Efficient Living: How Going Green In Your Home Can Keep the Green In Your Pocket.

Efficient Living!

How Going Green In Your Home Can Keep the Green In Your Pocket.

Whether it’s an unwavering commitment to the planet or a common sense approach to saving money, the idea of going “green” in the home continues to make headway as more Americans turn to higher efficiency living post economic downturn world, while consequently delivering a win-win situation for the consumer pockets and ecologically motivated sustainable living.

Eco Friendly

So you want to go green in your home? Then you’re not alone. According to several recent studies, in upwards of 90 percent of buyers want to buy green. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently issued a study outlining home buyer preferences, from kitchen and bath to designs and layouts, to technology, energy efficiency and everything in between. According to the study, What Home Buyers Really Want, a staggering nine out of ten home buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 percent to 3 percent less.

In a 2013 consumer survey by Green Builder magazine, 59.6 percent of respondents say they were living a “green life” while 40.4 percent said no. Of those that said no, 90.4 percent said they would like to live a more sustainable life. 85 percent of respondents also believed that highlighting energy efficiency features of a home would help it sell faster.

But what is “green”, really? Honestly for some, including people, groups and corporations, it is an opportunity to brag about being ecologically aware while over-promising environmental stewardship and sustainability. But for the rest of us, it is a brilliant and simple way to improve our way and quality of living, save on expenses, and in the process, do our small part to deliver positive impact to the environment.

Energy management and resource conservation in your home is the best way to reduce wasteful spending on monthly expenses, while taking a small step toward environmental responsibility.
From the light bulbs you use to the insulation in your ceiling, there are several ways to start chipping away at your utility bills. Some cost effective For example, adding ceiling insulation to your home can help your air conditioning system reduce its workload by keeping unwanted heat out of home, or air sealing your home around areas such as windows to keep the cold in. On the higher end, the same heat deflecting properties can also be found in reflective or cement based energy saving roofs and Energy-Star qualified windows, if you’re currently looking to replace your current one.

Living spaces are also a good place to start looking for cost cutting measures. Updating your kitchen to Energy-Star rated appliances or changing to higher efficiency air conditioning unit, programmable thermostats or home automation systems can also assist you in trimming down your energy consumption. Water conservation through low flow or dual flush toilets and water flow reducing water faucets can also help you with your water company.

But, if the budget isn’t currently there, free, common sense energy saving practices can get you moving in the right direction. Raising the temperature of your A/C unit when you leave to work and making sure all your lights and appliances are off or cutting long shower times down to a minimum are all great ways to kick off an environmentally aware, cost saving campaign in your home.

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Quick! What’s Trending in Kitchens for 2013? Here are is our top 4 likes for the first half of the year!

Kitchen Trends 2013

Quick! What’s Trending in Kitchens for 2013? Here are is our top 4 likes for the first half of the year!

New Colors: Kitchens are once again breaking tradition and continue to move away from the long standing wood based colors, such as Cherry and Traditional Browns. Although Espresso colors remain extremely popular, many of the younger homeowners seem to be gradually trending towards cutting edge high gloss finishes in whites, reds, greens and other unusual designs and patterns. Color combos in also seem to be making their way into the kitchen. These are definitely not your mother’s kitchen.

New Hardware: The nuts and bolts in kitchen cabinets are transforming the way we use our kitchen. Hardwar manufacturer Blum is coming up with some innovative hinges that offer push to open, which allows customers to eliminate the handles, and innovative opening designs that combine functionality with that “WOW!” factor.

New Sinks: From the green apron-front sink by Kohler to stainless steel farmers sinks to seamless quartz sinks from Silestone, sinks are quickly shifting from functional to eye catching art.

And don’t forget, new High Tech Faucets: Welcome to the future! Touch to start or sensor driven kitchen faucets are helping those hands by allowing us to initiating the flow by with a simply touch. Great for those dirty hands!

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Kitchen and Bath Cabinets Take Off in 2013, As Real Estate Bounces Back to Life Across the Country.

An improving housing market, and hopes of a better economy, seems to be motivating consumers back into home remodeling, with cabinet sales seeing a strong double digit increase at the beginning of 2013.

Do an internet search on home sales, and one can see a significant turnaround from the bad news we had become accustomed to over the past several years. Now it seems the same could be said about the cabinetry business, with recent stats showing double digit improvements, year over year, for the first 2 months of 2013. Even CEO’s from major cabinet brands are seeing a significant uptick in business driven by new home construction and an improving home remodeling market.

According to Tom O’Grady, one of the head guys at National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), “Homeowners are tired of waiting to make improvements—many have chosen to stay put—and better financial positioning has them actively approaching professionals to get work done and enhance long-term livability of the home.”

Tom O’Grady made the mention when NARI stated in its first-quarter Remodeling Business Pulse (RBP), overall current business conditions have seen steady increases since March of 2012. In the press release, he also went on to say, “Remodelers nationwide are not only experiencing increased activity right now, but many have a backlog of projects well into the fall”

In addition to this, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) said members of its monthly Trend of Business Survey reported cabinet sales for February 2013 increased +14.1 percent compared to sales for February 2012, year-to-date sales show an increase of +15.7 percent. This is a stellar improvement from the prior year, where by May 2012, year-to-date sales showed a dismal increase of +2.7 percent from the previous year. All eyes will be on a continued improvement in housing and the overall economy to support not the cabinetry markets, but home improvement overall.

But although consumers are now stepping back into the home improvement market, no industry professional can lose sight of the fact that it’s not the same market we experienced a decade ago when the real estate bubble was building and folks we’re using second mortgages to fund major products. After an economic turmoil like the one we’re trying to pull out of, many people are minding their wallets and competitive pricing will be at the front lines of most decisions. One can also expect customers to trend to more affordable solutions. According to the February data from (KCMA), year-to-date sales showed that stock sales up +23.1 percent, semi-custom sales up +8.7 percent, and custom sales up +14.5 percent.

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Tax Season and Home Improvement Projects: It’s a great time to do something great for your home.

Well, it’s March and the 2013 tax season probably has many Americans either thinking about their accountants or waiting by the mail box for that much anticipated refund check from Uncle Sam. What to do with this extra influx of cash back to our pockets is usually a topic debate amongst taxpayers. And this year, if you’re a homeowner, might be a great time to invest in your humble abode.

Tax season is on, and the annual migration of hard earned cash back into our pockets is on its way for many Americans expecting a tax refund this year. And for many, the refund could mean a few extra thousand dollars in their pockets. As a matter of fact in 2012, the IRS had issued 59.2 million refund checks totaling $174.4 billion. Using those numbers, the average refund check is about $3,000. So with this new influx of cash coming, what to do with it usually becomes a topic for debate for taxpayers. One suggestion, if you’re not paying bills this year, use it to build value.

As a homeowner, your home is probably your most important asset, and using this year tax refund to refinance the mortgage at today’s low interest rates could present a responsible opportunity to spend your cash wisely. Low interest rates might not be here in the future, and the 2013 tax rebate can help you pay for the hefty closing costs associated with a refinance.

If you are happy with your current rate, making the investment in your living spaces could also greatly improve various aspects of your life. From increasing the value of your property to improving the quality of your life, and even lowering energy costs, taking on home improvement remodeling projects with refunds can stretch those tax dollars a lot farther than a weekend at the mall.

When considering a home improvement project, keep in mind that even a humble investment can go a long way. From smaller projects such as replacing a front door or painting your home, to larger projects such as kitchen and bathroom remodeling and even flooring, home renovations can offer a satisfying, value driven spot to put the little extra cash into.

A few other ways you might consider spending your dollars if your home is not at the top of your list could include investing in you. From paying down debts, starting or increasing an emergency fund to protect you and your family from a financial emergency, such as a lay off at work, to investing in your health, making value driven decisions should be the common theme across all your considerations. So if you are waiting for that extra money from the IRS, whether it’s a little or boat load, remember to spend it wisely, as recent history has taught us that no one ever knows what the future may hold.

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Happy New Year, from the Superior Family

With 2013 in now in full swing, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers who selected Superior Kitchens and More for all the kitchen cabinet needs. We enjoyed working with each and every one of you in making your home remodeling projects come true. In 2013, Superior will continue to improve its services in an effort to become the Miami’s top wholesale cabinet distributor.

Superior Kitchen and More will continue to deliver the industry’s leading all wood kitchen cabinets, while maintaining top line customer satisfaction and unbeatable pricing. Please be sure to visit our 3,000 sq. ft. showroom in 2013, to find South Florida’s most beautiful kitchen cabinetry and bathroom vanities.

We would like to wish everyone health, happiness and success in this New Year. And again, thank you all for your support and for making Superior Kitchens and More South Florida’s leading cabinet distributor.

The Superior Family

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The debate of Chinese imports: Why Chinese cabinets are shutting the doors of local manufacturers.

It is a highly fragmented market place that is dominated by mostly small business entrepreneurs. Aside from a few industry giants such as Masco Corporation and Fortune Brands, many homeowners have historically turned to the small, privately owned local manufacturers who have been serving their community, in many cases, for decades. But as American importers and Chinese manufacturers began their charge into the multi-billion dollar kitchen and bath cabinetry industry, a detrimental combination of an economic recession, a failing housing market and high unemployment began to stack up against local manufacturing, as cash strapped consumers hunted for the highest quality cabinetry at the lowest price.
kitchen cabinets

This perfect storm allowed Chinese imports of ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets to take hold of an already distressed market, putting many small businesses, out of business, as their inability to compete against importers grew. So why are the importers still around now? It comes down to simple profit and loss.

Manufacturing cabinetry here in the United States is expensive business, from overhead to equipment to personnel. And since most small business owner or entrepreneurs aren’t in the business to lose money, the cost of manufacturing is passed on to the consumer, either through lofty pricing or poorer quality. With local manufacturing, a company has to factor in significantly larger facilities to accommodate their production and manufacturing operations, which translates to higher rent and additional costs for the purchase and maintenance of equipment. The hiring of more personnel, means more highly skilled carpenters who require the manufacturer to carry additional, high risk insurances in addition to higher salaries. And although many local manufacturers turned to China for raw materials and equipment, the cost of operating was still enough to force them to close shop.

Manufacturing importers have been able to seize the opportunity of the lagging economy by operating with significantly lower manufacturing costs and lower overhead, allowing them to offer considerably lower pricing to the end users, whether it’s wholesale to industry pros or consumers at retail prices. When comparing to local manufacturers or large home improvement stores, this difference could be in upwards of forty percent or more. Additionally, value driven importers will take advantage of affordable raw materials and low manufacturing costs in China to significantly improve the quality of their cabinets in an effort to strengthen their competitive edge in the market. Opting for standards such as ¾ inch plywood boxes, higher quality hardware such as soft closing hinges and matching cabinet interiors to go with the customers color selection continues to give the importers a strategic advantage from manufacturing companies who offer these as pricey upgrades.

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Is Stainless Steel Losing Ground in the Kitchen?

After decades of exemplifying beauty and sophistication in kitchens, is stainless steel beginning an exit from culinary living spaces? Well, it’s probably not; at least not yet and not any time soon. However, from kitchen sinks to home appliances, it does seem that stainless steel maybe making its way out of a few kitchens as new beautiful alternatives come to market. And with a significant push to transform the kitchen from workspace to living space, these trend setting options might quickly start chipping away at the demand for stainless steel, and ultimately, its global market share.

Kitchen remodeling, as with any renovation project, has always been based on aesthetics, functionality and durability. It is why for decades stainless steel has dominated the kitchen. Aside from its good looks, it has been revered for its strength and ability to not readily rust or stain, although it has been known to if not cared for properly or manufactured using poor quality materials. But in a new, fast paced, ever changing world driven by emerging trends, it seems inevitable that stainless steel will soon lose its dominance to fresh, next generation alternatives. A similar transition seems to be in the works between granite and quartz countertops. So what alternatives are showing up in the world of home remodeling?

Over the past several years, stainless steel has remained unchallenged in the kitchen appliances arena, but it seems that this undisputed champ is now facing several new up-an-coming contenders. As kitchen cabinets move to a new era of sleek and modern designs, some appliance manufacturers are testing the waters with bold looks and new finishes. General Electric, for example, has recently launched its new line of slate appliances, offering a subtle, gray metallic look that blends perfectly with a variety of cabinetry options, from chic bamboo to the ultra modern Italian styles.

Whirlpool has also introduced its Ice Collection, which includes its high shine Black Ice and White Ice appliances that is sure to grab the attention of iPhone users worldwide.

Stainless steel is also facing a new challenger in the area of kitchen sinks. Recently, integrated sinks, such as Silestone’s Integrity sink is made from a single, matching piece of quartz. This sink allows for a seamless integration of sink and countertop and allowing for a sleek and uniform appearance. The quartz countertop and the sinks are not only beautiful, but scratch resistant, easy to clean and more importantly nonporous, offering consumers a safer product in an area known for its raw food bacteria.

As we spend more and more time in this foundation of the American home, it will be exciting to see what lies ahead for this transitional phase to the modern day kitchen. With all these trend setting products just coming to market, we still have yet to see if they will stand the test of time. And it is probably safe to say that we could probably expect stainless steel to remain a first choice for most homeowners for many years to come.

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New Customer Project

Another Happy Customer

“Idis, thank you so much for helping us design our dream kitchen. My family and I are delighted with the results and are enjoying our new kitchen. Carlos was a great person and he really accommodated to our requests. I am attaching the pictures of the kitchen so that you can see the transformation. Please send my regards to your husband and to your son. We are very happy and grateful for your services.

Sincerely,

Raul and family”

We would love to thank our friends Raul and his family for their kind words, and congratulate them on their new kitchen. It was truly a pleasure working with them on this remodeling project and the team at Superior is truly lucky to have customers like them. We replaced their existing cabinets with our Oreo Mahogany Shaker Cabinets, and we top it off with Silestone’s ECO friendly Polar Cap Quartz Countertop. To add a little more beauty we added the a mosaic tile back splash to complement both the dark, rich color of the cabinets, and the subtle beauty of the Polar Cap countertop.

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When It Comes to Home Improvement and Cabinetry, What Materials Are Ideal for My Projects?

When it comes to any residential renovation project that requires the replacement of cabinetry, whether it’s for a kitchen, bathroom or a bedroom closets, what goes into making the cabinet is just as important as how it looks. With a wide range of materials to choose from, selecting the right option based on purpose of the project, your budget and even the location of your cabinetry will be something that would need to be strongly considered when making your choice.

In the world of residential and commercial cabinetry, a couple of truths ring true. First, is that you will always “get what you pay for” and the second is that you should “never judge a book by its cover.” As a consumer, you should be aware that looking at a beautiful, eye-catching piece of cabinetry does not necessarily mean that the highest quality standards and craftsmanship was placed into manufacturing the product. However, a lot of times that is okay if the buyer know exactly what he or she is buying, and that the price fits the quality of the purchase. But as a buyer, you should know the pros and cons of the common material used in cabinetry and you should be aware of your project goals.

Beginning from lowest to highest on durability and cost, melamine offers an inexpensive option to buyers on a budget. These cabinets are constructed by using a resin, made by combining melamine and formaldehyde, to create a laminate under pressure and heat. The resulting sheet is then and bonded with glue, usually to particle board. However, over time, melamine cabinets are notorious for swelling, is known to quickly show wear and tear, and it has the tendency to look just as inexpensive as its price tag.

Like melamine, thermofoil is a plastic-coated cabinet finish that uses a thin film that is heated and molded over engineered medium-density fiberboard, or MDF. It can offer a longer lasting alternative to melamine cabinets that gives consumers a greater selection of colors and styles. Furthermore, it is well known for its high quality sheen, and some finishes include wood grain, and can even have metallic elements. Thermofoil can also be applied to existing cabinet doors. Both melamine and thermofoil cabinets are easy to maintain.

Finally, if your budget allows, natural solid wood provides one of the highest level of durability, strength and beauty available in the market today. Unlike engineered wood products, the quality of the solid wood is dependent on the species, whether it would be oak, maple or cherry. In general though, wood is regarded as a reliably better choice for cabinetry than MDF for its strength, although both can deliver a visually stunning piece of cabinetry. And with better technologies and manufacturing processes coming down the pipe, MDF can be become the leading player in the cabinetry market.

So whether you’re a homeowner, landlord or real estate investor there is always a cabinet available to meet your requirements. The important thing is to know what you expect from your cabinets in the near and long term. As an example, a homeowner or landlord would need long lasting durability and strength and would probably consider a higher grade product such as solid wood or thermofoil. In contrast a real estate investor may do well with the less durable melamine product to secure a quick sale. Just remember to choose wisely, and more importantly, research the company or contractor you are purchasing from.

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Contractors: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Contractors: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

We have always said, choosing the right contractor is 75% of the job of any homeowner and researching a contractor’s history should be priority number one. Unfortunately, the joy of finding that right guy, girl or company for the job may NOT be as apparent to someone who has never been let down, lied to, or ripped off by some shady crook with a pencil and a measuring tape. So we’d like to introduce you to some tragic characters we recently found on the internet:

The Fraudster

Steven Jay Sizemore, 31, is going to spend a little time behind bars for defrauding 21 homeowners in Riverton, Utah. Utilizing a not so elaborate scheme to cheat unsuspecting individuals of thousands of dollars, Steve was collecting pre-payment on orders for kitchen cabinets that were never, ever delivered. Now to the issue of researching contractor’s background, prosecutors also found out that while out on bail following his June 2011, Mr. Sizemore was still collecting payment from at least 7 of the 21 victims. Sitting in the penalty box last week, the judge sentenced him up to 15 years in prison.

The Unlicensed

Contractor Jeff Edwards of Astoria, Oregon is going to spend 13 months in jail for three counts of identity theft. Jeff was offering house painting and pressure cleaning services using the Oregon Construction Contractors Board’s license numbers of other businesses, or creating false license numbers, so it would appear as if he was appropriately licensed and bonded with the state of Oregon.

Now as a homeowner, you may be inclined to bring an unlicensed Jeff Edwards of Astoria to maybe save a few bucks on your home improvement or remodeling project. But consider the risk. In June, the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) in Florida ran a two day sting to put unlicensed contractors behind bars, putting 40 offenders in prison. BSO said 14 similar operations in the last three years have netted 240 arrests. Of those 240 with about 60 percent, or about 140 of those contractors apprehended were convicted felons. The crimes ranged from burglaries to homicides.

Bottom line is when hiring people to work on a home, it’s important to research the background of the person or company providing the work. Always ask for license numbers, and don’t be afraid to ask for professional references and call them to see how things went with this particular individual. The internet also provides a good way to research a home improvement professional through online reviews. Remember, experience is the greatest teacher, and its always better to learn from someone else’s than your own.

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