Remodeling and home improvement in general have gotten a lot of media attention lately. There are even entire networks dedicated to this great American past time.
But with all the attention comes a fair amount of misinformation and bad ideas.
How can we seperate fact from fiction, good ideas from not-so-good ideas?
The best source for the real story on your particular issue, question, or project idea is your local remodeling professional.
A professional contractor will have experience, knowledge and a customer service attitude.
He or she will have the appropriate license(s) and insurance and will most likely belong to a recognized organization that provides education and resources to their members.
Even if you are attempting to complete some home improvements yourself, it's a good idea to check in with a local professional for tips and ideas.
The remodeling industry is constantly changing.
Two recent, comprehensive trends are:
1) Sustainability, otherwise known as "green" building. The general idea is to reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption by using appropriate methods and materials.
2) Universal design. This idea has many names (like accessible design or aging-in-place) which all support the idea that a home can be more user friendly to a wider audience regardless of age, illness or other challenge. A professional remodeling contractor will have the education and experience to help you navigate these ideas as they apply to your specific project.
The very latest issue in our industry affecting homes built before 1978 is the new Environmental Protection Agency regulation regarding lead paint repair and removal which has major restrictions on the conditions and methods for removing materials containing lead.
Again, your local professional will have the credentials to address this properly.
We've all heard too many negative stories of remodeling projects and the list of causes is fairly short.
One of the top reasons that a remodeling project turns ugly is that the homeowner tried to do it and was in over their head OR they hired a contractor who was not a professional.
In both cases the reason may have been to save money but in the end, when things are made right, it usually costs more than if the project had been properly planned and executed from the beginning.
Planning your project is a subject for another post, but for now just remember to find and talk to your local professional contractor.
Happy Home Improving to you!