Home renovation is a massive project that can start simple. You peel back a corner of carpeting on Saturday morning, and a lightbulb goes off in your head: Why not refinish these hardwood floors?
Six months later, that mere refinishing project has led to torn-down walls, pried up floorboards and decommissioned bedrooms. But the flip side of this is you end up with a gorgeous, refinished house for a fraction of the cost it would have a price to buy a new home.
A full-house renovation is quite a different matter. It doesn’t — or shouldn’t — begin with pulling up the carpet. It should start with real-world realizations about the scale of this project and dedicated planning.
Home remodelling is daunting. Between the time that it takes out of your daily routine, the cost, and deciding what to renovate first, there’s a lot to keep track of when renovating every room in your home – not to mention the coordination it requires with interior designers, contractors, and other professionals.
But, with proper planning and preparation, your entire project can go smoothly. These steps are meant to help you start the process. They will provide you with peace of mind and prevent you from making costly mistakes in the future.
This article also applies to partial house remodels, or room remodels. The only step you’ll have to add is to decide which rooms you want to renovate.
If you’re on a quest for home improvement, this article is for you. Now let’s begin with the steps you need to take to start your renovation.
Designer or DIY?
Many people choose to work with a designer for part or all of their home design. We met with a kitchen designer but ultimately decided to save several thousand dollars by figuring it out ourselves. Some may think that is a crazy idea, while others (like me!) love taking on the creative and strategic elements.
If you don’t want to be involved with the day-to-day work, you will probably want to plan to hire a designer to work with your general contractor to ensure all of the work is carried out according to plan.
Scope of Work
The first thing we had to do on a whole home remodel was to determine where to start. We needed a plan.
Before you start on any of the actual house remodelling work, you’ll need to plan out what you want to do to the house and develop a work scope.
Are you simply swapping out paint and flooring? Do you plan to gut the entire kitchen? Are you going to re-use any of your original materials? Will you be taking down or putting up any walls? Significantly changing the layout of a kitchen or bathroom? Are you going to need to re-route any plumbing or electrical?
When we took on our own remodel project, we considered the house’s layout and thought about how we wanted to use the space, our future needs, and what we would enjoy aesthetically. At MJS Construction Group, we offer a wide range of home builders Melbourne.
Whole-House Home Remodeling Basics
Decide to Do It Yourself or Hire Professionals
You will either hire out the work to professionals, do it yourself or some combination of the two.
As this is a whole-house renovation, you likely will not be doing all of the work yourself. Even the most determined homeowner will have to call in a professional for projects like plumbing and electrical.
Professionals range from expensive contractors to sub-contractors and handypersons you find through word-of-mouth or classified ads. Since not all home renovation projects are created equally, you will want to consider on a case-by-case basis whether you are capable of taking on the home renovation project yourself or whether you wish to hire professionals.
It’s good to know, though, that one way to reduce costs in contractor-driven remodels is to take on some of the projects yourself. Contractors don’t especially like using subs other than their “own people.” But if that “other person” is you, and your piece doesn’t impact the remodel’s progress, he should be amenable (suggestion: save your piece for the last, such as painting the kitchen).
Formulate a Plan for Funding Your Project
Your home remodelling project will cost you more than you care to know. So it’s best to come up with a range of funding options. Your choice of funding options may range from simple sweat equity up to the traditional home equity loan.
Consider the Resale Value
Today, the majority of American homeowners sell their house at least once. Gone are the days when homeowners rode out their 30-year mortgage to the end. Not only are you renovating your house for you, but also future buyers.
Become Comfortable With Managing Contractors and Work Crews
Notwithstanding your rock-solid decision to do it all yourself, you will inevitably find yourself hiring someone to help. You will need to know how to manage work crews.
Develop Plan for Saving on Remodeling Costs
From designers’ fees, contractors’ commissions and The Home Depot credit cards: home remodelling seems designed to drain your piggy bank as fast as possible. But there are tried and true ways to save on home remodelling costs, on everything from the kitchen to bathroom.
Think Ahead to Permit and Zoning Issues
Building permits take notoriously long to get approved. Electrical permits and permits for demolition or fences may not take more than a few days, but large-scale projects involving zoning, like building a home addition, may take many weeks or months.
Take Safety and Cleanliness Seriously
It’s good to consider things like lead-based paint before sanding down that 80-year-old hand-railing. Avoiding mess when painting your house interior is just as important as developing a plan for keeping out dust from clean areas of your house.
Tips to Maximize Your Whole-House Remodel
Don’t add bathrooms without looking carefully at your water supply lines and the capacity of your water heater. A smaller tank or one with lengthy recovery times may not meet your needs.
This is especially true if you select a new 80-gallon soaking tub and you have a 50-gallon tank. Consider a separate tankless or tank heater for your second story or a larger tank with a recirculation pump that keeps hot water right at your taps.
Also, consider how large your street-side water supply lines are. If you add enough fixtures, the plumbing code may require you to upgrade to a more extensive supply line. And if you still have galvanized piping, this is probably the time to take it all out.
Get a suitable gas meter.
More gas appliances usually mean a larger meter. Most utility providers will require you to add up the BTU (British thermal unit) requirements of your appliances (furnace, water heater, range, washer-dryer, barbecue, fireplace) and size your meter accordingly. Or maybe you’re adding that barbecue and fireplace in a few years? Sizing the meter larger now and running the pipe where you will need it can save you money in the future.
Deaden the sound.
While your friends will not be able to admire all that pretty insulation in your walls, they will be relieved not to hear what’s going on in the powder room since you insulated all the walls with sound insulation. You can choose from Rockwool insulation, soundboard or drywall specifically designed to deaden sound transmission through wall cavities. Using resilient channels in ceilings can also help stop sound transmission from one floor or room to another. You may also want sound insulation around your laundry room and media room, and shared bedroom walls.
Avoid the waterfall noise.
Decorative waterfalls are soothing in a backyard, but not when you hear them running through your walls. Plastic waste pipe in walls — insulated or not — can create the very audible sound of falling water. This is not an issue when the pipes run into an unfinished basement, but those waste lines come down through one or more main floor walls when you add a second story. Upgrading to cast iron waste pipes will go a long way toward making them invisible to the ear.
Weigh the pros and cons of new siding, windows and doors.
A second-story or bump-out addition begs the question: Stick with the windows, doors and siding you have or choose something new? Structural requirements may force your decision. If enough of your exterior walls need siding removed and plywood nailed on, it may make sense to replace everything. But if you have brick at the main level, you may want to use cement or wood siding at your addition. Window and door matching generally makes sense only if what’s existing is already in pretty good shape or is prohibitively expensive to replicate. The choice is unique to every home; consult with your contractor and architect on the best way to proceed.
Ask your architect and contractor what they would do.
Architects and contractors are generally focused most on meeting the needs you have stated. But asking them what they would do if it were their house is likely to yield some exciting and thought-provoking suggestions that might otherwise pass you by. Your architect and contractor have seen what works, what is worth changing and what may be worth dropping altogether. Questions like these will keep you from overspending on superfluous fads and put your money in the places that count in the long term.
Things Not to Do When Remodeling your Home
Don’t assume you know how to do every home remodelling project.
Every DIY remodelling project isn’t considered equal. Before deciding which project to begin first at your home, determine what skill set and experience, you have to execute your project. Many home projects will involve more expertise than others. While you may think all you need to do to replace a lighting fixture is detach the current fixture – you may forget that turning off the electricity to that circuit and other requirements are necessary. Do your homework!
Don’t enlist friends and family to help you if they aren’t experienced.
To save money, many homeowners think of hiring or asking their friends and family to help. This can lead to costly mistakes, injury, and damage to important elements in your home. While friends and family can be used for moving belongings, furniture, cleaning and other household “chores”, – only let experienced family and friends assist with your home renovation.
Never assume that your budget won’t go over your estimation.
While you may have done your homework on how much your materials, labour, and miscellaneous remodelling components will cost, there always should be a budget for going over budget. Many remodelling projects will involve unforeseen circumstances that will not be conveyed until the project starts. Opening up walls can often lead to electrical, structural or plumbing surprises. Remodelling older homes can often unveil mould, pipes leaking or rotting and deteriorating wood. Keeping this in mind, create a lower budget than you think you will need, just in case. Finding the right Melbourne home builders is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at MJS Construction Group.
Don’t assume a weekend remodelling project will only take a weekend.
Similarly to your budget, time is another resource that is valuable and shouldn’t be underestimated. While many home improvement shows are able to complete projects in a 2-3 day time span, there is a countless hour of professionals working behind the scenes. To gauge how much time you will need will largely be based on your experience level if you have the proper tools to carry out the project and help execute the job in a timely manner. Take all of these into consideration when planning a schedule. If you plan to take time off from work, factor in a day or two more on the front and back ends, just in case.
Don’t overlook local building codes and regulations for your area.
Many homeowners assume that any construction or remodelling they do on their home is fair game. Depending on where you live, the local building codes and statutes may need to be considered. Especially if you are digging outside your home for a pool, pouring a structural foundation, or installing specific electrical/plumbing/mechanical/structural components may need a building inspector to review for safety.
For many homeowners, the reality of home renovation may look dismal if cost, time and resources are unknown. Before you table the idea of not doing a home renovation, do your research ahead of time. If you can’t afford your entire remodelling project right now or you don’t have enough ideas to envision your renovation, take your time. Ask professional architects, interior designers, landscapers, and contractors or specialized home design professionals. They often can help you make your dream a reality in stages and at an affordable cost that you may not have known was an option. Your home is a considerable investment; take the time to research how to make it uniquely yours with a fabulous renovation project.