This article was updated on 07/08/19. Happy National Chocolate With Almonds Day!
As always, be sure to update your homeowners insurance to reflect the new updated replacement cost of the home.
The most successful residential remodeling contractors satisfy their customers and make money because they focus on a comprehensive set of details. The same steps apply to bathroom remodeling, kitchen renovation, or reroofing.
The steps to follow arent some kind of esoteric secrets that general contractors, handymen, or subcontractors only know, but they're spelled out often either. The process is learned by experience on various building contracts. The process is spelled out below.
Step 1: Planning Your Remodeling Project
A couple of decades ago a small revolution happened in the software development industry. The new process was named object oriented programming. The basic idea was that project planning should be given key focus. Home improvement is no different. Heres how:
Think about exactly which areas will be affected during the renovations. There is no reason to completely gut the room in many cases.
Prepare your work area completely; taking shortcuts will just bite you in the long run.
Bathroom renovations have an important consideration. Expansion should be considered because it allows for extended functionality like a jetted tub or whirlpool.
Estimate all your building costs as close as you can. Work within a realistic construction and exterior or interior decorating budget, but leave a fudge factor for unexpected costs. Dont forget to include things like dumpster pulls and building permit and inspection fees.
Do as much as of the work yourself to save money, but subcontract work that requires licenses that you might not have, like an electrical one for rewiring your circuit breaker box or an HVAC license for charging a central air conditioner or recovering refrigerant.
Be sure to select a contractor carefully. If a new roof is part of your plan, these roofing contractor selection tips will ensure success. The world of roofing contractors can be shady so buyer beware!
Research the equity value of other houses in your subdivision if you are considering selling in the near future. You wont get your investment back if you overbuild. Of course if you are going to stay put, spend all the money you want.
Quality Construction Material is Key
Always go with green eco-friendly building materials when you can. Its better for your health, environmentally friendly, and increasingly, a good investment. Consider re-purposed wood products, soy-based insulation, and the newer low to no VOC paint.
Purchase high quality ceramic tile, Energy Star kitchen appliances, and name-brand bathroom fixtures (or youll never find replacement parts).
Resist getting locked into the latest trendy decorating concepts in most cases. Respect timeless styles where possible.
Lighting fixtures deserve a lot of consideration. Think out of the box for functionality; wall sconces are great for hallways, monorail pendant lights are stylish in the living room, and skylights reduce utility bills.
Upgrade to energy efficient windows and get an energy tax credit.
Store building material correctly at your work site. Schedule deliveries logically and carefully. For instance, laminate flooring planks and hardwood should be on a flat surface in the home a minimum of 3 days prior to installation so they can adapt to the interior humidity.
Use the correct type of paint; oil over oil, water-based over water-based. In most cases, water-based is the way to go. Clean-up is much easier and modern latex paint is nearly indistinguishable from oil-based.
Successful Contractors Focus on Detail
Be a realist. Expect a degree of chaos and confusion during your renovation process. Take a flexible attitude; dont freak out!
If youre rewiring a room, do overdo it. Homeowners always find themselves wanting more electrical outlets than the building code calls for.
The cardinal rule: measure twice, cut once.
Try not to construct narrow staircases or halls. They make furniture moving difficult and are claustrophobic.
Likewise, when installing doors, go for a larger one; it will visually open up the space and permits freer movement.
Put safety first; yes, it will make the job longer.
Dont mix architectural styles unless your homeowners association allows you to be eccentric.
A professional air conditioning and heating contractor will use worksheets designed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) to ensure that he installs a correctly-sized HVAC system. Too big or too small and it will be inefficient and prone to have maintenance issues.
Random Home Remodeling Tips
Always use the proper tool for the task at. Own it, rent it, buy it, or borrow it. Screwdrivers are not prybars.
Obey the applicable local building code. Ive seen inspectors demand ripping out substantial work in place. Thats a real budget-buster.
So, pull permits and schedule your electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and structural inspections, whichever you need.
In some areas you can register a DBA (Doing Business As) small business name and apply for contractor discounts at paint stores and home improvement or hardware stores. Your savings might add up!
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About the author:
Kelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.