Small, Bite-Sized Pieces

If you’re tackling a major building or remodeling project for the first time, you probably feel a little bit overwhelmed.  To help make your project a little more manageable, you need to break it down into smaller, bite-sized pieces.  Here’s a list of the main phases of construction:

  • Plans & permits (Don’t forget to PLAN!)
  • Site Work (Make sure that your site keeps water away from your house…water is NOT your friend.)
  • Demolition (Doesn’t everyone love to tear things up? What a great job for your teenage boys!)
  • Excavation (Shovel, anyone?)
  • Concrete (Something I DREAD!)
  • Masonry (I’m not talking about the lodge, but bricks and stones.)
  • Framing – Floor, Walls and Roof (I’ll be covering ways that you can do this in an energy efficient way – and save a lot on your utility bills!)
  • Roofing & Gutters (Yes, gutters…they’re not just for looks.)
  • Exterior Siding (Wood, vinyl, fiber cement, etc.)
  • Exterior Trim (You can really dress up your house without spending a lot of $$)
  • Doors (More than meets the eye…do want your rooms to be accessible?)
  • Windows (Lots of options…some much more efficient and cost effective than others.)
  • Plumbing (Most major plumbing work is best left to licensed plumbers, but there are definitely ways to save money here.)
  • HVAC – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (I’ll talk quite a bit about how to choose an HVAC subcontractor – many don’t have a clue how to properly design and size a system.)
  • Electrical & Lighting (Another area that is best left to licensed individuals…having said that, I’ll be covering a lot that you can do yourself.)
  • Insulation (It’s not just fiberglass anymore…think FOAM.)
  • Drywall (The pros do it MUCH faster!)
  • Interior Trim Carpentry (You can DO IT!)
  • Cabinets (Custom or stock? Prefinished?)
  • Countertops (Granite or Laminate?  Don’t answer too quickly!  I’ll be covering some good money savers here!)
  • Floor Coverings (This has always been the most difficult decision for us to make.)
  • Tile (Floors, backsplashes, etc.)
  • Painting & Wallpaper (Learn to paint…buy quality painting tools.  Wallpaper?  NOOOOOOOOOOO!)
  • Cleanup
  • Landscaping (Remember the shovel I mentioned?  Don’t put it away!)

You might not be able to do everything on this list (yet), but almost anyone can clean up!  Even if you’re going to hire someone else to do part of the work, you can still save hundreds to thousands of dollars by doing the cleanup yourself.  If you’re remodeling, you might consider doing the demolition.  Obviously, the goal of this blog is to show you that, if you’re adventurous and willing to learn new things, you can do quite a few of these items.  Start with some small projects like painting, trim or tile, and your confidence grows, you’ll be jumping headlong into more advanced projects, and saving yourself a ton of money!  And, hopefully, having fun in the process!

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