This is a Guest Post from Shirley Moore
Taking on a remodeling project can be exciting. Whether you want to add some value to your home or simply make some updates, it’s important to get the best improvements for your dollar. Many people try to take on projects themselves to cut down on expensive labor costs. While having a “do it yourself” approach is becoming popular, it is still important to keep a few things in mind, so you don’t end up overloaded when you take on a remodel project.
Making a Plan
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a project which often causes trouble later on during a remodel. Before you pick up a hammer, it’s essential to carefully plan out every aspect of your remodel. Not only will proper planning keep you on budget, but it will minimize your time table too, so you can enjoy your new living space as quickly as possible and avoid construction headaches.
A great approach when remodeling is to avoid focusing too much on the aesthetic result. Tackle any flaws – including structural – before looking at lasting visual appeal. It is also very important to keep long-term costs in mind, such as future maintenance costs and energy loss, before remodel work begins. Including these, along with other major details like time and materials, in a realistic plan can keep you on task. Make any decisions as early as possible and stick to them. Nothing causes delays more than changing your mind about something halfway through a remodel.
Getting the Right Tools
Once you have a firm design plan, it’s time to equip yourself with the essential tools your project will require. While most people have a hammer or screwdriver lying around the house, your tool box will need to be a little more robust depending on the scope of a project. You will also need specific tools depending on the area you are planning to work on.
If your remodel project involves the kitchen or bathroom – two of the more popular rooms for a update – you need some basic plumbing tools. Plumbers tape and specialized pliers are essential when dealing with pipes. A basic wrench and putty materials, such as caulk, are also very useful and should be included in your tool kit.
Other tools that may be useful include a sander for floors, utility knife for cutting materials, and the all important tape measure. If you need some tools that are more costly to own, you might be able to find a good deal online. If your needs are limited to your immediate project, then check with your local hardware or home improvement store about the possibility of renting important single use tools.
Sticking to a Budget
Creating a budget is an important part of the planning for a remodel project. Sticking to that budget is a different challenge altogether. By focusing on the needs of your project and zeroing in on their everyday impact, you’ll be able to keep your budget in check. You should also add a contingency into your budget for the inevitable unexpected costs that comes with any construction project.
To keep costs down, it’s important to comparison shop for materials. Extra supplies may be available at an auction for a discounted price. Hitting a recycling center or a facility like a Habitat for Humanity ReStore can bring in big savings for supply costs as well. Utilizing lightly used materials or already assembled fixtures isn’t always the way to go – many established contractors avoid the practice – but for a DIY project, it can be a huge savings and keep you on budget.
Take Contractor Seminars
Before you get everything assembled and start on your DIY project, it never hurts to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible, so taking a contractor seminar can come in handy. Not only will you be able to pick up money saving tips and design inspirations, but you can also learn more about the legal aspects of how contractors work, should you need to bring one into your project down the line.
At a contractor seminar DIY beginners and experts can consult with each other about their remodel plans. Take advantage of this resource to cover construction challenges you might not have considered. Seminars can also be an invaluable resource when you need help narrowing down selections and materials to create a realistic vision of your project.
Hiring the Right Contractor
While your dream remodel may start out as a solo DIY project, sometimes it’s a good idea to bring on a contractor as a consultant. Professionals may cost more with added labor costs, but those extra charges are offset by the time and money that will be saved later by ensuring a project is done up to code. It also never hurts to have a fresh pair of eyes look at your designs, but that doesn’t mean you are safe choosing any local contractor you find online.
When deciding which remodeler is best for your job, do some thorough research. Contractors should have at least three years of on the job experience, as well as a good record with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and Better Business Bureau. Meet with any potential contractors and ask to visit other homes in the area they worked on to see the finished results for yourself. Get as many customer recommendations as possible to ensure that bringing on some extra help won’t cause you extra headache.
Time to Get Started
Armed with these tips, your remodeling project is off to a good start. Do your research, plan well, and you’ll end up with an amazing result. Get started on your project today!
In addition to being a freelance writer, Shirley Moore spends her time flipping houses. She has bought and sold several homes and worked on a variety of projects from installing new floors to complete remodels. In her free time she attends contractor’s seminars to gain experience and inspiration.