The dream of a completed renovation is fun and exciting to think about, isn’t it? But the renovation process itself can quickly dampen that excitement and turn into major stress quickly. Did you know, major renovations can be so stressful, it can even have a serious negative impact on relationships? This is why it’s important to plan for a renovation to be as problem free as possible.
With all the decisions, risks, money and time involved in a renovation project, is it even possible to have a problem-free renovation? The honest answer is yes. There will always be unexpected turns. But you can create a renovation experience free from major stress and manageable problems.
Here’s our guide to help make your renovation problems manageable and relatively stress-free:
A problem-free renovation starts with proper design and selection
Having no plan causes nothing but problems for your contractor and you. You would not build a house without blueprints, so why would you do a large renovation without a proper design and selection process?
Planning your renovation is important, and the first step is to learn about the materials and products you want. Go window shopping in hardware and home design stores and start making lists of materials and finishings you like.
Once you have a bit of an idea of the direction you want to go (and don’t worry, it’s ok if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed), you need to hire a professional interior designer. Many contractors will have a relationship with an interior designer they like to work with. At Lambert Brothers, we work with our friends at Addison Grace Design.
Hiring a designer will use about 3-7% of your overall budget, but it will increase the success rate of your project twenty-fold. It will also greatly reduce the time the contractor will spend in your home – saving time equals saving money!
With a proper design and selection package, your contractor should be able to provide you with a solid quote to the penny. Do not accept estimates. There is a big difference between a solid quote and an estimate.
Hire a contractor early
We’ve talked about looking around to find materials you like but don’t buy anything just yet. We recommend hiring your contractor before you buy fixtures or have your heart set on something. All reputable contractors will want to supply all materials they are installing and are rarely interested in taking on projects where the customer has supplied their own materials.
There are a lot of reasons it’s important to hire your contractor early in your planning process. First, it’s important to understand most reputable contractors can’t start the next day. You may need to wait a couple of months before they have availability for your project.
In saying that, finding a contractor isn’t an overnight process either. It takes time to do your research, check references and feel confident enough to sign a written contract (and make sure you read it!). And no, a written contract is not optional.
So, if you are talking to someone who doesn’t “do” written contracts – run. It doesn’t matter if someone you know recommended them to you, not having a written contract opens the floodgates for unending problems and renovation stress.
Set your expectations properly
The worst thing we see when talking to new potential clients is that they have a ten-thousand-dollar budget for a complete bathroom renovation, and they want it done in two weeks. Those kinds of expectations are simply not reasonable and any contractor who tells you otherwise is not being truthful.
You need to talk to several contractors to get an idea of realistic budget requirements and timelines – not only for the wait time to start, but also the total time for the renovation to be completed. Keep in mind that as of late, supply chain shortages, although improving, are still impacting renovation timelines.
Plan for patience and flexibility
For your renovation to feel problem-free, you need to plan for it to NOT be problem-free. Being patient for unexpected mishaps, material being discontinued, or small delays are part of any project, and you will stay in a better mindset if you approach these things as a normal part of the process. An experienced contractor in renovations knows this and will have some allowances in their quote to cover minor problems.
Knowing the daily or weekly plan once construction starts is a great way to feel more in control. Talk to your contractor regularly so you know what is happening in the short term to help keep your anxiety in check.
Create a space in your house to retreat that is away from the construction. Having this space ready before construction starts ensures you will have somewhere to go to feel a sense of order and normalcy.
Depending on the room(s) being renovated, you’ll want to consider having a bar fridge, hot plate, television or other necessities in place so you can live in relative ease while your regular rooms are unusable.
Another option is to plan to be out of the house entirely for the project’s duration or plan ways to be in the house much less during construction. Often the noise, dust and general comings and goings of trades people can leave homeowners with a feeling of chaos.
You can avoid the mental weight of chaos by planning weekend or week-long getaways during construction, working at a coffee shop if you usually work at home, or by staying with friends or relatives for more significant renovations.
If you are ready to start planning your renovation project, we are here to help. Contact us at Lambert Brothers Construction for your free consultation and quote.