Remodeling Pointers

By Robert Robillard on Home Repairs And Remodeling

Remodeling Tips



There’s a ton of stuff to read out there that portrays the remodeling process as fun, glamorous and exciting. What’s missing is the stressful, rutted path that most remodelers travel to achieve a great looking finished project.

Many problems and surprises are common to the remodeling process.
A little mental preparation will go a long way toward smoothing out this process.

Ben Franklin said over 200 years ago…. Common sense isn’t so common.  Here are some remodeling pointers to consider when planning a remodeling project:

Educate yourself:

Ask questions, look at other projects,research your products and materials before starting.  There is a ton of “product” compare and contrast information available at supply and on the internet.  Read How-To and Remodeling Advice articles

Set a realistic budget:

The days of $75 per square foot construction costs are long gone; realistically, today you should allow from $200 to $300 per square foot, depending on the size, complexity, and quality of your remodel.

Extensive kitchen or bath remodels will cost even more. If you plan to hire an architect, add an additional 12-15 percent fee to the total.

robKnow where to save and where to spend:

It’s easy to be lured by trendy designs, but high-fashion items are notoriously bad investments. Spend your money where it counts: on quality doors, windows, roofing, and finishes.

Do It Yourself?

When considering doing some of the work yourself be realistic about how much you can do and how well you can do it.

Finish carpentry is not the place for on-the-job training — novice work can ruin an otherwise top quality project.

Choose your contractor by what he’s built, not by what he says he’ll build.

Always ask for references, and then follow up on them.  Most contractors are dedicated, competent and take great pride in their work — and they’ll be glad to let their references prove it.  “Let your work speak for itself. . . autograph your work with excellence” – Anonymous

Hidden Conditions:

Prepare yourself for the “unknowns and unforeseeable,” such as what I call the  “more ofs”  … more expense, more time, more disruption, and more problems than you planned on.

Surprises of one kind or another are common and predictable when working with existing buildings — expect them before hand to avoid the stress.

If you need design help, get it.

That 12-15 percent architect’s fee may sound like a waste of money until you find yourself spending $30,000 to correct errors or add items you’ve forgotten. Usually this cost pays for itself in problems later.

At a minimum you need a well-detailed set of plans if you plan to bid the job out. In my opinion, vague plans encourage low bidding and invite many hidden / costly “extras” later on. Not having a detailed plan usually means two different contractors bidding on the same project will not arrive at the same conclusions and make many assumptions… some of which become costly changes or hidden extras later.

Benchmarking For Small Remodeling Companies

The result is an “apples to oranges comparison”

Remember… Not having a well detailed or drawn out plan means that the contractors bid only on what “they gleaned” from your verbal meetings.

By being informed, expecting the unexpected, careful planning and using these remodeling pointers as well as common sense can minimized stress, costly errors and maximize your budget to arrive at a spectacular project.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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