You many ask yourself; do I have to hire a licensed contractor for my home renovation? Well, technically you don’t… but we highly recommend that you do. I mean, would you try to perform an operation on yourself? No, of course you wouldn’t! Now maybe some home projects are less extreme and the crafty DIY’er can handle it, but when it comes to larger home remodeling or renovations, please leave it up to a professional! In this article we are going to tell you why it is important to hire a licensed contractor to handle your next home remodeling project. We will also dive into the actual preparation of the project, and worksite safety. All important pieces of the home remodeling puzzle.

So, before you start renovating your kitchen or finally installing that hot tub you’ve always wanted, take a moment to think about whom you will hire to do the work.

Some people prefer the lower-budget option of handling home repairs themselves or hiring unlicensed contractors, but when it comes to home maintenance, the cheapest routes are not always the safest routes. While both of these options can save dollars, they can also put homes and families at risk. Hiring a licensed contractor may cost you a bit more, but it is a long-term investment that will eventually save you time and trouble. Here are five reasons to consider working with a licensed contractor for your home construction and repair needs:

1. The license.

Licensed contractors have gained experience and knowledge through the proper training and legal processes. They obtain the appropriate licenses and permits from authorized government offices, after passing the licensure test.

2. Insurance.

Most licensed contractors will offer liability insurance to protect you, your family, and your home. Liability insurance is protection from personal and bodily injury and property damage that could occur during your renovation.

3. A licensed contractor ensures that all requirements by the city and federal government are met.

Licensed contractors have been trained to understand and meet all requirements set by the city council and federal government. They will schedule inspections to make sure your home meets every single quality requirement and passes all safety examinations. This can become very important when the time comes to sell your home. If you have had any major renovations completed, a potential buyer may ask if the required permits were completed for the project.

4. A licensed contractor ensures that every step of the home repair or renovation is followed systematically.

Seems obvious right, but not all contractors follow the steps necessary to complete a project safely and timely. Licensed contractors, however, follow a specific and systematic approach to their projects. They carefully plan out the process before starting work; they will prioritize open communication with the homeowner from day one until the day the project is completed. A licensed contractor will also ensure that there is a signed legal contract between the two of you: a form of security that only licensed contractors can offer.

5. Finally, a licensed contractor will ensure the project is completed, even when problems or obstacles arise.

And last, but not certainly least, licensed contractors will take responsibility if something goes wrong. Ignoring or running away from mistakes can result in the loss of their licensure. Trust licensed contractors to stay with you until your home renovation project is completed and you are satisfied!

We happen to know an amazing licensed contractor… ahem, US!

Understanding Why You Want to Remodel is Important to Your Project’s Success

Another benefit to hiring a licensed contractor for your next home renovation, is that we can help you with all your decisions along the way. It is important to know WHY you want to renovate. Asking yourself a few basic questions as you begin to plan your remodeling project will help you discover the real underlying reasons why you want to renovate your home. There are always motivating reasons that make  you to want to change your living space. Your remodeling contractor, like us- NJW… Columbus, Ohio remodeling contractors, will also need to understand the reasons why you want to remodel so that they can design the most functional and beautiful spaces just for you!

This self-reflection process is an important first step; your answers are important and will help you:

  • Focus on your vision and goals for the project
  • Help you communicate them clearly to your contracting team
  • Result in an enjoyable, no-stress remodeling process
  • Give you the beautiful new living space that perfectly suits you and your family’s needs

Here are a few questions to help you clarify the reasons why you want to remodel your home:

WHICH ROOM(S) ARE NO LONGER COMFORTABLE, UNDERUSED, OR DO NOT SUPPORT THE WAY YOU  WANT TO LIVE IN YOUR HOME?

Some examples might include:

  1. The kitchen is too small to allow two or more people to cook or gather comfortably. Or perhaps, you cook often and need upgraded appliances, more food prep area, and more storage space
  2. When family or guests are in the living room or dining room, they are separated from you (by a wall) while you are in the kitchen alone, preparing food
  3. The master bathroom feels cramped, the vanity is cluttered with products (not enough storage), you share one sink with your spouse, etc.
  4. You are embarrassed by the outdated look of the room(s) or the home in general

WHAT IS THE BUDGET THAT YOU ARE PREPARED TO SPEND?

This may be a difficult discussion, but it’s very important to be honest with yourself and realistic about expectations. Here’s why:

  1. Designing to your budget is key to the process and helps ensure that you get the beautiful project you desire within the total amount you plan on spending
  2. By being upfront about your budget, you actually help the Design Team maximize each dollar spent; their time and efforts on your behalf are focused on the highest quality materials at the best value

DO WE WANT TO STAY IN THIS HOME AS WE AGE? SHOULD WE REMODEL TO INCREASE SAFETY, MANEUVERABILITY, AND ACCESS?

Universal Design (or Aging-in-Place) incorporates elements into a remodel that can make your home safe, comfortable and accessible for years to come. Universal Design is for everyone, regardless of age and abilities, but is increasingly popular with aging populations who wish to remain and live independently in the home they love.

  1. As people age, they increasingly desire to remain in their homes for as long as possible. However, many times for the safety of an elderly parent there comes a need to move in with other family members.  Whether remaining in their home or preparing a home for the addition of an aging family member, using an aging in place design, offers comfort and functionality.
  2. Universal Design is not just for the aging. We know thoughts go straight to our senior citizens, but we are here to tell you that is not the case! Kid-safe areas in the kitchen, durable floors that are stroller (or wheelchair) friendly, and privacy solutions for teens are also Universal Design solutions that allow multi-generational living in one home.

We believe that understanding your own needs will help us deliver the perfect remodel!

Worksite Safety

Keeping Your Family Safe

Reason eleventy billion (very technical number) we believe it is important to hire a licensed contractor for your next home renovation is… Worksite Safety! At NJW, your Columbus Home Remodeling Company, we know that navigating a home remodeling project is an exercise in patience. Safety is one factor that can be overlooked. We never overlook safety, because it is of the utmost importance. Here’s how to keep your house safe for your family and construction crew while the project is underway.

Safety isn’t anything to take for granted. The list of accidents that happen at home building and remodeling sites can be frightening.

Keeping your family safe while your home is being remodeled involves two tactics:

  • Choosing a contractor with a strong record of safety and accountability (ahem…Us!)
  • Working closely with that contractor to ensure proper safety precautions are taken during the project.

Validate credentials

Most builders will hand you a few referrals from prior customers, but it’s smart to validate their claims independently. We recommend reviewing the code history of the last five projects completed by that contractor in your town. Don’t just take your neighbors word for it!

Look for evidence that the contractor gets projects approved by the local buildings department at each required stage, including the final sign off – the occupancy permit. Without the occupancy permit, the work is not officially finished, which can cause legal problems down the road.

Ask for a current copy of the contractor’s liability insurance. The policy should cover personal liability, property damage and worker’s compensation for both the general contractor and for all subcontractors.

Be sure to check with your own property insurance company to see what construction-related accidents are and aren’t covered in your existing policy. You might have to consider a rider that covers just the upcoming project. Once the project is complete, you should review your coverage with your insurance company to be sure it is still adequate.

Collaborate on safety

Once you’ve found a reliable contractor (ahem… Us! Are we trying too hard?), talk about safety early and often. Communication is key. We like to introduce expectations about living within a remodeling project early in the process.  We may pose questions like: how do you envision living in your home while this project is under construction? Do you plan to live on the premise during the renovation? Where will pets be permitted and restricted to? During working hours who will be on site? Questions such as these helps to initiate much needed safety conversations. Daily clean-up is another important part of keeping job sites safe. If tools are out of sight, there is less chance of little hands getting into trouble. Some equipment, however, simply cannot be put away and this is where daily communication between supervisor and homeowner is crucial to keep everyone involved safe. Professionals are familiar with navigating construction sites, but most families are not as versed in the possible dangers. Close collaboration about how and when to enter the work zone can ensure safety for all involved.

Remodeling is stressful at best. Coaching family members to respect the construction zone can be a positive strategy for coping with the daily chaos – and helps ensure that your contractors can translate your vision for your house into a reality. Contact us to see how we can make your space exactly how you envision it!

Top 5 Mistakes Made When Renovating Your Home

On the topic of home renovations, hiring the right licensed contractor can help you avoid making common mistakes! It is especially important and we can help you make less errors throughout the entire process.

Because we care about you and your home renovation, NJW, (your home remodeling company, Columbus, Ohio) has broken down the top 5 mistakes people make when remodeling their home. Check out this list and let us help you with your next remodeling project, to ensure none of these happen to you!

Buying Cheap Materials

A big mistake that people make when it comes to home renovations is that they try to be cheap when they buy materials. The bottom line is, you are going to get what you pay for. If you’re going to do it, do it. If you cannot afford to do it, wait.

Inaccurate Measurements

An inch or even sometimes a half an inch can make a substantial difference. If your dimensions are off and it is not equal and symmetrical; you’re not going to get the full impact and effect that you want. If you’re not sure about how to measure or you can’t follow the directions, don’t. Call somebody and ask them to come over and take the measurement for you.

Avoiding Permits

The bottom line is if you do perform work without a permit and something serious happens, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover it, why take that risk?

Hiring the Wrong Contractor

You need to make sure that the contractor is the right one for you, because they are going to be in your home. Be sure to interview contractors and check references! You must feel comfortable with who you are working with on a daily basis!

Setting an Unrealistic Budget

People often underestimate what it’s going to cost to do a big renovation, and part of that is because they don’t realize the biggest cost in a renovation usually is the labor, so plan ahead and set a realistic budget and goals. Sadly, the demolition process can be the big reveal you did not desire. As soon as you open up a wall, you never know what issues you are going to find, so you need to pad your budget, and you need to be realistic.

We are happy to help you plan out your project and budget accordingly, contact us to ensure your next home renovation goes smoothly!

How to Prepare for Intrusive Renovations

Once you have decided on a licensed, trustworthy, and talented contractor, how do you prepare yourself for the renovation? This is such an important topic, NJW, your Columbus, Ohio home remodeling experts, know how stressful renovations can be! We try our best to prepare you for what lies ahead AND help you through what can be a very stressful time! Preparation is key, if you do these few things before beginning a home renovation, you are sure to lessen the stress on everyone!

Entry Ways

Having separate entry ways for workers and family makes everything easier. It will reduce job interruptions and keep kids safe from walking though dangerous work conditions.

Relocate the Essentials 

For example, if you are renovating a kitchen, set up a temporary space both to cook and eat. This will make daily functions much simpler. Make sure cooking equipment, storage and prep items, food, and garbage bags are in an easy to reach location.

Designate Parking

We recommend parking cars wherever there is free access in and out during the day. It costs time for workers to continually move their cars during the workday.

Prep Other Rooms

The adjoining rooms will be affected by your project, as well. De-clutter these areas and remove fragile items. It will make things easier to clean, rearrange and protect against accidental damage during the renovation.

Change can be hard.  As home renovation experts, it is our job to ease that difficulty. We want your next renovation to be a smooth process!

Keep it or Toss it?

Sort through your existing cabinetry, closets, and other storage spots. One critical thought as you evaluate each item to be packed: will you want to unpack it again for use in your new space? If not, let it go.

Keep Dust and Debris at Bay

Our goal is to keep the dust and debris contained to the project area. But we all know how dust travels!

  • For added protection, keep interior doors closed and cover open doorways with plastic sheets and blue painter’s tape. Plastic “zip walls” are also a great way to contain dust, yet allow access to the project area when needed (these can be found at your local home improvement store).
  • Plastic sheets and runners on stairs (which stick to the existing carpet) are great “extra” protection. Remember, every time you go in and out of the work area, dust will be tracked back into the rest of the house.
  • Buy cheesecloth to wrap around vents and registers in all the rooms.
  • Lastly, change your furnace filters during and after the remodel.

Step Away

There are times during a renovation when it may be advisable to leave home for a few days. The refinishing of hardwood floors creates odors that most people find unpleasant. Painting can also change the air quality in the home, even if lower VOC paints are used.

Discuss the timing of these parts of the jobs to decide what would be best for your family. Most flooring contractors will work over the weekend to help accommodate the best times for the family to be displaced from their home.

Set Up Temporary Replacement

If renovations impact your kitchen, planning for a temporary kitchen will make a big difference in how easily your family functions on a daily basis. Setting up the dining room (remove the rug and add protective table pads), an extra folding table, and several plastic storage bins, will make mealtimes much easier. For example, consider setting up the following items in a convenient space:

  • Cooking equipment: Microwave, toaster oven, coffee pot, hot plate, medium saucepan, and electric griddle.
  • Storage and prep items: Refrigerator/freezer, can/bottle opener, vegetable peeler, two sharp knives, spatula, slotted spoon, ladle, colander, cutting board, microwave safe containers, potholders.
  • Serving and dining: One set of dishes/glasses and flatware per family member, three serving bowls, three serving spoons/forks, and paper goods like plates, small cereal bowls, cups, and utensils.
  • Keep it simple: pre-made meals for the microwave, breakfast items, snack foods, pasta, etc.
  • Clean up: trash bin, trash bags, dish soap, sponge, dishtowels, paper towels, broom, and dustpan. Consider what sink you will be using for cleanup.

Adults Only:

Although your kids might be interested in the construction, we advise that they not enter the project area without supervision, and never during the workday. The work area needs to be considered dangerous.

The noises, dust and new faces in your home are also likely to upset your pet. Please keep them away from the work area at all times for their protection, as well as, for the workers.

Remember, we want the process to go as smoothly as possible, this makes a better environment for both construction crew and homeowners. We will help you every step of the way, communication is key!

Things to know before getting your bathroom remodeled

Another benefit of hiring a licensed contractor to handle your home renovations is that we are familiar with all things involving bathrooms… including plumbing and the challenges that can sometimes arise! We remodel bathrooms of all shapes and sizes. So why not let us transform your bathroom space into a tranquil retreat where you can escape and unwind from the stresses of your day?

Build the bathroom of your dreams

We have assisted many homeowners in building the bathroom of their dreams. With the right mix of textiles, surfaces, and design elements, we can create a space that is just as unique as you are.

There are many crucial factors that go into a successful bathroom remodeling project. Unless you are a professional who does renovations every day (like us) or a homeowner who’s been through several remodeling projects in the past, all the nitty-gritty details, processes, options, and decisions, probably sound more like a foreign language. But that does not mean you shouldn’t prepare. Here are a few helpful tips to start the conversation.

Understand standard bathroom dimensions
Knowing a few key measurements, like the size of a typical bathtub and how much space is needed for a toilet, will help you plan your bathroom remodel more efficiently.

Splurge on a few high-end materials
Here is a little-known designer secret that is also a worthwhile investment: Since bathrooms are smaller spaces, splurging on a few higher-end materials and finishes can make it seem incredibly luxurious, and it won’t break the bank.

So, before you issue a mandate that you only want to use bargain basement materials, consider adding a special wall treatment, nicer flooring, or upgraded countertops. You might find that adding one or more of these materials to a small portion of your bathroom creates an overall feeling of extravagance that stays within your budget.

Think about converting your tub to a shower
If you have a bathtub but you do not take baths, that is a 5 ft. X 2 ½ ft. area that’s going to waste. Why not convert your tub into a shower? It is cost effective, makes use of the space that is already there, and you don’t have to reroute the plumbing. As a bonus, opting for a walk-in shower ensures it will accommodate your family long term.

Determine your bathroom renovation budget

Having a plan will reduce stress and help make the most of your money. First, be honest about how much you can spend. Do you have it in savings? Are you taking out a loan? Then, consider the increase in your home’s value with the new construction. Finally, allow for some wiggle room in case something unexpected comes up during the project. These three factors will help determine your final budget.

If, after you create your wish list, your budget needs a little trim, cut the extra luxuries that are not essential (like a towel warmer) that you can add later. With so many product and material choices available, there is sure to be items you like within your budget. We can help you make those decisions.

Check out some of our favorite bathroom renovation projects in our gallery!

Whether you dream about a serene, spa-like master bath with a huge soaking tub and steam shower, a guest bath that is bright, colorful, and welcoming, or a modern minimalist and masculine bath, we can design and build it.

With all the information that we presented; we feel the most important takeaway is the importance in hiring a licensed contractor. Not only for the quality of work, but the safety and familiarity of complex jobs as well. Contact us today to get started!