Author Archives: Andy Lindus

What started as a two person remodeling company 30 years ago has grown into a multi-state construction and home improvement enterprise boasting more than 30 thousand happy customers. Delighting our customers, whether they are building new or remodeling their home with a new gutter system or roofing installation, is easy to do with the great products we offer and our staff of hardworking employees.

Wallpaper…Making a Comeback in 2014

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Rumors have been circulating since last week, that after twenty years, Pink Floyd may be teaming up for a new album, which is being cited as one of the biggest come backs of the year.  In the world of interior design, there’s another home feature making a comeback…wallpaper.  Believe it or not, this material that homeowners have a love/hate relationship with is back in the good graces of many interior decorators.  Like all resurging trends, it’s best to know how to work it in the present day so you don’t look like you’re stuck in a time capsule.

Commitment: Bear in mind that wallpaper is more time-consuming to change out than paint.   Be sure you love the design you’re opting for so you don’t experience buyer’s remorse.  If the thought of an entire room of wallpaper doesn’t appeal to you, it’s perfectly acceptable to apply wallpaper to a single accent wall.  This concept works especially well in bedrooms where you can wallpaper the wall behind your headboard and then paint the other walls a calming, complimentary color.

Room Size: Just as in the case with paint, it’s important to consider room size before committing to color and pattern.  In smaller spaces, it’s best to opt for lighter colors in larger prints, which deflect the room’s smallness.  Applying wallpaper to a hallway or inside a closet can add interest that otherwise wouldn’t be there.  Check for remnants for smaller projects which can save you money.  Hanging wallpaper on the ceiling, and painting the rest of the room a similar color, is another trend.

Print Pattern:  Love small prints?  They work well in larger rooms.  Larger prints work better in small spaces because they trick the eye in believing the room is larger than it is.  Another trip to making a small room look larger is wallpaper with a horizontal pattern. A room that has a low ceiling can benefit from wallpaper with a vertical striped pattern because it will elongate the space.  Bold, rigid patterns add zing to a room,while lines with soft patterns evoke a sense of calmness.

Avoid These Rookie Application Mistakes:

  • Not lining up the pattern correctly so it’s easily visible where one roll starts and another ends.
  • Applying wallpaper directly to drywall which will cause damage to the wall when it’s time to remove the wallpaper.
  • Placing a pattern upside down.


What Women Want-Positioning Your Home to a Female Home Buyer

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In 2004, diamond producer, DeBeers, launched a national campaign encouraging women to splurge on a ring for themselves to be worn on their right hand in order to celebrate their power and independence.  The campaign dismissed the notion that women needed to wait to become engaged in order to acquire such a beautiful and expensive piece of jewelry.  Flash forward ten years to the present day where the National Association of Realtors has recently released a study identifying single women as the second largest segment of home buyers after married couples.  It goes without saying that girl power and buying power go hand-in-hand.  Looking to capitalize on this growing market with the sale of your home?  We’ve got a few pointers for you!

Space to Entertain: Whether it’s having a wine & cheese night, hosting their book club, or throwing a backyard barbecue, female home buyers favor homes that allow them to place hostess.  During showings or open houses, have your real estate agent highlight items such as your home’s multi-room audio system, built in wine rack, or backyard gazebo.

Low Maintenance Living: While single women, with fast paced lifestyles, are certainly capable of household chores, the fewer they have to do, the better!  Suggested maintenance free features include: clog-free gutters, composite decking and vinyl windows.

Closet Space: Shoes, purses, sweaters and leggings…oh my!  Never have we heard a woman complain that her closet was too big.  For this one, bigger is better…PERIOD!

Security: Female home buyers rate this towards the top of their priority list.  After all, if you can’t feel safe in your own home, where can you feel safe?  Amenities you can add to your home in order to attract female home buyers include a home security system, an attached garage, fencing, adequate outdoor lighting and window treatments that prohibit outsiders from being able to see in.

Natural Light: Women appreciate natural light because of its aesthetics and energy efficiency.  In short, the more windows the better!  Don’t fret if you have an older home and the amount of natural light is minimal.  Skylights and sun tunnels are an easy workaround to this issue.  They provide the natural light within a home without sacrificing privacy.  Popular areas to add them include bathrooms and walk-in closets, since natural lighting works best for grooming and makeup application.

Upgraded Bathrooms: Single females looking to buy a home appreciate spa-inspired bathrooms.  Desirable features include a soaking or jetted tub, premium or multiple shower heads, lots of storage and ample outlets.  Bonus points if the home’s largest bathroom is connected to the master bedroom.

Move-In Ready: When given a choice, over a fixer upper with more space or a smaller move-in ready property, today’s single female home buyer will chose move-in ready.  Why?  More space requires significantly more maintenance, something they aren’t interested in doing.


3 Secrets to Loving Your House Just the Way it Is

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This winter, TMZ featured an article about a domino real estate situation where Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco bought Khloe Kardashian’s home.  In turn Khloe turned around and bought Justin Bieber’s estate.  It’s interesting that even celebrities, who rake in millions each year, still get bored with their homes and put them on the market in order to purchase what they consider to be a better property.  While it’s unlikely that most of us will find ourselves, in this situation, there’s nothing wrong with taking steps to ensure the home you have is one you love.  Here are some tips from us on how to achieve this.

Don’t Live in Someone Else’s Home: When one of our employees bought her first home she was excited at the prospect of not having to stare at the white walls of the apartments she’d rented for the past four years.  After hours of scouring paint samples and home improvement websites, she settled on lime green for the color of her master bedroom.  While her mother questioned the choice as they started applying it to the walls, she ultimately stuck with the color.  There’s a lesson to be learned from this.  While most realtors wouldn’t suggest paint in bold shades when you’re putting a home on the market, if you’re planning on staying in it for a few years, there’s no need to live in a home as if it’ll be put up for sale at any moment.  Make it your own and select colors that speak to you.

Decorate with Purpose: The below painting by famous artist Joan Miro sold at auction for $2.2 million.  We’re willing to bet that most of you could find a lot more fun ways to put that kind of money to use!  The point here is that just because something is valuable doesn’t mean it’s meaningful.  When choosing your home’s décor, regardless of what your budget is, take the time to carefully consider whether or not what you’re adding is truly something you want to be surrounded with on a daily basis or if it’s simply something that the retail world is saying you need.

Banishing Clutter: In addition to collecting dust, clutter also has negative effects on your psyche.  A study by Princeton University found that the more disorganization in your life, the more stressed out you become.  Make an effort to donate, discard or sell items you no longer use and notice instantly your level of stress decrease.  While the prospect of tackling an entire house can seem daunting, break the task into smaller bits to make the feat more achievable.


Must Have Items for Your First Home

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We’ve all heard the catchphrase “fake it till you make it.”  Many of us outfitted our first apartments with hand-me-downs and treasures from the free section of the classifieds.  Once a home of your own becomes a reality, it’s time to outfit it with items that reflect your personal taste and style.  Here’s our list of accessories that we consider a must for your first house.

Dining Room Table: There was a time when a TV tray or coffee table sufficed, but now that you’ve got a home of your own, that doesn’t cut the mustard any longer.  Soon family and
friends will be volunteering you host playoff parties and holiday dinners.  When it comes to tables, bigger isn’t always better.  Be sure to select one that allows guests to comfortably move in and out of their chairs without bumping into the walls.

Light Fixtures That Make a Statement: Lighting sets the mood of your home.  Too much is an eyesore (not to mention highlights an imperfections in a room) and too little makes a room less functional.  Opt for a few unique fixtures that can be placed throughout your home and act as a conversation piece.  You don’t have to break the bank though.  There are lots of affordable, attractive options, both in stores and online.

Clog-Free Gutters: Gutters?  Not nearly as much fun as a hot tub or surround sound, but skip them and your basement can become flooded with water during heavy rainfall.  And that weekend you broke your back landscaping?  It will be all for when the water rushing off your roof has nowhere to go except straight down.  Back to the point about breaking your back, if you have gutters that clog and you’re forced to climb a ladder to manually clean them, breaking your back, leg, (you get the idea) can be a real possibility.

Matching Items: Whether it is towels, wine glasses, plates or coffee cups, make sure you have sets that match and that you’re proud to have your guests use.

Artwork: We’re not saying it’s got to be a Monet or a Picasso.  What we are saying is that the neon beer signs and Metallica posters need to come down and some sort of framed artwork, canvas or decorative mirror needs to go up.  Websites such as Etsy (though don’t login unless you’ve got a couple hours to spare…) and local galleries and student exhibitions can be a great way to pick out beautiful art that’s reasonably priced.

A Living Room set not Previously Owned by Anyone Else in Your Family: Antique furniture aside, a new living room deserves comfortable furniture that mimics your personal taste and works with your lifestyle.  Quality furniture can last a long time when properly cared for.  Score deals by shopping around Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day and Christmas.


Maximizing Space in a Small Yard

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The season of backyard barbecues and bonfires is upon us and after last winter’s record snowfall and temperatures, we’re all looking to soak up the sun and spend as much time as
possible enjoying the great outdoors.  Not all backyards are created equal; most homeowners would agree that bigger is better.  If your property doesn’t fall into this category, never fear; we’ve got plenty of ways to make the most of the space you’ve got.

Be Selective with Furniture: Oversized furniture takes up too much space and emphasizes the fact that there isn’t enough to begin with.  Backless benches and bistro table sets rather than full blown patio sets work well in this type of situation.

Build Up, Not Out: So you’re restricted by the width of your backyard; that still leaves the height.  Instead of planting a traditional garden that takes up valuable real estate, consider a vertical garden which utilizes staggered pots where fruits, vegetables and herbs can be planted in.  An advantage to taking up less space, the planter also becomes a conversation piece because of its unique design.

Create Unity Through Color: Interior designers often paint all the walls and ceiling in a small room the same color in order to make it look larger.  Steal this idea by picking 1-2 accent colors for your backyard instead of endless splashes of color in order to trick your eye into thinking it’s bigger than it is.

Grass Length: Lower the setting of your lawnmower so that your grass is the shortest it can be; this provides the illusion of additional space.

Elongating Walkways: Whether it’s decking or pavers, the utilization of a diagonal pattern can create the optical illusion that an area is longer than it is.  More small pavers, as opposed to fewer larger ones will also assist with making the area appear larger.

Space with a Purpose: Think of your backyard as an additional level of your home with an open floor plan.  Section the yard into 2-3 different “rooms” that serve a purpose such as dining, reading & relaxing and a spot for the kids to play.  Even a small platform deck with a couple of steps can create a layering effect, making the entire yard seem larger.

Vegetation: Stick to dwarf plant varieties that won’t eventually overtake the space as they mature.

Bonfires: While an in-ground fire pit in a small backyard may not be the best use of space, there all alternatives such as portable fire pits that can be brought out when needed (a bonus-some even come with carrying cases for portability and easy storage) or a tabletop fire pit.


Buying House Plans Online…the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

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From cars to jewelry to pets, it seems like there’s nothing that can’t be bought or sold on the internet.  It shouldn’t be that surprising to hear that house plans are easily accessible online for purchase.  There are plenty of things that can but shouldn’t got to together (carpets and bathrooms, anyone?) so we decided to dive deeper into the subject to weigh the pros & cons.

The Good:

One of the biggest arguments for purchasing online plans is cost.  Hiring an architect can significantly add to an already tight budget.  Online plans allow you to save on this expense since the home you’re building isn’t being custom tailored to you.

When buying plans online, it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to see both the blueprints and shots of a home’s interior and exterior.  This can be a huge benefit to those that need to see something in order to visualize it.

You aren’t the first person building this home so inaccuracies in design are unlikely.

The Bad:

If it’s a custom home that you seek, online plans are very unlikely to give you what you want.  After all, your house is the exact replica of hundreds of others.

A local architect can draw up plans that ensure building codes are met.  There is no guarantee with this online because building codes vary state to state and modifications to plans may need to be introduced to the design in order for it to pass inspection.  Additionally, online plans come with proposed placement of electrical and plumbing fixtures, but an electrician and plumber will still need to approve these suggestions in order to ensure that code is met.

The Ugly:

As we mentioned, hiring an architect isn’t cheap.  However, having an architect ensures that you’ve got someone working hand in hand with the contractor to make sure that the plans get built exactly as intended.  Without a supervising architect, if your builder has questions on your plans or takes liberties with design, it’s unlikely the home owner will notice in time to correct the mistake and it still may cost thousands of dollars to fix.

While online plans are cheaper than hiring an architect, if you purchase plans that don’t fit the plot of land you purchased, you can be forced to scrap them and start over.


3 Projects to Scratch off Your To-Do List Immediately

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Call us crazy, but our northern winters feel like they get longer and longer every year.  This means that our summers get shorter and shorter.  Since we finally have beautiful weather, we think it’s a great time to ditch the following chores around your home for good!

Cleaning Gutters: When your gutters clog from leaves and other organic debris and it rains, the water needs to go somewhere but instead of flowing through the gutters and out the downspouts, the water overflows.  This can compromise your home’s foundation, fascia and siding.  In some cases, mold can begin to grow which is a serious health hazard.  Not only is climbing a ladder to clean your rain gutters several times a year a real fun killer, it’s also dangerous.  Each year, 30,000 people are injured falling off ladders.

The Fix: LeafGuard gutters are designed to allow water to flow freely while eliminating clogs by deflecting debris such as: leaves, pine needles and small branches from trees. We offer a “No Clog Warranty” for as long as you own the home and if your gutters ever clogged we will clean them for free – GUARANTEED! LeafGuard Gutters are the only gutters to have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. 

Staining Your Deck: On many homes, a deck is not only a selling point, it’s a place for homeowners to entertain guests and relax.  However, without proper care, a wooden deck can become an eyesore.  This means that homeowners must undergo the chore, not to mention expense, of sanding, staining and sealing their deck.  This task must be repeated every few years because wooden decks become weathered and oftentimes, it eats up an entire weekend.

The Fix: Composite decking, manufactured by companies such as TimberTech, allow homeowners the opportunity to enjoy their summer months without the hassle of staining their deck.  TimberTech’s Capped Composite Decking offers a 25 year Fade and Stain warranty.  Why break your back ever again performing such a tedious chore when there are better options available?

Fertilizing Your Lawn: The lawn care industry is worth $50 billion annually.  Consumers are flooded with ads preaching the benefits of pesticides and fertilizers in order to achieve a lush, green lawn.  The issue with this is that runoff created by rainwater, ends up in local bodies of water, which can kill the wildlife in it.  Additionally, a study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that home and garden pesticide use could increase the risk of leukemia in children by almost 7 times.  Lastly, studies point to the increase in leukemia in household pets as a result of increased pesticide & fertilizer use.

The Fix: Cease and desist the use of fertilizers and pesticides.  They’re bad for you, your family and the environment.  There are a lot of natural alternatives that can be used to kill weeds such as boiling water, vinegar, limited amounts of salt, and corn gluten meal.

Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard are a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.


3 Green Home Improvements That Don’t Pay Off

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The home improvement industry has come a long way in producing products and technology that make homes energy efficient and environmentally friendly; home owners are making conscious choices to select green home enhancements.  As a whole, a noticeable mind shift has taken place.  Take for example, the term “upcycling”.  The word was relatively unknown a decade ago and now it is a never-ending screen when you search for boards with this name on Pinterest.   Despite all the strides that have been made, there are still some green home improvements that do not pay off from a financial or functionality standpoint for the time being.  Here’s our list.

Solar Panels – On paper, “going off the grid” and producing your own energy sounds like a good thing.  But there are some things to note prior to signing on the dotted line.  It’s important to understand that application of solar panels can void your roof’s warranty because of the added weight, additional heat on your roof and an increased likelihood of leaking.  If the lifespan of the roof and solar panels do not coincide with each other, you can be forced to remove one prematurely which wastes money.  Furthermore, because of the cost of installation, it can take years before a homeowner breaks even; this is worth noting especially if you do not plan on being in your home for decades.  The minimal amount of homes utilizing the sun as a power source demonstrates that demand is low.  At this point in time, solar panels take a backseat to features such as school district, bed/bath count and luxury kitchens for homebuyers in almost all cases.

Vegetated Roofing Systems- This type of roof is covered in a waterproofing layer with vegetation planted on top of it.  Homeowners who install these roofs aim to insulate their roofs and purify the air surrounding their homes.  Vegetated roofing systems cost more to install than conventional types and like any garden must be routinely weeded and cared for to ensure the plants’ survival.  In addition to attracting sunlight, they can also attract mosquitoes and other unwanted pests.  If the roof starts to leak, the diagnostic process can be tedious because the waterproofing membrane is located beneath the soil.  When opting for this roofing system, plan on staying in your home indefinitely, as this home trait will likely send prospective buyers packing.

Waterless Urinals- Invented in the 1990s, waterless urinals have been seen as a more viable option in recent years because traditional urinals utilize 1-5 gallons per flush.  Seems like a win, right?  Not exactly…sealant and removable cartridges that serve as traps need to be replaced frequently and the fact that only 50% of the population can use them also cuts into their functionality.  Lastly, a lot homes use copper pipes and when used in conjunction with a waterless urinal, leaking pipes can occur because uric acid will eventually eat away at the copper piping.

Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard are a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.

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Digital Integration Trends at Home

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If you Google the number of people who’d choose to lose their wallet over their cell phone, the statistics may vary by website but reflect the same theme—we’re a society obsessed with technology.  While we’re not quite to hoverboards or replacing front door keys with iris scanning technology, we’re making strides.  Manufacturing leaders in the home improvement industry are definitely picking up on this trend and coming out with innovations homeowners can get excited about. Here are just a few.

Countertop Charging Stations: Cell phones have advanced greatly in the past few years and all the new bells and whistles require significantly more battery power.  This means we’re charging our phones more now than ever, something most of us view as an inconvenience.  Later this year, Dupont Corian countertops will be on the market with the capability to charge a cell phone or tablet by setting the device on top of it.  Since the kitchen is one of the most frequented rooms in any home and since the cell phone is on its way to replacing the cookbook, we see this trend taking off sooner rather than later.

Musical Showerheads: Admit it, showering is a lot more pleasant when you’re jamming out to your favorite tunes or listening to banter about whom is still in the running for the playoffs.  Sure, you can have your laptop or cell phone playing in the background, but it seems like the speakers are never quite loud enough.  Kohler has come out with an updated version of its Moxie showerhead that is equipped with a built-in Bluetooth®-powered wireless speaker which can play files from devices up to 32 feet away.

Window Washing Robot: Let’s face it; cleaning windows is as much fun as watching a French movie without subtitles.  This is probably why most of us ignore the chore unless the in-laws have invited themselves over.  New on the market, is the WinBot Window Washer.  With the touch of the button, it can clean both frame & frameless windows and mirrors regardless of height.  Amazon users so far are giving it an average of a 2.5 out of 5 stars but the presence of such a device on the market gives us hope that future models will address complaints about the suction device needing to be stronger and occasional streaking.

Intelligent In Floor Heating: Just announced in January, Nuheat will introduce the continent’s inaugural Wi-Fi floor heating thermostat, the Nuheat Signature.  The system can be controlled through a smartphone, tablet or computer, allowing the homeowner to adjust heat settings and review energy usage even when they’re away from home.

Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard are a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.


How to Sniff Out a Shady Plumber

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Sooner or later, if you own a home, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to contract the services of a plumber.  This is one area of home ownership where the learning curve is steep and one hiccup in a do it yourself project can cost thousands of dollars in damage.  In the same breath, contracting with a dishonest plumber can also cost you unnecessary funds.  Here are ways a plumber can target an unsuspecting homeowner.

Sending Too Many People to a Job: As with all types of work, the more people dedicated to a project, the higher the invoice.  Common plumbing household problems that typically only require one person are: installing new plumbing fixtures, fixing a leaky faucet or unclogging a drain.  Larger projects such as plumbing for new construction and remodels oftentimes require more than one plumber.  It’s not out of line to confirm the number of people that are needed to complete a job so there are no surprises at the time of your appointment.

Bait & Switch: There are a few ways this can happen.  One is when a plumber runs an unbelievably low offer for a basic service such as drain cleaning.  This tactic gets them into your home.  Once they get in, more often than not, they’ll identify a catastrophic issue that must be addressed right away or will cost you thousands of dollars.  Don’t fall for this.  If an offer sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.  Another bait & switch tactic is quoting homeowners for top of the line fixtures and then installing cheaper ones to pad their bottom line.  Avoid being a victim of this scam by getting a quote that specifies the brand of product they are installing and comparing it against those at home improvement stores.  While a mark-up is expected, know that anything exorbitant is cause for concern.

Lowball Quotes: In order to get you to sign with them, a plumber can provide a super low quote.  Once they have commenced work, they will claim that the issue is much larger than they anticipated and tack on additional charges to get pricing to where it should have been originally.  If you’re not in an emergency situation, get multiple quotes with itemized costs to ensure that you are comparingapples to apples and that the bid you are going with addresses all work that needs to be performed.  Multiple quotes allow you to make sure that you’re not being charged additional simply for living in an upscale neighborhood, another practice of shady plumbers.

Bottom Line: Go with your gut. If you don’t trust what you’re being told, investigate it. You need to be an advocate for yourself and a reliable plumber will be forthcoming with the information you request.  Consumer watchdog sites, like the BBB and Angie’s List, can be invaluable tools in learning from the experiences of others.

Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard are a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.

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