By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

Couples start to plan for their weddings at least a year in advance.  They select photographers, florists, caterers, the officiant, seamstresses, tux rental shops, D.J.s, etc. for a single day event.  They worry and fret about every little detail, yet when it comes to major construction on their homes Remodelpeople often times plan hastily and expect it completed in just a few weeks.

We often have clients calling us to inquire about a remodel project and frequently they want to start it sooner rather than later.  Remodeling is not a quick fix—just to get ready for it to begin is a long process and the actual construction can last for a much greater duration of time.

When planning a remodel think of it as you would a wedding.  Line up all of your contractors, get on their schedules, line up your materials, price them, adjust the budget, etc.  Here is an easy to follow At-A-Glance timeline when preparing for a remodel.

6 Months Before:

–Start to think about the parameters of the project.  How much do you want to do? Will you be replacing flooring? Removing walls? Reworking the roof line? Will there be hardware that needs to be purchased? Appliances to select? Etc.?

–Establish a relationship with an interior designer (if you don’t already have one).  The benefit of having a designer on the team is that they have already vetted contractors and can bring an entire docket of professionals to you.  This is nice in the fact that it makes the process run smoother and affords project relationships that are already established.

–Select your general contractor.  Your designer most likely has a general contractor they work closely with and would be happy to share with you their information or you may want to research and secure your own contractor.  Either way most contractors only work on one or two projects at a time.  It is always recommended that you get your job on their schedule as soon as possible.  Your initial meeting with your contractor will give them and you a good idea of how much time the project will require and what they estimate your completion date to be.  It is always nice to include your designer in the meeting with your contractor as they will be working closely together throughout the project.

–Select the other professional contractors. Again ask your designer if they have recommendations, do your own research into specialized contractors or ask your general contractor if they have sub-contractors that they prefer to work with.  However you go about finding your painter, plumber, drywaller, etc.  you’ll need to schedule your project with their schedules as soon as possible to ensure your project has less of a chance of delays.

4 Months Before:

–Find some inspiration. Start to look online, in magazines, on, etc. for inspiration as to what kind of flooring you want, what paint colors attract you, what hardware you like, what appliances you might be interested in, etc.  Compile a file of these items to share with your designer.  This will make your likes/dislikes clearer and direct the shopping for these items.

–Set a date to meet with your designer You’ll want to make sure you get on your designer’s schedule to have a meeting about the design direction of your project.

3 Months Before:

–Meet with your designer.   At this meeting you will be able to discuss how you want the space to feel, what you want to use it for, what style you envision the area to portray, etc.  You will also set a date(s) with your designer to shop for all the products needed.  Depending on the project this could include flooring, paint colors, counters, cabinets, backsplashes, lighting, hardware, tile, furniture, etc.

–Collect Bids.  After the selections are made then the product bids will start to come in, as they do so, a budget will start to take form.  Once all the bids are submitted and the budget established then it will be time to decide if the budget is viable or if more shopping for alternative products as a lesser rate needs to take place.  The budget can always be altered either by increasing the homeowner’s actual monetary budget or by decreasing the cost of the materials.  It does, however, take a little time and that’s why it needs to be several months in advance.

–Order Materials. Once the budget is agreed to and the items selected then they are ordered.  We encourage homeowners to 1.) have all the items needed arrive prior to the beginning of the project and 2.) to plan a location (preferably on site) for the materials to be stored.

2 Weeks Before:

–Come up with a ‘during construction’ plan. Decide what you will be doing to accommodate for the loss of the space being remodeled.  If it is a bathroom, will you need an additional facility brought in (I.e. a porta-potty) or is there another bath in the home you can use while it is not available?  If it is a kitchen, where will you prepare and eat meals?  Is there an area you can set up a makeshift kitchen or will you be eating out for the duration of the remodel?

–Stage your new temporary area. Start to get everything together and setup in the new location so you won’t need to rush the day prior to construction beginning.

Construction Begins:

–Have Patience. Once the project starts it can take a minimum of five weeks, but depending on the size and involvement of the project, it could take considerably longer.

–Communicate, communicate, and communicate.  Open communication between homeowners, general contractor, designer, etc. is very important.  Daily calls between all parties is not unheard of.

–Problems may arise and delays may happen.  Until a wall is actually removed, a tub taken out, or flooring torn up it may be impossible to tell what will be found.  There may also be family or personal emergencies faced by the contractors themselves that are unforeseen and, unfortunately, will delay the job.

Yes, a remodel is a big undertaking and, just like a wedding, it requires a lot of planning and budgeting and will get messy before it is done, but also just like a wedding, the finished product will be beautiful, rewarding and change your life for the better.  Enjoy!