How To Prepare For A Remodel

A New Living Space is on its Way

Remodeling is a fun and exciting adventure that, although it may have its share of challenges, can be a positive experience that improves the value of your home while creating years of enjoyment. We hope the following tips help you be more prepared for your project.

Your Remodel is an Investment

The first thing to do before you start the remodel is to determine exactly what you want done, why you want to do it, and what your budget is. You’ll want to communicate this to your contractor in the initial stages of the design process.

If you’re remodeling to increase the value of your home, be sure to look at the price/value relationship and look at comps in your area. What remodeling project has the highest rate of return? Homeowners will recoup on average 81% of every dollar they spend on a basic kitchen remodel. That’s an excellent return on your investment. Master bath remodels recoup the second highest rate of return. However, before you start calculating ROI, you need to take a realistic look at your budget. If you haven’t hired a professional remodeling company before, spend some time researching industry costs.

Trust your Designers

Even the most basic remodeling projects, such as a bathroom, involve a laundry list of decisions. Transitional, modern, or traditional? Does the layout need to be altered, can it be altered? Granite or quartz, cabinetry, what type of tile, what size, what pattern, accent tile, grout color, tubs, plumbing fixtures, accessories, paint color, and more. For most folks, this process can be overwhelming. How do you not only make your soon-to-be remodeled room compliment the rest of your home but also reflect your taste? Trust your designer and the results will exceed your expectations.

Prepare for Disruption

Remodeling is disruptive under the best of circumstances, prepare to have your space invaded and your patience tested. The initial stages bring excitement and things move fast, but soon the days turn into weeks and the friendly contractor starts to resemble the relative who’s worn out his welcome. Even when things go well and you respect the people working on your home, your patience will be tested.

Prepare Your Family and Your Home

Discuss the project with your family. Tell them to steer clear of work areas and let them know to use alternative areas of the home for their day-to-day living needs. Make plans to store your kitchen items out of the way, set aside space in the garage for deliveries and tools, designate a bathroom for the workers, remove pictures from walls and items from work areas, and make sure you’ve got a plan for your pets.

Advise the Neighbors

While communication is important in your home, don’t forget to advise your neighbors of your project. Making neighbors aware goes a long way towards having their support as you upgrade your living space. Monopolizing all the on-street parking for months tends to alienate the friendliest of neighbors. Just a little “heads-up” about your remodel will go a long way.

Realistic Expectations

Ask your contractor about industry standards. For instance, cabinet manufacturers, decking suppliers, and flooring companies can’t control or guarantee how wood will look, what its grain patterns will be, how it will react in our dry climate, or how will it accept stain. If you expect your hardwood floor to look an exact way, there are standards that will determine whether your expectations are realistic. Knowing this ahead of time is best for everyone.

Think “This Old House,” not “HGTV”

The construction industry’s perception of HGTV is uh, well, not very good to put it nicely. Unrealistic timelines, unrealistic prices, actors playing contractors, with everyone wearing smiles. In fairness, I haven’t invested too much of my time watching HGTV programming, but what I’ve seen hasn’t been the most realistic representation. On the opposite side of the spectrum is This Old House. My impression is that this program is far more realistic in portraying a project. It’s comprised of genuine hard-working people involved in projects that take many months to complete. It does take time to do things right, there is a process, and doing things right is never the least expensive way to do it.

Dust and Dirt

There’s no way around it, dust and dirt will find their way where you least expect it. Floor protection, zip walls, filters installed over return air registers, and a deep cleaning when the project is completed go a long way to minimizing dirt’s impact. This should be the contractor’s responsibility.

Enjoy Down Days

Remodeling schedules are nothing short of a juggling act, while riding a unicycle, blindfolded. There will be “buffer days” built into the schedule, they protect the entire schedule from getting disrupted. The plumber may get two days to complete his job and he completes it in one. Take advantage of the days when you’ve got your home to yourself, and know that a day of no activity is much better than a schedule gone awry.

Change Orders

Change orders should be minimal when jobs are thoroughly prepared for. There are, however, hidden surprises lurking that can’t be known ahead of time. It’s wise to set funds aside for change orders, assume you’ll spend an additional 3-4% once the job begins, to be safe. Our experience is that most change orders are the result of clients wanting to make an additional enhancement. It’s usually more cost effective to knock those things out while the job is ongoing.

Communication!

When taking on large projects, you’re really engaging in a relationship with a company and its staff. What’s the key to any successful relationship? Communication. What does healthy communication look like? Transparency, honesty, trust, respect, selflessness, the ability to admit fault, a gentle nature, warmth, and the list goes on. On the contrary, what does an unhealthy relationship looks like? Control, perfectionism, selfishness, distrust, anger, deceit, manipulation, denial, and a variety of other “less than desirable” traits. Granted, we’re all quite imperfect, but in the end, how both parties communicate with each other will have the biggest impact on the job.

It’s worth the Trouble!

Sure, there’s going to be dust and dirt, a few surprises along the way, you’ll be inconvenienced, and the “normalcy” of life will be temporarily disrupted. In the end, you’ll increase the value of your home, you’ll enjoy your newly remodeled space for years to come, and you’ll hopefully make a few new friends along the way – it’s worth the trouble!

REMODEL CHECKLIST

    Prepare the workspace for deconstruction

  • Remove valuables and furniture
  • Cover adjacent room items with drop cloths
  • Remove pictures from adjacent walls
    Communication

  • Prepare your family
  • Let neighbors know about your project
  • Talk to your contractor, their goal is the same as yours
    Creating a temporary kitchen

  • Choose a room that has a water source
  • Use a laundry room or bathroom for dishwashing
  • Set up microwave and coffee maker
  • Fire up the grill
  • Stock up on paper plates and plastic flatware
  • Eat out often
    Support your installers

  • Designate a bathroom for workers
  • Designate a secure tool storage area
  • Identify parking locations
  • Identify roll-off and port-o-let locations
    Get ready for delivery

  • Designate a storage area for materials