At the onset of a home renovation project, it’s all too easy to be focused on the end result. Unfortunately, sometimes that means forgetting about, denying or simply being unaware of certain truths about the process. Before you begin, take a few tips from these experts: Robert Taylor of Taylor Building and Development, and Vicky Serany of Southern Studio Interior Design.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
While the literal advice still stands, it’s also valid on a theoretical level. Before beginning a renovation project, it’s critical to plan, re-plan, verify plans and plan some more. Doing so helps eliminate missed details, expenses and hold-ups throughout the project.
“While we know surprises and delays will arise during construction, we try to eliminate as many as possible by building the project on paper over and over again. This means creating and revising the plan, budget and schedule many times before beginning work.” — Taylor
“If the project is major, complete all of your selections prior to beginning the project. Obtain quotes for cabinetry, countertops, flooring, plumbing, lighting, appliances, paint, trim carpentry and any other necessary details before the project begins. Once these selections are complete, an accurate budget can be established and adjustments can be made.” — Serany
Put It on Paper
Every renovation project begins with a vision. Hiring professionals can enhance that vision, but making it a reality can be a bumpy road if homeowners don’t see eye-to-eye with everyone involved in the process. Be sure to write down each detail to ensure you’re on the same page with contractors and designers.
“If working with a contractor, get detailed specifications for the materials and products to be used in the project. The more details included in the contract, the less chance for misunderstanding.” — Serany
Drop cloths, dust, splatters, noise — renovation is a messy and unpleasant process. Be sure you time your renovations appropriately. You don’t want to be inconvenienced during a stressful period at work, or have your children disrupted during finals week at school.
“No matter the scale, duration and scope of the project, there will be a departure from normal life. Your house may be draped in plastic, your kitchen or master bath may be out of commission for a few months, furniture will be shifted around, the construction crew will be joining you for morning coffee and leaving when it is time to start preparing for dinner. The mental preparation for this change in daily routine and way of life is crucial to the homeowner’s happiness throughout the project.” — Taylor
“Set a realistic time frame for the project. There are so many pieces to coordinate, and the delays involved can challenge even the most patient person.” — Serany
Use Mess to Your Advantage
While it probably doesn’t make the process any more enjoyable, you can benefit from a house in disarray by preparing for future projects.
“Take photos of the ‘inside’ of the walls prior to installation of drywall. Knowing the locations of behind-the-wall electrical and plumbing can help with future repairs.” — Serany
Admit Your Shortcomings
Going DIY because you think anyone can tile a floor? Insist there’s no way you’ll start something you can’t finish? Are you really being honest with yourself?
“While some folks are pretty handy, there is no substitute for the quality of a trade professional. Whether it be a painter or a plumber, they are simply better at doing the work than the homeowner. Time and budget are the lead factors in projects getting started and not being finished. When you hire someone to do the work, they have the time, and you will know the budget.” — Taylor