Anyone who has been through a major remodeling project understands the amount of stress that goes along with it. Usually (and unfortunately) the scope and size of the project is directly proportionate to the amount of stress the homeowner may feel. So, with that being said, here are a few tips to keep your project on track and your stress levels to a minimum.
Find a Contractor that you trust. This may only apply if your project is large enough to require one, but if it does—make sure to do your homework before hiring one. You’ll want to check that the Contractor you are considering has the appropriate licensing, adequate experience (we recommend at least 5 years) and insurance. On top of all that, don’t just check for references—actually call them! You’ll find that (for the most part) people are willing to share their experiences when asked. Ask these previous clients about any issues that may have arisen during the project and how they were resolved, the time projected to complete the project vs. the actual time it took, and if the project was completed over, under, or on budget.
Write out a realistic budget. Some people fall in the trap of “knowing” how much they can spend. Knowing is one thing—remembering where you’re at when you’re ordering products for the remodel is entirely another. Poor planning is the number one cause of remodeling stress. Before you even start your project, sit down and calculate what you have to spend before you start spending anything. Then, keep a running tracker of what you’ve spent on which items. If your budget is smaller than you expected it to be when you start, make a list of everything you want to remodel and then prioritize it. You may find there are some areas you are willing to compromise on and others you are not. Adjust your budget accordingly.
Measure twice. This tip is for the DIY home remodeler and an important rule to follow. We all believe ourselves to be efficient, accurate creatures… but often times we’re not. I learned this lesson the hard way when helping a friend install a chair rail in her dining room. I was the one doing the measuring and I only measured once… And was half an inch under. Needless to say, I still hear about it to this day and have not been asked to help on anymore of her home improvement projects. Granted, I haven’t made that mistake again in my own projects, but when the project is of a greater, more expensive scope, it’s better not to even make the mistake the first time around at all.
Finish one project before you start another. Sure, sometimes in remodeling when you are working on one particular project, an issue will arise that you have no choice but to address before you can move forward. This tip is not addressing those instances. This tip is for the DIY remodeler that gets bored of working on a particular project and starts another one “in the meantime.” Working on multiple projects causes breaks in efficiency and mistakes. As a general rule, if you start something—see it through to the end before you start working on something else. You’ll get more done in less time if you focus on one thing at a time.
When you’re stressed out—get out. For people that have hired Contractors and are having major remodels done, when it’s possible—do not stay in the house during the remodel. Living in torn up conditions can push anyone’s stress levels to the maximum—not to mention being home during a day and having to listen to the remodel taking place. If you’re a DIY renovator, and have hit a breaking point—simply walk away. Mistakes often happen when people are frustrated, tired, or stressed out. Walking away can help you to “reset,” calm down, or wake up. You can come back to the project feeling fresh and perhaps see a solution that you hadn’t thought about before.
Hillary Hansen is a featured writer for Unique Online Furniture, Inc., where you can find rustic wagon wheel chandeliers or funky rectangular wall mirrors to use in your remodel. In her spare time, she enjoys attempting DIY projects that are just above her skill level, marveling at herself when she succeeds, and blaming her tools when she fails.