8 Things Every Great Laundry Room Needs

If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated room for your washer and dryer, here are some ideas to consider upgrading the space for optimal function.

1. CABINETRY

Space to store things like detergent is essential. Check out this beautiful before and after from Gather & Flourish:

Or, if you don't have enough room for the full size cabinets, try something smaller like this pull out by Manhattan Nest

2. HANGING RACKS

Those "hang-to-dry" pieces need their own space too, like these wall-mounted beauties from Bolig Magasinet:

3. AN IRONING BOARD

And so much the better if it has it's own designated space. We all know what a pain it is to pull out and put away.

You could even DIY this Ikea hack:

4. CLOTHING RODS

Of course, you'll need a place to hang things up when you're done ironing them. I love the location of this one:

5. COUNTER SPACE FOR FOLDING

Even if it's as small as this clever pull-out:

6. A HOME FOR YOUR HAMPERS

How many times a day do you trip over or into hampers that are sitting on the floor? If you're anything like me, it probably happens every time you go into the laundry room. Give your hampers their own place to hang out, like this DIY by Ana White:

7. SINK SPACE

Bring a sink into your laundry room and stop handwashing those delicates in your kitchen.

8. DISGUISE THE BIG GUYS

If your laundry room doubles as your pantry, or if you just don't like the look of your washer and dryer, here's a great idea for disguising them:

Hopefully as you've been scrolling through this post you've noticed that these inspiration photos all feature at least two of the elements I've mentioned. When it comes to the laundry room, it's all about creative use of space. Plus, you want it to be pretty - you sure spend enough time in there.

You can find more laundry room inspiration here.


Blog Bio.jpg

A Deck for All Seasons

We love capped composite decking materials, and with the ridiculous rise in cedar prices over this last summer, composite decks have become quite competitive in their pricing. But don’t just take our word for it – here are some of the many reasons composite decking is better than wood:

Maintenance

Of course, one of the most important things to consider, second only to how well the deck is actually built, is maintenance. Wood decks require a lot of maintenance. They have to be thoroughly cleaned and re-stained every year to protect against rot and fading. Plus, it needs to be sanded down and re-finished every couple of years. Then you have to check and spray for bugs, and pray that the beetle you just saw running across your deck is in fact a beetle and not a termite. That’s a lot of time you could be doing something more relaxing, like enjoying sitting on your deck. Composite decks do not require more than an hour of maintenance every year – they just need a good soap and water washing once a year.

Eco-friendliness

Composite decking helps the environment. Wood decking means cutting down trees that protect us from carbon dioxide and replenish our oxygen, using more trees to create the energy needed to power the machines that refine the wood and make it construction ready, and having to replant more trees to start the process all over again. Trees are what makes our home here in the Pacific Northwest so stinking beautiful. (Especially like right now at the end of October when the leaves are turning the most brilliant shades of red and orange and yellow and the whole area is just glowing.) Composite decking is mostly made out of recycled plastic materials, keeping them out of dumps. TimberTech advertises that their decking is made from 73% recycled materials, and Trex’s is 95% recycled materials. You can learn more about turning plastic into composite decking in this Trex video and this Fiberon video.

Sturdiness

Wood decks splinter and twist and rot and warp. Composite decks do not. Plus, composite decking is more weather-resistant. Wood decking materials last at most 10-15 years. Composite decking materials last at least 25 years and longer if you take good care of them. That’s almost twice as long! And considering cedar and composite materials are running about the same price-wise right now, you end up getting so much more for your money’s worth with composite decking – a longer lifetime with significantly less maintenance time.

The Look

If the only thing holding you back from going with composite rather than wood is that you are afraid it won’t look like real wood, please come into our office and let us show you the 30+ samples of composite decking we have from four different companies that are designed with a wood grain finish. (Or just look at these samples on Trex’s website.) Composite decking has the look of real wood, without the hazards and dangers of real wood. And you don’t have to stain it to get it the color you want. Plus, most composite decking materials have color all throughout the material, rather than slathering on a coating at the end, so you don’t have to worry about fading or staining.

Let us know your thoughts on capped composite decking in the comments below.


Blog Bio.jpg

The Perks of Metal Roofing

We are currently building a new home out in Carlton and putting a standing seam metal roof on it. Here are some of the benefits of a metal roof:

  • Look - the metal roof is a classic look, lending itself to many different architectural styles. Plus, it comes in dozens of colors, styles, and patterns!
  • Durability - metal roofing won't rot, curl, split, flake, peel, break, burn, or blow off. It's also more resistant to hail, wind, fire, and freezing/thawing problems than composite and asphalt roofing materials. Not to mention it's so much lower in maintenance than those other materials and lasts much longer.
46427_476144154664_4713735_n.jpg
  • Lightweight - most styles are less than one-third the weight of asphalt shingles.
  • Energy Efficient - metal roofs in general are more energy efficient than asphalt shingles, and you can upgrade to "cool metal roofing" that is even more efficient because of the pigments in it and the way they are designed to reflect sunlight and heat. This guide talks more about the importance of a 1-150 NFA balance in your attic.
  • Value - besides the fact that metal roofs last significantly longer than other roofing materials, they can also add resale value to your home, and, in some cases, even reduce the cost of your homeowners' insurance.
45219_476144184664_6976730_n.jpg

You can learn more about our roofing services here. And in the meantime, you can follow along with the progress of the Carlton Quaker House on our Facebook page.

75 Things to Do in McMinnville, Oregon

Our nearby neighbor McMinnville is the seat of the county - and the talk of the town! Here are 75 things to do, see, eat, drink, and shop in the area:

DO:

1. See a local performance at Gallery Theater

2. Tour Linfield and watch a game or performance

3. Take the little ones to Story Time at the McMinnville Public Library

4. Have teens? Join Teen Gaming Night on the first Friday of each month

5. Explore nature a mere 5 minutes out of town at Ed Grenfell Park

6. Visit Oregon’s Favorite Main Street, which, ironically, is actually on Third Street

7. See Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, and while you’re there, be sure to check out the IMAX Theater and Waterpark

8. If you are around in May, be sure to check out the annual UFO Festival

9. Thursdays from May to October you can find a plethora of local vendors at the Farmers Market

10. July through September, after Farmers Market, head further down Third Street for free Concerts on the Plaza

11. Check out the fantastic wooden structures of City Park

12. Or go for a dive at the nearby Aquatic Center

13. Join the Art and Wine Walk on the third Saturday of every month

14. Find out just how much of turkey you are at the annual Turkey Rama Festival

15. Learn more about the 100+ years of history on a walking tour of downtown

16. Watch the latest blockbuster at Moonlight Theater

17. Rent a bicycle and tootle around a bit

18. Visit us in July for the International Pinot Noir Celebration

19. Take a pottery lesson at Jack Potter Art Lounge

20. Spend the holiday season with us and enjoy the Parade and Tree Lighting Festival

21. Drop by in August to go to Oregon’s Oldest Fair

22. See some cool classic cars at Drag the Gut

23. Learn more about local history at the Heritage Museum

24. Go for a hike near the airport at Galen McBee

25. Learn more about local ancient geology at Erratic Rock

26. Go on a wine tour by helicopter with Konect Aviation

27. Get wet in the fountains at Discovery Meadows

28. Take a jewelry making class at Jack of All Beads

29. Watch local artists perform at Mac Stage 

EAT & DRINK:

1. Enjoy fine dining farm-to-fork at Thistle

2. Get a drink at The Oak

3. Try a Latin meal from Pura Vida

4. Indulge in a scoop (or two) from Serendipity Ice Cream

5. Partake in tapas at La Rambla

6. Have a taste of New Orleans at Gem

7. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a pastry from Red Fox Bakery

8. Eat some amazing BBQ at Ribslayer

9. Enjoy a freshly made sandwich and soup at The Sage

10. Visit one of the many wineries in the area

11. Spend a meal at 1882 Grille, featured in Sunset Magazine

12. Munch on some yummy pizza from 3rd Street Pizza (P.S. Mondays & Tuesdays are Dollar-Slice Days)

13. Find an afternoon pick-me-up at Union Block

14. Or if tea is more your style, check out Velvet Monkey

15. Sample some local brews at Grain Station

16. Enjoy some local produce from Harvest Fresh

17. Get Mexican at Los Molcajetes

18. Embrace weird at McMenamins Hotel Oregon restaurant and bar

19. Chill out at Nick’s Italian Café

20. Grab a pint at Golden Valley

21. Eat hearty at The 411

22. End your day bitterly at The Bitter Monk

23. Join the community at Community Plate

24. Have a real live monkey watch you eat at Alf’s

25. Indulge in carbs at Great Harvest Bread Co

26. Enjoy breakfast at WildWoodCrescent Café, or Morning Thunder - you can’t go wrong!

SHOP:

1. Find all the yarn you could ever dream of at Oregon Kitting Co

2. Buy a bunch of flowers at Poseyland

3. Experience the charm of Third Street Books

4. Bring back something for everyone from Third Street Oil & Vinegar

5. Check out the local cycling culture at Tommy’s

6. Purchase something sparkly for her from Accessory Appeal

7. See some of the cutest clothes around at Cupcake Couture

8. Buy local at Yamhill Valley Dry Goods

9. Indulge your music snobbery with some vinyl from The Vortex

10. Visit “McMinnville’s Back Yard” in the Granary District

11. Find cute curios at Heavens to Betsy

12. Bring your inner child to life at Hopscotch Toys

13. Make your home a little more beautiful with finds from La Bella Casa

14. Be sure to stop by The Merri Artist for all your art supply dreams come true

15. Purchase some feminine fineries at Mes Amies

16. Bring home a taste of the Pacific Northwest from NW Food & Gifts

17. See more fabric than you could dream of at Boersma’s

18. Enjoy the eclectic offerings of Found Objects

19. Get some sweet deals from Real Deals on Home Décor

20. Find all your garden needs (and more!) at Incahoots

Just make sure that wherever you end up shopping, you bring your own reusable bags with you.


*Square Deal Construction Company does not necessarily endorse these companies.


Blog Bio.jpg

Cleaner Windows, Less Effort

Take a moment and look at the window nearest you - not through it, at it. Notice how it looks, if there are water spots, dirt, etc. on it. Unless you are a glass expert or a window cleaner, you probably hadn't ever noticed before just how dirty your windows get. Or maybe you have noticed, but going through the effort of cleaning them, or finding someone you trust to clean them for you, is too much of a hassle. What if I told you that needing to clean your windows could become a thing of the past?

Yes, that's right. With a simple switch to new windows, you could forgo ever cleaning your windows again. But not just any old windows - you need windows with Neat Glass.

The glass geniuses at Cardinal Glass Industries have come up with a new kind of glass called Neat Glass. Glass used in normal windows appears smooth to the naked eye, but when you look a little closer, you can see it actually has a slight indentation pattern to it. Unlike ordinary glass, Neat Glass is completely smooth. This has some incredible implications.

neat glass.png

When water hits normal glass, it bubbles up and holds itself intact, either drying in place or slowly moving down the glass to the bottom of the pane and dripping off. When water hits Neat Glass, the ultra smoothness of the glass means that the water does not form any sort of bubble, but rather falls straight down the pane and off the glass, leaving no annoying droplets or dried water marks.

Watch this video to learn more:

There is a layer of titanium dioxide in Neat Glass that causes dirt/bird poop/etc. to decompose because of the way the it chemically reacts to the sun. Then, when it rains (or you spray it down with a hose) the dirt/etc. instantly washes away, making Neat Glass is super easy to clean - you can literally just shoot it with a hose and call it good.

The best part? Cardinal Glass has a manufacturing plant here in Oregon, in the southern part of Hood River. We love locally made products! Cardinal Glass is used to make Prime Windows. You can learn more about Cardinal's Neat Glass and check out their interactive guide here.

Ready to switch out your windows? Contact us about our window services and take advantage of rebates on energy efficient windows while they're still available.


Blog Bio.jpg

Warning Signs You Picked the Wrong Contractor

We know that a lot of time and research can go into finding the right contractor, as it should. But sometimes you can still end up being deceived and hire the wrong contractor. Here are some of the warning signs that you might have hired the wrong contractor for your project:

  • You never signed a contract - legally if the job is $2000 or more, the contractor is required to have a contract. Regardless of the cost of the job, having a contract is a great safeguard for both the contractor and you.
  • Virtually no details are written in the contract - you should know exactly what work is being done and what products are being used; the more detail, the better.
  • You are required to get permits, or permits are purchased in your name - this is a warning sign that they aren't licensed.
  • They aren't licensed or bonded or insured, or they don't have workman's compensation.
  • They don't (or won't) give you references.
  • They tie deposits to specific dates rather than work completion milestones - projected completion dates change often; completion milestones don't change.
  • The workmanship is poor quality.
  • There are unexplained delays in their work - you should be informed of any potential delays that come up and when they can be resolved.
  • There is drug or alcohol use on the job site.
  • They have poor communication skills.
  • They don't follow what's written in your contract - if your contract is detailed enough for you to know what they are doing and what products they are using, they should be sticking to that.
  • They aren't following OSHA guidelines.
  • They steal from you - whether it's stealing your money on the job site by scamming you, or stealing your belongings, it's never okay.

If any of these sound familiar, it might be time to fire the contractor and find someone new. It's worth it to make sure your home is taken care of with quality work and quality products the first time around.


For more information about selecting a contractor and avoiding any problems, check out these resources: Oregon CCB's 16 Ways to Avoid Remodeling, Repair, and Construction Problems, our guide to Choosing the Right Contractor for You, DoItYourself.com's Contractor Checklist, and HouseLogic's tips for Fighting Back Against a Bad Contractor.


How to Choose the Right Contractor for You

We understand that choosing a contractor is not an easy task – there’s a lot involved with finding someone you trust to work on your home. You don’t want just anyone to complete your project. We get that, and we feel the same way.

Much like finding a business partner, you want to find a contractor who you trust, who communicates well with you, who knows what you want and is able to do it for you. And this is especially important if you have a job that will last longer – you don’t want to get halfway through the project and realize the contractor you hired is not going to work out after all.

So we’ve compiled the following lists of questions for you to consider when choosing a contractor.

Things to Ask Yourself:

  • Do I feel comfortable and safe with this contractor?
  • Do I trust this contractor to work on and in my home?
  • Does this contractor know what they are talking about?
  • Are they explaining things in a way that I can understand? Are they using big words to confuse me and make it seem like they know more than they do?
  • Is this contractor being transparent with me, or are does it feel like they are hiding things?
  • Does this contractor actually listen to me and understand what I want?
  • Do I have a good gut feeling about this contractor?
  • Does the value of what I’m getting make me feel good about the price? Is it worth it?

Things to Ask the Contractor (& Our Answers)

  • Are you licensed?
    • Yes. Our CCB license number is #172566. You can check that our license is active at the CCB website here, and we can give you a copy as well, if you would like.
  • Do you have a lead license to work on homes built prior to 1978?
    • Yes we do. Our Lead Based Paint Renovation license is LBPR172566. You can learn more about Lead Safety requirements here.
  • Are you insured?
    • We are insured through United Fire Group, with Commercial General Liability, Automobile Liability, and Excess Liability. We can provide you a copy of our insurance. We also are insured through SAIF Corporation in compliance with Oregon Workers' Compensation laws.
  • How long have you been in business?
    • 20 years as of November 2017.
  • How do you handle any problems that arise? Can you site a specific example?
    • If a problem comes up, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible, and likewise we will notify you of any problems on our end. We believe that communication is key. We will work with you to come to an agreement/solution regarding the problem. If need be, the CCB offers arbitration services. This is what the State of Oregon has to say about resolving disputes.
  • What exactly am I getting for the price you’ve given me?
    • We make our estimates as specific as possible, and if you have any questions, we would love to go over your estimate with you.
  • What is your payment plan?
    • We ask that you put down a 50% deposit at signing so we can secure a spot on the schedule for your project and get materials ordered. Depending on the length of the project, we ask for one to three progress payments, and once the work is completed, we send you the final invoice.
  • Do you offer financing? Will you work with me to get financing?
    • Yes, we do, and yes, we will. We can provide you with several financing options. An approximate monthly payment option will also be listed on your bid.
  • Can you give me a list of references?
    • Gladly! We always send our references attached to your formal proposal, and if you’d like to see them before that, just let us know.
  • When can you start the work?
    • Starting date will depend on the project and what our calendar currently looks like. For a more specific answer, you can call our office at 971.832.0191.
  • How long will it take to complete the project?
    • Project length will also depend on the type of project, but this is something you can ask our estimator when they come out to take a look.
  • What products will you be using? Why those products?
    • Again, this depends on the project, but we would be more than happy to tell you what products we would use on your project and why we like them.
  • What kind of maintenance will I need to do after the fact?
    • Check out this helpful Art of Manliness checklist.
  • Do you have a warranty program for your workmanship? What about the products?
    • Product warranties vary depending on the manufacturer. Square Deal extends to the original Homeowner the standard 1 year construction warranty, to cover the life of the renovations.
  • Is there anything else I need to know?
    • For a full rundown of Our Process, click here.

Things to Ask Their References:

  • What kind of project did this contractor do for you?
  • What was the process like?
  • Were there any hidden fees?
  • Did the price you were charged match the price on the estimate you were given?
  • What was the cost versus value experience for you?
  • What were the pros and cons of working with this contractor?
  • Did you have any concerns or problems with this contractor? If so, how were they remedied?
  • Would you hire them again? Why (or why not)?

We understand that your home is your safe place, and we want it to stay that way.

For more helpful information when it comes to choosing a contractor, check out this brochure from the Certified Contractors Network and this question list from the National Association of Home Builders.


FAQs

1. What happens when you come out to my house to give me an estimate?

The intention of the first meeting is just for us to meet, go over the project, get a feel for what the project consists of and what your expectations are. We will discuss your budget and types of finishes you would like. Sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for the desired finishes, in which case we can talk about alternate solutions. Depending on the complexity of the project, we can come up with an estimate during our visit. Other times, the estimator will need to leave, do some research, and get back to you with an estimate. Once this process is complete, and you feel comfortable working with Square Deal, we would start the process of creating a formal proposal. This will include all the specs for the job, to include, types of trim, flooring, siding, windows, roofing, cabinetry, countertops, faucets, etc. With this information, we can create an accurate lump sum proposal. We try very hard to account for every aspect and not use budgets for items like some companies do. This is more work in the beginning, but it allows the project to flow more efficiently and it reduces the surprise cost overruns by the end of the project. Often times we will need construction drawings to allow us to bid the project accurately.

 

2. I’m not sure what I want my project to look like exactly. Can you help me with that?

We have an in house Architectural and Interior Designer, who can create these drawings and assist you with all of the design and selection aspects of your project, if you need or would like help with this. Our fee for this service starts with another design consultation at $65 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Based on the information gathered from that meeting, we will prepare a proposal for the design work and construction drawings. These designs and drawings will be yours even if you choose not to use us to do the project.

 

3. What if I want to accept your estimate, but I’m not ready for you to start my project yet?

If you decide to go with Square Deal but aren’t ready to start your project until next year, we will just keep your proposal in our file and rebid at the time when you want to start the project. We are normally 3 months +/- out on larger projects.