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How To Organize Your Home Renovation

How To Organize Your Home Renovation

demolition and renovation - before and after

If popular shows on HGTV and The DIY Network are taken in literally, it would take about 25 minutes to renovate a house. They make everything look easy. Everyone understands that this isn’t true, but these one-off home renovation shows often take away from the core idea that any home renovation is both complex and difficult.

You should understand exactly what you are getting into when you decide to renovate the entire home. Considering all elements of any home renovation project will give you a sense of what it entails and help you plan effectively.

Home Renovation? Design and Planning Should Always Come First

Full-blown architectural plans, a sketch on a cocktail napkin, or just a firm set of thoughts about how the remodel should be done is an excellent starting point. It is less frustrating and cheaper to correct any mistakes before the home renovation starts. One of the key considerations is to ensure that you have adequate funding for the renovation.

Draw up a simple “yes/no” list of do-it-yourself (DIY) tasks as well as those projects you want tackled by a professional renovation contractor.

Hiring a professional general contractor will usually manage all the sub contractors, required for things like plumbing and HVAC, is a valuable asset to ensuring the job is done quickly and correctly.

Apply for permits for jobs that you plan to do on your own (if needed). If you hire a general contractor, they’ll probably handle the permits for you. Make sure to ask.

Consider the Bigger Projects at the Start

The bigger projects you may not be expecting may include roof repair or replacement, installing or repairing siding and windows, dealing with water infiltration, and fixing the foundation. These larger projects should ideally be done first since they are likely to impact any subsequent projects.

Be sure to address any structural issues and don’t overlook the foundation. Secure the foundation and make major repairs to areas such as weakened walls, beams and joists.

You should then look at keeping things dry, of course, which will involve the windows, exterior finishing materials, and the roof.

Seriously damaged windows likely to threaten future remodeling work should be replaced. However, if not too seriously damaged, replacement or repair could be left for later in the process.

The same applies to brick and siding. If your siding is so damaged that it allows water infiltration, it should be repaired or replaced. Again if this aspect isn’t seriously damaged, you could leave it for later.

Plan for Demolition

Sections of the house that will be replaced will need to be demolished and the old materials disposed of, which is a huge undertaking. Unfortunately, many homeowners overlook this until the project has started and then start scrambling to make up for lost time.

You will need to rent a large container for the waste. Start by demolishing all or just some of the areas of the house that are to be renovated initially. If you won’t be living in the house while the project is underway, demolish as much as possible so its done with and over.

Note: Surfaces coated with lead-based paint should be demolished with caution. Asbestos, which is commonly found in older homes, can also be a serious health hazard. You should consider calling in a professional to help with anything involving lead-based paint or asbestos.

Think About Structural Carpentry

Structural carpentry is carpentry that’s in support of other work. It can include constructing new walls, moving walls, punching in new doors, adding more beans to support a greater weight upstairs, removing the existing doors, adding framing for new construction windows, or even enlarging window openings significantly.

The vast majority of these projects can be done by enterprising DIY’ers, but some of the projects, such as enlarging window openings, may require that you involve a professional.

Plan Out Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC Jobs

All these are vital services that should be installed when the ceiling and walls are open. Open ceilings and walls allow the HVAC company to easily install the ductwork for air conditioning and central heating as well as for plumbers and electricians to run new plumbing and electrical systems.

Note: In many places, building code requires that this part of the renovation can only be handled by those professionally licensed to do so. Carefully check the requirements in your area.

Consider the Windows

Window installation, whether partial or whole-house, often plays into home remodel projects. Installing replacement or new-construction windows is a project that many homeowners can try, but always remember that doing it yourself can invalidate the warranty. Check the requirements and hire a professional if necessary because the warranty may save you numerous headaches down the road.

Plan Out Drywall and Insulation

The insulation must go in before the drywall goes up. Look at the available insulation options and plan to use different types for different areas of the house. Insulation is needed in the attic and walls and you might be able to do all of it yourself.

Note: A second inspection is needed from the electrical inspector and perhaps even the plumbing inspector before closing up the walls. It will be up to them to give the go-ahead to close up the walls.

Drywall is used to close up the walls: hanging it, applying tape and mud, and finally sanding it. Drywall contractors hang sheets of drywall, then apply drywall compound, and finally leave the compound to dry. Once it is dry, they sand it smooth. The process is repeated sometimes until a seamless surface is achieved. With some patience and practice, you just might be able to do this on your own.

Note: Mud application, taping, and sanding aren’t as easy as they might appear to be. You might assume that you have done an excellent job of sanding, blending and feathering only to find that once it’s painted, it would have been better to pay an experienced contractor to do it. That painted surface will show every imperfection.

Brush Up on Fine Carpentry Skills

Next comes finish carpentry that is non supportive: molding, baseboards, trim around doors and windows, and built-in elements, such as breakfast nooks and bookcases. Fine carpentry is key to giving your house that finished touch.

Move on to Wallpaper, Interior Painting, and Other Finishing Work

The vast majority of homeowners are able to handle the work of painting the interior walls, hanging wallpaper, staining and sealing trim, or even painting trim and molding. All of the aforementioned tasks should be some of the last items done indoors because this work may damage other parts of the process.

For instance, should you paint before installation or sanding your flooring or the reverse? It’s debatable. Laying the flooring first means that paint may get on the flooring. Conversely, painting first means that the floor sander might scuff the walls.

Install Flooring

The final floor covering used will vary depending on the room. For instance, you can choose solid hardwood, laminate, carpet, or engineered wood for various bedroom and living areas and tile, vinyl, or marble for the kitchens and bathroom renovations. No matter your choice, plan to install the flooring as late as possible in the renovation to protect it from significant damage.

Move to the Exterior

Once the inside is complete, or close to it, you should start working on the exterior. With much of house finished, you can safely put on the siding and gutters. Ideally, this shouldn’t be done earlier unless it’s absolutely necessary, since windows and doors can get smashed and trim scratched ruining the exterior job.

Now you can also consider other external renovations that could be connected to the house, such as the addition of a sun-room or front porch. Now is also time to think about structures and areas that are completely separate from your house, such as swimming pools or detached garages.