Renovating right: Local contractors share the do’s and don’ts of home reno
Has a home renovation ever crossed your mind, but in the moment the idea seemed too daunting? Maybe you were watching “Fixer Upper” or “Flip or Flop?” on HGTV and were suddenly inspired to take on a project but did not know where to start.
Step 1: The home inspection
Before beginning the project, no matter how new or old the house is, it is essential to have a home inspection completed, explained Lee Blackmon of Daniel Island-based Southeastern Custom Homes. Also important is hiring an engineer to further inspect the structure of the home. Doing this could ultimately save time and money in the long run.
“With the home inspection, have all of the systems checked and all of the structure and things like that checked before they start a project,” said Blackmon. “I say this because a lot of things are under the surface that you can’t see and it’s important that a licensed professional looks at it and says this is good. It’s also a good idea to enlist an engineer if you’re going to do any structural work. It’s tough when you spend $100-200,000 on a renovation and three months later, you need to change your AC unit or something you didn’t see has to be done and you’ve already spent all your money.”
Step 2: Create a conceptual plan
Once the home inspection checks out, it is time to create a conceptual plan. When doing this, it is important to make sure the plan fits within a realistic budget and timeframe, explained Rob Crawford with Renaissance South Construction Company in Mount Pleasant.
“Starting the planning process two months before you want to start the project is not achievable,” said Crawford. “It’s much better to have things lined up waiting on a start date than having a start date pass while you wait on plans.”
When creating a plan, consulting with a high-quality architect or designer is vital to the overall success of the renovation, continued Crawford.
“Get recommendations from trusted sources and research the firm,” said Crawford. “And try not to pigeon hole a designer into a style that you see on their website. While certain architects do have certain niches in a predominant style, most have the objective to design something custom for you and your individual sense of style.”
Coming into said meeting with an idea of what you want addressed within the home is also just as important, added Crawford. Looking in magazines and on websites such as houzz.com and Pinterest is a good way to find specific ideas.
“Start with the overarching issues, then drill down into the specifics by asking yourself why each item is an issue for your lifestyle and needs,” said Crawford. “Draw your own conclusions, but don’t necessarily force them on your design team. Solutions come in many forms and it is really fun sometimes seeing what architects come up with to cure the ailment.”
Step 3: Gather supplies and bring in a builder
Once a plan is in place, the next step is to go out and collect supplies. It is important to remember to do this before demolition begins, added Nicki Newport of Embellish Interiors on Daniel Island.
Also key to do before beginning demolition is to bring in a builder, explained Crawford. In order to involve your preferred builder, it is important to contact them early in the process of the renovation.
“Having your builder as part of the team from the beginning will reduce surprises in the long term …and strengthen the overall building team in the long haul,” said Crawford. “When choosing a builder, consider a multitude of factors: trust, communication, organization. Ask ‘Can I see myself working with these people for x months?’ Talk to their past clients. Look at other projects they’ve completed. Be open about contract structures you prefer—fixed price, cost plus, fixed fee, etc.”
Once a builder is chosen, they should be a part of each phase of design development, continued Crawford. This is so they can alert you if any said changes would affect cost.
Step 4: Sign the contract and make selections
The final step is to sign a contract, explained Crawford. For Daniel Island residents, once this is completed the plans must go through final ARB approvals, permitting and other “red tape” items. During this period, the homeowners should select their materials if they have not already.
“Use this time to knock out your selections,” said Crawford. “Some firms have selections coordinators or designers to help guide you through the process. Be decisive and don’t second guess yourself too much. If you aren’t confident in your decor capabilities, in-house or third-party designers can help ensure the project comes together successfully.”
Making selections early, ensures that the project is able to be completed smoothly, noted Newport.
“Know your end game before you start,” she said. “It’s best to go out and select tile, countertops, lights, flooring or any materials that you are looking at well before the first bit of demo even begins. This way you don’t feel pressure during the process to make selections.”
When deciding on materials, it is extremely important to make sure everything within the home flows, explained Blackmon. Without consistency, the home will be difficult to sell in the future.
“It needs to look like it was never added onto,” said Blackmon. “You do that by sourcing the right products and materials that go into the homes, so when you walk in the front door you can’t, for example, see a change in floor. You wouldn’t have two types of hardwood flooring in the house. You would have all the same, so if that means you need to take out all of the hardwood flooring and replace it, then that’s what needs to happen.”
For more information about home renovation, to view past home renovations or to find out more about the companies mentioned above, visit http://www.southeasterncustomhomes.com/, http://embellishinteriors-di.com/ and http://www.renaissancesouth.com/.