At Home: Remodeling With A Plan

Thinking about a remodeling project in your home? Then try using the "back-up" method to organize your planning. What's the back-up method? It's simple. First, you clearly define the result you want, then back up from that target to plan your budget, your schedule, and your selection of a contractor.

This is nothing new. You probably use the back-up method to plan a party or your vacation. First you set the party date, then back up to set dates for decorating, shopping, and mailing invitations. The same thing is true for your vacation. Set the date and budget, then back up to plan how to set aside the money to pay for it.

Your home remodeling project should work the same way. First, set the date you want the project completely finished and the total budget you wish to spend. All of your planning should keep these goals clearly in mind. These two goals will determine the products you select, your schedule, and even the selection of your contractor. Let's explore these three areas of planning.

Both budget and completion targets will affect your product selection. Let's use a kitchen remodeling project as an example. You may think that budget considerations are obvious for product selections, but it's amazing how many people waste a lot of time looking at products that are not within their budget. You can save time by carefully considering your budget target. Be sure your expectations are reasonable, or be prepared to change your expectations.

Some products have a manufacturing or ordering lead time to consider. Custom cabinetry can take from four to eight weeks from the time your order is placed. You have to add to that the time it takes to develop your design and make your product selections. If there are any mistakes or defects in the products you receive, it is necessary to figure in some additional time for replacements. Be sure you keep your completion target in mind and consider the lead time that your products will require.

Developing your schedule is probably the most difficult task---so many factors can affect it. In addition to product delivery, consider the schedules of all the contractors that may be involved. Your project may include carpenters, plumbers, electricians and painters, just to name a few. Each will need a minimum amount of time to complete his portion of the project---and the different trades may be needed at specific times in the sequence of the job. Be sure you allow extra time in your schedule. For example, if the plumber is unexpectedly delayed, the new drywall can't be installed and everything backs up. The bottom line is, don't schedule things too tightly.

Obviously, your budget will influence the contractors you select. Be careful not to select the lowest price without considering the quality of work and their dependability. Just one "no show" by a contractor can delay your entire project, and careless workmanship may require repeated visits to correct problems. It is best to ask for references and check them out. Be sure that all of your contractors are licensed for the work they will be doing and that they are fully insured.

Be sure to allow some extra time at the end of your project for "punch" work. These are all of the little things that may have escaped notice during the installation: door and drawer alignment, adjustments, missed caulking, etc. Every project will have some minor corrections at the end. Expect it and be sure to allow time for it in your schedule.

Finally, factor in the unexpected. Concealed plumbing or wiring may require additional work. This in turn will add to the time and cost of your project. Shipping damage or a tradesman who is ill or injured will delay your project. Try to anticipate as many problems as possible and have some contingency plans. Communicate with your contractors regularly to avoid being surprised by problems. It's always best to factor in some extra time and anticipate the possibility of some additional expenses. It is much better to prepare yourself and be pleasantly surprised than to be unprepared and terribly disappointed.

In the perfect world, all remodeling projects go exactly as planned. However, be realistic and plan for the possibility of a few glitches. Good planning and preparation will prevent you from tearing your hair out and help you actually enjoy the experience. You can find additional information on kitchen and bath planning at www.cabinet

Elaine Mikk is owner of Cabinet Discounters, a local kitchen and bath remodeling company, and host of Home Innovations on WMAL AM630 Sunday mornings at 11.


What event in the Annapolis area are you most looking forward to in 2006?

Powerboat Show
Sailboat Show
Renaissance Festival
Seafood Festival
County Fair

Additional comments ?

Last time we asked, "How many past issues of Inside Annapolis Magazine do you have? " Out of all the responses, we found that most of our readers keep at least 3 issues of Inside Annapolis Magazine around the house, but a couple of our readers have over several years of issues! We're glad to hear that so many of you stay with us!

Thanks to all those that voted!

Results Posted Every Issue!!

Backyard Publications, LLC. ©2004. 433 Fourth St, Annapolis, MD 21403 - Phone 410-263-6300 - Fax 410-267-8668