Resale Value of Solar Panels for Your Home

Going solar is an investment, and many of our customers want to know the return on their investment.

Will solar increase the value of their home?

We talk about this subject to every customer, but there are many factors that go into how much value solar adds to your home—age of home, tax incentives to offset your costs and other long term factors that are hard to put a number to.

This blog will dive into what the market research reveals about this subject and how it specifically applies to New Mexicans.

Investing in Your Home

It is common knowledge that owning your own home has it’s own price tag. There is a yearly cost associated with your home, including property taxes, utility bills, home maintenance and home improvement costs. But what if you could control some of these fluctuating costs, such as your utility bill and invest in solar for your home?

“When you invest the money you would already be sending to your utility company, you can create an asset that is part of your house.”  -Steve Poulin

Put simply—you stop paying the utility company to generate electricity for you, and you start generating your own electricity by investing in a solar. You start controlling your energy costs, and once you own your system, you eliminate that bill.

Cost of Solar

The average cost of a solar system, including installation, is $22,000 in the Albuquerque area.

If you do a simple mortgage calculation of your monthly bill for 10 years at 3.5%, the loan payment will be $218 per month. This is with $0 down, so your bill could be less if you add a down payment to your system.

Now you have a locked rate of $218/month without fluctuating rates for the next 10 years. When has this happened with your utility company?

After the 10 years concludes, you won’t have an energy bill except for a small fee to stay connected to the grid.

Compare this with your normal electric bill—it typically fluctuates month to month with higher payments during summertime. Depending on your home’s size customers could pay up to $400-$500!

Cost of Solar Vs Value Added to Your Home

According to a study by Berkeley National Laboratory, your solar system will add an average of $3 per watt of your system. For a 5-kW system, your home’s value will increase by $15,000, about 68% of your investment. If you take into account the current tax credits, you would recoup about 94% of your investment (subtract the cost of your system from the 36% state and federal tax credits).

Property Taxes in NM Won’t Rise When You Own Solar

New Mexico does not raise your property taxes when you install solar panels on your property. Your home’s value will increase, but they won’t tax you on this portion. New Mexico is one of 18 states(1) in the US that provides this benefit without tax stipulations over a number of years, cost of the system, or other restrictions.

No State Sales Tax

The upfront cost of most investments includes state sales tax. In New Mexico, solar systems currently do not get charged for state tax. For the average $22,000 system, you’re saving an additional $1,732.50, or 7.875% tax in Bernalillo county.

Going Solar If You Plan to Move

We have found that if you plan to stay in your home for 5 years or more, solar is a profitable investment. Numbers don’t lie, so let’s take a look at what your return on investment is after 5 years of owning solar.

Your solar system costs $22,000 on average. As of 2020, you would get a 26% federal tax credit and a 10% state tax credit in New Mexico.

Your system x 36% tax credits = Savings on System

$22,000 x 36% = $7,920

Now let’s subtract your savings from your tax credits from the system’s cost:

$22,000- $7,920 = $14,080. This is how much you need to get out of your investment for your home to make it worth your while.

Now let’s look at your average utility bill for the next 5 years. An average bill is $150 per month.

($150 x 12 month) X 5 years = $9,000

$9,000 is what you would already be paying your electric company for energy, assuming their rates did not increase over the next 5 years. If you take this money out of what your system costs, you would only need to make sure your home’s value increases by $5,080.

$14,080 – $9000 = $5,080

So, will your home’s value increase by $5,080?

Let’s take a look at a study conducted by Zillow that looked at the real estate market to see if homes with solar sold at a higher price with comparable homes.

They found that on average, a home with solar will sell for 4.1% more than a similar home without solar. This translates to about $8,200 added to a home valued at $200,000.

At this rate, you’re now making $3,120 on your home by going solar if you decide to sell after 5 years.

Soft Benefits of Solar

There are other benefits of solar that are hard to put a number to but are worth noting.

  • According to a study by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar sell an average of 20% faster than homes without solar. Many home buyers perceive the value of solar and their future savings on their energy bills.
  •  Older homes with installed solar will have a competitive advantage in selling against newer homes that are more energy-efficient.
  • It is important to note that the benefits above directly benefit the owner of the solar system. If you do not own the solar system, you won’t reap the tax benefits. If you have a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), you don’t own the system and when you sell your home, there is typically an awkward agreement transfer.

In Review…

  • The money you’re already sending to the utility company can be invested into your home to go solar and become an asset.
  • Your solar loan is a locked rate that does not fluctuate and typically saves clients money right away.
  • On average your home’s value increases by $3 per watt of installed solar
  • Property taxes in New Mexico will not increase when you own solar, even though your home’s value will increase
  • There is no state sales tax for solar in New Mexico
  • If you stay in your home 5+ years, an investment in solar is a profitable investment
  • Your home’s resale value increases an average of 4.1%
  • Homes with solar sell 20% faster than comparable homes without solar
  • Older homes will be more competitive in the housing market
  • You get the most benefits by owning solar and not through a PPA agreement

Smart Technology in Your Kitchen and Bathroom

With technology growing at a rapid pace, it is no surprise that technology is advancing in your kitchen and bathroom as well! While there are hundreds of innovations—doorbells, lighting, TV, watches, cellphones, vacuums, and more—we would like to focus on the kitchen and bathroom features that are “smart”.

Faucets

U by Moen

Faucets have many new features that make it convenient for everyday life, and those with disabilities!

Innovation for shower faucets now makes it possible to voice command your water, set temperature, and the intensity of the spray—all from your app, or your home assistant (Siri, Alexis, or Google Assistant). Plus, the shower can play your favorite tunes—would you expect anything less?

Out of the shower, you can command your sink faucet to go on or off, or simply touch the faucet’s spout or handle to turn on and off the water flow. You can always manually use the faucet—but why do that when it’s smart?

Delta Touch2O Technology

In your kitchen, you can also command your sink faucet to turn on or off, and even fill your pot to an exact amount of water—all without touching your faucet! Who needs a sous chef when your smart kitchen is helping you out? Of course, we know that nothing can replace an actual assistant you can boss around, but if you’re going solo, your faucet’s got your back on the water!

Some great brands that we recommend for faucet smart technology are Delta and Moen.

Vanity Medicine Cabinet

Mirror, mirror on the wall—play my favorite song of them all!

So your makeup LED-lit medicine cabinet might not take commands in Disney lingo, but with a built-in assistant, it will play your favorite songs while you get ready for the day. These smart mirrors function for extra storage in your space, with the added benefits of smart technologies.

Many models have Bluetooth and audio capabilities, defoggers, and a few versions even come with a built-in screen so you can watch your favorite shows.

Smart Refrigerator

Samsung

How smart is your fridge? Does it open for you on command? Or automatically close it’s drawers when you’re finished? Well, welcome to the world of smart fridges!

Other models have the family hub, which is a large LED screen on your French door. You can mirror your cell phone, or use the default hub, which includes music, video apps, and even a place to post photos, notes, and recipes for your family.

There are even versions of this smart appliance that have a live video feed of what’s inside your fridge. So if you’re out shopping and aren’t sure if you need more of a particular item, you can just take a peek inside– remotely!

A few popular brands for this technology are LG, Samsung, Bosch, and Thermador.

The Smart Hub

GE Appliances

The smart hub is very similar to the family hub described above, but it can control all of your smart devices in one place. This typically looks like a microwave but is a video screen that doubles as a cabinet and allows you to stream video or voice command anything “smart” in your kitchen. Feeling bossy? Tell your smart hub (not your hubby 😉), to clean the dishes or fill the dog’s water bowl.

Examples of use would be, commanding your dishwasher to start a cycle, while simultaneously fill your cooking pot with water all the while you’re just food prepping your veggies and meat for dinner. Multi-tasking is a voice command away!

Smart Ventilation

Poulin Design Center – Ferguson Showroom

Always forget to turn on your ventilator for your steaming stovetop dinners, amidst everything else you’re doing for dinner and family? The smart ventilation system senses the stove’s temperature and automatically turns on to ventilate your room at the appropriate fan speed. When your stove has lowered temperatures, your vent will automatically make temperature accommodations.

It’s a small customized touch to your cooking experience, but it really makes it more enjoyable.

Smart Oven

Poulin Design Center – Ferguson Showroom

Smart oven technology helps the on-the-go family stay ahead of the game. You can start your dinner as you leave work by pre-heating your oven from your smartphone! Decide to get take-out instead? Pop it in a warm oven to heat up when you get home, or simply turn off your oven remotely. Many smart ovens can follow the recipes connected from supported apps or QR codes, taking expanding their culinary skills!

In Conclusion…

Smart technology in the home can be incorporated in your current home or upcoming remodel. If you’re tech-savvy, this may be your area to splurge in your home and “get smart.”

Ready to remodel? Schedule your Free design consultation below!

Pantry Design Hacks

Many of us have been stocking up on staple items for our families as we spend more time in our homes. It’s important to keep organized when adding items to your space, so you and anyone else can easily find what they’re looking for.

Below are a few tips to organizing your pantry, and space-saving design techniques that we utilize for our customers.

Poulin Pantry Pledge

First thing’s first—take the pantry pledge: I pledge to keep my pantry clean and vow that everything has it’s place. I won’t be lazy and put it on the wrong shelf, or stuff it into a place with an open space.

All fun aside, organizing your pantry is an ongoing process, especially if you live with anyone other than yourself! Realize that this is not a one- time fix, but actually a lifestyle change for better ongoing organization.

Now that you’re sworn and committed, let’s get to business.

Basic Organization

Here are a few basics of what to do when organizing your pantry.

First, get rid of expired foods and donate the food you won’t eat. Clean the shelves and decide where you would like your pantry goods to be placed and how they will be displayed.

Next, decide how you’d like to store your staple foods. There are many options including jars, baskets, pullout trays, lazy susans, spice racks, can dispensers and more! Having the same type of containers will give you a uniformed look making your pantry user-friendly.

As a general rule of thumb, place your goods with similar items, such as having a place for canned goods, snacks, and spices. You can even subdivide your sections by prioritizing your most used items, or even from “healthy” snacks to “junk” food. Then date and label accordingly to help maintain organization- chalkboard, decals, label maker, dry erase labels, or whatever your creative mind comes up with!

Add Drawers

To maximize your space and to make good use on items “in the back” of the pantry, install drawer slides. These are very convenient and super functional for a smaller space.

Tip: when storing spices or jars with drawers, label the tops on the containers, so you can easily identify the item you’re looking for.

Check out this slideshow to be inspired by what can be done in your pantry.

Photo: Omega Cabinetry

Pantry Pull-Out Cabinet 

Pantries come in many shapes and sizes, including a PULL-OUT CABINET! By pulling it out, you make your space more functional with easy access to all your goodies. You can even install specific adds one to hold your jars or other necessities. Save yourself a backache with this style of pantry.

Photo: Bellmont Cabinets

Add a Countertop

This is the latest trend for a closet style or open pantry. Consider adding a coffee or smoothie bar to this area since you will have quick access to all your goods. If this is your style, be sure to have a plug installed in your pantry to experience the full benefit.

Photo: design.jackzoo.

Jars Away

Many dried goods will last longer and be protected from pantry pests. This is where you can go “jar” crazy and organize your heart out—if only to preserve those foods you purchased. The foods you’ll want protect are flours, cereals, cake mixes, spaghetti, beans, spices and other dried goods.

It is also good practice to clean up after any spills in your pantry to ensure you won’t attract any of those unwanted pests.

Photo: Katrina Lee Chambers

Sliding Barn Door

This is all the rage right now, and can be added to nearly any application, given the right amount of space. You can add a barn door for your closet, bathroom, entertainment center…AND even your pantry! This will add a focal point in your space as well as “secretly” hide your closet pantry.

Photo: Thistlewood Farms

Appliances

Depending what your pantry space, consider storing a few appliances—either to pull out for later, or install your wine fridge or an extra freezer. storage looks like in your kitchen, consider if storing a few appliances in your pantry makes sense.

Photo: Parc de Amato

Store Behind Your Door

Let’s not forget the use of space behind your pantry door. This is so useful in a smaller pantry, and can give you easy access to spices, drinks or your favorite snacks.

Photo: Jay Wilde

Organizational Add-Ons

Add a few lazy Susans—double stacked or single, a stackable track, canned goods organizer, plastic drawers, baskets, or whatever other container that fits your fancy!

Photo: @azhouseoforder

Get Ready, Get Set, Organize That Pantry!

We hope that you have been INSPIRED to organize your pantry and keep it organized, per the Poulin Pantry Pledge.

Happy organizing!

What’s On My Electric Bill?

Your electric bill is typically not considered an optional bill to pay. You want electricity? Then you have to pay for it. It’s just one of those bills you can’t avoid and typically don’t look forward to getting, especially when you’ve had the A/C cranking through the hot summer months.

We wanted to take a deeper dive into your bill for Albuquerque residents, so they can understand it better. It can be a little bit confusing to understand each charge and how they pertain to you as a consumer, so we thought it would be good to look at a few key elements.

Blocked Billing

You’re charged per kilowatt-hour in blocked billing in intervals of 450 kWh. A kilowatt-hour is a basic measurement of electricity usage of 1000 kilowatts for 1 hour of use.

Here is a typical breakdown of blocked billing charges:

  • Block 1: 0-450 kWh hours is $0.0779432/kWh
  • Block 2: 450-900 kWh hours is $0.1240339/kWh
  • Block 3: 900 kWh+ hours is $0.1495326/kWh, depending on where you live

 

When you have unusual usage, such as having company over or an electric device is left on, you really pay for the extra electricity used. If you’re already out of block 1, you will pay very high rates for this additional usage. But when you go solar, your solar panels will produce energy, so you’ll only pay for what your system didn’t produce, which is usually in block 1—the cheaper rate.

Most things you buy are cheaper by the dozen. If you buy in bulk, the more you should save on your energy bills, right? However, it’s more like buying 2 cars at the dealership and they ask you to pay 30% more on the second car. That’s crazy!

Fuel Cost Adjustment

This portion of the bill shows the actual costs of producing energy: non-renewable or renewable. Non-renewable sources of energy production include coal, oil, and natural gas. Renewable energy, including solar and wind, is currently $0 on the bill, but the cost for this service is recovered through the renewable energy rider, more on that in the next section.

I wanted to point out this portion of the bill because it directly shows the amount of energy being used from the source type, non-renewable energy.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration describes non-renewable energy this way: “These energy sources are called nonrenewable because their supplies are limited to the amounts that we can mine or extract from the earth.”

There is a limited supply of the traditional sources of energy we use, however, New Mexico receives an average of 310 sunny days each year! Limited sources of non-renewable energy, but unlimited sunshine in our state.

It must be noted as well, that our state is taking aggressive steps to have 100% renewable energy by 2045.

To give you an idea of what the use of energy is across the U.S., see chart below.

Renewable Energy Rider

What exactly is the renewable energy rider fee you’re paying?

The utility company passes along the fee to create clean sources of energy onto their customers. In a way, you’re already paying for renewable energy to be used in your community, without having the personal benefits of having solar (no more electric bill).

As of February 2020, you’re charged $0.0076413 per kWh of the total usage you used in the billing month.

Once you have solar though, the renewable energy rider is removed from your billing, giving you extra savings.

What Does Your Bill Look Like After Going Solar?

When a person goes solar, they typically “trade” their electric bill for a solar bill (loan) at a fixed rate. Many times, their monthly solar payment will be less than their average electric bill cost—giving them instant savings! When they stay tied to the grid (which we recommend), then the only charge they have from the utility company is about an $8 fee to stay on the grid. Plus, once you finish paying off your solar loan, you eliminate that bill, with only the grid fee left to pay. WOW, what a savings!

Know Your Usage Anytime

When you go solar, you have an energy production software that is not controlled by the utility company. You have real-time access to it through web-based monitoring, so you can track your production any time you’d like.

When you get your electric bill after you go solar, you can confirm the usage numbers from the utility company with the solar production numbers on your app. You don’t have to take their word for it anymore, and you’re in FULL control of your system. It takes the guessing game out of your bill with 3rd party verification of your usage. It’s very accurate and confirms that your solar system is working properly as well.

If you go over the energy produced by your system, you’ll be billed by the lower billing blocks by the utility company per 450 kWh.

Net Metering- Renewable Energy Credit

“Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on their roof, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours.” –SEIA

This is a wonderful benefit to those who go solar. If you don’t use all the energy your solar system produces, you can “save” it for later use!

Let’s show you an example of Steve Poulin’s bill, co-owner of Poulin Solar Pro. He recently went solar after moving to his new home!

Steve’s solar system produced 1082 kWh. Since his house only needed 1042 kWh, he made 40 kWh more than he needed (as seen in the 40 in parentheses in bill above), as a credit. He is “banking” the extra 40 kWh for later.

In essence, Steve’s meter is SPINNING BACKWARDS! He says he can’t WAIT to see his July bill.

How many of you are waiting to see your July bill?

Final Thoughts

It’s one of the few bills we have little control over. Every house has a cost for electricity, so investing the cost into your own system, plus all the federal and state credit, makes sense from an investment perspective.

Current Tax Incentives

Federal Incentives

  • 26% federal tax credit—expires 12/31/20
  • 22% federal tax credit—valid calendar year of 2021

New Mexico State Incentives

  • 10% state tax credit—valid 3/1/20- 12/31/27
  • $0 State Sales Tax—current rules, subject to change
  • $0 Property Tax—you will still be charged property tax, just not on your solar system.

To learn more about whether going solar is a good option for you,

call us 505-880-2500, or click below to

Schedule a Free Solar Consultation

Even if you just see what your savings could be,

it is an eye-opening experience!

Kitchen Island New Mexico

This year many of us are planning “staycations” but we wanted to make your staycation a fun time at your Kitchen Island! Having this feature in your home is highly desired among our customers, and for good reason—it’s great for entertaining, adds storage to your space and is a must for cooks and bakers. Plus, it adds a strong design element in your home as a focal point.

In New Mexico, we live in the land of open spaces, so translating this to our homes is natural! Combining the kitchen space with your living space in your home is an open concept design—which is popular right now.

In this article, we will cover how to Plan your Kitchen Island ‘Staycation’, Key Functions of your Island, and Designer Tips, all curated by our team at the Poulin Design Center.

Plan your Kitchen Island Staycation

The real estate in your kitchen will determine if you can have a kitchen island (or peninsula), or if you will need to modify your space to add an island. Sometimes adding an island to your kitchen may result in eliminating your dining room table or another feature. Consider what your priorities are in the space you have now.

To help you with these decisions, you can consult with a professional designer to envision the possibilities of your kitchen—removing walls for expansion, changing the function of your kitchen for cooking or baking, or even adding/modifying your prized kitchen island.

Decide on the FUNCTION of your Kitchen Island

What would you like to use your kitchen island? Below are the most popular reasons our customers opt for a kitchen island, PLUS what features would complement these uses:

Cooking/Baking/Food Prep

Many of our customers need extra space to prepare their food, making this their top priority when designing their kitchen island.

Features

  • Add a second sink to your kitchen—a prep sink on the island will give your helpers more space to work alongside you with you running into each other. Many times, this will add a second work triangle in your kitchen as well. See more about the work triangle under Designer Tips.
  • Many of our customers add a cooktop on their island which can help design constraints.
  • Consider changing the location of your dishwasher to the island—only if it makes sense! Make sure the flow of your kitchen is fluid with a professional designer.

Entertaining

Many people open their homes for get-togethers from small to large, so making sure their kitchen is suited for their guests will be higher on their list.

Features

    • When you incorporate an overhang on your kitchen island countertop, you have just made your island multi-functional. Add seats for your guests or take them away for a better traffic flow to use the space for serving.
    • Create a beverage station that can incorporate a wine cooler. This is a nice feature when you entertain frequently.
    • Adding a kitchen island will give you additional serving space, giving you the option to present your food for your guests.

Storage

A kitchen island will offer this to you regardless if you prepare cooking, entertaining, or both. So first determine how you would like to use your storage. Below are common ways kitchen island storage is used.

Features

    • Place your larger countertop appliances in your island in tall cabinets with pull out trays. You can even store a Kitchen Aide mixer with a lift for easy access.
    • Store your cookbooks in open shelving on the end cap of your island
    • A decorative element of your island could be used to feature your wine in wine cubbies.
    • Have a second place to store your beverages for your family and guests with easy access to a beverage cooler.

Designer Tips for your Kitchen Island

Design with the Work Triangle in mind

This connects the stove, to the sink to the refrigerator where most of the traffic in your kitchen exists. When designed properly, this will give a good flow of traffic and food prep when cooking or entertaining in your kitchen. Working with a professional designer will address these basic design principles.

Two-Tone Cabinetry or Two-Tone Countertops

Consider design features like two-tone cabinetry and/or two-tone countertops. This is a trending style right now and allows you to pick complimentary colors of your kitchen countertops and cabinets. Sometimes you can accent your cabinets by making your island a focal point by changing the color. This is a great design feature to make your kitchen stand out but selecting the right colors can be tricky—be sure to work with a professional when finalizing your decisions.

Multi-Level Countertops

Create tiered levels of your kitchen island which will add a design element with dimension. The benefit of a two-tiered countertop is to maximize the space on your island. This option will provide you with a multi-level serving option, great for entertaining.

Waterfall Edge Design Element

A popular style of a kitchen island is a waterfall edge. This is a unique way to feature your kitchen island, giving it a continuous look that connects your colors from floor to ceiling. To up the design of this style, add a second level for a double waterfall edge! You’ll have a ‘wow’ factor plus the extra countertop space to still prep and entertain your guests.

Storage: Drawers VS Cabinets

Decide on the use of your storage spacedrawers vs cabinets. Since your storage space is now expanded, take inventory of what you would like to store in this area. Do you have more countertop appliances you’d like to tuck away? Then add more cabinets. Maybe you’d love to store your extra plates—then oversized drawers may be the best option. Don’t forget to add to your convenient pull out drawers, it’ll save your back a few aches! Many times, your storage space will be a combination of the two—but consider your needs BEFORE you finalize the design of your storage.

Open Shelving

Add open shelving to your kitchen island. This is typically done on the end caps and is an excellent place to store your cookbooks or other decorative items.

Animal Feeding Station

If your furry friends love hanging out with you in the kitchen, think about incorporating an animal feeding station. This ensures your pets have their own space in the heart of your home and is a lovely touch at the endcap of your island.

Arrived: Kitchen Island Staycation

As you can see there are many possibilities of what could be done just with your kitchen island.

Making your kitchen functional for your needs is important and should be a top priority when designing your space. After all, home is where the heart is, and the heart is in the kitchen!

Take a cruise of the islands 🏝️ of the Poulin Design Center

Click below to see our gallery of 45 photos for your inspiration!

Need help with your kitchen island?

If you need help with your upcoming remodel, feel free to schedule a Free Design Consultation with one of our Professional Designers!

The Rage on Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Out of all the flooring that we sell to our clients—and we sell A LOT of it- our #1 selling flooring is…

LUXURY VINYL

Have you heard of this? There are many reasons we LOVE this flooring material, including that it is 100% waterproof and scratch-resistant! Wouldn’t you love to have the designer look of wood without the worry of ruining your floor with life’s messes?

Luxury Vinyl is also available in designer looks including ceramic, stone, and wood. It is embossed and registered so that the texture of the flooring comes to life with the many small details incorporated into the flooring look and feel. It is also warmer to the touch, unlike other tiles like ceramic.

AND… it is LOW MAINTENANCE! Since it is waterproof, this flooring requires basic maintenance—sweeping and mopping regularly. Use non-abrasive cleaners and be sure to clean up after any spills to ensure your flooring lasts and looks great for years to come!

So now you know WHY Luxury Vinyl is all the rage! Let’s talk about all the details that accompany this popular and durable flooring choice.

The two main terms for Luxury Vinyl

When it comes to this flooring type, there are two main ways to differentiating between LVT and LVP.

  • Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)- This type of flooring is designed to mimic ceramic tile or stone. LVT also is the common term for this whole category of flooring.
  • Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)- This flooring has the design looks of wood floors with all the added benefits of vinyl.

The CORE differences

Luxury vinyl is a HOT item in the flooring industry, and this product has evolved since coming to the market in the 1970s. Below are a few terms used to describe the type of flooring and its core, giving you different benefits.

  • Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) is a Single Polymer Foamcore made of calcium powder, PVC powder, and stabilizer. SPC along with WPC are considered rigid cores that are stronger and more durable. Since this core contains more limestone, it is slightly cooler to the touch and is denser and has a higher resistance to dents made by heavy furniture.
  • Waterproof Foamed Core (WPC) is an Expanded Polymer Foamcore comprised of normal LVT layers and a foaming agent. Due to the foaming agent in the core, it is more comfortable to walk for those on their feet all day and provides more noise reduction.

[icon name=”lightbulb-o” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Pro Design Tip

Flooring sets the tone for your room. BEFORE purchasing your flooring determine if you would like your flooring to be the main design element in your space or if you would like the furniture to be the dominant feature. Statement flooring contains more variation in the pattern lay and sets the ton for your entire space, determining what kind of furniture you will buy. If you’re furniture or décor is going to be the more dominant feature of the room, choosing a flooring that is more fluid would be best.

If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, check out Floorvana Plus where you can upload a photo of your room and see how various floors will look in that space.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a lot to navigate through when selecting your Luxury Vinyl flooring for your home. It is best to work with an expert to help you with the various decisions to make on which core is best for your home and decide the right installation method—floating over the subfloor or glued down.

Ready to get started on your flooring project?

Click below to schedule your free design consultation with one of our professional designers.

Countertops 101

There is a lot of chatter about which countertop is best for you! There are a variety of choices to make when choosing the right countertop for your home and lifestyle. Learn about the materials, finishes, and edge profiles to make the right decisions on which tops are good for your home.

Materials

Although there are more countertops materials available to purchase, below are our top 3 recommendations due to their long-lasting qualities. We are confident in the following material choices to recommend to any of our customers.

  • Quartz is a man-made composite of 95% quartzite and 5% polymer resin. By combining the two materials, this is a very strong material that is nonporous making it scratch and stain-resistant. It has a higher resistance to heat, but we still recommend using trivets to protect your countertop. Quartz countertops require no maintenance except for regular cleaning. This means you don’t have to worry about sealing, polishing, or reconditioning the surface to maintain the natural luster. From a design perspective, there are many colors of quartz, but the look is generally consistent but can have movement. This is a popular choice among our customers since it is stylish and great for a busy lifestyle with no maintenance.
  • Solid Surface by Corian is also a man-made product that is seamless. You can seamlessly integrate your sink and/or backsplash into your design. It is hygienically sound and you will oftentimes see this product in hotels, restaurants, and hospitals. It is also nonporous and stain-resistant. If you do happen to damage this countertop, it easy to repair, unlike other materials. One of the characteristics of solid surface is being able to form mold to create custom shapes. It is a go-to material to use in various applications including countertops and showers. To top it off it is sustainably made and has a GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification.
  • Granite is a naturally occurring stone from the earth that is harvested in rock quarries throughout the world. Since it is stone from the earth it is more porous which means it can be stained. It is best to clean your countertop promptly after any spills, especially from wine. It is also best practice to seal your granite once a year, especially around high use areas like the stove and sink. It is tolerable to heat, but we still recommend using trivets to protect the countertop. This countertop material is known for the wonderous unique movement in each individual slabs. This stone, along with quartz are slabs you can pick out from the manufacturer with your designer, making quite a unique experience… you get to pick the exact slab for your countertops from slabs available across the globe!

Finishes

Once you decide what countertop material is right for you, you still have a few more decisions to make, including your finish!

  • Polished– this is the standard high-gloss finish that is most popular in homes today. It is reflective and can add a glamorous feel to your space. Be sure to keep this surface clean since stains will be more noticeable.
  • Honed– this is a matte finish that is accomplished by sanding the manufacturer’s polished surface. It is smooth to the touch and still offers a lesser degree of reflection to the top that is soft. This style is becoming more popular in the industry.
  • Leathered– this finish offers a rustic touch to your space. It is non-reflective and has a textured characteristic to the surface. Since it isn’t reflective, this is perfect for camouflaging stains for high use areas and a busy lifestyle, depending on the color.

Edge Profiles

Once you have the countertop material and finish you just need to figure out which edge profile you would like. Depending on the color and type of materials chosen, the edge profile can add the final touch of your design. See the image below to see the basic cuts for the edging of your countertops!

Cost

The cost of the above materials varies in each category. There are different levels of granite, quartz, and solid surface that determines the cost. For example, granite can cost more depending on where it is sourced and how far away it is. Other factors could simply be the color choice and amount of movement within the design. However, you can find these materials in any budget for a remodel.

Final Thoughts

Countertops are an integral part of your home design and we highly recommend using quartz, solid surface, or granite for the various reasons listing above. If you have an island, consider making your countertops “two-tone” by having contrasting tops in your space, or the sleek design of a waterfall look (seen in first picture above that features a double waterfall countertop).

Have fun picking out your countertops!

Our #1 Bathroom Remodeling Project Type: Tub to Shower Conversions

Have you considered converting your old tub to a spacious shower? If so, you’re not alone!

In the last 38 years of business, this has become our #1 project type for bathroom remodels. There are many reasons people ditch their tub for a shower including function, accessibility, safety, and style. Here we will explore these topics more in-depth and hopefully you can decide if this is the right project type for you.

Plus, check out Tom Poulin, owner of Poulin Design Center, talk about his favorite aspects of Tub to Shower Conversions.

Function

When considering an update to your bathroom, think about the way you use your bathing area the most and what is important for lasting function.

Do you prefer baths? Or showers? Do you plan to stay in your home longer? Do you have any injuries? These are just a few questions to ask before customizing a design for your space.

If you are a shower person, then ditching the tub should be an option. Removing your tub gives you extra space in your shower to stand and allows you the option of adding other features such as seating and a slip-resistant shower base.

If you value your baths, check out walk-in tubs as an option. These are ADA accessible, incorporate grab bars for extra safety, and are very therapeutic. I like to think of walk-in tubs as a personal jacuzzi for everyday use. You may not know that walk-in tubs are actually a tub and shower combo by simply placing a curtain around the area and placing a handheld shower head with a hook on the wall surround to give you the shower experience.

If you plan to Age in Place, updating your home with your future needs in mind would be a wise investment and can make your home more marketable if you decide to sell it.

If you’re facing an injury that makes stepping over a tub difficult or nearly impossible, consider a tub to shower conversion. We have numerous clients that need an ADA accessible space for bathing, including many of our veterans.

When you’re facing any type of chronic physical injuries, it can be difficult to take a shower safely or without help when there’s a traditional tub in your space. Many times, ditching the tub (or installing a walk-in tub) gives people back their independence of showering without worrying about their safety. It allows your bathroom a place of rejuvenation again, instead of a hazard.

If you are a veteran or know one, check out the program by Veteran’s Affairs here.

Safety

As we have talked about in our past blog Safety Bathroom Guide over 80% of the falls in your home is from getting in and out of your bathtub! And the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that your bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in your entire home.

Creating a safe bathing environment is important for any age, but can be more of a concern for those that would like to Age in Place, or have their parents stay in the home instead of moving to assisted living.

Depending on your needs, converting your tub to a shower will let you control the height of your shower pan (threshold): curbless, low threshold, or standard threshold.

When you convert, be sure to go with a company that offers slip resistance technology for the shower base, to keep safety top of the mind.

Style

Let’s face it, if you’re considering an update, most people will want their remodel to be in-style! And the standard tub and shower combo is traditional! Having a larger shower space with built-in seating is the new way— it’s MODERN. As the homeowner you have the freedom to make your bathroom reflect your style and give you the function you need! Why not make it safer and more functional in the long run as well?

Below are our Top Tips to “Deck Out” Your New Shower Area

  • Showerheads
    • Install Handheld shower head
    • Have multiple shower head installed
    • Install smart showerheads
  • Functional and stylish grab bars
  • Use easy-to-clean wall surrounds like our Durabath™ SSP or Natural Stone
    • It’s non-porous, mold & mildew resistant and easy-to-clean
  • Add niches to store bathing supplies, instead of using a hanging storage unit around your showerhead
  • Add seating to your shower: Fold down seats or built-in benches
  • Add a footrest to make shaving easier

Final Thoughts

In addition to making your bathroom more functional, safer, and stylish, tub to shower conversions are a cost-effective way to update your space. This is a trending style in the remodeling industry and will keep the look of your home fresh.

If you would like to learn more, check out a few of our resources below:

Giving Back with the Albuquerque Isotopes

Last week we had an opportunity to GIVE BACK!

The Albuquerque Isotopes and Poulin Solar Pro PAID for Jose Nunez’ electric bill.

You may have seen this young man in the news recently…

He was the guy that returned $135,000 CASH to local authorities…

And since then he’s been recognized as a leader in the community sporting good character.

We recognized this act of INTEGRITY—as it’s one of our company’s CORE VALUES, and wanted to bless this young man…

Check out the video below to see what we did!

We want to GIVE BACK to YOU!

During the Isotopes season, we typically pay for 1 lucky fan’s electric bill during Saturday night home games.

As you know, the season is delayed, but we decided we would not delay our giveaway!

For our 1st Electric Bill Giveaway during the month of May, all you have to do is ENTER online.

We will call or email the winner and post it on our social media accounts!

👇 Click below to ENTER right now and see last year’s winners! 👇

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Kitchen Remodel Survival Guide

Remodeling your home can improve your space in many ways, making it more FUNCTIONAL, expanding your STORAGE, and UPDATING your area among other improvements. However, with the pleasure of a remodel comes the inconvenience of not having that specific space for a short period of time. How do you live in your house without a kitchen while it’s being remodeled?

To help you and many of our customers, we have created this guide to give you the basics of how to best PREPARE for your remodel.

Step 1. Decide where your food station will be during your remodel

You can set up a food station complete with your fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and paper goods. Select a part of your home that is out of the way of your remodel, has electricity, and preferably a water source. Examples include the laundry room, bathroom, garage, and backyard.

The key to the location of your food station is being out of the way during the remodel. This ensures that you won’t have to move it halfway through. Be sure to consult with your remodeler about what areas of your home to keep clear during construction.

Step 2. Plan your meals during the remodel

Not having a kitchen is an obvious concern and throws a wrench into your normal meal routine. With some planning, eating at home doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Plan meals that don’t need a stovetop, including:

  • Blender for Smoothies
  • Crockpot/Instantpot meals
  • Grill your proteins and veggies
  • Cook on an induction hot plate
  • Toaster oven or convection oven
  • Prepare salads and opt for fresh veggies
  • Prep meals and freeze them for the week, use the microwave to reheat
  • Plan to eat take out 1-2 times a week
  • Go to a friend or family member’s house for dinner

Now that you have an idea of the types of meals you’ll be preparing, it’s time to move out of your kitchen!

Step 3. Move out of your kitchen

Your plans for your remodel are set and now your install date is coming up. It’s time to “move out” of your kitchen and set up camp in your designated food station.

Prep your boxes to sort through your current kitchen supplies. You can use moving boxes, plastic storage bins, or foldable storage crates. Be sure to have labeling supplies so you don’t lose your everyday items.

We suggest having 3-4 boxes to sort your goods by:

  • Your everyday items- sorted by cabinet
  • Items you never use that you’d like to donate
  • Items that are worn out that you can trash
  • Pantry goods

Clearly label what each box contains and keep any boxes that you’ll use more often easily accessible.

Pro tip: Since your new kitchen is set up for better function and organization, consult with your designer on the best use of storage spaces. You can sort your boxes accordingly and label them for your new cabinet layout.

Step 4. Prepare your mindset

Your kitchen is now ready for your remodel now… but are you mentally prepared? Here are a few tips to prepare your mind for a positive experience:

  • Make sure you’re in good communication with your contractor. If you have any questions or concerns before or during the remodel, know who to contact and have their information handy.
  • Remember why you’re having your remodel done in the first place. In just a short period of time, your kitchen will be complete, and you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood! You can even pin up a photo of your virtual render to remind you of the beautiful space that is being transformed. Patience is a virtue.
  • Be flexible with your contractor. There are many factors that go to completing a remodel and making sure your home is structurally sound as well as up to code. Although there are many meetings and hours preparing for a remodel, sometimes there’s a problem that doesn’t arise until the remodel starts… you never know what’s behind walls until they’re removed or uncovered. There’s always speed bumps along the road during a remodel, so be flexible with your contractor—they will work through it with you.
  • Visualize your new kitchen and enjoy the remodeling process. You’ve had many memories in your kitchen, and now you’re re-making your space for more memories to be had. Take photos of your progress and talk to your installer about what they’re doing. Good installers will give you a daily update so you can follow along in the progress.
  • Take a break from your everyday dusting and cleaning in your house—you’re on a CLEANING VACATION! Use this extra time for yourself and do something fun during your remodel—take a nice walk, read a book, take a bubble bath, do an art project, spend quality time with your family, or just have “me” time. Your kitchen is being remodeled and you can remodel your time as well to rejuvenate.

Closing Thoughts

Remodeling your space is a journey and with the right preparation, it can go smoothly and help you be ready for anything that may happen. Like our Design Center Manager, Laurene Johnson likes to say, “Prior proper planning makes all projects go smoother.”

If you’ve already remodeled your kitchen and need helping moving back in, see our Kitchen Organization Guide here.