Home renovations are costly, time-consuming, and messy. Still, many people choose to renovate their homes for a variety of reasons. There are almost as many reasons to fix up your home as there are projects to choose from. Here are the top reasons for renovating your home.
This one comes first for a reason. Although there are many good reasons to renovate your home, your own comfort and enjoyment are important factors that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you renovate solely based on how it will impact the future sales price down the line, you may end up living in a showplace that doesn’t feel like a home. Your comfort and enjoyment are more important than what improvements will make the most money when you eventually sell.
2. To fix a safety issue.
Some home renovation projects just can’t be put off. Electrical problems, roof leaks, or a crack in the foundation are some problems that must be taken care of to keep your family safe and prevent catastrophic or total loss of the home.
3. To improve the home’s value.
If you plan to sell the home within the next few years, you may want to renovate some or all of it with an eye toward getting the most you can when you put it on the market. Some projects that have the best immediate return are opening up the main living space, replacing the front door, and updating the kitchen or bathroom.
4. To upgrade the home’s function.
Maybe you need more space, or a second bathroom would make things a lot easier during those busy mornings. Maybe your husband wants a man cave, or you would like a deck or a patio for outdoor entertaining. Renovating so that the home functions better for the residents is a good idea, as long as the upgrades don’t hurt the home’s value or decrease usable space.
5. To increase the efficiency of the home.
New windows, a heat pump, and added insulation are examples of improvements that can decrease energy costs and pay for themselves over time. More efficient homes are also more attractive to buyers if you want to sell since they know costs will be lower on an energy-efficient home.
6. To update the home’s style.
An older home can have a dated look that makes it less attractive to buyers or can look more plain than upscale. Updating your home’s style can be a whim based on new trends or a way to prepare a house for sale. The best bet is to use timeless styles that send the message of sophistication.
7. To prepare the house for sale.
When the main objective of renovations is to sell the home, choices should reflect what is most likely to help with the sale. Neutral colors, upgrades that add value, and fixing any cosmetic or functional problems will help get the house in tip-top shape for resale.
The promise of green energy home improvements is long-term energy savings in exchange for one up-front cost. These eco-home improvement renovations are designed to lower your carbon footprint and save you money, benefitting both your bank account and the environment. What’s not to like?
Still, some green home improvements are more expensive than others, and affording the initial investment can be a struggle for many homeowners, especially when the returns might not be seen for years — or even decades. That leads to the question of which green home improvements you should prioritize for the best savings, and how you should go about financing them. Luckily, with a little research, those questions are easy to answer.
Green home improvements
A whole new market has emerged for eco-friendly home improvements. These products and renovations will help make every area of your home more energy-efficient, from the roof to the floors, including:
Tankless water heater
There’s a good chance the hot water that comes out of your kitchen sink or shower is heated in a tank where a large capacity of water is stored and kept hot constantly, just waiting for you to turn on the tap. If you’ve ever run out of hot water, it means you’ve used a full tank worth of water faster than the refill could be heated. The problem with this design is that the water is kept hot 24 hours a day, seven days a week – which requires quite a lot of energy. If you don’t want to wait for the water to heat up every time you need to wash your hands, though, what’s the solution?
Tankless water heaters have the ability to heat only the water you need — and they do so as you need it. They’re generally powered by gas or electricity, but these systems are not commonly pre-installed in homes in the United States, where tankless water heating has only been readily available in the past decade or two. Still, their on-demand design is 8% to 34% more efficient than storage water heaters and can save you over $100 per year in bills, according to the Department of Energy.
The average home in America requires more than 2,000 square feet of flooring and many of our go-to choices in materials have disastrous effects on the environment. Wood that isn’t responsibly sourced is causing massive deforestation in Central America and Africa, mostly due to demand from China and the United States. Vinyl, a popular cheap flooring alternative, has a high carbon footprint and isn’t recyclable. It also has a shorter lifespan than higher quality flooring materials, which means it’ll end up in a landfill when it inevitably needs to be torn up and replaced.
Thankfully, builders are responding to consumer demand for greener flooring options and have begun to make alternatives more widely available. Here are just a few environmentally friendly flooring materials to consider:
Solar roof panels
You’ve probably seen solar roof panels on residential homes, maybe even while driving through your own neighborhood. More and more homeowners are adopting this movement as they see the long-term benefits of having their own renewable energy source. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average monthly electricity bill is $111.67, which adds up to $40,201 over the course of 30 years. This is how much you could save by cutting down on paying for electricity.
Solar roof panels require a high initial investment, but there are numerous ways to lower installation costs, including tax credits and government expenses, along with these three easy ways to finance solar panels to make them affordable for your budget.
Dual pane windows
It’s hard to believe that one extra layer of glass could have a substantial impact on your energy bill, but it does. Dual pane windows can reduce energy usage by up to 24% in the winter and 18% in the summer. The space between two layers of glass is filled with gas — usually argon or krypton — which is denser than air and therefore a better insulator. This helps trap warm air in during the winter and cool air in during the summer, which significantly lowers the need for heat or air conditioning.
The U.S. Department of Energy encourages people to turn down their thermostats while they’re not home, citing evidence that adjusting the temperature setting by just 7- to 10-degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day can lead to 10% energy savings each year.
Still, we’ve all had hectic mornings when we forget to turn the dial down before we run out the door, and waiting for the temperature to get more comfortable when you return home isn’t always ideal. Enter programmable thermostats. These handy devices are more affordable than you might think and can be readily purchased from retailers like Amazon and Home Depot. Hiring an electrician to install one is quick and easy, though you might even be able to install it yourself. Depending on the model, you can either program the temperature setting for certain times of the day or even control it in real-time via an app on your smartphone.
Financing eco-friendly home improvements
The overall financial goal of eco-friendly home improvements is to save money on energy costs, but many homeowners still face a cost barrier when trying to come up with the initial investment required.
Paying for green home improvements doesn’t have to be a burden — even if you’re on a limited budget. There are many ways to finance home renovations that will allow you to profit in the long term. With such a wide range of eco-home improvement products available, it’s just a matter of choosing which one will benefit your home the most.
I’ve been helping my dad on the construction sites since I was a little boy and staying safe was always a top priority. My dad taught me why we do things right the first time, and safety is part of that – a big part.
He would always educate me on safety considerations that are essential to a safe job site; keep the job site clean, keep it organized. He always made sure I used my safety glasses, safety gloves etc for home renovations and home improvement projects. That’s all part of safety.
#7 Keep your Work Site Clean
One day I was helping my dad gut a room. I was young, so I was just ripping things down. The floor got completely covered by garbage. My dad tells me I should stop and clean it up but I was almost done, so I told him I’d clean it up later. I needed to pull down the rest of the ceiling so I grabbed a chair – not smart – and I put it over some garbage.
What I didn’t know was that it was covering a hole in the floor for the heat register. When I stood on the chair, one of the legs went through the hole and I hit the ground. The first thing my dad asked was if I was okay. The second thing was, “Does that teach you anything?” It did
#6 Hire a Pro For Your Home Renovations
A lot of homeowners don’t have experience doing certain projects, so they don’t know what to expect. If you don’t know what to expect you won’t know what safety equipment you’ll need.
A person is a pro for a reason. They have the right skills. They have experience. They know what to expect from different jobs, different tools, and different materials. Do you know if the materials you’re removing have asbestos, lead, or mold?
If you are renovating an older home (build before 1980), contact a professional testing and abatement company to have materials in your home tested for asbestos, including walls, ceilings, vinyl floor tiles, siding, insulation and roofing materials.
When you don’t bring in the right people, you risk your safety and your family’s safety, too. Look at gasoline-powered tools. You need proper ventilation if you’re going to use them. And opening a window or door isn’t going to cut it. No amount of CO is safe. People have suffered serious neurological damage because they didn’t know better.
#5 Use Products that can keep you Safe
You can also protect yourself with some products that I use in my home. The Eaton Surge Protector is designed to provide protection at the point of entry to the home.
Protection at this location can reduce surges entering the home and avoid destroying your appliances during a storm.
A whole-house surge protector involves accessing the main power panel and should be installed by a licensed electrician.
A smart lock essentially replaces the need for keys, opting for a digital key. Don’t worry, there’s still a key but you’ll be able to lock and unlock your door from your phone, or the lock’s touchpad. A Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt comes with additional security features, like an alarm system to give you peace of mind and to keep your family safe.
#4 Keep a Well-Stocked Safety Kit
Safety eyewear: Don’t cheap out. Make sure you have a couple of pairs of good quality, all-purpose safety glasses or goggles that are scratch and fog-resistant. Safety glasses come in a variety of styles for many different applications. Do your homework.
Work gloves: Gloves will add protection and help keep your hands clean.
Earmuffs & earplugs: Come in a variety of safety ratings based on noise exposure. If you are working with any power tools or machinery make sure you have the proper ear protection.
Dust Masks and Respirator: Dust masks should be worn for general purposes, like cutting wood, and respirators should be worn when sanding, painting, or varnishing. Do your homework and make sure you are properly protected for the task at hand.
Hard Hat: Hard Hats are required for any site deemed a construction site.
Steel toe work boots: There is a wide selection of styles and grades to fit everyone. The bottom line is, they are mandatory on a job site and provide both sole and toe protection. DIY’er should also make sure they are properly protected – no flip-flops or sandals!
Proper workwear made from durable material: Even if you are doing just a small renovation, make sure you wear the appropriate clothing for the job.
#3 Stay Away From Jobs that Require A Permit
Nothing that requires a permit, including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, or changes to the structure. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can even screw up paint.
I always say hire a pro to avoid mistakes that can end up costing you more.
#2 Stick to Finishes
If you want to try something for yourself, finishes are pretty safe. That includes drywall repairs, baseboards, painting, and minor tile work.
#1 Heights and Ladders
When working from any height on home projects, even a few feet up, you need to be careful.
The general rule is 4’ x 1’, meaning for every 4’ up, the ladder goes out 1’.
There are hundreds of ladder accidents each year from people not taking the necessary precautions. To prevent accidents, make sure your ladder is secure. Consider using a ladder-locking device that prevents kick out and reduces lateral movement. Whether you are cleaning your eves, changing a light bulb, or stringing holiday lights remember to stay safe when working with heights.
Even on small home projects, you need the right safety equipment, so make sure you have protective eyewear, gloves, respirators, and earmuffs or earplugs if you’re using loud tools. And remember to wear safety gear on the job site, even if you’re not doing the work-especially hard hats and steel toe boots.
Avoid the risk of injury in your work environment. Don’t just use one safety tool but make sure you have all the tools needed to do the job correctly because you must protect yourself at all times.
Choosing to renovate your home is a big undertaking. Sure, Chip and Jo make “demo day” look so fun, but the reality is that renovations can take a toll on your physical and mental health—and can be dangerous, too, without the right precautions. Whether you are personally overseeing your home renovation or outsourcing the project to licensed experts, it’s likely to be a stressful process either way. Here are a few ways to ensure that you stay safe, healthy, and (reasonably) un-frazzled while you’re renovating your home.
1. Make sure your home structure is secure before you start
“A lot of times, when renovating an older home, the structure could be compromised before you start the rehab,” says Lance Massey, Project Manager at Rehab Specialists of Tennessee, Inc. Some homes might have foundational issues due to previous flooding or water build-up. “Have a structural engineer write a report on the current structure recommending the best practices to secure,” says Massey.
Kevin Anundson, Director of Business Development at NARI, says that when looking for visual signs of structural failure, you can start in the basement. If you see cracks in the walls, or mold and mildew, these are signs of water intrusion and could mean that the wood might be rotted above it.
Know the floor plan of the house—inside and out. This includes gas lines, water lines, electrical lines, load-bearing walls, etc. If you have the original floor plan of your house, you might gain access to that information. Otherwise, you’ll have to play detective by pulling down some sheetrock and doing a little digging until you find these lines, so proceed with caution, as drilling into one of these could be dangerous and costly to replace.
2. Have a clear plan for your renovation before beginning
“Have a clearly determined scope of work for the renovation before the project starts,” advises Anna Karp, co-founder and COO of Bolster, a design-build firm in NYC. “Renovations can often morph into larger projects midway through construction if the pre-construction stage is not handled adequately. This may lead to expensive, rushed, and potentially unsafe decisions.”
“A big part of pre-construction involves probing to understand the details of how the building was constructed. The safety hazards you can encounter are pre-existing illegal conditions and work that was done in the property before your time,” says Karp. Top ArticlesREAD MOREDyson’s Black Friday Sale Is Here and It Includes TheirMost Popular Stick Vacuumshttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.489.0_en.html#goog_432927884https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.489.0_en.html#goog_1483669193https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.489.0_en.html#goog_219421717
So when you decide you want to redo your kitchen, then halfway through that process, you decide you’d like to go ahead and re-do that entire floor of your home (and quickly, please! We’re staying with my mother-in-law!), you’re more likely to have potentially dangerous mistakes due to rushing or due to unwelcome building surprises.
“We have seen everything from bricks turned to ash, to lead heavy homes and structures built on top of rotten decks and worn out cloth wiring, which is very typical in pre-war buildings,” Karp says.
3. Separate your living space from the remodel zone
Although it is ideal to stay in another space while you’re renovating your home, not everyone can afford that luxury. “We have done many apartment combinations where the homeowners have lived on one side of the property during the reno,” says Karp.
“We have created cocoons that shield one side of the apartment from the other. However, even if the reno does not result in a safety hazard per se, it can certainly become unnecessarily complicated if the homeowner resides there.”
If you’re going to be living on one side of the house while renovating another, she says to be prepared for constant construction traffic. Don’t bring kids to the site at any time, and make sure all items are properly boxed, not just covered with sheets. “If the property is empty during the renovation, work progresses faster and that in itself is a major risk mitigator,” she adds.
4. Know when to bring in the experts
“You’ve got to know your limits, because there’s potential to get hurt,” says Heath Thompson, PA at Jackson Clinic concentrating in internal and family medicine. Thompson has also done several home renovations himself. “If you’re trying to save money but you don’t know what you’re doing, and knock down a load-bearing wall…”
Well, that would be bad.
“Don’t be too prideful to consult an expert, because accidents happen and you can be injured,” Thompson adds. You might think it’s worth cutting costs to take on the electrical wiring of your home, but if you accidentally cut into exposed wiring and spark a small fire with your creative cost-cutting solution, you could not only endanger yourself, but also those around you.https://261bb96c6c2e0b3f62383efe19c9296b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
5. Keep your worksite clean, and wear the right gear
“Basic rules never grow old,” says Karp. “Always keep a clean site and always wear appropriate clothing.” A clean site should be organized, with all the tools in one location, as well as all materials properly labeled and protected. If applicable, permits should be displayed, and there should be an appropriate “office area” with paperwork and rules such as how to dispose of trash properly for the building or area.
As far as appropriate clothing goes, Karp recommends gloves, pants that cover the legs, belts to protect the waist if you are moving heavy things around, as well as a construction hat and steel-toed boots for any intense demo or construction projects. It’s wise to include a pair of safety glasses in your tool kit, too, to protect your eyes from flying dust.
She adds: “For die-hard DIYers: tools are to be handled expertly and they are to be kept in one place. Be sure to always check that tools are unplugged before you pick them up when starting your construction shift.”
6. Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers are in working condition
Yes, this might seem obvious, but it’s especially important during this time that all household safety items are in working condition. “If the contractors are cutting concrete, in a basement renovation for example, one has to be concerned both about dust/silica exposure, and the carbon monoxide produced by gasoline powered tools,” says Brian W. Christman, MD, and spokesperson for the American Lung Association. “It would be important to isolate the area as much as possible with plastic sheeting and keep a carbon monoxide detector active if the family is trying to live in the home during renovation.”
Thompson adds that gas leaves the house through either a chimney or pipes, and if you’re moving things around during a renovation, you might accidentally block that airway, so having those detectors in working order is vital.
7. Identify when dust has become a problem
“Often the biggest problem occurs during the early demolition phase when drywall is coming down and there are large amounts of dust. The main risk is to those with sensitive airways,” says Christman. “That includes babies and small children—due to the small caliber of their airways and developing lungs—and patients with asthma, COPD, and congestive heart failure.” He recommends changing the air filters often during this process.
Thompson advises to always wear a mask when dust is flying, and that while light sneezing or coughing might be normal, if you develop a cough with sputum production and fever, it’s time to seek medical help.
“Dust control is very important and there is specialty machinery to deal with it during the renovation. The neighbors will thank you,” says Karp.
Of course, sometimes flying debris can be more than just run-of-the-mill dust. Karp says to always do testing for asbestos and lead prior to starting renovation.
“Speciality firms deal with asbestos abatement and the appropriate air monitoring services and sampling that is required,” says Karp. “While Bolster carries our own certification for lead-safe practices removal, access to the home is not allowed during hazardous material abatement.”
8. Be on the lookout for black mold
“There is also some risk of disturbing and aerosolizing significant amounts of mold that could trigger airway narrowing or sinus problems in allergic folks,” says Christman. According to the Centers for Disease Control, black mold spores can cause flu-like symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, skin and eye irritation, while longer exposure can cause fever, shortness of breath, or nausea.
Black mold looks black specks and might be found behind your bathroom wall, for instance. If there is a small area to be treated, Anundson says you can wash it away with a good bleach solution and encapsulate it with a mold cover paint, while Thompson recommends calling a mold removal professional to eradicate it.
9. Turn off the electricity when working on the electricity
“And always turn the power off when dealing with electrical work!” says Thompson. He adds that it seems obvious, but is worth the reminder. So here’s another one: Turn off the electricity from the circuit breaker when you’re working on electricity.
10. Take care of your mental health by keeping an otherwise normal routine
Sure, there’s going to be a lot going on during a renovation, but it’s important to prioritize your mental health. “Don’t disrupt previously established healthy patterns because the reno is stressing you out,” says Beth Livingston, LMSW Therapist at The National Institute of Psychotherapies. “Keep the things you need to access most to maintain your sanity at your fingertips, not buried in the chaos of the renovation.”
Whether that’s your yoga practice or fitness routine, volunteering at your favorite organization, making time to have coffee with a friend, whatever it is that makes you feel healthy and balanced, keep doing it.
And perhaps most importantly: Manage your expectations. Doing the research upfront, budgeting for potential problems, and knowing when to seek help (professional or medical) is key to maintaining your physical and mental health during a renovation.
Hiring a contractor can be difficult — especially when an important home renovation in your house depends on the abilities of someone you just met. Renovations can also become costly, and wanting to ensure the job is done well is a reasonable request. When you’re in the process of hiring a contractor to work on your home, have these things in mind to find a contractor that can tackle your home renovation with professionalism and a solid skill set.
1. Ask For Referrals Websites that offer referrals for contractors can be a great tool if you don’t know where to find someone for the job, but also be wary. A contractor can have seemingly stellar reviews, but unless you’ve seen jobs they’ve completed in the past and spoken to people who have worked with the contractor before, you shouldn’t trust everything you find online as your only source. Experienced contractors don’t need website referrals; they’ll have real contacts for you to contact who can attest to their integrity.
2. Seek Out Active Communicators Communication will play an important role in the renovation process, so look for someone you can get along with. Problems and challenges can arise at any point of a home renovation project, and when they do, you and your contractor should be able to communicate and work through the issue together. Choose a contractor that seems able to remain calm and also keep you calm while finding a solution to any problems.
3. Look For Solid Contractor-Homeowner Contracts There is no way around having a contract between you and your contractor; it’s part of their job description. If a contractor is not willing to write up a contract for your job or if the contract is incomplete, then it is likely unwise to proceed with the home renovation project with that contractor. All contracts should include every detail of the project:
Start time and end time
Cost estimates of all materials being used
A list of all sub-trades
An explanation of what would happen in the event of a change of order
A payment schedule that revolves around project stages instead of dates
4. Don’t Fall For Free Quotes When a contractor offers you a quote, they’re giving you a breakdown of costs for the project at hand. Even though it may seem like a positive thing for a home renovation contractor to offer a quote for free, it can also be a negative sign. The best contractors typically charge for quotes because they are busy with their jobs. If contractors taking the time to look at your home and discuss the project with you, it usually means that they are serious about working on your home. If you are paying for the quote, it usually indicates that you’re serious about getting the job done. One way to find contractors who are more likely to do a good job on your home renovation project is to be skeptical of those offering free quotes.
5. Look For Contractors Giving Realistic Cost Estimates Quotes are necessary, but they probably won’t give you all of the information you’ll need in order to properly choose a contractor. Before you hire someone, you’ll need to pay for a detailed estimate. This estimate should contain every aspect of the project, including specific materials and required permits. Proper estimates are pages-long and should answer every question you have about the renovation — even ones you didn’t necessarily think of. Be cautious about proceeding with the contract if a contractor tries to give you an insufficient estimate and you can spot price discrepancies or a lot of missing information.
6. Look For Contractors Who Don’t Blatantly Overcharge
Experienced contractors are not going to ask for a deposit or upfront retainer of more than 10% for the average project. Inexperienced contractors who do charge higher fees upfront might not have the money to get the job started, which could signify a lack of projects on their calendar. Try to hire a contractor with a healthy business that seems to have a lot of work in progress.
7. Make Sure Your Contractor Can Get The Permits Permits are expensive, but building officials can actually shut down a job if it does not have the correct permits. Permits are a necessary expense when it comes to home renovations, and better contractors are aware of the consequences of not having them — which is why they’ll always make sure to have a municipal building inspection done before starting their work on your home renovation.
Make it easier for a co-op board to approve your home renovation with a few key steps
Co-op buildings have unique ownership structures. C-op owners technically lease the space an apartment occupies. A co-op board, and its representative, the management company, have power over any renovations you’d like to do. Because the board’s role is to protect the interests of all of the owners, the process is less in your control than you’d think. However, by following a few key practices, you can put your co-op board at ease for your desired remodel.
Simple renovations may not need co-op board approval
The most basic work done in kitchens and bathrooms is known as “rip and replace.” This work includes updating finishes, replacing porcelain plumbing fixtures, and upgrading appliances in their existing locations. For this, your building may not demand a permit; saving you money, time, and general red tape.
How your building will evaluate your plan
Your building is likely to use its own architect to evaluate any renovation plans you submit. This process is known as an alteration review. Expect to pay for this service, typically in the $1,000-$2,000 range. The architect may flag aspects of the design which seem only tangentially related to your renovation objectives (e.g., relocating the intercom). As a result, communications can drag on for months. However, the principal concerns of this review will not be aesthetic. Rather, the building architect is charged with protecting the building from liability, plus advising the board about building code requirements. Overall dimensions of rooms, and door openings, may need to be enlarged as part of gut renovations. In other cases, wet areas, like bathrooms and kitchens, may be required to stay within the pre-renovation footprint. This requirement is also known as “wet over wet.” These rules act to protect a downstairs neighbor from flooding after a bathroom upstairs is enlarged over, say, a bed. Also remember that with new plumbing, the building may also require you to replace branch lines all the way back to the main water lines. This may result in additional demolition and expenses.
Bring in your own architect
For larger jobs, you’ll need your own architect or engineer. Some offer advice on style and design at a premium price. Others will produce a basic set of drawings that can be submitted to the co-op board or management. They may also file renovation plans with the city, in a service known as “architect of record” and “expediter.”
Larger renovations requiring a city permit
A permit for a larger co-op renovation can sometimes be a judgment call. In extreme cases, your board may decide to make you file for one after work has begun. (Be aware: this can possibly result in fines and other city penalties!) The city will also require you to produce a certificate documenting asbestos tests for areas of the apartment that will be demolished. Asbestos can be found in many places: in plaster or joint compound, in caulking, in linoleum flooring, or even impregnated in the underlayment for wood floors. Should asbestos be present, you will be asked to plan for removal by specialists, or encapsulation. The latter is usually cheaper, leaving asbestos undisturbed and adding new finishes on top when space and aesthetic considerations allow this.
Legal considerations & co-op rules
The co-op board or building likely has already published and distributed alteration terms or as “house rules,” which should be reviewed closely. They often cover things like requirements for working hours, deliveries, and protections mandated for common areas during debris removal. Even in jobs that do not require permits, you will want to provide management with a written scope of work, listing the various upgrades you propose and requesting written permission—at least over email—to proceed.
What is an alternation agreement?
When you submit your plans, the co-op board may ask you to sign an “alteration agreement.” This alteration agreement can include provisions tailored to your particular job. It is not uncommon, especially in blue-chip buildings, for these agreements to encompass punitive regulations. Provisions like time limits for renovations, and daily penalties imposed when jobs are not completed as requested by the co-op board, are not uncommon. These agreements may also—not surprisingly—seek to shift liability for construction to the apartment owner. In cases of particularly punitive agreements, however, you may choose to engage a tenant’s lawyer to negotiate more favorable terms with the building’s legal representative. Typically, you will need to acknowledge the agreement in exchange for the co-op board’s or management company’s signature on your building permit application.
Avoiding problems in a co-op renovation
Your proprietary lease may allow inspections, so the building architect or superintendent may ask to have a look around your apartment, should any questions arise about your proposed renovations or even work underway. For this reason, it is worth keeping the apartment clean and tidy, whether you are living there through the renovation, or not. An environmental testing firm may visit the apartment to monitor lead levels as part of a regular inspection. (This is most likely if your building has a history of lead.) Don’t panic—especially if you have an advance warning. State environmental agencies recommend cleaning with a HEPA vacuum for soft surfaces, or soapy water and paper towels for hard surfaces.
Managing relationships with your co-op board
Staying in the good graces of your co-op board, and particularly becoming friendly with the board president, can short-circuit potential miscommunications and suspicions based on building gossip. The co-op board has the ultimate discretion to direct the building management in matters regarding the schedule and procedures around your renovation. And if you are hoping any exceptions will be made, neighborliness—to say nothing of cookies or Champagne—may help. Good luck navigating the co-op board to fulfill your renovation dreams!
You need to be fully prepared—both financially and emotionally—to take on a renovation project. Sometimes, they can go haywire, as you never know what you’re going to find when you start poking around behind the walls and ceilings. Even if there are no major mistakes made along the way, renovations are prone to going over budget or taking longer than you ever anticipated.
Though kitchen upgrades are sure to increase your home’s property value and improve your quality of life over the long term, they also come with plenty of challenges. So when heading into a kitchen renovation, it’s best to come prepared by asking yourself these key questions, which were previously shared by contracting professional Mike Daddio in an event hosted by AD. “If you have these questions answered before you call the contractor, then we’ll be able to have a much more productive, streamlined conversation,” he says.
1. What is your objective?
Being clear about your ultimate goal will help you and your contractor focus on what matters—whether lasting solutions that will turn your kitchen into an efficient workhorse or less costly design enhancements that will help you land a good price when it’s time to sell.
Daddio advises asking yourself: “Are you planning to sell your apartment in three years? Are you intending to spruce up for that sale? Or are you looking to have all the bells and whistles?”
2. How long do you plan to live in the home?
“If you’re going to be living there for one or two years, you probably want to consider a different type of renovation, something that’s maybe not as costly or something that’s more timeless and traditional in the aesthetic that’s chosen by your design team,” says Daddio. “If you’re going to be living there a little bit longer, then naturally you’ll be spending a bit more and designing something that you really love.”
3. Do you have children?
“If so, where are you going to store everything? Are you going to have a kitchen with a magnetic board? Do you hang your children’s artworks?” Resilient, easy-to-clean materials, whether wood or stone, are also ideal for kid-friendly kitchens, so it’s helpful to keep your children’s needs in mind from the beginning.
4. Do you have allergies and health issues to consider?
If someone in your family suffers from asthma or other breathing issues, let your contractor know. “Things that are important to stay away from if you do have any of those concerns are high-gloss lacquers and urea and phenol-formaldehyde, which are used in the adhesives of most plywoods,” Daddio says.
5. Will you be living in your home during the renovation?
“It adds to the lead time and the construction duration, so that’s something that’s very important to know,” he continues. “It also adds to the level of protection and cleanliness that needs to be maintained in the renovation.”
6. What is your budget?
“This question has to be something that’s first answered for yourself, so you understand what amount of money you want to spend, but it’s important, to be honest with the people on your design team, and your contractors, about what that number is.” Once you have a budget in mind, add a 10 to 20% contingency, because things often don’t go quite as planned.
7. What have people in similar homes accomplished, and what has been their limitations?
“What I always encourage on first meetings, in New York City especially, is that you invite your building’s superintendent,” says Daddio. “Getting to the answer of ‘Can we do it?’ sooner rather than later is very, very helpful in the process.” Research local zoning laws, landmark preservation rules, and yard setbacks.
8. Can you remove that wall to open up the kitchen?
“It’s very easy to ask the building’s superintendent or other people within the apartment that may have completed renovations. It’s also great to schedule walkthroughs with those people to see what they’ve done.”
9. What’s behind those walls?
Be sure to ask: “Are there utility risers that limit the amount of wall that can be removed safely?”
10. When can we get started?
“I always say that a well-planned project is a well-executed project,” says Daddio. “Take the time to properly plan everything that you’re doing. Source your long-lead materials and purchase them in advance.”
If you feel ready to move forward with your kitchen renovation, you’ll need to secure a trustworthy design and build a team to help you get the job done. Ask your contractor to share details about their communication style, license and insurance, go-to subcontractors, and more so you can make an informed decision about who you are entrusting with this important project. Once you both have established that you’re on the same page, it’s time to get to work!
Owners of existing homes choose to remodel for several reasons. Homeowners may want to create a home that uniquely suits their preferences while, at the same time, there is also a desire to improve the functionality and efficiency of the home. Finally, older homes often require upgrades and repairs as original systems age. The good news is that, when this happens, the homeowners have the opportunity to seize new advances in home renovation to make their home even better than before. Here are four of the current trends in home renovation that can allow you to do just that.
Window replacement is a popular home renovation project.
Window replacement is a popular home renovation project because it not only improves the efficiency of your home but has a dramatic impact on its aesthetics. The advances in window technology over the past several decades gives homeowners both great options and incredible returns on their investment. The Weather Shield products offer customers five levels of energy-efficient glass, called Zo-e-shied, which keeps your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Even better, there are many styles and colors to choose from to suit each homeowner’s particular tastes.
First introduced about ten years ago, solar roofing systems are now very popular and surprisingly affordable for those who wish their homes to be more eco-conscious. Solar shingles double as conventional shingles and the biggest name in solar roofing is Dow Powerhouse. This state-of-the-art roofing system uses Copper Indium Gallium Selenide solar cells that generate 12 watts per square foot. The company reports that homeowners who install a typical system, for which incentives are often available, can slash their household electric bills by 40-60 percent.
The cost of solar roofing systems are becoming increasingly affordable.
While metal roofs used to be a thing of generations past, they have seen a resurgence in popularity in the past several years for numerous reasons. Metal roofs last much longer than traditional asphalt roofs. While an asphalt roof may last up to 15 years, metal roofs have a lifetime up to 60 years, meaning you may never have to replace a roof again. Metal roofs are also more energy efficient as they reflect the sunlight and heat away from the home, instead of absorbing it as asphalt roofs do. In cold climates, snow won’t accumulate on a metal roof which could cause damage from excess weight. You can finally ditch that roof rake for good! Finally, metal roofs look sharp! There are many colors and styles to choose from to suit each homeowner’s and home’s particular style.
Metal roofs can last for many, many years.
In case you have missed the pattern here, all of these renovation trends have one central theme – energy efficiency. In fact, according to Harvard University’s latest study on Emerging Trends in the Remodeling Market, projects that boost energy efficiency remains the most popular home renovation improvements. One such project that raises the energy efficiency in a home substantially is upgrading insulation. The best way to determine your current home’s insulation effectiveness is to undergo a home energy audit, which is a free service that can tell you where deficiencies exist and provide you with the insulation options to fix them.
Home renovations can bring a fresh and trendy look and feel to an existing home. Yet, one trend that will never go out of style is saving money. Year after year, some of the top home renovation trends point to bringing greater efficiencies to homeowners, and this is what we aim to do with our services as well. If you are ready to start saving money in the new year with some of these home upgrades contact us at our site or call us for more information or to schedule a free estimate.
Planning a home renovation is no easy feat. And with so much information on the internet, it becomes even more difficult to filter out the relevant and authentic content. To help you out, we have put together this list of the best home renovation blogs online.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration, DIY ideas, or unique solutions to common issues, the below content offers great advice, tips, and designs. Not to mention these blogs are written by professional builders and renovation experts to the DIY fixer-uppers and handy homeowners.
Read on to uncover the 25 best home renovation blogs you should be following.
25 Home Renovation Blogs You Need to Follow
From an amateur to a professional, the Remodelista blog has something for everyone. That is to say you will find useful guides on every aspect of your home renovation under the Remodeling 101. Certainly you will also find inspiring ideas and latest trends under the Get Inspired section on this blog.
2. Ask the Builder
Tim Carter at Ask the Builder is an expert at practical advice. The blog offers ‘how-to’ tutorials, tool reviews, checklists and tips. As with the step-wise procedure and details, they are both very useful to renovate you home all on your own.
Houzz is a goldmine for inspiration and home renovation ideas. From furniture and fittings to materials and trends, you’ll find all the information you need on one website. In this case your can customize the projects and designs to match your needs and viola! Your masterpiece will be ready in no time.
4. Sweeten Blog
If you’re looking for in depth posts on home renovation, you can’t go wrong with the Sweeten blog. Its Home Reno 101 provides cost and process guides for every step of your home renovation.
5. Family Handyman
Family Handyman takes a simplistic DIY approach to every project. It has step-wise tutorials, video instructions, and how-to guides. You too can take charge of your renovation because of the detailed material checklists, cost sheets, and expert advice on it.
6. Bob Vila
Bob Vila is a powerhouse when it comes to ‘how-to’ guides. The information is very extensive. It especially has descriptive instructions on how to ace every aspect of every renovation project.
7. Ugly Duckling House
The Ugly Duckling House scripts an inspiring remodeling blog for any DIY enthusiast. Markedly the home tours give comprehensive information on complete house projects. You’ll also find renovation tutorials, DIY ideas, and information on woodworking.
8. Centsational Style
If you’re in need of remodeling ideas on a budget, Centsational Style is the perfect blog for you. On the flipside it also curates aesthetic styles and inspiring ideas for a magnificent remodeling experience. And it doesn’t even put a strain on your pocket.
9.The DIY Bungalow
The mantra at The DIY Bungalow is merging the old and new to make a house a home. Notably it is all about DIY home renovations. From simple decorating tips to complex power tool wielding projects, they’ve got all your remodeling needs covered.
10. Grandma’s House DIY
Put together by a self-confessed DIY fanatic, Grandma’s House DIY blog is an inspiration. It chronicles the story of a 100-year-old home renovation in progress. You can learn how to add character to your renovation without losing the old charm of your architecture.
11. Emily Henderson
Author, stylist and TV host, Emily Henderson runs a remodeling blog that offers inspiration for every room. You’ll find inspiration in the before and after pictures from the house tours and the many tips on remodeling your homes.
12. Newly Woodwards
If you like DIY, you’ll definitely love the Newly Woodwards blog. It started as a blog profiling the journey of couple’s first home renovation. With crafts and DIY décor, it offers a unique blend of minimalism and budget home remodeling.
13. Home Design Key
A hub for DIY décor projects, the blog at Home Design Key will help you decorate and furnish your home even after the renovations. It’ll also inspire you to think creatively. Whether it’s the bathroom fittings or the flooring in the living room, design is the key!
14. Building Modern
Building Modern focuses on renovating old homes with DIY repairs and updates. Their step by step pictures of renovation are truly inspiring. Check it out for remodeling ideas to achieve that modern look.
15. Three Birds Renovations
Three Birds Renovations blog has complete remodeling projects from start to finish. It has an aesthetic website filled with inspiring photos, DIY hacks and lots of tips. It’s sure to give you inventive remodeling ideas.
16. Love & Renovations
As the name suggests, Love & Renovations blog celebrates a love for DIY projects with visual stories. You’ll find inspiring content, interesting remodels and great ideas for your home renovation.
17. Renovation Angel
Renovation Angel blog follows a unique concept to “renovate responsibly.” That’s because the Angels support various charities and believe in recycling materials from old kitchens. You, too, can donate your old appliances and buy new ones at budget prices.
18. Morse Constructions
Morse Constructions serves as an exhaustive information center on home renovations. Furthermore, the blog supports decision-making by providing useful insights on trade-offs, trends, space, and materials.
19. Young House Love
It’s filled with tips and practical advice for you to choose from. Young House Love compiles additional information from renovations and DIY home projects to create a fun and interesting blog.
Project after project, the blog at Hammerzone is a DIY enthusiast’s haven. The detailed content provides actionable tips on how to take on your own home renovation.
21. This Old House
From how-to videos to DIY smarts, This Old House is a one-of-a-kind blog. It gives practical solutions on just about any home renovation project. You are sure to get inspired with their Pro2Pro advice.
22. Kitchen & Bath
Kitchen & Bath focuses on every aspect of the two most important rooms in a home: the kitchen and the bathroom. Not only do they help you decide whether it’s time for a renovation, but the website also offers exhaustive tips on how to finish these rooms the right way.
23. The Kitchen Master
Unlike the name, The Kitchen Master details the look, design and remodeling of every room in your home. In particular it is a mine filled with ideas and trends for your home renovation.
24. Peak Construction
From decks to garages and kitchens to roofing, the Peak Construction blog covers every corner of your home renovation. Similarly you’ll find great tips and concise information for projects around the house.
25. My House Design Build
Home renovation designs and builds come together at My House Design Build. More so, the information and ideas are circumspect in every aspect of remodeling.
Hire Premier Remodeling to Get Started on your Home Renovation Project
Renovating your home can be a simple and stress-free process when you use the right remodeling company. Premier Remodeling has been remodeling Houston home for over 16 years, and our skilled team is here to serve you. Contact us today to schedule your fast in-home consultation!
Even if you’ve renovated in the past, each project brings unique twists. Here are some tips homeowners wish they knew or had done before they started remodeling.
You know you want to renovate your house, but you don’t know where to start, right? Well, you’re not alone. Many homeowners dive into the renovation process with no clue of what to expect. It’s only after they suffer through renovation mishaps that they regret not having a plan. Without preparation, the home renovation process can be full of disappointments because unlike building a new house, you aren’t starting with a blank slate. There can be unforeseen expenses and issues that make the process complex. So before you go down the twists and turns of the renovation path, here are seven things you must know before you start remodeling.
CREDIT: ANTHONY MASTERSON
1. Invest in a Key Lockbox
If you’re renovating your home before you actually move into it and live far away, consider investing in a key lockbox. If there are large projects on your checklist that you can’t do yourself, you’ll need to hire a contractor. Remember that contractors start early, so unless you want to drive in morning rush-hour traffic to let workers inside, plan to attach a lockbox or install smart door hardware that allows you to provide entry to guests with a code. It can save you countless hours of time, gallons of fuel, and painful, early morning wake-up calls.
CREDIT: BRIE WILLIAMS
2. Spend Time in the Space
As obvious as it might seem, it is important to hold off on some decisions like paint colors, carpet, and light fixtures until you spend time in the space you’re renovating. For example, if you want to replace dated carpet, the choices can be overwhelming. Dense or loose fibers? Striated or no pattern? What exact shade of gray? The answers depend on the other aspects of the renovation, like choosing paint colors. Paint palettes selected before the renovation started need to be seen on walls and could change as you spend time in the house. Freshly painted walls and new carpet can reveal that some light fixtures just don’t illuminate the space as you thought it would. If you spend a little more time upfront considering how everything works together in the room you’re remodeling, you can save yourself several back-to-the-drawing-board moments.
CREDIT: ANNIE SCHLECHTER
3. Be Realistic About Your Timeline
Your renovation will take longer than expected, so be prepared and make accommodations to avoid frustration. For example, you might think that replacing a whirlpool tub and outdated double vanity in a bathroom will be quick. Removal of the old fixtures can take a few hours, but locating a new tub and vanity you love can take several weeks. It can be another two weeks before they’re delivered. An expectation of using your new hall bath within a week can turn into a six-week waiting period. Be realistic about the renovation process and timeline and select your new updates before having the existing materials removed.
CREDIT: JAMES NATHAN SCHRODER
4. Expect the Unexpected
All homes hold secrets, in the walls, under the floors, and elsewhere. A renovation can bring those to light. Like when your contractor tells you your floors are uneven due to a shifted center joist while measuring for your highly anticipated new hardwood floors. Now you need to deal with the home inspector who missed it and get the floor joist repaired before the new material can go down. This is just one example of how you should expect the unexpected by planning extra time in your renovation timeline and extra money into your renovation budget to allow for unanticipated mishaps along the way.
CREDIT: ANTHONY MASTERSON PHOTOGRAPHY
5. Interview Multiple Contractors
It pays to interview multiple contractors and compare bids. Suppose you want your hot water heater removed from an upstairs closet and a new one installed in the garage. The first plumber you ask says he plans to charge $6,000 and would reroute hot water lines. cutting into your living room tray ceiling to do so. The second plumber said it was too much work. Plumber three plans to finish the job in a day and charge $3,285 with no water line rerouting needed. Without interviewing multiple contractors, you run the risk of paying too much and not getting what you want. It pays to do your homework and talk to several experts before making a final decision.
CREDIT: NATHAN KIRKMAN
6. Renovate Your Kitchen First
Homeowners often want to know in what order they should renovate a house. It’s best to start with the kitchen because these remodels add major value to your home. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s 2019 remodeling impact report, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 59% of the cost of a complete kitchen renovation if they sell their home. Plus, if you have an outdated kitchen, upgrading the worn-out space will let you better enjoy the space while you’re home. Practically speaking, you’ll want to do the kitchen remodel first because that work will create the most dust and debris, which you won’t want landing on new paint or finish jobs. It’s always a good idea to isolate any demolition mess by putting plastic over doorways or pass-throughs. Since a large kitchen remodel typically takes several months to complete, you’ll want to set up a temporary substitute kitchen in the dining room, family room, or another adjacent area in your house.
CREDIT: JOHN BESSLER
7. Be Specific About Design Ideas
You’ll want to narrow down your design preferences before you meet with an interior designer. Get inspiration from browsing home decorating magazines, interior decorating websites, and design shows. Getting a handle on a design direction will help you avoid being talked into a designer’s personal ideas, which might be different from your vision for the renovation. Also, keep your designer strictly on your budget. Don’t allow them to purchase expensive materials and charge you for it later. If you try to stay within a specific time frame, your costs will stay low, too.