Thursday, 28 November 2013

Proper Planning – The Key To Sucessful Remodeling

Many home remodeling projects are doomed before they even get off the ground because of improper planning. And many of the most complicated and tough remodeling jobs go off smoothly because of the detailed initial planning that was done. Planning for a major home remodel involves a few basic steps which, if kept in mind, can turn a tough job into a much easier one.

  1. Sketch out you dreams.  From the time you think of remodeling your home, start sketching out your ideas. Revise them as often as you want and get inputs from the rest of the family. The more time you spend on this the better. When you do start talking to architects, your sketches will help them to understand what you are looking for more clearly than words will.
  2. Think of the future. The family’s needs will change over time. What looks great today could be a problem a few years down the road. Will you be retiring after a couple of years? Will the kids be going off to college? Do you want to start working from home? These are the kinds of things you need to consider and build into your planning.
  3. Are you adding value? Evaluate all the changes you plan on the basis of how they will affect your home’s value. Even if you have no plans to sell it, are you sure you want to make changes that could reduce its market value? And if you plan to sell after a few years, you will want to get the best price.
  4. Learn from what others have done. The inputs of those who have remodeled their homes can be invaluable in helping you get the best results, cut costs and avoid hassles. Even if you don’t have friends who have remodeled their home, there are websites, blogs and online discussions on home remodeling where you can learn, ask questions and pick up valuable tips.
  5. Plan your expenses. Most remodeling projects run over budget, so always keep a buffer. And evaluate the need for everything you use – there may be more cost effective options. For example, do you really need high end designer tiles or will less costly options work?  This doesn’t mean to compromise on quality. That is a huge mistake as the future repair and maintenance bills will hurt. Look at things in terms of luxury versus essentiality. When the essential are in place, use the money left for the luxuries.
  6. Get the right team. Having the right architect and contractor is crucial to the outcome of the remodel. Obviously you will look at their qualifications and experience. You can even look at other projects they have done. But do not overlook the importance of working with people you are comfortable with and whom you think understand what you want. They will be able to translate your ideas into reality. Using the services of a design-build contractor makes the process much easier since you have to deal with one company for everything and coordination is easy.
  7. Plan for domestic disruption. Your household routine will be upset when the work is going on.  Kitchens and bathrooms will be unusable and the whole house will be full of dust and debris. Think about how you are going to manage for the duration of the project and plan on ways to minimize the discomfort and inconvenience. The disruption can lead to irritation and family squabbles. Plan a regular weekly family outing to give everyone a chance of unwind.
  8. Expect the unexpected. No matter how much you plan, problems will arise. Be mentally prepared for them so that you can deal with them better. Remember that problems arise when things seem to be going really well.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Reclaim Space With Garage Renovation

A garage is defined as a “building or indoor space in which to park or keep a motor vehicle.” The reality is often quite different. A car may be parked in a garage, but so too are all kinds of other things. From freezers to things for which there is no other storage space to junk. In time the car and the other stuff stored there live a cramped and uncomfortable existence.  But there are other uses for a garage and it can become a useful room that will add a lot of living space to a home.

The first thing to do is to decide if the garage is for your car. Can you park it in the driveway instead? Or maybe even on the street? If you can, then a huge amount of space is now available to you to use as you want.

The Basics Of Garage Remodeling


From a guest suite to a home theater to a gym, a garage can be turned into anything. The design, fittings and budget will depend on what you want to turn it into. But whatever it is, there are some basics that will need to be done.

Ø  The first thing to do is to clean out the garage completely. That means that not even one box must be left there. This will give you a better idea of the size you have available. It’s surprising how cramped a big garage can look when it is stuffed with all kinds of boxes, skis and other odds and ends.
Ø  Now examine the space carefully. Look for defects of all kinds from broken switches to cracks in the wall. Make a list of all the repairs and budget for it all.
Ø  If a car will no longer be parked there, do you need to keep the garage door? You could wall it up completely so the entrance is from inside the house. Or you could put in a door so that it can becomes a second entrance to the house or an independent entry point for a guest suite.
Ø  Garages do not normally have windows. This needs to be remedied. Keeping the end use of the room in mind, put in as many windows as possible. Good natural light is always going to be welcome, whatever the use of the room.
Ø  Do you need plumbing? if it’s a guest suite a small bathroom will need to be installed. Even a home theater will benefit if there is a small convenient toilet attached to it.  Consult a plumber on the viability of the plumbing you plan to install.
Ø  The same goes for electricity. Depending on the use of the room, extra lights and sockets will need to be provided.
Ø  If it is going to be a home theater or game room, it could get noisy inside. Do you need to think about soundproofing?
Ø  Then comes the issues of different seasons. Will you need heating or air conditioning to make the room usable in extreme climatic conditions?
Ø  If you have the space, think about partitioning off a small part of the room for use as storage space. Just because you no longer have a garage does not mean that things will stop accumulating in the home.

These are the basics that will form the backbone of any garage remodeling that you do. If it’s a simple painting a cleanup job, then it could be a nice DIY project. But if it is something more complicated then it is always better to use the services of a remodeling contractor. Avoid using the services of handymen, no matter how much you may save. They undertake repairs and small installation jobs. Changing the look and use of a garage can be complicated and is beyond the scope of a handyman. It’s better to wait until you have the budget to do the remodel properly instead of cutting cost and ending up with a room that satisfies no one.