Home Remodeling Tips
Homeowners eventually must renovate. Just like consumer goods, floors, walls, countertops, appliances and other features of a home begin to wear out eventually and need to be upgraded or replaced. However, before the first step in deconstruction that is necessary before reconstruction begins, it is good to be aware of the pitfalls and other things to watch for in home remodeling.
Do-It-Yourself Renovation Concerns
It used to be the standard in pioneer days that homeowners had a big part in building their own homes. Then, craftsmen took over the trade. In the 1980s there was a resurgence in the do-it-yourself work in home beguiling and remodeling. Some banks even offered a “sweat equity” loan to potential homeowners who would do a portion of the work themselves. TV shows promote the ease of home renovations in a 30 minute program where major work is started and completed. It does not work that way in real life.
A homeowner whose only experience in home remodeling is replacing a faucet needs to build up skill sets before renovations such as replacing floors, windows or doing electrical or drywall work is begun. Take some classes at a local home center that offers instruction on renovation projects before tackling the smaller jobs first. Also, it is okay to do some of the work and contract the rest.
Hiring Licensed and Insured Contractors
A handyman in the neighborhood may do an excellent job, or he may not. It is always best to hire licensed contractors who come with references and are willing to prove their insurance coverage. Do not just look at the advertising on their trucks that say “fully insured.” Ask to see the active policy. Check references. Contact the Better Business Bureau online to check for complaints.
Getting Written Contracts
Contractors usually have several jobs going at once. Get a written contract that gives date ranges for each phase of the project. Get it in writing about cleanup and damages. Ask what precautions are taken against debris and dust getting all through the house. Ask what their protocols are when things such as lead paint or asbestos are discovered. Remediation of hazardous materials found in renovations, including mold, may result in a significant increase in cost estimates. If a written contract is vague, ask for it to be redone with more detail and clarity. Beware of contractors who want the full payment upfront.
Think Drop Cloths and Plastic Sheeting
Regardless of whether it is a do-it-yourself home remodeling project or one done by contractors, you cannot have enough protection for your home against the dust and debris that renovations create. The area being renovated needs to be isolated from the rest of the house with plastic sheeting. This also includes shutting of HVAC vents to and from the area. Put down drop cloths wherever a worker’s foot will step from the outside to the work area. Be careful of drop cloths on stairs and slippery floors.
Do Not Take Shortcuts
It may be perfectly fine to reuse an electrical circuit to a room. Then again, it may not be fine, so let an electrical contractor decide. Home renovations normally include upgrades to appliances and the desire to have more electrical outlets and better lighting. The old electrical circuits serving a room may not be adequate to the task. Old plumbing may also need to be updated. All galvanized water lines should be replaced with copper. Plastic (polybutylene) pipe installed from 1978 to 1995 may be part of a recall and should be replaced instead of reused.
Think through each phase of a remodeling project. Inspect the progress of contractors, and do not be afraid to raise any concerns or ask questions. Expect some unexpected things to pop up when doing major renovations. It is not possible to see all the details of the infrastructure until the work begins. Unforeseen expenses are to be expected, but experienced contractors know what to expect based on the age and general construction of the home being remodeled.