Home renovation should never be taken lightly. Because even if you have done some renovation and remodeling projects before, with another one, you know for sure that there is something new coming. Each renovation project is always about a variety of challenges, tasks to handle, and decisions to make. That is why it is so important to try to think beforehand about what you’re about to get through when you’re planning to remodel a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room, or your entire house. When approaching a renovation project, your best bet is to prepare even for unexpectable as much as you can since you never know what and when can go wrong, not according to your plans and expectations.
In this article, we will go through the most common aspects of a home renovation project so you can learn what to expect and how to prepare for it.
We should start with motivation. A proper mindset is the first thing you should take care of. Even before making a distinctive remodel plan, budgeting, and such. Especially if you’re planning your first-ever renovation. Because you’re up to some serious challenges that will turn your everyday world upside down for a certain (or, in some cases, quite uncertain) amount of time.
This is true – sometimes, home remodeling projects take longer than planned, delays are not rare. And sometimes, you just can’t do anything about it since some things may be out of your personal control. So the first thing is patience.
Then you’ll need to accept the fact that your life will strictly divide into the life BEFORE remodeling project and the life AFTER you have started it. Until the very completion, you will need to put up with a number of things like:
- A messy home
- Serious changes in your daily routine (your life’s gonna be turned upside down, just like your home)
- Project delays that you won’t have any control of
- Going over planned budget (that’s classic)
And finally, when the remodeling project is done, most likely, the final result will not be 100% perfect. But that’s life, so there is absolutely no need to feel bad if what you see after weeks or months of a remodeling routine (or a nightmare) will not perfectly match your ideal expectations.
So, with all that in mind, it’s high time we delve into what it takes to plan a remodel project and get it done.
Make a Plan and Stick to It (As Much as Possible)
That is obvious, but no one should underestimate the importance of a plan. If you want to remodel more than one area of your home, make a multi-step plan to try to estimate time and budget. Try to think about what are is best to start with and what area should be the last to remodel. Later, you will discuss these aspects with a contractor if you’re not sure.
When making a plan, it is also very important to have an ideal picture of what you want to see after the remodeling project is completed. Don’t hesitate to go all the way so you could have enough for concessions – the main thing is to try to stay within your estimated budget.
As soon as your plan is made, try to stick to it as much as possible. Stay focused on your goal and organize your everyday life to fit new conditions.
- Decide where you will live during remodeling. Will you stay at your place or in a hotel? Or maybe you will live at your relative’s house?
- Pack all valuable belongings. Don’t rush, and try to stay organized as you pack.
- Think of a place for all the important documents, including contracts and construction agreements, receipts (keep them during remodeling), schedules, financial documents, notes, reminders.
- If furniture stays at your place during remodeling – cover it to protect it from dust and other debris. Another good idea is to remove curtains and rugs.
- Always stay in touch with your contractor.
Things to take care of
Like we said earlier, each remodeling has its steps that must be followed in strict order for best results. Here’s an example of things to take care of:
- Free up space you are planning to remodel.
- Make sure that your house’s exterior is fine – check the roof, the foundation, and the windows. If anything is not in proper shape, this may affect the reconstruction process.
- Take care of the plumbing.
- Remove HVAC, light fixtures, and other electrical appliances in the area planned for remodeling.
- Add drywall and then paint the walls, the ceiling, etc. Repainting will give your rooms a newer look.
- Install flooring and baseboards. This may get a bit confusing since flooring types differ. Sometimes you will need to install baseboards AFTER you set new floors. But pretty ofter it all goes the other way around – FIRST you install new floors, and THEN you attach baseboards. IMPORTANT: if you need to paint baseboards, your best bet to do it BEFORE you install them.
- Install furniture elements, vanities, cabinets, doors, toilets, shelves, etc., depending on what area you’re working on.
- Install electrical appliances.
- Clean the area.
- Now the area is ready, and you can bring back furniture and other belongings to make it a cozier place.
- Congratulations, remodeling is complete!
The Right Men for the Job
When you’ve developed a plan and thought of a final goal of your remodel project, you will need to find professionals to get the job done. That is in case you are competent enough to do it yourself.
There are two basic ways you can choose from:
- Hire a team that will perform the remodeling;
- Hire separate teams for separate tasks.
Either way, what you’ll be looking for is a team of professionals with the right expertise to do the job with the best results.
Here are some tips that will help you when looking for a contractor:
- Look for the professionals with portfolios. Check if a contractor has a gallery of accomplished projects.
- For a particular task, hire a team that specializes in such tasks.
- Research client reviews.
- Make sure that a contractor has a license, insurance certificate, and other accompanying documents.
In terms of time frames, keep in mind that a contractor will ONLY give you an estimated date of completion. Many different things can get in the way of a successful and timely remodeling process. Some things are not under control by your contractor, so be reasonable and try to stay positive if any delays happen.
Another important piece of advice is to try not to be optimistic. A bit of pessimism in terms of preparing for the worts will not hurt. With such a mindset, you won’t be taken by surprise should anything challenge your plans and compromise the remodeling process. Just remember, if you hired a professional contractor with a solid reputation, they will ALWAYS get the job done by doing anything that depends on them.
Let’s Talk Money
At this point, it’s just about time we have the money talk. Since budgeting and staying within your financial limits is crucial for a successful (and painless) home remodel.
First of all, you’ll need to be realistic in terms of estimating the cost of the project. Your best bet is to consult your contractor. Don’t get depressed if costs seem higher than you had expected, and there are some nuances that may help you out. Try looking for alternative solutions that will be more cost-efficient. This means that you may choose more affordable materials or less expensive construction solutions. For instance, if you had planned to knock down some walls in your house, maybe you could change your mind and create a pass-thru instead. The same goes for appliances, electric devices, piping, etc.
Budgeting a remodel project is pretty much always about making compromises. Materials, devices, appliances, tools, etc., are not getting cheaper as time goes, and this is something we all have to deal with.
The good idea is to try to look up some budget-friendly solutions on the net. There are tons of design projects that will not break the bank. Don’t hesitate to look for something that will meet your needs and wants online. And remember that cheaper is not necessarily worse.
Another thing to remember is to anticipate so-called hidden costs – i.e., the expenses that you don’t notice while arranging your remodel budget. A professional contractor will always help you with this.
And finally, ALWAYS keep receipts. This is important because:
- After the remodeling is complete, you may have some unused materials. With receipts, you will be able to return them with ease.
- Receipts let you see how much money you spend.
- Should you plan to sell your house shortly after renovation, receipts will help you calculate renovation expenses and save a significant sum of money in taxes.
Do you have enough money?
But what if you can’t afford the renovation that you’ve planned? This is not as much of a problem as it may seem since homeowners with home equity can take loans or lines of credit.
- A home equity loan is a total sum of cash that a homeowner borrows for a major renovation project;
- A home equity line of credit is a type of loan that lets a homeowner borrow varying sums when they need them. This type of loan is great for a number of remodeling projects, for paying separate contractors, or in case if a homeowner meets additional expenses.
- Learn about current prices by visiting department stores or online stores. Knowing the prices of materials and tools will make arranging a remodel budget easier.
- Choose items reasonably. Don’t fall for too cheap products. Trying to stay within your budget is good, but only if you don’t compromise product quality for the sake of it.
- Don’t trust remodel TV shows. Prices there may be misleading.
- Consult professionals to know how much home remodeling will cost.
- If you happen to go over your budget in one area of your house, try to save some cash in another.
- A good way to expand your budget is to sell some older items that you don’t need. You may be keeping lots of old stuff you don’t even use – remodeling is a good opportunity to get rid of it, earning a few extra bucks in the process.
- Don’t forget to write down your expenses. This way, you will keep track of how much money you’re spending.
Things You Will Have to Deal With
Below is a list of things that you will have to deal with during renovation. These are something that you will need to get prepared for mentally rather than physically or financially. We have already touched upon some of them at the very beginning of the article, and now it’s about time to get a bit deeper into the topic.
1. Home remodeling will make your life a mess
Renovation is not only about a messy home, which is something you will also have to deal with. The first thing to put up with is a mess in your everyday routine. The moment you start a home renovation, your life will change. You will have to spend lots of hours consulting (or arguing) with contractors, choosing and buying materials, and checking if everything goes the way it’s planned. You will have absolutely no time for what you’ve grown accustomed to doing like a hobby. From now on, your hobby is a home remodeling project. And that’s only the beginning.
Next, you’re going to deal with the absence of water and power. This should not last too long, but it’s something you will have to prepare for. You may also not be able to use a kitchen, a bathroom, or a bedroom for a certain period of time. You may be left without your favorite kitchen appliances. You may also have to get rid of curtains and a fair share of privacy for some time.
And, of course, not to mention a constant mess all-around your house – a mess that you will have to clean up every now and then. Otherwise, your house will turn into one big pile of construction debris.
2. You will need to learn patience
When you plan a renovation, you expect it to have a strict timeline, meaning that you know when it starts and exactly when it ends. But in reality, things are much more complex. A renovation project may get behind the schedule for various reasons. This, in its turn, will take you to be patient to deal with delays that may occur.
But what can cause a delay? Below is the list of the most common reasons:
- A contractor may take longer than you expect. This does not mean that you’ve picked a bad contractor. As we said earlier, contractors usually give you an estimated timeline for a renovation. So tiny delay is not a crime.
- Delivery delays. Materials and tools may take additional time to be delivered.
- Some equipment may not be available at the moment.
- Weather conditions may affect the speed of the renovation process. Depending on the type of works, rain or hot weather may slow down your project.
- Additional expenses that you don’t have money for. If that happens, you may need to pause some parts of the project or put the entire process on hold.
- Plan changes. Sometimes you may make a sudden decision that is not in the initial plan. This will also take additional time.
3. Be prepared for the change of plan and additional expenses
Don’t be afraid to change something in your initial plan if you have time and money for that. A sudden change of plan may affect the overall timeline of your project, but if it’s worth it – don’t hesitate and go for it! Just remember that most plan changes may require extra expenses.
4. Don’t get overly perfectionist
Finally, try not to get overly perfectionist. We all want our plans to turn out the way we want them to, but with renovation projects, it’s almost impossible. So when starting your home remodel venture, remember that a final result may differ from what you had in mind in the first place – and that DOES NOT necessarily mean failure.
Home Remodeling in 2021/2022
Because of the COVID19 pandemic and economic hardships that followed, home remodeling in 2021 and 2022 may have additional difficulties that you should know about.
Here’s what you will have to be prepared for:
- Shortages in materials and tools
- Material prices rise
- Longer delays
Home renovation always means a great deal of work and effort. The best way to successfully finish a project is to be prepared and have a realistic understanding of what you’re about to go through. Be patient and attentive to details, keep track of your expenses and stick to your plan.