For beginners exterior modeling can seem challenging. The remodeling process may look easy and quick on your favorite TV show, but without the right experience it is definitely not the case. It does however not have to be the case.
Like with so many other projects the key to a successful exterior remodeling project is planning. The most important part to figure out starts with a question everyone asks themselves: “I know I want to renovate my house, but where do I start?” This age-old question speaks to a need for a plan.
Your renovation starts with you having a clear vision of what you want to achieve and what your house must look like at the end is vital to your remodeling project. With your vision in hand, you need an understanding of the renovation process, and to find and contract with a professional and reputable company known for their quality craftsmanship and reliability. Having a clear guide can be of great value to beginners. It is more important to have a resource to guide you along the required steps and actions to take prior to commencing your exterior remodeling than to have a how-to manual on physical construction work. Lack of planning more than any other, is the main cause for beginners finding themselves struggling in the renovation process. This does not have to be the case for you as you can easily avoid this pitfall by following these simple steps.
Start with a Clear Vision
The first step to remodeling your home and exterior is to ask yourself why you want to renovate your exterior and what is it that you want to see or have at the end. The reason you want to remodel is important as it will often inform what needs to be done. There are multiple reasons that would convince you to renovate your exterior. These reasons might include:
- Maintenance and repairs – Leaving any current issue such as a leaking roof or torn siding is a very bad idea as the situation will only worsen and cause further damage. You might also notice other signs indicating that certain areas are deteriorating. Either way when there is a need for repairs and maintenance it could be a good idea to revamp the exterior and renew those areas as well.
- Outdated look – If you have an older home the chances are that it has a very old-style look stemming from days gone by. You might want to modernize and update the look and feel of the outside of your house. You might be considering new windows and doors or even some roof related updates such as new gutters. You might have always wanted to add a new trim, shutters or stone veneer. These small changes and items add huge value to the look and value of your home.
- Family situation – Family dynamics change all the time. Maybe there have been only two of you back then, when you moved in but now you need more room. You can expand your living spaces by adding a deck or porch in your renovations. There might even be a possibility to add an extra room or increase the lounge.
- Eco-friendliness – If you have heating or cooling bills that are high and climbing, your home might no longer be properly sealed causing heat loss or gain. With a simple remodel you can increase the energy efficiency of your home which is great for the environment and can save you money in the monthly bills. Some states also offer tax benefits for these types of improvements.
- Marketability – It is not easy to sell the ugly duckling in the road and having a high curb appeal is most desirable by most buyers. Remodeling the exterior of your house can drastically improve its marketability. More attractive homes catch the eye making them easier to sell and often bring in a higher sales price.
You need a clear vision of the end state you want to achieve and the reason for making the change does not change that. When the vision is clear in your mind you can commence with the planning process.
Let’s look at a step-by-step priority layout to guide you through each step of the planning process.
The Planning Process
Your chances of success greatly increase with proper planning of the renovation process. The opposite is also true and as the old saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” The two biggest beginner mistakes are not being realistic in your expectations and not planning the budget properly. Both these mistakes set your contractor and yourself up for failure and disaster.
You will have to be very frank with yourself about what you want, need and actually can afford and make realistic choices.
Make a list
Start your house remodeling planning process by making a list. There are three groups to include in your list:
- Must-have priorities – Include items that are essential to your vision and without which the project is of no use. This could be items such as the roof, sidings, doors or replacing the windows. It could be as simple as on a fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim.
- Like-to-haves – Include items that you would love to be able to add during your remodeling but you can do without them and it will not ruin your vision. Replacing your roof might be an essential item, but you would like to be able to also replace the gutters and downspouts at the same time. If there is no space in the budget these are the items that can be removed and placed on hold for a later on.
- Dream items – Include items you would add if you had more money to add to your budget. Items such as a portico, or some stone veneer accents. Why not consider capped trim or screening for your porch with some window header accents? This is your dream list but must be grounded in reality. You cannot add a 12-foot fountain if you do not have the space to place it.
Creating the Remodeling Budget
With a clear motivation, a vision of the end results and a list that narrows down the necessary items it is now time to get to detailing the required finances for the project. Creating a project plan that is beyond your budget is a train smash in waiting.
Start with a clear understanding of what you can afford to spend and without putting financial strain on yourself. It is vital to set a detailed and realistic budget for yourself that articulates what you can spend during your remodeling budget and how you intend to spend it on. It is important to add line-by-line expenses and do a complete breakdown of all your expected costs.
There are a few suggested items that you should include under your line items in your budget. Most people forget these and end up overspending. There will be more so you need to spend some time to think through all the expenses you would have during your exterior remodeling project. The suggestions are:
- Permits and licensing
- Utility fees
- Demolition and waste
- Landscape disruption
- Specialty tools and rentals
- Actual materials
- Cost of Labor
- Management fees
- Consultant charges
- Design and drawings
- Financing costs
- Unexpected events
There are always unexpected events or surprises during a remodeling project. It would be surprising if there were none. You might find rotten sheeting that requires replacement when the shingles are removed. You might even find water-damaged sills after removing the windows. Normally, once the siding has been removed a lot of issues come to light that you had no idea about.
Selecting a Remodeling Contractor
You cannot overinvest in time spent to verify and qualify potential remodeling contractors. Selecting a professional and reputable contractor is essential to the success of your project. You will be required to spend a lot of time with the contractor discussing the project and making decisions and it is important that you can relate to them. Renovation contractors all have their own personalities, experience, and skills, like most people.
There are some pointers to look out for while you are searching for a contractor that you would want to work with:
- Experience – Select a contractor that has proven experience in the type of work you want done. A verifiable reference is always good. You cannot afford to have someone experimenting and learning to do something on your project. This is not a learning opportunity.
- Expense – There is a difference between a fair and competitive price and a cheap price. Contractors tend to charge similar prices for similar work as they have to cover costs, overheads and make a profit. An underpriced contractor will likely use inferior products and take shortcuts to lower his costs and this causes problems for you down the line.
- References – It is not wise to only depend on references given to you by the contractor. It is very important that you do your own homework and review some of their past projects. Perhaps talk with previous clients to get feedback on their experiences. The way that contractors react when things do not go to plan and situations get complicated is very important and tells a lot about them. Another great source for behind-the-scenes feedback and view of the real situation is to talk to the suppliers and sub-traders who work with the renovation contractor.
- Licensing – It will be very unwise to contract anyone who is not officially approved to do the job. It is critical to verify that the contractor is legally allowed to do the required work. Renovation contractors are expected to be state-licensed and certified. You also need to ensure that the contractor is covered by workers’ compensation insurance and is currently in good standing to limit your liability. Lastly also ask for the local business license and registered tax number of the contractor to ensure full compliance by the company to the law. If the contractor cannot provide you with any of these legal requirements you are better off walking away as this is not how a professional company operates.
- Contracts – A detailed written contract is non-negotiable and any reputable company will provide you with one. This contract has to at least include the scope of work, the time frame, the costs and the payment process. Verbal agreements are difficult to prove when disputes occur.
- Warranty – A professional and reputable contractor will inform you up front of the work and material that they provide a warranty for and how long the warranty is. Professionals are prepared to stand behind the quality of their workmanship. Quality material also comes with a manufacturers warranty so listen to what the contractor recommends and states and do some research for yourself.
Contact AllRoofs Inc. for Your Remodeling Project
AllRoofs Inc. is the leading remodeling professional and roofing company in Franklin Park. We specialize in assisting with renovation projects from the very beginning and working with beginner remodelers. We know the frustration you feel and how overwhelming it may seem at first. The hundreds of satisfied customers we have on our books will attest to our reliable and professional service.
Our renovations experts are more than happy to assist you from the planning phases of your remodeling project. We will assist and guide you in turning the list of musts, wants and dreams into a realistic and achievable budget before anything is started. We have a lot of information to share with you along with affordable options and alternatives to materials. We work with you through all the choices, finalizing the designs and permitting requirements.