If purchasing a home is all about location, location, place, then remodeling one is all about planning, planning, planning. We’ve all heard the stories: family and friends doing dishes in their bathroom sinks, cooking meals on hot dishes at the garage, catching food from the refrigerator that is presently in the laundry area. Such are the travails of remodeling a home. And there is really nothing you can do however be prepared. “It’s a significant inconvenience but a significant payoff,” says architect Brian Lucas.
If you’re going to embark on an extensive remodel or renovation, here are 11 questions you will want to ask, and what to do to keep everything moving along smoothly.
1. What will the weather be like?
Rainy, snowy, muddy, cold, sexy? Bear in mind, builders and subcontractors will be moving in and outside of your home for hours all day during a remodel. This implies that if it’s summertime in Florida and you’re cranking the A/C all day, then you’re going to waste a lot of energy. When it’s in the dead of a Minnesota winter, it’s probably not the best time to peel the roof off.
What to do: If you’re hoping to receive your kitchen done by the winter holidays, you ought to be at the design phase by late August to early September at the latest. Also, ask your contractor how he or she’s going to seal the home to avoid dust buildup and air loss. Paul Conrado, a general contractor in Saratoga, California, who has been building homes for over 25 decades, builds an insulated dust door out of plywood that can be locked from the homeowner’s side. This prevents air loss and dust buildup in the rest of the home — and gives some solitude.
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Buckminster Green LLC
2. How much time is it going to take?
Permits, inspection, building custom cabinets — those things take time, and sometimes you never know exactly how long something will take. Obtaining permits varies by city and can take a few days or sometimes around 12 weeks or longer.
What to do: Start as soon as you can. While you’re drawing up plans and doing value engineering, have your designer or architect call to learn how long the license procedure will require. Also, try to be more flexible about the deadline. If you make builders rush to meet a deadline, then the quality will probably drop. “It’s important to have a continuous dialogue with your builder,” Conrado states. “You ought to be concerned if you fall by the jobsite and it’s empty. You need to be calling your contractor and asking what’s happening.”
3. How long will your stuff take to arrive?
So that you want that particular tile from Italy? Or that cool new refrigerator that is exported just from Germany? No problem! Just sit tight for 3 months. If you have to have it, then by all means dictate what will make you happy. But be ready for the ramifications if all of your employees have to prevent midproject only because they will need to wait six weeks to get a material to get there.
What to do: If you choose a material, ask about the lead time. And be flexible with substances. “There’s not only one ideal answer to substances,” Conrado states. “There are many methods to do it that would seem good” When in doubt, talk to your builder. Builders deal with many jobsites and see a lot of stuff. They can usually suggest good alternatives.
4. Where will you store your stuff?
Your builders will require a staging area, and also the best place for that is a garage or driveway. If your home business is based at the garage, you will need somewhere else secure and weatherproof for the substances.
What to do: If your cabinets are ready and you don’t have somewhere to store them, your contractor will have the cabinetmaker hold them, which can get pricey. Don’t have a location? Conrado suggests renting a temporary storage container that can be delivered to your house and secured.
5. Where will you stay and for how long?
As your home — not to mention that your lifetime — is torn apart during a remodel, you may wish to consider staying somewhere else. Hotels can get pricey, and staying with family can be taxing for some — especially if you buy a call that your remodel has been postponed two weeks to get some unforeseen event.
What to do: If you’re undertaking a significant renovation that will endure nine months to a year or longer, rent somewhere to keep in. When it’s a shorter-duration project and you can not stay with family or friends, and don’t wish to hole up in a hotel room for weeks at a time, Conrado suggests purchasing a used RV or trailer with a kitchenette. It’s like using a one-bedroom apartment onsite. “At the conclusion, just sell the trailer,” he states.
When to stay and when to undergo a remodel
6. Where will you cook and do dishes?
Conrado and his wife ate dinner in their own garage for six months during a renovation. Granted, it probably wasn’t as nice as the garage shown here, but Conrado did run a gas line through the walls and hook his complete Viking range to cook (which probably wasn’t up to code). “I’ve a picture of my wife eating at a poker table at our own garage with a not-too-happy look on her face, which pretty much sums it up,” he states.
What to do: Work with everything you’ve got. Prepare the refrigerator in the laundry room or garage. If you have an electric range, set that up on your own garage (just make sure it’s away from greasy rags etc.). A microwave, toaster oven and hot plate at a laundry room or garage can get you through most meals. An outdoor grill can be your best buddy. But also, you may want to budget for eating a lot of meals out. Do the dishes at a bathroom sink. “Remodeling isn’t ideal,” Conrado states. “You’ll be inconvenienced.”
More about setting up a temporary kitchen
7. Where will everyone go to the bathroom?
Chances are, if you’re remodeling one bathroom, you will have a powder room or a different bathroom to use. However, think about how long you’ll be sharing a bathroom with your family members. Also, your contractor and employees will require somewhere to go as well, and it’s not recommended that you open a downstairs powder room to a cadre of building employees.
What to do: Get a portable bathroom for employees. Conrado states a portable toilet costs about $100 per month, and there are higher-end versions for homeowners if you’re doing a remodel that will knock all your bathrooms out of commission.
8. What is going to happen to your front yard?
It isn’t only a portable toilet. A renovation means trucks parked in your driveway, possibly a Dumpster, pallets of materials and debris everywhere, muddy sidewalks. It’s a challenging thing to come home to, however you can not expect it to be anything less than a mess.
What to do: Possessing a constant dialogue with your contractor and know when the trash company and city demand debris to be picked up. In some places it’s daily; others it’s weekly. Sometimes it’s an onsite Dumpster; other times there is a trash heap that a truck comes and hauls away.
Also, let your neighbors know what’s happening. Your contractor may send a letter to your neighbors — you may want to ask her or him to do so; it’s a good marketing opportunity for them anyway — or the city may do it whether it’s a big enough project, but the polite thing to do is let your neighbors know what’s happening.
Midtown Builders, Inc
9. Does your homeowner’s association or planning commission prevent anything?
Your HOA may not enable the sort of home you had in mind. Better check with any sort of regulations before you get too caught up in one part of your renovation.
What to do: Check to find out whether you need to receive your design accepted by any sections or committees. These same committees also may dictate if builders can work. As an example, they may enable construction to occur only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., and prohibit work on Sundays. This may set your project back if you haven’t taken it into account.
Daniel Contelmo Architects
10. Can you please, for the love of God, stop the hammering?
Construction sites aren’t meditative places. People are constantly coming and going, hammering and cranking the ring saw. If you’re a couple who both work and are gone all day, this might not be a sweat. But if you’re a stay-at-home parent with young children who want their daily nap, you’re going to want to determine a quiet place you can visit.
What to do: Arrange to get a daily refuge in a friend or family member’s home when at all possible. If not, you may want to hold off renovating till you can rent or purchase a used RV or stay in a hotel, or until your children are old enough to be in school all day. Also, tool noise includes the land, but don’t be afraid to tell your builders not to blare their music all day.
11. Do you have time to get this?
If you’re not a morning person, you’re not going to like your general contractor’s showing up in 7 hours each morning and searching for you. You need to be available to a general contractor. Also, you can not exactly leave town on holiday for 3 months and hope all goes to plan. You’ll still need to be available for phone calls and emails, even when you’re in Australia and your home is at the U.S.
What to do: You need to be available to your contractor to answer questions and make sure things are moving along smoothly. Conrado says that 8 a.m. is reasonably the most recent time employees should show up. “These people have jobs; they have to work,” he states. “If you want to have everyone show up in 10 a.m. daily, sure they’ll do it if you’re going to pay them for those hours that they might be functioning.”
Your turn: What is your best remodeling prep suggestion?
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