Depending on the source, the Number One, Numero Uno, home improvement is . . .
- not the front yard makeover
- not replacing the air conditioner
- not adding insulation to the attic
- not adding engineered or real-wood flooring, although all of these do appear on some Top 10 Home Improvement Lists circulating around the Web.
No, the Number One home improvement is — drum roll, please — the Kitchen Makeover.
In fact, three of the best bang-for-the-buck home improvements involve our good friend — plumbing, especially in New York. In other states improvements and renovations could be electrical services, HVAC, roofing, ore something else.
In this and a subsequent post or two, we take a look at home improvements that involve plumbing, whether you can do these yourselves or you need to call a Staten Island plumbing professional.
According to several do it yourself, home improvement, and renovation sites, the top three projects in New York are:
- plumbing services
- making improvements and renovations
- and, um, one we will ignore for this post — pest control.
Updating plumbing is important because many residences in Staten Island, New York and surrounding communities, and, heck, the state itself, are older than, say, the sparkling new bedroom communities outside of Dallas or Atlanta.
If you have old, rusty iron pipes and fear that you may have invested your fair share of metal in your drinking water, you may want to consider replacing the plumbing.
You may not know this, but real estate appraisers take plumbing into heavy consideration when assigning value to a home.
Back in the day, updating plumbing was a huge undertaking involving your Staten Island plumber and a host of contractors with walls torn up and drywall dust everywhere.
Nowadays, re-piping is usually done with PEX (essentially plastic tubing) that is extremely reliable and can run through the walls like an extension cord.
This means less holes in the wall, less mess, less drywall dust on every surface in your Staten Island home. It also means less money spent on materials and labor from a Staten Island plumbing or plumbing contractor.
Some real estate experts say it’s not worth putting lots of money into one’s home improvement if the mechanics or systems are bad, and this includes the plumbing infrastructure of pipes, fittings, and so on.
If you are considering updating a bathroom or kitchen, consider calling your Staten Island plumber for an infrastructure inspection first. Or, if you have a plumbing contractor to the house for a repair, ask him for a quick assessment as you’re thinking about a bathroom or kitchen makeover in the future.
The Bathroom Facelift
Unless your primary bathroom is decades old with a pale green sink and orange countertops or flooring, you don’t have to go hog wild. Installing new fixtures, re-grouting the shower, adding crown molding, and brightening up the room with paint is more like a facelift than makeover, something you can do yourself without having to call a Staten Island plumber or general contractor.
However, if you want to “rip out a shower,” or “get rid of” or replace the unused jet-spray bathtub, or add a sink or move plumbing in any way it’s best to call a Staten Island plumber for an assessment and, most likely, to do the work itself. A plumbing contractor should be able to handle the plumbing duties and general construction. Or, you can choose to work with a plumber and a general contractor to design and complete your project.
The Kitchen Makeover
Recently we heard a story of a homeowner putting his house on the market. A year or two beforehand, he replaced two air conditioners and a furnace with middle-of-the-line equipment — not the cheapest, not the most expensive. He said his thinking was: investing in quality equipment and infrastructure will help sell the house more than cosmetic upgrades.
At least in his market, prospective buyers wanted kitchen upgrades — and not just granite countertops — but improvements that touched on plumbing like faucets, sinks, dish washers, garbage disposers, even water heaters.
According to real estate agents, the smartest place to put your money is in the kitchen. Upon entering the home prospective buyers most often beeline to the kitchen and start opening cabinets, doors, and appliances.
If the buyer is particularly adept — meaning he or she or they love cooking and spending time in the kitchen — they look at the kitchen’s layout and workspace, commonly known as the “triangle.” How are is the cooktop from the sink? How close is the dishwasher from the sink? How far is the main work surface from the sink or stove or refrigerator?
If your kitchen has more of a Bermuda triangle than an efficient workflow, you may consider a makeover, which can include plumbing changes and a new layout as well as new appliances, fixtures, and surfaces. Some of which you can do yourself, some that you may prefer calling your Staten Island plumber or a plumbing contractor for assistance.
Know What You Want
- Needing water in the kitchen is a given, but what about gas? Will you need a gas line or will you need to run an extension for gas? Many plumbers and all plumbing contractors are certified to run gas lines.
- Water lines to the kitchen sink are obvious, but what about a pot filler over the stove, which comes in handy for those who love to cook? What about installing a separate food prep sink or an instant-on hot water dispenser? Maybe you want to replace the old fridge with a fancy ice-and-water-through-the-door model or upgrade the dishwasher.
- A Staten island plumber will also do the rough in for drains. They need to know about any appliance that will use and drain water. Typically these are just sinks and dishwashers. But if you are doing a laundry area adjacent to the kitchen, make sure that drain lines are in the plans. Also, an island sink requires special venting in the drain line, so make sure the plan is clear if you have a sink or prep sink that is in an island or is otherwise not connected to a wall.
- And something you may have not thought about: Installing fire sprinklers in a home is becoming more popular these days, especially in new construction. The kitchen is the source of many home fires, so installing sprinklers, at least in the kitchen, may be prudent. By the way, fire sprinklers require their own water line.
As is the case with all home improvement or remodeling projects, it’s best to sit down and make notes about everything you want in a bathroom or kitchen and go over it with your Staten Island plumber or plumbing contractor, even if you choose to do some of the work yourself.
For the kitchen remodel: dishwashers, prep sinks, waste disposal, saving water usage, new plumbing technology.