and do different things.”
For instance, she suggested, “Try a bold, vibrant color or install the hardwood on diagonal, put vinyl plank on a wall as a backboard for a bed. The possibilities are endless with today’s advancements in technology.”
Her best advice? “Don’t be afraid to jump in.”
When looking at all of the flooring choices, LVT – luxury vinyl tile – jumps to the top as today’s preferred flooring choice not only because of how well it replicates hard-surface flooring materials, such as stone or wood, but because it holds up well to everyday family life.
LVT has a solid rigid core, which is how it differs from regular vinyl flooring.
“Luxury vinyl is one of the most well-known pet-friendly floors,” said McDonald. “It comes in waterproof, stain-resistant and scuff-proof styles, so there is no need to worry about a dog getting stuck in the seams or cat scratches on the boards.”
Other 2021 flooring trends
The wider you go, the fewer the seams in your floor. Five inches is considered the standard “wide” plank, but other options range from 3 inches to 20 inches in a variety of species, with some floors mixing different widths for an even more upscale look. Want more drama? Longer boards 7- to 11-foot in length will get you there.
If you want a hardwood floor that’s on trend, you’ll want to look at hardwoods in lighter colors, such as white oak with a natural finish. If you prefer darker wood, gray/brown planks will be more to your liking.
Tile remains a top choice for water-prone areas such as kitchens, mudrooms and bathrooms, and now includes tile that resembles hardwood, marble, stone, terrazzo and concrete along with decorative and encaustic styles. The latter are ceramic or concrete tiles in which the pattern or figure on the surface is a product of different colors of clay.
Say bye-bye to beige and boring. Instead, look for natural and eco-focused carpets, bright colors and jewel tones, and lots and lots of patterns, from geomatics to stripes.
Spring cleaning is a seasonal tradition, and the perfect time to make some outdoor upgrades, as well. Damaged siding, clogged or bent gutters and broken downspouts can contribute to moisture getting into walls and basements. That can lead to mold, rot and structural damage.
C&S Rain Gutters, a family-owned business, has served the Northern Colorado community for over 18 years. They offer valuable insights into what sort of exterior upgrades may work best for you.
New siding can increase a home’s value, but it works best when it’s installed all at once. That way, the siding’s appearance is even and uniform.
Siding materials vary in cost, effectiveness and how long they take to install. Vinyl siding, for instance, can be inexpensive, comes in a wide range of colors and lasts ten to 15 years. But vinyl can warp, crack and fade over time.
Composite board also comes in various colors but can cost a little more and may need repainting every four or five years. On the plus side, it’s more resistant to insect damage and rot.
These come in different colors, and a thoughtful installation can create striking lines around your home’s roof. C&S Rain Gutters offers several sizes and styles, including European-style 6-inch half-around gutters.
While 5-inch is a standard option for residential gutters, 6-inch over-sized gutters are becoming popular. Even though it’s only a difference of an inch, they can handle 40 percent more water. Over-sized downspouts allow for more debris, so they’re less likely to clog.
> C&S Rain Gutters, 2970 W. 29th, St., #15, Greeley, 970.353.3190, candsraingutters.com. Serving the Northern Colorado area, including Greeley, Fort Collins, Loveland, Wellington and Windsor.
By Luanne Kadlub, Photos: Mighty Hand Construction
Mighty Hand Construction enjoys taking on challenging projects — like the Snowden Lake House
Rhonda Snowden couldn’t believe her eyes.
Her family home, which she inherited when her mother passed in 2018, had been turned into a trashed-out drug den by, of all people, her own daughter.
Should she sell and walk away?
That’s what any reasonable person would do, and in fact that’s what she wanted to do. But Rhonda’s gut said no. This was the home she grew up in, where her high school friends would come over to ice skate, sit around bonfires, and just have good, old-fashioned fun.
She wanted the home to once again become a gathering spot for friends and family and a place where she and her husband, Timothy, could enjoy their lake-lodge abode in their retirement years.
Rhonda contacted several contractors with little luck in finding one.
Then one day she and her granddaughter happened by an open house in her Loveland neighborhood and stopped to take a look.
That’s when Rhonda’s luck began to change.
The home, done as a flip, featured design elements that were exactly what she was looking for in her own home project.
The contractor on the flip?
Mighty Hand Construction LLC of Fort Collins, a fairly new startup that found almost instant success doing premium residential remodels and additions as well as custom homes in northern Colorado.
Micah Applegate founded the company in 2017 after “quite clearly” being told by God to move to Fort Collins from Arvada and start the company. Being a man of faith, he named the company Mighty Hand Construction LLC, based on Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
In four short years, the construction company has grown to more than 30 team members, including his two brothers, Noah and Jesse, as well as high integrity and professional in house crews interested in bettering the world around them.
So was it luck that Rhonda Snowden happened upon MHC? Or divine intervention? You decide.
“We stepped in and helped redream the whole project,” Micah Applegate said. The garage was turned into a master suite with access to a private deck and a back entrance to the house; a back porch, anchored by a large pine log, is now a sitting room with never-ending outdoor views; and the newly vaulted ceiling in the great room provides room for Timothy’s animal trophies.
The tongue-in-groove beetle kill pine on the new ceiling is continued on the walls and celing of the new sitting room and on the ceiling of the new master suite.
The all-new kitchen features natural tone alder cabinets, a blue island for contrast (you’ll find the same blue on bathroom vanities), granite countertops and top-of-the-line appliances. Easy-to-care for luxury vinyl plank flooring helps unite all of the living spaces.
If you’re going to have a home on the lake, you’re going to want the views and this home doesn’t disappoint. Both the great room and sitting room have large picture windows for natural light and extraordinary views of the lake, which Rhonda especially likes since she can watch her husband fish while she’s busy in the kitchen.
But there’s more.
Because the master suite became a bedroom, MHC added a three-car, insulated garage to the front of the log exterior home.
“The Snowdens specifically requested that the home have the feeling of a mountain lodge,” Applegate said.
The result is spot on.
The home remodeling project, which turned a trashed out house into a million-dollar home, has been full of happy surprises, Rhonda said, from the blessing of the house performed by the MHC crew to learning that her daughter is doing well in recovery.
By Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming
Whether you are recovering from a natural disaster, doing repairs, adding on to your home or renovating a room, you may decide you need help with that project you are finally tackling. That’s where a contractor comes in.
A contractor is a company or person that you hire to provide materials and labor to complete a job. Some contractors focus on a specific type of project, like plumbing or tiling or painting, while others will work on any type of project. For larger projects, a general contractor may also serve as a project manager working with other vendors to get all the work done.
Hiring a reliable and trustworthy contractor is one of the most important steps for your project. Hire the right one and you can relax knowing that your project is in good hands. Hire the wrong one and you could be facing a wide range of problems from unfinished work to being sued if workers aren’t paid.
Consider these tips when hiring anybody to work in your home.
Research and gather information
Search for a contractor’s business profile at BBB.org for free information on their history of complaints, read verified customer reviews and see if they are an accredited business. BBB Accredited Businesses make a commitment to uphold BBB’s accreditation standards including: to build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor their promises, be responsive to their customers, safeguard privacy and embody integrity. Also search for the name of the company online along with “Complaint”, “Review” or “Scam” to find different results. Ask the company if employees and sub-contractors undergo a background check. Are they trained and certified? What identification will they show when they come to your home?
Ask for references
Ask the contractor for a list of recent local references you may contact. Ask the references about the services performed and their overall experience with the contractor and the quality of the work. Ask if the contractor stuck to the estimated budget and completion date for the project. If possible, inspect the contractor’s work yourself. Ask if the contractor is a member of a professional association that has standards or a code of ethics.
Ask for multiple quotes
You should always shop around and get at least three quotes from different businesses. Make sure all bids consider the same set of criteria. Remember that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid; if one bid is significantly lower than the others, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements.
Get it in writing
Always get estimates in writing and never let any work begin without a written and signed contract. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready and make sure you read and understand everything before signing. The contract should include contact information, start and complete dates, a detailed description of the exact work to be done, any material costs, payment arrangements and warranty information. Specify who is to obtain necessary building permits and who is responsible for clean-up. Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract. Ask how much work will be subcontracted and ask for information on the subcontractors. Ask questions if you do not understand any part of the contract. Never sign an incomplete or partially blank contract.
Verify license and insurance
Always be sure that the company you decide to work with has the necessary licenses and insurance to work in your region. In the United States, you can get to your state’s licensing agency to learn more here.
Confirm building permits
Your contractor must have the correct permits before starting your project. They will usually obtain the permits, but you will probably pay for them. That should be detailed in your contract. Request that all final inspections be completed by the local building official prior to final payment.
Inquire about a lien waiver
A lien waiver, in the United States, is a statement from your contractor that says all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work. In some Canadian provinces, there is a mandatory Builders Lien holdback, so ensure you understand any financial obligations you may be liable for.
Think about future service issues.
Make sure you are aware of your warranty coverage and how to deal with service issues.
Arrange a payment schedule
Never pay in full up front. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, not an individual, or that you use a credit card. Paying with a credit card will provide some recourse should the job not be completed as stated in the contract.
Get a receipt
Request a receipt marked “Paid in Full” when the job is completed and your final payment made.
Keep your contract
Hold on to your contract for future reference or if any questions arise after the work is complete.
When hiring specialized contractors, there are additional factors to consider. Learn more by visiting bbb.org.
> Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming, 8020 S. County Road 5, Ste. 100, Fort Collins, 970.488.2048, bbb.org.
An unfinished basement is often the thing that seals the deal when buying a home. You imagine how you’ll finish it, host guests and games, store stuff, and watch movies on a wall-sized TV down there. Three years later, it’s the home of cobwebs, wrapping paper, and hockey gear and you haven’t done a thing. If that sounds familiar, perhaps it’s time to consider the reasons why it really is a great idea to finish that basement once and for all!
A finished basement may significantly increase your home’s market value. And the functional added space is a no-brainer when compared to the cost of building an addition. The square footage under your feet is not just something that can add value when you sell the home. A basement remodel can solve the problem of outgrowing your home.
Have you ever stayed at someone’s home where you had a whole room and bathroom to yourself? Nice, right? As a guest, it’s comforting to have a private space rather than be right in the middle of the host family with nowhere to go for a breather. Need to put the in-laws somewhere that’s not right on top of you? Of course you do. Or perhaps they need a main-floor room? In that case, a teenager would chomp at the bit to have a basement bedroom. Maybe one of your kids is out of school but not quite ready to leave the nest? This solves that, too, giving them some autonomous space as they figure out what’s next.
Think of it. The poker table. The billiards. Foosball. The comfy couches and big-screen TV. There’s just something about having a space that’s separate from your living room where the purpose is to have fun and chill out. Kids love it. And that means you can keep a better eye on your tribe because they want to bring friends to your house. Family game night is easier, too, when you don’t have to clear off the kitchen table. Just head downstairs and set phasers for fun.
With your home theater, kitchenette, and/or wet bar in the basement, take the money you’d spend at the movies or the stadium and put it in the piggy bank. Entertaining at home, once it’s safe to do so again, will indisputably be a money saver. Invest in a decent sound system and it’ll become your favorite place to be.