There are lots of reasons for undertaking a home remodeling project. Maybe your kitchen dates back to the Reagan administration. Perhaps your home’s floorplan isn’t conducive to having young children and you need more space. Or maybe your bathroom sink sprung a leak and left behind a mess. Whatever the reason, sooner or later, every homeowner will undertake a home improvement project.
Everyone knows that making house improvements, especially if you’re living in a house during renovations, can bring on a lot of tension or “remodeling stress.” It’s hard to have parts of your house torn up and temporarily lose the use of your home’s most important spaces. Even with the best of intentions, you’re going to encounter glitches or problems along the way. But, with a little advance planning, you can set yourself up for surviving a renovation.
Why Should You Renovate Your Home?
Although some home renovation projects happen after unplanned accidents or damage, most homeowners can plan and prepare for them in advance. So how do you know it’s time to tackle that renovation you’ve been planning for ages?
1. It’s Cheaper Than Buying a New Home
Many times, paying to renovate your existing home is more cost-effective than buying a new one. Why would you spend all the time and money purchasing and moving into a new home just because your bathroom tile needs to be replaced or your kitchen has seen better days? If your house is sound and in relatively good condition, it generally makes more sense to determine the best home improvements you can tackle to make your home more liveable.
2. Homes Age Just Like People
If your home is older, then your appliances and fixtures may not make it much longer. Even things like floors and cabinets wear out after a while. Maintaining and improving what you have prevents your home’s value from declining and, in many cases, even improves its value. If you’re living in the home you intend to stay in as you grow older, it can also be important to remodel or update certain features, such as a laundry room on the first floor or walk-in showers or tubs, to ensure your safety as you age.
3. You Have Children
Children are a big factor in home renovations for two reasons. First, because you need a home that’s conducive to children at every age and stage. What does that mean? Parents of younger children often want a house with space for a playroom and areas where their children can hang out within sight of mom and dad. Parents of older children may be more inclined to want a home with space for their teens to hang out on their own, as well as functional bathrooms they don’t have to share. If you already live near family or in a beloved school district, you may not want to move as your children grow. Remodeling can be a great solution to help your home grow with your family.
4. Government Incentives Are Available
At certain times, federal, state and even local governments may offer certain incentives, such as low-interest loans and tax relief, designed to help homeowners improve the value of their home and fuel the economy by generating business. Some incentives may also be designed to encourage people to convert specific home systems to be more environmentally friendly.
Common Renovation Pain Points
Regardless of the type of renovation you decide to undertake, most homeowners face the same challenges. These include:
1. The Money
The finances associated with renovations can cause major stress and frustration among homeowners in all walks of life. Very few people have an unlimited amount of money to spend on a project, but it’s also important not to compromise on quality. And, projects are always going to cost more than expected, whether you do them yourself or hire a contractor. Even a contractor who lays out a budget with you ahead of time is likely to uncover an unexpected complication or issue that will result in higher costs.
2. The Time
Whether you decide to DIY a renovation or hire a contractor, the timeline never quite works out. It’s inevitable that workers won’t show, parts you ordered will be delayed, and something will happen to make a repair take longer than it should.
3. The Inexperience
When a homeowner opts to undertake a DIY renovation, they often run into problems they aren’t sure how to fix. Renovating a bathroom involves more than drywall and a new sink. Maybe you discover the toilet is leaking and your subfloor is rotten. Perhaps an electrical outlet wasn’t wired correctly. Whatever the case may be, many homeowners quickly find themselves in over their heads.
4. The Relationships
In many cases, a couple owns a home. Therefore, a couple is making the joint decision to remodel. However, that’s just about where the agreement ends. One partner wants to buy high-end appliances, the other wants to scour scratch and dent stores for bargains. One partner wants an under-mount sink, the other wants an apron sink. The list of potential for disagreement is endless when two people are involved in a renovation together. Maintaining a relationship while you’re living through renovations takes a lot of work.
6 Tips for Surviving a Renovation
Although those pain points are almost guaranteed in any renovation, homeowners don’t need to despair! Instead of becoming overwhelmed by house renovations, it’s time to get prepared. When you’re prepared for problems, then you can think clearly and navigate through them more effectively.
1. Set a Budget
Before you buy even one can of paint, sit down and ask yourself what you can realistically spend on your renovation. Look at what you have in savings as well as what financing options you qualify for. Then, look at what you want to do. Once you’ve figured out how much money you have and what you hope to accomplish, start blending the two together.
If you opt to hire a contractor to complete the renovation, they can help you establish a budget and stick to it. They can advise you on the best — and safest — places to cut costs, as well as how much to budget for those little surprises that inevitably crop up during any project.
Renovations and relationships don’t always mix. Even the nicest of contractors isn’t a marriage counselor. They aren’t there to referee disagreements about paint colors and fixtures and whether or not to blow out the wall. Along with agreeing on a budget, couples should spend a lot of time talking about what they do — and don’t — want in their renovation. They should discuss everything from cost to paint colors and all the choices in between. By doing this in advance, you save a lot of time and money, and you cut down on the potential for arguments when tension runs high.
3. Find a Balance
If you’ve opted for a DIY renovation, then it’s tempting to pour all of your time and energy into the project until it’s finished. But this is rarely practical for couples and families who have work commitments, children and other responsibilities. From the beginning, it’s important to figure out how to balance your renovation with your home life. Set a reasonable timeline for when you expect the project to be completed, and include smaller milestones along the way. But, even with a timeline, flexibility is the name of the game. Don’t get so focused on the timeline that you neglect other responsibilities — this is when tensions tend to run high. Regularly evaluate your timeline and adjust as things come up.
4. Be Flexible
If you’re remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, your family may have to find other ways to make coffee before work or do their makeup before school. Talk in advance about how to cope during the renovation and find ways to make sure everyone can live with their temporary limitations.
5. Don’t Overestimate Your Abilities
Although it might sound like a good idea to DIY your master bathroom, take a step back and look at the project realistically. If you don’t know anything about plumbing, then can you safely and efficiently complete a remodel in the time you have allowed for the project? The pride that comes from finishing a project, as well as the lower price tag, may be appealing, but if you hit a wall and can’t finish what you started, you may find your stress spiraling. Sometimes, it’s worth the extra cost to hire an experienced professional.
6. Keep the End Goal in Mind
When your walls are torn out and there’s a light fixture hanging from the ceiling, it’s easy to feel like this renovation is never going to end. Keep remembering the big picture! Eventually, things will be done and your life will be back in order. And, you’ll have a beautiful new updated space to relax in.
How Do I Prepare My House for Renovations?
Although the details of preparation may vary from job to job, there are a few general things any homeowner can do to prepare for a renovation and combat potentially stressful situations.
1. Determine the Extent of the Renovation
It’s important to have a clear picture of what your renovation includes. For example, if you’re going to renovate your master bathroom, you need to determine what that means. Will you tear the old bathroom down to the studs and then start from the drywall? Or, will you simply need to retile a shower and replace the vanity and fixtures?
2. Research Local Building Codes
A good contractor will guide you through the process of applying for permits and adhering to local building codes, but it’s always a good idea to do your homework. Make sure you know what your locality requires and how your contractor plans to adhere to those requirements. If you’re attempting a DIY renovation, then spend some extra time familiarizing yourself with the codes. If you don’t, then you could have to redo some of your work later.
3. Make Sure Your Family Is on Board
One of the big reasons home renovations can be stressful is because they often become all-consuming. Although it would be nice to just send your family away on a tropical vacation until the repairs are done, that’s not very realistic. Before you start, consider your family’s needs, routine and personalities. Also take a quick look at the family calendar to make sure that you aren’t planning a renovation during exam week at school, a major vacation or a holiday. Then, work with your contractor to determine a schedule and scope of work that will be conducive to your family life. In some cases, you may need to revise your plan or complete the renovation in stages to preserve your family’s sanity.
4. Hire a Contractor You Can Trust
We strongly recommend hiring a licensed contractor with glowing recommendations. They can guide you through the process, determining the scope of work and the budget and helping you determine how to make your family comfortable while renovations are underway.
5. Choose Materials and Fixtures in Advance
Once you’ve determined the scope of the project, then it’s time to shop! Sometimes contractors will reduce their price if the homeowner does the shopping for supplies. Other times, the contractor will do the shopping but have the homeowner pick out the materials they want them to buy. This is the point in the project where you’ll choose tile, flooring, appliances, paint colors and new light fixtures — anything aesthetic you’ll need to complete the renovation. By selecting these design items before the project gets underway, you avoid the pressure to make a decision in the heat of the moment.
6. Protect the Other Areas in Your Home
Even when a renovation is contained to one room of the house, you’re guaranteed to find dust, dirt and debris around your house for the duration of the project. While this is relatively easy to wipe off countertops and other hard surfaces, it can spell disaster for upholstered furniture. The last thing you want after spending all that money on a renovation is to buy a new couch. Before you begin renovations, make sure all of your upholstered furniture and other valuables are put away or covered with plastic to prevent damage. If possible, also cover carpets with plastic to prevent renovation dust or heavy foot traffic from ruining your rugs.
Can You Live in a House While Renovating?
Most of the time you’ll be able to live in your house while renovations are underway. You may not be able to use certain appliances in the kitchen, or your family may have to share a bathroom for a couple of weeks, but the house as a whole should be livable. However, depending on the extent of the renovation, there may be some cases where renovations require that the water be shut off or you don’t have a working toilet. In those rare cases, you may need to spend a night or two at a hotel. If you’re not sure whether or not that will happen, factor a hotel stay into the project budget just in case.
Low-Stress Home Improvement With Brothers Aluminum
Yes, home renovations can be stressful. But, with care and proper planning, the stress doesn’t have to consume your life. At Brothers Aluminum, our roofing and renovation services are designed to make your life easier and provide you with products and services that are custom-designed to meet all of your home improvement needs. Family-owned and operated, Brothers Aluminum is the recipient of Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 and 2017 and also holds a GAF Master Elite Contractor accreditation.
Contact us today to schedule your free in-home price assessment.