Having your home renovated is not all that difficult to do. If you’re an inspiring DIYer who browses a few renovation videos on the internet or spends a lot of time watching the renovation shows on cable T V, you might be able to work some renovation miracles in your home. If you’re not all that handy, or you simply don’t want to dedicate the many hours to remodeling, you can easily seek out a general contractor to get the job done. However, experiencing a GREAT renovation project is not so easy. There is a lot that goes on in order to have that ‘perfect kitchen’ or ‘stunning bathroom.’ We’ve broken down the four basic elements that go into every great renovation and here they are:
Before the first hammer swing or saw cut happens, there needs to be some planning that takes place. It may seem obvious, but the details in the planning phase can make or break a renovation project. Good project planning can help in a couple of areas.
Firstly, planning helps the clients get the end result that they want. Spending some time asking questions such as “Who am I?”, “What is my lifestyle like?” and “Where do I see myself in a few years?” may seem trivial, but they can drastically alter the direction of a project. Take, for example, a kitchen project. A kitchen designed for a single homeowner might look drastically different from one that is owned by a wife and husband who both like to cook together. Add in a few children and the eating space might need to also function as a homework space. If the same people love entertaining, the kitchen could look vastly different.
Planning also helps to keep things on a tight time frame and budget. If you’ve already planned out your product selections, they can ordered in advance so that they are available when needed. As well, that dishwasher that you’ve selected, may in fact, go on sale, saving you a bit of money.
And finally, planning can sometimes help with preparing for the project unknowns. These mysteries can sometimes crop up even if you have spent the time planning, but you’re often better able to make quicker decisions to keep the project moving forward.
Choosing good quality product that is readily available helps to move toward the success of your project. When explaining this idea, I always use the example of bathroom fixtures to illustrate a point. If you are shopping for a set of sink taps in a retail store, the first thing to consider is quality, not price. Are the taps cheaply made? Do they install easily or is there a trick to getting them put in place? Do you really want to take the chance that the set of taps you bought will spring a leak and cause some water damage in your home? It’s better to look for quality product for more mainstream manufacturers…there is less of a chance of problems.
As well, making sure that your product choice is suitable for the application goes a long way to avoiding any headaches. When renovating a basement, for example, it’s important to note that some flooring products are not recommended below grade (in the basement area). If installed in the basement, the manufacturer won’t honor the warranty. Another example that is small, but very important, would be the type of caulking used in a bathroom around the tub and toilet. Because of higher levels of moisture in a bathroom, it’s recommended to use silicone with anti-fungal agents. they help to prevent mold from growing in these areas.
The best products for your renovation product won’t look good or perform well if they are installed improperly. Most general contractors will hire out sub-contractors to ensure the job gets done correctly. Imagine spending a lot of money on that beautiful tile you wanted for your kitchen floor only to have it installed poorly. A lot of sub-contractors will specialize in certain areas and do those thing day in and day out. This generally leads to a better finished product. Of course, that handyman who does the entire project might do okay, but it’s my opinion that using sub-contractors usually provides better results.
Also to mention, there are certain tasks in a renovation project that should only be left to experts. Plumbing, electrical, mechanical and structural elements of a renovation should be done by certified trades. In fact, here in Edmonton, a lot of these tasks need permitting that can only be done by the specific trades. Doing things without the proper permit is a big no-no and insurance companies often won’t cover damage done if the proper tradesman wasn’t used and permit wasn’t pulled.
The last thing needed to turn a renovation into a great one is in the execution. This is the area that, if lacking, leads to renovation horror stories. As we always say, you can have a beautiful kitchen, but if the road to get it was difficult, you’ll always remember the difficulties.
So, what goes into great execution? Good communication between the contractor and the client is a good start. Knowing who is showing up to your house to do what work is fundamental to putting your mind at ease. As well, ensuring the job site is clean and safe in part of good execution. Sometimes it can be hard to pin down exactly what makes a project run smoothly, but it’s these little things that turn a good project into a great one.