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House Remodeling - Remodeling My House

From the start, remodeling can be a very perplexing adventure. Having a check list can help you to get organized and stay focused on your goals for creating a beautiful house for you and your family.

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  • Windows
  • Room Additions
  • Flooring
  • Interior House Painting
  • Cabinet Refacing
  • Bathroom Remodeling
  • Heating & Air Conditioning
  • New Kitchen Cabinets
  • Full Kitchen Remodeling
  • Vinyl Siding

1. Pre-Construction

Go through your house and look at every room. Decide just what needs to be changed. Write it down. This may take a couple of days, but do not rush. "Haste makes waste."

If you plan to add on, check with city ordinances and study their requirements and possible restrictions. You will need to relay this information to your remodeling contractor. This might be a good time to hire an architect, if you want to make drastic changes, and if you have the money to pay this professional.

Whether you do this or not, you need to work out a theme for what you are about to do. Is it modern? Is it traditional? Is it eclectic? These are decisions you need to make before you contact a general contractor.

Choose your colors. This might be a point to hire an interior designer or color consultant. Do not put your contractor through the agony of having to paint and re-paint because you could not make up your mind.

Make these decisions before you start calling.

Think GREEN. Whatever you do, research the implications of it upon the environment. This can not be expressed too much.

Call three contractors. Three is always a good number. This is a very good way to get a range of costs for your project. Be sure that you are comparing apples to apples, and oranges to oranges. That is why your list is so important. Do not waste your time and other's by giving out different information to each contractor.

2. Room by Room

When you look at your list, ask yourself..."Which room is the most important?" Most likely, it will be your kitchen. Unless it has been remodeled within the last couple of years, it probably looks dated. In the late 90's, there was a lot of bad work done. Granite counter tops were not yet in vogue, and there was still a great deal of fake whatever made out of plastic that looks really awful. The average cost of remodeling a kitchen can run from $25k to $75k or more. However, the kitchen is, undoubtedly, the most important room in your house, so do not neglect it.

If you have a party, where do your guests congregate...the kitchen, of course. If you tally up all of the untold hours you spend unloading groceries, planning and executing meals, you will see that those hours were spent in ...where else? The kitchen.

Price out appliances. They may vary wildly. A Viking or Vulcan stove is not a GE. You will get what you pay for, but not everyone can afford an augur. Make sure and tell your contractor just what you are going to buy. He will need the exact dimensions of each appliance. Even a 1/4 inch mistake can be disastrous. Also, decide...do you want him to make these very important purchases, or do you want to get them yourself? If you allow him to take care of the purchases, it will cost you more, but the burden of responsibility rests on his shoulders.

Realize, initially, that granite, marble, soapstone, and even aggregates are not cheap. Choose your counter tops and flooring carefully. Once again, this might be a place where you might hire a professional designer to help you.

The same goes for your bathrooms...the havens of solitude. You want them to be beautiful, even for your guests. Apply the same principles that you apply to your kitchen here.

The adjacent rooms are a little easier to design and produce. Look at their purpose, and their architecture. If there is a fireplace, how do you want it to look? Leave no stone unturned.

3. Your Contractor

Here we come to the most important element of your remodeling project. This man, or woman, will be seeing you almost every day for the next 2 to 6 months. You need to have compatible personalities and visions.

Before you call your first contractor, make sure that he or she is listed with the "Better Business Bureau." This is very important. If a contractor is not, you have no way of knowing what his past history is. If his record is clean, that is a good sign. It is always worth a call to find out.

Choose a contractor because of his work, not because of his price. You want your project to be done perfectly, not cheaply. Most contractors have a Website, and you can go there to see their work.

Also, ask for references. Not only ask, but call them. People will tell you just what kind of work the contractor did for them. It is worth the time to call.

Finally, be prepared for your house to be a mess for the duration of the project. Do not expect perfectly clean floors. Tear out is messy business. Be willing to work with your contractor. Be willing to be patient, and look forward to having a beautiful house.