Sweat Equity & the New England Patriots of Flooring

Preparing your house for the spring market? Looking to buy a fixer upper to meet your budget? Maybe, you're just looking to spruce up your current decor. Installing new flooring can go a long way towards building equity in your home. There are many types of flooring toconsider; hardwood, laminate, luxury vinyl plank, tile and carpet to name a few. Whichever flooring category you choose, will come in many different styles and will range in cost. Today, I want to focus on what I believe to be the best sweat equity option, Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP for short). In this case, sweat equity means that the homeowner is going to do the work themselves instead of hiring a contractor to install the flooring. New Englanders are not afraid of rolling their sleeves up and putting in a little hard work! This can be a huge savings because contractors usually charge per square foot to install the flooring. For example: Let’s say you just bought a 1500 sq ft home but want to update to seamless flooring for your open concept kitchen and living room area and the combined square footage is 500 square feet. You have to purchase the flooring at $4.50 per square foot ($3000) and then pay $2.50 per sq ft ($1250) to a contractor to install. That adds up quickly and that's just the kitchen and living room, forget about the rest of the home! If you want the same seamless flooring throughout the entire home then that could add up to a labor cost savings of (1500 x $2.50) $3,750!!! The reason LVP is the winner for sweat equity is because just about anybody can install it! You will need some basic hands tools, a scoring knife, a square, a tape measure and a rubber mallet (although power tools help make it easier). Most of the LVP uses a lock and click system, so all the pieces fit tightly together. This is one of the biggest differences I see in cost and quality! The cheaper options tend to have less than desirable lock and click systems that work but can be very frustrating to work with. I would suggest spending a little more per square foot in order to get a better lock and click system that provides ease of install as well as a smooth, tight surface when you're done! Okay, now we arrived at the real debate in LVP….Which side is the GOAT? Be very careful when choosing a side, there is no turning back once you do (especially if you listen to the local sports radio stations). Another thing to consider when purchasing LVP is what is on the back; Let’s call this side the Bill Belichick of LVP! This part of the flooring works behind the scenes and ensures the flooring does its job and helps it achieve the highest possible level. You may think that you'll never see it again once it's installed, but it makes a HUGE difference on feel and sound absorption when walking on the floor. On the lower price range the planks usually don't come with a backing on them, instead you have to put a padding fabric down on the entire floor prior to installation (which costs money). You could opt to higher the Adam Gase’ of the world and end up like the lowly Jets, or pay for the GOAT of coaches. The mid to higher priced options usually come with a backing that is attached to the plank itself. This can vary to a cork backing, a rubber backing or some other synthetic material. I have found that the softer rubber or cork tends to be easy to work with as well as providing a nice feel when walking on the planks. Speaking of walking the plank. The top of the LVP plank is basically Tom Brady! This is the portion of the floor that is out for everyone to see. For most, the aesthetics, longevity and performance of the top of the flooring is what matters. There are hundreds of different colors, grain patterns and textures to choose from. Personally I like the classic stained oak look, like Brady in the classic red jersey with the Pat the Patriot logo on the helmet. Some prefer a more modern look, Brady in slate Buccaneer gray (makes me sick to my stomach). The thicker in MM of the top layer, the more durable to scratches and less color fade will occur. In my humble opinion, the best choice in LVP combines the thicker top layer with a visually appealing grain look and the best click and lock system that also has the backing attached to it. In other words, why choose one over the other? It’s pointless to debate which is more important in the scheme of things, they need each other. Sure, individually they would have success but to reach the absolute pinnacle of dominance for the better part of two decades, THEY NEED EACH OTHER! Unlike our beloved New England Patriots, you’ll never have to lament the break up. Floors don't have feelings and most come with a residential lifetime warranty, something I bet Mr. Kraft wishes he had for the two GOATS.

Winter Is Coming!

Here in New England we have the pleasure of fully experiencing all four seasons. As we enjoy the beautiful fall weather and foliage, we also have to start preparing ourselves for the winter months ahead. Winter can be a scary time for homeowners, but it doesn't have to be! Here are some tips from RHR-Real Estate on how to best prepare your biggest investment for the dark, bitter cold days ahead! (Sorry, I don't mean to sound so gloomy). First, let’s think about your home’s exterior. There are many things to consider, but a good start is making sure you are ready for the snow that's no doubt bearing down upon us at any given moment. I mean the complete and utter white out conditions that other states will shutthe whole town down for. Not us, not New Englanders. No way, we sludge ahead and forge on. Get your snow blower primed and ready while the weather is still palatable! If something should go wrong and it doesn't fire up right away then you have some time to fix it (or in my case, bring it to someone who knows what they are doing). Put up driveway markers before the ground is frozen solid. Again, speaking from experience. Do not wait until you need power tools to get those bad boys in! Also put markers anywhere that you have a walkway, retaining wall or any landscape that you don't want thealways careful plow drivers to take out. Protect new plants/trees by placing an A frame shelter over them. You spent all Spring and Summer trying not to kill these plants, don't let the heavy snow get them. While I’m on the topic of trees, don't forget to scan your property for potential hazards. For example, a frozen treelimb that hangs above the power lines to your house can result in a shocking outcome (that was bad, but I'm leaving it in)! Check fuel sources and make sure you have enough to stay warm. Whether you heat with oil, pellets, wood, electric or gas, make sure you check your system before the freezing nights. The last thing you want is no heat which leads to frozen pipes, which leads to pipes bursting, that leads to expensive repairs. Lastly, take inventory of the small stuff. Make sure you have shovels, extra batteries, flashlights, salt, roof rakes and snow brush ready to go. Now that you suffered through my first ever blog and hilariously corny jokes, you are better prepared for winter! Be well,Ben Roy RHR Real Estate

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