Interior Home Remodeling Near Me – Home renovation costs can add up quickly. Here are some ways you can plan for cheaper repairs.
Even if you follow the basic advice we’ve been doing for years: build a 20 percent cushion to cover nasty surprises, get contractor references and check them, remove the words “while you’re at it” from your vocabulary; It’s hard not to shoot more than you want to.
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With some strategic thinking about design, materials, and timing, you can cut costs without the fuss. Below, we’ll show you the ways, from the big to something as small as choosing a wall sconce over a recessed light.
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But another universal truth about home improvement is that every little bit adds up. So another important consideration to start with is deciding whether to tear down the entire house and start from scratch.
“Most clients don’t want to hear those words,” says Paul Irwin, director of design at Landis Construction in Washington, D.C., “but it’s really something to consider when doing a major renovation. “In one case, for example, plans for a 1,300-square-foot addition revealed that the house’s existing foundation was not suitable and had to be replaced—a $30,000 bid.
After crunching the numbers, the owners concluded that renovating the former country house would cost as much as rebuilding it. “For a relatively small additional cost,” says the owner, “we get all the benefits of new construction while retaining the character and feel of our old home.”
If you’ve weighed your options and decided it’s best to renovate your home, here are our tips.
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If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you don’t need to blow out walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space-hungry shelves with cabinet-height 8-inch-wide pull-out drawers that contain shelves for cans and other items.
“You get three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise only get one,” says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with the Meier Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
You can easily spend a few thousand to dress up cabinets with things like dividers, pull-out trays, and lazy Susans, but you’ll save many times that amount by missing out on the addition you think you need.
Before you dig a big hole in the side of your house and rearrange the frame, consider less invasive and less expensive ways to capture light.
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For example, to light a windowless bathroom or hallway, you can install a “light pipe” that slides between the roof rafters and solar funnels into the living space.
Do-it-yourselfers can reap big savings by using recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. Habitat for Humanity operates nearly 400 ReStores across the country that offer salvaged materials at half the price of home centers.
One caveat. many contractors won’t work with salvaged items or homeowner-supplied materials in general because they don’t want to take responsibility if something goes wrong.
That said, if you do your own work, you can find everything from pre-hung doors to acrylic skylights to partial insulation bundles. (To find a ReStore near you, visit habitat.org).
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Before you begin any renovation work, invite the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to remove materials and fixtures for later resale. “About 85 percent of the house is reusable,” says BJ Perkins, ReUse program manager for Habitat in Austin, Texas. “We can do a complete removal, or we can do a cherry job and take out the cabinets, tub, sink, etc.”
You save space in the landfill, collect a charitable tax credit for the donation, and help a good cause. Visit Habitat to find a branch near you.
Demolishing your home may not be as expensive as remodeling, you can still shave dollars by doing some of the demolition yourself as long as you are careful.
“If the homeowner wants to display the deck, I’m sure they can,” says Michael Winn, owner of Winn Design in Virginia. “But when it comes to interior spaces, I would discourage them from doing it if they haven’t done it before.”
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Reason. an unwary demolition worker could inadvertently remove a load-bearing wall or, worse, drive the reciprocating saw into electrical wiring or pressurized plumbing.
If your addition calls for clapboard siding, for example, you can save even more in the long run by trying the pre-painted and pre-painted variety now. It costs an extra 10 to 20 cents a foot, but “you’ll pay more than half the way for paint,” says Paul Eldrenkamp, director of Bigmeister, a design-build remodeling firm in Newton, Massachusetts.
Reason? Factory finish is applied to dry wood under controlled conditions, no rain, no sun. “About ten years ago, I used pre-finished clapboards on my house, and the only downside to the finish is the occasional mildew that washes off easily,” says Eldrenkamp. “The paint looks like it’ll be good for another ten years, easily.”
When it comes to things like flooring, ask your subcontractor if he has any incredible supplies left over from other jobs. A few years ago, while renovating a Civil War-era bed and breakfast in New Jersey, contractor Bill Asdali needed hardwood floors.
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He made a few phone calls and came up with hundreds of square feet of hardwood in various lengths and widths that would have otherwise ended up in the dumpster at other jobs. By simply smoothing it to a uniform thickness, then sanding and refinishing, he saved his client nearly $9,000 in materials costs.
Depending on the scale of your project, you may not need a full architectural commission, which includes extensive meetings, multiple site visits, and multiple sets of construction drawings for about 8 percent of the project’s construction budget. You may be able to take advantage of the architect’s design expertise by having him do a one-off design consultation.
For example, for a flat fee of $400, Baton Rouge architect Kevin Harris will meet with the homeowner, examine the problem, and come up with several solutions that could be as simple as opening a partition or moving a door. The homeowner can then give the sketch to the builder or take it to a design service that will charge about $1 to $1.50 per square foot to develop official construction drawings.
Although the practice is controversial among trades, some contractors will offer consulting and mentoring services to skilled tradespeople on an hourly basis.
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Chicago-area builder Ted Welch charges $150 an hour for such training, with a two-hour minimum commitment. “The most satisfied customers tend to be those who have good manual dexterity, who recognize that skills need to be practiced to improve, and who are willing to risk making a few mistakes and then learn from them,” he says.
If you don’t have a lot of time (and experience) to spend on your project, the best way to build sweat equity is to do your own demolition, or end up doing the finishing touches yourself.
“If you want to save money, dig in and start helping,” says Tom Silva. “You can insulate, you can paint, you can sand.” Or better yet, she says, help clean up every day. “Instead of paying someone to pick sawdust off the floor, put your money into the time it takes to cut the window properly,” he advises.
If you’re doing your own project, cut down on your material shipping fees by picking up the supplies yourself. Don’t have a pickup truck? For around $400 you can buy a nearly new single sided trailer online that you can tow behind your SUV. Get enough of one to smoothly transport 4- to 8-sheet products. Use it for half a dozen trips and it’s paid for. Find trailers for sale near you through eBay Motors or try your local classifieds.
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If your walls are in such rough condition that it would take a painter days to fill and sand them to get them ready for the roller, consider using a material like Texturglas from Roos International of Deerfield Beach, Florida.
A breathable, non-toxic wall covering made from fine glass fibers, Texturglas has a similar look and feel to the fiberglass mat used in auto body work. It is available in a variety of surface finishes, accepts paint easily and is designed to be installed right on top of installed surfaces, adding strength while covering studs.
Some imitations just make sense. Lumber giant Weyerhaeuser sells a fast-growing natural eucalyptus hybrid under the Lyptus brand. Sustainably harvested in Brazilian plantations, the plain-grained hardwood looks and feels remarkably similar to mahogany. It is sold as tongue-and-groove flooring as well as boards and sheets for cabinet and millwork.
Don’t plan your reno in the summer or September when the kids are back at school and it’s Christmas. “It’s time at a premium,” explains Lisa Stacholi, owner of LKS Architects in Atlanta, Georgia. Suppliers tend to be busier, understaffed and deliveries are slower. One Virginia-based contractor offers rebates of between 4.5 and 5.5 percent (depending on the total budget) on projects.
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