Settling into this New Year means starting new home renovation projects, whether they are big or small everyone seems inspired by this new beginning to finally conquer these projects. We’ve decided to come up with some tips to help those renovating homeowners to help make this project a successful one!
Learn from Others
One of the best ways to get inspiration and to avoid pitfalls is to follow the experiences of other homeowners. A number of web sites offer online chronicles of home improvement projects, along with reply forms, message boards, and chat rooms that let you ask questions and get feedback. Also, try chatting with employees at your local hardware stores while you are doing your research on the supplies you’ll need for your project. Many times, they’ve heard a horror story or two and can give you some helpful advice.
Planning ahead can make or break your do-it-yourself project/renovation or even a bigger project that requires a contractor. Try to address as many details as you can before starting your project. Ask tons of questions before demolition even begins, so you thoroughly understand what you are getting yourself into. Although you may dream of having a spacious new addition, the project may not make sense if you plan to sell your house in a few years. Moreover, your own family’s needs may be very different in a few years. Will the plans you draw today fit your future?
Prepare Yourself and Your People
There is a season for everything, and some seasons are better than others for major remodeling projects. For most exterior house projects, such as painting or deck-building, temperate seasons such as late spring, summer, and early fall are best. For roofing projects, the middle of the summer provides the longest stretch of dry weather. Interior projects can be done at any time of year, as they are independent of the weather, but these are only ideals. Contractors and tradesmen often extend those seasons as far as possible, because, like most people, they cannot afford to shut down their businesses due to inclement weather. As a result, they have workarounds that allow them to roof far into the fall or paint in the winter.
Arranging Your Schedule
Do not expect to rearrange your work schedule or curtail local leisure activities due to your remodeling project. If you are working with a contractor, they usually work around your local schedule. Remember, they are receiving a hefty commission. So, meeting you at the job site after work or during your lunch break is what they do. However, if this is a do-it-yourself project you may need to sit down beforehand and give yourself a reasonable timeline to complete your project but don’t cancel all of your plans or put off spending time with friends and family. Putting off your social life can cause a project to become more difficult or give the impression it is taking longer to complete than planned. Balance your time between the project and your daily lives.
Neighbor and Community Relations
If you live in a single-family detached home, you probably are not legally obligated to seek approval from your neighbors for your project. Remodeling projects that touch the property line, like fences, are an exception. If you live in a condominium, you may need to seek approval from the board for remodeling projects within your walls. It is almost certain that you will need approval for projects that involve common (shared) walls or your home’s own interior walls. As a goodwill gesture, though, you should talk to your adjacent neighbors, informing them of your upcoming plans.
In Case Your Project Requires a Contractor or Outside Assistance: Prepare Your Home
How Much Should You Do Yourself?
Some homeowners believe that they should not have to lift a finger prior to their upcoming project. Others jump in wholeheartedly by “helping out” the workmen prior to or during the project. What should you do? In general, it is unwise to do absolutely nothing prior to your remodel. Some prep work, such as clearing out rooms, is involved, and it is only to your benefit to do this yourself. Unless you have made prior arrangements with your contractor, you should not do any work during the course of the remodeling project. Contractors dislike it when clients change things around at night or on weekends when the workmen are not around, as this impedes the workflow.
3 Things You Absolutely Must Do
- Move Fragile and Precious Items: China, photos, artwork, electronics, and all other items that you do not want to get broken or dusty should be moved by you out of the work area and into safe zones (see below).
- Clear Rooms of Large Items: What about the big stuff, like sofas, cabinets, large rugs? If you are capable, the best-case scenario is for you to remove these items from the work zone and seal them tightly in plastic sheeting. If you are not capable, speak to the contractor about this. For a nominal fee, the contractor may agree to have some of the workers perform this task for you.
- Keep Your Items Safe from Theft or Misplacement: Whether located in the work area or not, any items of monetary value – jewelry, cash, precious metals, even some prescription drugs – should be removed from the home and placed in a safe deposit box. If you have a home safe, store them there. You don’t want to play the blame game with your contractor or their workers, especially if it turns out your child misplaced something.