Financing Your Home Renovation

Tips To Choose A Trusted Home Renovation Contractor

Are you thinking about renovating your home? If yes, you need a right renovation contractor who can understand your vision and turn your ideas into reality. Choosing a right professional who can coordinate with you throughout the renovation process is a challenging affair. While a careful selection can help you create a space of your dreams, a wrong selection can ruin all your ideas and expectations. Following are the 5 tips that will you choose a trusted home renovation contractor:

  1. Research: Research is the key when it comes to choosing a right renovation contractor for your home. Ask for a free quotation from different contractors and see what they are offering and the overall cost of the project. Then select the one that meets your budget. At the same time, make sure that the contractor is experienced and skilled enough to handle the entire process. He must be able to give feedbacks and suggestions from time to time and discuss about your requirements too. Ask your friends or family too about an experienced contractor if they’ve ever renovated their home.
  2. Plan your budget: If you will not plan a budget beforehand, you will feel lost during the hiring process. Different contractors will have different offerings. If you haven’t set a reasonable budget for your home, you won’t be able to find a right fit for the job. Setting a budget will also help you negotiate on the overall cost of project your contractor has told you.
  3. Check for expertise: Depending on the expertise and the experience of the contractor, renovation can take a few days, weeks or even months to complete. So you would never want to hand over your project to an inexperienced renovation company who has handled just 2-3 projects in the past. The contractor you choose must be licensed and has a good portfolio of successful home renovation projects in the past.
  4. Ask for estimated completion time: Choosing a contractor only on the basis of price quote is not a wise decision. You should also know what completion time they are offering with that quote. Even if one contractor is charging more than the other but offering less completion time, it would be worth your money if you want the work to be completed at soon as possible. Obviously, you would be looking for someone who can hand over the renovated home to you so you can start your routine life normally as fast as possible. Hence, before entering into a contract, read and understand all the terms and conditions carefully.
  5. Warranties and guarantees: A good contractor will always give you surety of his good quality work. So find out if your contractor is giving you any warranty of certain materials he has used during the renovation or not. Bad materials and products used during the refurbishing can cost you a lot in the future. So make sure that your renovation contractor is covering all these.

Hope, these tips will help you get a renovation contractor who turns your boring space into a wonderland of your dreams!

man renovating kitchen

Things You Must Do Before Renovating Your House—or Else

Renovating your house is an adventure, one that can easily go off the rails. There are a mind-boggling number of wrong turns homeowners can take, from going over budget, to hiring a shady contractor, to just realizing that the quartz counters or paint color they picked are so wrong—after the work is done.

So if you want to make sure your renovation turns out all right, it’s essential you be prepared. Here are five things you should do before embarking on any major home improvement project to avoid a whole bunch of headaches and regrets.

Know what you like

Oh that part’s easy, right? You want a totally new kitchen. But what exactly does that mean? You have to narrow down whether that’s just cosmetic (e.g., new cupboards, counters, and appliances) or structural (e.g., reconfiguring your space or knocking down a wall).

Run the numbers

There’s a reason we call it a “dream house”: It might not exist in real life—at least within the parameters of our budget! So before you get too attached to single-slab counters or spendy light fixtures, take a stroll down the aisles of your local design center to start pricing materials and labor.

Do a reality check

You might be wildly off base on what’s feasible in home renovation. For example, a project that might seem simple, such as adding a laundry room upstairs, can easily become a budget buster when you realize you have to configure complicated plumbing because of the location you chose. Having a consultation with an architect or a contractor can give you some insight into which projects will be workable—and which you might want to abandon before you even get started.

Vet your contractor

We’re not talking about doing just a cursory audit of online reviews or references, although those are helpful. You have to do a full-blown check and get proof of the following:

  • Contractor’s license
  • Certificate of insurance for general liability and workers’ comp
  • Lien history
  • Bond number and certification

And remember, you are going to be spending a lot of time with your contractor, as well as parting with a lot of cash and potentially a good bit of your sanity over the duration of the renovation. Your contractor is soon to become an almost-roommate, so take the time to conduct in-person interviews to find both a personal and professional fit.

Time your renovation right

Renovation projects are notorious for running over schedule, often through no one’s fault. Weather can delay projects; necessary materials can be on back order; subcontractors can get sick; tricky wiring can take longer than expected. It’s wise to just expect there will be delays, so plan the renovation with ample time if you have a “due date,” such as house guests coming or a special trip that will take you out of town.

Construction blueprints with calculator, red pencil and roulette on wooden background closeup. Floor plan designed building on the drawing, top view. The part of architectural project.

How to Renovate a House

A look at the major elements of a whole-house renovation will give you a sense of what’s involved.

Design and Planning

A sketch on a cocktail napkin, full-blown architectural plans, or just a firm set of thoughts about how the remodel should progress. It is cheaper and less frustrating to correct mistakes before the remodel takes physical form. Ensure that you have funding for your renovation.

Roof, Foundation, Water Issues, Siding, Windows

Roof replacement or repair; foundation fix; stopping water infiltration; installing or repairing siding and windows. Large projects must be done first because

Structural Carpentry

Carpentry that is in support of other work such as drywall, new or moved walls, windows, doors, etc.

  • Moving walls.
  • Constructing new walls.
  • Adding beams to support a greater weight upstairs.
  • Punching in new doors (or removing existing doors).
  • Adding framing for new construction windows, or significantly enlarging the window openings.

HVAC Ductwork, Electrical, and Plumbing

Vital services that need to be installed when the walls and ceiling are open.

  • With the walls and ceiling open, it is time for the HVAC company to install ductwork for central heating and air conditioning.
  • Run new electrical and plumbing systems. Electrical and plumbing inspectors will visit at this time, too.

Windows

Installing new-construction or replacement windows.

  • Window installation, whether whole-house or partial, almost always plays into a home remodel project.

Insulation

Laying the insulation in the walls and ceiling.

  • Install insulation in the walls and attic.
  • Insulation goes fast, so make sure that your drywall company is ready to go soon after this.

Drywall

Closing up the walls with drywall: hanging it, mudding it, and sanding it.

  • A second inspection from the electrical inspector (and perhaps the plumbing inspector) will give you the go-ahead to close up the walls.
  • Drywallers hang sheets of drywall, apply drywall compound, and let the compound dry. After drying, they sand it smooth. Sometimes, they will repeat the process until they achieve a seamless surface.

Fine Carpentry

Carpentry that is not supportive: baseboards, molding, trim around windows and doors, built-in elements (bookcases, breakfast nooks, etc.).

  • Fine carpenters give your house that finished touch.

Interior Painting, Wallpaper, and Other Surface Finishes

Painting interior walls, hanging wallpaper, painting molding and trim, staining and sealing trim.

  • All of these detail-oriented surface finishes should be one of the last items you do indoors as this work can damage other work of yours.
  • Should you paint before installing or sanding your flooring or the reverse? This is debatable. Laying flooring first means that paint might get on the flooring. Painting first means that the floor sander may scuff your walls.

Flooring

Your final floor covering—laminate, solid hardwood, tile, engineered wood.

  • Installing the flooring as late as possible in the renovation process saves your flooring surface from significant damage.
Couple making plans to renovate old attic

Where Should You Start First When Renovating a House?

You’ve decided to renovate your house but don’t know where to begin. If you’re renovating so you can stay in your home for a longer period of time without systems breaking down, your approach is different than if you’re renovating to get a higher price when you eventually sell. Analyze your reasons, needs and how much money you have for the renovations before you put your plan into effect. In most markets a complete renovation only increases your value slightly, according to a report issued by the National Association of Homebuilders(NAHB).

Assess Your House

Hire a licensed home inspector to check your house from top to bottom. He’ll climb into the attic to check for dampness, scour the basement looking for leaks, test the heating and air conditioning systems, examine the roof, the plumbing and electrical panels. Evaluate the results before deciding on a plan of action. Whole-house remodeling is down from its peak in the mid-2000s, according to the NAHB, while repairs increased.

Systems

If your heating and air conditioning unit is problematic, decide whether a full replacement or a temporary fix is in order, depending on your goals. Providing a comfortable environment is paramount to your enjoyment of your home. A faulty air conditioner promotes mold which is unhealthy for you and your family, and is expensive to remediate.

Plumbing

If you’re going to upgrade your bathrooms, be sure your plumbing can tolerate increasing pressure and usage. Repairing leaky fixtures, damaged flooring and improper ventilation results in lower water bills. If they’re not repaired and you’re selling the house, the problems will be pointed out by the buyer’s inspector. In a survey by the NAHB, bathroom remodeling jobs were the most common upgrades purchased in 2011.

Efficiency

Homeowners are guided by energy efficiency. The importance of downsizing and using energy efficient appliances is reflected in the Energy Star ratings attached to appliances today. Renovating a kitchen with granite, stainless steel, new cabinetry and flooring is the second most requested renovation project, the NAHB says. A new kitchen increases your home’s value, and installing energy-efficient appliances attracts a buyer’s eye.

Windows/Doors

A home renovation project that includes installing new windows and doors leads to less cost in running the house. Double glazed windows and solid doors are an expensive renovation but yield benefits, both for the homeowner and a potential buyer.

How to Set a Home Renovation Budget

Here are five key steps in planning your home remodeling project.

1. Estimate home renovation costs

As a general rule of thumb, you should spend no more on each room than the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house value. (Get an approximate value of your home to start with.)

For example, a kitchen generally accounts for 10 to 15 percent of the property value, so spend no more than this on kitchen renovation costs. If your home is worth $200,000, for example, you’ll want to spend $30,000 or less.

2. Consider home remodeling loan options

3. Get home renovation quotes from contractors

Some contractors will give you an estimate based on what they think you want done, and work completed under these circumstances is almost guaranteed to cost more. You have to be very specific about what you want done, and spell it out in the contract — right down to the materials you’d like used.

4. Stick to the home remodeling plan

As the renovation moves along, you might be tempted to add on another “small” project or incorporate the newest design trend at the last minute. But know that every time you change your mind, there’s a change order, and even minor changes can be costly. Strive to stick to the original agreement, if possible.

5. Account for hidden home renovation costs

Your home may look perfect on the outside, but there could be issues lurking beneath the surface. In fact, hidden imperfections are one of the reasons renovation projects end up costing more than you anticipated.

Determining A Kitchen Remodeling Budget

Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

cabinets form the backbone of the kitchen. Configure the cabinetry to make the most use of your kitchen’s size and floor plan. Consider different layouts and looks.

Base cabinets get the most attention, whereas hanging wall cabinets are sacrificed for aesthetic features—windows, dramatic backsplashes—to create atmosphere and a living room appeal in the kitchen. That said, base cabinets are moving away from doors and toward drawers. Drawers make storage more accessible for more people.

Kitchen Cabinet Styles and Trends

Wall cabinets today extend to the ceiling, making use of high-up space for storing infrequently used specialty serving-ware and cookware. Or, wall cabinets are blown to full-length proportions, stretching from floor to ceiling to create an accent wall that can house everything from cookbooks to appliances

Style. Cherry wood is big for cabinets with rich, dark finishes. For a more exotic look, go for alternative woods such as mahogany, bamboo, sapele and anaglade. These can be stained or even lacquered to provide a sleek finish (show image). The glazed cabinet treatment is phasing out with the rise of textured looks: wood grain peeking through brushed finishes—a more natural look.

Function. European-style frameless cabinets afford more storage than traditional rail-style cabinets that are typically found in U.S. kitchens. Soft-close on drawers and doors is a must. Some hinges have this feature built-in, but it’s an add-on cost for other models—about $5 retail, according to Burgin, adding up to $350 to $500 for an entire kitchen, depending on size. Touchless cabinets are a luxury add-on that Poteat thinks will move into the mainstream before long. This application is especially convenient for waste/recycling drawers

Choosing Kitchen Materials

before you shop for appliances and choose the material for your countertops, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for your kitchen renovation. You should identify goals and priorities, with the help of your completed Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire and Kitchen Goals Worksheet. You also should have a clear vision of what your new kitchen will look like, after exploring various kitchen designs and layouts. Finally, you should carefully plan out space and storage

Now it’s time to drill down to the details of your kitchen remodel. It’s best to choose all of the appliances, materials and finishes down to the hardware before the project begins. That way, you will have a truly realistic idea of how much the project will cost. (Allowances can quickly get out of hand.)

As you choose among fixtures and materials, visit specialty design showrooms for appliances, lighting, flooring, cabinets, etc. You’ll get a real feel for what’s available in the market, and you can talk to the professionals who work there about your ideas and what products will achieve your goals.

With your goals, floor plan and budget in mind, consider all of the possibilities you can include in your kitchen and focus on choices that meet your needs.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Kitchen Cabinets!

How to choose the perfect kitchen cabinets!

Dreaming of an upgrade to your kitchen? After living in my home for 16 years, my dream finally came true! I’m so excited to be giving my kitchen a FULL makeover this summer! If you follow me on Pinterest, you have probably seen me pinning kitchens like crazy. ha!

Choosing new kitchen cabinets can be such a hard decision to make. I’m thrilled to be partnering with The Home Depot and Thomasville Cabinetry! They are The Women’s Choice Award winner for the most recommended kitchen cabinets. Knowing that other women have voted Thomasville the top rated company has made choosing which brand to go with a no brainer. Plus, they are exclusive to The Home Depot which makes it easy to shop their amazing solutions that can easily transform any room!  Be sure to follow along my kitchen remodel on Instagram. I’ll be doing some LIVE Facebook updates as well.

Cabinets are one of the most important decisions you can make when remodeling your kitchen. If you go with a company recommended by The Women’s Choice Award, like Thomasville Cabinetry, you will have no worries about getting high quality products along with beautiful designs.

Choose a Cabinet Door Profile First

Cabinet doors are the most visible design elements in your kitchen, so your door style is one of the most important decisions you will make. A great way to narrow down your choices of cabinet doors is to decide on a door profile. Here are samples of some I got to choose from with Thomasville

Narrow Down Your Favorite Cabinet Door Styles

Next decide on the style. A lot of times, this is easily narrowed down by budget. So with your budget and door profile in mind, the choices get easier. Thomasville carries many gorgeous styles. I recommend going to the store to see samples and taking photos of your top 3 or 4 styles on your phone. Just take four photos max and don’t go back to the cabinet samples! Look through your photos and delete the ones you don’t love. This should lead you to your top choice for a cabinet door style.

steps to choosing the right kitchen cabinets

Cabinets can be the biggest expense in a full kitchen remodel, accounting for up to 40 percent of the overall budget. They also set the visual tone for the kitchen, and they’re a huge part of how well it functions. Bottom line: Get the cabinets right and your chance of loving your new kitchen will go way up

Set the budget

Cabinets fall into three categories: stock, semi-custom, and custom. Stock cabinets start around $70 per linear foot (a typical kitchen has 25 to 30 linear feet of cabinets). Home centers sell them fully assembled or stores such as Ikea offer flat-pack versions that will need to be put together onsite; styles and sizes tend to be fairly limited. Semi-custom cabinets, which range from $150 to $250 per linear foot, come in more configurations, so they’ll fit your kitchen more precisely, if not perfectly. Custom cabinets can easily cost $500 or more per linear foot; they’re crafted to your exact specs and can include many personalized features

Choose a style

The big decision is between framed and frameless. Framed cabinets consist of a box and face frame, to which doors and drawers are attached. Frameless cabinets, often referred to as European-style, eliminate the face frame; doors and drawers attach directly to the cabinet box. That provides great accessibility and a more contemporary look. On the downside, the absence of a face frame can compromise rigidity; better manufacturers compensate by using a thicker box—say, ¾-inch plywood instead of ½-inch particleboard. For the European look in a framed cabinet, opt for a full-overlay door, which covers all or most of the face frame.

Pick the features

Accessories can improve cabinet functionality, but they’ll also increase the cost by 20 percent or more. A pull-out trash can is a worthwhile addition. Built-in charging stations are helpful, too, because they keep the countertop clear of electronic devices. Appliance garages, those countertop compartments designed to conceal small appliances, don’t always offer the best organization. Instead, consider a lift cabinet with a spring-loaded shelf that swings up and out, providing easy access to a mixer, food processor, or other hefty device

Lighting

“Integrated lighting has become very popular. As soon as you open the drawer, the light comes on. We also do a lot of undercabinet lighting, including LED fixtures with a built-in plug for countertop appliances and a USB port to charge your smartphone and other electronics.”—Kathleen Wilber, Ikea, U.S. sales leader for kitchens

Your Guide to Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

The right kitchen cabinetry can make or break your kitchen’s functionality and style — not to mention your budget. No pressure, right? Don’t stress yet — Houzz’s kitchen cabinet guides can walk you through the process, from start to finish. Resource guides covering everything from Shaker to flat panel, from corbels to aprons, from glass knobs to recessed pulls, are all listed here in easy-to-access fashion.

Door Styles

Shaker, flat or inset? Your cabinet door style is important — it may be your biggest kitchen expense, after all — but choosing it doesn’t have to be stressful. See which of these popular cabinet doors fit with your home’s style.

Hardware Styles

Of course, once you have your cabinets chosen, you have a whole other task ahead of you: choosing hardware. Even if you’ve got simple Shaker cabinets like these, your choice of drawer pulls and knobs makes a big difference in your finished look.

Flat-panel cabinets tend to work best in modern kitchens; make sure you choose hardware to match. Clean, simple and contemporary pulls work well with this cabinetry style.

Raised-panel cabinetry tends to suit traditional kitchens. Look for classic, old-world fixtures to fit this beautiful style.