Planning a Residential Upgrade and Using Green Building Materials
These details aren’t closely guarded general contractor, carpenter, plumber, electrician, or painter trade secrets, but they’re not advertised either. The knowledge is gained through experience on numerous construction projects. These tips for remodeling success can be categorized as follows.
Plan Your Residential Remodel Project
Years ago there was a small revolution in the software development industry. It was called object oriented programming and one central premise was the realization that planning should be given a bigger role in the project. The same is true in home improvement.
• Consider what needs to be done to the work area to make the renovations. Don’t completely gut the room.
• Prep the work area thoroughly; cutting corners will show up in the finished product.
• When remodeling a bath, expand it if possible. This allows for extra functionality and adds equity to the home.
• Do the homework; estimate all costs as closely as possible and work within a construction and decorating budget.
• DIY as much as possible but subcontract out unfamiliar tasks, such as rewiring the circuit breaker box.
• Always select a contractor carefully.
• Consider the value of other homes in the neighborhood. Don’t overbuild if considering selling the home.
Be a Professional Builder – Focus on Detail
• Take accurate measurements; measure twice, cut once.
• When installing doors, opt for the larger size. It opens up the space and permits easier movement.
• Be realistic and anticipate chaos and changes during the home remodeling process. Be flexible and don’t freak out!
• Don’t build narrow staircases or hallways. They hamper furniture moving and foot traffic.
• Always put safety first – even if it takes longer.
• When rewiring a room or doing any electrical work, do overdo it. People always find themselves needing more electrical outlets.
• Consider staying close to the home’s current architectural style.
Construction Material is Crucial
• Don’t skimp on ceramic tile, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, or other building materials.
• Remember that duct tape doesn’t fix everything!
• Give a lot of thought to light fixtures. Wall sconces work in hallways, monorail pendant lights are stylish in the living room, and skylights reduce utility bills.
• Don’t get locked into the latest flash-in-the-pan decorating trend. Stick with timeless styles.
• Store material properly at the work site and schedule delivery carefully. For example, hardwood flooring needs to be in the home at least three days before installation to adapt to interior humidity levels.
• Insist on green sustainable building materials whenever possible. It’s healthier, environmentally friendly, and a good investment. Think re-purposed wood products, denim insulation, and low or no VOC paint.
• Use the correct type of paint for the surface.
• Upgrade to energy efficient windows.
Miscellaneous Home Remodeling Tips
• Always check the local building code.
• Pull permits and get electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and structural permits, whichever is required.
• Use the right tool for the job. Own it, rent it, buy it, or borrow it.
• If possible, register a DBA (Doing Business As) small business name and apply for contractor discounts at paint stores, hardware stores, etc. Savings add up!