Online Chat
  • Maryland 301-917-2273
  • Washington DC 202-556-2273
  • Virginia 703-803-2273
  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    A remodeling project of any size is a daunting task that requires careful planning and preparation. Homeowners who’ve already decided to remodel may hesitate to move forward simply because they don’t know where to start. This guide explains the process of a remodeling project from concept to completion, with advice on how to make the best decisions along the way to ensure a successful outcome.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part I - Getting Started On The Right Foot

    Remodeling projects involve a great deal of decision making, and the more decisions you can make about a project early on, the more successful the entire project will be. Here are some important steps to take toward making critical decisions during the very earliest stages of planning a remodeling project.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part I - Getting Started On The Right Foot

    1. Understand WHY You’re Remodeling

    It may seem obvious why you’ve decided to renovate, but it’s important to make sure that everyone involved in the decision-making process is on the same page before moving forward. Understanding your reasons for remodeling will guide the rest of your decision-making process and budget.

    Common reasons for remodeling include:

    • To update a space functionally, aesthetically, or both
    • To accommodate changes in lifestyle, family size, or work
    • To make the home more universal or implement aging-in-place elements
    • For resale purposes

    Your own reasons for remodeling may include smaller but equally important features that improve day-to-day life, such as more counter space, extra storage, increasing lighting, or improving flow. At the same time, your reasons may include big-picture items such as better environmental control and lowering long-term living costs. And understanding what you don’t like about your current space can be crucial to defining the changes that you’ll implement during a remodel as well.

    Make a list of all your reasons for planning a remodel, prioritize them, and share them with your remodeler. Your designer will help you strike a balance between your needs and wants to create a design that fits your style and solves your current design dilemmas, within your level of budget.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part I - Getting Started On The Right Foot

    2. Think About How You Want To Manage The Project

    You can choose a remodeling contractor to oversee your project, or you can be your own general contractor. A contractor is responsible for hiring subcontractors to perform the labor, locating and ordering materials, securing permits, overseeing the timeline and budget, and other general management of the project. Homeowners who’ve worked on their own home improvement projects in the past or want a high level of involvement in the remodel can make great project managers, and ones who are truly invested in the work.

    If you choose to hire a remodeling contractor, keep in mind that there are different types of contractors available. A remodeling firm or a design-build company usually does all of the work associated with a remodel in-house, including project management, design and drafting, and construction. A design-build firm is perfect for busy homeowners who want a lower level of involvement in the project and expect the expertise of professional guidance surrounding important decisions.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part I - Getting Started On The Right Foot

    3. Allow Enough Time For Planning

    When you hire a design-build remodeling firm, the preliminary planning phase of a remodeling project takes around 6 to 8 weeks, during which you select a design and choose materials in order to finalize a budget. After the contract is signed at the end of this initial planning phase, it takes another 6 to 8 weeks to secure building permits and order materials.

    Expect the planning phase of your project to take 3 to 4 months after you choose a remodeler, depending on the scope of your project. If you act as your own contractor you can work at your own speed, but you’ll need plenty of extra time to dedicate to the project in order to move forward in a timely manner, which is crucial when you’re living under the same roof as a remodeling project.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part II - Defining a Budget and Securing Financing

    As soon as you know that you want to remodel and why, it’s time to figure out what the project will cost and how to pay for it. Homeowners who plan to use a line of equity or refinance their homes should begin moving forward with financing before project costs have been finalized, as the application and approval process may take longer than expected.

    Other homeowners pay cash for a remodel and may already know exactly how much they have to spend, but every project still relies on a budget for guidance. Here are the steps you can start taking to accurately estimate a budget and secure financing.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part II - Defining a Budget and Securing Financing

    1. Meet With Remodeling Contractors and Designers

    One way to begin nailing down some price ranges is to meet with designers for an initial consultation to discuss needs, ideas, and general prices. The more information you can provide about your needs, wants, priorities, and the condition of your home, the easier it will be for the designer to give you an accurate price range.

    The first meeting or two with a remodeler is free, and there’s no obligation to move forward with a project at this stage in the process. The designer may also visit your home to view the space and get a more accurate idea of the project scope and pricing. Meeting with designers is also an informal interview process that helps homeowners decide which contractor to move forward with.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part II - Defining a Budget and Securing Financing

    2. Expect Budgeting To Take Time and Money

    In order to accurately define a budget, it’s necessary to draft a design and choose materials, and this preliminary process takes time and money. An initial price range helps homeowners understand the costs involved in a remodeling project and their options for payment, but definitive choices are required to finalize a budget.

    A design-build remodeler will charge a small design fee to draft different ideas for a space. Clients who want to move forward with a single design can put down a retainer that will go toward the final cost of the project. The retainer fee covers costs while the budget, timeline, and contract are finalized.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part II - Defining a Budget and Securing Financing

    3. Additional Budgeting Tips

    Budget using fixed pricing instead of allowances. A budget that uses “allowances” to price items offers a price range for each item, leaving room for changes that can happen along the way. The danger of a budget based on allowances is that the potential price range of the overall project can vary drastically. A budget based on fixed prices is more accurate and reliable.

    Plan to pay 8-12% in cash up front. A preliminary design fee and retainer are required in order to create the budget that will be used to secure financing for the project. Homeowners should plan to have around 10% of their total project costs available in cash before they move forward with financing, in order to cover these important initial costs.

    Budget for option-pricing and hidden conditions. Setting aside some contingency money for the unknown is never a bad idea. Remodeling projects may reveal hidden conditions like rotting wood, termite damage, and structural problems, which aren’t accounted for in the budget but become necessary for completing the project. Option pricing is less crucial but can be included in a budget for some items, to allow homeowners to change their decisions (and pricing) on certain products and materials.

    Set money aside for the afterthoughts. Some construction requests don’t come up until long after the budget is complete. At the last minute, homeowners may ask the building crew to install their used kitchen cabinets in the basement or additional lighting fixtures in an adjacent space. Also consider whether you’ll want extra money for new furniture, window treatments, and other items to complete your new space.

    Overestimate costs or under-budget the project. Either add 10% to your final budget amount or plan a budget that’s 10% lower than the actual amount you have to spend, in order to provide a cushion for unforeseen circumstances and help protect yourself from going over your budget.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part III - Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

    If you’ve decided to hire a contractor to oversee your remodel, you’ll need to find the right person for the job before you can move forward with budgeting. There are likely dozens of remodeling contractors in your area, but there are techniques you can use for narrowing your choices. Here are some ideas to consider when choosing a remodeling contractor.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part III - Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

    1. Choose a Remodeling-Specific Contractor

    The best choice for a remodel is a company that specializes in improving existing architecture, so the first and easiest way to narrow your options is to choose a remodeling contractor rather than a contractor who specializes in new construction. A design-build remodeling firm is a full-service contractor that takes care of all the project needs in-house, while a general remodeling contractor relies more on subcontractors to complete the work.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part III - Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

    2. Seek Recommendations

    Talk to friends, family, and co-workers who’ve renovated spaces in their homes during the last five years. Visit local suppliers and showrooms to get ideas about designs, materials, and recommendations on remodeling companies they have relationships with.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part III - Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

    3. Interview Potential Contractors

    An initial meeting is necessary to define the parameters of a project before either party agrees to move forward, and you may need to have several of these meetings before you find the right contractor. Knowing which questions to ask potential contractors is key to testing their knowledge and discovering which one you’re most comfortable working with. Touch on items such as:

    • Design Advice – share your list of current design problems, needs, and priorities with the remodeler to hear their ideas and receive a rough price range
    • Project Management – who will oversee your project and be available to meet with you and address questions?
    • Photos – ask to see a portfolio of photos from similar projects the contractor has recently completed.
    • Timeline – what’s the estimated timeline for the project (number of weeks or months); when could the company take you on as a client (project start date); and when would construction begin?
    • Contract – find out what’s included—and also what’s not included—in the final contract
    • Warranty – most states require a one-year warranty by law, so a company that offers a better one can be the sign of a high-quality contractor
    • Who actually performs the work – depending on the scope of the project, the contractor may hire outside subcontractors to complete some of the work.

    Most contractors won’t be able to answer every single question you have, but if you get a lot of answers you don’t like or the contractor simply doesn’t have clear answers, it’s a good sign to keep meeting with contractors. And the more meetings you have the more you’ll know about which questions to ask.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part III - Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

    4. Choose The Contractor That Matches Your Project, Needs, and Personality

    Even the most highly-rated contractor isn’t right for every project or homeowner. Look for a contractor with a skill level that matches the scope of your project. Consider your budget, style, and desired level of involvement in the project, in addition to your comfort-level with the contractor. Ultimately, you should choose the contractor and company you feel most comfortable working with throughout the careful and sometimes long remodeling process.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part IV - Evaluating and Selecting Products and Materials

    Choosing materials is the most overwhelming part of remodeling for many homeowners, especially if the remodel is in a room like a kitchen or bathroom where extensive materials are required. The very task of choosing the perfect wall color can take a lot of contemplation, so making these decisions for dozens of finishes and other features can seem endless. Here are a few tips to make the process less complicated.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part IV - Evaluating and Selecting Products and Materials

    1. Rely On The Expertise Of Your Designer or Contractor

    Your designer will help you stay focused when it comes to choosing products and materials by getting to know your tastes, style, and budget and presenting appropriate materials based around those parameters. A designer also understands how to combine different types of materials and finishes to create a seamless and cohesive look in the new space.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part IV - Evaluating and Selecting Products and Materials

    2. Use Both Design Tools and Real Examples To Help Visualize The New Space

    A designer may use computer-aided design (CAD) programs to help clients conceptualize materials used in the new space. A designer may also use materials displays, in-house showrooms, and photos of designs from past projects to help homeowners visualize a new design and feel comfortable with their decisions. And attending area home tours is a fun and interactive way to find ideas, narrow your style and design preferences, and talk to homeowners about their own remodeling experiences.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part IV - Evaluating and Selecting Products and Materials

    3. Choose Brand Names and Proven Products

    It’s always advisable to choose reliable brands and universal designs with proven quality and durability. Your designer is likely to recommend certain brands and types of products over others, for longevity, durability, and serviceability. There are plenty of new design products available all the time, but many of these products turn out to be short-lived trends that can’t be serviced when they fail.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part IV - Evaluating and Selecting Products and Materials

    4. Get To Know Your Own Style

    Knowing what you like equally as well as what you don’t like can save a lot of contemplation over different styles and features of products and materials. Pinterest and Houzz.com are two excellent websites for finding and bookmarking design ideas, which can show both you and your designer the styles and types of products you prefer, making both of your jobs a lot easier.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    Coming up with a plan to live around a remodeling project can become a project all on its own. Kitchen remodels, home additions, and remodels in high-use bathrooms tend to cause the biggest inconveniences for most households. Here are a few ideas for limiting the inconveniences of a remodel while you continue to live in your home.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    1. Find Out What To Expect

    Talk to your remodeling contractor as early on as possible about what to expect during the construction phase of remodeling. Ask questions about the crew’s working hours and schedule, the timeline for the project, and whether you’ll have limited access or no access to the space.

    Discuss your scheduling options with your contractor as well. Depending on your home life, work schedule, and daily routines, a construction crew may be able to modify their working hours to accommodate certain situations or households. You can also consider planning a vacation or staying with family or friends around the time of your remodel, if the project is going to be a major inconvenience for your household.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    2. Consider What You’ll Do With Your Pets

    Don’t forget to plan for the safety of your furry family members during a remodel. Pets should be kept out of the construction area during working hours and may be subjected to loud noises and machinery at home. Keep in mind that builders will be coming and going from your home all day, putting loose pets at-risk for escape. And remember that a construction zone can be dangerous to pets and other family members, even after the crew has gone home for the night.

    Each pet, home, and remodeling project is different and calls for a unique solution when it comes to pet safety. Solutions may include boarding pets or sending them to stay in another home for the duration of the project, taking pets to work, using doggie daycare facilities, or kenneling pets at home during the day.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    3. Take The Time To Get Rid Of Unwanted Items

    When was the last time you cleaned out your pantry or took all the dishes out of your cupboards? Taking the time to throw or give away items you no longer use means storing fewer items during the project, reducing unwanted household clutter, and better organization inside your new cabinets when the project is complete.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    4. Plan To Deep Clean Your Home After The Project

    Regardless of how careful and clean the building crew is in your home, construction dust is impossible to avoid completely and can be a concerning issue in homes with children or people with sensitive allergies. Plan to deep clean your entire home after the remodel is complete, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. You can limit dust from permeating your home by covering or moving furniture to another part of the home, keeping doors to rooms and other areas of the house closed around the clock, and packing away dust collectors during the project.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    5. Plan An Additional Month of Settling-In Time

    Even after construction is complete, your own work on the remodeled space can take another month or longer. Cleaning, unpacking, reorganizing, and finding the right accent décor or new furniture is all part of completing the project, and many homeowners aren’t ready to show off their new space until every last detail is in place.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    6. Ideas For Living Around a Kitchen Remodel

    Unless you’re remodeling your entire home or your home’s only bathroom, a kitchen remodel is the project that causes the biggest inconvenience for most homeowners. Luckily kitchens are one of the most commonly renovated rooms in the home, and an experienced remodeling contractor may have additional ideas to help ease the pain of living with a kitchen under construction. Here are a few to get you started:

    Build a temporary kitchen. On demolition day provide a space elsewhere in your home—it may be in a basement, spare bedroom, or even your garage—where the building crew can set up a row of old cabinets and countertops to create a makeshift kitchen. There should be enough room for your old refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, toaster over, blender, and other important items. If you have a utility sink in your home, it’s a good idea to create your temporary kitchen nearby so it can be used for washing dishes.

    Think like you’re camping. Plan to cook out a lot if you have an outdoor grill and use paper plates if you’re short on a place to wash dishes. You may be able to set up a dish washing station similar to one you would use while camping, using plastic storage tubs as washing bins. Unlike camping however, you should utilize as many items as possible from your home kitchen so you have fewer items to store.

    Come up with creative storage solutions. Separate all plastic and Tupperware items from your kitchen and move these items to your temporary kitchen first. If you have small children or are setting up your makeshift kitchen in a garage or backyard, you may want to store all your breakable kitchen items. Try setting up a row of shelves (the old cabinets may come in handy here as well) in a guest bedroom or other out-of-the-way place where fragile items can be safely stored throughout the remodel, without actually having to pack them away.

    Get by with a little help from your friends. You or someone close to your family may be able to organize a type of “meals on wheels” program for your household that allows other families to sign up to prepare and deliver hot dinners throughout the duration of your remodel, minimizing the amount of cooking, cleaning, and eating out you have to do while you’re without a kitchen.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    7. Ideas For Minimizing The Inconveniences Of a Bathroom Remodel

    A bathroom remodel often means that everyone in the home will need to bathe in the same bathroom, or at least that bathing stations are temporarily consolidated. Try creating a morning and evening bathroom schedule that gives everyone the time they need to get ready for the day or for bed. Have some family members bathe at night while others bathe in the morning, to save time and hot water. Try setting up a separate vanity area in a powder room or bedroom where family members can use a mirror to get ready without taking up space in the bathroom.

  • Tips To Prepare For a Successful Remodel

    Part V - Tips for Living Under The Same Roof as Your Remodeling Project

    8. What To Expect During a Home Addition

    An addition means removing one or more exterior walls from your home in order to expand the home’s existing footprint. Most home additions start by “drying in” before building out, which means building the new addition onto the old space before removing the old exterior wall. In cases where building out first is necessary, a temporary wall may be constructed for internal temperature control and security. The beginning of winter is a great time to start planning a home addition, because construction can be scheduled for spring or summer when milder temperatures can help keep a lot of the work outdoors.

close

Remodeling Tips