Home remodeling contractors differ from new construction contractors in that they work at revitalizing either old structures or parts of them. Unlike a new builder a remodeling contractor, in most cases, may not have blueprints or anything else concrete to go on because the original builder and the original owners are long gone. Because of this remodeling contractors look at home restoration in three or more parts. The first is exploration, then demolition and, finally, rebuilding.
Most homeowners want a renovation on their home for many reasons but one of the main reasons is that they want to upgrade the structure with newer amenities like a kitchen or bathroom. Other people buy an old house with character and want tit restored to its formal glory while still another group buys an older home in a good location with the idea of flipping it for a profit.
Exploration and Planning
Before bidding the job a renovation contractor will explore the entire structure of the home. Even if it is a smaller renovation like a bathroom, the contractor will need to know how the entire utility infrastructure fits together. This includes the plumbing, electrical and structure. For example, if an older home still has non-grounded outlets and under a 100 amp service then the panel may have to be upgraded before a jacuzzi can be adequately wired. This would stand true if the plumbing was old. Many of the drains were either lead or cast iron and so a complete plumbing job right to the water intake and water heater might have to be completed.
In cases of an old bathroom there is almost a certainty that water has penetrated the old tile grout and that there could be rot behind and under the floor. In this case there would have to be structural work and the contractor would chase the water until he or she found solid wood.
Most estimates will include safeguards for the contractor so that if the damage is more extensive than first thought then the homeowners would have to pay extra. This is not unusual because there is only so much that a competent professional can predict before the wall is demolished.
In many parts of the home demolition requires a garbage container in order to discard the refuse but in cases of mold the infected items will have to be stored separately. If the damage is extensive many contractors will call in a mold remediation team to dispose of the materials before proceeding. Although expensive in many areas of the country the removal of toxic substances and those thought to be carcinogenic, like asbestos, the law required trained personnel with specialized gear.
In places where there is no water, like a bedroom or den, then the demolition just requires taking out pieces of sheetrock, wood, nails and flooring. If the renovation requires structural changes then an engineer may have to be consulted. For example, removing a load-bearing wall from between two rooms requires an adequate bracing first to hold the weight that was directed to the wall. This could mean adding a beam or strengthening the joists above the room.
Once an area is all cleared out and the plans formulated for the new construction the contractor still has a few obstacles to be considered. The first is that many older homes do not have perfectly square corners or level ceilings. This may be because the house has settled or that a do-it-yourselfer remolded the place thirty years ago and didn t measure properly. Once the area has been cleaned away a good carpenter can put shims in to bring the walls back into plumb shape and this goes hand-in-hand with the remodeling business.
Another item that remodeling contractors have to watch is the change in the building codes. For example, a deck that was once legal cannot be rebuilt the same because of safety concerns. This may require a more expensive bracing or the idea may have to be scrapped. In another case, a new septic system for a rural lot may not be approved because the perk rate is not high enough for modern standards. In these cases either the contractor or the homeowner will have to adapt.
Like any other tradesperson always hire a remodeling contractor with a great track record. The courts see many cases of a contractor who left a major job unfinished or who did shoddy work that had to be fixed later at a great cost. The general contractor should show you a valid contractor s license valid in the state where the work is to be done. For example, if you live in Utah and have a rental property in California that needs to be remodeled the contractor should have a valid California license.
To make sure you have a good contractor consult our Contractor Directory or simply post your project and a professional will contact you.Posted by: TrustedPros