Reality TV is great; especially Home Renovation shows. In 30 minutes, minus the time for commercials, an army of workers comes marching through someone’s front door and exits through the back, leaving a perfectly remodeled home. As someone in the renovation industry, I strive to be just like that, but the truth is, there is a lot more to renovations than they let on. Here are some
things you can expect when you sign on to renovate your home.
Dust in a home renovation is unavoidable even when great lengths are gone to avoid making a lot of dust. Sealing off the room your working in, using a dust collector with cutting tools, closing off all of the vents and cold air returns, cutting new materials outside…we do all of these things and sometimes more and yet that fine film of dust still finds its way around the rest of your home. Dust is inevitable, but with some preparation (such as covering all of your furniture) it can keep the clean up needed to a minimum.
If you plan on being around during working hours, you can expect some noise. Saws, air fasteners, compressors, drills, and even a just using a hammer can be a noisy affair. Usually the noise is not a concern if you’re working during the day, but if you are a shift-worker or a stay-at-home parent, get ready to invest in some earplugs or plan to go out for a few hours. Luckily, most renovators pack up and go home before the family sits down for their evening meal.
One of the exciting things about going through a home renovation is seeing the renovation unfold and getting excited about the progress taking place. YES! My old kitchen cabinets are out! FANTASTIC! The new windows are in and they look great! WOW! That new crown moulding looks great! It’s those moments as a renovator that we live for and we’re excited when you get excited.
The other half of the emotional coin are those moments when things get difficult or frustrating during the process. What? It takes three weeks from the time my solid surface counter top gets templated until it’s installed? Huh? One of the cabinets doors was damaged during shipping and I won’t have a new one for 2 weeks? It’s during these times we do our best to find a solution to to correct the problem and move on as smoothly as possible.
A great contractor will try to remove all of the unexpected elements out of the equation before the remodel even begins, but sometimes things….just happen. One time, a client of ours chose some laminate flooring for their home from one of our suppliers and we signed off on the project. When it came time to order the product, we discovered that it was discontinued and that the supplier failed to update their product list. It happens. In the end, we were able to find an alternate product that the client approved of and got a discount on the flooring. The unexpected can and usually does happen, but it’s how the contractor deals with it that is important.
If you have a small project in the works, such as having your roofing done, you may have only one or two decisions to make, such as the color of your shingles. If you’re doing, let’s say, a kitchen remodel there are multiple decisions you have to make, and sometimes you have to make those decisions without having the whole picture. Color and species of cabinets, door style, door hardware, counter top material, counter top color, flooring type and color, tile design for back splash, grout color, lighting options…the list goes on and on. Sometimes it can be overwhelming
and sometimes the decisions that you have to make are very small indeed. We’ve asked clients where they’d like their bathroom tissue holder located on the wall. Yes, it can go to that much detail. The best thing to do is to grab yourself a small note book and jot down the decisions you’ve made so that you can refer back to them when needed.
Now that you’ve made all of those decisions, you might decide to change your mind during the process because you’ve found that you like something better. A change order is an amendment to your contract that reflects any changes you make after the contract is signed and also reflects any changes to the cost of the project. It’s in both the contractor’s and your best interest to have a signed change order in place and you can expect to be signing a few of them if you wish to make multiple changes.
We recently did a kitchen project that initially went so smoothly that we thought we would be done ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, we got a call from the counter top company that they had an issue with shipping the counter top and the install would be delayed a week. So, for a week, the kitchen sat with almost no progress. Delays can happen for any reason. The best way to deal with delays is to manage expectations and budget time to account for those delays. For a standard kitchen renovation, we usually tell our clients when we expect to be finished, and also remind them that occasionally things can happen to put thing behind schedule.
The best thing you can look forward to is the day when you can invite your friends and family over to take part in enjoying your newly updated home. No more dust, no more decisions, no more family interruptions. You can congratulate yourself on getting through a major undertaking and console yourself on the fact that you’ve probably been bitten by the renovation bug and we’ll be seeing you again for your next big project.