Top Five Benefits of Hiring a General Contractor

If you’re ready to build your dream home, one of the first steps is deciding if you should manage the project on your own or hire a general contractor. With books, online videos and articles, you may feel ready to dive right in and construct your own home from the ground up.

Before embarking single-handedly on the adventure of building a home, take some time to consider your decision carefully. While acting as your own general contractor can be an exciting and worthwhile experience, it also can be a complicated, technically demanding and time-consuming commitment. To ensure the end result of your project is a comfortable, well-built home for you and your family, consider the following:

Building Codes. The purpose of residential building codes is to provide minimum standards for the health and safety of the public. A general contractor deals with local building codes on a daily basis and is equipped with the expertise to comply with the rules and requirements.

Legal Issues. What happens if you, your neighbor or someone you’ve hired to work on your home gets injured while your home is under construction? If you’re taking on your own project, obtaining proper liability insurance is essential and may be complicated and expensive. Professional contractors generally carry both workers’ compensation and liability insurance to protect themselves—and you—against any unfortunate events.

Expertise. Building a home is a complex activity. Subcontractors can provide specific expertise but if you act as your own contractor you will need to consider your ability to manage the overall process. Do you know the order in which activities must be completed? A general contractor is familiar with the process from start to finish and has a deep understanding of the smaller details that are essential to constructing a quality home.

Project Management. Juggling everyday demands and family needs while building a home is a challenge. Home building is a full-time job. A general contractor is well-versed in all of the activities of home construction such as finding qualified subcontractors, monitoring their progress, ordering the right materials, securing permits and scheduling inspections.

Troubleshooting. An experienced contractor already knows about the pitfalls involved in building a home and can find solutions more easily because he or she deals with these problems every day. Small setbacks can turn into much larger issues if they are not handled quickly. A qualified contractor also has the expertise to prepare your jobsite for impending heavy rain or high winds. Bad weather can wreak havoc on your schedule and the quality of the construction.

For more information on home building or to find a building professional in your area, contact the Shenandoah Valley Builders Association.

Zack Snell
Valley Renovators




Color Me Confused

Color can change the look, feel and mood of a space. It’s not the color itself that makes the impact, it’s the reaction to that color. So why is it sometimes so difficult to pick the right paint color for your space? There are a lot of things to take into consideration when choosing a paint color. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through choosing the right paint color for your space.

There has been a great deal of research on the psychology behind color. Whether you realize it or not, color and emotion are closely linked. So, before you look at paint colors for your space, think about how you are using the space and how you want it to feel. If you entertain often or have a big family that you want to create a cozy family room for, you may want to use a warm, inviting color. Whereas if you want your bedroom to feel calm and relaxed for a deep night of sleep, you may want to choose a cool blue. The warm colors are reds, oranges and yellows. Warm colors tend to make us think of the sunshine so we feel more playful and joyous. While your cool greens, blues and violets make us think of water or nature and being relaxed and soothed. Also, cooler colors look as though they “recede,” giving the illusion of space which makes them great for smaller rooms. Warm colors “advance,” so using a warmer color on walls of a larger room will make it feel more intimate. Not all rules apply all of the time though, meaning it’s ok to mix warm and cool colors. The trick to mixing the warms and cools is to keep balance by using the opposite as an accent. So you may add a few cool colored decorative pieces, such as a green throw pillow to your warm inviting family room. Then you not only feel comfortable while conversing with guests, but you also feel balanced.

Now that you know how you are using your space and how you want it to feel, let’s narrow down the actual color. There are three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. The three secondary colors are a mixture of two primary colors: orange, green and violet. Just because the paint swatch says “Gray” doesn’t mean that it is a true gray though. A true gray is a balanced combination of white and black. More than likely the gray you picked out is actually one of the primary or secondary colors. That’s why we hear things like, “I painted my walls gray, but they look purple.” That gray is actually a violet. Most of the time, colors are obvious. Blue is usually blue, but there are also blends of colors. There are blue-greens and blue-violets. There are also different saturations of color. Focusing on the saturation of the color will eliminate 75% of your choices. Saturation defines the brilliance and intensity of a color. As the saturation increases, the color will appear more pure and vibrant. As the saturation decreases, the color will appear more dull or washed out. Neutral colors are less saturated, which is why that “purple” gray is really just a desaturated violet. The value of the color itself can play a large role as well. If you look at a paint swatch strip with multiple variations you’ll notice that the lightest of the color is at the top, and as you go down the strip the color gets darker. This is the value of the color. Using the top lighter colors will make the space feel more airy and open, while the more intense, darker colors will feel more intimate and lively.

As we get closer to choosing the perfect color for your space let’s look at a few more small details. Light! Light has everything to do with color. To see color you have to have light. Some colors light bounces off of, while other colors absorb light. Have you ever walked into a room and felt like you had to squint? That’s because too much light is being reflected. Typically the darker the color the more light it absorbs, but not always. Most paint swatches have notes on the back of them with information such as the name of the color, which is also called the hue. There is also a Light Reflective Value, or LRV on the back with a number beside it. That number is crucial when picking out the perfect paint color because it will let you know how much light will be reflected or absorbed. The light reflective value is a scale from 0 to 100. The closer to 0% the color is, the more light will be absorbed, whereas the closer to 100% the more light will be reflected. Staying within the 40% to 60% LRV range is a no-fail because it’s right in the middle, therefore not absorbing or reflecting too much. If there is no LRV on the back of the swatch, ask the paint specialist at the store to look it up or go to the company’s website to find it.

Lastly, let’s dive into color relations a little. Take a look around your space and its surroundings to see if there’s already a preexisting color that needs to be taken in consideration. Maybe your family room has a fireplace with a brick or stone surround that has really vibrant orange colors throughout. Or your bedroom has an attached bathroom with a forest green tiled flooring. What you want to avoid is putting a color on your wall that is going to clash with its surroundings. There are multiple color schemes that help make colors harmonious. Using a color wheel can be a huge help with creating color combinations. For example: When choosing a color for your cozy family room that has an existing vibrant orange brick fireplace, you could use a split complementary color scheme. A split complementary color scheme has three colors. In this case the orange would be the preexisting brick. You want the room to feel warm and inviting, so choosing a less saturated, neutral yellow on the walls would work beautifully. The third color, which in this case is blue, would be your accent color. You could bring some blue into the room with pillows, window treatments or fun décor pieces. Remember to keep balance when using multiple colors.

The colors and design of a home should be a reflection of the people who live there. Choose your paint colors wisely and it is an inexpensive, easy way to create the space you want!

By Melanie Woodard

Polished Interiors, Owner

Shining a Spotlight on Careers in Construction

Did you know that it takes an average of 22 different subcontractors to build a home?

October is Careers in Construction Month and it’s a perfect time to recognize the contributions of all the professionals working in residential construction as well as highlight the rewarding careers available in the industry.

Indeed, a home builder relies on a number of highly trained workers to get the job done right. This includes dozens of skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers. Analysis from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that 70% of builders typically use somewhere between 11 and 30 subcontractors to build a single-family home.

As the housing market continues to strengthen, home builders across the country and here in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County are seeking skilled workers – such as carpenters, framers and roofers – to help them build the American Dream. In fact, according to NAHB analysis of the federal government’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) rose to 214,000 in July.

This means there is ample opportunity for motivated students seeking a rewarding career path. Residential construction workers consistently express high job satisfaction. And average salaries in [insert local area] remain competitive with other industries in our area. For example, [insert state-specific wage data from:]

The building trades offer a great career path. And, the residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers is rising. Parents, teachers, counselors and students must once again recognize that a vocational education can offer satisfying career paths and financial gains.

To learn more about job opportunities in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County, visit our website.

Harrisonburg Seafood Fest

On The Level – April 2018 newsletter


Remodeling Your Bath On A Tight Budget (By Holly Thorne)

Mother Nature threw us a bone this past weekend with spring-like weather, moving our thoughts away from fire-lit evenings to those of firing up the grill. While now is the time to consider cleaning gutters, pressure washing your siding, and planting grass, how about that one room inside that you blocked off during the holidays. The one that you journeyed guests upstairs and through your bedroom just to avoid? Yes, that outdated bathroom. It is still there, with the peeling linoleum floor, calcium deposits and old-fashioned countertops, just waiting for attention.

While you may think a bathroom renovation is not in the budget, the good news is small spaces don’t need to cost a fortune to update.  This Old House estimates DIYers can update this space, adding value to your home, for as little as $1,000 depending on the projects you want to undertake.

To freshen up your space on the cheap, consider the following tips gathered from around the web:

  1. Use tile sparingly, sticking to high-impact areas like the floor, using instead high quality satin-finish paint to avoid mold and mildew, or by incorporating other materials in hidden areas like the shower.
  2. If granite is your choice for countertops, widen your color options to save on the expense of this season’s most popular colors or look at imperfect countertops that the sink basin will cover. White is always a classic color choice that goes with everything and gives you freedom to play with paint color or seasonal linen changes.
  3. Update light fixtures, sink faucets, showerheads, towel racks, and drawer pulls. These relatively small investments can provide big bang for their buck. Water-efficient fixtures will help you save money in the long run and are also good for the environment, too.
  4. Pay attention to detail. Updating window treatments, bath linens, re-caulking the tubs or adding a fresh coat of white paint to moldings can make quite a difference.
  5. Make it your own. Be on trend by buying used dressers or overstocked plumbing features from yard sales, flea markets, Etsy, eBay, or your local retailer. You can build your own vanity or construct unique towel racks at a fraction of the cost and make your remodeled space completely you own.
  6. Don’t be afraid of sweat equity. Minor projects can be done over a weekend but remember to call in a professional if structural changes, complicated electrical or plumbing work is required.

As warmer weather draws us out of hibernation, spending a little bit of time on your bathroom now will prevent you from detouring guests during summer cookouts, and even better, will be one less thing you have to worry about once the holidays roll around again.

If your bathroom is an eyesore, share your photos for a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate to Valley retailer, Randy’s Do It Best Hardware, sponsored by Farmers & Merchants Bank and VBS Mortgage.

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Mercy House Building Supply Store

The Mercy House Building Supply Store is requesting that you consider making a tax deductable donation of your excess building materials to us. We will be accepting donations of kitchen cabinets, plumbing supplies, doors, windows, sinks, lavatories, tubs, excess lumber, paint, masonry products, roofing, dry wall, fasteners, wire, pipe and more. We will pick up your donations at no cost.

As new building materials increase in cost the demand for used affordable building materials is skyrocketing. In addition to greater affordability, putting used and recycled building materials into remodeling/repair projects recycles materials otherwise destined for landfills.

The expansion benefits the Mercy House Mission to feed, clothe and house homeless families with dependent children in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County by increasing our revenue stream in a time of uncertainty of other sources of funding such as grants. This helps to make us more self sufficient, independent and sustainable for the long term. Another great benefit is providing additional opportunities for employment and training for residents of the Mercy House as they transition from homelessness. For more information visit