What You Need to Know About Home Renovation

What You Need to Know About Home Renovation

At Hello Garage, we pride ourselves in the support and knowledge we offer our customers when helping make their dream garages a reality — but we thought, why stop there? So, today we've sourced our resident renovation experts to give us their advice on what you should consider when planning any home renovation.

We've even added some tips to consider once the work has started!

Financial Planning & Setting Priorities

Regarding your renovation priorities, we suggest you consider what will improve your daily life. That means a bathroom with inadequate storage and a leaky toilet probably takes precedence over a home-office renovation.

Bottom line: Start where it will make the most impact.

You shouldn't just think about what you want now but also how long your renovation will stay fresh. You don't have to plan for it to last forever, but you should consider the lasting power of the update. Also, will this renovation require temporary relocation or extra security? For example, one of our experts recently had to live elsewhere during a major house reno. And when they redid the basement, they had to deadbolt the door to the basement and give the contractor keys to the walkout basement door, so they could secure the rest of the house.

Plan for the Unexpected

You should always plan for a project to cost 10-20 percent more than the number you were quoted, in addition to expecting time and supply/material delays. For instance, is your tile made to order with a six-to-eight-week wait time? Consider ordering 10 percent more tiles to make sure you have enough.

Note: Hello Garage projects are famous for being completed on or ahead of schedule — and the price you're quoted is always the price you pay, down to the penny. But then, we're not your average contractors...

It's also important to point out that unexpected occurrences aren't always negative. And they aren't always the fault of the contractor. For instance, you may realize while planning a project that if you spend a little more, you might end up with an unexpected upgrade or more functionality added.

Or, while the contractor is already doing the work, you may find it might make more sense to expand the project to prevent the need for future work. For instance, a project with a plumber may be on budget and on track to be completed on time, but they might find that you have some old pipes that will need to come out eventually. In that case, it will likely make more sense to have the work done now while you have the professional there to do it.

Hiring a Contractor

This one's pretty simple: Do your research and get referrals.

When looking for a contractor, we're more likely to hire one when we have a referral or if we've seen good results from them on social media (even if it's from a Facebook friend we don't like that much!).

Speaking of social media: Keep track of contractors others mention when showing off their renovations — even if you're not currently looking for one. You never know when you might need one for that type of job.

A Hello Garage Garage Guru

Our Garage Gurus make the renovation process a breeze!

It's also essential to look for a contractor that fits the project. You'll have better results if you avoid your local "Chuck in a truck" handyman and hire a specialty contractor who's experienced in the type of project you're considering.

For larger projects requiring multiple contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.), consider saving yourself time — and sanity — by hiring a general contractor to help oversee the project.

Do you need someone to help with your vision or complete work you've begun yourself? Ask your contractor for suggestions on what they've seen and done before.

Sometimes you have a specific idea in mind, but a contractor may have something even better to offer you that you'd never considered.

Questions to Ask a Potential Contractor:

  • What's your change-order process?
  • When do you require full payment, and what forms do you accept?
  • What's your preferred method of communication?
  • Do you hire subcontractors, or do you complete the work yourself?
  • If there's a mistake, what's your policy on fixing it?
  • Is there a warranty? If so, what does it cover specifically, and is it in writing?

Make sure they're consistent in what they tell you. This is also an excellent opportunity to set your expectations for the project: "I'm picky, I expect excellent work — and if you're ok with that, I will pay you well." Lastly, get your bid in writing along with the full scope of work to be done. If something goes sideways, you'll always have this document to point to.

Side Tip: Be Open to Opening the Door

Sometimes contractors working on a neighbor's house will stop by to offer their services. This is a great way to find someone who offers excellent work at a fair price with immediate availability.

Prioritize Effective Communication

Communication is key. Start building a relationship with good communication right away. Determine a schedule and plan on checkpoints to update your information and theirs. Establish a protocol for when decisions must be made.

Think about how your workers will access the job site. Will they need to enter through the garage, deck or basement? Also, consider how they'll move their equipment to the site. For instance, larger items like an industrial floor grinder needed in the basement may require special access.

Here are some other considerations:

Hello Garage Dream Team

The Hello Garage Dream Team

  • Parking Walking to the street every time workers need to get tools or materials can add to the time it takes them to complete the work. Give them easy access to your driveway, garage, etc.
  • Restrooms Depending on the type of job, you may want to let them use a bathroom in your home or give them access to a portable toilet.
  • Weather Consider the location of your home renovation and the time of year it's being completed. Provide fans when it's hot or heaters when it's cold so crews can stay comfortable and work more efficiently.
  • Ventilation Home renovation can be a dusty process so ventilation is important. Does the crew have their own fans? If not, you may want to rent a couple.
  • Personal items Not only do you want to clear the area being worked on of your things, but you should also consider the route to the area. That means taking art and photos off the walls and removing any furniture that may be in the way.

Make your contractor want to work for you. That means making your expectations clear from the start. This will come in handy when you need to have hard conversations or revisit some completed work due to an issue or problem.

Oh, and we find that offering beverages always helps!

General Tips

  • Get organized. Consider the items you may need from the space you're renovating and put them in a tote. Pack everything else up.
  • Protect areas from dust. Dust is always an issue during renovations. Consider covering certain parts of your house so they don't get dirty.
  • Be realistic. Mistakes and disappointments are going to happen. When they do, roll with them as best you can.
  • Take your neighbors into consideration. Consider the noise and disruption your neighbors will have to endure and plan on working with them to deal with it.
  • Don't pay the entire balance until the work is completed. This protects you from the worst outcome.
  • Inspect what you expect. After completing a project, do a walkthrough with the contractor and have them show you what work was done. Use that time to create a list of things that need to be corrected (this is known as a punch list in the trade).
  • Be patient. The remodeling process can involve multiple vendors, and communication between all parties can feel slow and tedious — especially when problems arise.
  • Don't accept subpar work. You are paying for a service and must live with the results. Verify the work and speak up now rather than later.

A Word on Garage Renovations

Add a Garage Makeover to Your Home Renovation Plans!

A garage makeover is a high-impact home renovation that can be completed quickly.

Remember when we said you should prioritize your renovations based on how they impact your daily life?

Well, if you're like most people, you're in your garage daily because it's how you enter and exit your home. It's also where you likely keep some of your most prized possessions.

Renovating your garage takes just a day or two, so it's one of the fastest home improvements you can undertake. By comparison, a bathroom or kitchen reno will take weeks or even months. And the job-site access thing is a breeze. The Hello Garage Dream Team just backs right up! At the end of the day, a garage transformation is a lot more affordable than many other home renovation projects.

Curious how a garage makeover from Hello Garage can transform your home? Contact us at 1-888-59-GARAGE or online to book a consultation and free estimate with our Garage Gurus!

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