Home remodeling can be a big undertaking but can deliver a good return on investment while improving property value. Choosing an experienced contractor and maintaining good communication throughout the project can help make your project a success.
According to the National Association of Realtors, homeowners feel a major sense of accomplishment and get more enjoyment out of their home after a remodel. Common types of home remodels include updating kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor living areas, and even removing or adding walls. You can optimize space, make cosmetic improvements, enhance storage space and even improve energy efficiency.
The pre-construction phase consists of planning, scoping, and sampling materials. You’ll work closely with your contractor to create a desired design. Having specific goals in place and knowing exactly what you want from your remodel can help you keep your project on track and prevent your project from going over budget. In our experience, effective planning is the most critical phase of a successful project.
The planning phase consists of determining your top priorities and budget. Do your homework and make a list with your wants on one side, and your needs on the other. Be as specific as possible by listing your style and brand preferences. Make sketches of your ideas or print off pictures that inspire you. Prioritize your list, so that if the unexpected happens, you will be prepared to make the tough decisions of what can wait, and what cannot.
Before setting the budget for your home remodel, you need to determine how you’ll fund it. Are you paying in cash, taking out a loan or applying for credit? Once you know how much you can afford to spend, set aside 10-20% of your available funds for unexpected expenses. By setting aside a percentage before beginning, you know you will have the funds available to finish your project no matter what happens.
Once you have an idea of the top priorities of your remodel and what will be done to achieve these goals, you should start meeting with contractors. Choosing the right contractor can be difficult. Different contractors have varying qualifications, equipment, experience, work ethic, and, yes, different pricing. One thing for sure is that your project requires experience and expertise. When shopping for contractors keep in mind that the lowest bid is not always the best bid. Contractors who bid too low may be cutting corners on qualified labor or materials. Getting the best quality of work and materials that fit with your budget is most important in the long term.
How do you choose the best contractor? Finding an expert contractor for the right price is usually a top priority for homeowners. Good communication is also important. Do not hesitate to ask questions and gauge their knowledge, skill level, and ability to communicate. Look for a contractor who understands your needs and answers your questions clearly. Here are a few questions you might ask while choosing a contractor:
Have you performed work in the area?
How long have you used your crew?
How long have you been in business?
How experienced is your crew?
What happens if I’m not 100% satisfied with your work?
How can I reach you during the process?
The basic job of a contractor agreement is to outline the project, including tasks, materials, timeline (or phases) and cost. This is the document you and your contractor will consult throughout the job, so make sure it is clear and detailed. It’s important that you are comfortable with all details of the contract. Read it yourself carefully.
The level of this phase of construction depends on your type of remodel. This phase can be very noisy and disruptive and may even require the electricity or water to be shut off for a period of time. The time it takes is dependent on the scope and size of the project. Small projects are typically completed in a day or two, while large projects, such as gutting the interior can take multiple days or weeks.
It is critical to work with a contractor who follows mandated procedures. Look for a contractor who has a record for safe construction practices and who is well-respected in the field.
This phase of the construction process could involve the removal of::
Hot Water Tanks
Air Conditioning Units
Tile & Flooring
Drywall & Interior Walls
Demolition impacts indoor air quality and dust can contain products that are hazardous to human health. There are many precautions that must be taken during this portion of the construction project. If there is significant demolition such as a wall removal, openings, air ducts, and cold air returns should be sealed and secured because an enormous amount of dust can be distributed by the forced air HVAC system and impact its functionality.
It is possible to uncover damage inside the walls during the demolition phase. This can come from plumbing leaks, pest infestation, roof leaks, poor wiring and other problems. Sometimes contractors uncover code violations and poor workmanship. When this happens, the scope of the project may grow. Contractors must fix whatever is wrong before they can move forward with their project. This can increase the cost of the project and can also extend the duration of the project.
Depending on your remodel, there may be a framing phase where the walls and floor are built. The word “framing” generally refers to the studs in the wall that form the visible frame of the structure. In an existing structure, the subfloor and roof may already be in place. Typically, frames are built from wood. These frames make up the “skeleton” of the building.
Your contract should specify who will be responsible for obtaining any permits. Permitting is an important part of large construction projects.
Next, any mechanical aspects of the building must be installed and connected. Typically, this includes items such as wiring, duct work, and plumbing. This is a time when subcontractors may be in and out. Communicate with your contractor to find out who will be on the premises. Stay informed throughout the process to ensure that you are comfortable with the way the remodel is proceeding.