Some home renovations can run like a well-oiled machine. While not every renovation works in the exact same order, most follow a similar course. For example, you don’t want to close walls and paint, only to realize you need to add a new plumbing stack that requires going behind the wall again.
So if you’re wondering what the steps are in a renovation, here are 10 common steps to consider.
Think through how you want your home to look and function. You may want to consider writing down your top 10 priorities, says Jason Abrams, a real estate agent with Keller Williams. You can also look for inspiration in magazines, online or in furniture showrooms to help refine your ideas and priorities.
Come up with a final number on how much you want to comfortably spend on the renovation, says Better Homes and Gardens. It may be a good idea to check out Remodeling Magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report to see how much average projects cost, and then add in between 10 to 20 percent for any unexpected findings, says Zillow.
It may be a good idea to contact your insurance agent to help make sure you have adequate coverage in case of any renovation problems, says Sabine Schoenberg, author of “Kitchen Magic.” Once the upgrade is complete, you may also want to consider confirming with your agent that your current coverage is appropriate with the latest improvements.
Research and select a contractor whom you feel comfortable with, says Zillow. Be sure to sign contracts that help define the scope of work and the process to potentially avoid or resolve any problems, adds Zillow.
Typically required in many municipalities, permits can also be critical to helping avoid having to redo work. Make sure your contractor checks your municipality’s latest regulations, since inspection rules change and vary in different locations, says Leslie Markman-Stern at Leslie M. Stern Design, LTD.
Once you have the permits sorted out, you may also want to start ordering the necessary materials like lumber, drywall, new windows and doors, etc.
Once all your materials arrive at the job site and have been inspected, it’s demolition time, says Debe Robinson at Kitchen Expressions Inc. If space is being added, then framing generally takes place. If walls within are being moved, it may be a good time to potentially install any new windows and doors, says Better Homes and Gardens.
Generally, this is the time for critical work behind walls, below floors, and above ceilings — plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning rough-ins, subfloors, and insulation, says Better Homes and Gardens. Schoenberg likes a plumber to go first, followed by heating and air conditioning and then electrical. Next, patch, hang drywall, tape and sand for smooth exterior surfaces. “You don’t want to sand walls over a new granite countertop,” says Markman-Stern.
Some contractors may want to install flooring, while others start this step with priming and then painting a first coat before the floor is installed (to help prevent paint getting on new flooring).
Now that walls and floors are in, the room begins to resemble its finished state. Typically, cabinets are installed next, with uppers going in before lower ones, says Tom Segal at Kaufman Segal Design. Templates are made for countertops with cutouts positioned for appliances and sinks. Faucets and recessed can trims are installed prior to the appliances.
It’s time to add those last details and decorations — final painting and papering, backsplashes, floor sealing, light fixtures, hardware and any other touch-ups.
Once a renovation is complete, be sure to take a moment to enjoy your new surroundings, and, maybe even start dreaming of your next project.
Originally published on December 18, 2013.