Posts Tagged ‘ SCI ’

Penny Floors and More

Four hundred and eighty thousand (480,000) pennies are embedded in the floor of Standard Grill’s main dining on Washington Street in New York City. SCI recently posted a photo we shared from another Facebook page, one of a penny floor being installed on top of concrete. The post went viral and reached 21,614. It also ignited dozens of comments and messages about installation and durability. We promised followers we’d do the research and share the details on our blog.

When we discovered Standard Grill had a penny floor, we knew durability wasn’t an issue since it’s a heavily trafficked 285-seat restaurant. However, the key to durability is proper installation. Because we’ve never installed coins on any surface, we’re sharing tips from do-it-yourselfers who have. We hope you’ll find the links helpful, and also do your own research and ask at your local home improvement store about best options for gluing and sealing.

Brian and Laura at Happyroost blog shared simple instructions, and also interesting penny facts about their floor. Although we recommend using stronger glue than Elmers, it sounds like it worked just fine in their bathroom. They spent about $100 putting down 10,000 pennies including 23 Canadian pennies and19 wheat pennies. For an extra decorating touch, interesting facts could be written in calligraphy and framed to hang in the penny-floored room.

The Chamberlains shared their nickel floor do-it-yourself project on popular Apartment Therapy. The couple attached 13,650 nickels to mesh backing with Weldbond. You can find the all-purpose glue at most craft and hardware stores.

We also found detailed instructions for installing a penny countertop.

Keep in mind that paying someone to do such labor intensive work is no way to pinch pennies, however, if you’d like to talk over the possibilities, call us at 843-421-9255 and we’ll make sure it’s done right. At SCI, the Quality of our work improves the Quality of your life.




June 23rd, 2012  in Improving Your Space and Place Comments Off

PEX for Plumbing

PEX or cross-linked polyethylene is a piping system that has been around the United States since the 80’s. However, it’s just now gaining popularity because of its reliability and other advantages over metal pipe like copper and rigid plastic pipe like PVC. PEX makes it easy to plumb new construction, as well as replace old pipes in existing structures.


  1. PEX is flexible plastic tubing; therefore, it bends around corners for easy replacement/installation.
  2. Durability and low maintenance makes PEX a more appealing choice since it doesn’t corrode like copper or split at the joints and burst during freezing temperatures like PVC. Instead, PEX stretches so no more broken pipes.
  3. Pricing is reasonable. PEX’s cost is comparable to PVC and a good bit less than copper.
  4. Installation is also reasonable because PEX requires no soldering or gluing. Instead it’s quick and easy to fasten together by crimping the rings at each end.


  1. Installation requires special tools that add to the cost when the project is DIY.
  2. Deterioration and splitting may occur if PEX is regularly exposed to sunlight.

For more information, or if you have questions, call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255.

June 5th, 2012  in Tips and Tricks of the Trade Comments Off

Commodes: Convenience and Conservation


Why flush money down the toilet, especially one you have trouble getting up from?

Two advantages to changing out your old toilets are convenience and conservation.

Consumers, especially the senior population, have outlived their outdated commodes. Since parts on a toilet can easily be replaced, it’s not unusual to have a commode in your home that dates back to poodle skirts. However, convenience is mandating upgrades. Taller commodes are easier to get on and off, and the older you get, the more you appreciate that convenience.

Plus, newer models are more attractive, and they use less water per flush. That’s right, even commodes are green and water conservation helps you and the environment. Although true in the beginning, the rumor about new models not working effectively has worked itself out. Manufacturers made necessary adjustments. These days you save money, conserve water daily, and appreciate efficiency, as well as a better-looking product.

If you’re in the market for a tall, green makeover, call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255.

May 31st, 2012  in Improving Your Space and Place Comments Off

The Magazine, This Old House

Ever wonder if it’s by chance that nearly every kitchen featured in a home improvement/interior design magazine pictures the latest model of a brightly colored and very pricey KitchenAid mixer?

Wonder if most families bake cookies and fruit pies daily, along with homemade breads, and in the summer, mix a pitcher of freshly squeezed lemonade?

Pick sunflowers and daisies from their garden?

Stock up on lush towels and down pillows?

Buy expensive rugs you’d dare anyone to walk on, much less wipe their feet?

Since John didn’t delete the email, the one he initially thought was another appeal to renew our subscription to This Old House, we got a chance to go behind the scenes. The message was an invitation to send additional photos and information like cost, length of time to complete the renovation, and the best and worst parts of taking on a do-it-yourself project. Turns out, our nearly 100-year-old home was being considered for the pages of the magazine This Old House.

From start to finish, it took nearly a year till publication. Lots of writing, rewriting and editing the article, questions to fill in blanks, decisions about photo options and captions, and a two-day photo shoot happened during the interim. The process may have lasted even longer but the house went under contract shortly after we got the final word it was  to appear in This Old House. Editors hurried to schedule the photo shoot to assure we weren’t packing boxes while the photographer was taking pictures.

Oh, what about all those colorful KitchenAid mixers?

The photographer’s assistant showed up the day before the photo shoot with a detailed list from the editorial staff and designers noting furniture and decorations that would stay and where. Everything else had to go. The assistant pulled things from any cabinets that had glass doors, rolled up rugs, tucked towels away, cleared the kitchen countertops, took down paintings. She rearranged furniture.

After clearing out, she brought in boxes and bags full of rugs, pillows, towels, soap, flowerpots, flowers, kitchen utensils, food and more. She even brought a bolt of material to cover our striped sunroom couch because the designers (based on photographs) preferred a solid color on the furniture. As for the KitchenAid mixer, our outdated white one was set aside in favor of a bright blue one.

The next day, we had the option to buy any of the props we liked; otherwise, the assistant returned what she could. Thankfully we were moving or we’d have a bright blue KitchenAid mixer, a green sunroom couch, and no money in the bank from This Old House.

Click HERE to check out our former home and one of SCI’s earliest projects.

If you’d like your home improved, call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843- 421-9255.




May 2nd, 2012  in Renovation Stories 2 Comments »

Permanent Solution to Refrigerator Rust


SCI has come up with a washable and permanent way to solve the problem of rust on refrigerators. 

Condo refrigerators are exposed to salt air and harsh cleaning chemicals that cause the exteriors to prematurely rust. Painting is a temporary solution to an ongoing problem. Over time, the rust shows through along with more of the same.

The solution is to conceal the rust by attaching a safe, protective, and relatively inexpensive covering called FRP (fiber reinforced plastic). The panels come in white and almond, and are textured much like the “skin” of the refrigerator.

For about one fifth the cost of a new refrigerator, SCI can apply a new side and cover the ugly rust.

If you’d like a quick fix for your rusted refrigerator, call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255.
April 25th, 2012  in Tips and Tricks of the Trade Comments Off

Repair or Replace the Roof

To Replace or Not to Replace: The Roof is in Question …

“Is this a repair job or is it time for a new roof?” is a likely question when you notice a stain on your ceiling or walls, see water drip from above, or step in a puddle indoors when the dog’s been outside all morning.

Before we were in the home improvement business, our brand new neighbor’s living room ceiling sprung a leak around the light fixture. It happened four days after buying the 50-year-old ranch style home. John volunteered to take a look at their roof. He figured the flashing around the fireplace was the culprit because it was a problem for the previous owners. Since the leak was at least eight feet from the hearth, the new homeowners couldn’t be convinced the water was likely running down the angled trusses and coming in at the first opening. They called a roofer who was happy to replace the seven-year-old roof.

Other neighbors, not so anxious to spend thousands of dollars, gladly let John take a look at their leaky roofs. The most common problem is a leak originating from a place where the roof butts up against something like a vent fan, skylight or chimney. Sometimes a tree limb that constantly rubs the roof will scrape off a shingle, or wind from a storm may blow off several. Leaks also occur when a rusty nail or two pop up and leave just enough of a hole to let rainwater drip down to stain the ceiling.

None of these isolated problems call for a roof replacement. Flashing can be difficult to seal tight but it is doable. Shingles can be replaced. Tar around a rusty nail will close the hole and stop the leak.

For standard asphalt shingles, replacement is recommended when a roof is nearing 15 to 20 years old. Other materials may last longer. The lifespan depends on the roofing material and the climate. If the environment is harsh, it can shorten a roof’s duration. Winds, as well as winters with ice and snow, do damage.

Even if the warranty is for longer there are some telltale signs that point to replacing the roof anyway. Roofing concerns usually show up on the inside first by way of dark spots on the ceiling, drips and puddles. Bubbled paint and wallpaper on upper interior walls most likely indicate a leaky roof. And water damage and discoloration of the attic boards are dead giveaways to a roofing problem somewhere up there. When inside warnings appear in several different places and repeat themselves, it’s time to look around outside to make a decision about putting on a new roof.

Exterior signs that the roof may need to be replaced include cracked, curling and decaying shingles, shingles covered in algae, and ones that are faded looking. Bowed shingles usually have underneath them rusty nails that have pushed up over time and indicate a roof on its way out.

It’s easier to make a choice about whether to repair or replace by determining the approximate age of the roof and looking for the above indicators to evaluate the roof’s condition. These steps will help in making an informed decision when you decide to do the work yourself or call an experienced contractor/roofer.

Other resources:,,219567,00.html

For more information and a free consultation, call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255.




April 16th, 2012  in Tips and Tricks of the Trade Comments Off

Budget Bathrooms

Custom showers like this one cost approximately $4,500.

Bathroom remodels typically cost $5,000 for standard selections in paint, a new sink and faucet, changing out the tub/shower, and replacing old flooring with linoleum or tile.

It’s easy to go over budget on materials and upgrades. Custom anything costs more than floor models. The faucet right next to the one you’re eyeing may add as much as $300 to the bill. Tile can cost as little as $5 and up to $35 a square foot. For instance, designing a specialty shower, instead of buying what’s in stock, can quadruple the price of the remodel (like in the photo above).

The best tips for budget bathrooms, and budget rooms in general:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Plan within your budget.
  • Plan what’s important when spending extra.

Check out more tips and photos from CalFinder (and from SCI’s co-owner who wrote the article) about bathroom remodels on a budget. When you’re ready to get started, call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255.






April 4th, 2012  in Improving Your Space and Place Comments Off

What’s Up With the Ceiling?


It’s easy to overlook the ceiling since it’s typically not decorative, adds no color and very little texture, and it’s the most difficult part of the room to decorate, if you even want to.

Pretty much, a ceiling is invisible. Unless, of course, it is ugly or damaged, then it’s likely the first thing you’ll notice about a room. In other words, it’s best if the ceiling doesn’t call attention to itself.

Unfortunately, older kitchens, especially in condos and townhouses, were built with lots of lighting that contractors covered with decorative hard plastic. Over time, the plastic discolored, usually yellowing. Plus, it’s an out-of-date look.

Here’s an example of one ceiling makeover that not only looks more attractive, but adds a variety of lighting (traditional, can lights and rope lighting) on a dimmer switch, as well as opening the space up since SCI raised the ceiling. Instead of dated and dingy, now the kitchen looks radiant.

Want to brighten your kitchen? Call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255.

March 29th, 2012  in Improving Your Space and Place Comments Off

SCI Builds Solutions to Clutter Control (Shelf, part 2)

The nearly finished project turned out functional, as well as fashionable. When building solutions for clutter control, remember to think ahead. If it makes the space more usable, be sure to include lighting and electrical outlets.

Do you have a space in your home that might be used more efficiently? Maybe to declutter and organize? Call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255 to talk over options.


March 21st, 2012  in Build Solutions to Clutter Comments Off

What to Expect From Your Contractor

Construction projects are seldom stress-free, however, knowing what to expect from your contractor helps. The first thing to know is there may be glitches. Weather holds up the job, special orders don’t arrive on time, a wall that is removed may cover unforeseen damage that adds to the cost of the work. A contractor can’t avoid the unexpected, but it is easier when you know what to expect from him, and as a team you can work through the rest.

  • Expect your contractor upon request to show proof of a business license, liability insurance, Workers’ Compensation and references from previous and present customers.
  • Expect your contractor to be available to meet 2-3 times ahead of a major renovation to get the details in writing.
  • Expect your contractor to show up on time for meetings, take time to answer questions/listen to your concerns and to call back or answer emails within 24 to 48 hours especially once the job is underway.
  • Expect your contractor to know what permits need to be pulled and to start the process in a timely manner. Otherwise, this may prolong a job. The same is true for architectural/engineered drawings that you may be required to have depending on the job.
  • Expect an itemized contract upon request, pricing out materials and labor. Keep in mind, if you add to your to-do list, choose pricier materials or ask for changes beyond the agreement, the cost of the job will increase.
  • Expect your contractor to give you a deadline when the job will be completed and to update you immediately if there are holdups. If you request extra projects, this prolongs the completion date.
  • Expect updates as the job progresses.
  • Expect your contractor to let you know if unexpected costs arise before he goes ahead with the job.
  • Expectyour contractor to be upfront instead of telling you what you want to hear. If he says he can start tomorrow, finish a major renovation in three weeks and for the price you set, you may want to question if the deal sounds too good to be true.

If you’re looking for a contractor, call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255.



March 13th, 2012  in Contractor Who? Why? Expect What? Comments Off