If you are planning a whole house remodel or just one room, this show will give you the top tips for getting prepared and avoiding mistakes. I’ll share some commonly overlooked details that homeowners either find out about too late or at a stage where rushed decisions could cost more later. Get the big picture of remodeling before jumping in prematurely.
10 Tips to Maximize Your Whole-House Remodel
1. Consider water. Don’t remodel or add bathrooms without looking carefully at your current water supply lines and the capacity of your water heater. A smaller tank or one with lengthy recovery times may not meet your needs.
This is especially true if you select a new 80-gallon soaking tub or a shower with massaging body sprays and you have a 50-gallon tank. You will also want to make sure you have at least ¾” supply lines from your water heater to the fixtures.
2. Get the right gas meter. More gas appliances usually mean a larger meter. Most utility providers will require you to add up the BTU (British thermal unit) requirements of your appliances (furnace, water heater, range, washer-dryer, barbecue, fireplace) and size your meter accordingly. Or maybe you’re adding that barbecue and fireplace in a few years? Sizing the meter larger now and running pipe where you will need it can save you money in the future.
3. Deaden the sound. While your friends will not be able to admire all that pretty insulation in your walls, they will be relieved to not hear what’s going on in the powder room since you insulated all the walls with sound insulation. You can choose from Roxul Safe and Sound insulation, sound board or drywall specifically designed to deaden sound transmission through wall cavities. Using resilient channels in ceilings can also help stop sound transmission from one floor or room to another. You may also want sound insulation around your laundry room and media room and in shared bedroom walls.
4. Avoid the waterfall noise. PVC waste lines in walls can create the audible sound of falling water. You can wrap drain lines with Roxul Safe and Sound or upgrade to cast iron waste pipes. It will go a long way toward making them invisible to the ear.
5. Invest in quiet exhaust fans. Consider carefully how you will use your fans and make the most frequently used ones as quiet and low vibration as possible. Consider timers for them too, or humidistats, which measure the humidity in the air and turn the fans off when they reach their set level. Motion-sensor fans are also an option.
6. Plan ahead. You may have a second phase planned beyond your current remodeling plans. Make sure all the engineering and mechanical systems for that next phase are in place and ready to go. Photos are critical when you go this route. Take multiple photos with a measuring tape in the picture before covering these provisions for your future project.
7. Upgrade your electrical panel. Take a really good look at your electrical panel. If it’s 100 amps and every slot is filled, chances are that you will need a panel upgrade. Added rooms and an updated kitchen will often require a panel upgrade. If you still have antiquated wiring, this may also be the ideal opportunity to run new wiring and ground all those outlets.
8. Weigh the pros and cons of new siding, windows and doors. A second-story or bump-out addition begs the question: Stick with the windows, doors and siding you have or choose something new? Your decision may be forced by structural requirements. If enough of your exterior walls need siding removed and plywood nailed on, it may make sense to replace everything. But if you have brick at the main level, you may want to use cement or wood siding at your addition. Window and door matching generally makes sense only if what’s existing is already in pretty good shape or is prohibitively expensive to replicate. The choice is unique to every home; consult with your contractor and architect on the best way to proceed.
9. Don’t be short sighted. You’re investing a lot of money and time on your remodel, so make sure it will last longer than the current phase your family is going through. When planning for a lifetime home, think about grab bars, accessibility and universal design — if not for you, then for older adults who may visit. An accessible home is also valuable for resale.
10. Ask your contractor what they would do. Contractors are generally focused most on meeting the needs you have stated. But asking them what they would do if it were their house is likely to yield some interesting and thought-provoking suggestions that might otherwise pass you by. Your contractor has seen what works, what is worth changing and what may be worth dropping altogether. Questions like these will keep you from overspending on fads and put your money in the places that count in the long term.