houzz

POLL: What would have most improved your home remodel experience?

Houzz
8 months ago


Alroy Street, Bulli · More Info


Which of the following would have most improved your remodel experience?


VOTE and tell us about it in the comments!

Full project visibility (progress, actual cost, timing, change communication)
Being able to pay for my renovation with a credit card or online bank transfer
Understanding the building codes and restrictions in my area
Access to a larger product and material selection through my pros

Comments (37)

  • smc5
    8 months ago

    Issues with contractor, installers!

  • Related Discussions

    Year in Review Poll: What Was Your Favorite Home Improvement for 2013?

    Q

    Comments (4)
    after the deadline -- but I finally finished re-landscaping after a 2009 tornado, and 2010 related basement leak -- we had so many conflicting opinions about regrading that we postponed the project and the basement has not leaked since thanks to some carefully deepened troughs around existing beds. Restoring the beds that I planned to regrade has begun, but at least all of the major areas now look "intentional" and not abandoned to native grasses!
    ...See More

    POLL: What one room would you add to your home?

    Q

    Comments (569)
    Because I live in Vermont and it is grey and cold more than half the year, I've always wanted a sun room. I had built a garage a few years ago, and just recently I built my sunroom that connects the house and garage. I live in it. It is four season with lots of windows, skylights and plants, and it houses my sewing area, it's where I entertain (large bar area on castors) lots of storage, and a three person sauna. I absolutely love it.
    ...See More

    POLL: Would you choose your current home again? Yes or No

    Q

    Comments (315)
    I would absolutely buy my home again! I was put off by the outside but when I walked in the door, my breath was stolen. It’s a 4 BR traditional and checked off pretty much everything on my wish list. The only thing I didn’t like was the master suite. The closet is small and so is the master bath but the rest of the house makes up for it in spades! We sit on a beautifully landscaped 1/2 acre and the neighborhood and neighbors are wonderful! We’re 2 blocks on either side from a main road and shopping but feel like we’re in a rural setting. The kitchen has been recently redone and the house was lovingly cared for by the original owners who had the house built in 1969. I wake up every morning (after owning the house for nearly a year) and still can’t believe I get to live here! This is my dream house and even if I have to turn the formal living room into a bedroom suite when I’m older because I can’t do stairs, that’s fine. They’re gonna cart me outta here in a coffin. This is my forever home!
    ...See More

    POLL: If you could have an extra room in the house what would it be?

    Q

    Comments (12)
    There really is not logical place for it to go, but a laundry room. One concession for this house was that the laundry machines are in the garage. Although, if I had marked a bathroom in your poll, maybe I could convert the master bath into a laundry room.
    ...See More
  • Joanna
    8 months ago

    "All of the above" should have been an option in this POLL

  • trelbob
    7 months ago

    My husband does all our remodeling and is a perfectionist that does outstanding work, BUT he never finishes one single room. Frustrating!!!! There is always that one last piece of molding or door trim still missing. 🤦🏼‍♀️

  • tamasita4
    7 months ago

    None of the above. I need to be better at knowing when to over think something and when not to! I’m in construction and should know better.

  • shivece
    7 months ago

    A good architect...

  • Ann Sutter
    7 months ago

    That the contractor show up when they say they will. All these contractors are like bad boyfriends - they either don't show up or they don't call to say they aren't coming or to reschedule. Big PAIN.

  • Jacque Behrens
    7 months ago

    Competent contractors that adhere to plans and timelines. Have stopped making home improvements because trying to find competent people to perform the work is exhausting.

  • sunshine_31
    7 months ago

    A better contractor experience, and materials that were what was promised. Getting what you agreed to, and paid for doesn't seem like it's asking too much.


  • sherrylawcall
    7 months ago

    A checklist of decisions I must make for my two bath remodels such as width of grout and soft close drawers. Also a timeline for me to pick materials and colors. My contractor gave me a price list for various aspects of the project but it was up to me to buy tubs, sinks, faucets, drawer and cabinet pulls/knobs, tile, lighting, mirrors, and granite. That way I had control of the budget for these items. The contractor just demo’d and installed. Included in his bid: cabinets made to my specs and stain choice, electric, plumbing, code upgrades, painting, glass shower enclosures to my specs, and finish work. Any delays were due to me making decisions and buying the stuff!

  • Janet Eck
    7 months ago

    A more accurate estimate of costs would have eliminated the unexpected bill at end of construction.

  • plattsbecp
    7 months ago

    An architect with vision


  • Mindy Murray Moich
    7 months ago

    codes changing after plan put in place. Understanding and finding all local, state and federal heat loss codes.

  • rancherogrl
    7 months ago

    Hiring a different contractor. Mine sucked.

  • wayway
    7 months ago

    Sounds like a lot of people had the same issue we did: an incompetent contractor. It took 9 weeks to redo our master bathroom. Yes, NINE weeks. All because the contractor wasn't on top of his employees. We were told 2-3 weeks. Plumbing wasn't even moved, except for a shower head line that moved about a foot back to the main line. Custom cabinets, tile, faucets, mirrors, etc were all in my garage waiting to be installed for a month before they even started work. So no delay there. It was due solely to a horrible contractor. So, what I guess I learned from this fiasco, is to insist on a set end date, and charge the contractor if it isn't completed on time.

  • Lisa
    7 months ago

    More input from designer and contractor. I'm new to the area and didn't fully understand the functioning of the house I bought. My designer and contractor dutifully followed my instructions but rarely presented another viewpoint. I would have liked some push back occasionally, even if only to get me to re-think (defend) my choices.

  • carpetsnake
    7 months ago

    Lead times on new doors and windows. Delayed our project by months. Times quoted were out by weeks.

  • Ivan I
    7 months ago

    Has anyone actually successfully charged a contractor for being late, and received a discount off final price? Any tips on how to make that happen in reality?

  • sharonsgarden43
    7 months ago

    Ivan, I put in a triple wide manufactured home. The contract had a 10 K deposit. I added a few weeks to when it was to be delivered and had in the contract that my deposit would be returned if not delivered by then. As it had to go through a wet area if it rained that was important. What I should have also done is had a close in date as it sat for about a month before any work occured and had some sheetrock get wet.

  • Charles Bondurant
    7 months ago

    We went with a Custom Build/Remodel company thinking they would be more professional with timelines and costs. BIG mistake!!! We would've been better off if I'd just handled the project as the general contractor and subbed everything out myself.


    For the life of me I can't understand why it's so hard to find a competent company out there that you don't have to chase down for information or constantly update them on how no one has showed up that day as promised. I understand that things happen, weather delays etc but good grief!


    Thanks for letting us rant Houzz :)

  • dowagercountess
    7 months ago

    More money. :)

  • jackcollin
    7 months ago

    Thank God I thought it was just me.

  • dowagercountess
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Regarding end dates, I've added end dates to contracts, with several days/weeks (even a month) leeway from the estimated time, and the contractors seemed resentful. (And by the way, they did not finish on their estimated date, even though there were no surprises or issues, they finished on the end date of the contract.) By all means, do not make the final payment until everything is complete.

  • jackcollin
    7 months ago

    My contractor had a 5 star rating started out great ended with slop and left thank god he is gone. I am fixing his slop! Contractors are charming salesman ? How do we really know if they are good?

  • anneppowell
    3 months ago

    A designer who respects my budget at the initial consult, not one who creates a design that will cost double my $40,000 budget for an en-suite bathroom renovation AFTER charging $7,000 for drawing up the plans!

  • Nancy
    3 months ago

    With all my projects I wasn't honest with myself on how long I was going to own the home. I was always going to live there forever when in reality it was usually 5-10 years. So the cost of the IPE deck I paid double for, the beautiful variegated hickory hardwood I used, the expensive lagoon style pool with Tennesee fieldstone and dozens of other projects were never recouped at sale. While I enjoyed the things I had to have because I was living there forever, they cost me more money in the end in my profit margin.

  • Jaimie Schmeling
    3 months ago

    You get what you pay for. So, unfortunately we had great ideas and spent it all on the first contractor that was excellent. Of course that wasn’t the full remodel so second contractors drank all our alcohol and got goofy as the day went on another stole my daughters high school graduation money from a little tin on her shelf and used my credit card for two weeks gambling. We had him arrested in our driveway and he had been a lifetime criminal but had a two year streak that he had been good. He’s spending 5 years in prison for other offenses as he had so many.

  • rauraum
    3 months ago

    I would research the contractor a lot further and not just rely on friends' recommendations!

  • plattsbecp
    3 months ago

    Jaimie Schmeling, thanks for today's laugh. I thought I had a bad day when I threw out the second sorry architect I wasted money on and purchased a program to create my own blueprints. But you- my friend, had a BAD BAD experience.

  • Danna B
    2 months ago

    @plattsbecp - which program? Is there another thread on this? On programs? I am frustrated trying to find the person to help me. I need somebody with vision and design experience that, as somebody said above, will work with me & my dreams but also make suggestions. I’m not a designer. I know about 5% of what they know, but it is my vision and I know it needs help! For about the third time in my planning process I am back at wanting to find some good design software on my own. I’m actually willing to pay a decent price for it, especially if it adds to the ease-of-use. Anyone with suggestions?

  • plattsbecp
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    @ Danna Banick, First, we purchased Florida (our state) Building Code Manual which was a fountain of information. We also purchased the National Electrical Codebook which helped but the Florida Building Code really addressed most of the issues. The program 3D Design Software Sketchup https://www.sketchup.com/ is probably easier than the Visio we used but my husband has used Visio in the past and was able to multiple the drawings to meet our needs.

    You will need structural information for your layout. (door, hall, walkway widths) while drawing out the blueprint. Once our drawings were down on paper, we had three copies printed (blueprint format) at Office Depot and submitted to the county for approval. You will need to include detailed drawings of plumbing, electrical, structural, and in Fl- windage calculations. The detailed information is daunting but you can do it.

    In the end, we are so happy we took on the task of Owner, Builder, and Contractor because we were able to achieve our dream while managing all costs. The scope of our work included adding a new kitchen (450 square feet) which was under the existing roofline lanai. We also leveled several sunken rooms (formal dining and family rooms) while pouring concrete. We hired professionals where necessary and had county inspectors approve each step but the majority of the work was done ourselves.


    Best of luck to you.



    New Kitchen concrete pour




    Old lanai



  • Danna B
    2 months ago

    @plattsbecp Thank you! You folks rocked it! I definitely see myself that capable. My project is not as big as yours, though The code books are a great suggestion. I downloaded a basic version of sketchup, so I might continue down that path.

    I need to kick my project into high gear! Did you all use stock, semi-custom or custom cabinetry? Who did you land on? Thank you for all your thoughtful input!

  • T B
    2 months ago

    Needed a better contractor team fully committed to 100% quality and conscientious work, and more understandable costs.

    Started the 'talking stage' with a local general contractor who seemed to be a nice guy but over time revealed himself to be disorganized. He took 2-3 months (including him taking a couple vacations while we waited) just to get us an idea of total costs and to deliver a poorly written, incomplete 'contract' that was far from assuring. When we asked more questions he made it seem like he wasn't willing to wait much longer for us. Though we had wanted to go really local, it was clear our project was a bit too much for him to handle. Wish he had just been honest with himself and us from the start and told us it was too big of a job for him at the time, so we wouldn't have wasted his time or ours. Can only guess he was angling for the return - who isn't, but we felt so strung along, and I'm glad we escaped that likely nightmare.

    After that we decided to go with an 'all in one' remodeling company. We knew generally the work we wanted done, but this was still our first ever remodel. The first phases including initial consultations, contract meeting, design meetings, and communications went great. In retrospect, we should have been much more demanding/scrutinizing of the drawings and plans. Although the plans were decently done, it would've been better if every little dimension & detail were shown, rather than us assuming the designer would be on top of it all during construction. Same thing when we did the pre-construction walk through.

    It would've been really nice if the designer had been painstaking with helping us clarify - well before construction - all the little things that first time remodelers (homeowners) wouldn't think of to bring up. For example: expert advice/design for heights of vanity cabinets and sink depths that will work best for clients' needs; exact distances from the walls (or other obstacles) for toilets and free standing tub (makes a noticeable difference when a toilet is 14" off center from a vanity compared to a much more comfy 18"); exact positioning of electrical outlets especially in relation to mirrors; and heights of closet rods.

    When construction started it was as if the designer had passed everything to the foreman and did not plan to be involved much, if at all. We had thought that the foreman would be experienced and professional to work closely with the designer for all the little things like those previously mentioned. But it didn't turn out that way as the designer had 'checked out'. Because of that it felt like it was all on us to check that the construction was being done right. Thankfully we caught some major issues like correcting the master shower entry to be frameless glass (as planned) rather than a glass door between two half-walls, and correcting the sill of a new window in the bathroom to be set a height such that a bather could see a nice view rather than stare at a wall. Unfortunately we did not catch quickly enough the vanity cabinets not being installed at the correct, planned height which delayed construction by 3 weeks and some 'littler things' which are still kind of irritating in terms of function and layout.

    Some of the installation was a bit shoddy seeming. In addition to us having to request that they fix the heights of the vanities, the doors were put on a tiny bit askew and when we asked about it we were told they'd be adjusted during the 'final check through' but they were never fixed. The construction team apparently didn't have great experience with Corian countertops and managed to cause scratches on the surface that they should've taken care of (or discounted for us?) but didn't. We had to request that they fix a leaking sink three times because they kept doing something but not actually fixing it the first couple times. Communication regarding delays on subcontracted services was not good - we were notified of delays only because we happened to ask shortly before what we thought was the day of completion. We'd specifically planned that everything would be basically done before we moved in, but even after we did, two weeks after the date of completion, they were still working on 'final punch list' items and we still had to wait on an important installation that prevented us from using the master bath. A question: what's up with the client/homeowners having to make the 'punch lists'? Shouldn't the designer and/or the foreman be conscientious and professional to note all the things they need to check and/or fix?? I mean especially when spending good $$$ it would be nice to have quality work such that the clients don't feel like they're doing almost all the quality control. I also didn't know construction teams do not, or barely, clean up after themselves. I thought maybe there was a standard for them to leave things as good as our better than they were before.

    Overall, our project finished after 12 weeks rather than the planned 8 weeks. If I had to rate the experience with the remodeling company we worked with I'd give them a 7 or so out of 10 mostly because of the disappointments during construction/installation, and with value (quality for the cost). I'm sure they made $$ of of us, and I think they mostly tried well for us. Now we know to be more persnickety during the earliest stages, perhaps especially during the design and plan-producing stage, and to be very clear with the designer what their responsibilities are during the construction phase. We would want much greater involvement from the designer to work with his/her construction team so that we, the clients, aren't expected to make 'design calls' or do QC that we're paying them to help us with.

    Thanks for the rant space.

  • plattsbecp
    2 months ago

    @Danna B - I found a wonderful cabinet builder (Al) and his son have a small wood working shop and builds custom cabinets in addition to ordering the Ready to Install options. Somehow Al was able to crawl into my head, see my vision and gave me my dream. What a pleasure. He was not as expensive as the ready made with simi custom features, does everything out of 3/4 maple plywood and upgraded hardware. My advice is to take the time and research a custom cabinet maker, it is so worth it.

    We wanted an island with all draws, no upper cabinets- just a back wall filled with appliances and pull out pantries. I wanted slab drawer fronts - ( I hate the dust that collects in raised panel doors) and we used a formica finish made of recycled denim. Since my husband and I both enjoy cooking, we have two sinks and a large prep area. Al said it was not an island but a continent that he built for us. It's our own custom design and may not be to everyone's taste, but we love it.



    Lower cabinets are made of : recycled denim formica, love the texture and depth of color.



  • Danna B
    2 months ago

    Such good information. Thank you for your thorough comments!

  • Ivan I
    2 months ago

    @plattsbecp - THANK YOU so much for posting those pics! LOVE your idea of formica on the cab fronts. So creative. Had the cabinet maker ever applied that finish before? Also LOVE your choice of color - it’s not 1 solid color but more like a gradient. Please post more pics! Have you started a thread in the discussion forum? If yes could you post a link here.

  • plattsbecp
    2 months ago

    Laminated cabinets have been popular in Europe for years so I was not afraid to take the leap. Formica and Wilsonart (two of the laminate companies) have come a long way in technology and offer many colors and textures to select from. I have not posted a thread, but it's a good idea. I will need to get a few pictures together.