You’ve selected your general contractor or home remodeling company, you’ve paid your deposit and you’re ready to kick-start your remodel. Wait! Before you get started, here’s a few helpful tips to help you through life during a remodel!
Confirm Cabinet Delivery Dates
Before your contractor takes a sledge hammer to your kitchen, confirm the cabinet delivery dates for your new cabinets. We cannot tell you how many people we speak to who have had their kitchen ripped out only to be told by their contractor that the cabinets aren’t arriving for another 4-6 weeks (in some cases, months….). Kitchen cabinets already have some of the longest lead times when it comes to a home remodel but, because of ongoing supply issues, there have been additional delays in the industry. Although things are starting to improve again, don’t start your remodel if your cabinets haven’t been ordered or there isn’t a confirmed delivery date.
Set Up a Temporary Kitchen
Undertaking a kitchen remodel? If your home remodeling contractor doesn’t offer to do this, it’s worth while setting up a temporary kitchen in another part of your home with sink access nearby. It’s nothing fancy (think of it more as glamping), but it will save you money instead of relying on endless takeout deliveries or eating out all of the time.
All you need is a folding table, an induction cooktop (or two), plastic bins for storage of items, pots/pans and a microwave and/or crock pot to get you started. If you can, move your refrigerator to the space, or invest in a small fridge for essentials. Small refrigerators are always in high demand for college-aged kids so it’s an easy resale once your remodel is complete.
Read about the ways we help our clients have a better experience during a home remodel here.
Got no idea what to expect once your home remodel begins? That’s not a good sign. If you aren’t clear on what the day-to-day will look like, here are some questions/issues to discuss with your contractor before work begins:
- Who is your main point of contact?
- What time do you expect to start and end work every day?
- Will a lock box be put on the front door and who is responsible for locking up every day if you aren’t home? (or communicate if you prefer to let the team in every day)
- Who will be onsite to manage any trades that come to your home?
- Where will the dumpster/portable toilet (if applicable) be placed?
- Working at home? Make sure they know to communicate when they will be doing loud work (especially during demo) so you can plan accordingly and it doesn’t interfere with your important conference call or media interview!
- Any special considerations for children/pets?
- Who is responsible for site clean up every day?
- What happens and who do you contact if there is an emergency?
Discuss the ongoing communication
If your contractor or home remodeling company hasn’t shared it with you, ask how communication will be handled during the project. We like to hold weekly meetings with our clients so we can discuss the progress from the previous week, discuss what’s coming up next and address any issues or concerns. It can be a short meeting, but it’s very useful. Don’t be afraid to ask for a weekly meeting if one is not offered.
Likewise, get clear on how (and who!) is tracking issues during the project. Noone wants to get to the end of a project with a never-ending punchlist or discover that issues you raised six weeks ago have been forgotten because they were never written down. Tracking and resolving issues throughout is the key to a successful home remodeling project. If your contractor isn’t doing their job in tracking, set up a simple shared google doc that everyone has access to so you are all on the same page about outstanding issues.
Don’t forget contractors are people too!
Our most successful (and fun!) projects happen when we feel like a team with our clients. Any reputable contractor or home remodeling company wants to do a good job for you. Treating each other with respect and as partners, not adversaries, goes a long way in helping to unstick things if they get stuck.
This does not mean that issues aren’t addressed if you feel like they aren’t doing their job or a mistake is made, but try to keep the lines of communication open with your contractor. They are going to be in your life for a while, so cultivating a good working relationship with them so you can openly discuss any issues that do arise helps.