What is the remodeling process?

Thinking about remodeling your home?  Don’t know where to start?  Here are the steps to a remodeling project.

The first step, gather some ideas of what you like and even some that you don’t.  Knowing what you like and don’t like is very important for the next steps.  Getting ideas from magazines and sites like Pinterest are great, you can make idea boards that you can use to help paint a picture to a designer or contractor so they can help guide you to getting the space/home of your dreams.

The second step, decide if you are going to tackle the project on your own or if you will in list the support of professionals to help you complete the project.  Homeowners beware, many aspects of a remodel such as demolition, electrical and plumbing can be extremely dangerous and come with liabilities long after the project is completed.  In many cases, by not hiring licensed professionals or permitting the work, you may leave yourself not covered by your insurance in the event of fire or flood.  We highly recommend always getting a permit for any project that has electrical, plumbing or mechanical upgrades.  Always check with your local building department for what requires a permit and what doesn’t, you will be surprised by what actually requires permits these days.

The third step, develop a realistic investment.  Remember most of the HGTV shows are not realistic when it comes to timeframes and investments.  A good source of information is the 2022 Cost vs. Value Report to see what the average investments for the project you are looking to do was in your area.  Remember, these are averages, and the scope of works are very general, your ultimate investment will depend on several things including scope of work and material selection.

The fourth step, design your dream space.  If you are working with a designer or design/build contractor be sure to very detailed with them.  A sign of a good designer or design/build contractor is that they ask you a lot of questions about what is motivating you to take on this project in the first place.  How do you imagine the space when it is all completed?  How do you plan on the space functioning.  What will you feel like when you enter the space? Your ultimate design will need to fit with your investment amount.  This is where things get difficult.  Your design will also drive the overall investment moving forward.

The fifth step, hire your General Contractor or the specialty sub contractors you will be using to do the work.  Again, we worn against being your own General Contractor as the liability of the overall project falls to the General Contractor on the project.  These liabilities include, material ordering, payment of subs, permits, inspections, scheduling of subs, scheduling the order of project phases, budgeting the use of the investment funds for the project, insuring all aspects  of the project are completed to building codes.

The sixth step, “Demo Day.”  Okay this maybe the one good thing to come from those DIY television shows, the term “Demo Day.”  It does work.  But in all seriousness, demo day is actually more like a week.  The site needs to be prepared for having construction crews come in and basically destroy what your current space looks like. 

This means removal of all personal belongings if the home is currently lived in. Depending on how large your remodel is going to be, it can be as little as just the space that will be worked on, but we recommend that you also prepare whatever pathway the contractors and their laborers will use to get to the space.  For example hallways, entry ways, garages.  They will also need a staging area for tools, materials and breaks.  These areas should abe discussed in the proceedings steps when hiring contractors and as part of the design phase of the project.  Demolition creates a lot of dust and debris, dust control should be discussed with all the trades involved in the process.  Sometimes this is an area that falls to the General Contractor to provide and is included in the overall project investment.

The seventh step, framing (if required).  Now that walls have been opened up, this is where most of the surprises will happen.  Sometimes you’ll find evidence of water damage, mold, pests, termites.  When this happens, or if what you want to achieve requires additional framing to be put in place framing happens.  It can be as simple as adding a couple of 2×4’s or as complicated as adding bracing so that structural repairs can be made.

The eighth step, rough ins.  Now that the framing is in place, you can rough in or make repairs to plumbing and electrical that is behind the wall.  Note, these repairs should be done be competent licensed professionals and will require permits and inspections.  Not sure what requires permits check out this blog post.

The ninth step, is drywall/backer board/.  Now that your rough-ins are done, you can close the walls back up.  Depending on what you will be covering the walls with and their location, you may use either drywall or cement backer board, sometimes call Hardiebacker.  Hardiebacker is name brand cement board that became very popular in the industry a while back and has since become like Google, and name that describes all cement boards.  This phase will also require inspections to be completed before you can move forward.

The tenth step, texture, tile, paint, cabinets and fixtures.  This is where everything starts to pull together.   Once the drywall or backer board is in place, you can start with the texturing or tiling.  If tiling only, you may want to paint the walls first.  Once you have the tiling in place and the painting is done, you can bring in the cabinets and start installing the fixtures.  Once these are all in place it is time to call for the final inspection.  Once the final inspection(s) are completed it is time to enjoy the new space you have created!

As you can see, there is more to a remodeling project than is often shown in “reality” series.  Some of the phases are often glossed over and therefore are forgotten when homeowners try to the work themselves.  Many times, homeowners with good intentions try to take on large projects and forget or don’t know that some of these steps are required.  Unfortunately for some, they don’t do a proper job when it comes to the electrical or plumbing and something bad happens.  When the insurance company does their inspection and they find out the homeowner did a DIY job, and they didn’t follow industry standards for process and procedures, their insurance claims can be denied.  This can cause a huge financial burden at a really bad time.  So we always recommend to our clients, use licensed and bonded contractors, and hire a general contractor with experience managing remodeling projects. They can navigate these waters with you, so you get what you want in the end, the space of your dreams.