Home Improvements Union is an award-winning design and build firm that specializes in kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, finished basements, attics, home additions, garages, whole house renovations, deck remodeling, siding installation, window and door replacements in Saint Louis. We are committed to developing long-term relationships with our customers. We will exceed expectations and gain your trust through superior performance by every member of our team in Saint Louis. We pride ourselves on bringing professionalism to a trade that has a well-earned, poor reputation.
Remodeling is tricky business. Some builders think it's harder than new construction! And, in some ways it is. You have to match existing conditions and sometimes this means trying to stick a square peg in a round hole! Depending on how old and what kind of shape your building is in... will determine how you remodel it. A real colonial home (I mean one built in the 1700's not a "colonial reproduction") for example has construction techniques that aren't used (or rarely) anymore like hand laid stone foundations, hand-blown glass, hand carved mouldings and clapboards and post and beam construction.
10 Step - Quick Start Check List
1 Take stock of what you GOT!!!
- What kind of shape is your home in?
- Are utilities upgraded?
- Is the structure solid?
- Do you have enough space to work within the existing walls?
- Gather your ideas - magazine articles - books - photos
- Figure out the style - color - look that you want
- Write down a half page vision statement for the look and feel of the job.
- Traditional - modern - white - eclectic - country - high tech?
- Do you need more space or can a more efficient layout do the job?
- Planning is key - who will design and specify the plans for your remodel?
- Architect? Designer? Interior Designer? Design/Builder?
- Who will process the permits? (sometimes a bigger job than you might think!)
- Who will build it? o Who will do the fine finishing's - colors - curtains - art hanging
- Line 'em all up early
- Overdo the planning! The more you figure out things on the front end the better the pricing, speed and quality of the job! o Make a simple model - use foam core board
- Draw elevations of all walls in the kitchens and bathrooms.
- Specify the flooring, the trim carpentry, the cabinets, the back splash, the ceiling detail, the windows and doors, the fixtures and appliances.
- Think about where the mechanical systems will go - heat/AC - plumbing - electric
- Don't forget about low voltage wiring - phones - computers - alarms - TV
- Review products and procedures for environmental impact
- Energy usage - use EnergyStar appliances
- Toxicity - low VOC paints o Efficiency - make it work well
- Durability - use products that last and have low maintenance
- Have your builder draw up a "Rough Budget" showing the line items.
- Things will change as you finalize your plans - but start early - and adjust your budget
- Remember - you will spend more than you think - so set a budget lower than where you want to finish up
- Don't rely on square foot cost ballparks - they don't make any sense!
- Get the architect/designer layout a schedule of the planning process - including the permit process - then check it with your city/town
- Have your builder draw up a rough schedule while you are still planning the project
- Understand the linear fashion of construction - if you make a change in the middle of the project you can ruin your schedule!
- Get your builder to finalize the costs and draw up a specific contract.
- Base the payouts on milestones of completion in the project.
- Specify products and installation procedures - oversight - clean up - security of the job - warranty of the work - follow up after completion
- Re do the schedule based on the final plans and specifications.
- Keep your eye on the project but don't interfere
- Ask your builder to provide a schedule and keep updating it
- Require weekly meetings and project memos that show work done - to be done and RFI's (request for information)
- Get all the owners manuals and warranties for all the products used
- Finalize billing o Obtain notice of completion
- Obtain "signed off" building permit
- Finalize punch list items
With the current struggling housing market, many potential home-sellers are remodeling their homes either to encourage a sale or to keep. Before you bring out the hammer and nails for a little sprucing up, here are a few dos and don'ts regarding remodeling.
Do hire a contractor
Thumb through the yellow pages and make some calls. Weigh your options, and see if the contractor has any professional references they can give you. Do not be afraid to ask about the quality of work. If they have a website, go to it. See if there are any testimonials from satisfied clients. If a contractor tries to withhold this information, don't bother with them. They probably aren't telling you their positive feedback for a reason: they don't have any.
Don't do the job yourself
One of the biggest misfires people make when it comes to remodeling is planning on doing it themselves. Contractors have the skills and training to complete any remodeling job quickly and efficiently. Remodeling professionals are also more cost efficient in that they can provide the tools, labor, and required materials at a more reasonable charge. While you may think that picking up a few how-to books and making a trip to Home Depot will help you in your efforts to remodel your home, think realistically. Unless you have been professionally trained to do the work, leave the hard labor to the experts.
Do be conscious of your environment
Thinking of investing in a pool when you live in Alaska? While the novelty is there, don't overshoot your limitations. Be realistic about what you want to remodel. Think of what will give your house realistic market value improvement, or just remodel what you genuinely believe needs a little fixing up.
Don't be too creative
If you're remodeling your home with the intention to sell it, don't go overboard with improvements that only appease you as the owner. Thinking of remodeling your bathroom to look like an Amazon jungle, complete with waterfall? Think about what a potential home buyer would say who isn't a fan of warmer climates. One of the biggest mistakes people make when remodeling for home sale is not taking a buyer's feelings into consideration. You want to use a universal outline for home remodeling. While you shouldn't feel you have to keep things overwhelmingly conservative, don't let your improvements deter potential home buyers.
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