Subcontractor’s Corner with Steve Gilbert

Steve GilbertElectrician Steve Gilbert goes way back with Custom’s Bill Farnsworth and Scott Blain, and has worked with Custom for eight years. We thought it would be fun to ask Steve about some of the hot trends he’s seeing on home remodeling projects.

LED Lighting “I’m definitely seeing more LED lighting these days. LED lights were really pricey when they came out, which turned off a lot of consumers. And the color of the light wasn’t desirable to a lot of people — it was this cool, bluish hue.

“Now, LED is much more affordable. Rebate programs from Mass Save and utility companies have dropped the prices way down. Plus, the quality of the light is much better now — more of the warm light that we’re used to. There are more options in terms of colors, and they even make dimmable LEDs now. Consumers are clearly responding to these improvements.”

Electric Radiant Flooring“This work involves installing an electric radiant mat between the subfloor and the floor tile. You can program the mat to run warm during certain hours and then run cooler at other times. It works well — actually makes it nice to walk on a tile floor in the morning.

“I’ve installed radiant flooring in both bathrooms and kitchens though bathrooms are much more common. You can run one strip down the middle of the bathroom, and it makes a huge difference. I’ve gotten great feedback from clients.”

Bathroom Fans“If you have access to a knee wall [a short wall that supports the rafters] in the attic, you might be able to install a remote bath fan. Two big advantages to doing this: 1) Because the motor is so far away, you can barely hear it while you’re in the bathroom.2) If it’s big enough, the motor can power fans in multiple bathrooms. But the ‘quiet’ factor is the big thing.

“I’m also seeing some cool features built into higher-end fans. For instance, some models have a humidistat so that the fan kicks on when the room reaches a certain humidity level. Other models continually circulate air, but also ramp up to a higher speed when they sense some-one has entered the bathroom. Features like these get rid of moisture while also saving on energy costs.”