You’ve got an older home and you’re wondering if you should renovate it or tear it down and build a new one. Although this is a very common question, there really isn’t a common answer that applies to every situation. In this month’s blog, the experts at Cormack Construction share five important factors to consider when deciding to renovate or build new.
One of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to renovate or build new is the overall structural integrity of your home. But how can you tell if your home has structural problems? Take a good look at it from both the inside and outside and ask the following questions:
“If your home rests on a crumbling or lopsided foundation, I would recommend tearing it down and starting over,” says Pam Clemons-Keith, project manager at Cormack Construction.
Think your home has structural issues? Contact the Cormack team to schedule a free home inspection.
If there is water in your basement or crawlspace, or signs of major water damage throughout your home, you may want to rebuild. Why? Because if you have water damage, you very likely have mold, which can be dangerous to your health and costly to remediate. Get a few quotes from mold remediation specialists so you know what you should expect to spend.
Crown molding, pocket doors, built-in storage, and arched entrance ways…These characteristics and rarely found in today’s homes. If you’re set on keeping these original details, you should think about renovating your home. However, keep in mind that not all old homes are worth saving. “If your home is more than 75 years old, you need to look at it with a critical eye,” Clemons-Keith says. Hire a professional to thoroughly inspect your plumbing, water, and electrical systems. If they are in poor condition, you might want to build a new home.
When deciding whether to renovate or rebuild, you need to take a hard look at the numbers. A renovation isn’t always your most cost effective option. “Anytime you renovate, you have to prepare for the unexpected—from unseen mold and rot, to electrical problems, to structural issues,” Clemons-Keith explains. “The last thing you want to do is get swallowed up in a money pit, she adds.
If you have an historic home or live in an historic district, there may be restrictions on what you can do to your home. Tearing it down may not be an option. And even in situations where rebuilding is permitted, the approval process can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
Clearly, the decision to renovate or rebuild needs to be made on a case-by-case basis. If you own an older home and are thinking about renovating or rebuilding, contact the professionals at Cormack Construction. We’ll help walk you through the decision making process. Contact us today for a free consultation.
You live in a beautiful home and you want to keep it that way. But for most busy people, it’s really hard to stay on top of ongoing home maintenance tasks and projects. In many cases, you lack either the tools or the time. This is where the professionals at Cormack Construction can help.
If you’re not quite sure where to begin with your home projects, schedule a home maintenance assessment with the Cormack team. Similar to a home inspection, a home maintenance assessment will identify any maintenance needs or potential problems with your home, including:
Like anything of value, your home needs ongoing care and maintenance. And even if you neglect the smallest problem, it can quickly become a bigger and more expensive problem. For example, if you have a pile up of leaves and weed growth on the side of your home, you could develop moisture issues. Over time, this could lead to mold growth, which can cause both health and financial concerns.
Perhaps your home looks okay on the outside, but your energy bills are through the roof…In this case, Cormack can conduct a blower door test to identify where more insulation is needed, and what steps should be taken to make your home more energy efficient.
Speaking of your roof—do you have any moss or debris that needs removing? Don’t put it off. This can also cause serious moisture issues. Let Cormack’s team of professionals take care of the debris and moss removal so you can enjoy your beautiful home.
Owning a home doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Cormack Construction is here to help you retain the value of your home and enjoy its beauty for years to come. Contact us today to schedule your home assessment.
You love your home and want to live there as long as you can. But as you age, your home may not provide what you need to live a comfortable, safe, and independent life. Thanks to a trend called “aging in place,” many older adults are able to live in their own homes through retirement and beyond. In this month’s blog, we discuss how the Cormack team is helping older adults maintain their independence with aging in place remodeling and construction.
Simply put, aging in place is continuing to safely, comfortably, and independently live in your home, regardless of your age or level of ability. This is achieved through carefully planned home remodeling and construction.
“Aging in place allows older adults to remain in a comfortable and familiar environment throughout their maturing years, enjoying the everyday experiences of life,” says Cormack Construction President Gordon Cormack, a certified aging in place specialist.
According to a recent AARP study, nearly 90 percent of adults age 65 and older want to stay in their own home as they age and avoid moving to an assisted living facility.
To help older adults safely age in place, Cormack remodels and builds homes that foster an independent lifestyle. Oftentimes, just a few essential changes can make a home easier and safer to live in, including:
“At Cormack, we’re finding that more and more people are remodeling and building with an eye toward the future,” Cormack says, pointing out that many second home buyers in their forties and fifties are choosing plans that will fit their future needs. “Even families with young children are opting for first floor bedrooms, zero-entry showers, and other aging in place features for their homes,” he adds.
The obvious benefit of aging in place is that it allows older adults to maintain their independence. A recent AARP survey found that forty-two percent of seniors who want to stay at home cited “living by their own rules” as their number one reason for aging in place. But aging in place can also have significant financial benefits. Staying at home—especially in a house with little or no mortgage payments—can be substantially less expensive than living in a facility.
As a certified aging in place specialist, Gordon Cormack has the experience and training to design and build barrier-free, yet aesthetically pleasing living environments. Whether you’re planning to build a new home or remodel an existing one, the Cormack Construction team can help you design a space that will comfortably accommodate your needs through your retirement years and beyond. Contact us today to learn more about the many benefits of aging in place.
Your home and everything in it reflect your style and personality. And sometimes it’s not easy to find what you need to give your house the look and functionality you need to make it your home. This is where custom-made furniture and built-ins can make all the difference. In this month’s Cormack Construction blog, we discuss some of the many benefits of custom-made furniture and built-ins.
If you are not too particular about your furniture or don’t have the time to select a specific design for your home, then ready-made furniture is probably best for your needs. However, if you have very specific requirements or are looking for a unique piece that fits your exact space and style needs, custom-made furniture and built-ins are for you.
1. Provide Unique Design Options
When you purchase custom-made furniture and built-ins from experienced craftsmen, you will get pieces that reflect your personal style.“Through the use of 3-D design, we are helping our customers design furniture according to their specific needs, requirements, preferences, and style,” says Simon Thomas, shop foreman at The Woodworks, a division of Cormack Construction in Madison, NH. “And they get to see exactly what it will look like before we even start building it,” he adds.
To bring some of the homeowner’s personality into this kitchen, Cormack Construction incorporated paddles into the design of these custom cabinets.
2. Maximize Your Space
It can be really difficult to find furniture that fits your exact space requirements, particularly if you have a small or awkward space to fill. Custom furniture and built-ins are designed to maximize your space, whether it’s an empty wall in need of built-in shelving, or a corner of the room where ready-made furniture pieces don’t quite fit. “We can design custom furniture and built-ins to fit any space,” Thomas notes.
This stylish and functional built-in trundle bed and storage area was designed by Julie Fergus and built by Simon Thomas for a small condo. The bedding and pillows were also custom-made for the project.
3. Built to Last
Custom-made furniture and built-ins are constructed with high quality materials, and are made to last. To keep the cost down, ready-made furniture is typically made of inferior quality materials.
If you are looking for custom-made furniture or built-ins for your home or business, contact the professionals at Cormack Construction. The Wood Works team can create custom cabinets, built-in furniture, bookcases, shelving, and staircases—in fact, any interior woodwork you need. We are centrally located in Madison, New Hampshire, close to the Lakes Region, the White Mountains, and western Maine, but we deliver and install throughout northern New England. Contact us today!
In this month’s blog, we introduce you to Simon Thomas, shop foreman at The Wood Works, Cormack Construction Management’s custom carpentry and millwork division.
Simon has spent his entire adult life working with wood. And his passion for crafting beautiful custom carpentry and millwork has provided many adventures and opportunities along the way.
He began his career in his homeland of London, England. After studying carpentry and woodworking in high school and college, and completing a 4-year apprenticeship, Simon was qualified to work in the industry. An early job allowed him to travel extensively throughout England and Europe, where he completed long-term, custom projects for a large cabinet company. “I got to live in many different places—including Paris, Dublin, and Zurich—and experience a variety of cultures,” he notes.
In early 2000, while vacationing in the U.S., Simon was introduced to Gordon Cormack, founder and owner of Cormack Construction. “I was immediately impressed with the outstanding quality of Gordon’s work and his commitment to his clients. I knew I wanted to move to the states and Cormack Construction provided the perfect opportunity for me and my young family,” Simon says. Gordon was equally impressed with Simon’s work ethic and experience. “Simon’s level of professionalism and commitment to excellence is a tremendous asset to the Cormack team. He is a big part of the growth The Wood Works continues to experience,” Gordon says.
Today, Simon runs The Wood Works, overseeing the work of two full-time employees. Together, they have nearly 60 years of experience. Simon says he enjoys working at The Wood Works because the projects he manages are just as unique as his customers. “Every day presents new projects and new challenges.” It doesn’t matter how long you’ve done this—there’s always a challenge and I like that,” he says.
Part of the challenges Simon and his team face is coming up with unique ways to make his customers’ dreams a reality. He recalls one customer who wanted wood counter tops. “We ended up using tineo, an exotic, rare wood from South America. Our team created a beautiful, yet durable custom countertop for the client, who was thrilled with the result,” he adds.
Simon and The Wood Works team have a rare skill set in both millwork and carpentry. With the help of 3-D design they can build virtually any type of custom furniture a client wants. “If they can dream it, we can build it,” he says. They also create custom built-ins, trim, and other finish work.
Simon says he enjoys combining his creativity, experience, and skills to help clients get their dream homes. “It’s what makes coming to work fun,” he says.
The Wood Works combines traditional craftsmanship with the latest tools and technology—including 3-D design—to create custom furniture, trim, and other millwork. If you want to learn more about Simon or The Wood Works’ custom millwork and carpentry services, contact us at 603.367.8272 or visit us online.
Photos of Simon Thomas: Tim Shellmer
The process of building a new home is exciting, but with so many decisions to make, it can also be a little overwhelming. And if you’re not careful, the costs associated with these decisions can quickly add up. In this month’s blog, the pros from Cormack Construction share 7 tips on how to maximize your home construction budget.
A little planning can go along way. And a lot of planning can help you get the home of your dreams and stay within your budget. Start by creating a list of needs and wants. For example, you might need to have three bedrooms and a first floor laundry room, but you want a deck. Share this list with your architect or designer when creating your home’s footprint and floor plan. Together, you will create a plan that will meet your wants and needs and maximize your home construction budget.
Building a new home is a very detailed and complex process and surprises may come up along the way. For example, your builder could dig a well and not find water. For this reason, you should set aside at least 10% of the cost of your home in a cash reserve. This way, if an issue does arise, you’ll be able to pay for it without digging into your original home construction budget.
To help maximize your home construction budget, choose a square or rectangular floor plan and avoid cathedral ceilings and complicated roof lines. Curves, triangles, trapezoids, and other complex shapes are more difficult to build, and more expensive.
Once you’ve agreed upon your home’s footprint and floor plan, you need to stick with it. As soon as the walls start going up, changes get very expensive. To be sure you are happy with the layout of your home, ask your designer or architect for a 3-D design of your floor plan, which allows you to virtually walk around your home before construction even begins!
Allowances are exactly what they sound like: pre-allocated funds for certain fixtures, appliances, or features within your home. In most contracts, allowances for the following items are specified:
Your builder will detail these allowances in your contract, along with a price range. It can be easy to get carried away and fall in love with fixtures, appliances, or features that are just a little bit more expensive than your allowance–but remember, these choices quickly add up and can significantly increase the final cost of your home!
When it comes to building a new home, there are certain areas–including your insulation, windows, kitchen, and flooring–where upgrades pay off in the long run. To help maximize your home construction budget, focus on these areas when considering any upgrades.
To maximize your home construction budget, be frugal, but don’t go overboard. You want your new home to reflect your personality and lifestyle, and be an enjoyable, comfortable place for you and your family.
Cormack Construction can help you build the custom home of your dreams while staying within your budget. We’re an award-winning design-build firm with over 30 years of experience and an outstanding reputation for quality and customer service. Contact us today to discuss your home construction project.
Whether you’re building your first family home or a downsized dwelling for your retirement, careful thought and planning can make all the difference! Here are 5 tips for building your dream home from the experts at Cormack Construction:
Ideally, you should hire an architect before you even buy your land. If you have a site in mind, your architect can assess its suitability for the type of home you want. Your architect can also figure out where to place the house to best take advantage of views, sunlight, shadows, trees, and more. You will use the blueprints your architect creates to get bids from builders. Some home construction firms, like Cormack, have in-house architects and designers, which can be an advantage to the home builder.
An architect will help you create the exact plans for your home, but you need to have a sense of your budget, how many rooms you want, and the size and the style of the home before you start. “Invest some time in planning your home,” says David Norton, designer at Cormack Construction. Norton points out that once the home has been framed, changes can get expensive and delay your project.
Consider hiring an architect or designer who offers 3-D design services. A 3-D design will allow you to virtually walk around your home before construction even begins. This can save you both time and money in the long run.
When designing your floor plan, think about what your home and family life will be like in a few years. Perhaps you’ll build wider, wheelchair accessible entry ways, or a first-floor master bedroom for an aging adult.
Nothing betrays a home’s age like trendy fixtures and features. Stick with the classics so your home always looks current. The same principle applies to technology. State-of-the art technology is exciting, but it can really eat into your budget. And it quickly becomes outdated. Technology that will stand the test of time is a much better investment.
Custom Homes in NH’s Lake Region, White Mountains, and Western ME
At Cormack Construction, we take pride in building our customers’ homes as if they were our own. We’re an award-winning design-build firm with an outstanding reputation for quality and customer service. Whether you’re building the home of your dreams or adding on to your existing home, we’re here to serve your unique needs. Contact us today.
Whether you’re remodeling or building a new home, 3-D design can help you save time and money, and get exactly what you are looking for in your project. Here are some of the many benefits of 3-D design in home construction:
“3-D computer design allows our clients to get involved in every phase of the design process,” says says David Norton, designer at Cormack Construction.”They can review different options, making them better equipped to make informed design decisions,” he adds.
3-D design allows you to virtually walk through your home before even approving any specs or designs. Want to see what a set of sliding glass doors would look like in your living room? No problem. Not sure if your bathroom door is far enough away from your kitchen? Let’s move it around and see. Want to see the view from your kitchen’s bay windows? Step right up.
Let’s face it. We’re all busy. At Cormack, we’ve found that one of the greatest benefits of using 3-D design is the time savings it provides—both in the design and construction phases of your project. Using 3-D design, the Cormack team can quickly and easily make a client’s desired changes as the design progresses. And since a 3-D rendering is easy to understand, there is typically less back-and-forth communication with our clients. A 3-D design also saves time during the construction phase since it helps identify any potential issues before construction even begins.
Because you’ll know exactly what your project will look like before it’s started, 3-D design also saves you from paying for costly last-minute changes or any design or construction that you don’t want.
Most people have a hard time understanding traditional, one-dimensional floor plans. A 3-D rendering allows you better visualize the design and how it’s going to work for you. “The more you understand the look and feel of your design, the easier it will be to make decisions, and ultimately, the happier you’re going to be with your project,” Norton says.
At a time when most things we own are mass-produced, the craftsmen at Cormack Construction’s custom woodworking shop in Madison, NH are producing one-of-a-kind, timeless pieces that will be treasured for years to come.
“Our customers view the furniture and interior woodwork they purchase for their homes and businesses as an investment,” explains Simon Thomas, supervisor at The Wood Works. Thomas, who completed a woodworking apprenticeship in England, has over 35 years of experience designing and building custom cabinets, built-in furniture, bookcases, shelving, and interior woodwork.
When your custom, hand-crafted furniture is created by The Wood Works, you’ll get pieces that are built to last for generations. And because it’s designed to your specific needs and personal taste, you can be sure it will complement your surroundings.
Cormack Construction designer David Norton designed a lectern for Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, NH and Thomas turned it from concept to reality. This heirloom-quality piece was constructed with unique wood species, including spalted maple, ambrosia maple, and butternut, which beautifully complement the center’s heavy timber construction. It’s on display at the center’s Great Room, which is regularly used for educational programs, classroom activities, and special events.
The Wood Works team has over 50 years of combined experience. We pair traditional woodworking craftsmanship with the latest modern technologies to provide our clients with beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. Using 3-D design, we are able to show our clients what their project will look like before it’s completed. “This saves the client’s time and ultimately, allows us to make their dream a reality,” Thomas says.
If you are looking for custom furniture or interior woodwork for your home or business, contact the professionals at Cormack Construction. The Wood Works team can create custom cabinets, built-in furniture, bookcases, shelving, and staircases— in fact, any interior woodwork you need. We are centrally located in Madison, New Hampshire, close to the Lakes Region, the White Mountain Region and western Maine, but we deliver and install throughout northern New England. Contact us today!
Most people don’t think much about their roof until there’s an obvious problem, like a leaky ceiling. Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home and like everything else, it will wear out over time. Spring is a great time to determine if your roof needs repairing or replacing, especially if you have an older home. Here are seven signs you may need to replace your roof:
According to Claude McGavic, executive director of the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), an asphalt shingle roof typically lasts 20 to 30 years. However, other factors need to be considered, such as whether or not it was properly ventilated during installation. If your roof is getting up there in age, chances are you’ll soon need a new one. Just because it looks good from the ground doesn’t mean there aren’t problems.
If your shingles are curling on the edge or buckling in the middle, this is a sign of extensive weathering. When this occurs, you are at risk of developing serious problems—including leaks—in the near future.
It’s not a big deal to replace a few cracked or missing shingles here and there. However, over time, granule colors change with weathering and it can be difficult to match. When your roof starts to look like a patchwork quilt, you might opt to replace the whole thing. Because missing shingles can be a sign that your roof is failing, have a professional check to see if all of the shingle “tabs” are intact.
If your gutters are filled with granules, it could be a sign that your roof is nearing the end of its life cycle. Your shingles’ protective granules wear away over time, causing them to harden from heat and sun exposure. This aging and decay can eventually provide an entry point for water, causing serious damage to your home.
If there is moisture in your attic’s insulation or daylight coming through its roof boards, your roof likely needs replacement or serious repair.
If you think you need to replace or repair the roof of your home, talk to the professionals at Cormack Construction. Our expert team has over 45 years of experience designing, building, and remodeling homes in NH’s White Mountains, Lakes Region, and Western Maine.
Most people are naturally drawn to the outdoors. Nothing can relax and rejuvenate us like a spring breeze, the warmth of a summer afternoon sun, or the crisp air of autumn. Today, many people in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and White Mountains are bringing their love of the outdoors inside with the addition of screened porches, 3-season rooms, and sunrooms. Which type of outdoor space is best for you? Here’s some information on choosing the right outdoor room for your home:
As its name suggests, a screened porch has an opening that is covered with screens, allowing you to enjoy an evening in New Hampshire without the nuisance of insects. Because it has a roof, it will protect you from the harsh elements of nature, including the rainy downpours of spring and the blazing sun of July. While a screened porch adds some very valuable living space, it is not considered additional square footage to your home because it lacks central heating.
Today, many screened porches include amenities that give the homeowner the benefits of an interior room, including:
If you’re looking to add some protected outdoor space to your home on a budget, a screened porch may be the perfect choice for you.
The principal difference between a screened porch and a 3-season room is that the latter has insulated windows. With the addition of a small space heater, you may be able to use your 3-season room through late fall and early winter. Like a screened porch, a 3-season room doesn’t add square footage to your home because it lacks central heating.
Adding interior detailing, comfortable furniture, and decorative touches will make your space even more enjoyable for you and your family.
The addition of the insulated windows and whatever additional interior details you add to your 3-season room is obviously going to make this option more expensive than a screened porch. Your builder should be able to provide you with options to meet your budget needs.
Also known as a 4-season room, a sunroom allows you to experience the outdoors year-round. It is essentially an interior room that is surrounded with insulated windows. It requires the same type of construction elements as an interior addition, including a foundation, footers, insulation, heating, and if desired, air conditioning. Thus, it adds additional space to your home and is your most expensive option for bringing the outside in.
You have a lot of design options with a sunroom, as most interior room elements and finishes can be used in it, including wood floor, ceramic tiles, custom built-ins, intricate wood detail and moldings, and decorative light fixtures and ceiling fans.
If you’re looking to bring the outside in with a room that you can use year-round, a sunroom may be the best option for you.
If you want to add a room to your home that will bring the outside in, talk to the professionals at Cormack Construction. Our expert design-build team will help you in choosing the right outdoor room for your home.
Spring is just around the corner. And if you’ve been putting off building that new deck or sun room, now is the perfect time to get started! Here some good reasons why you should start thinking about your spring or summer home remodeling project:
We all know what it’s like to go to a restaurant without a reservation during rush hour. The same idea applies when it comes to scheduling a home remodeling project. Summer is a very busy time for builders. Getting started now will help ensure that your home remodeling project is scheduled—and completed—during your desired time frame.
When it comes to building materials, it’s all about supply and demand. During the peak construction months of summer, the cost of materials may be higher. Starting the design and planning part of your project during the slower season may save you money in the long run.
For most of us, a New England summer goes by way too quickly. If you plan your home remodeling project now, you’ll have more time to enjoy it during the warmer months. This means more days hosting barbecues on your new deck and more nights spending time in your three-season room.
Timing is everything. In New Hampshire and Maine, summer is the prime season for buying and selling a home. If you’re considering putting your home on the market, now is the time to complete those remodeling projects that you’ve been putting off. Having your home ready for the peak selling season will help you attract multiple buyers and get your asking price.
Planning a spring or summer home remodeling project? Talk to the design-build professionals at Cormack Construction. For over 45 years, we’ve been designing, building, and remodeling homes in Western Maine and in the Lakes Region and White Mountains of NH. Contact our award-winning team today.
You’re ready to build a new home, but where do you start? The first step is to recognize that not all builders are created equal. But if you do a little research and ask some key questions, you’ll be on your way toward getting the home of your dreams. Here are some tips for choosing the right home builder:
Are you dreaming of a rustic timber-framed home or a sleek modern design? Multi-level or one floor living? Are you interested in having a production home or a custom home? Simply put, when working with a production home builder, you will likely choose from a number of set plans. You can make adjustments—but not to the extent possible with a custom home builder. When building a custom home, you will work much more closely with your builder on the details—including luxury upgrades and architectural design—that make your home uniquely yours.
Contact your local home builders’ association to obtain a list of builders who construct homes in your area. From there, talk to your friends and relatives about their building experiences. They may have additional friends or relatives who are willing to talk to you. Social media can serve as another great way to quickly solicit feedback from the people you know.
Narrow down your list to three or four reputable builders and start asking questions. Taking the time to ask questions and get to know a potential builder before signing a contract can go a long way in avoiding a bad home building experience. And remember, when choosing a home builder, don’t base your decision entirely on price. Here are some great questions to start with:
The relationship you have with your builder can make or break the entire process of building a home. Part of choosing the right home builder is making sure you’re comfortable communicating and asking questions. You should feel a sense of trust and confidence in your builder. If you don’t, you haven’t found the right one.
At Cormack Construction, we take pride in building our customers’ homes as if they were our own. We’re an award-winning design-build firm with an outstanding reputation for quality and customer service. Whether you’re building the luxury home of your dreams or adding on to your existing home, we’re here to serve your unique needs. Contact us today.