Posted on

Remodel Fever

We did it! We made it through the worst of winter. The weather is starting to warm up, and with rising temperatures come homeowners’ plans to remodel. We have all heard of Spring Fever, but what about Remodel Fever? Springtime is a popular time to start those ambitious remodeling projects, which makes sense since everyone has been couped up all winter long watching HGTV and building up a plethora of ideas. Whether it be a new deck or patio complete with an outdoor kitchen, updating those 1970s-style bathrooms, or creating a more inviting kitchen, your customers will be anxious to get moving on those major projects!

Spring starts the remodeling season off with a bang, and summer continues to be a busy time of year for these undertakings, with your customers hoping to have everything wrapped up by early fall. No one wants to have work done in their homes with doors opening and closing all day when it is cold outside.

The Great Outdoors

Let us start with the great outdoors. Once your customers get their new decking placed and that brand new grill installed to complete their perfect outdoor space, they will more than likely need a complete outdoor kitchen, which is a big trend in remodeling projects. According to a study performed by the National Kitchen and Bath Association in 2021, 60% of homeowners were adding outdoor kitchens to their remodeling list. The average Return on Investment (ROI) on outdoor kitchens is staggering and could entice even more customers to want to tackle this project. The average ROI on these outdoor kitchens can vary, with projects in warmer climates pulling in the highest percentage. These projects produce an ROI of 100-200 percent, the highest of any remodeling project, but could be as low as 55%, depending on climate and the real estate market near your customer. That possible ROI is a significant number, and you can surely assist your customers with the plumbing aspects, from the faucets down to the piping.

Multiple types of faucets are popular for outdoor kitchens, whether a wall-mounted faucet or the single faucet with pull-down sprayers and a single lever or a more classic faucet, it is hard to go wrong. It all depends on what your customers are specifically looking for. Sometimes the sink area is very compact in these outdoor kitchens so the space can help guide you to make suitable suggestions to your customers. The best option for outdoor faucets would be a stainless finish or a matte black finish with anti-corrosion coatings. After all, these fixtures need to be able to withstand whatever mother nature wants to throw in its direction, and perhaps even worse, they will need to stand up to the wear and tear from those maybe not so gentle outdoor cooks.

Bathroom Remodels Dripping With Personality

The bathroom remodel presents a blank slate and an ideal space to add small touches to make a significant difference. Bathroom faucets are an excellent way to add personality to your space. In the bathroom, you have bath and shower accessories, including the sink faucets. Your customer can decide if they would like to mix and match these fixtures or have the same look throughout. Too many options can easily overwhelm your customers, but you can help guide them. Bathroom remodels have an average ROI of sixty to seventy percent. The vanity and countertop areas are key players in how much return your customer will see, as they are the first things people focus on when walking into a bathroom, along with the flooring.

Updating your customers’ fixtures will help strengthen their ROI significantly with your guidance. There are several types of faucets and many types of finishes for your customer to choose from! Shower and tub fittings have so many variations, not just from a finishes standpoint but also from a water pattern standpoint. Showerheads with different options for different water pressure and patterns are an excellent option for a bath remodel due to their flexibility and broad appeal. A critical feature that you should look for in these fittings is water savings without sacrificing water pressure. This will help your customer while they are living at the house as it will save on their water bills, and it will help your customer when or if they decide to sell.

The Big Show

Now for the big show, the kitchen remodel. Many customers eagerly await the day that they can create their dream kitchen, the heart of the home. In the process of creating their ideal cooking environment (or the perfect place to order takeout from, we are not judging), they can also get quite the bang for their buck. The average ROI on kitchen remodels nears 80%! However, customers can achieve a remodeled look by going a simpler route by replacing hardware, updating paint, and replacing that old kitchen faucet that looks like it has been there since 1985. Small things like this can substantially change your customers’ appreciation and enjoyment of the space and even up the resale value of a home. Guiding your customer through what is popular and what they will enjoy but will also appeal to buyers when the time comes to sell will be a tremendous help as clients can easily get overwhelmed with decisions during a remodel.

There are so many innovative ideas to bring into the kitchen from a plumbing fixture standpoint. The conveniences that have been developed for your customers’ kitchens are nearly endless. From under-counter soap dispensers to help make handwashing those thermal mugs much easier, to faucets that will filter drinking water for your customer right out of the tap. You can also help your customers go completely water bottle free with Reverse Osmosis pH-balanced water straight from the tap, as well! For the coffee or tea drinker, you could suggest an instant hot water dispenser to allow your customers to get their fix faster. You could also suggest that your customer improve the water quality throughout their whole home with a whole home water filtration system that will extend the life of their shiny new fixtures and go as far as to ensure the longevity of their pipes – talk about ROI!

Finally, there is the centerpiece of their kitchen, the kitchen faucet. Everyone loves a good sink and faucet combo. The kitchen often becomes a gathering place in the home, and the appearance is especially important, and your customers have so many options from styles to colors and finishes. Depending on your customers’ personal style, they could pick a more industrial style with a spring-style pull-down sprayer faucet, the single lever look with included sprayer, the single lever option with a separate sprayer, or the more classic double handle faucet. There are high-arch faucets, straight angle faucets, and smaller arch faucets. The options are endless, and you can help guide your customers based on the look they are trying to achieve and if they are remodeling with ROI in mind or if they just want what is perfect for them, and, of course, their budget!

Remodeling is exciting, but also an extremely stressful time for your customer. They might not initially understand the amount of stress that living in a construction site can cause. With major projects, comes major stress. You can help to ease their mind with straightforward quotes regarding both cost and time. Understandably timelines can change but clear communication about any changes will help to ease their minds. Be patient with your customer as they may go weeks (maybe months) without an operable bathroom or kitchen.

At first, your customer may be okay with this (hello – eating out every day and no dishes!), but constantly having all these contractors in your house and not having a homecooked meal will eventually stress your customers out, and that is okay. Instead, sit down and have a talk with them regarding timelines and any important dates for them. Make sure that they understand timelines and show them products as they come in before installing them, if possible, so they feel they have control over what is happening and can approve products they paid for. All these things are telltale signs of not only a great contractor, but of a contractor that your customers will trust and want to work with again. Keeping a customer informed goes a long way and odds are you will retain them after establishing such a positive relationship.

Written by Catherine Lauer – Marketing Communications Specialist, Supply Smart

Posted on

Keep Coastal Corrosion at Bay

This is the time of year that we all start to get a little bit anxious. It has been months since we have had any time off, which got us daydreaming about a nice, relaxing vacation to the beach! Ah yes, the warm breeze as it comes off the ocean, palm trees swaying in the breeze by the ocean, playing volleyball by the ocean, fishing on the ocean, eating by the ocean, swimming in the ocean – in case you did not notice, we are trying to hint at something here.

Whether you think the coast can be a beautiful spot to visit or a terrifying destination ever since you watched Sharknado, it presents many challenges, regardless of your take on these areas. The storms, the flooding, the plumbing. Wait, the plumbing?

Plumbing in coastal areas presents many unique challenges. Salty air can travel beyond just a few blocks from the beach, impacting more than just those fantastic beach residences we all love to visit on vacation.

Depending on several factors such as wind, wave height, and landscape, saltwater can be found in the air, causing pipe corrosion up to fifty miles inland. Surrounded by water on three sides, Florida has the most coastline in the contiguous United States, resulting in some of the highest rates of corrosive salty air in the United States. Salt air deposits have even been found up to one hundred miles inland! So it’s not just your coastal customers dealing with these issues; it can be someone living hours away from the beach dealing with corrosion.

According to a study done by the University of Washington, even Boulder, CO has the same level of salt detected in its air as a typical coastal community, despite closing in on a thousand miles from the nearest ocean (not to mention a mile above sea level)! University of Washington researchers hypothesize that this phenomenon can also be found in other surprising locations. With that said, it’s crucial to inform your coastal customers to be on the lookout for corroded pipes, even if they do not think it will be a significant issue.

Saltwater gets into the air, which may provide that friendly, beachy ambiance many of us appreciate, but it can present many issues for structures in the area. That saltwater can cause homeowners’ pipes to corrode over time, which leads to leaks and, eventually, burst pipes if not addressed. Corroded pipes can also cause other issues such as poor water pressure due to corrosion inside the pipe building up. These metals can even get into drinking water, meaning your customers could ingest these harmful metals! This can lead to health issues for your clients, so it is particularly important to remind them to inspect and keep an eye out for pipe corrosion continually.

There are a multitude of issues for you and your customers to look out for, not even considering floodwaters from the ocean. If a flood occurs and saltwater comes into contact with your customers’ piping, it can spell disaster depending on the type of pipes. If saltwater does make it to your customer’s property, advising your client to flush the system would be the best solution. There is no guarantee that saltwater did not get inside of their pipes, which could cause damage from the inside out, continuing to cause harm to their plumbing. This damage would be difficult for them to notice since the main tell-tale signs are taking place inside the piping instead of where it would be visible.

Problem Pipes

Copper is perhaps the most easily corroded of all types of piping. Copper pipes are still used heavily in the plumbing industry due to their durability, reliability, and price point, but these pipes are not necessarily an ideal choice for the coast. When the salt interacts with the copper, it essentially changes the elemental makeup of the copper, believe it or not. As a result, the pipes will turn from that shiny penny color to look more like an old green penny. When you see these warning signs, you should advise your customer that they need to repair or replace these pipes immediately before considerable damage occurs to their property. This could be done by either replacing the corroded section if the damage is not too substantial, or you may advise your customer that they need to completely re-pipe their property, depending on the extent of the corrosion. While it may seem like an enormous undertaking, it could be the better option and be cheaper overall than needing to constantly replace small sections of pipe or dealing with a flood if the corrosion is not caught in time. Also, advise your customers that any exposed pipes be covered to try to save them from the corrosive properties of the salty air.

Another option that has been used for plumbing in coastal areas is galvanized steel piping. These pipes are anti-corrosive in nature but still were found to have rust from the inside out. Your customer will be able to tell when corrosion occurs within their steel pipes by the water coming out of their faucets. This will be easily visible when your customer takes a big drink of water from the faucet and sees that their quality H20 looks like a far less appetizing red or brown color. Hydrating is key after spending all that time out in the sun enjoying the plethora of beachy activities, and it’s hard to hydrate correctly with water when it comes out of the faucet looking like molasses. These pipes’ popularity has tanked over time due to their penchant for interior corrosion, sheer weight, and expense of repairing, but they are still found in some older construction homes.

Preferred Piping

The most resistant piping option of all for your coastal customers is plastic. PVC and PEX pipes are the best options to tackle the saltwater problem. PEX resists corrosion and scale build-up, which are excellent features to have in your plumbing regardless of where your customers live, but especially for those impacted by the ocean’s salty air. PVC is another standard for plumbing in areas impacted by saltwater in the air. This is due to its anti-corrosive nature; however, the harsh sunlight can take a toll on these pipes, so that is something to keep in mind. If there are any exposed pipes, you should again advise your customer to either paint the pipes or cover them to prevent UV damage. This would cause the PVC to become brittle, leading again to leaks and cracks in the pipe, which could spell disaster if not caught soon enough. The tell-tale signs of wear and tear for this type of piping are apparent to the naked eye as long as they are exposed. They will physically crack, and it is relatively easy to see in these types of piping.

Keep Corrosion at Bay

It is important to advise all your customers, regardless of their proximity to the ocean, to keep an eye out for any cracking or corrosive signs. They should schedule annual checks with you to ensure the piping quality is still intact, especially in older construction homes. In newer construction homes, you should advise that they schedule a bi-annual inspection of the pipe condition to ensure no issues are forming or overlooked. Ensuring these pipes are monitored is vital so that your customers do not experience these issues, which can damage their beach dream homes or themselves by ingesting harmful metals from corrosion inside their pipes.

Written by Catherine Lauer – Marketing Communications Specialist, Supply Smart

Posted on

Makita Tools – Now Available from Supply Smart!

Supply Smart has been looking at bringing in a line of power tools for quite some time now, and we wanted to ensure that the tools we brought in were the right equipment for our customers. In addition, we looked for the product line with the best features to accommodate the many challenging situations that Plumbing and HVAC Technicians often find themselves in.

After conducting research and doing our due diligence, we happily settled on carrying a line of Makita power tools. We want to let you know the reasoning behind our decision.

Makita, as a company, innovates its products based on job site needs. Contractors see the market need, and Makita will solve that problem, making things easier for those out in the field. This approach has led to the development of much of the technology Makita utilizes today. From developing Anti-Vibration Technology (AVT) on their tools that tend to be hard on the operator (everything from compact multi-tools up to rotary hammers) to long-lasting batteries for those jobs where cords won’t cut it. We understand that running cordage to your job site is not always an easy task, and let’s face it, we can all end up in some pretty strange places in these trades where it is not always possible.

However, you will still need a powerful tool to get the job done in these situations. Makita developed the world’s first 18V lithium-ion battery, equipped with their Star Protection feature. These powerful batteries provide vital power to your tool while simultaneously protecting both the power tool itself and the battery by preventing overload, over-discharge, and overheating. These features help safely deliver optimum power, extending the life of both your power tool and battery, protecting your investment. In addition, these batteries work in the harsh conditions that contractors regularly encounter, working in extreme temperatures, all the way down to -4°. They also provide a rapid battery charger that actively cools the battery as it is charging, elongating the life of the battery. The rapid-charging capability helps get you back on the job faster while actively controlling the voltage applied to the battery to ensure it’s always optimally charged and ready for your next job.

Makita is constantly working to ensure that your tools will resist the elements regularly encountered in the trades, innovating to ensure your tools will not seize up if they get wet or covered in dust. We were looking at this critical feature when discussing tools that would truly benefit our customers.

Another important feature that impressed us with Makita tools is the use of brushless motors. Makita developed the world’s first brushless motor to extend the product lifespan. These brushless motors allow for greater efficiency and cooler temperatures, leading to less wear on your tools. These tools are an essential part of your business, and you need to ensure that they are reliable and worthy investments.

We hope you see the value in why we chose the Makita line. In the end, we believe that Makita produces a reliable tool for the trades with the ability to provide the power of a corded tool with the freedom of mobility and resistance to the elements. We are certain that Makita will prove to be one of the smartest investments for your business.

Written by Catherine Lauer – Marketing Coordinator, Supply Smart