Expect the Unexpected—How to Plan Ahead for Your Home Remodel

Congratulations! You’ve made the exciting decision to remodel your home. For many people, remodeling is a new and exciting experience, but also intimidating and wrought with fear. With just a bit of preparation and pre-planning you’ll end up with a beautiful home remodel that is also enjoyable.

The Design Phase

Define Your Style

With a plethora of colors, finishes, materials, lighting, and products to choose from, it is recommended that you work with a design professional. Even if you know what you like, you may find it difficult to express it, or struggle with creating a cohesive look across all of the selections or even across the various rooms in your home. A designer can be a wonderful, guiding resource for you.

For many, the design phase is the most fun and engaging part of the remodeling process. For others, it creates stress and worry. The key is to define your style, colors, likes and dislikes even before you start working with a designer.

Expect Inspections

Be prepared to have many subcontractors walk through your home providing their expertise on various areas of the renovation. They may have a particular question about your house or want to inspect a specific detail, such as where an existing post actually lands, or to measure a particular area for clearance space, etc.

The Construction Phase

Be prepared for dust

This is the time we get down and dirty, literally. Above all else, be prepared for dust! Drywall is dusty, and invasive. Your construction crew will take a variety or precautions, but in the end, you should expect to experience a little dust throughout your remodel.

Noisy Routine

If you decide to live in the home, which is most common, your morning routine will be disrupted. If possible, plan ahead and adjust your morning ahead an hour, particularly the first week, to avoid a noisy start to your day.

Speaking of noise, unfortunately, construction is surprisingly noisy. It might seem obvious, but construction will often go on for hours and hours at a time. If you work at home, plan some time away in a quiet place— a library or coffee shop, for example.

Have a Pet Plan

If you have a furry friend, your pet will require a plan. Dogs tend to get stressed out with all of the noise and will bark more than usual. They can get antsy, and may get scared. A plan for keeping them in a separate area with solid boundaries will be important.

Indoor cats require the same planning. The construction crew won’t be able to protect your cat from escaping outdoors. Before your remodel begins, start feeding your cat in a new location, and moving the litter box to the same location. Outdoor cats will also benefit from eating in a new location. It can even help to move their feeding time well into the evening when construction stops for the day. Lastly, birds are very sensitive to dust, so be sure to plan accordingly, protecting your feathered friend from any damaging effects of dust during construction.

Take the Time

The production crew will need to meet with you on a regularly scheduled basis to keep you up-to-date on your home’s remodeling progress. Be flexible and work these meetings into your day.

Set Aside a Budget for Unknown Conditions

It is best to leave a comfortable cushion in the budget for unknown conditions, which usually surface during or shortly after demolition. Ask your contractor what types of discoveries are likely to occur for your particular job. For example, bathrooms typically have dry rot, kitchens have pipes in the wrong places, roofs have leaks, and older homes can have sub-standard framing, etc.

Plan for Extra Landscaping

Landscaping repairs will be required if you are doing an addition. If this is not part of your construction contract, having a plan in place to put it all back together is a good idea.

Last 1%

Sometimes there is a particular aspect of a project that for one reason or another simply cannot be completed in a timely manner. For instance, shower glass can’t be measured until the tile is in place, and the tile is one of the last items to be installed. There is often an unavoidable lead time for shower glass, so there may be a period where nothing is happening, and everyone is waiting for the shower glass to be fabricated and installed. In other words, expect a few delays caused by the natural order of things.

Also, at the end of your project, you can expect one or two punch-list items to take longer to resolve than anything else, whether it is a broken tile or fixture that needs to be replaced. The important thing is getting the final details right, even if it takes a little longer.

The unexpected is unpredictable, but it doesn’t have to derail you. If you budget extra time, money and patience for your project, you’ll be set for whatever issues might come your way.

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