"Experience SBI" Newsletter Archives

The Sound Builders "Experience SBI" newsletter contains tips and news for homeowners, from home improvement suggestions, to example remodeling projects, to household gadget ideas and more. Take a look at some of our recent editions, then use the form at the right to subscribe!

2019 Newsletters

  • November – "Remodeling Ebb and Flow": Remodeling a home has a particular pace, moving from dramatic progress in the early stages of demolition and structural work (if that's part of the scope) to a more precise and ordered type of activity as finishes are applied, later on. "Giving Thanks": There is no better time than now to express our gratitude. "Remodeling Success 101": Will the work be warrantied?
  • October – "Remodeling and Resiliency":The ability to weather storms is another advantage of hiring a pro with up-to-date knowledge about building science. "Autumn": Here are a few tips for winterizing your home. "Remodeling Success 101": How important is duct sealing?
  • September – "No Sweat Cooling":Why choosing the right air conditioning equipment is more important than ever. "Building Relationships": The building blocks of Sound Builders are faith, wonderful clients and hard work. "Remodeling Success 101": What is an energy recovery ventilator?
  • August – "More Than a Deck": Creating Functionality and Beauty in Your Outdoor Space. "Eating Out": "Eating Out" usually means hopping in your car and heading to one of your favorite restaurants. "Remodeling Success 101": What's the difference between the various grades of stainless steel used on outdoor appliances?
  • July – "Smart Supply Choices": Professional remodelers buy their materials from suppliers that offer benefits to them and the homeowner. "Indepenence Day": Break out the grills and fill the sky with fireworks! "Remodeling Success 101": Can this contractor meet my deadline?
  • June – "Smart Lighting Is a Game Changer": Wireless lighting controls are likely in your future. Here's why. "Adding On":Our client wanted to add an apartment over the left side of the existing shop/garage. "Remodeling Success 101": What is thermal mass?
  • May – "Can You Finish My Project By...?": Understanding the variables that affect the schedule. "Remodeling Success 101": How much do permit requirements and codes vary from place to place?
  • April – "What Does a Remodeler Actually Do?": A lot of people don't understand the sheer complexity of the remodeling contractor's job and the systems required to make a big project go smoothly. "Remodeling Success 101": What is R-value?
  • March – "Your Lifestyle Profile":As professional remodeling contractors, we strive to create a unique home for each of our clients. "Spring Forward": Daylight Savings Time is here!. "Remodeling Success 101": How do allowances work?
  • February – "How Much Will This Project Cost?":Clients deserve a straight answer, but getting it requires an honest conversation. "Love": Let us help you make your house a home. A place where relationships flourish and love resides. "Remodeling Success 101": Why do products need to be ordered ahead of time?
  • January – "Will Your Remodeler Survive a Slowdown?":As interest rates rise and the market cools, make sure you choose a financially sound company with a strong track record. "Here's to 2019!": Thank you for being part of our extended family. "Remodeling Success 101": Should a deadline drive your decision?

2018 Newsletters

  • December – "Quality Is No Accident":The best remodelers approach it systematically. "Merry Christmas": Christmas is such a beautiful time of the year. "Remodeling Success 101": How long should a warranty be for?
  • November – "Built for Success":Quality projects and happy customers don't happen by accident. The best remodelers have systems to ensure those outcomes. "Giving Thanks": There is no better time than now to express our gratitude for our association. "Remodeling Success 101": How does Sound Builders address the particulars of a remodeling project?
  • October – "Change Management": Post-contract changes need not be a problem, but they absolutely need a well thought-through process. "Changes": Speaking of changes, Fall is here, which means the leaves are changing from green to brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow and the grass from brown to a gorgeous green. "Remodeling Success 101": How are allowances structured?
  • August – "A Touch of Drama": Outdoor lighting can transform a home's exterior, and the best result comes from planning ahead. "Charming!": An old fashioned lamp post adds a little charm to this delightful water feature. "Remodeling Success 101": Where does the punch list get its name?
  • July – "Hidden in Plain Sight": Intelligent universal design fades into the background and makes everyone happier."It's Our Birthday!": Break out the grills and fill the sky with fireworks. "Remodeling Success 101": Why is workers' compensation so important?
  • June – "Raising the Performance Bar": The best remodelers build health and comfort into the home."Let Summer Begin": Summer is here and it is time to take that long anticipated summer vacation! "Remodeling Success 101": Who will be in charge of my job?
  • May – "Thinking About Appliances": Take the time to get the models that work best for you. "Remodeling Success 101": How do purchase orders earn their keep?
  • April – "Making Sense of Allowances": For best results, narrow down the options up front. "April": Sound Builders loves to remodel kitchens!r". "Remodeling Success 101": Does stainless steel vary in appearance?
  • March – "Is Voice Control for You?": More and more home systems are adding voice control technology. Let's look at the pros and cons. "Let's Connect!": Remodeling a home can be a daunting endeavor". "Remodeling Success 101": What are GFCIs, and why do I need them?
  • February – "Better Than Bidding": Identifying the best pro for your project starts by clarifying your wants and needs. "Love is in the Air ": As you look around your house, ask yourself "Is this the house of my dreams?". "Remodeling Success 101": What is value engineering?
  • January – "Have Questions? Ask the Lead Carpenter": Homeowners will have questions and changes during any remodel. Prevent surprises and delays by getting answers from the top. "Thank You ": As the Holiday Season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and on those who have helped us shape our business. "Remodeling Success 101": Who is responsible for the work of subcontractors?

2017 Newsletters

  • December – "Counter Intelligence": Which of today's best-selling countertop materials to choose for your new kitchen? "Family ": The holidays are all about being thankful. "Remodeling Success 101": Which cabinet door costs more?
  • November – "Meet the Maestro": The pro who conducts your project to its finale draws from a deep well of knowledge "Russell Good ": Russell is our lead carpenter (maestro). "Remodeling Success 101": How busy are you?
  • October – "Do You Need a Full-Service Remodeler?": It's a question of job complexity and customer service. "Fall is Here! ": It is sad to see Summer fade away, but Fall brings a beauty all its own. "Remodeling Success 101": Can you lower costs without losing amenities?
  • September – "First Impressions": The best remodelers know that the initial meeting is about earning your trust. "Remodeling Roller Coaster ": Roller coasters can be very exciting and a little scary. "Remodeling Success 101": What if you have a deadline?
  • August – "The Multi-Generational Home": These modifications will make the home more comfortable for all family members. "Jay DePhelps, CAPS ": Sound Builders' owner, Jay DePhelps, has earned this designation. "Remodeling Success 101": What is a cool roof?
  • July – "Managing Your Home's Environment": Optimizing the heating and cooling equipment is an important part of making a home more comfortable, healthy and efficient. "God Bless America!":We feel very blessed to live in such a great country! "Remodeling Success 101":What is SEER?
  • June – "Picture Perfect": A great finish doesn't come cheap, but it can make or break the look of a project. "Great Outdoors Month": It is fitting that June is Great Outdoors Month and the start of summer. "Remodeling Success 101": How long have you been remodeling in this town?
  • May – "The Regulatory Minefield": Government red tape takes time, money and skill to navigate. That's why you need a pro. "Building Relationships": The building blocks of Sound Builders are faith, wonderful clients and hard work. "Remodeling Success 101": How do workers comp and liability insurance complement one another?
  • April – "The Super Kitchen": Recent research shows what homeowners want in this crucial room. "Happy Easter": The spirit of Easter is all about hope, love and joyful living. "Remodeling Success 101": What is contemporary design?
  • March – "Estimating Time": The work of building a price and schedule for a big remodel is a project in itself. "It Is Time!": What are you going to do with all the extra daylight that is coming? "Remodeling Success 101": Can I buy my own fixtures?
  • February – "Remodeling is Not a Game of Poker": Should you tell us your real budget? If you want a successful project, the answer is yes. Here’s why. "Happy Valentine's Day": Our subscribers are the HEART of our BUSINESS! "Remodeling Success 101": Who ensures a quality job?
  • January – "Minimize Stress and Maximize Sanity": A good remodeler will have systems in place for making the experience a positive one for the homeowners. "The Graduate": One of our family just graduated! "Remodeling Success 101": Where do radiant floors make sense?

2016 Newsletters

  • December – "How Much Will It Cost?": Here's how we approach one of the most common pricing questions. "Merry Christmas to All": Christmas is such a beautiful time of the year. "Remodeling Success 101": Why do so many products need to be ordered ahead of time?
  • November – "Why Home Tech Is a Wise Investment": Simple, affordable and easy-to-retrofit wireless is making the long-predicted smart home a must-have. "Blessed":In this time of gratitude, we give thanks for you. "Remodeling Success 101": How do the homeowners' decision-making skills affect the project timeline?
  • October – "Maintaining Your Remodeled Home": A smart maintenance schedule will help keep a remodel healthy and good looking for years to come. "Illumuination": When painting you don't have to stick to one color for a whole room. "Remodeling Success 101": Who services warranty claims?
  • September – "It's Always Sunny in TV Land": Home renovation shows don't reflect the reality of managing a remodeling project. "Wishes Do Come True": September is Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month with September 7th being World Duchenne Awareness Day. "Remodeling Success 101": What professional organizations does your contractor belong to?
  • August – "Interior Finishes: Quality Takes Time": All remodeling construction follows a consistent pattern and pace. "Get Stamped!": Concrete is often thought of as gray and boring. It doesn't have to be that way! "Remodeling Success 101": What is "millwork"?
  • July – "The Importance of Structure": Framing details have a big impact on all aspects of a remodeling project. "Keep it Cool": I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream! "Remodeling Success 101": How much energy will a high-efficiency HVAC system save?
  • June – "Return on Remodeling Investment": A respected industry report shows that remodeling makes more financial sense now than at any time in the past eight years. "Get Excited":Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right. "Remodeling Success 101": How many jobs are you currently doing?
  • May – "Controlling Project Costs": A successfully managed budget is a partnership between the remodeler and the homeowners. "Happy Mother's Day": I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be. "Remodeling Success 101": Can I pull my own building permit?
  • April – "Project Price Reality Check": Consulting with a remodeler before drawing the plans will save expense and headaches. "Company Story": The "Remodeling Experience" and it comes with every remodel. "Remodeling Success 101": How important is service in a remodel?
  • March – "The Problem with Comparing Estimates": Is getting three comparable estimates realistic, or a myth? "Happy Spring!": This spring we will be celebrating 40 years as a professional remodeling company! "Remodeling Success 101": Is the length of time a remodeler has been in business important?
  • February – "Controlling Allowances": Strict allowance policies benefit homeowners as much as remodelers. "Happy Valentines Day": We Love Our Clients. "Remodeling Success 101": Do builders and remodelers guarantee their work?
  • January – "The New Science of Remodeling": Making a home durable and efficient is no job for amateurs. "New Beginnings": A new year is upon us and it is time to start fresh. "Remodeling Success 101": Why does drywall tape and texture take so long?

2015 Newsletters

  • December – "Why Remodelers Must Be Learners":Continuing education is no longer optional. "Christmas Blessings": Christmas time brings to mind so many blessings we are thankful for this year. "Remodeling Success 101": What is a "continuous load path"?
  • November – "The Value of Trusted Associations": You can tell a lot about someone by his or her associates, and that's as true for businesses as it is for individuals. "Happy Thanksgiving": At this time of Thanksgiving we pause to count our blessings. "Remodeling Success 101": How will you communicate with me during construction?
  • October – "What Makes a Project a Success?": It's as much about the experience as the result. "The Remodeling Experience": We strive to provide that special 'something' before a project is started, as it is underway and after it is completed. "Remodeling Success 101": Can you finish this job by my deadline?
  • September – "How Long Have You Been in Business?": Why this is a great question to ask a remodeler. "Turning Forty": Next year will be a huge milestone for Sound Builders. "Remodeling Success 101": How many projects are you currently working on?
  • August – "Eating Out":For our clients in Redmond, "eating out" actually means stepping out to their covered outdoor kitchen. "Champions":There was no better way ending our time together than with winning the championship! "Remodeling Success 101": How do contractors achieve a "random" pattern using aggregate or veneer stone?
  • July – "The Connected Home":New wireless technologies put the smart home within reach of any homeowner. "Outdoor Cooking":Kitchens are no longer confined to the walls of a house. "Remodeling Success 101": How will zoning and deed restrictions affect the project?
  • June – "Owner's Role as Project Leader":The homeowner is still, ultimately, a leader in the project. "Father's Day":Here's to all you Fathers out there. "Remodeling Success 101": What's a "change order"?
  • May – "Know Your Remodeler":Many of our clients are anxious to learn all they can about the home remodeling process before embarking on their project. "Teamwork":Sound Builders is looking for a "few good people". "Remodeling Success 101": What is the role of a project manager or lead carpenter?
  • April – "Keeping Projects on Track":Failure to make timely decisions is the number one culprit behind schedule and cost overruns. "Good News":Last month Kennedy Catholic High School brought the 1920's to Burien with their Spring Musical "Good News". "Remodeling Success 101": What is an "insulated" window?
  • March – "The Homeowner's Role in a Remodeling Project":A homeowner's role during construction is more important than ever. "Spring Forwad":Daylight Savings Time is here!. "Remodeling Success 101": What's a "change order"?
  • February – "The Remodel Rollercoaster":Understanding the construction process will help owners manage their expectations. "Random Acts of Kindness Week": February is full of special observances. "Remodeling Success 101": How are loan draws figured?
  • January – "Can I Hire My Own Painter?":Or buy my own carpet...Remodelers get these questions a lot.. "Do You Have a Vision?": Every project, including what you expect from life, starts with a vision. "Remodeling Success 101": Who will be in charge of my job?

2014 Newsletters

  • December – "Preplanning Before Groundbreaking": On time, on budget, and exceeding customer expectations starts with a thorough preconstruction plan. "Merry Christmas": Our family here at Sound Builders wishes you a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. "Remodeling Success 101": What specific changes or upgrades can I make once things are underway?
  • November – "Surviving a Room Addition": No one likes to think about having to “survive” anything, and certainly not a remodeling project. "The Remodeling Roller Coaster": Roller coasters can be very exciting and a little scary. "Remodeling Success 101": Whom should I call when there's a problem with a kitchen appliance?
  • October – "Architectural Character": Matching and maintaining the architectural character of a house is one of the most important measures of success and lasting value. "Fallback": The end of Daylight Savings Time. "Remodeling Success 101": What's the difference between proportion and scale?
  • September – "The High-Performance Remodel": Many of our clients are less interested in “green” construction. "Building Relationships": The building blocks of Sound Builders are faith, wonderful clients and hard work. "Remodeling Success 101": Should You Consider Installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator?
  • August – "The Impact of Change": Even small changes made after work begins can have surprising effects on the budget. "Sound Builders Bulldogs! ": For the Sound Builders' Kent Bulldogs it was another successful year. "Remodeling Success 101": How are purchase orders used?
  • July – "Selecting Your Remodeler: Check References": Some tips for getting the most from this important step. "Happy 4th of July ": God bless America! this land that we love. "Remodeling Success 101": How do draw schedules work?
  • June – "The New Media Room": Thoughtful planning will help homeowners get the most from this popular amenity. "Being a DAD ":'There is something special about Dads! "Remodeling Success 101": How difficult is it to move a wall to enlarge a room?
  • May – "Effective Communication: Key to a Successful Remodeling Project": Communication is important in all relationships, and your relationship with your remodeler is no exception. "Redefining Your Expectations ":'The Remodeling Experience' is the cornerstone of Sound Builders' philosophy. "Remodeling Success 101": Am I liable for accidents that occur during the remodeling project?
  • April – "The Role of the Remodeler ": A lot of people don’t understand the sheer complexity of the remodeling contractor’s job. "Dish Drawer ":Say "goodbye" to the traditional cupboard for your dishes. "Remodeling Success 101": What is R-value?
  • March – "Plan to Succeed ": A complete set of plans and specs will eliminate problems and help ensure a smooth project. "May the Luck of the Irish be with You!": Whether you are Irish or not (like me) this blessing is for you. "Remodeling Success 101": What kind of product changes can I make after the job has started?
  • February – "How long will this take? ": Remodeling contractors hear this question a lot. The answer, of course, is “It depends.” But on what? "Way To Go Hawks!": Sunday was an exciting day for Seahawks fans everywhere! "Remodeling Success 101": What is the legal relationship between covenants and building codes?
  • January – "Optimizing Insulation ": Virtually every remodeling project gives considerable thought to energy conservation. "Welcome 2014": May you have a blessed 2014! "Remodeling Success 101": What is a cool roof?

2013 Newsletters

  • December – "Quality Revealed ": Construction quality is easy to see when you know what to look for. "Christmas Blessings". "Remodeling Success 101": The company owner seems far removed from the construction process and I deal mostly with the site superintendent. Is that normal?
  • November – "Why the Time to Remodel is NOW ": Materials and labor won't be any more affordable in a year or two. "Happy Thanksgiving!": At this time of Thanksgiving we pause to count our blessings. "Remodeling Success 101": What is an escalation clause?
  • October – "Eliminate Surprises by Clearly Defining the Job": When it comes to getting their home remodeled, no one likes surprises. "Russell Good": Spotlight on Russell Good, one of our lead carpenters. "Remodeling Success 101": How much do permit requirements and codes vary from place to place?
  • September – "Minimize Stress and Maximize Sanity": Remodeling a home can be stressful. Savvy homeowners choose a remodeler who will make it less so. "Don’t Gamble with Family Safety": Five tips to help keep your home safe. "Remodeling Success 101": How do allowances work?
  • August – "What is Green, Anyway?": Sustainable construction is nothing mysterious. "Staying Safe While you are Away": 10 practical tips to help insure your home stays safe and sound while you are away! "Remodeling Success 101": What is Thermal Mass?
  • July – "Remodeling for Peace and Quiet": consider another key element to quality of life: peace and quiet. "God Bless the USA": We are celebrating our 237th Birthday! "Remodeling Success 101": What is a "sone?"
  • June – "Clear for Takeoff: The Preconstruction Meeting": Without a successful launch, a safe landing is impossible. "Welcome Back": Summer is here and Bailee DePhelps is back on the job. "Remodeling Success 101": What is a punch list?
  • May – "Not Your Grandpa's Solar": After a 40-year hiatus, solar energy is cool again. "Hop On": May is National Bike Month! "Remodeling Success 101": Do photovoltaic panels convert 100% of the sun's energy into electricity?
  • April – "Extending Exteriors": Remember that a home's exterior finish is literally its face to the world. "Pitching In": Kennedy Catholic High School brought Broadway to Burien with their production of Guys and Dolls. "Remodeling Success 101": Should I request a low-VOC exterior paint?
  • March – "Is Geothermal in Your Future? ": Remodeling is the ultimate in "sustainable" housing. "Spring Forward": There is a long history about how DST came about. "Remodeling Success 101": How deep are the pipes of a ground-source heat pump?
  • February – "Solid Ideas for Controlling Concrete": The common belief is that once concrete is set as a foundation slab, patio, driveway, or path, it's there to stay. "Get Stamped": Concrete is often thought of as gray and boring. It doesn't have to be that way! "Remodeling Success 101": What is "slump"?
  • January – "Foundations of Quality": A home's foundation is simply the most important part of its construction and overall performance. "It's Here": It is a new year and time to unveil our new website. "Remodeling Success 101": How do you strengthen an existing foundation for an addition?

2012 Newsletters

  • December – "The Roof Over Your Head": A roof is a primary factor in any home's curb appeal. But more important, it serves a critical role in maintaining or improving energy efficiency. "Merry Christmas": Christmas wishes from Sound Builders. "Remodeling Success 101": How much is a "square" of roofing?
  • November – "Bringing Windows to Light": A variety of window materials and how your choice impacts your budget and your house. "It's the Journey": Thanksgiving wishes from Sound Builders. "Remodeling Success 101": What are replacement windows?
  • October – "Extending Exterior": Choosing and caring for your home's exterior finish. "Keep Safe": Tips on protecting yourself and your family from carbon monoxide in your home. "Remodeling Success 101": Should you use a low-VOC exterior paint?
  • September – "Cashing in on Energy Efficiency": Remodeling to lower your utility bills. "Back to School": Have a fun and successful school year. "Remodeling Success 101": What's the 'green' benefit of remodeling instead of building new?
  • August – "The Choice is Yours": Balancing the costs of remodeling with your dreams. "Water Safety": Stay safe at the lake and the pool. "Remodeling Success 101": What is an 'allowance'?
  • July – "Preparing for an Addition: Prep Your Neighbors": How to make a large remodeling project less intrusive for the neighbors. "God Bless America": Happy Independence Day! "Remodeling Success 101": How does a downdraft cook top work?
  • June – "Know Your Stress Points: Preparing for an Addition": Minimize stress by keeping the lines of communication open, especially at these key points in the project. "Congratulations, Bailee!" We're proud of our newest graduate. "Remodeling Success 101": What is a 'C of O'?

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My wife and myself thought all Sound Builders' employees were very kind and professional. Thank you.

– Lucky R.
(Brown's Point)


Sound Builders Inc. - PO Box 568, Ravensdale, WA 98051 Phone: 206-246-7100 or 253-859-7978 Email:
Washington State contractor license number: SOUNDB*241K0
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