Show Notes: The Inside Scoop on Remodeling Outside – On the House

Show Notes: The Inside Scoop on Remodeling Outside

By on June 2, 2020
Scoop on Remodeling Outside

Get the scoop on remodeling outside with these tips!

This week we discuss:

  • Saving money for patio renovations
  • Ways to make your current home, your dream home
  • Adding curb- appeal
  • Options for Vent-free fireplaces

Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here. 


The sun is warm. Close your eyes: that tweeting sound you hear is coming from birds in your garden. An outdoor patio can change your outlook on life. 

If the only obstacle that stands between you and this miracle is the fact that you currently don’t have a patio, that’s an easy problem to fix. Even on a tight budget, or with a very small outdoor space, you can create a new outdoor living room. The average cost of installing a patio to vary widely depending on a patio’s  size and materials, from $800 for a  7-foot-square concrete slab to $10,000 for a luxe 16-by-18-foot terrace paved with stone. 

1. Pick a level location

Remember: it’s more expensive is if you have to build retaining walls or grade the soil to make a flat spot.

2. Site the patio near the house  

Think about how you plan to use a patio: will it be an outdoor kitchen? Do you want to run electrical or plumbing lines to it? If so, the closer the site to the house, the less expensive the cost. 

3. Work around existing trees  

With a clever design that incorporates existing trees, you can save money two ways. In addition to saving the cost of removal, a mature tree can provide as much shade as an awning or pergola (without the added expense of building a shade structure). 

4. Pick an inexpensive paving material  

Gravel, at an average cost of $1.40 per square foot, is the least expensive patio paving material, according to Home Advisor. They also advise hiring a Commercial Dump Truck to drop off everything you need all at once to save time and money. Because dump trucks have a much higher capacity than standard delivery trucks, transit time and trip count will be reduced.

At the other end of the price spectrum is natural stone—such as granite, bluestone, or limestone—cut into thin layers to create flagstone pavers. Depending on the stone, the prices of flagstone pavers can be up to $30 a square foot.  

5. Buy materials off season 

Plan ahead by designing a new patio—and purchasing the materials to build it—in the off-season when demand and prices are lower. 

6. Reuse existing materials 

If you’re upgrading an existing landscape, you can reuse pavers from an old path or patio to create your new outdoor space. You can re-lay existing pavers to create a perimeter around a gravel patio. Build a patio in stages. 

7. Mix and match materials  

Mixing materials—such as redwood decking and poured concrete—can add interest and texture to a patio (while saving money). 

8. Create a focal point with inexpensive furnishings  

Instead of expensive outdoor furniture, you can hang a hammock to create a focal point for the patio. Create a seating arrangement with flea market finds oroutdoor furniture from Ikea—versatile pieces can do double duty indoors in the off season 

9. Define a patio’s perimeter with potted plants  

Building a fence or wall around a patio is an expensive undertaking. A budget-friendly alternative to create privacy is to group together a few tall potted plants. 


Don’t sell the house — Remodel Instead! 

May is National Home Improvement Month, and spring is the perfect time to start planning your home remodeling project. There are lots of reasons why a whole-home or major remodel project might be a great alternative to selling your house. Remember if you are doing a major remodel to contact portable restroom rentals company for their services as it is best for contractors.

You’re an empty nester who loves your home and neighborhood. You don’t want to sell or move, but your house no longer fits your family’s needs: 

  • Consider converting the kids’ rooms to offices or hobby spaces. 
  • Combine two bedrooms to a single guest suite with an added bathroom. 
  • Remain in place with auniversal design remodelthat makes your home safe, accessible, and functional. 

You love to entertain, but the kitchen is too small, or it’s isolated from the rest of the house. 

  • Tear down that wall! Make a great room by opening the space up and creating one large room for family and friends to cook, visit, and lounge. 
  • He cooks, she cooks, but never together because the kitchen is cramped. Reconfigure the space to fit two chefs. Add a large kitchen island, a generous cooktop, a wine cellar, or a nice, new pantry. 
  • Move it outside. Build an outdoor kitchen with a grill or cooktop, a wood-burning oven for pizza and roasted meats, and a bar with beer taps and a wine cooler. 

Adult children, grandchildren, and other family and friends live far away. 

  • Convert two bedrooms into a guest suite with a bathroom for visitors on extended stays 

Create an in-law unit within your home’s floor plan. 

  • Multi-generational living is on the rise as affordable housing decreases. 

Every home has a story. Is it time to write the next chapter for yours? 


May is National Home Improvement Month and that includes:  

Curb Appeal 

NOUN • The attractiveness of a property and its surroundings when viewed from the street. Landscaping, the front entrance, and the condition of the paint or siding are the biggest factors in curb appeal” 

 Easy keys to outside remodeling that will increase curb appeal!

  • Remodel your front door with a new coat of paint 
  • Add a new lockset and maybe a peep hole or door knocker  
  • Glam Up Your Mailbox or replace it. 
  • Make a statement with new house numbers 
  • Add a fence to frame your front yard 
  • Add a brightly colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch. 
  • Add some shutters 
  • Replace the porch light with a new LED fixture  
  • Keep Up With Maintenance. 


Are Vent-Free Fireplaces Safe? 

If you’ve looked into vent-free fireplaces at all, you’ve probably discovered there are quite a few differing opinions on the safety of installing one in your home. The basic concept of a vent-free fireplace is easy enough to understand. By burning gas instead of wood, you can create a “smokeless” heat that doesn’t require ventilation and allows all the heat created by the fire to stay in your home. Of course, it’s not exactly that simple. By-products are still created when burning gas in your home, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, among others. These gases get pushed into your home along with the heat, which can create a dangerous situation if not carefully monitored. 

Vent-Free Fireplaces and Other Appliances 

You might be thinking if all these dangerous gases are being pushed into my home, how is it that vent-free fireplaces are safe at all for residential use? It’s a good question and some people would say they’re not. Others will point out that you’re also openly burning gas when you turn on your stove, and people aren’t exactly showing up in the news condemning the use of a gas stove and oven ranges. 

Both points of view are valid and misleading. If you have a high capacity oven range, ran all the burners on high for several hours a day (or if it’s malfunctioning), you might have a toxic gas problem. On the other hand, if you properly size a vent-free fireplace and only run it on a limited basis and well within the manufacturer’s specifications, you shouldn’t have any problems with dangerous gases. That said, many homeowners take the stance that no level of dangerous gases are safe in their homes. 

Carbon Monoxide and Other Dangerous Gases 

Of all the dangerous gases, carbon monoxide is the most dangerous and the most notorious. Few homeowners are still unaware of the odorless and colorless gas. It can cause all sorts of health problems ranging from mild headaches to death. If you decide toinstall a vent-free gas fireplacedo yourself favor and install multiple carbon monoxide detectors in your home, including near the fireplace. Check them regularly. 

One of the less advertised gases that can be dangerous to your home is water vapor. Excessive water vapor being emitted from your vent-free gas fireplace can cause your wallpaper to peel, as well as other structural damage. Even gases other than carbon monoxide can cause respiratory problems if they’re present in large enough quantities and/or someone in the home has a sensitivity to that gas. 

Homeowner Safety and Fireplace Alternatives 

Improper installation, improper fireplace sizing, improper use, and appliance failure can all lead to major safety issues. In fact, health concerns over the use of this appliance have led some countries and states within the US to ban vent-free gas fireplaces. Still, too many homeowners covet the low installation and operating cost and only want to use their fireplace on a limited basis. If you’re one of these homeowners, at the very least try to find a contractor/manufacturer who will bear the responsibility for product failure, should something go wrong. Ask these professionals and companies about health concerns. If they dismiss these concerns as foolish myths, you should probably run for the door. On the other hand, if they tell you there are some concerns, but they’ve never had any problems with their fireplaces, ask them to put in writing that they will cover any damages and expenses associated with product failure. 

Your best bet remains to simply put up the extra money and install a vented fireplace. It may cost a little more and not be as energy-efficient, but saving a few dollars on your utility bill shouldn’t be as important as the health and safety of your household.       


Those of you around the Bay Area: Please stay inside and stay safe!

Mentioned Links 

Thank you~ 

A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming! 

Thank you to our Technical Support: 

  • Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer  
  • Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer  
  • Sam Reed – Associate Producer  
  • Rico Figliolini – Digital Master 


Thank you for tuning in the Inside Scoop on Renovations Outside! And check in next week for more cool tips! 

The Inside Scoop on Remodeling Outside Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired May 30, 2020. 

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