Many people get worried when they are considering a home renovation project, and that’s usually because they’ve heard some horror stories from friends of family. But, with a good general contractor, the issues should be minimal, and the process will end up being enjoyable. Here are some common renovation frustrations and how to avoid them:

  1. Going way over budget. This one happens way too often, and it’s really the result of poor communication and planning. Defining your budget with the contractor is imperative to the entire project. There are cases where contractors will get into a job and there is a major issue lurking below that wasn’t known before, which may require additional funds to correctly address. But, if you’re open with the contractor with what you expect, what you need done, and how much money you have for it, they will be able to estimate the costs and let you know if it’s feasible. Every project needs a little wiggle room, but it shouldn’t come out thousands of dollars more than initially discussed.
  2. Discovering your renovation isn’t up to code. It’s frustrating to finish a huge project just to find out it isn’t compliant with city regulations. Minor projects don’t generally need a permit to complete or an inspection when it’s done, but if for major projects, you must make sure you check off all the boxes before, during, and after it’s completed. A reputable, licensed general contractor will know the importance of this and will make sure to plan for approvals and verifications.
  3. Living in a construction zone for months. Some extensive projects may require you to relocate for a while, and if this is the case, you’ll need to be prepared before starting the job. However, we’ve heard stories of smaller to mid-sized projects taking over the entire house because the crew was inefficient and messy. This is understandably frustrating and not good practice. Discuss with your contractor beforehand your expectations for living within the project mess and make sure you feel good with their approach. You can check reviews, too, to see what others say about their work area.
  4. Not being able to track down the contractor and crew. Many crews are likely working on more than one project at a time, but that doesn’t give them the excuse to start demoing then not show up for several day while you’re in a mess. You need a contractor that is reliable and will put your project on top of their priority list. Communication needs to be easy, the workers need to show up as expected, and the project needs to be completed in an appropriate time. You’ll know right away if the contractor is responsive and easy to communicate with, but you’ll want to take some time vetting their work before hiring them.

We know house projects are important, both financially and emotionally, and you want to ensure you feel good about a contractor before committing. Contact RAM Builders Stucco & Exteriors with any questions or concerns.

When it comes to investments into your home, you typically need to balance three main factors: budget, function, and style. At the end of an ideal project, you have stayed close to your budget, the new project is functional for your needs, and you’re happy with how it looks. When all three priorities are met, you will be happy with your investment. But another consideration to keep in mind is if the project will add value to your home. Even if you plan to live in the home forever, you likely don’t want to spend a large chunk of money on something that won’t add value to it. Some exterior remodels or renovations may be necessary for safety or code requirements, and that’s a great time to consider upgrading rather than just replacing. If you’re looking at some ways to invest in your home to update, upgrade, make more functional, or to maximize ROI, here are some great ways to do that.

  1. Exterior Paint – painting your property can be enormously impactful. Whether you have brick, siding, or stucco, a clean coat of paint brings a freshness to your home. Consider color schemes that coordinate with the style of the rest of your neighborhood, but don’t be afraid to try something that is eye catching. It’s a balance so take some time before you decide and be sure to look at plenty of idea pictures or spend a couple weekends driving around to see it in person.
  2. Landscaping – You don’t have to compete for a spot in Better Homes and Gardens to have a lovely, landscaped yard. Sometimes people get intimidated about gardening, lawn maintenance, and yard care, and it can be tricky if you aren’t prepared for the work. It’s still possible to have a beautiful yard that doesn’t require too much effort. If you’re looking to boost your home’s value, spend a little time in that yard.
  3. Front Doors – Because your front door is the entrance into your home, it should be welcoming and in good condition. Painting your front door a fun color is an easy way to update your home and isn’t too costly. You can also upgrade it to a high-end focal piece to really level up your curb appeal. If you have the space, consider making the entrance bigger and adding some windows to encase the door.
  4. Garage Doors – Although this can be of a spendy option, it always pays off. Garage doors are large so they are a big portion of the entire home’s exterior. Today there are lots of options for garage doors—you’ll want to pay attention to ones that blend in with the aesthetic of the rest of your home and will last a long time.
  5. Outdoor Entertaining Spaces – Grilling areas, outdoor kitchen, firepits, and patios set up for entertaining are in high demand in today’s home. Creating a fun space to gather with family or friends is a great investment for your needs today and when it comes time to sell.

For the best in exterior updates and upgrades, RAM has got your back.

The summer months call us to spend time outside enjoying the lovely weather and soaking up some Vitamin D. As you’re enjoying your outdoor time, maybe you’ve noticed a few issues with the exterior of your home that need to be addressed. Here are seven signs that your home could use an exterior renovation:

  1. You feel like your home is looking dated – If you continually pull up to your house feeling out of place from the rest of your updated neighborhood, it may be time to give it a refresh. To keep your house feeling current and well loved, some exterior renovations may be necessary. It doesn’t always have to be a huge project, even adding some shutters or updating the address numbers is all it takes.
  2. The paint is starting to chip or flake – If you’re noticing paint chipping or flaking, or maybe faded sections, this is a sign that your home is asking for some TLC. Often this is just a cosmetic issue and is relatively simple to fix. Before issues get worse, consider getting a quick coat of fresh paint on there.
  3. The landscaping doesn’t match the home – If you’ve spent a lot of time and money on a beautifully landscaped yard, you’ll feel even more satisfied with the project if your home matches that look. If you’re home looks run down but your yard looks immaculate, it’s going to feel unbalanced.
  4. You plan on selling the home sometime soon – The first impression of your home is the exterior. Realtors and buyers may not remove a home from their list because of an unattractive exterior, but they’ll definitely think twice about it. Even if you don’t plan to sell right away, if you know it’s in the cards sometime in the future, start with little renovations now and keep up on it so you can enjoy the upgrades before you put the for sale sign up.
  5. The inside doesn’t match the outside – Many of us are guilty of spending a lot of time and money on interior updates while forgetting about the outside. If you’ve upgraded several areas of your home but have neglected the outside, now’s the time to remedy that. Curb appeal matters, so avoid putting the exterior on the backburner.
  6. Pests or insects are getting in – Bugs do find a way to get into homes regardless of exterior quality; however, if you start to notice a shift and you’re seeing more pests or bugs than normal, it may be time to consider an assessment on the openings of your home like doorways, windows, or chimney crowns.
  7. Your roof is leaking – Homeowners should never ignore a leaking roof, and it won’t simply go away or get better with time. We know that roof repair or replacement is intimidating but ignoring the problem will only create bigger issues.

Renovating the exterior of a home doesn’t have to be a dreaded project. Make it a rewarding and positive experience by using the experts at RAM Builders Stucco and Exteriors.

With home prices high and a hot seller’s market, it may be tempting to put your house on the market right now. We want to present you with a few reasons to stay put rather than sell. There are many things to consider before moving, so if you’re on the fence right now, read this before making any decisions.

Customize Your Current Home

Unless you’re planning on a custom build, buying another home will probably not come with everything on your checklist. Choosing to remodel or upgrade your current home can tick off your entire checklist and get all your needs into a new design. Many people choose to move simply because they don’t love the curb appeal of their home. It’s important that you love the exterior of your home, and even if you feel limited with your current structure, an expert exterior company can show you options you probably never thought were possible.

Stay in the Neighborhood You Love

Many of us get attached to our neighborhood and location. If this is you and you want a more functional home but love where you are, consider a remodel. You don’t have to leave your community or force your kids to say goodbye to their friends if you redo the parts of your home that are crucial to your happiness. If you’re in an older home and want it to look more modern, there are many upgrades you can do that are cost-effective and will increase your home’s value.

Add Value to Your Home

Most remodels and upgrades will add value to your home. This is only true if they’re high-quality and professional jobs. You’ve likely paid down your home over the years already and updating your home in smart ways will build equity and increase the overall value of the home. With such a large investment as a home, you want to make sure you’re remodeling projects are done with care and precision to maximize your ROI. Exterior remodels need extra care because if something is done improperly, leaking can occur and cause damage to the inside of the home as well.

You Don’t Have to Move All Your Stuff

For many of us, moving isn’t the most enjoyable process. Plus, moving expenses can get high quickly, from minor necessary improvements in your current home to make it appealing to buyers to hiring a moving company to help you out. Rather, put these costs that you can’t recoup back into the asset that is your home. Avoid the hassle of moving by improving the home you currently have.

Sentimental Reasons

Your memories are what makes a house a home. You’ve probably had some good and bad times in your home, and it may be hard to leave that all behind. If you feel an attachment to your home and are struggling with the thought of saying goodbye to those memories, consider options for remodeling and upgrades. We can get tied emotionally to a home, and it often feels good to put money into making it nicer for us and future generations.

Spring has sprung, and it’s the season of rebirth and regrowth. Continue the feeling by bringing the new to the exterior of your home, too. The exterior of your home is the first impression everyone gets, and you want to spend some time working on the curb appeal. Here are some suggestions for some spring updates for your home:

Architectural Accents

Adding some architectural accents can be as budget-friendly or extensive as you want. With durable foam options, you can choose any design and style you want. Create an appealing style upgrade around your windows, add some decorative columns along a porch or patio, or bring a customized casting design to explore a variety of creative options. Accents can bring a whole new level of sophistication to a home’s exterior.

Updating Paint Colors

Painting portions, or all, of your home can dramatically change the look of your home. Painting brick has been popular for a while, and we don’t see it going out of style ever. Brick homes are beautiful, but if you hate the color, it’s not as big of a project to change as you might think. Painting old brick can freshen up a home in a big way. Stucco is very easy to repaint and looks amazing. Whatever the exterior of your home is, if you want a color switch, it’s doable. And spring is just the time to do it.

Repair and Patch Stucco

Stucco is a popular material in Utah, and it’s a great product. When taken care of, it can look beautiful for a very long time. Take some time to assess your stucco and see if there are any problems arising. Patchwork is relatively easy and doing it before anything major happens will prevent you from having to spend a lot of money later for problems that eventually lead inside, too.

Replace Wood Siding with Stucco

If your home has old wood siding, consider replacing it with stucco, which is easy to maintain. Wood siding is lovely, but it requires quite a bit of care and maintenance. If you’ve had enough of that, replacing it with stucco can update your home while also making it easier to maintain for throughout the future.

Waterproof Decks and Make Repairs

You’ll soon be gathering outside now that warmer weather is upon us. Wooden decks require some annual maintenance to keep them looking great and lasting a long time. With Utah’s weather patterns, you want to stay up on the maintenance for your wood decking. Keep up on repairs and you’ll have a useable deck for years to enjoy.

Consider Your Concrete

If you currently have concrete areas of your home, check them out and see if they need any overlays, lifting, or repairs. If you’d like to add some concrete space in your yard, now is a great time to get your project on the books. RAM Builders is happy to address concrete projects large and small. This spring don’t forget the exterior of your home when you start the spring cleaning process.

New construction is exciting. Whether you’re starting from scratch or remodeling an existing building, you expect you’ll end up with something better than what you started with.

But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

New, inexperienced, lazy or poorly managed construction companies can make mistakes, turning your exciting project into a nightmare. When it’s your home they’re working on, the decision lies with you on how to deal with the aftermath. But when you live in a community with a homeowners association, it’s the HOA that makes the decisions, not you.

And far too often, they make the decision to file a lawsuit. If the outcome of a lawsuit was that the wronged parties received restitution, I would be all for it. But I’ve seen these lawsuits dozens of times, and I can assure you, rarely do I see a happy ending.

Who Would Win? HOA vs. Construction Company

When an HOA files a lawsuit against a construction company for a construction defect, the result is not a pile of cash delivered to the next board meeting on the calendar. These lawsuits can drag on for years. And they’re expensive.

Many area Utah law firms will take an HOA’s case on a contingency basis, which means the HOA doesn’t pay its lawyer until the construction company pays them. Good deal, right? No expenses for the HOA until it gets what it rightfully deserves.

Not exactly.

Legal fees aren’t the HOA’s only cost. They also have to pay for expert opinions, destructive testing, emergency repairs and engineers as the lawsuit progresses — not after it collects. This can get costly, leaving the HOA in danger of becoming insolvent.

I worked with an HOA in Lehi, Utah, that had to wait 14 years to collect the money they won. Once the law firm took their contingency fee, the HOA didn’t have enough left to pay for the repairs the buildings needed. So the HOA prevailed, but they still lost.

The Challenge of Selling with a Pending Lawsuit

Further, the aforementioned lawsuit severely inconvenienced homeowners who couldn’t sell their home for the 14 years it was going on. Selling a home that’s tied up in a lawsuit can be nearly impossible.

During the time litigation is pending, property value is diminished. Even if the owner could find a buyer and was willing to take less for their home, banks often won’t lend money on houses with construction defects.

The homeowner could rent out their unit, but then they would have no equity to apply toward their new home. With dues rising to pay for the lawsuit, it could be hard for them to cover the mortgage and the related expenses on what they collect in rent.

In fact, it can be difficult to pay these expenses even if they don’t want to move, as soaring HOA fees can strain a budget until it breaks.

A Better Course of Action

Instead of filing a lawsuit against the construction company, HOAs would be better off repairing the defects on their own.

I know; it sounds unfair. The construction company was at fault; they should make it right. But should and will are two different things, and by making the repairs on their own dime, the HOA will usually end up spending less money.

Not only will they save on legal and expert fees and court costs, but they will be able to make the individual decisions about how to proceed during the repair work. A legal agreement or decision will frequently require the work to be entirely redone, when it could easily be repaired for a fraction of the cost.

If your HOA wants to put the time and effort into a lawsuit, there are steps it can take to mitigate unnecessary inconvenience and expense to residents.

Destructive testing is so-called for a reason — parts of a building that work fine are destroyed in the process of seeing whether they or other parts are sufficient or in need of repair. In performing this necessary step in the lawsuit, further damage is done and residents are made to suffer more.

I was recently on-site at a project where openings had been made in the homes’ exteriors as part of destructive testing. While these openings had been patched, not all were patched well, and some leaked. The luckiest residents only had ugly patches on the exterior of their homes; the unlucky ones had leaks to deal with as well.

The shocking part? Residents had been living under these conditions for seven years, as the lawsuit dragged on with no end in sight.

A more sensible solution is to do the repairs at the time of the testing. Expose the issues, document them and fix them. You’ll have an exact cost of repairs versus an estimate, and residents won’t have to live with leaks or ugly patches.

So even if an HOA is convinced that a lawsuit is the way to go, it should, at the very least, repair the damage as part of the process rather than letting it fester for years, unchecked.

RAM Builders has worked on hundreds of home exteriors along the Wasatch Front since 1996. Some cost millions of dollars and others are starter homes. Regardless, no homeowner likes spending money to tear a home apart and put it back the same way it looked when they bought it. But being able to control when and how it is done makes this tough job a little easier.


American Architectural Manufacturers Associationexterior home remodel and repair contractorHome Builders AssociationMember NFIBAWCI member