Where to begin
So you’ve decided to make some home improvements. It is an exciting prospect to upgrade and bring your home closer to the image of your dream home. Begin by considering the changes you want to make. You may already have an idea of the things you want to improve, but now’s the time to fine-tune your ideas.
Think about how your home already supports the way you live, and which existing elements you really like. Write down each item you want to keep, and what you want to change. This will not only help you prioritize the projects you take on first, it will also help you better define the details of each project. No matter how large or small your project, planning is crucial. Developing a detailed plan will insure that your project runs smoothly forward and that your results will be a success. Having a clear image in your mind of what you want to achieve will help guide you in the steps you must take to attain your goal.
Determine your goal
Once you know the project that you want to take on first, you can begin to make decisions about what you want to change. The more clearly you can envision what you want to achieve, the better prepared you’ll be in making necessary decisions;Think about traffic patterns, furniture placement and size, colors, lighting and how you plan to use the remodeled space. Draw out your completed idea to get a clear picture of what you hope to accomplish.
You probably have a basic idea of how much you want to invest in your home improvement project, so base your estimate on that budget. Nothing is more disappointing than not having enough money to finish the entire project, so plan well, beginning with the most costly or most important items. To get a good idea of material cost, simply check out your neighborhood home improvement center. If you have any questions or concerns, most of their employees are able to either give you answers or guide you to someone who can. When pricing your necessary materials, remember to include any hardware and finishing products you might need. Don’t forget nails, adhesives, tape, stencils or paint.
Gather your tools
Be sure that you have the proper tools available before you start. If your current toolkit does not have certain specialty tools to do the job properly, you might have to invest in them to complete your project. You could also consider borrowing or renting them. Some jobs might also require two people for safety reasons, so you will need to line up additional help before you work on that part.
Consider Eco Friendly Building
Green remodeling is a sound choice, for both, a healthier life and as an investment in your home. Currently, in traditional construction, indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air, due to various building materials, inadequate lighting, and a variety of other variables. Some eco friendly choices do require purchasing special equipment or materials, but many upgrades are just a matter of knowing the most environmentally conscious choice to make. Using recycled materials where available, (glass, stone, plastics), choosing carpet low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), and installing more efficient, low water plumbing fixtures are a few Green options that cost little or no more than the non-Green.
Anticipate your needs
Most home improvement projects require a variety of different skills. If there is a task that requires more skill than you have and you would feel more comfortable with expert guidance or proficiency, a contractor can usually do just the portion of the job that you are unable to handle for a portion of the cost of the entire project. You might consider hiring a plumber, electrician or heating specialist, or even a general handyman for a job that requires additional manpower.
Hiring a Contractor
If you do plan on hiring a contractor, you must get a written contract. A good contract includes a detailed description of the project, start and expected completion dates, labor and material costs, and any warranties of workmanship. Including a right to cancel clause of three business days is a good idea. The more detailed you make your contract, the less room for problems you will allow.
Before you actually start tearing down walls or running electrical wire, check with your local or state building department to learn if your project requires a building permit. A building permit is a license required by city code that grants legal permission to construct, enlarge, alter, repair or demolish a structure or equipment installed in a building. If you are working with a contractor, find out if his services include obtaining permits.