considering remodel - where to begin?
#11
  
Hi all,

I have a two-story colonial house where the "left half" is two-stories plus a basement, and the right half is a 2-car garage in front with a family room behind, it all on a slab (no 2nd story above the garage or family room just the attic)

My wife and I are beginning the process of thinking through just what it would take to build an addition above the family room and garage, essentially making the whole house 2-stories. Considerations as to "move or remodel" are a different conversation. 

I've never dealt with contractors, architects, builders etc and don't really know where to begin with the whole process of finding the right people and not getting screwed in the process. 

Looking to hear your thoughts, discussion, horror stories, questions to ask, things to think about, process to follow etc.. etc from those of you who have had successes and failures with remodeling your homes in the past. 

thanks!
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#12
  Re: considering remodel - where to begin? by mound (Hi all, I have a ...)
Recommendations from satisfied customers-----but go see the work. Don't accept written info---too easy to fake.

Companies that have been in business longer are more liable to do good work.

Kinda iffy on companies that have everything inhouse---design/architect/construction. Some are good, others not so much. That option can cost less, however. And is an asset when the different trades work well together. It is VERY important to find a company you can work with and that has folks you like. And, doing little things for a work crew(coffee/donuts/etc.) usually help. A nice gift for the other involved folks(architect/etc) also is a nice touch---makes future dealings nicer.

Trying to live in the house during construction is usually not a good idea. Too invasive for you, too much trouble for the crew(s).

Consider the different finish options. Addition dried in(roof/exterior finished,electrical/plumbing finished and you do drywall /paint/flooring/decorate. Addition finished, you paint/decorate. Entire job done, you admire.

Try to envision how the space will be used and plan for extras early. Extra electrical/plumbing/windows, built ins, features. The fewer changes made during actual construction, the smoother the job goes.

Plan for delays. They are gonna happen. In today's OnDemand supply system, shortages happen often. An active hurricane season can cause material shortages. Transportation can add time. Might  have a natural occurrence(extra rain/wind/etc). Delays are a given anymore. As are cost increases. Price of lumber can change daily. Trying to buy all the material before starting is a good idea---IF there is storage space---not usual. And paying storage can sometimes be more expensive.
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#13
  Re: considering remodel - where to begin? by mound (Hi all, I have a ...)
I have seen where some contractors specialize in converting ranch sty houses to colonial style by adding a second floor.

No doubt there are some in your area.

Electrical, heating and A/C are the easy parts.... plumbing for an added bath, not so much because of the waste piping.

So, when you design your new addition, design around where best to situate the drain piping.

Have you got a floor plan of the existing?


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#14
  Re: RE: considering remodel - where to begin? by barnowl (I have seen where so...)
(06-01-2020, 12:42 PM)barnowl Wrote: I have seen where some contractors specialize in converting ranch sty houses to colonial style by adding a second floor.

No doubt there are some in your area.

Electrical, heating and A/C are the easy parts.... plumbing for an added bath, not so much because of the waste piping.

So, when you design your new addition, design around where best to situate the drain piping.

Have you got a floor plan of the existing?

Thanks guys..  
I'd have to dig up a floor plan.. if anything the new master would be directly adjacent to the existing upstairs bathroom, which would help in so far as waste piping.
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#15
  Re: considering remodel - where to begin? by mound (Hi all, I have a ...)
What I can tell you is that one of my neighbors added a floor and it is an elegant design.  It looks "right".  You would never know it was a remodel.

Another neighbor added a floor above the main (raised ranch).  When I ride by I always think, "That used to be a  raised ranch."

A good architect will draw an attractive design.  It probably adds a few thousand to the cost, but in the long run it seems better than letting the contractor come up with his own design (which he would then have to have drawn by an architect to file to the town for the addition.).

So my seat of the pants suggestion is to go to an architect, get the drawings made.  Then shop the design around to contractors.  They will all be bidding on the same design. 

But don't skip the references for the contractors.  Get recent references; references from a couple of years ago and references from 5 to 7 years ago.  If there are problems with the work they might not show up until some time has gone by.

Note:  These are just observations by me.  I have not had this type of work done.
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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#16
  Re: RE: considering remodel - where to begin? by Cooler (What I can tell you ...)
(06-01-2020, 02:34 PM)Cooler Wrote: A good architect will draw an attractive design.  It probably adds a few thousand to the cost, but in the long run it seems better than letting the contractor come up with his own design (which he would then have to have drawn by an architect to file to the town for the addition.).

Does the architect draw/design the outside look only? or the details of how things are constructed and laid out inside?  Granted this should be a pretty simple design, basically going from the house in the top of this pic to the one in the bottom, exception being the top (mine) has a 2-car garage.


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#17
  Re: considering remodel - where to begin? by mound (Hi all, I have a ...)
A friend and his wife bought a large farm (he's a big time farmer), told the contractor what they wanted to do with remodeling the house..... contractor swatted it and built new.

Ed
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#18
  Re: considering remodel - where to begin? by mound (Hi all, I have a ...)
(06-01-2020, 05:52 PM)mound Wrote: Does the architect draw/design the outside look only? or the details of how things are constructed and laid out inside?  Granted this should be a pretty simple design, basically going from the house in the top of this pic to the one in the bottom, exception being the top (mine) has a 2-car garage.

A good architect will design the exterior and layout the interior including the construction detailing. For extra, we will pick colors, furniture, etc. (interior design) but generally that is not needed.
Review their previous designs, especially additions and their experience. Ask to see a sample set of their drawings. A good architect will have several drawings per set, a cheap one will have the elevations and a plan only, meaning the contractor will be design/building mostly.

Ask the architect for a couple quick design sketches for the exterior and that will help you all choose one that looks best. The architect may also have some contractor references whom they work with and know will do the construction correctly. As others have mentioned, you can also shop the drawings around and get competitive bids from contractors. But this way at least you know they are all pricing the same thing and you will know what to expect.

I am not sure of your location, but if you have other questions; feel free to reach out to me. I have been designing buildings for 20+ years now, which is still strange to me.

Jimmy
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#19
  Re: considering remodel - where to begin? by mound (Hi all, I have a ...)
All of the above. Important that you have specifications or material cost allowances for pricing/bidding. Be certain there is a completion date, or at least time frame for construction, and make sure the contractor sticks with/to it. Your contract should have a changed conditions clause, whereby the contractor must notify you right away of potential changes to the contract value. Contractor and subs must all have insurance, run the requirements past your own insurance company to make sure it is adequate.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst...
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#20
  Re: RE: considering remodel - where to begin? by mound ([quote='Cooler' pid=...)
(06-01-2020, 05:52 PM)mound Wrote: Does the architect draw/design the outside look only? or the details of how things are constructed and laid out inside?  Granted this should be a pretty simple design, basically going from the house in the top of this pic to the one in the bottom, exception being the top (mine) has a 2-car garage.
Both images look like remodels to me.  It looks like a second floor was initially added to part of the house and then the second floor was added to the rest of the house.  

I saw lots of these remodels in Levittown NY.  All the houses were built identically. 

Here is what an original Levitt home looked like (in pristine condition here):



And this is an artless remodel.  It looks like a box with a roof and some holes in the sides.  I'm sure it added a lot of interior space, but plug ugly to me.  (Also in apparently pristine condition.)

No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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