Latest Trends in Kitchen Remodeling

kitchen renovation

Stirring the Pot—
The Latest Trends in Kitchen Remodeling

They say the heart of a home is the kitchen. It’s the place where families spend time together preparing and sharing meals. In terms of construction, kitchens are one of the most important and expensive areas of the house. Did you know that even a minor remodeling of the kitchen may give you up to an 80% return on investment? Kitchen trends keep changing, just as our tastes and preferences for food. Here are some of the latest trends in kitchen remodeling you might want to consider when building new or renovating an existing kitchen.


Adding a backsplash helps cover the gaps between the countertop and the wall. It also helps protect the wall from water. If done well, it can add a finished and stylish look to your new kitchen. Kitchen backsplashes trends keep changing. Natural stone is making a comeback, and you can choose from a variety of options. The best part about these is that they are durable, affordable and can go with any style. Another option is pebble tiles, to give your kitchen a three dimensional look, and is the perfect combination of rustic and modern. Chalkboard backsplashes provide a casual look. Lastly, glass tile backsplashes can make the kitchen look bigger and brighter. Designers are also using a combination of colors and materials to create unique patterns filling the area from the counter top to the bottom of the cabinets.

Kitchen Island

Industrial style kitchen islands are both practical and popular. Since kitchen islands are placed in the center of the kitchen, they deserve the utmost attention. The latest trends are all about mobile kitchen islands that can be easily moved in order to give extra space whenever needed. The island can include sinks, stove top or just open prep space.

Counter Tops

The counter top is still a major focus of the kitchen design style and granite never seem to go out of fashion. Not only is granite low maintenance, but it is durable as well. The latest trends include a variety of detailed edging styles, such as bevels and bullnose, or more complex edges such as coves, dupont, and waterfall patterns. Keep an eye out for quartz being used as a counter top material option in a variety of neutral colors.


Stainless steel appliances are still as popular today as they were 10 years ago, and they are not going away. The only downside of stainless is how easily finger print marks show up. Stainless steel appliances continue to be popular because they are tough and durable. They look good in traditional or contemporary style kitchens. They also look good with any wood type or color used in the kitchen. Most manufacturers make stainless finish appliances, so it is easier to match than colored appliances.


2016 will be the year of functionality and minimalism. In order to keep the kitchen simple, stylish and uncluttered, designers and contractors will be using cabinetry with rollout drawers, and multi-tiered drawers. The new designs incorporate the appliances in such a way that it will look as if they are an extension of the cabinets. Other trends include creating hydraulic cabinet door openings that fold and lift out of place with a push button.

These are just a few of the ideas for your kitchen planning or remodeling. Weston Construction can give you an estimate on your next kitchen renovation. Give us a call.


Energy Efficient Building or Remodeling

energy efficient buildingIf you are building a new home, or doing a remodel, there are things you can do to make your home more energy efficient. Here are some items to discuss with your contractor that can reduce the costs to heat and cool your home.

Insulate and Seal

Air that moves through the envelope of your home wastes a lot of energy and increases your utility bills. So the first priority is to make sure that your home is properly insulated and sealed. Add insulation to the attic area to block heat loss in the winter. Don’t worry about finding and sealing all the little holes in your attic; your biggest savings will come from plugging the large ones. The areas where leakage is likely to be greatest: where walls (inner and outer) meet the attic floor, dropped soffits (dropped-ceiling areas), and behind or under attic kneewalls. You can ask your contractor to use additional insulation in the walls. Sealing air leaks throughout the home will reduce drafts, improve comfort, improve humidity control and reduce pollen, dust and insects from entering your home. Your contractor may have special tools that can pinpoint hidden air leaks in your home, especially around windows, doors, ductwork, and switches.

Your local utility may offer rebates for a professional home energy assessment and certain air sealing and insulation projects. Be sure to contact your utility company before beginning a project to see what incentives are available in your area.

energy efficient basement remodelBasement / Crawl Space Leaks

Check your home’s foundation to see if there are any areas that need to be sealed. Your basement or crawl space may need to be insulated if you experience cold floors in the winter; hot or cold ceilings, walls, or whole rooms; or uneven temperature between rooms. Second to the attic, the basement is one of the largest opportunities to save energy in your home. Look for common locations of air leaks in basements and crawlspaces, including between rim joists and under the sill plate, around windows, electrical conduits, pipes and vents that run up through the walls and the floor. Make sure your contractor uses low VOC caulking when sealing the leaks, to minimize the effect of harmful indoor gases. Sealing the home can trap indoor air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and create unsafe conditions. Properly addressing this may require additional ventilation fans to maintain safe air quality in your home or repairs to eliminate the sources of indoor air pollutants.

Window Replacement

If you are renovating your house, consider replacing windows with new, more energy efficient models. You can get double or tripled paned windows, argon gas-filled, and low-e coated glass. Each of these technologies may cost incrementally more at the beginning, but will save on energy costs over time. Check the “R-value” of each window type you are considering. The R-value is the measurement of thermal resistance—the higher the number, the more efficient the window. Your contractor can help you determine the cost-benefit of each window type. Replacing old aluminum window and door frames with vinyl can also reduce heat transfer. Weather stripping placed around windows and doors will also improve performance.

Sealing Ductwork

Sealing your heating and cooling system duct work can not only save up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs, it also can improve indoor air quality. Sealing duct work gaps can help reduce asthma and allergy problems aggravated by particles entering the home’s air flow system. If you’re planning to install new heating and cooling equipment, a well-designed and sealed duct system may allow you to downsize to a smaller, less costly heating and cooling system that will provide better dehumidification.

Contracting for Energy Efficiency

Hire a contractor, such as Weston Construction, that understands and incorporates some of the Energy Star techniques into your new home construction or remodeling project. In fact, improper installation of new cooling and heating systems can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 percent, as well as reduce the life of the equipment. By hiring the right contractor, you will be able to:

  • Cut back on your heating and cooling bills.
  • Improve the comfort of your home.
  • Protect the environment.


Home Renovation—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Common Problems In Renovating Old Homes

Renovating an old house can be rewarding, but it’s not an easy job.  The trouble with renovating old homes is that they may seem in good condition but underlying problems can develop during the remodeling or renovation process. That is why it’s a good idea to hire a professional building contractor; they are always ready to expect the unexpected. Here are some of the common problems found when renovating old homes:

Plumbing problems are a common issue with old homes because galvanized pipes either get clogged or corroded. This issue is not only limited to the pipes in the house, but extends to the sewer lines as well. Galvinized pipes were used before the 1960s and should be replaced with copper or plastic.

Old homes usually have a stale smell which is caused by mold that usually develops due to water leakage from pipes, walls or the roof. Hire professionals to tackle mold problems during construction — they can detect the source of the leakage and fix the problem.

Dry Rot
A lot of homes have the problem of dry rot which sometimes is not visible until the renovation work starts. This is because dry rot is actually a fungus that grows in wood that has been wet. The wood becomes crumbly and soft. Sometimes it appears to have white stains. Even if the original leak has been repaired, dry rot can continue to spread and damage more wood. If the wood in question is involved in structural support, this is not something you want to tackle yourself.

Foundation Problems
Old houses were constructed in a way that did not allow proper grading for water runoff, which usually leads to mold in basements. Foundation problems can be detected from cracks on the floor, in the walls, and by sticky windows and doors.

Electrical Wiring
Electrical wiring in old homes can be a problem because the system back then was not well equipped to power modern day appliances. Also, the old wiring systems were usually not grounded. You can evaluate this by examining your outlets —two pronged outlets are not grounded—three pronged outlets are usually grounded. Old, brittle and faulty wiring can cause short circuits that can turn into a house fire. Have a professional renovation company check the wiring of your house. This may be a good time to update the wiring system, with a ground fault circuit interrupter, which cuts off power as soon problems are detected, before a fire.

One of the leading problems of homes that were constructed at least 40 years ago is asbestos. It is a fire retardant product that was extensively used in earlier construction. It is found in HVAC system, flooring, insulations, duct work, and roofing. Asbestos isn’t harmful if it is in good condition. The trouble starts when it turns into powder (due to sawing, cutting, and scraping) that can be inhaled, as it causes severe lung damage. That is why it is imperative to have a professional abatement company detect and remove asbestos in your house.

Lead Paint
If the house you are renovating was built before 1978, there is a high chance that there is lead in the paint. Lead is released into the air when leaded paint is sanded or heated. The dust from chipped or peeled lead paint is very hazardous to pets and children as well as adults. Have a professional examine and test the house for lead before you start any.

These issues are just the tip of the iceberg of why it is important to hire a professional contractor, such as Weston Construction, to assist you when you planning a home renovation. If you are considering a home renovation, give us a call. We’re happy to meet with you to discuss your project.

Tiling Spaces

bathroom renovation with tile Tile Choices for Construction and Renovation

Ceramic and stone tiles have become a very popular construction material when renovating an existing home or building a new house. We will discuss the types of ceramic and stone tiling options and the benefits and usage of each type. When choosing tile materials for flooring, counter tops, back splashes and shower or bath, it is good to know which tile materials work best for that placement.

Tiles may be broadly divided into two types, ceramic and stone. Both are then sub-divided into other types.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is manufactured from quarried, prepared, and molded clay. The two types of ceramic tiles are:

Porcelain ceramic tile while composed of clay and minerals, also contains 50% of feldspar crystals – a kind of white sand. These crystals melt during the kiln-drying process to form a glass-like material that bonds all the other ingredients together. Even with minor modifications to the ingredients or tile making process, a huge variety of porcelain tiles can be achieved. More durable, stain resistant, and less water absorbent than non-porcelain tiles, porcelain tiles also demonstrate a thorough-bodied color. Porcelain tile is well-suited for construction of exterior walls and floors.
Made from either red, white, or brown clay, non-porcelain tiles are one of the most economical types.
Both types come in unglazed and glazed varieties. The glazed tile may come in semi-high gloss or matte look. Glazed tiles will be increasingly resistant to stains, scratches, traction, and water absorption, making them ideal for bathroom floors and walls.

Natural Stone TileStone tile types

Many people like the natural earthy look of stone tiles. Depending upon the location and time of the stone being quarried, slabbed, and finished, stone tiles come in many varieties. For foyers, and hallways – high-traffic areas – stone tiles with a matte or satin finish last longer, whereas highly polished tile begins to show wear patterns.

Granite is an igneous, dense, and hard rock with a distinctive speckled appearance and unique veining that comes in multitudes of colors. Almost impervious and scratch resistant, this tile makes an excellent choice for kitchen floors and countertops, other high-traffic areas, such as curbs and paving stones, solid, colorful, and durable workstations, such as sinks, and backsplash.

A metamorphic rock available in many colors and featuring rich veining, marble is more porous and not suited for kitchen flooring. It is, however, a perfect choice for interior walls and floors in areas with moderate traffic.

A sedimentary rock that comes in both light and dark shades, limestone’s earthy appearance can be polished smooth or textured. Use limestone for structural and entry walls, the area around a fireplace, vanities, and shower walls.

A limestone type that has a crystallized appearance and an earthy tone, the surface has natural pitting. Like limestone, travertine is perfect for entry walls, fireplace surrounds, shower walls, vanities, tub decks and mosaics.

Slate is a type of metamorphic rock that is extremely dense and very durable. Slate is available in darker earthy tones. The surface of slate is naturally textured unless a smooth, honed finish is achieved. Slate is an excellent choice for kitchen – countertops and wet bars – roofing and high-traffic area flooring, such as walkways.

Other stone types include onyx and quartzite.

The Benefits of Tile
1. Environmentally friendly. Little to no volatile organic compounds are found in ceramic tile and stone, as compared to other types. They contribute towards building a healthy environment.
2. Durability. High durability and sustainability makes ceramic and stone an ideal choice. Floorings, such as carpets need replacement after every 7-10 years, making them less economical.
3. Mildew resistant. Good fighters against mildew and mold, ceramic and stone are constructed from materials that are not food sources for mold and mildew. Less mold and mildew is healthier for your home.
4. Moisture resistant. Inherently water resistant, ceramic, and stone do not degrade when exposed to moisture.

The type of tile you choose will depend on your usage – amount of traffic, area covered, type of area being covered etc – and budget. Choose wisely, although keep in mind that stone and ceramic tiles are more durable, healthy, and sustainable than other building material choices out there. Weston Construction can help you assess the best tiling materials to use for your new home construction or renovation.

It’s Easy Being Green

You don’t have to turn into a frog to go green. Adopting eco-friendly ways not only improves your quality of living, but also helps the environment. If you are renovating your current home or building a new house, follow these tips to make your house greener.

insulated windowsInvest in Double or Triple Paned Windows
The advantage of using double or triple paned windows is that they have a layer in between the glass (often filled with gases) that acts to insulate, so there is less heat / cold moving through the window. Low-E glass and windows filled with Argon gas can reduce heat loss up to 70% over single pane glass. This not only saves energy (money), but also keeps the interior temperature steady and more comfortable. The added benefit is it also has noise-reduction qualities.

Add Insulation
Adding insulation regulates the temperature of your home, but can also increases sound control between rooms and floors. There are several types of insulation to choose from. The most common is the type of fiberglass that comes in rolls or bats, and is easy to install. Another common type is a loose-fill blown-in insulation, often made of fiberglass, cellulose, or mineral wool. Cellulose is made of recycled newsprint, and most fiberglass contains some portion of recycled glass. Another option is a liquid foam insulation that is sprayed into the space and will expand, and then harden.

Solar Panels
We are not likely to run out of solar energy from the sun any time soon, which makes adding solar panels a great choice for going green. Replacing traditional energy sources with solar energy reduces your home’s green house gas emissions. But also helps reduce the money you pay to the power company. Dominion Power Company has a pilot program allowing homeowners with solar systems to sell the excess energy back into the grid for 5 years, which helps defray the initial solar panel installation cost. Installation of solar panels is getting easier and the cost continues to drop—making it an increasingly popular energy efficiency choice.

wood beamsUse Reclaimed Materials
Use reclaimed elements from older homes (called upcycling) such as old flooring, exposed wood beams, doors, architectural molding, etc. Recovering and reusing these gems is good for the planet by reducing material in landfills, but also gives your home unique character. There are many sources for finding these materials, including local businesses and national online matching services. In our area, there are lots of old barns and out buildings that can be sources of materials if you are ambitious and handy.

Get a Programmable Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat is a simple way to reduce energy usage when you’re not home. These thermostats are easy to install, and have timers to let you pre-set the temperature controls to suit your schedule, down to daily and hourly specifics. It also can automatically increase or decrease the temperatures during the night while you are sleeping.

Making green choices in the construction of a new home or renovation can not only save you money by reducing your energy costs, but will also make you feel good by helping out the planet. Weston Construction is very experienced in green building techniques. We’d be happy to discuss options with you on your next construction project.

Home Renovation Ideas that Are Worth It

Home remodeling projects can increase the value of your house, but knowing which projects return the most value can help you prioritize your wish list. Below are ideas and tips for home improvement that are popular and will improve the market value of your home.

add a deck1. Adding a Deck
A Deck addition returns the greatest value among the major popular remodeling projects. Owners can recoup nearly 80% of the investment at resale by adding a deck. It makes the house more aesthetically pleasing, increases outdoor living space and increases the value of the house. Decks made from wood have slightly better cost-value ratio than composite decks. But you also have to consider the maintenance on a composite deck is less time consuming and costly than wood.

2. Adding a New Room
Try converting an already existing space into a bedroom. You can convert your basement into a new bedroom, or you can add a room above the garage that can be used as an apartment. Create an Attic Bedroom for the best for cost vs value, owners can recoup up to 77% of the cost at resale. Think of creative ways to use your new space. For example, an attic can be used as a TV or game room. A basement can be used as a playroom for your children.

kitchen renovation3. Kitchen Renovation
Renovation in the kitchen can pay off because it is such a centrally important part of the house. The payoff is expected to be 67 to 79% of the cost in increased value of the home. One of the most budget-efficient ways to give your kitchen a new look is to change its color. Ask your contractor to use environment-friendly low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints that are free of harmful chemicals. Give your Kitchen a simple facelift by replacing old appliances with modern energy efficient ones. Since the appliances use less energy, your bills go down and you end up saving money.

bath remodel4. Bathroom Remodel
Remodeling the bathroom can recoup 60 to 72% of the initial investment (see last month’s blog post for the latest trends in bathroom remodeling). Look at unoccupied spaces in your house that can be turned into a bathroom. Consider the space you have versus the space needed before investing money. A bathroom with a bathtub and other accessories needs at least 35 square feet of space; a full bath needs 30 square feet; however a half bath needs only 18 square feet.

Smaller Projects

5. Adding Energy Efficient Windows
Investing in good quality energy efficient windows can save you up to $500 per year in energy costs, and will recoup up to 78% of the cost in home value. Not only do windows save money, they are eco friendly as well. Think about it, the more you use natural sunlight to light your rooms the less you spend on electricity.

6. Proper Insulation
Make sure you invest in energy efficient insulation. The initial cost is low, but can save you several hundred dollars per year in energy costs. In order to increase the value of the house, you need to add extra insulation, repair cracks, and look for air leaks around the house. One last tip is to replace old furnaces and air conditioners with new energy efficient ones.

7. Small items, big payoff
Other smaller improvements with big payoffs include Entry Door Replacement (101% recoup), Garage Door Replacement (88% recoup), Backup Power Generator (59%
recoup) and Siding Replacement (up to 80% recoup).
Items with the lowest recoup valuation include Sunroom addition (48%) and home office remodeling (38%)

Valuation estimates for this article were for mid-range projects sourced from Remodeling Magazine’s Annual “Cost vs. Value Report”. Weston Construction is a general contractor in Charlottesville, Virginia that can help with home remodeling projects to add value and enjoyment of your home.

Latest Trends in Bathroom Remodeling

bath trendsFrom the public baths of Mohenjo-daro to the luxurious individual models, bathrooms have come a long way. As we continue to evolve, so do our tastes and preferences when it comes to the comforts of the home. This article discusses the latest trends in bathroom remodeling; we hope you will find at least one idea that you absolutely must try!


Lately, bathtubs have become a hot topic. Some bathroom enthusiasts want them; others hate them. This year, the top trends for this bathroom accessory are:

Removing Them
It could be the fact that bathtubs waste more water or that busy lifestyles do not allow lounging in one, so why have it in the first place or even considering them too expensive, bathtubs are on their way out. The money and space can be allocated to something else that has more utility. A shower, perhaps?

Substituting Them
There still exist bathtub lovers and they are not ready to give them up just yet. For those who still love the bathtub, in 2015, stand-alone tubs that save space will be the “it” thing. Options like the spa-jet tubs and serene soaking tubs are present.

bathroom remodel contractor

Replacing Them
A busy schedule means popping into the shower more often than soaking in a bathtub for hours. If you are not taking baths, you probably do not need a bathtub. This frees up a whole lot of space for a shower that can be as ginormous as you want it to be.

Walk-in or doorless, curb-less and no-threshold showers are just some of the luxuries that you can sample while accommodating this trend.


Tiles can make or break it, when it comes to good-looking bathrooms. The tile trendsetters for 2015 suggest these would be big this year because:
bathroom tilesStyle
A staggered pattern of 12-inch by 24-inch rectangular tiles on bathroom floors and shower walls will make for a smooth flow throughout the room. They do not swell when wet or need refinishing like wood does. Feature floor tiles add style to a bathroom without overwhelming the available space in smaller bathrooms while bringing elegance to larger ones. These stunning tiles provide a great design opportunity for challenging bathrooms with no clear walls to be made into a feature wall.

Gray has become the new neutral and the new beige. Consumers are tiling everything gray –from their kitchens to bathrooms. The trick is to pick a gray that is earthy rather than cold or sterile. A splash of bold colors will work ideally to accent the neutral.

Radiant Floor Heating
The secret to the tile’s growing popularity is in radiant floor heating. Once only available to high-end clients, it has now become more mainstream. Residents of areas that are cold for much of the year are thrilled at the idea of not having to walk around on cold tiles.


The current remodeler’s bag of tricks is chock full of intelligent solutions for the modern bathrooms. Given below are some of the trends that are hot for this year.

bathroom fixtureMetallic Fixtures
Chrome, brushed nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze – different warm coppery, brassy, and bronze-y colors are in this year. Out with the plain old stainless steel to explore the interesting possibilities.

Smarter Toilets
Low-flow and dual-flow toilets not only save energy but are also cost-efficient. People want to be smarter about water control. Thermostatic mixers, multiple-use mixers, and touch screen-operated showers are also in high demand. Double showers used by more than one person can benefit from multiple mixers.

Customized Vanities
A his-and-hers double-sink vanity or two-sink vanities for bathrooms shared by siblings are just two examples of the customization that people now want for vanities. Mass produced is out and tailor-made is in!

LED Lighting
LED lighting is being used almost everywhere – in the bathroom, in and under cabinets.

We hope you found one or two ideas in this article that you will want to try out when considering a bathroom remodeling project, or planning your new custom home. Give Weston Construction a call to discuss your next bathroom remodeling or new home building project. We will be happy to accommodate you!

Weston Construction is a General Contractor in Charlottesville, Virginia with more than 20 years experience building new homes and renovating historic properties.