The following articles were authored by admin

Experienced Building Contractors

From idea to completion, Tip Top Builders will make sure every part of the process is completed to the highest specifications.  Throughout the entire process Tip Top’s contractor will be your point of contact, ensuring the smoothest process possible.  Their contractors are very experienced with many years of construction work under their belts, able to expertly advise you on your home remodeling project.

Tip Top Remodeling gives free estimates AND designs, and all calls made are returned within 24 hours.  They will send a professional contractor out to your property and give you a complete estimate.  If you decide to go through with their service then the designs will be free of charge as well.

All jobs are started and completed on time, no exceptions.  Tip Top keeps the project site neat and clean, avoiding you headaches such as fines from the city or unhappy neighbors.  They also provide financing if need be and try to work within your budget to meet your needs.

For all your home remodeling and construction needs, whether it be bathroom/kitchen remodeling, room addition, or yard construction, call the professionals at Tip Top Builders to get the job done right.

Room Additions Done on Time

Tip Top Builders is your go-to company in the Los Angeles area for room additions or other house add-ons.  If you are experiencing a lack of space in your home due to the arrival of a new family member, a relative moving in, or you just want another bathroom, a room addition is a great solution.  Cost-wise, a room addition is much cheaper than purchasing a newer, bigger house.

Tip Top offers a free in-home estimate for room additions.  They will send an actual contractor to your house, free of charge, and give you an accurate estimate.  Their contractors have been in the business for many years, and know exactly what to factor in when giving an estimate.  They are aware of all charges that may incur throughout the process.

Tip Top handles the renovation from inception to completion.  They will help you plan the entire addition, from design to electrical to plumbing, and then follow through with the construction on time and on budget.  Tip Top offers premium quality craftsmanship that you won’t find anywhere else.  Their contractors will submit all necessary plans for construction, and make sure everything is approved before building begins.

Small Yard Design Ideas

small yard design ideaAs we all know outdoor living space is precious, especially in urban settings.  When the amount of space you have is an issue, but the need to enjoy the outdoors is paramount, you must work with what you have to achieve maximum results.  Getting creative with your yard will help you utilize the most of your space and create that outdoor living area where you and your friends and family can enjoy for years to come.  Here are some ways to make that small space appear large and inviting.

Utilize Every Inch

Making the most of your yard means using every available inch.  Now this does not necessarily mean making the entire yard usable, but by having a creative combination of living and viewing space your yard will seem larger.  Use stonework, decks, and pathways to create clearly defined space.  Separation also creates the illusion of more space and will add to the overall aesthetic appeal of the yard.

Get Vertical

Using vertical lines and accents creates the illusion of space.  It also allows you to have potted plants where normally you wouldn’t be able to.  Just be careful when watering them, as wet soil can stain siding.  Plant small shrubs, or trim trees so they complement the space, not consume it.  Accent walls help divide the space as well as provide a side table or potting bed.


Perhaps the best way to make your small yard seem bigger is to utilize perspective.  Constructing a pathway either down the middle of your at an angle, or straight with a vine-covered pergola will create a vanishing point that will make your yard seem to go on forever!

Innovative Deck Designs

One of the more popular home remodeling upgrades being made these days is the addition of a deck.  A deck is often times preferred to a patio because it can be more attractive, take advantage of a view, and/or work with the existing topography of the yard.  Consider using an eco-friendly wood that has been reclaimed or sustainably harvested in order to minimize environmental impact.  Here are a few deck designs to consider:

attached deck


The most basic and common type of deck is the attached deck.  An attached deck is much like a patio, except it is wooden and slightly raised.  Often times it will serve as not only an enjoyable outdoor living space, but as a pathway connecting exterior doors of an L-shaped house.





detached deck



The advantage of a detached deck is that it can be positioned anywhere on the property and take advantage of a sizable yard.  This type of deck allows you to have some privacy and seclusion when creating your outdoor space, and can work well with the exiting topography of your yard.

multilevel deck






If your property has a sloping elevation, a multi-level deck may be your answer.  It can lead gradually down to a grassy or wooded area, putting you right in the middle of the outdoors for maximum enjoyment.



sideyard deck




An often overlooked part of the yard, the side-yard is prone to disarray and neglect.  Especially in urban settings, it’s important to use every part of your home and yard to maximize living space.  Your side-yard can be a nice private off-shoot from a side bedroom or a cozy eating area next to the kitchen.  Don’t neglect this space, make it useful instead, you’re paying for it!


The Rise of Multi-generational Housing

As the economy continues to be slow to recover, many people will find themselves living in situations they are not used to in order to save money.  One instance of this is multi-generational housing, or more than 2 generations of one family living under the same roof.  Although it doesn’t always necessarily need to be more generations; it could be brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, or cousins living together.

There are many reasons for consolidating your family under one roof.  For parents, you could be returning to school, saving money for a house, or just need to get out of debt.  Maybe you just want to live in a nicer, safer neighborhood and partnering up with a set of grandparents or brother/sister is your ticket out.  There could have been an extenuating circumstance like a bankruptcy, loss of job, divorce, debilitating injury, disease, or death in the family.

So you are all living together, now what?  Getting along is crucial, especially since this is your home.  In order to make the best out of your situation, it’s time to define the living space.  Make sure boundaries are clearly defined.  Discuss the circumstances as a group; get everyone on the same page.  Be clear about finances: Who will be paying for what and when?  The clearer you are up front, the better things will be in the long run and you will be better equipped to handle situations as they arise.  Good luck and happy saving!

If you need to add more space to your home, the professionals at Tip Top Remodeling specialize in room additions.

Types of Room Additions

If your home is short on living space and you don’t have an attic or basement to convert, a room addition may be your only option (short of buying a new house). There are four main types of room additions:

An entire new room, or several, is added to the house.  Be aware you are essentially building a mini-house complete with contractor, permits, wiring, and HVAC, even if it is just one room.  You can add plumbing to that list if there is a bathroom. This is the second most expensive option, rarely costing less than $60k, and normally costing upwards of $100k.

Second Story
If you are in need of a lot more space, and don’t want to cut into your yard, consider adding a second story.  A sizable renovation indeed, this will most likely make your house unlivable for the majority of the renovations.  Same deal as the full-size room addition in terms of a mini-house, and this will generally cost over $100k.

Bump Out
A scaled down addition, usually an enhancement of an existing room. Homeowners will do a bump out when they want to add square footage to a bedroom, kitchen, main room, or add a bathroom. They are much cheaper than a full-size addition, but the cost per square foot will be higher.

Adding a sunroom has become popular in recent years, partly in due to the invention of thermal-resistant glass and improvements in insulation.  Sunrooms don’t always need plumbing and HVAC, which helps cut down on the cost of construction.

Contact the professionals at Tip Top Remodeling for all your home improvement needs.

New Net-Zero Energy Use Laboratory

The first ever net-zero energy use biological laboratory is nearing completion in La Jolla, CA.  These ‘wet labs’ are typically very high energy use buildings, but the new building for the J. Craig Venter Institute will break that mold in style.  The new headquarters will comprise 45,000 square foot and cost upwards of $39 million.

The building will achieve net-zero use without purchasing carbon offsets, meaning all its energy saving tactics are coming from personnel and the building itself.  The builders are using concrete that contains 30% fly ash, a recycled material, which is the highest percentage ever used by the company.  The 23,000 square foot solar panel array will provide electricity for the building, contributing about 60% of the total energy reduction.

Heating and cooling will be operated by a high-efficiency HVAC system, which consists of two 25,000 gallon thermal energy storage tanks that will use water instead of air to move heat in and out of the building.  This system will cut HVAC energy consumption by 87% compared to similar buildings.

When completed sometime in October, the building will support approximately 125 scientists and staff, and will (hopefully) have a LEED-Platinum rating.  Hopefully this trend catches on and more labs are built like this in the future.  In the end they will save money, mainly because they will have almost completely eliminated monthly energy costs.

Thinking about building green?  Tip Top Remodeling does new construction with energy efficient options.

Financing a Home Renovation

Before searching for home financing options, it’s important that you set a budget.  Once the expenses start adding up it can be hard to stop if you didn’t tell yourself before what your ceiling will be.  With the average kitchen renovation costing upwards of 50-60,000, it is likely that you will need financial assistance in the form of a loan.  Here are a few of your options:

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
- Low-interest, variable rate
- Uses your home as collateral by borrowing a percentage of your home equity
- Hard to get, but the best choice if you have home equity
o Home values have plummeted in recent years.  Only people who put a substantial down payment or have owned their home for a long time qualify.
- Process can take a while, and usually requires you to pay for a home inspection
- Often the best rate available

financingContractor Loan
- Borrow directly from your contractor
- Check to make sure rates are competitive, sometimes contractors get kickbacks from lending agency
- Convenient

Government Solar Incentive Programs
- Tax credits if you use eco-friendly materials/products
- Up to $1,500 credit for using Energy Star appliances, and even bigger credits for solar energy systems
- State programs offer additional benefits

Personal Loan
- Compared to credit cards, personal loans have a lower, fixed interest rate
- Check online for offers, just be careful and make sure the business is legitimate

Title 1 Home Improvement Loans
- Government provides private lenders with insurance to provide loans for up to 25k for home improvements for terms up to 20 years
- These loans can be used for anything except luxury improvements like hot tubs
- Interest rates are generally between 10-14%, which is often half of what private lenders charge

Trends in Deck Design

Deck design has come a long way in recent years.  Now an extension of the indoor living space, decks are built to flow straight from a room in the house to the great outdoors.  Deck construction is expected to grow by 2.4% a year until 2016, peaking at a value of $5.7 billion.  Real wood is still the most popular material, but due to technological advances in materials, composite wood is on the rise.  High design is now becoming affordable for budget minded consumers.

deck with treeThese days deck designers are reaching deep in their back pockets for ideas, including mixing styles and materials on the      same deck!  They are integrating the topography of the existing land into the deck, creating a natural, organic feel.  Because of this we are seeing a partnership with the landscaper.  This partnership helps create a harmonious outdoor space that your family can enjoy for years to come without having to worry about trees blocking your new deck view, but instead integrating them into the design, taking full advantage of their structural value.

As I mentioned before, indoor living is flowing into outdoor living.  Decks are an extension of the home, and people are seeking the same comfort outside as they would have in their living room.  This presents unique challenges as well as exciting results.  Decks these days are bridging the gap between a sunroom and a completely outdoor space with permanent shade structures, luxurious cushion furniture, and built-in kitchen/BBQ areas.

Who doesn’t love to entertain in the privacy and comfort of their own home?  As more and more people move to southern climates with mild nights, the need to use the outdoor space at night increases.  Because of this, lighting has become a fixture in deck installation; the single flood light just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Some designs feature inlaid recessed lighting in the boards, post lights, and lights in the rails.

Tip Top Builders will design and build a custom deck for your home.

The Kitchen Remodel: How Much is Too Much?

In the heat of the moment in any home renovation project, it can be easy to get carried away.  When looking at all the stainless steel appliances, custom cabinetry, and countertop options, it’s important to think about what you need and why you are getting the renovation in the first place.  Are you trying to improve the overall look of your kitchen, make it more functional, or both? Do you really just need new appliances?  Let’s look at each part of a complete kitchen remodel.

Prices for new kitchen countertops range from $35 to over $100 a square foot installed.  How much you spend will depend on what you are looking for.  There are plenty of affordable options that will last many years and may even be eco-friendly!  Check out this post for some ideas.

Chances are if you are upgrading your kitchen, you are annoyed with at least one of your outdated appliances.  Choosing your new appliance can be daunting, as there are hundreds, no thousands of options to choose from!  Make sure you get high quality appliances that will last, as they will get the most use in your kitchen, and you DO NOT want to go through repairs after you just had a major renovation.

Custom cabinetry can be expensive, but offers a unique style that can be custom fitted to your home.  They can be quite pricey, but for some people they are worth it.  It all depends if you are leaning toward functional or aesthetic.  Either way, get a professional to install them for you, the hassle of doing it yourself is not worth it!