Remodeling isn’t something most homeowners do on a daily basis which is why often times crucial facts are ignored or simply forgotten. Many times a project could have went so much smoother if everyone was informed and made wise decisions regarding even the simplest details. We have compiled a list of 6 things that everyone must know before even thinking of beginning a home improvement project. Read all 6… trust us you’ll be glad you did.
The first crucial factor everyone must pay attention to is upkeep. Whenever selecting material for a home improvement project you must keep in mind how much time and money will go into maintaining the room after the project is complete. In terms of flooring not every material is created alike. We recommend spending some time and researching all of the products that you have already selected for your project and seeing just how much upkeep they will require. Does the material require daily/weekly cleaning? Is it easily damaged by everyday elements?
If you are ready to put up with the maintenance of the products you have selected then by all means go for it. Never make a final decision however before you have done research and know what you are getting yourself into.
Just a few things you should look out for in the flooring industry…
Marble although a beautiful material requires attention and care like no other. It stains easily and etches when it comes in contact with any mildly acidic liquid. You cannot keep marble clean by using just any household cleaners, so nothing harsh and abrasive.
Certain hardwoods are more durable or less durable than the next. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Birch is considered a softer wood and scratches much more easily than for example hickory or bamboo would.
We recommend you look into the Janka rating scale for wood hardness and keep that in mind when budgeting for what kind of material you will be purchasing.
When selecting more affordable flooring options we also recommend researching how it will fare with pets or children. Certain laminates are created to withstand abuse from large pets and constant beatings. However other cheaper laminates do not.
Many homeowners confuse LVT and laminate… LVT is created to be more durable. Most LVT is either water resistant or waterproof, meaning it can be used in kitchens and bathrooms. Laminate on the other hand should never be used in a kitchen or bathroom because it will buckle and warp with presence of moisture over time and that is one thing nobody wants to deal with after investing thousands of dollars.
Time scale… how long will it take
It’s time to be realistic. Often we assume everything is going to go according to plan and we set everything up so that happens. However in the home improvement industry that is practically impossible. If you estimate that your project will take 2 weeks to complete… plan for at least three. If you think your project will take three months… plan for at least 4-5 months. Always throw an additional few week or months on top of what you’re planning. The reason? Things get messy.
Products constantly go in and out of stock so if you are working on an extensive project we almost guarantee that you will have products unexpectedly go out of stock causing you to wait. With projects that have a ton of inter-relatable components one installer or professional is always relying on the previous one to finish up to begin his part. With a minor hiccup in the early stages that pushes a project one day back causes a chain reaction that pushes the whole schedule forward.
Mistakes happen as well. People are people and constantly make slight mistakes that although not detrimental significantly influence the schedule.
How do you avoid these issue? Plan ahead and try to have as much figured out and accounted for as possible. For products and materials ensure that everything you need is ordered before you begin the project. Ensure that you hire reliable contractors that have a reputation of working effectively and efficiently. The rate at which you will finish your project
However even in the perfect conditions you always need to account for extra time. No matter how flawlessly the job gets done or how effectively you plan and schedule… you simply cannot control ALL factors so budget some extra time and be prepared.
When to DIY and when not to DIY?
Doing things yourself is a cost saving mechanism that we strongly recommend homeowners partake in. However certain projects simply should not be done yourself. In many instances it will be more expensive and time consuming to do a project yourself rather than hiring out.
Here is a list of projects that we recommend you never DIY.
Anything plumbing related… plumbing should always be left to aprofessional. You don’t even know how much damage you could cause if you decide to mess with pipes on your own with minimal experience. You may be attempting to fix a low pressure issue but not realize that the problem is a lot more severe. If you attempt to fix it yourself you could cause extensive damage that may also be dangerous to you and your family.
Electrical work… Electrical work should never be DIY’d. Not only is this ILLEGAL it’s very very dangerous. There is a reason electricians are required to go through extensive testing and hours upon hours of practice before being licensed. Please do not attempt to do any electrical work without a licensed electrician. For the safety of yourself and everyone around you.
Painting Cabinets… Painting cabinets is a lot harder than painting anything else. We can almost guarantee that without proper experience you will end up with a smudgy paint job that was probably the biggest waste of time & money imaginable. Walls are one thing, even without much experience you can do it yourself. However cabinets are difficult to make look right. It may not be visible but old cabinets have grease on them which is difficult to paint over. Also if you want a smooth finish it’ll be difficult to do it without prior experience. Unless you want to spend hours trying and trying until you get it perfectly down. Swinging a paint brush is often harder then it seems.
Roofing… Sometimes roof damage may seem small and insignificant, but we recommend that you don’t fix it yourself but call over a professional to take a look at it. Although this is initially more expensive it’ll save you tens of thousands of dollars when water gets in because of improper fixing and rots/ruins the structural integrity of your home.
Hardwood refinishing… since we are a flooring company the one thing we never recommend homeowners to attempt to do themselves is hardwood refinishing. It’s not easy! A lot more goes into it then you may see at first glance. The drum sander is not a machine that just any homeowner can control with little experience. The stain is also not very easy to apply, and if you want it to look nice we recommend you leave it to a professional.
You may think you know what you’re doing and may have even had experience before. However if you want the job done right we recommend that for the above projects you hire professional help.
Occasionally it is a good idea to consult an interior designer for some tips before making any drastic decisions. In a higher end or home or something that you will be considering to resell later or even live in you want it to look and feel right.
You may like something today but completely hate it later on. Rash color decisions will bite you in the rear end later on. Consulting with a designer will allow you to make an education decision that will acceptable for the current market (in case of resale) and will also ensure that you will not get tired or bored of the room.
If you have room in your budget we recommend you hire an interior designer to help you with even part of the project. Especially if it’s a full house remodel.
How in the world do you price and budget for a remodeling project? As a homeowner who remodels once every 5-10 years you have no clue what the current prices are or how to compare one product to another.
In the home improvement industry unfortunately many contractors are unethical and charge uneducated homeowners a premium price for material that costs half the price elsewhere. They are able to get away with this because homeowners really have no way of comparing prices as not often do you go around purchasing granite slabs, porcelain tile, or hardwood floors.
How do you avoid this?
The most simple solution to this problem is using online resources like home advisor pricing charts or homewyse.
Both of these resources give a fairly accurate price estimation for both labor costs and material costs as well as time scale for job completion. These estimators aren’t 100% accurate and don’t account for all of the little details but at least you get a ballpark estimate of the cost of a project before contacting contractors and stores.
For example if the labor cost a contractor is quoting you is way out of line you can check it with one of the above estimators to see market costs in your area and ensure you don’t rip yourself off.
The ultimate goal is to ensure a quality job for a fair price. That being said we never recommend you go with the lowest price simply because it’s the lowest. Usually a low price (in the home improvement industry) means lowest quality. Seek out a fair price, not the lowest.
Hiring a reputable contractor
With fair pricing comes reputation. Hiring a contractor who has minimal experience in the industry is a recipe for disaster. You need someone that you can trust and not have to babysit along the way.
Here’s how you find a reputable contractor…
- Check online reviews; if the contractor has been in business for a while he/she probably has some online presence that you can check in on and see what previous customers are saying. Ready google reviews, yelp reviews, as well as social media reviews.
- Check the State CCB website to ensure the contractor is currently licensed and has necessary insurance and bond requirements.
- Check the Better Business Bureau and State CCB website for any complaints or claims filed against this contractor. If they have a reputation of messing up you’ll be able to find it here.
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