Home Remodeling FAQs

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Home Remodeling FAQs

We’re constantly working to improve our website and to answer any questions you have about renovations, siding, painting, new construction, and general contractor services. If you have questions that we haven’t answered, please contact us!

Kitchen Remodeling FAQs

I want to redesign my kitchen, but I have no idea where to begin. Can you help?

Yes! We’re committed to quality craftsmanship and we’re also experienced in creating custom kitchen designs tailored to your home, project, and specific needs. We focus on helping you maximize kitchen storage, finding a design that suits your lifestyle, and selecting the best cabinets, countertops, and appliances to complement your home.

What kind of countertops should I use in my kitchen?

Replacing aging, stained, and dated countertops is a great way to give your kitchen a new look. There are many different countertop options including granite, quartz, laminate, concrete, marble, butcher block, and more. Price varies depending on the material. We’re happy to work with you to find the best countertop to fit both your budget and your new kitchen.

What kind of flooring is best for a kitchen?

Finding the right flooring material for your kitchen is pretty important! Whether you’re interested in a kitchen built for cooking or a kitchen engineered for entertaining, it’s a heavily-trafficked room where you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet. We recommend a variety of flooring options including tile, hardwood, laminate, cork, and vinyl. We’ll work with you to determine your needs and preferences and will install a high-quality and durable floor that best matches your lifestyle.

What’s the most functional shape for a kitchen design?

A few of the most popular kitchen layouts are the one-wall kitchen, galley kitchen, U-shaped, G-shaped, and L-shaped kitchens. One-wall and galley kitchens are ideal for smaller homes and condos, U-shaped kitchens provide plenty of storage space and flexibility, G-shaped layouts are perfect for single cooks who need room to spread out, and L-shaped kitchens allow for more interaction between the chef and his or her guests.

How long will it take to renovate my kitchen?

The scope and complexity of your kitchen renovation project will determine the length of time it takes to remodel your kitchen. For minor upgrades, most projects can be completed in 2-4 weeks. If major structural changes are in the plans, expect the project to take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  To learn more about planning and surviving your kitchen makeover, visit our blog!Roofing FAQs

How do I know if my house needs a new roof?

We recommend inspecting your roof and attic at least twice a year and after severe storm systems that produce heavy winds or hail. Regular exterior inspections can uncover damaged shingles, storm damage, missing nails, and loose seams and lashings. Interior inspections can reveal leaks, moisture, mildew, staining, cracked paint, and wall damage. If your shingle roof is showing its age and is more than 20 years old, it may be time for a new roof. Contact a licensed contractor for an inspection and a roofing estimate. For more information, visit our blog.

What should I look for in a roofing contractor?

A reputable roofing professional will be certified to install a variety of different roofing systems such as GAF/ELK, CertainTeed, GenFlex, and SOPREMA. Be sure that you’re working with a licensed and insured contractor, actively seek recommendations and reviews, make sure your estimate is detailed, and confirm that the company you’re considering or the job is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

What kind of roofing materials should I consider for a new roof in Nashville?

At Stratton Exteriors, we work with you to find the best roofing solution for your home. We’ll help you select the perfect roofing solution from a wide range of lifetime to architectural to ENERGY STAR-rated shingles, metal, and flat roofing systems.

How long will a new roof last?

The condition and lifespan of your roof will ultimately depend on the type of roofing system you install, environmental conditions, and routine roof maintenance. Asphalt shingles generally last for 15-20 years and a metal roof may last for up to 40 years. Reputable manufacturers and installers offer limited lifetime product warranties and installation warranties.

Can you install a new roof over my existing roof?

In some cases, yes, you can install new shingles over existing shingles. However, a complete replacement, which involves a tear-off of the old roof, may be the best option. You should check with a professional roofing contractor to determine which course of action is best for your home.Garage, Carport, and DADU FAQs

Can I build a mixed use structure that doubles as a garage and a guest house?

Yes. Accessory apartments and detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs) are increasingly common throughout Nashville and Davidson County. Nashville.gov defines these structures quite clearly: “The dwelling shall be clearly subordinate in size, height, and purpose to the principal structure, it shall be located on the same lot as the principal structure, but may be served by separate utility meter(s) and is detached from the principal structure. A detached accessory dwelling can be an independent structure or it can be a dwelling unit above a garage, or it can be attached to a workshop or other accessory structure on the same lot as the principal structure.”

Can I convert my attached garage into a family room?

Absolutely! Homeowners in and around Nashville frequently decide that residential square footage is more important than a garage. Look for a company who has experience converting garages, porches, and patios into attractive living spaces.

Do I need permission from historical to build a new garage or DADU in Nashville?

It depends. In many cases, your plans will need to be approved by the Nashville Historical Commission. Detached Accessory Dwelling units are permitted in certain zones within historic zoning overlays. Your contractor should be able to help you determine whether or not construction is permitted in your zone.

What size garage, carport, or DADU should I build?

You’ll want take the size of your home, to make sure that your garage or carport are proportional and don’t overwhelm your property. We also encourage our clients to build structures that complement  their existing architecture. Naturally, you’ll also need to take the size and height of your vehicle and storage requirements into consideration. For inspiration, take a look at some of the garages and carports we’ve built.

Can you match the siding and roof to my home?

We’ll do our very best to match the color of your siding and shingles. However, if your siding or roofing materials are no longer in production or are nearing the end of their lifespan, you may want to take the opportunity to find a new color or materials that suit your tastes.Bathroom FAQs

How long will I be without a bathroom?

The scope of your bathroom remodel will determine the answer to this very important question. From small bathrooms with big ideas to big bathrooms that just need a little help, we pride ourselves on being organized and efficient. At Stratton Exteriors, we strive to minimize disruptions with strategic planning and smart sourcing. We’ll make sure that your bathroom essentials are hooked up and in good working order as quickly as possible, without sacrificing quality workmanship. Regardless of the size of your bathroom or the scope of the project, we’ll work with you to keep your bathroom renovation project on-time and on schedule. For more on bathroom renovation and design, visit our blog.

What’s the typical schedule or workflow for a bathroom renovation?

Although the amount of time it takes to complete a bathroom renovation varies from project to project and is dependent upon the scope of work, homeowners can typically expect a bathroom renovation to include:

  • Meeting with general contractors to discuss overall concepts
  • Developing a concept and obtaining bids
  • Creating a plan, obtaining architectural drawings (if necessary), and finalizing the scope of the bathroom renovation
  • Obtaining permits, if necessary
  • Selecting and ordering materials
  • Demolition
  • Installation
  • Finishing, clean-up, final walk-through

How Much Space Do I Need for a New Toilet?

With toilets, there are several different factors that determine how much space it will occupy. Consider the rough-in dimension, positioning in relation to the wall, the shape (rounded or elongated) of the seat, and the tank design when planning your bathroom. Most codes require 21” in front of your toilet.

How Much Space Do I Need for a New Toilet?

With toilets, there are several different factors that determine how much space it will occupy. Consider the rough-in dimension, positioning in relation to the wall, the shape (rounded or elongated) of the seat, and the tank design when planning your bathroom. Most codes require 21” in front of your toilet.

What’s the average size of a bathroom?

There’s no one-size-fits-all rule of bathrooms. On average, however, a full-sized bathroom is approximately 40-50 square feet. This can comfortably accommodate a full-size tub, sink, and toilet. However, older Nashville homes often make due with substantially smaller bathroom footprints. An experienced general contractor can help you make the most of your space, regardless of its size.

What’s the standard height for a bathroom vanity?

It’s more of a standard range than an absolute when it comes to the height of your bathroom vanity cabinets. Vanity heights range from 31 to 35 inches and can be built up for families who stand tall. Be sure to include the height of your countertop in your overall calculations. Standard vanity depth is 17-24 inches; however, if space is tight, shaving a few inches off can buy you a little more floor space. When sizing up your bathroom vanity, be sure to leave ample room for doors and trim. If you don’t plan on moving your plumbing to accommodate your new vanity, then measure twice!Siding FAQ

How do I know when it’s time to reside my home and why should I take the plunge?

The answer to this questions depends on the type of siding you have on your home. For those with vinyl siding, it may be time for a new look if your siding is mildewed, cracked, faded, or if the color is seriously dated. If your siding is wind or hail damaged, then a full replacement is in your future. Wood siding that is rotten, has dry rot, or has bubbles under the paint (a sure sign that moisture has become trapped between the wood and the paint) is also a prime candidate for new siding. New siding can increase your energy savings, improve the value of your home, and give your old home a whole new lease on life.

How long will it take to replace the siding on my house?

Time varies according to the material you select and the size of your home. Most of our siding jobs take anywhere between 7-14 days for the siding and an additional 2-4 days for painting, if necessary.

What are the best siding options for my home?

Two of the most common types of siding you’ll see in and around Nashville are vinyl and Hardie Board. Vinyl was first introduced in the 1950s as a cost-effective, low-maintenance alternative to aluminum siding. HardiePlank lap siding (also known as cement board siding) is a great option for many new and historic Nashville homes, offering the durability of modern siding with the classic look of wood.

What are the advantages of vinyl siding?

Vinyl siding is one of the most affordable siding options available today. Vinyl siding is very low maintenance, requiring only annual cleaning to maintain optimal appearance. Vinyl doesn’t need to be painted, damaged sections can be easily replaced, and it’s one of the least expensive siding options to install.

What are the benefits of Hardie Board?

Hardie Board, also known as fiber cement siding, is available as lap siding, vertical shingle, or plank siding. It’s a great option for many new and historic Nashville homes. It’s less expensive than wood, is extremely durable, comes in a variety of styles, is moisture and rot resistant, and offers superior protection against fire.Painting and Staining FAQs

What’s the difference between paint and stain? And which one is best for my project?

Solid color stain can look a lot like paint but it certainly isn’t. Stain soaks into wood, bringing out the natural grain and helping to preserve it and extend its functional life. As weathers (or ages), it begins to fade gradually. Paint, on the other hand sits on tip of wood and rather than agin gracefully, it often breaks and begins to peel. Over time, layers of stain tend to look better than agin point. Which is why stain is the perfect choice for unfinished natural hardwood floors and wooden decks, pergolas, and porches. Professionally applied paint, however, comes in a huge variety of colors and very weather-resistant. It’s the best choice for interior walls and wood or fiber cement siding.

What kind of paint finish is best for bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens?

Flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and glossy, oh my! Here’s what you need to know to choose the perfect paint finish for your home. The shine or finish you select has a huge impact on the final project. The lower on the shine scale the paint, the easier it goes on, but the harder it is to maintain. High gloss paints, in contrast, can show off imperfections in your walls or deficiencies in your painting skills but they’re incredibly durable and easy to clean.

Flat Or Matte

Flat is also know as matte. Because it doesn’t reflect light, flat paint has the least amount of shine, goes on easy, and hides minor imperfections and hairline cracks beautifully. However, it’s nearly impossible to clean, so keep it out of high-traffic areas or kid-friendly rooms.


Eggshell is a little more durable than flat paint, but has a low level shine. Many homeowners select eggshell for interior walls and lightly used spaces such as a dining room or home office.


This finish is incredibly popular. It’s relative durable, pretty easy to clean, and isn’t too shiny. Think of it as the workhorse of paint! Perfect for family rooms and high-traffic areas.

Semi-Gloss & Glossy

The shiniest finish is a great choice for rooms that take a beating. Commercial spaces, playrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms are all great candidates for this highly-reflective and durable paint finish. If you’re unsure of your painting abilities, however, this is a finish that might be best left to the pros.

What’s the best order to paint my room in?

Generally speaking, we work from the top down. Start with the ceiling and then move on to the walls. Don’t forget to prime everything first! Then, install the trim, caulk the edges, and then prime and pain. Even when you’re repainting, ceilings, walls, and trim is the way to go.

How long does it take for paint to cure?

Depending on temperature and humidity, it may take latex paint up to 30 days for a full cure. Give your paint at least two weeks before washing the walls. Remember, the lower the sheen, the more susceptible the moisture the paint will be.

There are so many roller sizes and naps! Which roller size and nap is best for my walls?

The thicker the paint or rougher the surface, the heavier the nap. Consider using a 1/2 nap for viscous paints and textured walls. However, if you’re working with a smooth surface, you can probably get away with a thin, 1/4 nap for a smoother finish. If you want to leave it to the pros, give us a call for your exterior painting and staining!Replacement Windows FAQs

How do I know when it’s time to replace my windows?

To repair or to replace, that is the question. Replacing your windows is a big investment so we’re happy to inspect your windows and help you make the right decision. Windows help define your home, so finding the right window is important. That said, if you’re feeling the draft and your windows are painted shut, sills are rotting, and your sashes are jammed, it’s time to consider replacement windows or, at the very least, professional repairs.

Is replacing my windows really a good investment?

If your windows are more than 15 or 20 years old, and lack the technology of modern replacement windows, you’ll see clear savings in your annual energy costs with replacement windows. Not only that, but replacement windows are easy-to-use and even easier to clean. Sellers report that new windows can significantly increase the sale value of your home.

What’s the difference between single-hung and double-hung windows?

On single hung windows the top sash is fixed and does not move, only the bottom half of the window moves up and down. On a double hung window, both sashes can move up or down. Many homeowners find double hung windows are much easier to clean. Single hung windows, however, are very popular and affordable.

What does low-E mean and what should I look for in a window in terms of performance?

Look for thick, double-strength glass. It’s stronger and offers you more protection than standard panes. Furthermore, it helps prevent your house from absorbing outside heat in the summer or losing precious heat in the winter. For maximum energy efficiency, look for Low-E glass with argon gas, such as Alside’s ClimaTech windows.

Is there really a difference between ready-made windows and custom windows?

Yes, there really, really is! Custom windows are carefully manufactured to 1/8″ increments to ensure the perfect fit. This translates to better energy efficiency, better appearance, easier installation, and a windows that works flawlessly.Outdoor Fireplaces FAQs

What’s the difference between a fire pit and an outdoor fireplace?

A fire pit is typically a large bowl that’s elevated from the ground and made from a durable metal like steel or iron. Although they have no bottom, they surround the fire to contain ashes and sparks. An outdoor fireplace is a safer, more charming options and much better for an urban environment. Outdoor fireplaces are often made from large pieces of natural stone. They create a lovely, warming, and welcoming glow at dusk and beyond.

What do I have to consider before I build an outdoor fireplace?

Before you commit to building an outdoor fireplace, be sure that your local ordinances allow for construction. Next, make sure that you select a location that’s free from low-hanging branches and, if possible, well away from any trees or long grasses. Consider the prevailing winds to make sure that you position your fireplace so smoke drifts away from your home and guests!

What’s the best material for my outdoor fireplace?

Nothing is quite as stunning as a natural stone fireplace or stone exteriors, for that matter. Some excellent and durable stones to consider include bluestone, river rock, and flagstone. Concrete or brick can be a striking and cost-effective option as well. We’ll work with you to take into consideration your landscaping and the building materials of your existing structures to select the material that best suits your yard.

What’s the best size for an outdoor fireplace?

Whatever size fits your needs and your property best! Outdoor fireplaces can be as small as 3×2 or as rand as you’d like. Whatever you do, you’ll want to find a size that proportional and fits comfortably with your surroundings.

What fuel source is best?

Again, it’s kind of up to you. Wood-burning and propane-fueled fireplaces are both popular options. While a wood-burning fireplace is less expensive to operate and is more rustic, charming, and picturesque, it’s a lot more work and may even require a chimney! A gas outdoor fireplace is much easier and cleaner to operate.