Living in central Plano Texas means living in a home that was built between 1975 and 1990 for the most part. There are new neighborhoods popping up on the last pieces of available land but the majority of the homes are a bit older. If you live in one of these older homes then you have either completed a remodel and updates or are planning to at some point.
Of course, everybody wants a remodel job that is done properly, lasts a long time and will increase the value of the home. Many homeowners have tons of pictures on Pinterest on how they would like the finished product to look. It is always a good idea to have a good sense of what you want the final product to be. However, just as important is to know what is going on behind the walls and have some understanding of what should be done to make sure the finished product is not simply lipstick.
You hire a professional remodeling contractor to make sure the job is done right but don’t be afraid to ask questions and make them explain the process to you. Make sure the contractor has an understanding of the building codes and is doing things in proper order. It does matter how beautiful the finished product is if the fundamentals are wrong. Understanding the quality of the products being installed in your home is also key to a quality finished product.
A few simple examples of questions to ask by job type. This list is clearly not all inclusive but helps you get a sense of the type of things to ask.
- When installing new plumbing water supply lines, were they installed on the warm side of the insulation?
- Was the insulation in the exterior walls replaced with the correct R-Value product?
- Was a vapor barrier installed?
- Did the tile contractor install proper cement backer board or did they just install over sheetrock?
- Did the tile installer use the proper type of grout for the specific application?
- Was a proper exhaust fan installed and vented to the exterior. (A lot of the older homes don’t have them)
- Did they install the proper small appliance circuits for the kitchen?
- Are the gas lines properly installed and secured using the right type of pipe?
- Has the electrical been properly sized to the appliances that will be installed?
- Did they vent the vent hood to the exterior?
- Are they working from an actual plan
- If adding a second level, did they have structural engineer validate the project?
- Did they use the proper frame materials including beams and headers?
- Did they follow accepted framing standards?
- Did they pull the proper permits?
These are just a small sampling the types of questions homeowners should ask and be aware of. You may be thinking the city inspectors will catch all of this. Not so fast, some of the questions would be caught by inspectors but others are not required by code, they are simply up to the contractor to complete properly. As a homeowner, it is also essential that you make sure your home is ready for whatever project you are launching, meaning it makes no sense to spend 30K on a kitchen remodel when your foundation is falling apart. A contractor worth his salt will help you make sure your home is ready for the project you want to complete.
It is critical that you hire a contractor that has the patience to help you understand each and every one of these things and takes the time to explain things in detail. It is your house, your money and you have right to make sure the job is done properly.
Be safe and hammer on.