Thursday, May 30 2019
If you’re getting ready for a home renovation project this summer and plan to hire a contractor, there are some important steps to take during the hiring process. You’ll want to find the perfect contractor for your job, who will see the project through to a timely completion. Below are some steps to take when searching for and hiring a contractor to oversee your home upgrade.
The first step in hiring a contractor is finding potential professionals. One valuable resource for building professionals is Houzz.com. Houzz is an online home design platform where you can find design inspiration, get advice, and get in contact with professionals near you. Another great way to find a qualified contractor is through referrals—ask around to friends, family, and neighbors to find a local professional who has the support of the people you trust.
To search for contractors in your area, visit Houzz Professionals.
Once you’ve created a list of potential contractors, do your homework. Look at their websites and social media pages to review their portfolios. Looking at images of past work can help you narrow down your list to a select two or three. Don’t forget to read the reviews and testimonials from their past clients—you might even check to see if they have a Yelp page, which will feature any negative reviews that may have been left by unsatisfied clients.
Now that you have a small list of three or four contractors with excellent reviews and past projects, you can reach out to them to set up an appointment. Meet with each contractor and discuss your project needs and provide them with a list of your project specifics. Your plans should be as precise as possible to ensure the contractor provides you an accurate cost estimate. You can also treat this meeting as an interview, and ask important questions that are relevant to your project, for example if your home remodel will include a large bi-fold or multi-slide patio door system, be sure to discuss this with your contractor because not all contractors have large door system installers on staff or in their network.
When you receive project proposals from your potential contractors, carefully review each one and pay extra attention to the cost breakdown and timeline. Be cautious of project proposals that lack details because you could end up paying extra for certain services or changes. When deciding between professionals, don’t use price as your only determining factor—you’ll want to consider past work, reviews, experience, the contractor’s status as to licensing, bonding, and insurance. Check your state contractor’s licensing board website to ensure license is active and up to date. Don’t be afraid to verify past work and ask the contractors to see one or two of their projects in person if possible.
When you have made a final choice and picked your favorite contractor, be sure to request a written contract and document everything in writing. Take your time, review the contract with someone else—and be sure the terms of payment (deposit percentage, progress payments, final payment, etc.) are standard for the industry. It is important to have records of your agreement, and any future changes made to the contract, in case something goes wrong. Always communicate with your contractor and let them know if you’d like to work closely with them or let them have full reign. Keeping an open communication line and providing a detailed plan of what your goals are will help you and your contractor get through the remodel with ease and grace.
To learn more about creating an indoor-outdoor living space with large accordion doors, visit our Bi-Fold Door Product Page.
Tuesday, May 28 2019
Patio doors are so important to our homes. Doors are more than just a passage that leads inside and out, they keep out uninvited guests or pests, they protect your home from rain, heat, and snow, they bring in light to illuminate your home, and they extend your living space to the outdoors. Every patio door eventually shows signs of wear and tear, and it’s important to know when it’s time for door replacement! Below are six signs it’s time to replace your old patio doors and upgrade to something new!
Are your patio doors broken and beyond repair? Is the door discolored, scratched, and incapable of cleaning up? If your patio doors require a lot of work and money to fix, you are better off replacing them with new door systems. If the locking mechanism is broken or the door isn’t sealing and allowing water penetration, it’s possible these can be fixed but be sure to consider putting money towards a total door replacement instead because it will provide reassurance knowing that your new door is in working order.
Difficult to Use
If your door is no longer functioning properly or it’s difficult to use, it could be time for replacement. After a thorough check that no easy repairs will fix your door functionality, you should consider installing new patio doors. An improperly functioning or non-functioning door is more than frustrating, it’s a safety hazard that could put lives in danger in the event of a fire, storm, home intrusion, and other emergencies.
Lack of Light
If you feel like your home is very dark and lacks natural light, this is a good time to consider replacing your patio doors and/or windows and creating a larger opening to connect your home to the outdoors and allow plenty of natural light to illuminate your living space. With a large accordion door system, you can eliminate walls and replace them with folding glass that will make your space feel open and bright.
Sometimes homeowners replace all the windows in their home but neglect the doors. Mismatching doors and windows can look tacky and unappealing, and it’s for this reason you might consider upgrading your patio doors to match the rest of your doors and windows.
If your patio doors are a few decades old, it’s likely that they don’t meet the current energy efficiency standards. Energy efficient doors keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, because they prevent air from escaping your home. Non-energy efficient doors are a great excuse to upgrade to a large folding door system that has excellent energy ratings.
Not Maximizing Space
If your current patio doors are in an awkward location that doesn’t make sense, and they’re not maximizing your living space to it’s full potential, it might be time to consider door replacement. Large folding and sliding door systems can connect your home to the outdoors and create a seamless transition from inside to outside. With Bi-Fold or Multi-Slide Doors, you can maximize your living space and extend it into the backyard deck or patio area.
To learn more about creating wide-open spaces with folding door systems, visit our Bi-Fold Patio Door Product Page. If maximizing your living space with sliding door systems is more your taste, visit our Multi-Slide Patio Door Product Page.
Tuesday, May 21 2019
Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of summer and gives us that much-needed Monday off to relax and catch our breath. If you don’t already have weekend plans and want to get away from your home and everyday life, you can easily plan a last-minute camping trip!
Though most of the big national parks and lakeside campgrounds will be full by this time, plenty of smaller campgrounds and RV parks throughout California are likely to have vacancy. Some places, like the national forests, have campgrounds that don’t require advanced reservations. Find a campground, forest, or park that you are interested in visiting and make your reservations or plan on arriving in time to snag a first-come, first-serve spot.
Once your campsite is booked, start gathering all your camping gear and prepare for your trip. Get your tents, motorhomes, or trailers ready for a weekend of camping fun! Make sure everything is in working order before your trip, so you don’t have to worry about broken tent poles or a faulty generator. Although it is almost June, the evenings can still get quite chilly so pack plenty of blankets and warm clothes!
Plan out your meals for each day and create a list of all the ingredients you need to make your trip to the grocery store quick and easy. Some easy campsite snacks and meals are sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, cereal, egg burritos, fresh fruit, granola bars, and nuts. Be sure to pack enough water to last the entire trip! Don’t forget to buy some marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers—a camping trip is incomplete without s’mores.
Your weekend packing list should include some board games and a deck of cards to keep everyone entertained. If you have room for them, bring your bicycles along so you and your family can go for bike rides around the campgrounds and explore. If your bikes won’t fit this time, you can still go for hikes and explore the surrounding nature.
It’s a good idea to pack some insect repellant and citronella candles to ward off mosquitos and other insects, especially if you are prone to mosquito bites. If you do get bitten, have some hydrocortisone and antihistamine on hand to reduce itching and inflammation. You should always keep these items inside your camping first aid kit!
If last-minute isn’t your thing, and the thought of throwing together a quick camping trip by the weekend is too overwhelming, consider planning a backyard campout at home. You and your family can open your accordion door system, head outside and barbecue some hamburgers and hot dogs. Light a fire in the fire pit and roast marshmallows and set up some tents on the lawn. You can enjoy all the fun of a camping trip from the comfort of your own home. You won’t have to worry about a long drive or packing supplies, and when you get cold in the middle of the night or can’t stand sleeping on that half-filled air mattress, you can sneak back inside to your warm bed.
To learn more about creating indoor-outdoor spaces with accordion door systems, visit our Bi-Fold Door Product Page.
Thursday, May 16 2019
Bi-Fold Windows are the perfect addition to your kitchen remodel and will create a passthrough from your kitchen to your outdoor entertainment space. Including a folding window in your kitchen redesign will enhance your space and allow plenty of natural light to flow through the windows. Below are eight kitchen passthrough window designs that will inspire you to invest in your own folding window.
1 | Passthrough window with coastal charm.
This 6-panel kitchen passthrough window maximizes the ocean views from this all-white farmhouse style kitchen. When windows are folded open, a fresh ocean breeze cools off the space and enhances the soothing sound of crashing waves.
What we love: the cottage-style lites on the bi-fold window because they add extra charm to an already beautiful kitchen design.
2 | Craftsman style home with accordion window.
This craftsman style home uses a bi-fold window to create a passthrough from kitchen to outdoor dining space. The servery window makes dining outside effortless—transporting food from inside to outside is a smooth and easy task. The bi-fold passthrough window counter creates an additional outdoor dining space or can be used as a buffet counter or bar.
What we love: the stained wood interior of the folding window because it makes the space feel classic and luxurious.
3 | Bi-Fold window-door combination.
This Bi-Fold Window x Door Combination creates the ultimate indoor-outdoor kitchen in this pool house. The bi-fold window and bi-fold door connect at the center and transform an ordinary space into an open-air bungalow.
What we love: the crisp white painted interior of the bi-fold window because it blends in perfectly with the white kitchen design.
4 | Radius passthrough window and bar.
This radius bi-fold passthrough window connects the interior wet bar to the covered patio and barbecue area. Hosting parties and gatherings is easy thanks to the folding window that allows drinks to be served from the bar both inside and outside.
What we love: the tall, slim silhouette of the bi-fold passthrough window panels and how elegant they look framed by stonework.
6 | Wide-open farmhouse style kitchen with folding window and door.
This home features a large 4-panel kitchen passthrough window that blurs the line between indoors and outdoors. Opting for a folding window in place of kitchen cabinets creates a light and airy kitchen and living room design. This project also features a 3-panel folding door system.
What we love: the sleek profile and exterior clad color of the kitchen passthrough window and how well it blends with the home design.
7 | Cozy pool house with two passthroughs.
This backyard pool house is optimized with two 3-panel kitchen passthrough windows. Each bi-fold window has an outdoor bar counter that creates extra seating and makes it easy to grab a quick drink or snack in-between swims. This pool house pairs the two folding windows with a 4-panel bi-fold door system.
What we love: the functionality of the servery windows and how they enhance the space for this family of five.
7 | Spanish farmhouse style home with accordion window.
This bi-fold kitchen passthrough window illuminates the space with plenty of natural light and creates a picture-perfect view of the Santa Barbara sunset. The all-wood panels feature a luxurious dark stain with red undertones, perfect for this Spanish farmhouse style home.
What we love: the extra natural light created by the bi-fold windows and the beautiful stain that ties the entire kitchen design together.
8 | Tropical tiki bar with bi-fold window
This is the ultimate bi-fold passthrough application: a tiki bar! This 4-panel all-wood folding window opens the fully stocked bar to the backyard pool and patio area. The tropical landscape and stonework create a resort-style vibe in the outdoor space.
What we love: the smooth transition between inside and outside created by a bi-fold passthrough window and how fun and charming this little tiki bar is.
To learn more about creating a kitchen passthrough window from kitchen to outdoor entertainment space, visit our Bi-Fold Passthrough Window Product Page.
Tuesday, May 14 2019
We are halfway through May, and Summer is fast approaching. The days are growing warmer and soon it will be time for beach days and backyard barbecues! Now is a great time to plan and execute your pool house remodel so it is completed just in time for those long Summer pool days. Some minor upgrades and improvements to your pool house can create the perfect entertainment space and make hosting pool parties easier than ever!
The first stage of planning your pool house remodel is to focus on the design. What needs to be replaced or reworked to optimize the functionality of the space. Is your pool house large enough or do you need to add on a bit of extra square footage? Are the bathroom and changing area accessible from both interior and exterior so you can limit the number of wet footprints trailing through the house? Do you need to add a kitchenette for storing and making snacks and drinks? You may also want to look to Pinterest or Houzz for plenty of pool house design inspiration.
An important thing to consider when planning your pool house remodel is this growing trend: indoor-outdoor living. Your pool house should have a smooth transition from inside to out. You can create an indoor-outdoor pool house using Bi-Fold Door Systems. A folding patio door will create a large opening in your pool house and a beautiful indoor-outdoor space for you and your guests to enjoy. You can easily fold doors open for entertaining, or keep doors closed and enjoy the air conditioning and view from inside.
If you plan to use your pool house often for entertaining, you might consider investing in a Bi-Fold Kitchen Passthrough Window. Bi-fold windows will create a passthrough from kitchen to outdoor pool area, making it easy for food and drinks to be transferred from inside to out. Passthrough windows can also create an additional dining counter for your guests to grab a quick treat before jumping back into the pool.
When designing your space you should keep building materials in mind—you’ll want to use flooring that can withstand moisture from drip-drying swimmers, and that won’t be too slippery when wet. Avoid carpet and precious woods that could eventually become damaged from all the aqueous foot traffic.
When you pick out new furniture for the space, remember to choose couches and chairs with removable covers that can be washed—this furniture will be filled with damp, oily sunscreen-clad people, so the ability to wash the covers regularly is a necessity. Don’t forget to include ample storage in your design for storing plenty of towels, sunscreen, and aloe vera.
If space and budget allow, consider expanding the pool house to add a spare bedroom. This could act as private guest quarters when you host family or friends from out of town. This added luxury can also increase the value of your home if you were ever to sell.
Now that you have some guidance on what to consider for your pool house remodel, start planning and put the project in motion so you can host a pool housewarming party to kick off the summer! To learn more about creating an indoor-outdoor pool house using folding patio door systems, visit our Bi-Fold Door Product Page. To learn more about creating a kitchen passthrough window with a bi-fold window system, visit our Bi-Fold Window Product Page.
Thursday, May 09 2019
You are probably familiar with the latest home design trend of creating indoor-outdoor living spaces using large folding or sliding door systems. This is a growing design trend that has always been around but has gained traction and increased popularity within the past few years. The idea that you can expand your living space and connect your home to the outdoors using a large Bi-Fold Patio Door System or Multi-Slide Patio Door System appeals to many homeowners who are ready for an upgrade. This trend is only going to get bigger as more millennials with buying power enter the housing market.
Bi-Fold and multi-slide door systems blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces, resulting in an extension of the living space to the outdoors. This connection creates extra living space and provides an open, airy floor plan that homeowners most desire.
Large glass door systems create a seamless transition from inside to outside, creating the ultimate indoor-outdoor entertainment space. Fifty percent of Americans entertain guests in their home at least once a month, which means a living space that can accommodate guests for parties and holidays is high on homeowners’ wish lists. Folding and sliding patio door systems make entertaining effortless by allowing guests to migrate inside and out with ease.
Bi-Fold and multi-slide doors create wide-open views of the surrounding landscape. Along with impressive views, homeowners desire bright, open spaces filled with plenty of natural light. Glass patio door systems eliminate walls and allow sunlight to illuminate the space. When open, the doors allow fresh air to flow into the home and cool off the space. Indoor-outdoor spaces allow homeowners to feel more connected to nature and enjoy the healing benefits of sunlight, fresh air, and the outdoors.
Being connected to nature and the outdoors creates a resort-style living experience at home. When people are on vacation, they are happier, more relaxed, and worry-free—using large folding or sliding door systems to mimic the indoor-outdoor living found at resort destinations allows homeowners to feel like they are on a luxurious vacation and increase their quality of life. As experiences continue to outshine material items, homeowners will continue to desire an indoor-outdoor lifestyle that they can enjoy at home.
Bi-Fold kitchen passthrough windows are also apart of this indoor-outdoor trend. Bi-Fold windows create a passthrough from kitchen to outdoor entertainment space, making it easy to transport drinks and food from inside and out. Additional dining space is created in the form of an outdoor breakfast bar, making meals on the terrace a regular occurrence. These servery windows are unique and luxurious home design features that are appealing to homebuyers and can increase a home’s value
This design trend will be around for awhile because homeowners want to elevate their lifestyle by recreating resort-style experiences at home and maximizing their living spaces. Bi-Fold and multi-slide door systems have changed the home design industry and pushed what is possible in home building. AG Millworks is excited to contribute to this trend and provide innovative, high-quality door systems that create luxurious indoor-outdoor spaces.
Tuesday, May 07 2019
Planning a remodel to create indoor-outdoor living spaces? Choosing a Bi-Fold Door System can be a confusing process, especially if you are unfamiliar with this type of door system and its features. Below are nine mistakes you’ll want to avoid when including a large folding door system in your home design plans.
1 | Mixing up folding door configuration options.
When choosing a configuration (how the door panels open and fold) for your large folding door system, you want to be sure you are reading the configurations correctly. All Bi-Fold Door System configurations are viewed from the exterior of your home looking in. It is easy to get this confused and end up with doors opening and folding the opposite direction from what you were expecting.
2 | Choosing a door configuration without a daily door.
This mistake is easily made and happens often. It is important to choose a door configuration that will have a manual door, or “daily door,” that provides easy access to your outdoor space. Bi-Fold Door Systems with odd configurations (3L, 5R, 7L in at least one direction) have daily doors that can be opened without unlatching and opening the entire folding door system. You must choose a configuration with a daily door If you plan to access your home from the exterior of your large bi-fold door. If you choose an even door configuration (such as 4L or 2L2R) you will have to open the entire door system to access your outdoor space and you will not have exterior access if the doors get closed and you’re outside. Even configurations are only suitable for door systems that will only be opened for parties, etc. Never choose even configurations for a door you’ll use every day.
3 | Taking incorrect measurements.
Always have a professional installer measure your opening twice to be sure you are providing the correct measurements of your rough opening. Folding door systems are built to your requested net frame dimension, and if measurements are incorrect the unit will not fit properly into your rough opening.
4 | Not matching your bi-fold and transom design.
This mistake can leave your remodel looking unprofessional and tacky. If your plans call for a bi-fold door system paired with a transom, you want to be sure that your transom will match and align with your folding door design.
5 | Forgetting to check for overhang.
This is a big, costly mistake that you want to avoid. If you forget to check for overhang and order a bi-fold door system with a flush sill, you risk water penetration and serious damage to your home. A folding door system with a flush sill and insufficient overhang will not meet most warranties.
6 | Hiring an inexperienced folding door installer.
Bi-fold door systems are large, top-hung, technical door systems, that come with a pretty healthy price tag. Installation is not the right place to try to save money. Ask for recommendations for experienced installers of large patio door systems from your door dealer, or the manufactures of your bi-fold door system. Don’t trust framers or other tradespeople to install your beautiful new bi-fold door. An improperly installed door will never work properly, will not qualify for warranty, and will be your biggest regret. Hire a pro!
7 | Choosing the wrong clad color.
Don’t choose the wrong clad color, because it can’t be changed! If you are matching the exterior color of your folding door to your current windows and doors, make sure you double check and confirm that the color is correct. For unique or uncommon colors, custom color matching is also available.
8 | Forgetting to include a retractable accordion screen.
Don’t forget to include a retractable accordion screen in your folding door order! These screens are a luxurious but functional add-on that will allow you to enjoy fresh air while protecting your home from unwanted insects. Screens are integrated directly into the door jamb during production and can be pocketed completely out of sight for an additional charge.
9 | Overlooking your indoor and outdoor floorplans.
When planning your remodel it can be easy to forget about the layout of your spaces and how they interact. it is important to give some thought to the furniture layout of each space and remember that your custom patio door system can be ordered to fold and stack on one or both sides of the opening, depending on your needs.
To learn more about creating an indoor-outdoor living space with a large folding door system, visit our Bi-Fold Patio Door Product Page.
Thursday, May 02 2019
A young couple in Encintas, California were looking for a starter home when they stumbled upon this diamond-in-the-rough. As first-time home buyers, they chose to buy a perfectly-sized fixer-upper with tons of potential to transform in to their dream home!
Before the remodel, the kitchen was long, narrow and outdated. With worn linoleum flooring, laminate countertops, and unsteady cabinetry, the kitchen needed a complete redesign.
The kitchen was closed off from the rest of the living space, creating a very dark, boxy floorplan and making it difficult for natural light to spread throughout the space. The living space had multiple mismatching windows that looked out of place.
A brick fireplace and a small sliding door made up the rest of the rear wall. Dirty, outdated carpet covered the living room floor, and extended into the informal dining space.
The homeowners wanted to utilize every inch of their living space and brighten the room with plenty of natural light. They knew they wanted to create a modern, farmhouse style kitchen with a fresh, clean look. During the design process the homeowners looked to the number one home design platform, Houzz.com for design inspiration. On Houzz they fell in love with the latest home design trend: indoor-outdoor living. With the help of an architect and design professional, the homeowners chose an AG Millworks Bi-Fold Door System and Passthrough Window to create the indoor-outdoor lifestyle they yearned for.
The new space features an open floorplan that blends kitchen, dining, and living spaces. A large kitchen island provides plenty of counter space and an eat-in breakfast bar. They chose a beautiful white marble countertop and brilliant white cabinets to achieve the bright, clean look they desired. The newly-vaulted ceilings make the room feel more spacious and inviting.
Touches of gold can be found throughout the space: the cabinet hardware and the tip of the pendant light fixtures above the island add a pop of color and luxurious elegance to the all-white kitchen.
The AG Millworks Bi-Fold Window allows plenty of natural light to illuminate the space and creates a passthrough from kitchen to outdoor entertainment area. The passthrough window creates additional bar seating in the kitchen and outside on the patio. Vaulting the ceilings allowed for a custom transom to be installed above the folding window and allow for even more natural light to brighten the space.
The AG Millworks Bi-Fold Door System opens up the entire kitchen to the outdoors, creating that indoor-outdoor lifestyle that is so prevalent in today’s home designs. With such a wide-open space, entertaining and enjoying the beautiful California weather is as easy as folding open the door system. The homeowners can quickly and easily access their outdoor space through the daily door, which is only available on odd bi-fold door configurations.
Even with folding doors and windows closed, there is an abundance of natural light flooding into the space. The Bi-Fold Door and Passthrough Window are the highlight of the room and create the ultimate California lifestyle. The homeowner had this to say about his luxury door and window systems:
"To say I am thrilled with the quality of my bifold door and window would be the understatement of the year. They have completely transformed my space and created a whole new look and feel in my house. The team at AG were very easy to work with and truly took the time to help me decide on the optimal size, location, and color for my door and window. They were produced on time and easy for my contractor to install."
To learn more about creating your own indoor-outdoor lifestyle with Bi-Fold Door Systems, visit our Bi-Fold Door Product Page.