Remodeling projects can be exciting, but they can also be very stressful if you do not know what to expect before the work begins. In fact, if you are not prepared, remodeling may be nothing but total frustration. It is important to think your project through as much as possible before your project starts.
The Initial Consultation
Once you make contact with a general contractor, he or she will arrange an appointment to meet with you in person to discuss the project. This should be a free, no-obligation consultation. The contractor will ask you a few questions about the work you want done, take measurements and photos of the space to be remodeled. It is important that you ask any questions that come to mind, as this consultation is about understanding your needs.
When it comes to pricing your remodeling project transparency is crucial. The price on the estimate should be the exact amount you are expected to pay with no hidden fees. The written estimate is a contract that describes exactly what will happen with your project and how much each task will cost. It may be sent via email or presented to you in person. The contractor should follow up with you in about five to seven days.
After you agree to the estimate, you will need to meet with the contractor to finalize the contract. Next, the contractor will set up appointments with vendors to pick out tiles, fixtures, etc. After the initial consult to pick out features, some designers may provide 3D renderings for you to approve. On larger projects an architect or structural engineer may also be consulted. A construction manager will then be assigned to your job to be your main point of contact and should be present every day on your job site.
The contractor should spend some time going over site preparation with you so you will know what to expect once the job begins. This may include such things as placement of portable toilets and dumpsters, workers' points of access and anything you need to do to prepare the space. All furniture and personal items should be removed from the renovation space. The work will create a lot of dust and the workers will be in and out constantly. Many contractors use plastic sheeting to cover floors and belongings in order to minimize the dust penetration.
Construction will begin once the site is ready. The length of the construction phase depends on the project, but these rough estimates will give you an idea of what to expect:
- Additions: 1-2 months
- Basement: 4-5 weeks
- Deck: 1 week
- Kitchen: 3-6 weeks
- Guest Bath: 2 -3 weeks
- Master Bath: 3-5 weeks
- Screened-in Porch: 3 weeks
A typical workday should begin around 8-9 AM and end at 5 PM, Monday through Saturday. The general contractor should be there in person on the first day to introduce you to the construction manager that will be in charge your project. He or she should also check in at least twice a week to make sure everything is still on track with time and budget.
After construction is complete, the contractor should perform a homeowner walkthrough. The contractor should personally review the renovation and prepare a list of any minor cosmetic issues in need of repair. You may also want to add your own items to the list. At this time, the contractor will explain the new features to you. For instance, if a water shut-off valve has been moved or added, or a new water heater has been installed, you will be informed on how to use it. The work crew should take care of the items on the list in 5-7 days. Final payment should not be paid until this list is completed and you are completely satisfied with the renovation.
Remodeling projects are extremely exciting, yet they are inconvenient for the homeowner. There may be a lot of noise, dust, dumpsters and portable toilets in the yard and workers in and out of your house all day. If you have hardwood floors installed, it may be necessary for you to leave your house for 3-4 days once the finish is applied. Remodeling is not a walk in the park by any means and it is important that you be mentally prepared for it.