If you have never remodeled before or are taking on a big project, it might feel a little overwhelming. Knowing what to expect might help lessen your fears and make you feel more prepared for what lies ahead.
1. The Contractor
Hiring the best contractor you can find is important; it’s not all about price. A great contractor will have strong relationships with all of the trades in the area and will also form a great relationship with you. Your project should proceed smoothly and with open communication so when hiccups arise, they can be dealt with.
2. Communication & Patience
Your life will be turned upside down during the renovation. The mess, the noise, and trying to function normally will all be a challenge. There are likely to be slight hiccups along the way, and all of these things will require patience and communication.
Even when the greatest care is taken, a fine layer of dust can gather in parts of your home. There are a couple of ways to help control it. If possible, close off the construction area from the rest of the house. Heat and cool the house without running the HVAC system if possible, and block off vents and cold air returns. Covering chairs and tables with washable sheets and plastic will go a long way in saving work dusting down the road.
It will be constant. Saws, sanders, hammers and all of the above – you have to expect it. Find another place to nap and don’t plan on working from home unless you have a workspace far from the noise.
5. Highs & Lows
During parts of the renovation, it might seem as though things are moving so slowly that nothing is getting done, even though they are. Other times there will be huge changes in one day, such as when the new flooring is complete or when the cabinets get installed. Be patient – it’s a work in progress. You may get tired of answering questions or having so many people in your house. Hang in there – it will all be worth it in the end when you have your beautiful new space.
6. Expect the Unexpected
If you expect anything, expect this: asbestos, irregular framing, strange wiring, unusual plumbing, and other issues are bound to arise. While we do our best to plan for everything, we cannot see in the existing walls or under the existing cabinets etc. before we open them up. A good plan to have in any renovation is to have a contingency fund of 10-20%.
7. Change Orders
Along with unexpected findings come change orders, which are documents stating any new or changed work, along with any added or reduced cost. These tools will keep everything on budget and keep everyone working towards the same goal.
8. Cash Flow
The amount of money you will be spending may cause a bit of anxiety, even if the project is right on budget. Keep the end result in mind. The pleasure you will get everyday in your new space will be invaluable.
Once again, be prepared to go with the flow. Snow falls, people get sick, vehicles break down and sometimes products ordered from the factory take longer than planned. A tentative schedule will be drawn up at the beginning of the project based on the world being a perfect place. Things do happen and the schedule is bound to change; be prepared to be flexible. Remember that when you add more details and tasks to the project, the project will take long to complete.
Where do you want this? Where do you want that? How high do you want this? What color of that do you want? Enough questions to make you feel like you’re going crazy. You can plan on tons of questions that will need to be answered as the project moves along.
11. Pets & Vehicles
Please remember that the trades are not animal sitters. Make sure pets are kept out of harm’s way during the renovation. Also remember to move your vehicle out of harm’s way as well, providing clear access to the renovation area. No one wants to see your pets or vehicles get hurt.
12. Loose Ends
Nearly everything is completed except one or two items that will take longer than anything else. It may be an item that arrived broken and had to be reordered or a cabinet door that had a small defect and is getting replaced. It’s important to get the final detail right even if they take a bit longer.