Category Archives: Remodeling

Understanding Common Kitchen Island Styles

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One of the most sought after kitchen features is an island.  In fact, 80% of home buyers feel that it falls into the “desirable or essential” categories, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Homebuilders.  Here’s our guide to the most popular kitchen island styles.


What it is: This style of island is comprised of cabinets and a countertop.  It does not need to be installed flush with a wall. a

Perks: Homeowners with built-in islands appreciate the extra storage and seating space that this type of island allows.  There’s no need to turn your back to guests as you prepare meals and entertain as the island is accessible from all four sides.






What it is: Freestanding islands are a piece of furniture that can be placed in a kitchen in order to expand food prep and serving space but can be removed at buffetany time.  They often have an open base and are much smaller than built-ins, making them great for small kitchens.

Why you need one: If you’ve got anxiety at the thought of committing to the same island for the next 15 years, a free standing one is the way to go.  It can be moved out of the kitchen when you get tired of it.






What it is: If you’re on a shoestring budget but still craving a covetable kitchen, why don’t you roll your sleeves up and get to work on making your own kitchen island? Popular DIY options include islands made of pallets, crates and salvaged woods.

Why you need one: If you’re like us, there are few things more rewarding than building something with your own two hands.  Additionally, making your own ensures that yours will be a truly unique conversation piece for years to come.


What it is: Repurpose an antique oversized dresser or buffet by installing a stone countertop on it and perking it up with a fresh coat of paint. upcycle

Why you need one: Placing an ultra-modern kitchen island in a historic home is going to look out of place.  But an upcycled kitchen island can be a wonderful addition to the space.  They’re easy to track down in antique shops, cost-effective and one of a kind.





Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard is 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.  

Now Through the End of July, Receive Up to 50% Off Installation Labor on LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Shingles, SeasonGuard Windows & Siding.  





Kitchen Sink Faucet Options

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You use it fill up pots, wash your hands and clean produce, but beyond that, you probably give very little thought to the faucet on your kitchen sink.  However, when you find yourself making upgrades to your kitchen, it’s a good idea to carefully consider your use of the sink to determine which type of faucet makes the amost sense for you.  Allow us to fill you in on the choices available to you.

Mounting Styles

Wall Mounted: Homeowners that opt for this option appreciate the ease at which they are able to clean their countertops.  They’re great if you find yourself cooking large meals and need to fill oversized pots with water.  If you live in a colder climate, verify whether local building codes permit installation on an outside wall.   Be sure if you go with this style that it’s properly insulated.

Deck Mounted: This style of faucet attaches right to the countertop and sink and is the most common kitchen sink style.  Homeowners favor this type of faucet abecause it provides a seamless appearance.  This style works well in modern kitchens.  Be sure to leave ample room behind the faucet so that you have room to clean behind it, as dirt, water & other gunk can get trapped between the faucet and the wall.

Handle Choices

Single Handle: This style of faucet provides a modern look, as a single handle regulates both hot and cold temperatures.  The main downside of a single handle sink is that the temperature control on the faucet isn’t as accurate as other types.  However, if you favor the idea of only one hole in your countertop, this style is for you.

Double Handle: While this design is most commonly found in bathrooms, it’s also picking up steam in the kitchen.  Dual handles provide a uniform look and permit better control of temperature and water pressure.

Hands Free: A built-in sensor operates these faucets, though they still have handles which allow you to regulate temperature and water pressure.  They’re great for cooking when hands are too dirty to be used to turn the sink on and off.  They’re a great fit for those with arthritis.  With this style, you never have to be concerned with your sink overflowing accidentally.  Bear in mind that the hands free feature is regulated through a battery and that it will need to be changed in order to keep it functioning properly.


What You Need to Know About a Contractor’s License Number

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When interviewing potential contractors for a home renovation, a smart homeowner knows to ask whether or not a contractor is licensed.  Finding out that a contractor is licensed is a good step towards learning more about them, but the discussion should not end there.  Here’s what you need to know!

What a Contractor’s License Means: Contractor licensing laws vary state to state.  In Minnesota companies, not individuals are licensed and each company9 must choose an employee, often an owner, who will serve as the “qualifying person” or license holder.  This individual is the one responsible for taking the mandatory test and completing continuing education requirements.

What a Contractor’s License Does Not Mean: To put things in perspective, just because someone holds a valid driver’s license does not make them a safe
driver.  It simply means that at one point they passed their driver’s test and have not committed enough infractions to have their license revoked.  The same logic applies to a contractor’s license.  It simply notates that someone within the company you are working with has passed the exam and is keeping up with their continuing education credits.  It does not guarantee that the work they will perform is outstanding.  In fact, shoddy work performed by the contractor does not directly result in the loss of their license, as state licensing agencies are not tasked with the responsibility of consumer protection.

Continuing Education Courses: In order to keep their license current, contractors are oftentimes required to attend continuing education courses.  This allows them to stay up to date with new codes, ethical business practices and safety requirements.  These courses benefit consumers through higher quality job performances, fewer customer complaints; less potential for liability and increased job site efficiency.

Contractors License Laws:  Before undertaking a construction project with the help of a contractor, it’s to your benefit to understand what licensing requirements must be met by a contractor, rather than simply taking their word for it.  States like Florida, Kansas, Louisiana and Ohio do not require a state 10license for contractors.  Other states leave issuing of contractor licenses to individual counties and contractors must get a license for each county.  Still others require licenses for only large-scale projects over a certain dollar amount.

How to Verify if a Contractor’s License is Legit:  In most states, a contractor’s license is a unique combo of letters and numbers that are specific to a contractor.  Here’s how to authenticate WI & MN contractor’s license numbers:




Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard is 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 into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.  

Now Through the End of April, Receive 75% off installation labor on LeafGuard Brand Gutters, GAF Asphalt Shingles, Siding & SeasonGuard Windows.  Some Restrictions May Apply.  


Secrets About the Most Popular Refrigerator Styles

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The first refrigerators produced for residential use came out in the early 1920’s.  They were approximately $700, which is crazy, considering a new Model T Ford cost $450.  Needless to say, ownership of one was once considered a luxury!  Nowadays, nearly all American homes have one refrigerator, and over 25% have two.  A refrigerator’s lifespan can last up to 17 years, which means the last time you may have bought one, Minnesota was sending a professional wrestler to the governor’s mansion and Ben Affleck & Bruce Willis were hitting the big screen trying to save the planet from a giant asteroid.  It goes without out saying that a lot can change in 17 years.  Here’s what you need to know about the most popular refrigerator styles.

Refrigerator Only

How to Spot One: This model does not contain a freezer.

Perks: Skipping the freezer saves you cash.  Foregoing the freezer also means that you’ve got more room for refrigerated space.  Self-installation is a breeze.

Drawbacks:  It’s very rare that you get away without a freezer in your home, so you’ll most likely need to purchase a chest or standup freezer.

Top Mount Refrigerator

How to Spot One: The freezer is located on top of the refrigerator and is accessed by its own door.  Created in the 1940’s, this style still remains popular today.

Perks: As a rule of thumb, this freezer is one of the most cost effective than other models.  It takes up less real estate in your kitchen than other styles.  Homeowners can easily install this type of refrigerator themselves.

Drawbacks: This type of refrigerator has less storage space.  Some homeowners shy away from them because they do not have a built-in ice and water dispenser in the door.

Side by Side Refrigerator

How to Spot One: The freezer is located on the left side and the refrigerator is located on the right side. 

Perks: You have your choice of a model with or without a water and ice maker located on the door’s exterior.  Homeowners with them like that the freezer and refrigerator are equally as accessible and that the food in each can be easily viewed at the same time.

Drawbacks: Compact models rarely exist.  If you opt for the water & ice maker in the door, additional plumbing will be needed.  This model has less refrigerated space than other types.  Some homeowners shy away from this style because there needs to be space on both sides for each door to open.

Bottom Mount Refrigerator

How to Spot One: The freezer is located on the bottom and is accessible through a separate door.

Perks: This style allows for more refrigerated space than a top mount freezer.  It’s also easier on your back because the refrigerated portion, which is used more often, is at eye level.

Drawbacks: Placing the freezer on the bottom increases the unit’s cost.  If an external water and ice dispenser is on your must have list, you’ll have to select a different style.

French Door Refrigerator

How to Spot One: The refrigerator is housed on the top with split doors and the freezer is located below.

Perks: The interior of this type of refrigerator is spacious.  A unique trait that sets this style apart from others is that you only need to open one half of the refrigerator at a time.  The refrigerator is at eye level which is convenient since that part of the appliance is used much more frequently.

Drawbacks: This type is often the most expensive. Some homeowners complain that the freezer isn’t big enough for a family.  Certain models house the ice maker in the freezer which monopolizes a lot of space.

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 into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.  

Now Through the End of February, Receive 50% off installation labor on LeafGuard Brand Gutters, GAF Asphalt Shingles, Siding & SeasonGuard Windows.  Some Restrictions May Apply.  


Hire a General Contractor or Be Your Own? That is the Question!

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One of the biggest choices you have when undertaking a new construction or large remodeling project is whether or not to act as your own general contractor or render the services of a professional. Many Americans face this decision without knowing the best route to take. We are going to give you some pointers that will help make your decision an easy one!

“I will save so much money being my own general!”

This is a loaded statement all in itself. If you are person who is highly organized, detail-orientated and are able to make clear decisive decisions, being your own general contractor may work out well. You also need to be highly knowledgeable about the materials and labor required, as you will most likely need to contact multiple companies, and the order in which they perform their work is crucial to the success of the project. You also must be available at a moment’s notice and be able to spend a lot of time at the site, which is not always feasible for working homeowners.

While in a perfect world, acting as your own general contractor could save you up to 30%, the ramifications of incorrect decisions that lead to the same work having to be completed twice could cost you even more overall. A more realistic savings approach to being your own general could fall in the 10%-20% if there are no hiccups.

Clear vision of the work to be done and the final product.

If you are planning on being you own general, do your homework by reading trade magazines, going to home shows, driving around neighborhoods getting inspiration and looking at floor plans. is a great place to start a vision board for your project. Another large part of the planning process is finding the right sub-contractors that fit your budget are easy to get along with and are insured. Always keep in mind that the lowest bidder may not be the best fit for your project.

This is where hiring a general plays a huge role in helping understand your vision and knowing the process(s) to make it all happen. They have experience with what works and definitely what doesn’t. They understand building codes, what products would best in certain situations, etc. They will also be able to address any issues that may arise regarding delays; materials and laborers better than you will be able to.

Financing your project

It’s a foolish decision to only explore your current financial institution for financing your project. It can be in your best interest if you are acting as your own general to take out separate loans for construction and then your final mortgage, allowing your construction loan to be more elastic if you need to take out more money. If you combine your construction loan and mortgage, you are locked into construction costs and if you go over by the normal 10%, you will be going back to the bank asking for another loan.

The bottom line

When deciding whether or not to be your own general remember that there are no guarantees, no matter how careful you think you are being and many things can go wrong from the subs you hired going bankrupt, material prices rising and even adverse weather. Our suggestion would be to hire a reputable general contractor to make sure that your new home improvement or building project goes perfect as planned.

Lindus Construction/Midwest LeafGuard is a full-service contractor specializing in Gutters, Roofing, Windows, Siding, New Construction and Remodeling just to name a few. Tune into the Home Improvement Show every Saturday from 9am-10am with Denny Long and Andy Lindus.



Kitchen Sink Style Guide

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Besides your refrigerator, your kitchen sink gets more use than any other appliances in your kitchen.  Don’t fall into the trap of choosing a sink based solely on style because there are so many other features to consider.  Don’t be overwhelmed with choices; we’ve simplified the features of common sink styles to help you find your perfect match.

Undermount Sink-As the name implies, this type of sink attaches to a countertop’s underside.  A perk of this type of sink is that it’s easy to clean because it sits flush with your countertops.  A potential downside of undermount sinks is that they cannot be used with laminate or tile countertops because they cannot support the sink’s weight.  Undermount sinks are also more expensive to install than drop-in sinks.

Drop-in SinkThis style can also be referred to as self-rimming sinks.  Drop-in sinks are installed in a cut-out within a countertop and the edges are sealed off to prevent leaking and mold formation.  They are appealing because they are easy to install and replace without disturbing your countertop.  Because they’re typically single-piece, molded designs, there is minimal chance of leaking.  Generally speaking, they are the most cost effective option.  Due to the lip around the sink, a drawback to this style is that you can’t easily wipe food debris into the sink.

Farmhouse Sink-Primary characteristics of a farmhouse sink are an exposed front and a rectangular shape.  They are sought after because of their vintage charm.  Unlike other types of sinks that blend into your kitchen’s layout, farmhouse sinks can become a focal point in the room.  By design, farmhouse sinks are installed further forward than other styles.  The advantage to this is that less leaning is required when washing dishes, though because of the depth can lead to more splashing.  Farmhouse sinks are an investment because they are heavy and installation can be tedious.  Most require a specific type of base cabinet.

Corner Sink-This style of sink works well in small kitchen where every inch of space needs to be maximized.  It allows for long, uninterrupted stretches of countertops, which can be beneficial in a tiny kitchen.   On the flip side, corners in kitchens often have minimal natural light which can be irritating when you’re using your sink.  Additionally, corner sinks are often smaller than other types and may not be able to house larger pots and pans.   

Bar Sink- Like corner sinks, bar sinks are an excellent choice for a kitchen where counter space is at a premium.  However, they are unable to accommodate a large volume of dishes.  Bar sinks are usually less than 20 inches wide and work great for food prep or as a supplemental sink by a patio or in a bar.   


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 into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.  

Now Through the End of January, Receive a Free Home Performance Test with a Window or Insulation Estimate.


Renovation Mistakes That Will Cost You Big In The Long Run

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We have all been there wanting to take on a DIY home renovation project to save some coin. Below are our top seven things that should not be overlooked.

Inaccurate measurements

Not taking accurate measurements even if it’s by a half inch or less, can be detrimental to your renovation project.  Problems created can include purchasing extra materials and result in a non-dimensional final product.   If you are unsure of your measurements, make sure to consult with a professional to ensure first time quality.

Don’t ever skip the prep work

Doing it the rushed way, instead of the right way, will never pay off in the end. No one likes to spend more time and money on having to fix their project because you skipped the first few steps.

Incorrect tools for the job

It is always best to use the tool that is made to handle the project. Using other tools just to “get by” can cause you to wreck the project you have started, ruin the tool you are using or injure yourself during the process.

Don’t go for cheap windows

A lot of people think that they can save money by skimping on the quality of their windows; wrong! This will only cost you more money in the long run, due to the window failing prematurely and not being energy efficient.

Always do your homework

It’s imperative to the success of the project that you do research on all aspects.  It’s important to know whether or not you can handle what they job entails. This is even true when you are hiring a contractor so that you are aware of the terminology they use and also know what to look for.

Don’t ignore the electrical

Many times, when you start a renovation, you overlook the electrical aspects because it’s hidden and it can be costly. Ensuring that everything is up to code is essential and will provide a safe home.

Neglecting to pull a permit

Don’t forget the permit, ever! This could be one of the costliest mistakes you can make while embarking on a renovation project. If you opt out of getting a permit and your local municipality finds out, they could make you completely undo everything you have done for your renovation project, at your cost.

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.


Terms to Know Before a Trip to the Lumberyard

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Imagine stopping by a pet store and simply asking for a dog.  Instead of just sending you on your merry way with the first dog they see, the clerk’s going to likely do some probing to see whether you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor pet, if you have a preference between shedding & non-shedding breeds and how big of an animal you’re looking to adopt.  Similarly, if you were to go to a lumberyard and request some wood, the specialist you speak with is going to want to know more about your specific needs.  To save yourself time and frustration, here’s some of the basic lingo you’ll want to understand.

Hardwoods vs Softwoods: All wood fall into one of these two categories.  Hardwoods come from trees that lose their leaves in the fall and softwoods come from evergreens.  Common types of hardwoods are cherry, maple, ash and oak.  Popular softwoods are spruce, cedar, fir and pine.

Grading: As you look through the different types of wood, you’ll notice that some have more physical blemishes than others.  Depending on the type of project you need the wood for, this may or may not be of concern.  The National Hardwood Lumber Association uses the below grading systems to allow a consumer to understand the quality of wood they are purchasing.  The rankings are listed best to worst.

Hardwood Grading

Grade Name


Minimum Board Size

% Usable Material On One Face

First and Seconds


6-in x 8-in




4-in x 6-in


#1 Common

#1 Com

3-in x 4-in


#2 Common

#2 Com

3-in x 4-in



Softwood Grading


What It Means

C Select

Almost completely clear of defects. Widely used for interior trim and cabinets.

D Select

Fine appearance, similar to C Select. May have dime-sized knots.

1 Common

Best material for high quality pine with a knotty look. Knots will be tight, meaning they won’t fall out, and are generally small.

2 Common

Tight knots, but larger than found in 1 Common. Often used for paneling and shelving. Very suitable for general woodworking projects.

3 Common

Knots larger than in 2 Common. Also used for paneling and shelving, but especially well-suited for fences, boxes and crates.

 Other Terms You’re Bound to Hear around the Lumberyard Include:

Luster: This term relates to the amount of light a wood will reflect.  Luster can improve by applying a glossy finish to the wood, though some species will have higher than natural luster.

Wood Grain: Wood grain is the direction in which the wood cell fibers mature.  Much like your fingerprints, each tree has its own unique wood grain markings.  This means that two pieces of wood from identical species can look entirely different.

 Density: This measures weight per unit volume.  The denser a wood is, the more likely it is to fend off indentations and scratches.



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.


Splurge vs. Saving on Your Kitchen Remodel

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Kitchen remodels are ever-increasing in popularity and with entire cable TV networks devoted to both food and remodeling, it’s no surprise.  Celebrity chefs have become household names, fueling an obsession with all things gourmet.  When planning a kitchen remodel, it can be tempting to order caviar on a fish stick budget.  Never fear, we’re here with guidelines and options to help you determine what’s worth allocating extra funds to and what can be scaled back on.

Save: Appliances

Now we’re not saying that you should hit up the free section of Craigslist for your kitchen appliances.  And we’re not even saying that stainless steel should be ignored.  However, by shopping smart you can save big on appliances.  First, make a list of your must-have features in each appliance.  That way, when you do cost-comparison shopping you’re comparing appliances with similar features and not buying an appliance based on features you don’t need.  Additionally, if you shop in the fall when the next year’s models are coming out, you can often score a deal on a floor model or get close-out pricing because the store is trying to make room for new models.

Splurge: Windows & Skylights

In the vast majority of cases, consideration for natural light in a kitchen is an afterthought and seems like an easy target when budget cuts, to compensate for overages, are needed.  Natural light in a kitchen, whether it be windows or skylights, is neccesary.  Natural light in a room as heavily utilized as a kitchen is crucial to providing a welcoming atmosphere.  Additionally, an adequate amount of windows & skylights provides for cross ventilation which assists in keeping your indoor air quality as high as possible.  Opt for energy efficient windows which will keep your heating and cooling costs in check.

Save: Light Fixtures

Ample lighting in a kitchen is a must.  However, light fixtures don’t need to be a budget buster.  There are lots of affordable options both at big box stores and online.  Saving money on fixtures allows you to opt for trendier options that can be changed out more frequently.  Be sure the finish you select coordinates with other fixtures in your kitchen.

Splurge: Cabinets

The adage “you get what you pay for” very much applies to cabinetry.  Most new cabinets are aesthetically appealing but it’s important to select a design and material that will stand the test of time.  To keep costs in check, shy away from custom sizes and stick to basic clean lines.

Considering remodeling your kitchen? We would like to help you with your vision and design! Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at to schedule a free in-home estimate today. Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects.

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