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What to Expect When You’re Remodeling: Part II By Nikki Luttmann, Interior Designer

It seems like everyone is building, remodeling or sprucing up their homes this year. This is evident in both the lack of available contractors and subcontractors, but also in the rising prices of labor and goods sparked from high demand. That’s why it is very important to have a clear set of expectations and needs lined out before you start your project, as remodeling can be a slippery slope. I’d hate to see anyone get into the middle of a major remodel, only to find themselves stuck and unable to complete the job because they cannot find subcontractors who have the availability time-wise to finish it!

Last month I started a list of common home remodeling projects including whole house painting, kitchen remodeling, new flooring and bathroom tile projects. This month I thought I’d continue the list of common projects and what to expect with each. The aim is to help readers determine what to expect for each.

New countertops. Though this would likely be included in kitchen remodeling, this is by far one of the most common projects people undertake as it has such a huge perceived impact on the value of our homes. For any of the myriad options out there, the process starts with selecting a material and color, finding a supplier that deals with your specific material and offers a variety of options, and discussing with a salesperson the merits of each. From there, a measure will be performed and then a template created. For the templating process, they will be looking at your existing cabinet structure and determining the best fit, location for seams, etc. Additionally, decisions will have to be made regarding sinks, faucets, backsplash material and height, and more.

Oftentimes, the fabricator can provide the sink from a selection of options, which usually proves easiest for the homeowner, unless they want a more specialty sink. As well, it must be determined if the fabricator will be removing the old countertops—some will (for a fee), some will not. If the answer is no, ask if they have a suggestion for someone who can do that work for you, unless you’d like to do it yourself. After the template, material will be cut off-site by the fabricator then brought to your home on installation day. Sometimes, there are issues—a measurement was missed, the sink doesn’t fit, etc. Be prepared for this—they will fix it, and usually very quickly. That’s part of the reason I suggest that the fabricator provide the sink. If they provided it, then it is their mistake, and they will resolve the issue at no additional charge to you.

New windows and/or doors. This is a fairly large remodeling project, and I definitely recommend working with a specialist to accomplish these for you. Windows, as long as they are being replaced in the exact same sizes as existing, are typically a fairly easy switch. However, with any remodeling project, keep in mind that there are often unforeseen difficulties. Headers may be incorrect, or windows may have been installed wrong the first time around. Trim, both interior and exterior, may be damaged or removed in the process, paint and drywall damaged. Window coverings will, of course, have to be removed and may not quite fit correctly when new windows are installed, depending on the type of window and treatment you are replacing. Though replacing old windows is one of the most rewarding projects you can undertake for the insulation integrity of your home, it can be quite a process. Be prepared! Doors—both interior and exterior—are similar in scope and potential issues. Ask questions, and make sure you are working with a professional!

Lighting. This is one of the easiest switches for your home. Changing out light fixtures is usually quick, painless and very rewarding! There are so many options available now that shopping for lighting can be almost overwhelming, but in this case, the internet is your friend. You can search fixtures by finish, style, glass or any other option you can think of, and ordering them online is fairly easy. The one caveat that I will insist on is using a professional electrician for installing them—one who knows the codes and will not jeopardize your safety by installing something incorrectly.

Well, that’s my list! Happy remodeling and remember, if in doubt, ask a professional for help or advice.

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