Before you begin any home remodeling project, whether major or minor, you need a plan. The first step is to determine your ultimate goal. Are you converting a basement into a “man cave” replete with a bar, theater seating and floor-to-ceiling shelving for sports memorabilia? Perhaps you’re planning on converting your living room into a relaxing modern retreat? Or your plans include restoring an aged but charming Victorian home to its former ornate period condition?
Having a better idea of how you want your finished product to look and feel will help make necessary decisions about factors such as design, materials and budget much easier. But even if you only have a rough idea of what you want, it can be fleshed out as you speak with remodeling and home improvement professionals.
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to take measurements or the space to be remodeled to use during the designing phase, and carefully craft what changes will be made to the space. If you’re building an entirely new space or restructuring an old one, many remodeling contractors can offer remodeling project design services that can include blueprints of the intended project or 3D renderings.
However, planning does not end once the blueprint design of the space is complete. Here are some questions you’ll need to consider before you commence with any construction:
1. If you plan on doing any of the work yourself, what tools will you need?
Unless you’re a contractor yourself, you probably don’t have an entire arsenal of power tools at your disposal. Although you may have a hammer, screwdriver and other basic implements, you may need more heavy-duty equipment, depending on the type of remodeling work you plan to complete.
2. If you plan on purchasing supplies yourself, for you or your contractor, what kinds of building materials will you need?
You’ll need to get a rough idea of how much construction materials you’ll need to finish the job. This includes not only the skeletal elements such as lumber, concrete and electrical wiring, but also smaller items such as screws, nails and sandpaper, as well as finish items such as wallpaper, paint and lighting fixtures.
3. How much electrical wiring renovation or installation will be needed to complete the project?
If your project involves moving existing electrical wires or installing new wiring, you’ll definitely need the services of a licensed electrician. In many cases, you’ll also need to obtain an electrical permit from your local municipality so the work can be inspected for safety.
4. How will the plumbing be affected?
Even moving plumbing such as water supply or drain pipes a few feet can involve a large amount o ftime and effort. If you plan on changing plumbing fixture locations or rerouting how your home’s plumbing works, the safest bet is to call upon the service of a licensed plumber. Similar to electrical work, many municipalities require that certain home plumbing alterations be completed via a permit so an inspection can take place.
5. How much time will the project take?
Of course you want the project done sooner than later so you can start enjoying the finished product, but setting a realistic expectation of how long the project may take and where possible delays may occur can mean the difference between frustration and patience.
Generally, the more specialized trades, such as electricians and plumbers, and the more permits and inspections necessary, the longer the project will take overall.
Unforeseen problems such as faulty wiring and undiscovered damage or deterioration that requires repair can also add days or weeks to a remodel. In many cases, especially if you’re undertaking a larger remodeling project, you’ll be without the use of areas of the home or the entire home. Plan ahead for these events and keep an open mind about the completion date.
6. How will my homeowners insurance be affected?
Many home insurance policies are based on the conditions of the home when the policy is enacted. Some policies require specific actions when remodeling a home, such as hiring only licensed trades for plumbing and electrical or having an agent inspect the home once the work is completed. It’s always a good idea to check with your policy or insurance agent to see if there are any stipulations or restrictions for remodeling.