Facts About Remodeling a Home
Remodeling or renovating a home involves choices.
If you are a home improvement enthusiast with the skills to complete home remodeling jobs yourself, like plumbing, electrical wiring, woodworking or refinishing, and painting and wall work, you can save significant money.
If, on the other hand, your pockets are deep or you lack the confidence or skills to successfully tackle home improvement projects yourself, hire a contractor. The best candidates should submit at least three references from previous customers as well as a work portfolio of prior jobs to review.
The older the home, the more chance something will break, fail or simply wear out.
When considering how much to tackle, take into consideration how long you plan to remain in the home and the purpose of the remodeling or renovation job. Kitchens and baths typically hold the most resale value and are among the most popular and costly home remodeling projects.
A fresh paint job–which you can usually do yourself–makes the home appear clean and cared for with the least amount of cost.
Paint a room
Most homeowners can repaint a room. Buy enough paint to do the job: Estimate the amount of wall space, and buy gallons of paint accordingly. Paint costs range from inexpensive (under $20 per gallon) to $30 per gallon and beyond.
The best color match is at the original time of purchase, and buying an extra quart or gallon of paint is a safe bet. For extremely large projects, buying a five-gallon container, where possible, ensures consistent color.
Choose Projects According to Skill Level
Systems projects such as electrical, plumbing, heating, water and sewer and roofing are major remodeling projects. Tackle these only if you have the experience or the desire to learn.
Local contractors have reputations to maintain, so look for one with experience and references for the particular job, like refinishing wood flooring, repairing stonework or installing a bathroom.
Interview contractors and get references first. Most contractors offer free estimates. Ask for a cost estimate, and agree to project deadlines before signing contracts.
Lay out a plan for each project prior to purchasing materials. Estimate the cost as much as possible before doing the job in order to set expectations and ultimately save time and minimize cost. Costs for home remodeling jobs can vary widely. Shopping at “big box” locations can offer some cost discounts as well as a dizzying array of products. Small independent businesses may offer better customer service, free delivery and have competitive pricing.
Considerations & Pitfalls
Living in the midst of a remodeling project takes courage. From washing dishes in a basin or bathtub while the kitchen sink is replaced, to dealing with dust and lacquer fumes from hardwood floor refinishing, completed remodeling and renovation projects are their own reward.
Skilled do-it-yourself homeowners can save time and money by successfully completing home improvement and remodeling projects themselves, while adding valuable upgrades to the home.
Break the project into manageable portions and set a target completion date. For instance, you could paint an average dining room in a day or across a weekend, depending on how long and hard you want to work.
Installing framing and sheet rock to wall partition a large room and create two smaller rooms takes more time, skill and money.
Some home remodeling projects require construction skills beyond the basics. For example, refinishing hardwood floors requires floor sanding devices, respirators and ear protection. Floor sanders are heavy, and require changing sanding pads frequently. Commercial sanders can gouge floors if left in one place too long. Make sure your skills are up to the task and know when to hire a reputable professional.