In a perfect world, you would buy a house and it would have everything you need to make it feel like a home. However, the reality doesn’t always live up to that. Sometimes home buyers prioritize other factors like location, school districts, or even distance from work or local attractions. As a result, homeowners may find they have a home that might not fully meet their needs.

This is when a home remodeling project makes good sense. Whether replacing outdated designs or creating a space that reflects your aesthetic, there are plenty of reasons why homeowners opt to remodel either parts or all of their home. But not all remodeling contractors are created equal. So, knowing how to plan and prepare for a remodel, the right questions to ask, what to expect, and how to properly vet a contractor is critical to ensure that your project doesn’t go over budget and beyond the timeline.

Remodeling Basics

No matter what room or space in the house you want to remodel, it’s important to go into the project as an informed consumer. Good contractors will provide guidance. But if you know what you want visually, how that fits within your budget, and even how the new design will complement or improve your home’s functionality, you’ll be on solid footing for a positive outcome.

Don’t overlook the preparation required for a remodeling project. At a minimum, any space being remodeled needs to be completely empty for the contractors. But that also means the project space may be unusable during the remodel. This isn’t an issue for a spare bedroom, but it’s a major caveat for essential spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. Also don’t forget that any new project needs to meet current building codes and that you may need to secure permits before starting any renovations.

Here’s what to consider as you plan a remodeling project:

  • How does the new design improve functionality?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your aesthetic?
  • What structural concerns (if any) need to be evaluated?
  • Will this project meet local codes?
  • What is the timeline?

Planning a Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen renovations are some of the most popular home remodeling projects. And it makes sense — the kitchen is often the true heart of a home. Popular options include adopting open concept floor plans in older homes or creating a kitchen that’s intuitively functional for your needs.

If no one in your home really cooks, a purely aesthetic kitchen might make more sense rather than installing functional features like a pot filler. However, avid cooks may need a kitchen that’s intuitive with more storage such as built-in small appliances to free up counter space or even a butler’s pantry.

Be mindful of taking down walls to create open concept layouts. If they’re load bearing, or require electrical or plumbing be rerouted, this doesn’t just increase the scope of work, but the cost and timeline.

Aesthetic choices can also increase expenses. Choosing more ornate cabinet handles and fancier backsplash tiles make costs skyrocket. A good remodeling contractor can advise you on how to stay within your budget by presenting more affordable options that still give you the same desired effect.

Planning a Bathroom Remodel

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), bathroom remodels were the most popular remodeling project in 2023. In theory, the same general remodeling questions also apply to bathrooms. However, some caveats make bathroom projects different.

Don’t forget to think about accessibility. Most people think this only applies to the elderly or disabled, but everyone can benefit from this. Consider that there may be times in your life where you’re injured or pregnant and mobility might be limited. So creating a bathroom with walk-in tubs, or upgrading your shower to include a bench, make your home functional not just for your current situation but the future as well.

Storage is a big issue for most bathrooms. Opting for built-in niches in the shower or creating built-in wall cabinets give you more storage while decluttering the vanity and freeing up floor space. Don’t forget to consider the height of everyone using the bathroom. While you might not be interested in significantly changing sink or cabinet heights for growing kids, being mindful of the adults in your home is a good idea.

Consider luxe features like installing a bidet toilet (not just the washlet attachments), adding radiant heat tiles in the bathroom, or installing an anti-fog vanity mirror so you never have to fight the post-shower steam just to wash your face. Don’t forget to upgrade the vent so that it can effectively remove steam from the air, even when multiple people are showering back to back.

Finally, if your bathroom remodel includes rearranging existing toilets or showers, creating a new bathroom, or upgrading a half bath to a full bath, consider the existing plumbing along with the required budget and timeline to install new pipes. Also, no one wants to use a cramped bathroom. So, make sure there’s enough space when either expanding an existing bathroom or building a new one.

Planning Exterior Renovations

Exterior renovations refer to a wide range of projects. These usually include:

  • Roof replacement
  • Siding
  • Window and door installation
  • Gutters and downspouts
  • Landscaping or hardscaping
  • Installing exterior lighting
  • Patio and decks
  • Masonry or facades
  • Painting exterior surfaces
  • Insulation and energy efficiency upgrades

Projects like roofing, siding, window and door installation, gutters, insulation, and even painting are mainly maintenance projects. An old roof is more prone to leak, causing widespread damage to take hold in your house. Likewise, poor insulation, old siding and even crumbling masonry can translate to higher energy bills while old gutters that clog easily put your home at risk of water damage.

For exterior projects, along with the common remodeling questions, also ensure that any upgrades or changes made are compatible with the weather most common to the Annapolis region. Picking materials that aren’t rated for salt water exposure, heavy rains, or even intense wind only means that you’ll need to call another Annapolis remodeling company within the next year to replace prematurely damaged materials.

It’s always important to work with a knowledgeable and licensed contractor regardless of the project. But for structural renovations like roofing, insulation, windows and doors, and siding, you want someone reliable. For example, a poorly installed roof can encourage damage from unwanted pests and the weather — along with create an energy leak. So, make sure that not only the materials carry a warranty, but that the installer also offers a separate warranty to cover the installation.

Planning Interior Renovations

With an interior renovation, you’re back to looking at the same questions that apply to kitchen and bathroom remodels. Usually these types of projects might focus on a specific room such as the master bedroom, adding a walk-in closet, creating a home office, or even building a new addition such as a four season’s porch or an in-laws suite.

Always make sure that any structural changes you’re making meet local codes and that your contractor secures all the necessary permits before beginning the work. But don’t forget that any new additions should look seamless with the rest of the house. Be mindful of essential line items that might impact the budget — especially if you’re adding new additions that require new wiring or foundations to be poured.

Budget for Contingencies

No matter how large your budget, always have a contingency for the “what ifs” of remodeling. Contingency simply refers to a set aside portion of the budget that’s meant to be used in case of unexpected expenses.

Surprise discoveries like termites, old wiring that doesn’t meet code, crumbling foundation that needs to be replaced, or installing additional support beams to remove a load bearing wall are all examples of items that eat up a budget and shift timelines. Without a contingency in place, you may need to cut some project goals to reallocate money for critical fixes.

Always Work with a Trusted Contractor

Always look for a licensed and bonded contractor with extensive experience in the project you want to complete. JLG Builds is an Annapolis remodeling company that has been serving the region for over four decades and is not only an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, but is also a member of NAHB as well as the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).

All of our remodeling projects incorporate custom builds, so that your home has a one-of-a-kind creation. We don’t rely on stock materials but instead prefer to use custom made or specially selected products to meet your project goals. JLG Builds prides itself on meeting project timelines and exceeding client expectations.

Transparency and communication are core goals when our team members work with you, along with an attention to detail and providing a stress-free experience. This gives our customers peace of mind that they’re working with skilled experts that know how to help them realize the potential in their home while also respecting their needs and working within their budget. Whether you simply want to upgrade existing spaces or build a new addition to your home, let us help you turn that dream into a reality.