Are you looking to remodel your home but don’t know where to start? That’s ok! It is a complicated and often expensive topic, which is why it is smart for you to be conducting research into this process (no matter how big or small your project may be).
As a remodeling and design company that has spent over a decade remodeling homes for hundreds of families, we have been around the block a few times. We understand that remodeling your home can be an intimidating and confusing undertaking, especially if you don't know about your options.
We believe in educating as much as selling which is why we’re going to show you the topthree distinct options you can choose from for your home remodel or renovation. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. By reading this you will have a better understanding of the home remodeling process and know which option is best for you.
What are the top three remodeling options?
As a homeowner who wants to renovate, you have three ways that you can accomplish this goal.
Doing the design and Remodel work entirely by yourself without hiring outside help
Acting as your own General Contractor (hiring subcontractors to do the work for you)
Having a full-service design and remodeling company do the work for you
Option 1: Doing it Yourself
Do you have time you can dedicate outside of work and family obligations? Do you already have or have access to expensive tools? Can you lift heavy building materials and be on your feet for hours on end?
If you answered ‘YES’ to all of these questions, then doing it yourself might be a viable option for you!
Benefits of Doing it Yourself
Save the most money vs hiring an outside company to do the design or building work for you
You get to learn in detail about your home’s structure and how it is put together
Allows you to learn about the building and remodel process, which you can carry over to other projects
If you don’t have the tools already, getting the tools can be a long-term investment to use on future projects
You can set your schedule/project plan accurately based on your own time
You get a better understanding of the hardware store or lumberyard stock and what they carry (you might make a lot of trips there)
For many people, this option allows the homeowner to save the most money (which is often the determining factor. As the person purchasing the supplies and tools used for the project, you have complete control over your project’s budget and scope.
Whether you are re-doing an entire bathroom or kitchen, ripping up and replacing carpet with wood floors, painting walls, orreplacing an old and rotting deck, these are all things that can be done on your own, if you dedicate the time to learn how and to do the work properly.
Designing and remodeling your own home is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience! You will learn lessons (both good and bad) during this process that can also be applied to many other aspects of home improvement and maintenance. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it all yourself and can share that accomplishment with your family and friends.
Drawbacks of Option 1- DIY
You will have to spend lots of time researching and doing your remodel. Researching and doing the remodeling of your home may take up whatever time you have or will cut into the time dedicated to other areas of your life.
It is also on you to make sure you get the appropriate permitting (when applicable) as well as understand and apply the correct building codes in your area. You don’t want to start renovating, only to later find out you did it incorrectly and have to start over. This WILL cost you time and money.
Your remodel will progress at the same rate you do
As the sole person who is doing the remodel, it is up to you to get the project done in a timely manner. If you have obligations that take time away from your renovation, it only increases the time it takes to complete.
What is your time worth? Home remodeling projects require a huge time commitment.
When taking on this remodeling option, it’s important to factor in what your time is worth. Remodeling your own home is going to soak up many hours of your time outside of work and family obligations. Which begs the question, what is your time worth? And, do the monetary savings of doing it yourself not equal the time you invest in remodeling your home.
It will be physically demanding. Some elements, like living room flooring updates are not easy to install (depending on your material).
Depending on your the scope of work, you will have to lift and install heavy building materials and appliances. As well as lift and operate heavy tools (sometimes while on a ladder). While planning for your project, be aware of what specific actions you will need to take to complete the project, (standing for many hours, using tools in tight spaces, lifting very heavy building materials, and spending your free time doing these things)
Sticking to the budget is your responsibility
As the person solely responsible for purchasing and installing the applicable building materials, making sure you stick to your planned budget is up to you. This can be achieved by planning properly, sticking to a shopping list when going to the hardware store or lumberyard, measuring twice and cutting once, and minimizing mistakes.
If these drawbacks haven’t scared you away, this is still a viable option for you!
Option 2: Hiring Subcontractors (Acting as your own General Contractor)
If you want to tackle your renovation with more of a hybrid approach, where you handle the design and scheduling side of the project but let others do the physical work, then acting as your general contractor may be the right choice for you!
When acting as your own General Contractor, you find specific companies (such as a drywaller, electrician, plumber, etc.) who can achieve your design vision and will agree to take on your project.
For this option, you can also hire a separate designer to advise you about the remodel layout and make product selections (i.e. hardwood floors vs. luxury vinyl tile floors). This will make sure your design vision comes to life and will work in the given space.
Sometimes it helps to have a separate set of eyes look at your project in the design phase. After the designer helps with the layout and design, you then hire subcontractors and manage the project from there.
This option does cost more than doing it yourself, but it costs less than having a full-service remodeler handle the design and scheduling of construction for you.
Benefits of Being your own General Contractor
You have a larger influence over the project because you hire the subcontractors you would like to use (Using Subcontractors who are BBB accredited is a great starting point!)
You can save money on your overall project
Get a better understanding of the design and renovation processes and the order subcontractors must work in, meaning, defining the scope will be more straightforward
Projects will (hopefully) finish quicker and with more professional detail because skilled tradesmen do the work
You can pick and choose which jobs you subcontract out vs doing yourself. Painting is a perfect example of this! Saving you more money!
It's important to note that when using this as an option, it is on you to find subcontractors and coordinate them in the right order. For example, knowing to schedule drywallers before painting but after electricians and plumbers.
This is a great option if you want an active role in your home renovation but don’t want to do the heavy lifting, especially if you're installing countertops or larger light fixtures! If you are aware of building processes or are open to learning about them, have a keen eye for design, or don’t mind doing research into subcontractors, this is a great way to get a professional-looking product!
If you like the hands-on approach of this option without physically using your hands, then this option might be the one for you!
Drawbacks of Option 2 - Acting as your own General Contractor
Finding subcontractors may be difficult
Depending on your specific project, you will need to find specific subcontractors who can achieve your design vision and will agree to take it on at a fair price. As discussed earlier, using the Better Business Bureau in your area will aid in finding fair and friendly subcontractors
Coordinating the timelines of different subcontractors is your responsibility
The different subcontractors you hire have their own schedules and they are working on projects other than yours. You may find that their various dates & times don’t line up exactly with your plan. It is your responsibility to understand the appropriate order in which the building process has to take. And, to accurately time the subcontractors in the right order.
Similar to the DIY remodel option, you must factor in; what does your time cost to you? You will be spending many hours outside of work and family obligations scheduling, researching, designing, and working with subcontractors on your remodel.
Mistakes happen, and you will have to coordinate the fixes
Murphy’s Law has a tendency to enter any remodeling process. A mistake by one subcontractor can lead to scheduling issues for others until it gets fixed. You may find that subcontractors will have to come back another day to repair mistakes that throw existing timelines from other subcontractors into the air. It will be your job to spend time rescheduling with subcontractors (oftentimes, they are booked out weeks in advance)
Option 3: Hiring a Full-Service Design and Remodeling Company
The third and final option available is to hire a company that handles the design and remodeling of the home. This option requires you to bring your design vision to the remodeling company and allow team members to complete that vision. They handle the scheduling, work, purchasing of materials, and permitting (if required). ‘Concept-to-Completion’
Benefits of a Full-Service Designer and Remodeler
One of the major benefits of hiring a Design and Remodeling company is that they handle all of the hard work for you. They swing the hammers, schedule all of the work, get required permitting, and make sure you are 100% satisfied with your completed project.
In most cases, a designer will come to your home and work with you to create a virtual design of your completed project. Seeing what the design looks like helps the homeowner to set accurate project scope and budget.
The designer or design team will work within your set budget. Ensuring that the finishes you select for your project will leave you satisfied with the design and meet the budget (some companies are embracing energy efficiency in their design options).
A designer will also advise you about the design and layout requests you have in mind. Depending on the space you want to remodel, the exact design you want may not work. In these cases, the designer will provide alternatives that will work in the given space.
Once a budget, design, and timeline are agreed upon, the remodeler will begin construction! You will not have to swing one hammer or lift a single piece of wood once the construction begins. This is the biggest benefit of doing this option! The professionals handle the hard work; leaving you with the highest quality finished product!
Another often overlooked benefit of using a full-service designer and remodeler is that they are experts in project management. Understanding the logistics side of a building project ensures that work is done in the most efficient way possible. In many cases, they also offer warranties on workmanship.
Custom Built Design & Remodeling, for example, offers a lifetime warranty on workmanship. Reducing the construction timeline for you means you can return to your normal life as soon as possible.
Conducting research into remodeling companies is a great idea before choosing the right one for you! It’s important to find one that will work within your budget, does professional quality work, offers a warranty on their work, and will stick to a deadline.
As a homeowner, you should be able to trust the people who are drastically altering your life for a time during the renovation process. They are going to be in your home, potentially demolishing sections of your home, and making lasting changes to your home that will affect your family for years to come. This is why it is great that you are conducting research into this complicated topic!
Drawbacks of option 3 - A Full-Service Designer and Remodeler
Most expensive of the three options available
For most homeowners, their budget is a constraint of life that they are limited to during any home improvement project. Having a professional design and remodeling company do all of the hard work is going to cost the most. Unfortunately, this might be out of a homeowner’s budget depending on how much they are willing to spend on their specific project. Getting pricing estimatesfrom several remodeling companies is a great way to find one that might be within your budget!
Remodelers might not have the exact design elements you are looking for
Remodelers are just like any other business and are limited in what they can get from suppliers. You may find that the design element you want for your home is impossible to achieve. They may have alternatives that accomplish the same goal but are unable to get the exact design you are looking for.
Remodeler creates the construction timeline (You might not have the ability to influence the timeline)
While it is a great thing that the experts handle the logistical side of a construction project, it can feel like you are a passenger in the car with no access to the wheel. Finding a remodeler who hears and cares about your timeline expectations can help to give you some say in how the construction phase of a remodel is done.
You might have to be out of the house for lengths of time
For specific projects such as a kitchen or entire floor remodel, the remodeler will often tell you that it is best to make arrangements to stay elsewhere during periods. If you are going to be without kitchen appliances, or bathroom amenities for a few days due to the timeline, it may be best to stay elsewhere during the remodel. This can disrupt your family’s life but can be best for the remodel and the comfort of your family.
If the first two options are too much for you to handle, then this third option might be the one for you! To learn more, read about Custom Built's remodeling process.
Which remodeling option is right for you?
Now that you have a better sense of the options available to you, hopefully, you know which option you are leaning towards! Hone in on whichever option is best for you and continue to do research into that specific option.
For the DIY’er who loves to try new things, loves to learn complicated processes, and isn’t afraid to take on a challenge. Then doing your own home remodel might be the best remodeling option for you.
For those who want to play an active role in their home remodel, but don’t want to swing any hammers or climb any ladders, then acting as your general contractor is the perfect remodeling option for you.
If the first two aren’t possible or you would just like someone else to handle everything then reaching out to a full-service design and remodeling company is the right remodeling option for you.
Brian brings 20+ years of experience in the home remodeling industry to the table. He’s worked with families in all areas of whole home performance (science-backed solutions for home health, safety, comfort, and efficiency), residential renewable energy, conservation, foundation, and hydrostatic issues and solutions.