WHAT FEATURES SHOULD I PLAN TO INVEST IN THE MOST FOR MY NEW BATH?
Depending on your style and taste, the floor and wall tiles can be the most expensive only because they cover so much area. The shower glass can be costly, depending on the configuration of the shower. Other possibly considerable expenses are the fixtures, including your sink(s), faucet(s), and toilet. In addition, the shower system is a major consideration, should you want to add a ‘Spa’ environment.
If you want a luxury shower experience, your current water tank capacity should be evaluated to make sure that your system can accommodate the water demands of multiple shower heads and jets.
As an aside: The most important, but not the most expensive feature, is the ventilation process and method used to take the moisture out of the bath
WHAT TRENDS ARE TAKING PLACE IN BATHROOM REMODELING?
The ‘Spa’ Experience is highly requested and luxury fixtures are plentiful in the marketplace. Your designer can help navigate through the plumbing and construction issues and the many products that will fit within your project budget to make your bath the ‘chamber of ultimate comfort’.
These trends include the following:
- Luxury showers in lieu of bathtubs
- Seamless glass or tile walk in euro-style, oversized showers with zero threshold designs, low profile linear drains, and some even without doors (perfect for ADA requirements)
- Shower systems, including digital shower controls, double shower heads, jets and rainshower heads, in addition to a handheld shower (perfect for cleaning the shower)
- Steam showers and saunas
- Towel warmers
- TV in bath mirrors and iPhone or smartphone dock
- Radiant heated floors
- Larger tiles with fewer grout lines
- Expanded selection of porcelain, faux wood, linen and uniquely textured looks
- Wood-toned finishes for cabinetry
- Eco-friendly water saving fixtures
- Tankless water heaters for on-demand hot water
- Luxury fixtures
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REMODEL A BATHROOM?
The scope of the bathroom remodeling dictates how long the project will take. For example, if you are relocating your fixtures and reconfiguring the layout of the room, the actual construction will obviously take a little bit longer. Generally, a small bath remodel should take about 5-6 weeks, a larger full-scale remodel, about 8 weeks.
WHY DO I NEED A BATH DESIGNER TO PLAN MY BATH RENOVATION?
An Encore bathroom designer is equipped with the knowledge and training to design your bathroom so that the plumbing, heating and electrical system work in conjunction with each other in a relatively small confined space. There are many guidelines, aspects and restrictions that set the standard for the industry that should be adhered to so as to comply with local and national building codes.
WHAT TYPE OF RETURN ON INVESTMENT CAN I EXPECT FROM REMODELING MY KITCHEN IF I SELL MY HOME?
While the United States in an economic recession and the housing market is in turmoil, spending money on a kitchen remodel might seem scary. Yet while home prices have declined, a kitchen remodel continues to add value to your home, depending on where you live and how you spend your dollars. According to the 2011-12 Cost vs. Value Report conducted by Remodeling Magazine, kitchen remodels rank just after entry door replacement and attic bedroom remodels in return on investment. The average ROI in New England is about 72% for minor kitchen remodels and about 66% for major remodels. This number represents what you can recoup selling your home within one year. Living in your home and amortizing the remodeling cost over a longer period of time (5 years or more) virtually guarantees a 100% ROI. Remodeling your kitchen is a great value in the much sought out Cape Cod area and Boston suburbs.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO SPEND AND WHAT FEATURES WILL I SPEND MORE OF MY MONEY ON?
You should expect to spend, on average, 8% to 12% of your home’s value on your kitchen remodel, not including appliances. From a functional standpoint, cabinetry is probably the most expensive item in the kitchen, mainly because of its sheer volume, and the installation of such. (An expensive kitchen can look awful, if not installed properly). Cabinet costs are followed by appliances, countertops, and flooring. What you don’t want to forget are the little things that add up, such as plumbing, electrical, plaster, paint, tile, etc. This is where your designer will help to guide you through the process of choosing your selections such that your money is spent wisely.
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL WORKFLOW FOR A KITCHEN RENOVATION?
Below is a list of what is typical, and why the work is so detailed. Our ‘Builder Trend’ program allows you to follow along online, to see what’s happening, and when, throughout your remodeling project.
- Create design
- Select materials
- Order materials
- Deliver materials
- Sub floor preparation
- Flooring installation
- Wall preparation
- Priming and painting
- Cabinet installation
- Locating appliances
- Countertop template
- Countertop fabrication
- Countertop installation
- Sink and faucet installation
- Appliance installation
- Backsplash installation
- Light fixture installation
- Accessories installation
- Door hardware installation
- Final coat of paint
- Touch up items
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR MY KITCHEN RENOVATION?
You can start by establishing a good idea for the type of look and style you desire. Flip through the many kitchen and ‘shelter’ magazines and websites to get some design ideas. You will probably find that you are drawn to similar finishes and aesthetics. Then, contact us for a kitchen design consultation. We’ll spend a lot of time determining what ‘works’, and what doesn’t for you and your family’s lifestyle. We will transition you through all steps of the process, with noticeable milestones marking all of your decisions to help make the project less overwhelming. Each project will be assigned a certified Project Manager-who will run the day to day operations of your remodel. Generally speaking, before construction begins, you’ll want to clear out the area being worked on of all your personal belongings and we will help set up a ‘temporary kitchen’ for the family’s use.
HOW LONG DOES A KITCHEN REMODELING PROJECT TYPICALLY TAKE FROM START TO FINISH?
To be frank, “it depends.” The scope of a kitchen remodeling project dictates how long the project will take. For example, if you are removing a wall or two to expand into adjoining areas, or bumping out a few feet to open up the kitchen—both of which are very common trends now—the actual construction will obviously take a little bit longer.
Here’s a sample timeline, for illustration purposes only, of a kitchen remodeling project that does not include removing or adding walls (overlapping times may apply):
Meet with a Kitchen Designer for a Design Consultation and get proposal – 2 weeks.
Meet at our Cape Cod or Greater Boston showroom, finalize the scope of the project and the terms of a Remodeling Agreement – 2 to 3 weeks.
Select all the materials for the project – 1 to 4 weeks.
Building permit applied for and approved – 1 to 3 weeks.
Materials are ordered and delivered – 6 to 8 weeks.
Demolition and removal of old materials and appliances – 1 week
Installation of new materials and appliances, flooring, plumbing, electrical work and painting – 4 to 5 weeks
Finishing touches and clean up – 1 to 2 weeks.
WHAT ARE YOUR PAYMENT POLICIES?
We require an initial deposit with the signing of the agreement. All subsequent payments are tied into either a required town inspection (such as a foundation inspection) or the start or completion of a project phase (like the start of interior painting). This lets you know that all of the work is being done to code and that the payments tie into the construction schedule.
HOW CAN I BE CONFIDENT THAT YOUR SUB-CONTRACTORS ADHERE TO HIGH STANDARDS IF THEY ARE NOT EMPLOYED BY YOU?
Encore’s reputation depends upon quality sub-contractors. Every sub-contractor is properly insured and is familiar with town building codes. Most important, we work with sub-contractors who can meet our standards for quality and customer service. Sub-contractors report directly to the project manager on the job every day, and we review the quality of all workmanship through detailed inspection reports.
DO I NEED TO GET BUILDING PERMITS?
While local requirements vary, Massachusetts projects that involve new construction and/or substantial electrical, mechanical and plumbing work will require a permit. Encore will obtain all necessary permits.
WHAT IF I WANT TO MAKE CHANGES OR ADD TO THE SCOPE OF MY PROJECT ONCE CONSTRUCTION BEGINS?
Many people decide to move forward with other remodeling projects once walls are opened up and workmen are in the house. That’s great, as long as you keep in mind that your changes will add to the project scope and will affect budgets and construction schedules.
THE SCHEDULE FOR THIS PROJECT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. HOW DO I KNOW IT WILL BE ACCURATE?
The contractor should be very clear about the projected schedule. The schedule should be in writing and outline clearly in layman’s language the tasks with related start and completion dates for every phase of the project.
Again, this becomes a trust relationship and a company that is willing to continue to be transparent about the schedule throughout the process is usually confident about meeting it.
Encore posts the schedule weekly on the web site along with the project photos from the previous week.
WHAT IS DESIGN/BUILD AND WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES VERSUS USING AN ARCHITECT?
Design/Build brings design and contracting services together in a single, integrated process. The designer brings conceptual ideas to the table, while the contractor can simultaneously provide input about the costs of implementing designs. This consolidated process eliminates the chance that you could complete the design process with plans that have significant construction or budget issues. With everyone working as a team at the outset, there are no surprises.
HOW DO I ENSURE THAT THE BASE PRICE FROM THE BUILDER IS “REAL” AND NOT JUST A WAY TO GET THE CONTRACT AND THEN USE CHANGE ORDERS THAT DRAMATICALLY INCREASES THE TOTAL PROJECT COST IN THE END?
This is a subjective process where trust and rapport become important between the owner and the contractor. It is also valuable to check references to see what other people’s experience have been with the contractor.
This concern is also alleviated in the Design/Build process as there are several places where the contractor is matching the designed scope to the cost of construction and this is represented to the owner in the preliminary and final construction agreements. The end result then is that change orders that happen after the start of the job are a result of a change in scope by the owner or something totally unforeseen by all parties.
SHOULD I GET MULTIPLE BIDS FOR MY PROJECT AND, IF SO, HOW MANY MAKE SENSE?
That answer is totally up to you. Some of our clients only asked for a bid from us, and others request two or three bids. Just keep in mind that often quotes are not easily comparable because contractors bundle things differently. For example, windows might be included with sidewall framing with one contractor while another contractor shows the windows separately.
Encore provide very detailed proposals that make it easy for you to see the respective items and the process for the construction sol
HOW CAN I COMPARE PROPOSALS THAT BREAK OUT PROJECTS DIFFERENTLY?
The simple answer is that you can’t. It is important that you are comparing estimates with the same scope of work and level of detail. If necessary, request clarification in writing so that you know that you are working with comparable proposals. If you are unable to get written clarification, it may be a warning sign that the remodeling contractor is hiding some expenses in order to deliver a lower bid.
WHAT INFORMATION DO YOU NEED BEFORE YOU DEVELOP A PROPOSAL?
You should have a clear sense of your needs and what you do and do not like about your existing space. Although it can be difficult to talk about budget, you should know the range that you are willing to spend on your project. Finally, it is very helpful if you accumulate clippings or an online file of images that help us get a sense of your tastes and preferences.