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Matt interviewed for Angie’s List Experts article!

Matt Blank of MBC Building & Remodeling, LLC in Lancaster County, PA was recently interviewed with two other remodeling contractors from around the nation for an Angie’s List Experts article on “What’s Trending With Bathroom Tile?”!

You can read the whole article below. Thank you to for the opportunity!

Read Article on Angie’s List here.

What’s trending with bathroom tile?

 Matt interviewed for Angies List Experts article!

Larger, neutral-colored tiles remain a popular choice for both bathroom floors and walls. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Melissa B., of Euless, Texas)

 

A classic never goes out of style. If you’re considering a bathroom remodel, tile is durable enough to withstand the environment, and diverse enough to fit into anyone’s design decor.

Here to explain why tile will always be trending in today’s bathrooms are three highly rated professionals: Cal Doyle, president of Budget Bathrooms in Phoenix; Matt Blank, marketing director for MBC Building & Remodeling in Millersville, Pennsylvania; and Madeline Pillow, marketing coordinator for Moss Building & Design in Chantilly, Virginia.

What’s the latest and greatest with tile?

Doyle: For floors, a growing trend is plank, wood-like porcelain tiles. When properly installed, these tiles have the look of real wood, without the risk of water damage inherent with natural wood. These are a great choice for baths.

Blank: The most popular tile continues to be ceramic. However, over the past two years, we’ve seen a steady rise in the use of luxury vinyl tiling for flooring. Larger tiles (12-by-12) seem to be the size most often selected. Colors are all over the map depending on individual tastes, but they remain neutral at their core. On average, the prices range from $4 to $10 a square foot.

Pillow: Large-format porcelain tile, using 12-by-24s on the floor and the same size, or smaller rectangular tiles, on the walls. Prices average $5 to $15 per square foot. Gray tones are also really big right now.

How do you clean tile?

Doyle: There are many good cleaning products on the market. Avoid those that are acidic and abrasive, which will quickly dull the surface, destroying the “wow” that you worked so hard to capture.

Blank: There are myriad cleaners on the market. Many experts recommend heating the tile up 10 degrees or so by running the shower very hot. Which can double the effectiveness of cleaners.

Pillow: Clean with a mild detergent and water. Use a rag instead of a sponge. Natural stone requires a little more care — avoid natural acidic cleaners such as vinegar solutions or lemon juice.

Why hire a professional for the installation?

Doyle: A specialized bath renovator knows how to build a bathroom correctly. The professional can advise on what gives the most “bang for the buck,” which can save thousands of dollars. Often, a person may think they’re saving money [DIY], but in the end discover they’ve done nothing but purchase problems and grief and an installation that must be torn out and rebuilt.

Blank: Experience. The average homeowner has most likely never tiled anything before. If the tiles aren’t installed correctly, they can easily crack. Which means more money to replace them. Also, leaks in showers can cause rotting, mold and plenty of issues that you may not be aware of until it’s too late.

Pillow: Improper installation can result in cracked or popping tiles. It’s important to know the details of leveling and proper installation to ensure that the tiles adhere to the surface. An experienced tile installer will have the necessary tools and skills to create a beautiful and long-lasting space.

Posted in Bathroom Remodeling & Renovation.

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Pre-Finished Hardwood Floor Care Guide

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Connie Lapp at Martin’s Flooring of Central Pennsylvania for this AWESOME Care and Maintenance guide for Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors. Martin’s offers a ridiculous selection of these things!

98.1.gif.art  Pre Finished Hardwood Floor Care Guide

MartinsFlooring.com

Care and Maintenance Guidelines for Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors

1. Before performing any maintenance on the Hardwood floor, thoroughly vacuum the floor with a vacuum with a soft brush and wand attachment to ensure the flooring is free of any sheet rock and wood flooring dust. Do not use vacuums with beater bars or hard heads.

2. NEVER CLEAN OR WET/DAMP MOP WITH WATER, INCLUDING STEAM MOP CLEANERS (i.e. “SHARK” cleaners). Water may permanently damage the floor.

3. Never use any of the following products (or products similar in nature) on your floor: ammonia-based cleaners, acrylic finishes, mop and glow products, wax-based products, detergents, bleach, polishes, oil soap, abrasive cleaning soaps, or acidic materials such as vinegar. Many of these products can pit or etch the finish of your flooring or prevent the proper use of recommended maintenance materials.

4. After vacuuming the floor, dust mop the floor if needed. A swivel-head mop with a soft cover is highly recommended to eliminate finer particles of grit and dirt that can act like sandpaper on hardwood floors.

5. Spills and tracked-in dirt should be wiped up immediately. For spot cleaning, apply manufacturer’s hardwood floor cleaner onto a clean cloth and rub onto the spot. Never apply wax treatments to your urethane-coated floor.

 Pre Finished Hardwood Floor Care Guide

6. Clean the entire floor with manufacturer’s hardwood and a swivel-head mop with soft cover. Spray the floor cleaner directly onto the floor or on the mop cover. DO NOT allow excess floor cleaner to remain on the floor’s surface. Excess liquid may damage the fiber of the wood.

7. Use interior and exterior doormats at all entrances to collect dirt and moisture and prevent it from being tracked onto the hardwood floor.

8. Area rugs are recommended in front of kitchen sinks, at all pivot points and within high-traffic areas. Do not use rugs with solid rubber or vinyl backings. The rugs must be made of a breathable material to prevent moisture entrapment.

9. Protect your floor from direct sunlight. Use curtains and UV resistant film on large glass doors and windows. Move area rugs occasionally as they block sunlight and may give the appearance of discoloring under the rug.

10. Keep animal nails trimmed to minimize finish scratches.

Posted in Additions, Do-It-Yourself Tips & General Remodeling Info.

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BBQ Season Is Here – Are You Ready?

With summer in full swing, you may already be dreaming of the BBQ days in the back yard that lie ahead. But it’s also a good time to make sure your outdoor cooking area is as ready as you are! A nice summer kitchen area is great way to add value to your home without breaking the bank. It’ll also allow you some great quality time with the family and friends.

Start With The Grill:
The obvious place to start is with the grill. If you haven’t replaced your grill in a few years, you’re in for quite a treat when you see what’s on the market these days. Wood pellet grills and smokers from companies like Traeger, are becoming all the rage for those in the BBQ know. These pellet-fed grills allow for a more even and controlled cooking surface and deliver the true BBQ taste that only real wood delivers. The beauty of the pellet grill is its versatility. You’ll be able to serve BBQ that just falls off the bone, grill steaks, bake wood fired pizzas or really impress the guests with a smoked ham or turkey… all in a single unit! Plus pellet grills control the heat and the fire so you never have to babysit your grill again.

Upgrade Your Outside:
You might also consider working with a contractor to upgrade the deck or patio. You can create an entire outdoor kitchen by incorporating the grill, as well as some shelving units for storage, and maybe even add a bar with an ice machine! Working with a contractor you can also get some electrical outlets conveniently placed to allow for a small refrigerator and maybe even a sink. Imagine being able to serve drinks to the family and friends without having to keep running back inside. Or keep the necessary ingredients for the meal cold until you were ready for them. 

Get Comfy:
Don’t over look the patio furniture either. It’s important that your guests have a nice place to relax while enjoying the summer kitchen. You can add little spice to the average patio furniture layout with a nice outdoor sofa or lounge.

If it’s been some time since you made any changes or upgrades to your backyard “oasis”, now is a great time to consider sprucing it up a bit. There are some really amazing things that can be done with a deck or stone patios these days, and the new appliances have become much more affordable. And don’t forget, you’ll not only have a great space to entertain your family and friends, you’ll be adding overall value to your house!

Before you know it you could be the BBQ Master of the neighborhood! If you are ready to take the next step and talk about a deck or outdoor kitchen in Lancaster County, PA – think MBC!

Posted in Why MBC? Tips on Choosing Your Remodeler.


Free Remodeling Seminar at Lancaster Public Library on Aug 11th

Matt & Mike Blank of MBC Building & Remodeling, LLC will be hosting a free seminar at the Lancaster County, PA Public Library on August 11th, 2014 from 1p – 2:30p

 Free Remodeling Seminar at Lancaster Public Library on Aug 11th

Lancaster Public Library, Duke St.

Topic: Long-Term Living Solutions for Seniors

Cost: Free, but you must register online.

Date/Time: August 11th, 2014 1p – 2:30p

Where: Lancaster County Public Library, 125 North Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17602 (717) 394-2651

Come out to learn about different home remodeling techniques that can help you and those in your lives remain in their own homes, safely and independently.

Ramp after lancasterpa3 300x225 Free Remodeling Seminar at Lancaster Public Library on Aug 11th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image mikeandmatt Free Remodeling Seminar at Lancaster Public Library on Aug 11th

Matt & Mike Blank

Posted in Accessibility and Aging In Place Remodeling.

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The Cost of Replacing Windows

By Matt Blank

Like a majority of things around the house, replacing your windows is probably a good idea; and it can be major investment in money and time. Let’s review some different factors that can affect the price of your window replacement.

1. Type & Efficiency of Windows: The first and biggest determinant of the cost to replace your home’s windows is the frame material your windows are made from. A good remodeler will help guide a prospective client in selecting the best window choice for their budget. Vinyl? Wood? Fiberglass? Aluminum? Each of these has pros, cons, and a different price tag.

Vinyl Pros: / Cons: Least expensive; good insulation; minimal maintenance / Susceptible to expanding and contracting during temperature variations.

Wood Pros: / Cons: May match historically with home and its design / Needs regular maintenance; affected by moisture changes.

Fiberglass Pros: / Cons: No changes with temperature or moisture; little maintenance / Expensive option.

Aluminum Pros: / Cons: No changes with temperature or moisture; good soundproofing / Highly conductive of heat and cold, lowering energy efficiency.

Generally speaking, the more efficient a window is, the more it will cost.

Other considerations are the brand name, Low E coatings (thin covering increasing ability to reflect instead of absorb heat) and spacers (multiple sheets of glass that help improve the insulation).

replacement windows The Cost of Replacing Windows

2. Material: Separate from the frame materials, the aluminum or other material used to seal or wrap the casings around the windows, plus any trim you desire, will be needed. Also, shims to level out the unit are necessary along with the standard hardware.

3. Labor: Preparing the jobsite, removal and installation (which requires work on the inside and outside), disposal of old windows, repair of the opening in the wall if needed and clean up should all be accounted for in a contractor’s proposal. Permits and inspections could also be required by the township.

To help evaluate whether a remodeling project will increase the value of your home, Remodeling Magazine puts out the annual Cost Vs. Value Report that gives average project costs and the home value someone can anticipate recouping in relation to that initial cost.

Interestingly, the 2014 Cost Vs. Value indicates a window replacement project in the Lancaster, PA area will recoup around 53% of the total investment. This came in well below the national average of 79%.

The energy cost savings are also an important consideration, but they can be small or HUGE – depending on the current state of your windows, insulation, appliances plus environmental factors such as how much direct sun your home takes on a daily basis.

YES – Replacing your windows is a good investment. NO – you won’t see a 100% return without more time in your home, if ever.

Either way: they will improve the curb appeal on a home nearing its time on the market, right?

Posted in Additions, Do-It-Yourself Tips & General Remodeling Info.

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