Remodeling your home’s exterior is exciting – but it’s also a lot of work on your part. Choosing a contractor is just the beginning. You’ll also have to consider aspects of the project like budget, schedule, and what you plan to do while the remodel is taking place. You’ll have to factor in aesthetic choices, like color and style, as well as material choices, which dictate durability and maintenance needs.
Make sure to tick off all the points on the following checklist before you start your renovation project.
1. Do Your Research
You can conduct research in a number of different ways. Poke around online to learn about available materials for siding and windows, and talk to your contractor about your needs to gain valuable industry insight. You can also ask friends and other real estate or renovation experts for advice and information about what you can expect as you embark on this project.
You should also do a little digging to find the look you want. Clip magazine photos of home exteriors that speak to you, or put together a folder of images you found online. The style of home siding – whether it’s stucco, finished wood, stone, or something else entirely – will greatly influence factors like choosing a material and setting a budget.
2. Write Up Your Budget
The last thing you want to do is overspend. Rather than ending up with an elaborate remodel and empty pockets, be prepared to negotiate with yourself. Make a list of must-have features for your home’s exterior, and build your budget around these items.
Once you figure out both your needs and how much you can spend, make another list of features that would be nice to include but may not be necessary. Bring your budget to any meetings with your contractors to make sure you stay realistic about how much you can pay for what your renovation is worth.
Don’t forget to leave a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses. Experts recommend tacking on at least 20 percent to accommodate the inevitable issues that will spring up. If you end up not needing it, great – you’ll save some money for a future project, or you can put the excess toward a remodel feature you initially thought you’d have to forgo.
If at all possible, don’t borrow money to remodel your home. Your renovation will be much more satisfying – and much less stressful – if you save up the necessary funds prior to starting the project.
3. Choose Your Siding Material
The material you choose will comprise the bulk of your budget, so evaluate the options carefully. Your contractor can help you figure out the best choice.
Whether you’re interested in the classic wood clapboard look, rustic shingles, paneling, or something else entirely, there’s one siding material you can always rely on: fiber-cement siding from James Hardie. Unlike wood, it resists rot and weather damage, and unlike vinyl, its colors won’t fade over time. More durable than any other material, fiber-cement siding requires no maintenance and comes in a wide variety of style and color options.
4. Create a Privacy Plan
While your siding contractors won’t need to come inside your home, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable during a remodeling project. People you don’t know well are spending a lot of time around your house!
Any contractors you hire will fully respect your privacy, but it’s important to take security measures to avoid any nearby opportunists who notice you’re having work done. One solution is to install a smart lock that will allow you to monitor the activity of individuals who enter and leave your home – and make sure no one other than your family and designated workers do so.
You’ll also need to be a little more cognizant of things like showering and getting ready for your day. Will the remodelers already be at your home? If they’re working near your windows, simply drawing the curtains or blinds will be enough. Ultimately, it’s about making sure you feel comfortable within your own home, no matter how busy it gets during a renovation.
5. Make Safety a Priority
If you have children or pets, make sure they steer clear of work areas. Construction areas are dangerous, necessitating the use of power tools, sharp saws, potentially hazardous materials, and more. Talk to your children to make sure they understand the importance of safety during this process. Keep watch when everyone’s home, and bring up your concerns with the contractor.
It’s a good idea to install temporary safety gates at the entrance to your home or driveway to keep curious youngsters from getting hurt. You may also need to board your pets to keep them out of the way, and if you still feel nervous or uncomfortable, you may want to spring for a hotel room for the rest of your family.
Finally, remember that all of these factors should figure into your budget. In addition to the cost of labor and materials, think about hotel expenses, pet boarding, eating out, and other external costs.
7. Stay Flexible
Don’t think of your home contractors as employees; instead, think of them as partners. A good home remodeling contractor will always put meeting your needs first. Remember, you’ve hired skilled craftsmen, not machines. Keep communication lines open throughout the project. That way, if an issue arises, you’ll be much better equipped to address it. No matter how well you’ve planned your project, something will inevitably come up. Your ability to be flexible and open will ensure you glide smoothly past any potential problems.
Choose John McCarter Construction
John McCarter Construction is a leader in home exterior building and remodeling in the Ann Arbor area. We’re well accustomed to working with homeowners with budgeting needs. Our partnership with James Hardie allows us to offer products that are both attractive and durable. As one of the only siding contractors in Michigan holding the title of Elite James Hardie Preferred Contractor, the John McCarter team stands behind our dedication to quality.
For more information or to request a quote for your project, contact us today.