General Remodeling

Insurance Claims Services

If you have never had an insurance claim on your home before, this article could be helpful.

An Automobile claim is such that you deliver the car to the shop, and pay your deductible, and come back and pick it up when it is done.

Home repair claims are a little different, where the insurance funds are disbursed to the homeowner and the mortgage holder, and sometimes to the homeowner and contractor.

Work performed without the express approval of the insurance company may not be reimbursed to you!

Due Diligence is still a responsibility as the homeowner that you must do what you can to minimize further damages to your home, protecting it as possible.

An example is a flooded home, and not allowing that water to drain out of the home, or mopping up what is possible to get up.

With major disasters, many out of state claims workers will appear to help your insurance company to determine the amount needed to correct your home, and they are fast.

So fast, that sometimes they leave some things out, or even use pricing for another part of the country, which may not be applicable to your home here in our area.

All Pro Improvements has tried to make this experience closer to the experience that you may see with an automobile claim, in that we will agree to make the repairs for what the insurance company will agree to pay for those repairs.

We don't know how to be any fairer on that! You will have to pay your deductible, or do some of the work yourself, for us all to be acting legally. 

So if you are waiting on your insurance adjuster, you should be looking for a contractor too.

Once the adjuster makes his determination of the estimated repairs, you would be then looking for a contractor anyway, so get a head start by calling your selected contractor to get onto his work schedule as soon as possible.

With this recent disaster, it could be months, before all of the homes are repaired, and yours could be one of the last ones being repaired! 

Buyer Beware!

Contractors are coming into our area also, from out of state, and then of course there will be the illegal contractors that will take money and not intend on doing the repairs as well.

Get your contractor from an established and local company that you can trust the work to, and that will be here later after the repairs are completed, in the case of any required future service that may be needed.

Demand permits be obtained by the contractor also. See separate article about "Do I need a permit" at this website.

I know this only make sense, but you should verify the contractor with the BBB and with LLR who will verify the contractor is or is not licensed at this time with the State of SC.

So don’t be fooled by a contractor saying to “look us up in Tennessee on the BBB for example, because they will be returning to Tennessee afterwards!

Don’t be fooled by someone PRETENDING to be with a local contractor either!

This is a time of Buyer Beware, and you must be careful with your selection of your contractor!

Our company BBB listing is at this link-

Search other business at BBB locally at

LLR direct link- Select “Residential Builders” for home repairs,
or “Contractors-Commercial” for business repairs.

Verify that the phone number you are given is their true phone number also.  The fastest search is using the Contractor’s License Number. All Pro Improvements license number is 23265 as a Residential Builder.

Contact us today by phone 798-4486, or email us at 

See the video at Left above to learn more about the types of claims we handle?

Do I Need a Building Permit Link


Decks and Patios as Outdoor Spaces

The yard was fun for lawn darts, if they were still legal. Croquet is a game I used to play as a child, and we don't throw ball any longer. Now it seems our lawns are areas of concern, needing work, weeding, watering, etc., yet we also need room for entertaining, large family gatherings, or similar activities, just a little less physical.

A Deck or Patio can get you that space outdoors, which invites you and your friends to the outdoors.

Remodeling a deck by enlarging or simply resurfacing your deck, will make that existing deck an area that you would want to go out and enjoy, once again! Now there are many different options, not available to us during the "lawn dart" age! From treated lumber, stained or painted, to composite decking, with aluminum handrails, or a mixture of these items, can allow more outdoor activities, and improve your visibility to the surrounding area, if desire.

All Pro Improvements offers Design and Build for your planned projects, indoors or out. Seeing your project, before it is built, helps to realize the end product, but you won't believe the final end product, until construction is completed! This drawing shows a large deck, with a cement patio below for the planned hot tub. The home is not drawn, and the surrounding trees are not shown, allowing the full image of the planned deck only! 
Still can't see it, then see the below photo showing the hot tub patio, and the detail of the lattice work below, which created additional storage for those water proof items!
Now look back to the drawing, and see how the plans were altered to the newly constructed deck and patio! 
The image far left shows the top of the deck, following construction. Note the handrails are a combination of treated lumber, with aluminum balusters to better allow visibility of the surrounding natural landscape, trees, etc. 
 Now we have the Composite Decking, with various manufacturers including Trex, Azek, Choice Dek, and more trademark names, which also brings some confusion as to just which Composite decking installation and service you would want! What type of handrails would you want? The best answer is to question on HOW YOU PLAN TO USE YOUR NEW OUTDOOR SPACE? 
Do you want privacy? Do you want to give up that privacy to be able to view out upon the rest of the world? This is part of the Design/Build services offered by All Pro Improvements, so let's get back to the Composite deck constructed at right,
 with aluminum handrails. This particular deck was actually a re-surface of the existing deck, by removing the original decking boards, and installing new Trex Transcends decking boards, along with black aluminum handrails, for a truly finished look! Even the forethought and planning for matching lattice below this deck makes for a beautiful enhancement to any home!
Never needing painting or staining, this is truly low maintenance!
Patios and pavers are other options, when you don't need or desire to be so far off of the ground! Often less expensive than a newly constructed deck, a patio has advantages also to be realized, including low maintenance! Stamped concrete has maintenance to be realized, requiring period sealing of the surface of the concrete, that would not be necessary with a natural stone. Stamped concrete is concrete, literally stamped with a design of a stone type, and colored to your desire. These often emulate the look of pavers, slate, or other natural stones, but can include customized designs of your favorite team or theme! 
This stamped concrete with slate look was colored redish to go along with the existing brick of that home! 
Pavers are yet another option of reclaiming that back yard of little use, with little maintenance of periodic sand swept back into the crevaces between the pavers every couple of years, depending on the water flow at your location. Gutters can help to minimize this. 
Pavers are concrete stones, man made and colored, set upon either a concrete surface, or normally upon a gravel bed packed to near 98% compaction (a stone is 100% compaction!) and a bed of masonry sand placed upon that gravel, and packed again and leveled, before the pavers are installed. This process allows the paver system to drain, and can be placed in places that drainage is already a known potential problem! 
The retaining walls surrounding this paver patio system is not only steps to the surrounding yard, but also seating when needed. The true function of this retaining wall that matches to the paver system, is to hold back (or retain) the earth behind the wall. This retaining wall was lined to prevent water from passing through, and a French drain was installed, as the back yard is much higher than this new Paver style patio! 
In this view, you can see this large, 14 foot wide, by 56 foot long paver patio system, and the surrounding terrain, and why the paver system was best for this home and location! You cannot see it, but below the pavers, at a planned future hot tub area is a cement slab, to support the planned hot tub, and the weight, while keeping the tub from tilting over time. 
Pavers up close and personal shows how a professionally installed paver system can go around plumbing, wiring, and more! 
 Custom cutting of these pavers to curves and even to straight lines makes the paver patio appear as if was there, long before these other items were introduced, making the paver patio a natural accessory to your home, and impervious to lawn darts!
Call All Pro Improvements today at 798-4486, or click on the Contact Us page, and 

send us an email, but expect a prompt response! 
We want to improve your back yard, front yard, side yard, as well as your interior and exterior of your home! This paver patio was the final step following the new windows, siding, and roofing for this homeowner! Remember to see our Gallery for an ongoing and growing display of our remodeling projects in the Greater Columbia SC area. 




Kitchens and Bath Remodeling

Kitchen design workKitchens and Bath Remodeling are normally considered as very similar projects! 

Both have cabinets, sinks, and countertops, normally with tile floors, making this type of work very similar in our industry! You may not think of them being similar, but without the appliances, toilet and tub or shower, they are very much the same! 

See our gallery for photos of kitchens and baths that have been remodeled, or bring your photos to us for us to make that magazine look in your home! 

Our designers can design your kitchen, and using our factory direct cabinet pricing guarantees you a beautiful kitchen and at reasonable pricing! 

Drawing design at left, Nearly completed kitchen at right!

New factory cabinets, stained inside and out with a finish only the factory can apply, with hidden hinges, full overlay doors, glass door at corner cabinet, new appliances, and of course new granite counter tops! The newly re-finished wood floors completes this kitchen, only missing their coffee maker!

See more kitchens, baths, and other interior remodeling projects in our gallery, and Call All Pro Improvements today at 803-798-4486 for your free estimate!



Patios and Porches

Patios and Porches

By Mac Smith, All Pro Improvements

What is the difference? Basically the Porch has a roof covering the “Patio” which could be a “deck” instead! A Patio is normally closer to the ground level and masonry type construction also.

You don’t have to be a designer, to know what you want in a patio or a porch. Instead you should know “How you plan to USE the patio or porch” and then the design will come into play!


Since 1997, we have asked customers how they plan to use their new patio or porch, and the answers were mostly, entertaining, sitting outside, large family gatherings, and watching the kids play. Some were also considering where the pets could go during bad weather, and still others wanted an outdoor space for smoking, or storm watching!

Mostly though, the answer was explaining why they wanted more living area, extended to the outdoors.

Our customers seemed somewhat shocked in our asking “How do you plan to use your Patio or Porch?” but the answer helped dramatically to design their space!

Basically a 10’X10’ area is needed for a 4-chair dinette or table, for example. Where this furniture can sit in smaller areas, as small as 8’X8’, this would cause for someone to have to get up, when another person wanted to get a drink, for example.

The “Path” is also to be considered. What’s the path? The path is the walking area from the entry to the porch from ground level to the entry door to the home! This will be the highest traffic area of the entire space, be it a patio or porch, from where entered from the home, and exited to the yard. This alone can help you to best locate your steps to the ground level!

Getting an idea of the furniture planned to go onto the porch or patio drastically helps to design the space more properly, as you can see. Other needs may be a pet door, and that location might change the furniture layout. Another consideration is the grilling space.

Once the above is discussed, and possibly more, the size is then determined, hopefully within your budget.

Now let’s discuss types, patios versus decks, and then Porches.

Patios are normally at or near to ground level. Some are raised, but most all are masonry with a combination of brick or block, with a concrete surface or floor, which may be stamped concrete, brush finished concrete, pavers,  or tiled as desired. Designs such as your initial, or nautical designs may be inset within the above mentioned for custom looks also! Do you want a Gamecock at your new patio floor?

Patios normally do not require permits and can actually be placed closer to property lines. This is considered as if a “Hardscape” item of Landscaping by many permitting authorities. An improperly designed patio could be determined as a fence, due to the slope of property, and may require a permit.

Decks are normally used in the place of a patio, as these can be higher off of the ground level, for less expense. Most porches are simply a roof built upon the patio or deck, without walls. A Pergola can be used instead of a roof to complete a new porch also!  All of these would require a building permit!

A porch is a roof covered patio or deck. The roof design we build is designed to match to your current home in appearance and construction. “An Addition should NOT look like an Addition!”

A plan is coming to mind already, from discussing just these 3 types of outdoor spaces, but then there is another factor that should come into play, and that could be the long term decision of how that space might become modified at a later date! (Planning ahead for other possibilities)

Some customers get porches now, planning for a future sunroom, or other type of room, allowing the use of the space today, with plans for an enclosure for later! Some get patios or decks now, again so they can use the space, until they later want the roof & walls built for a room, be it a sunroom or a bedroom for a child expected to outgrow their existing bedroom arrangement! Even if there is no plan to “enclose” this space in the future, the foundation should be built to allow that ability, just in case! Lexington County was once requiring a deck to be constructed as a buildable space, since so many people were enclosing their older decks anyway!

So, we have briefly discussed size, and various designs and the differences of those designs. Now let’s talk about the materials.

Screen Room on Brick and Slab foundation

A Patio, which is normally masonry, should have a brick surround to match to the main home brick surround, if  applicable. (If it is at ground level, the future of making this into a room is removed, as there needs to be at least  4” above ground level, and up to 12” below ground level to accept future walls, and to keep water from coming in  under those new planned walls.)

So we now have brick as a main component of the patio. If you don’t have a brick wall base at your home, then a  simple concrete, or stamped concrete look would possibly be matched to your home.

The patio surface can be almost anything, but again is normally masonry! Concrete with a brushed finish is very  popular. Terracotta Tiles, broken or not, was a highly used patio and porch surface in previous years. Pavers can  also be used, built on a sand base. Today however the finishes are concrete (cement) with a brushed finish, for  reducing slipping. Other items are ceramic tile, stamped concrete, stained or acid washed concrete. There is one  more, which is rare, and that is to have a deck floor, with the masonry foundation.

At left is a brush finished concrete patio, and a brick surround newly built screen room again with the brushed concrete floor. Walls were framed with traditional treated lumber, also using a traditionally framed new shed roof and siding, all to match to the home's original construction!


Decks and Porches are normally built of wood, with the occasional brick foundation or surround.

The surfaces of the deck for the porch can be wood or masonry.

When building a deck type of structure, knowing in advance what is necessary to meet the future dreams and demands, be it from entertaining, sitting, sunbathing, etc., can make the difference on construction methods used. A hot tub for example would require additional supports of course, but also knowing how many people may be coming for entertaining purposes can also cause the construction to be “upgraded”.

We don’t know why other companies would build a deck type structure, without building it as strong as it possibly can be, as long as it is feasible, but they do. A deck designed to hold 20 people could fail if 30 people were to be entertaining there!

Deck around tree, with all wood Screen Porch

Our company has installed many porches to existing decks, and most of the pre-existing decks required  modifications to allow for the planned activities, as well as the planned roof structure and/or wall weight being  added!

These modifications could have been done in the original design for a little more money and effort!

This deck was built to go around the tree that this homeowner wanted to keep. Special framing needs  were  required of this, to allow for the expansion of the tree, and roots, over the years, as well as to support the  decking boards there. Also the design of this deck has the decking boards running diagonally, requiring the framing  of the deck to be substantially different, with the joists below at 12” instead of the normal 16”. The hand rails  were required at the far end of this deck, as the floor surface of the deck was above 30” off the ground level.  This yard slopes, as most do, and the end closer to the camera did not require handrails, but the homeowner  wanted the “finished” look of the rails at the entire deck. (See our Gallery for more photos of this porch and  deck!)

If you look closely, there is a screen door to her new porch also. So this customer got a new screened porch and a  new deck, and now there is plenty of room for her and her grandchildren when they come to visit. She can sit  inside the screened room, while the grandchild plays on the deck, or in the back yard! Just what SHE wanted!

She can also entertain in the main home, with a door to the porch, then another door out onto the deck! She is now ready for a lot of people visiting, or for just her and her grandchildren!

Front Porch with Colonial style rails and post

A porch can be at the front or the rear of the home. This new Front Porch makes for a grand entrance, compared  to the original steps and landing that was there! Two rockers and a table is all that this homeowner wanted at her  front porch.

The brick surround foundation was not used here, because she wanted to save the money, but also because of  the steps planned, water from the roof and yard could have become “backed up” there near the front steps, and  possibly gone into under the home!

Drainage aspects are a concern when designing your porch or patio also! Small porch or Stoop cover

This same customer had us to build her a smaller porch at her driveway entrance to match to the new front porch. We sometimes refer to this as a “Stoop Cover” instead of a porch, but it is built like

a porch, has the same construction, handrails, matching rooflines, ceiling, beams, and matching vinyl siding! So regardless of size, “An Addition should NOT look like an Addition!”

You really don’t want to attach anything to your home, that “looks manufactured", do you? There are many different “KIT” type constructed porch covers that just don’t match to the home, and could take away from the value of a home or neighborhood, when considering curb appeal.

Hip roof porch cover This porch is difficult to tell if it came with the  home, or not! Only the change in the roof slope  can  tell you what is new, and what was not.  Columns helped to make this porch cover more  attractive. See the brick surround, concrete patio  surface, matching roof lines, and notice also the large seating area! (They should have opted for the ceiling fan  though!)

Move your mouse over to see just WHAT IS NEW on this home!

So Patios and Porches come in so many different looks, and types, that only YOUR imagination can make the  difference, as well as how you plan to use your new outdoor area! A patio with a large fireplace would be very nice  also! Outdoor kitchens, located on the new patio or deck, or a simple fire pit can take an otherwise dark cool  evening, and turn it into a magical night outdoors!





This front porch makes a statement!  The stacked stone bases to the new columns support the upper redesigned gable with a 

cedar shake look!

The wrought iron handrails combined makes a huge difference in the entrance to this home!

(See “Before” by moving your mouse over the photo above and at right!)

So whether you want an outdoor seating area, and area for entertaining, or even being prepared for larger family functions, you just need to call All Pro Improvements (803-798-4496), to set a time for your Free Estimate and start making notes/drawings on your new space, and how you would like it to be, and remember,


Decide now just how you plan to USE your new space!


“An Addition should NOT look like an Addition!”


Because one day you may want your porch to become a new room!

You want more home value!

You want to be proud of your home, for years to come!


The homeowner above had her rear screen porch enclosed to

become a Sunroom, shown in the below photos. This is no longer

a porch, as it is instead now counted as heated space in the overall

home square footage! We match the new stacked stone to her existing fireplace in the family room!


Stacked stone knee walls, Sliding windows with Transoms above, with a separate heatpump. See the new Pergola also, which offers partial shade.


This is known as an “Enclosure” of an existing space, which was the former screen room below! This room and porch dramatically improves the home, it's appearance and value, while also allowing the homeowner's to get all that they wanted for their home!

For more on Outdoor Spaces, see Decks and Patios!

Written 2/2012 by Licensed SC Residential Builder – #23265

McQueen “Mac” Smith

President of

All Pro Improvements, Inc.

Home Additions

Additions to your home can include Master Suites, Dining rooms, Kitchen or bath extensions, Sunrooms, Screen Rooms, or even enclosing of an existing carport or garage can add the extra living area your home needs and wants, but maybe you are wanting more?

  More windows make for more light, even during the winter! Using the right windows, we offer very energy efficient windows, which can match in design to your existing windows, including color matching if needed!

Whether you want an In-Law suite, or a new family room, dining room to change the "Great Room" setup, or a new Master Suite with a master bath, granite, marble, cultured marble, body sprays, shower, spa tub, fancy or simple, All Pro Improvements can help you to have your dreams come true!

After all "An Addition should NOT look like an Addition!"

Built to match your home's exterior, the interior can be as modern as you wish, or matched to the interior of your home as it is!

Consider the possibilities by viewing our Gallery, and ask about our design and build services!

Quality Service

We offer:

  • Ground up construction to completion-Turn Key
  • Ground up construction to "Dry In Status"
  • Enclosing your existing space
  • Decks and Patios
  • Roofing, Gutters, Shutters, Replacement Windows, Siding, insulation upgrades, flooring, as well as interior remodeling!
  • A clean job from start to finish!
  • Financing through FHA Hud title 1 - No Appraisal - Federally backed loans.
  • Whatever you want, that is a responsible building design, we can do for you.
  • We can do as little, or as much as you want done, to help your project to come in at your budget demands. Some projects may even be done in stages, again as the budget allows!

Plan drawing


Explore our website, and contact us for YOUR Free Estimate! Learn more about our Design/Build services that may save  you thousands!





Remodeling Inside or Out

Remodeling interior or exterior is taking the existing structure, and modifying it to what you want. Exterior remodeling can include new siding, roofing, decking, and more. 

Examples of interior remodeling:

  • Moving or removing interior walls
  • adding walls
  • vaulting an existing flat ceiling
  • enclosing attic or basement spaces

There are even simpler interior remodeling available such as:

  • simply painting, or replacing the existing floor coverings
  • change carpet to wood floors, or wood to carpet
  • installing tile or vinyl

Our installers can make this type of work look easy! A true professional can make any job look easy, but keeping a clean work area and meeting certain time lines takes even more professionalism.

Remodelers, specializing in remodeling, are a special breed of contractor! Most contractors know how to build a new home, or subdivision, using today's building codes and typical construction methods. A Remodeler, or remodeling contractor, has to be knowledgeable with today's building codes, as well as past building codes and/or building practices, to be able to adapt the existing structure to the building codes of today, without running the price up to out of this world!

During the recessionary periods of recent, and in the past, new construction type builders have attempted to enter into the remodeling market, and quickly exited, and vowed never to return!

Not only is remodeling pricing difficult, but when a builder is modifying ANYTHING on one wall, such as a window or door, BOTH ROOMS AFFECTED must be remodeled, or at least sheetrock corrections and painted from corner to corner! (Think about that!)

Want a wall removed, we can do that! Now let's also fix the ceiling, and fix the floor covering that is not under that removed wall, and if it was, it isn't the same color now!

This is what we do, and we like doing it! We take your home, and modify it to your desire, and we will be priced on target for the work required.

Fair and up-front pricing is important to our company's success, and to your budget! We don't want to get to the end of the project, and then you learn you went over budget! Changes are a part of this business of updating older homes and bringing them into this century, but even with those changes, we can prepare you in advance, so that you have a really good idea of the ending investment!

Remodeling is an investment in many ways! Not only will you enjoy the "new" home or parts of that home, but your home will be realized from appraisals to insurance coverage aspects, to be a newer home! A home built in 1949, remodeled properly, can be insured as if it were a 15 year old home! Unless you change the overall "footprint" of your home, your tax basis may not change!

Now let's meet, and get to talking about what modifications you want to make, determine a budget, and then, if you are willing to go forward, we can put together a proposal for your project. During this first meeting we will guide you to let you know when you are "about to open a can of worms" and dramatically increase the overall costs.

For more information on "How do we satisfy our customers" simply click on the link, to learn how our step by step, from first meeting expectations to proposal goes.

Call All Pro Improvements today at 803-798-4486, or click on the "Contact us" and send us an email, but anticipate a rapid response also.

We offer moving of walls, ceilings, bathrooms, kitchens, whether relocating those areas, or simply enlarging those areas. We also offer additions for adding on to your existing home, which might be better for your overall budget, than some plans we have investigated in the past!

A client wanted a master suite, with the huge garden tub, walk in closet, and of course that large oversized bedroom she wanted. When she realized that she wanted would be a "wing" added, and at some $85,000, we were able to guide her to enclose her rarely used carport, get most of the options she wanted, and a new laundry room, for only $31,000. She was happy for years with her new master bedroom suite, since she wasn't using the carport anyway! She was able to unload some storage items as well.

About Us

All Pro Improvements Provides a Total System.

Our company was Founded on Quality, and Built on trust.

All Pro Improvements has been in the construction and remodeling business since 1997, and we have probably already worked for your neighbors.  Word of mouth from our happy customers is our number one way of getting new home improvement projects.

We specialize in all kinds of home additions and improvements, including:

We use only the best in materials. prime lumber, energy efficient windows, brick and siding.

We are licensed, insured, and bonded, as well as long time members of the Better Business Bureau.

Your home could not be in better hands.

Quality materials are used on every construction job, and expert workmanship makes a fine home!

  • Quality Materials Used on Every Job
  • Quality Service
  • Quality Workmanship
  • Long Term Workers
  • Quality Tools
  • Better Business Bureau Member
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • General Liability Insurance
  • 5-Year Limited Contractors Guaranty
  • Manufacturers Warranty Support
  • SC Residential Builders License #23265
  • Bonded