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 Nashville. 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 Nashville. 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
Take time to sit and make a list of all the things you would like to change about your home, whether it is something simple like new throw rugs or larger projects such as an updated kitchen or a new wet bar in the basement. If your list contains any major home remodeling jobs, start contacting contractors now, before their spring and summer schedules start filling up.
Whatever the remodeling project you have in mind there are some keys to a successful outcome that apply to them all.
Budget - Knowing exactly what you can afford and then sticking to it is essential. Make allowances for the fact that unexpected expenses almost always crop up on any remodeling project, so adding an extra 5-10% as a contingency reserve to your estimated costs is a good idea. Nothing will spoil a great remodeling project like running out of money half way through and having to live in an unfinished room for months while you try to scrape up the cash to complete the work.
The Right Contractor - Take the time to research the companies in your area and to choose the right contractor for your remodeling job. Price is, of course a big consideration but do not overlook rapport. These are people who will be spending time (often a lot of time) in and out of your home. If your personalities and expectations do not mesh it can be a recipe for disaster.
The Big Objective - Why are you remodeling in the first place? If you believe that you will be staying in the home for a long time to come it makes sense to spend a little extra on appliances and upgrades like a whirlpool tub, but if you are remodeling with an eye to selling the property spending money on such extras is simply not worth it.
Timelines - Most remodeling projects are not one day affairs and a single delay can cause a domino effect that will cost both time and extra money. Before the project begins make sure that you and your remodeling contractor are on the same page about how long the job will take.
Paperwork - Before the first nail is hammered or tile is laid, make sure that you have any and all required permits on hand and that you and your chosen remodeling contractor have a clear written understanding of the project's cost and scope.
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