3 Kitchen Add-ons That Are Worth The Investment

3 Kitchen Add-ons That Are Worth The Investment

It’s known as the heart of the home, so it’s no wonder that the kitchen is rated as one of the most important rooms in a house. A lot of time is spent in the kitchen, which is why it’s important to incorporate durable appliances and features that can keep up with your family’s everyday lifestyle. Whether it be newer appliances, cabinetry, countertops or flooring, we’re sharing 3 important investments that offer high returns.

Stainless Steel:
– Stainless steel is easy to clean and maintain
– It doesn’t absorb dirt, and can be wiped down with a damp cloth and sanitized easily. The surface can be protected with a cleaner to preserve it’s sleek and shiny surface and won’t fade or become discolored over time.
– Of course, it’s aesthetically pleasing and can complement almost any kitchen, home design and theme. The sleek, gleaming metallic finish can be balanced out with wood or plastic accents!

Additional Storage:
The more storage space you have in your kitchen, the more appealing it will be to future buyers, and well, yourself. Here a few suggestions we have on making use of your space and adding more storage:
– Islands are a great place to add additional countertop space and storage without losing any space.
– Try adding pull-out pantries in your cabinets for storing extra dry goods you can’t seem to “fit” in your regular closet pantry.
– Installing a pull-out cutting board can be incorporated with your cabinets and is one less thing you’ll have to wash in the dishwasher.
– Add a Crockery Drawer, a drawer that can store your most-used dishes!
– Installing a countertop that can double as a cutting board is also a great hack, and makes for one less kitchen item you’ll have to store.

Quartz Countertop:
Quartz is a manufactured product; known to be very durable and luxurious.

Why we love it:
– There is a wider range of colors you can choose from and it’s appearance is rich.
– The finish has a depth that can’t be produced with solid surface materials like Corian.
– Quartz has the same durability as concrete and granite, so it won’t chip or crack as easily.
– It can also withstand any spill or stain in the kitchen! Who doesn’t love a stain-free durable product?

Thanks for reading,
-The Team at McDonald Contracting | www.McDonaldContractingMA.com

3 Ways To Add Value To Your Floor Plan

3 Ways To Add Value To Your Floor Plan

Curious as to which home remodeling projects are the best if you’re looking for a solid return on investment?

Here are 3 fairly easy projects that will help ensure your home will be worth more come selling day!

1. Flex Rooms: First off what is it?! A Flex room is essentially a space that can be easily changed or used for a number of functions, also known as “several options within the same square footage.” One month it could be used as an office, and the next, it could be transformed into an elegant game room or spare bedroom (If you live in a smaller home, flex rooms can come in handy). Our favorite is The Guest-Friendly Living Room… Try incorporating a couch that doubles as a fold-out bed in your home office room, so you can create three different spaces as needed!

2. Mother-in-law Apartments: We know what you’re thinking…but these “accessory dwelling units” are perfect for extra space and rooms for additional family members. ADUs can either be attached to the original house, or detached, which may be an additional building outside. Converting a garage into a separate living space could cost as little as $40k, while building a detached structure tends to be more expensive, with costs that could be upwards of $150k.
Whether you’re housing an elderly relative, a recent grad, or out-of-town visitors, an accessory dwelling unit can be a real asset!

3. Upstairs Laundry Room: Time to stop lugging laundry up and down the stairs! An upstairs laundry room option is the perfect solution to get rid of smelly laundry baskets and hampers in your bedrooms. Being able to put your dirty clothes quickly in the washing machine is a HUGE plus, and besides, now there’s more room for storage in the basement. This additional room doesn’t need to be big and sometimes it can even be paired with a half bathroom.

Thanks for reading,
-The Team at McDonald Contracting | www.McDonaldContractingMA.com

Wood vs. Composite decks: Which is better for you?

Wood vs. Composite decks: Which is better for you?

As the summer approaches, our team will begin working on numerous deck projects.  The process of designing & building a deck involves many decisions including design, location, size, and what materials will be used. During this process, we get a lot of questions about what materials to use and if composite or wood is the best option.  To determine which type of deck will work best for your lifestyle and budget we’re breaking down the two main components of each: cost and upkeep.

Composite Deck:

composite deck

  • What’s in it: Composite boards consist of some type of plastic material, such as polyethylene and/or polyvinyl chloride, and wood particles.
  • Two options: Hollow and solid.
    • Hollow boards are cheaper than solid boards however, they’re not as sturdy and can also hold water internally, resulting in warping and decomposition.
    • Solid boards expand and contract more than hollow boards, but the big plus is, they’re stronger and tend to look more like real wood.
  • Pricing:  In most cases, a composite deck will cost more than a wood deck  but over time the price of a composite deck would be less than due to minimal upkeep.
  • Overview: Composite is more expensive than wood but provides little upkeep.


Wood Deck:

Mahogany Deck

  • What’s in it: Most decks are made out of treated lumber with wood types ranging from pine to mahogany.
  • Pricing:  Pricing can range drastically depending on the type of wood you decide to go with.
    • Southern Pine, one of the most popular options, is sturdy but is also known to warp easily, requiring more maintenance.
    • Cedar, a beautiful wood with an amazing smell, is more resistant to rot but breaks down when exposed to moist conditions.
    • Mahogany, a higher grade wood, is very hard, extremely durable and attractive in appearance with few flaws. Ages extremely well with little to no maintenance. Check out the recent mahogany deck we just built to see how gorgeous this wood truly is.
  • Overview: If you love the look of natural wood then we suggest using a high quality wood, such as mahogany, this will ensure for a high-quality deck with less upkeep. Lower quality woods will require maintenance on a yearly basis.

We hope you found these comparisons helpful. At the end of the day it’s really up to the homeowner to decide which option is best, as both have pros and cons. We suggest to think about  your long-term plan and how much up-keep you want in the future.

Thanks – The McDonald Contracting Team

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Bathroom Upgrades That Are Worth The Cost:

Bathroom Upgrades That Are Worth The Cost:

Just like kitchen remodels, updating your bathroom can result in the highest resale value of your home. Remodeling your bathroom can be a complex and daunting endeavor, so if you’re thinking of making  improvements, calling a professional is always a good idea.

 The cost of a full bathroom renovation ranges from $15k -$25k, while smaller renovations can range anywhere from $1k – $15k… Clearly, there is a wide range of pricing behind a bathroom renovation. To help you determine how much to invest in your bathroom renovation, we’re sharing five upgrades we think are worth the extra cost!

1. Install recessed shelving: In smaller bathrooms and powder rooms, recessed shelving increases  storage space,  while also looking stylish. Recessed shelves in the shower provide easy access to necessities and can be cleverly tucked into the wall.

recessed tile shelf

2. Focus on the visuals: Choose your bathroom accessories wisely and don’t cheap out on the small details. Details such as nice tile, colors, and attractive fixtures go a long way, especially when reselling your home.

Tip: Purchase your shower head, faucet, and handle in a trim kit to save money and have a nice cohesive look. We find it’s best to avoid shopping for plumbing fixtures at large chains, such as Home Depot and Lowes.Shop at your local plumbing supply house to ensure top quality to avoid future headaches.


3. Install radiant flooring: Want to add a WOW factor to your bathroom? If so, consider adding  radiant floors.  This is a luxury addition that is becoming increasingly popular.  You can choose from either forced hot water radiant hearing, which includes tiny hot water piped under the sub floor, or electric radiant mats that go on top of the cement board sub floor. The electric radiant mats are the most affordable option.

Radient floring

4. Think skylights: If you’re remodeling your bathroom on the top floor of your home, illuminate your space with a skylight or large windows. These options add an unexpected touch that creates the illusion of space, making the room feel larger. Additionally, they allow for natural lighting, which can be cost-saving by reducing your electricity bill.

skylight bathroom

5. Add lots of storage: Maximize your storage options by making sure your bathroom has a closet, medicine cabinet, and recessed shelving, as this is also a big selling point for potential buyers.


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McDonald Contracting Pinterest

Need some inspiration? Check out the McDonald Contracting Pinterest Account for lots of great ideas for renovating your bathroom and home.

We hope you found these bathroom upgrades helpful!  If you have any questions about remodeling your bathroom, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thanks for reading!

 –McDonald Contracting


Renovating Your Kitchen: The secrets no one will tell you

Renovating Your Kitchen: The secrets no one will tell you

A kitchen is the heart of your home and due to a high ROI it’s also the most popular room to renovate in any house.  Remodeling a kitchen is new to many of our clients and so is understanding the pricing behind it. Depending on the size of the home a new kitchen can range anywhere from $30K-$70K. Since this is such a large range we’ve broken down the costs to understand what goes into a small vs. a large kitchen.

Smaller renovations:
❖ Painting walls and ceilings
❖ Upgrading your sink and faucet
❖ Upgrading your appliances
❖ Adding backsplash
❖ Re-finishing existing cabinets or installing stock cabinets
❖ Replacing countertops with materials such as vinyl or laminate

Larger renovations:
❖ Installing custom cabinets
❖ Installing hardwood floors
❖ Adding recessed lighting
❖ Installing high-end appliances
❖ Adding a kitchen island
❖ Replacing countertops with materials like stone, wood or metal

The average project cost varies depending on the size of your kitchen and the materials you choose. If you’re planning on staying in your home for years to come, larger changes are worth it since you are increasing the value of your home, while being able to reap the benefits of things like using updated appliances and granite countertops. If you’re thinking of selling in the next few years, you can still start with smaller renovations that will increase the value of your home.

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View one of our latest projects

Money Saving Tips For Remodeling:

There are some great ways to cut costs, but not cut corners when remodeling your home. Check out our three tips on how you could easily save on your next kitchen or home renovation.

Purchase Your Own Materials: Customer involvement with material choices results in more time, but less money spent. Clients can order tile and cabinetry supplies directly or have the contractor choose all of this for you. You can also check out wholesale tile stores for discounted prices on high-end flooring or check out craigslist for reduced price items. There are wholesale tile suppliers like Fitzgerald Tile in Woburn, MA and Pro Source store in Boston, MA that have an array of materials and prices.

Get Items On Sale: We all know Lowe’s and Home Depot are great for all home improvement projects, but did you know they offer discounted prices on light fixtures, paint, and more!  Their sale items can be a hit or miss, but it’s always worth exploring their sale shelves.

Shop Yard Sales, Thrift Shops & Estate Sales: Not afraid of something that is second-hand? By shopping at thrift stores, estate sales and yard sales you could save huge, but be prepared to hunt for a great deal.  If purchasing something that requires electricity, always plug it in before purchasing and check with your contractor to make sure the sizing is right.

TIP: Check out Greengoat – Greengoat is a local charity organization that specializes in salvaging materials from homes being renovated or demolished. They offer everything from flooring to toilets for a remarkably low price.

We hope you found these renovation and savings tips helpful! If you have any questions about remodeling your kitchen please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thanks for reading!

McDonald Contracting

The difference between a contractor and a handyman

The difference between a contractor and a handyman

Ever wonder what the difference of a hiring a contractor vs. a handyman is? We find we often get this question and while we offer both Handyman and residential contracting services there is a big difference between the two.

Hiring a General Contractor:

Many people do not realize what actually goes into remodeling a bathroom, kitchen or home. Take for example a kitchen, on average a kitchen remodel takes 5-6 weeks to complete with a cost around $30-$50K.  A project this size requires an electrician, a plumber, a countertop contractor, a cabinet contractor, a flooring pro, a painter, and someone to install the appliances. It also requires pulling permits and scheduling town inspections.  Talk about a lot of scheduling and negotiating… especially if you have never done it before.

By hiring a Residential General Contractor they will coordinate all required professionals needed, schedule their time appropriately and best of all, negotiate pricing to get the best deal on labor. If you were to do all of this yourself the time, effort and money spent (on possibly overpaying professionals) can take it tolls.

So if you have a big project that requires the talents of multiple professionals then we suggest hiring a general contractor to get the job done. It will save you money and you own sanity in the end!

Some examples of jobs that require a general contractor would include:McDonand Contracting

  • Adding a stairway
  • Installing a new roof (not just individual tile replacement but the whole roof)
  • Installing a fireplace or wood stove
  • Building a raised deck
  • Installing or replacing certain plumbing fixtures such as water heaters
  • Major remodeling
  • Putting in new doors or windows
  • Building a retaining wall (not simply a decorative wall)
  • Any work requiring the repair or modification of the existing electrical, plumbing, or gas systems


Hiring a Handyman:

Typically we suggest hiring a handyman when your project is on the smaller side and doesn’t require a lot of time.  Many handyman jobs can be charged at an hourly rate (with minimums) helping you to keep costs manageable. If your job is small then hiring an experienced and trustworthy handyman could be the right option for you.

Some examples of tasks that require a handyman would include:

  • Hanging a TV or shelving unit
  • Installing or fixing lighting fixtures
  • Fixing a leaky pipe
  • Servicing your heater before the winter
  • Fixing your sprinkler system before spring
  • Installing a window air-conditioner before temperatures climb
  • Leaky roof
  • Broken pipes
  • Sagging front step
  • Loose stair railings
  • Warm or humming electric outlets
  • Loose lighting fixtures
  • Toilet leaking at the base

Let us know if you have any questions! Our team is here to help in any way we can. Thanks for reading!

– McDonald Contracting