What are some of the things homeowners need to think about when planning to remodel a bath and/or kitchen?
- Budget: Your budget for the remodeling project is very important as it will dictate many of the choices
- Vision: What are you trying to accomplish? Are you looking to make more efficient use of space or create a better flow in the room?
- Style: Choose a style, like modern, traditional, or transitional, that will define your bath or kitchen.
- Color Scheme: What is your preferred color scheme for fixtures, tile, cabinetry, countertops, etc?
- Materials: Do you prefer man-made solid surfaces for countertops or naturally occurring materials, such as granite?
- Finish: Do you prefer polished or brushed surfaces when choosing chrome or nickel, or a darker finish such as oil rubbed bronze for kitchen and bath faucets?
- Space: Delineate the space you have available to accomplish the project. For example, it is important to know how much space your current or new cabinetry will take up. If there are cabinets directly above a kitchen sink, you will need to know the clearance between the bottom of the cabinets and the kitchen countertop so you can choose a faucet that suits the vertical space available.
- Shower Enclosure: Decide on your “must haves” when designing a shower enclosure. Would you prefer a naturally occurring surface such as granite or are a man-made surface? Sliding glass door or a hinged door? Frameless or framed? Handheld shower and/or overhead showerhead? Additional body sprays?
- Toilets: Are you interested in a one-piece or two-piece toilet? One-piece toilets are a bit more expensive, allow easier cleaning and provide a sleek look.
- Tub: Do you want a freestanding tub, dropped-in tub, or under mounted tub?
- Value: Estimate how much the remodeling will add to the value of the home should you choose to sell in the future.
- Desired completion date: Many projects take longer than anticipated due to changes made during the project. It is important for to set a realistic target completion date so that you are not frustrated by the process.
What are some of the mistakes homeowners make when approaching a remodel?
Some of the mistakes homeowners make when approaching a remodel revolve around their choice of tradespeople. Homeowners should ask for references from any prospective tradesperson and call those references to see if a project was completed to the satisfaction of the homeowner, and what went well and what didn’t go as well. Also, homeowners should get clear and written cost estimates with details as to when each stage of a project is expected to be completed, and when money is due. This should protect both the homeowner and the tradesperson as they can both refer to the written agreement should there be a disagreement or confusion.
When homeowners aren’t clear about what they want, they can find that lack of clarity adding time and cost to their remodeling project. It is important for homeowners to sit down with their designer, architect, contractor or other remodeling professional before purchasing anything to identify the things that are most important to the homeowner, should it be cost, project completion date, or other factors.
What are some hard realities homeowners should keep in mind when considering a remodel?
The hard realities to be considered are that projects often take longer than anticipated due to weather, scheduling conflicts with the tradespeople and subcontractors, extended lead time for delivery of products chosen, and products that do not meet their expectations whether in appearance or in function. Should changes be necessary mid-project, the cost of the project can be increased.
What are some tips for homeowners to make the process easier?
Homeowners can help make their remodeling process more enjoyable by choosing a reputable tradesperson, having a written contract with costs and estimated completion dates, and deciding on the most important aspects of the remodel before starting the project or purchasing anything. Homeowners should also be sure their tradespeople are licensed and insured to do the work for which they are being engaged.
Homeowners can do preliminary research about products and manufacturers by visiting bath and kitchen showrooms and meeting with a showroom specialist. Not only will this help the homeowner visualize how products may look when installed in their bath or kitchen, but it will also afford them the guidance and information the showroom specialist can provide. Homeowners can also visit manufacturers’ websites in order to explore the various products, finishes, colors and applications and warranties offered by each manufacturer. The homeowner can keep a record of manufacturers and model numbers which are preferred in order to provide guidance to their tradespeople and to the bath and kitchen showroom specialists.
What should homeowners be sure they discuss or truly understand when they speak with their contractor?
Homeowners should be certain to discuss their budget, their vision for the project, and their “must haves” regarding the project, such as dates for beginning and completing the project.