Pre-Remodel Preparation. An Exciting Time.

Image showing owner of Benoah Renovations

Luke Zmolik, Owner of Benoah Renovations

Remodeling projects can be stressful and expensive. All too often homeowners put off projects,only to rush through the process when they are finally ready to proceed. I can give my advice in just one word when it comes to the preparations needed in remodeling projects, “Patience”. The front end of the process, the pre-construction preparation is the key to establish a firm game plan. This will set your project up for a stress free construction process. It also gives you a better chance to stay within the established budget. A good pre-construction process starts with good design. Preliminary drawings and sketches can be made based on your budget. This is where you need to use the knowledge and experience of a qualified remodeling contractor. Addition costs per square foot can range from $120 to $200 per square foot depending on the complexity and materials used. Kitchen remodels can range from $20,000 to$50,000. These are very large variations in price. A good contractor can help you to come up with a firmer remodeling number.

Based on your budget, make as many material selections as possible. This will help expedite the construction process. If you are unable to decide on some selections at least come up with an allowance price you for each of those selections that you are going to stick with. For example, determining a $5.00 per square foot tile allowance or a $14,500 kitchen cabinet allowance would save you from having to adjust  the  budget  during  the  construction process.  With the many new products out, you may be surprised at how long a good contractor can stretch your dollar.

It is also important to contact pertinent trades and craftsmen to review the preliminary designs. Is the electric panel load large enough to handle any additional electrical work you may want in your new design? Will the Heat and Air units be able to handle added square footage? Will removing a wall cause  structural  issues?  How hard will it be to match existing wall textures? These are all simple questions that need to be asked to confirm your designs are buildable.

With the contractors help the design ideas and drawings can be finalized. 2D and 3D drawings should be drawn for clarity for other contractors. Include wall, perspective, and elevation drawings. A window, door, and cabinet schedule also help clarify final selections. These drawings can then be submitted for permits if applicable.

Do not rush through this front-end preparation as it is the most important of all the remodeling processes. This is the ideal time to use your creativity and decision making. Enjoy this time as it could take months. Believe me. It will save you a lot of stress and is well worth the effort.

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The Holiday Shopping Guide for the Handyman (or Handywoman)

The Holiday Season is here and you have just over 3 weeks to find those special gifts for the special people in your life.  (Check out the Christmas clock here for the countdown in days, hours, minutes, seconds!)

It can be difficult to find gifts that the people on your list will love, and with so many products on the market, how can you tell what products are high in quality and versatile enough for most projects?

To help make your life easier, I have put together a holiday shopping guide perfect for your family and friends who love to DIY. Who knows? You might even find something here that you want to put under the tree for yourself.

Here are my top 6 recommendations:

1.  Milwaukee Drill – With many cordless drills to choose from, I have found this to be the best on the market. The drill is durable, dependable and strong. The batteries hold a charge for a long time.


2. Dewalt Drill Bits – Although I am not a fan of Dewalt power tools these drill bits are a good deal. I like the variety of bits as well as the case they come in. This is a nice combination set.


3. Milwaukee Radio – Every man (and woman) likes to listen to his music on the job site. This radio is a beast and cranks out the tunes while taking a beating.


4. Dremel Multi Max Oscillating Tool – The oscillating tool that came out about 6 years ago was a much needed tool. This is a must for any handyman. You’ll find yourself cutting in the weirdest places that seemed impossible. I have used a Dremel and have had no problems with the Brand. It is a good solid unit.


5. Bosch Table Saw – I cannot rave enough about this saw with its collapsible stand with wheels. Yes, it is a bit pricey but it is worth every penny. I assure you.


6. Bosch Laser Measuring Tape – It took me a while to purchase one, but once I did I was surprised at how accurate they are. I use mine for estimating, material takeoffs, and more.


Happy Shopping!

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Benoah Contest Announcement

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Benoah Matching Contest


Benoah Renovations Contest Instructions

Briefly, this contest is a simple matching game. Pick the correct “Before” photo that goes with the “After” photo.


At the start time of 3:00 on the appropriate start date go to and click on the Houzz link on the right side of the home page.


On the Houzz home page of Benoah Renovations, click on the “14 Projects” caption.

At the present time the caption reads “12 Projects”, but at the contest time the caption will read “14 Projects”.

(I will use the Kitchen Contest for an example to help clarify the instructions.)

Pan down to find the “Kitchen Contest – After” Project and thoroughly analyze the photo.

Then go to the “Kitchen Contest – Before” Project and choose the photo that was the kitchen before it was renovated.

The next contest will have a “Stairs Contest – After” and “Stairs Contest – Before” Project.

The final contest will have a “Bath Contest – After” and “Bath Contest – Before” Project.

After choosing your winning photo, click on “Contact Me” at the top of the page.

This will take you to the “Send a Message” dialog box.

Fill in your information, and in the Message box enter in your winning photo number and why you think this is the correct photo.

At the bottom of the “Send a Message” dialog box, directly above “Privacy & Terms” you will have to enter in the number you see in the photo above it so they know you are human.

Click on the “I confirm …….” box at the very bottom.

Click Send, and your contest entry is made.

Good luck and have fun!


Official Online Contest Rules



There is only one entry per person.

You must be at least 18 years old or older to enter the contest and must reside in the United States of America (USA).

To be able to enter entrants must be a current friend, follower or subscriber from at least one of my social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+) or at the time of entry.

We would like the winner of the contest to email Benoah Renovations a few sentences written by the winner showing acceptance and appreciation of the $100 gift card. Also include interesting information like how you determined which of the before photos was correct, or where you plan to spend the $100. Once we receive the email from the winner, we will mail the prize to the winner via the USPS or UPS. Entering this contest gives Benoah the right to share these few sentences of acceptance on any of our social media sites.

If there is no winner by the winner announcement date, then we will continue the contest into the next cycle allowing another chance for all participants and new ones from new entries.

Cheaters (those that have seen the before photos) will be called out and disqualified.


Follow the links and instructions posted on to enter and submit your first name and last name, complete address, city, state, zip code, telephone number, and a valid email address in the email entry. Only one internet entry per person and one internet entry per email address is permitted. Only one winner from each household will be allowed in a 30 day period.

Internet entries will be deemed made by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. The authorized account holder is the natural person who is assigned to the email address by an internet access provider, online service provider or other organization that is responsible by assigning email address or the domain associated with the submitted email address. Multiple participants are not permitted to share the same email address.

All entries submitted become the sole property of the Benoah Renovations Inc and will not be acknowledged or returned. Use of any device to automated entry is prohibited. Proof of submission of an entry shall not be deemed proof of receipt by the Benoah Renovations Inc. Benoah Renovation’s computer is the official time keeping device for the sweepstakes. Benoah Renovations Inc is not responsible for entries not received due to difficulty accessing the internet, service outage or delays, computer difficulties or other technological glitches.

Entrants are required to provide truthful information and Benoah Renovations will reject and delete any entry that it discovers to be false or fraudulent. Benoah Renovations will disqualify any entry from individuals who do not meet the eligibility requirements, and Benoah Renovations will also delete any entry received from persons under the age of 13 in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

No prize substitutions, cash equivalent, or transfer of prizes permitted except at the sole discretion of Benoah Renovations. Prize subject to availability and Benoah Renovations reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to award a prize of greater or equal value if the advertised prize is unavailable. In the event that a prize or prize certificate is mailed to the winner, winner assumes the risk of its loss. Benoah Renovations is not responsible for the safe arrival of a prize or prize certificate.


Decisions of Benoah Renovations management with respect to the Contest are final.


If a prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, and the potential winner cannot be contacted then the potential winner forfeits prize.


By participating in the contest, the winner or winners agree to have their name, voice, or likeness used in any advertising or broadcasting material relating to this contest without additional financial or other compensation, and, where legal, to sign a publicity release confirming such consent prior to acceptance of the prize.

Prior to awarding any prize or prize certificate, Benoah Renovations in its sole discretion may require contest winners (and their travel companions, if any) to sign a liability release, agreeing to hold Benoah Renovations their officers, shareholders, directors, employees, agents and representatives of each of them harmless against any and all claims or liability arising directly or indirectly from the prize or participation in the Contest.

Benoah Renovations, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process, the operation of Benoah Renovation’s website or is otherwise in violation of the rules. It further reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the contest if it is not capable of completion as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort.

Benoah Renovations Inc reserves the right to make changes in the rules of the Contest, including the substitution of a prize or equivalent value, which will become effective upon announcement. If due to circumstances beyond the control of Benoah Renovations Inc any competition or prize-related event is delayed, rescheduled, postponed or cancelled, Benoah Renovations Inc reserves the right, but not the obligation, to cancel or modify the contest and shall not be required to award a substitute prize.

Failure to comply with the Contest rules may result in a contestant’s disqualification solely at the discretion of Benoah Renovations Inc.

Benoah Renovations Inc is not responsible for typographical or other errors in the printing, the offering or the administration of the Contest, or in the announcement of a prize. Copies of the written Contest rules and a list of winners (when complete) are available by contacting

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Video: Achieving a Roughed Edge on Tumbled Stone Tile

When using a wet saw to cut tile, the cuts are nice and sharp.   That is great when working with some tile, but what if that is NOT the look that you want?

Our latest video shows you how to create a roughed edge on tumbled stone tile so that you can avoid having sharp cuts that stand out and distract from the rustic quality of the tile.

Be sure and stay tuned to this blog and to our social media sites for an exciting announcement about upcoming Benoah contests.  We have some great prizes to giveaway just in time for the holidays.

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Where to Put Your Remodeling Money

If you are looking to spend money on your home it is good to know where you will get the most bang for your buck. Some projects will provide a large percentage of your money back at resale, but it is important to know that few projects will return the full amount you will spend. Knowing which projects provide the best return on the investment and which projects return the least is important to know. However, what about lifestyle? Shouldn’t you be able to enjoy the project you create? One big factor in determining which project to do is the effect the remodel project will have on resale. Another is the number of years you plan to live in your home, giving you the ability to enjoy your completed project. A Milwaukee remodeler, David Pekel, states “Remodeling from the perspective of looking at it from an investment strategy is a terrible model. What we can’t quantify is the value of lifestyle.” (US News). The decision of where to put your remodeling money needs to be based on how long you plan to live in your home, your lifestyle, and what is important to homebuyers in your market area.

Many of the projects that return the most money are small projects, enhancement projects, and any project that can be done in the existing footprint of the home. Some beneficial small projects are replacing or refinishing the front door. This can bring back as much as 96%. Minor kitchen renovations are better than all-out kitchen remodels, bringing back an average of 83%. Another good inexpensive remodel is to add windows to a wall, or change out windows for a french door. This can help to bring the outside in, giving the feel of a bigger interior. Simpler area improvements can be made that not only enhance the room but help with the resale of the home. Double sinks and vanities, nice showers, and new paint and carpet are popular now. Since it can be done in the existing footprint of the home an attic conversion to a bedroom makes sense as well.

Large remodel projects such as additions can be very costly because they involve extending foundations and roofs, and adding exterior walls. They generally do not bring back a good percentage of the money spent. Kitchens and baths are the most expensive rooms of any home. An added kitchen or bath addition also bring back less than the addition of a simple room such as a family room. Specialty rooms such as sunrooms also bring back low returns. One of the least beneficial projects is the addition of a home office which only recoups an average of 49%.

Regardless which project you decide to pursue, keep in mind it is important to do the project the right way. Replacing that front door with one that does not meet the style of the home or finished in the wrong color can detract from the value of the home. If you do choose to go through with a large project such as a kitchen remodel, I strongly encourage spending a small amount of money for an interior designer. If you design any new space that does not correspond with the existing home style it will not add value to your home, and could actually detract from its value.

Work Cited
“Which Home Remodeling Projects Are Worth Your Money? – US News.” US News RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Aug. 2014.
“6 Worst Home Fixes for the Money.” 6 Worst Home Fixes For The Money. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Aug. 2014.

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Avoid this Critical Mistake When You Install Tile (Video)

Take a look at our latest video: 

In this video, Luke explains the one critical mistake people often make when installing tile. He teaches you how to avoid this mistake so that you stay on budget and get professional looking results.

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