In honor of our first blog, I thought it would be appropriate to blog about first time remodelers and my experience of the pitfalls awaiting your decisions.
First, your home may look acceptable to you from the outside, but believe me, rot and mold exists in your rooms where water is used regularly and all sorts of surprises are awaiting you, compliments of the Builders' shortcuts. Ever experience that p-trap that is not sealed properly and the leak has disintegrated your bathroom vanities and Kitchen sink base? Maybe you have a fence gate that doesn't close properly, no matter how many bricks you put under it as a brace. Or, find your grout cracking and staining throughout your home, doors/windows that won't close/latch properly, swelling in your shower walls, or a skylight that leaks on a regular basis? Builders make many mistakes, primarily because they typically sub-contract to the lowest bidder and least experience craftsmen. I tell all my Customer's that it s not my job to remodel to the Builders mistakes, it is the job of a true Remodeling Professional to remodel and fix the Builders mistakes. Having built on both sides of the equation - I prefer the Remodel side, because it is truly about craftsmanship. Be aware that depending on your remodel project, many "change orders" await your signed contract, depending on the breadth of the Scope of Work.
Second, seek guidance. Lot's of it. Talk to QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS about the SPECIFIC details about your remodel wish list. Trust me, the referral companies on the internet do not (NOT) necessarily have the right Tradesman for the Job. I am head hunted frequently from this spectrum and have personal experience with their potential for gross incompetence. Ask for pictures, Home Owner references and more importantly ask if you can see their work, in person. Do they utilize sub-contractors? If so, who and are they the same every job? Use trusted suppliers and installers and monitor them. Every install date will find itself with a new and inexperienced laborer, whose competence may be questionable. Recently I had a customer's Granite kitchen countertop install go bad, as the installers left a screw under the full length sink base countertop, and glued it with epoxy at a 2 degree slope towards the kitchen hardwood floor.
Third, carefully plan a budget and add 20% for change orders and residuals. It's just a smart and proven safeguard.
Finally, sign a Contract AND sign and detail any monetary changes as well as what is expected of the additional performance of the Contractor. In the Industry we call that a: Scope of Work. Make sure it is thorough and clearly explains your expectations and monetary settlements.
Good Luck with your first Remodel and remember - this is your Home! Whomever you hire should make ALL your wishes and dreams come true.