Home Remodeling Houston – A Home Remodelers Definitive Guide

Houston Home Remodel | Remodeling Home | Remodel a Home | House Remodelers

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Planning and executing a major home remodel project is extremely time consuming and expensive. Remodeling homes requires preparing and assembling remodeling ideas, creating a remodeling design, selecting a home remodeler and performing the house remodel, just to mention the milestone events.

There are many interconnective activities that require the owner’s attention before and during house remodeling project. The good news is you are in luck; you have landed on a comprehensive step by step guide to take you through the process of remodeling ideas.


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Planning & Preparing for a Major Houston Home Remodel

Home remodeling can be a rewarding and wonderful experience if patiently and carefully planned. I know what you are thinking, is this guy crazy?

Having my home completely destroyed is wonderful and rewarding!!!

My wife has told me that a home remodel is much like elective surgery. If meticulously planned and prepared for, the end justifies the means. The quality of life resulting from a well-planned full home remodel is a greater reward then the short sacrifice to get there.

You are not alone the home remodeling industry is huge and represents a significant portion of the GNP. Remodeling homes is a deep and layered industry with many driving forces.

Preparing & planning a Houston home remodel is a complex process and can become overwhelming. This content was developed as a comprehensive guide to assist homeowners in emotionally preparing themselves and their expectations for any Houston home remodel process. 

A Houston home remodel, kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel all follow the same procedural process. In addition, we have organized this information in the required process steps to ensure an effective planning process for homeowners to follow.

If you are searching for resources for guidance with your Houston home remodeling, this suggests you have a need and desire to improve your family’s lifestyle. Yes, I did say lifestyle. Your home reflects your taste and desires of the lifestyle of your family, your friends and most of all to yourself.

It is where your family gathers for holidays and where you entertain your valued friends. So, by the mere fact that you are looking for home remodel planning insights implies that you are motivated.

You have evaluated your surroundings and have determined that it is time for some changes to your house. There is further discussion following the attached link, home remodeling ideas.

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Preparing a Wish List

You should begin by identifying the areas of your house that you would like to repair, update or completely change. Take some time to develop a complete wish list of rooms and areas of the house that are in need of some level of restoration.

This is the time to allow yourself to dream and image what your home could look like without qualifying limitations. Just imagine if there were no restrictions like money or interruptions of your day-to-day life with workers, dust and the other realities that come with a major home remodeling. Let your visualizations and imagination soak in and sleep on these ideas.

After your visit to Fantasy Island, it’s time to prioritize your wish list. This should be done by focusing on the emotional value you have placed on these mental pictures, not by financial limitations or other practical reasoning decision making tools at this stage.

There will be time for this later. The significance in prioritizing your wish list is that you are allowing your emotions and creativity to lead this process.

The significance of this procedure is that it will assist you in clarifying what is important to you. When you are required to start eliminating ideas through reasoning and justification while preparing your preliminary budget, your important priorities don’t get dismissed easily.

We at Marwood Construction also like to look at the wish list as a menu. Your immediate budget may not be practical for a specific item or area of the house during a specific custom home remodeling phase, phase, but by focusing on the big picture we can plan and build in the infrastructure for future remodeling home projects or even do it yourself projects.

This provides you the advantages of responsible financial planning, while avoiding disrupting recently remodeled work to accommodate access for future project needs, like light switches, underground conduit and flooring material pattern breaks.

This is why we always recommend looking at your home wish list globally. Preparing for a home remodeling Houston project takes a lot of work as explained in the following link, home remodeling.

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Collecting Design & Product Ideas

This is our client’s favorite part of the renovation process. If they could only find the photo image of the room they wanted and snap their fingers! Well, it not quite that easy, but it’s still enjoyable for them.

Collecting remodeling design ideas and photo images of products and well-designed spaces is critical for conveying your home remodeling ideas and dreams to your team of professional advisers and collaborators. In our era of the internet, it has never been easier for a homeowner to access good design and product ideas.

Unlike the past, you are no longer restricted to books and magazines, you can visit web sites such as Houzz.com, Pinterest.com, Home-designing.com, Venanda.com, ect. These resources will provide you with design, product, color and fashion ideas that will have your imagination racing with possibilities for house remodeling.

Why is this important you ask? A picture is worth thousand words. Most homeowners’ biggest complaint is that their design team or sometimes just the contractor, did not listen to their ideas and needs.

While this is often a valid issue, the homeowner is far better off working from a specific reference point those photographs offer. Photo images provide a working canvas allowing your decorator, designer and contractor to actually see the intricate detail associated with your vision.

This also stimulates open discussion about the purpose of use and functionality of your ideas. This method will also provide you a good indication of communication and the future working relationship with your adviser.

In all your collaborating parties will work more efficiently and produce a more detailed design plan. The results will save you money and a great deal of frustration during the entire remodel home process.

Your Houston remodeler should provide the owner with a prioritized and itemized list of all required products to be selected and the time range that they are expected, so not to impede the progress of remodeling home.
The products that are not selected during design will become allowance items in the construction budget. Learn more about what you should know about builder allowances.

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Allowing Enough Time for Preparing and Planning

This is a topic that causes our clients the largest amount of heartburn. If they have never undertaken a major home remodeling Houston project before, they will undoubtedly underestimate the required time line from wish list to completion of their project.

By underestimating your time requirements, the homeowner welcomes a significant amount of unwarranted stress into their lives. This results in either higher cost or sometime postponements, which in turn generates ill will for all concerned as a rule of thumb, a homeowner should allow 2-3 times the amount of time required to actual complete construction of the project.

If you do not know how long the construction side of remodeling home project will take, start with looking at a calendar and determining when you would like the physical work to actually take place, such as when kids are out of school or having your home in top shape for a holiday season.

Work backwards making note that this will be a time-consuming process, blocking out seasonal down time, vacation time and high demand times of in your life. You can never over plan and never start the process too early. Just ask someone you know, the better the planning, most often the better the outcome.

The pre- planning phase of the home remodeling Houston process provides the guidelines for serving the owners interest in matters of design, construction cost, schedule and quality expectations.
By the owner providing very defined direction and a decisive ability to make decisions is a formula for a successful design process. For more information on this topic visit Houston home remodeling.

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Developing a Remodeling Investment Budget

A critical step in the home remodel journey is preparing a realistic construction budget. We like to refer to this as the investment budget. This is a line-by-line cost schedule of relevant cost items that you are expecting to occur as home remodeling cost. This budget will allow you to prepare and plan for the financial matters of your house remodel project.

This is not a task that requires you to get sheet rock prices or square foot unit pricing, although that will assist you greatly. Remodeling contracting is a process of looking at key product components such as cabinets or plumbing fixtures or appliances and once again determining what is most important to you. Evaluating the cost / value relationship is the process that owners need to go through in making the tough decisions.

These products are what drives a $25,000 kitchen remodel to $50,000 or even $100,000. Will it be porcelain tops solid surface or Viking Appliances over Thermador? It is the product selection that drives the product allowances and overall investment budget.

After you have determined your preferred products for your wish list areas, you can evaluate your remodel expenditures requirements easily with a plus or minus 20% contingency factor. This will provide you what is called a “Cost of Magnitude” for the entire wish list.

Now you can start studying your wish list priorities and considering the financial impact of your global list budget plan. This is often where homeowners choose a kitchen over a bathroom remodel or an outdoor living area over a swimming pool.

They fully understand that if their finances do not allow them the luxury of the entire wish list at one time, they can plan various remodeling phases over a period of time.

What’s important at this stage is that you are now better prepared to start your research for the design and home remodeling team. There are some general rules of thumb to use when targeting an investment budget.

A major kitchen remodeling project should range from 12% – 17% of the value of the home. A major bathroom remodeling project cost will range 8% – 12% of the home’s value.

Major whole home remodeling is harder to estimate as a percentage of the value of the home due to the complexities of structural & MEP changes.

One thing is certain that drives the demand for home remodeling Houston. Remodeling homes requires a smaller investment then building a new home.
To learn more about how comparing house remodel to building a new home follow this link; Build New Home or Renovate – Houston Luxury Home Land Values

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Decorator / Designer / Architect / Remodeler

Home owners have many options for developing a remodel home design. They can directly hire one of four professionals or they hire a design team for a collaborative approach.

A collaborative design team approach is hiring home remodel contractor to be responsible for both design and construction providing the owner with one person fully accountable.

This process is also known as Design Build. To learn more about this approach visit Design Build

For smaller house remodeling projects an owner may feel more comfortable with the design services of one of four professionals. We will discuss the appropriate professional and their services offered to the general public.

Finding the right person or team of professionals is a question that only an owner can answer for themselves. Financial logic suggests that smaller projects warrant a smaller team. Researching and vetting a short list of professionals is what is essential in hiring the right professional for you.

Decorators are great with furniture, fabrics and color. This is what they do. If this is a skill set that you do not possess, and then having a Decorator as part of your team could provide some stunning results. The size of the home remodel will determine what and how much of role the Decorator will play in the overall project.

Designers are great for homeowners that are having issues with space and finished products. Designers are very useful in providing as built drawings of existing floor plans and drawing up plans for taking bids. Most good designers will introduce you to new products and trending design ideas.

We have found that most designers are not the most appropriate professional for when you remodel the house that will affect the structure. Most designers are not required to be licensed, but are a good fit for developing plans for smaller projects with a quick turnaround.

Architects are licensed professionals who not only offer design guidance but will process the training and ability to determine the impact of home modifications on the overall structure of the home. They are well suited for an entire house remodel that requires adjustments to foundations and roof lines or the moving of load bearing walls to create open space areas.

Houston remodelers are not required to be licensed in Texas, but are in many states. A good home remodeler is a professional general contractor, which will provide a homeowner all the required services (one stop shopping) needed for a project of any size. That is because they are required for most house remodeling projects to apply for a building permit and required to meet compliance inspections by the local municipality.

One of the requirements for most significant projects is to provide detail drawings with the application for the building permit. The greatest advantage for a homeowner for using a Houston remodeler is that the home remodeler is fully responsible and accountable for both design and construction.

This serves as an effective solution to homeowners getting caught in the middle of disputes between uncooperative professional advisers or professionals determining who is responsible for design errors.

Selecting a Houston remodeler makes sense for an owner when the project involves multiple skilled trades and some degree of complexity to the project. There are different types of home remodeling contractors.

They come in many sizes and skills, from self-performing individual tradesmen to full-service remodeler. To understand the variety of different remodel contractors read the link.

Hiring a Houston home contractor can be a challenging event if you have little experience. Your goal in hiring a residential general contractor that is aligned with your interest and is like minded.

It requires researching their web sites, studying their portfolio and reading their reviews to create a short list to interview. It helps to prepare questions to interview your remodeling contractor. Follow this link to get a solid list of questions concerning contractors for home remodeling.

Clearly understanding the remodeling contracting process goes a long way at establishing the ground work for selecting the best home remodel contractor that fits your needs. We will explore the most effective means of qualifying and hiring your home remodeler.

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One of the requirements for most significant projects is to provide detail drawings with the application for the building permit. The greatest advantage to a homeowner for using a full-service contractor for home remodeling is that the GC is fully responsible and accountable for both design and construction.

This serves as an effective solution to homeowners getting caught in the middle of disputes between uncooperative professional advisers or professionals determining who is responsible for design errors.

Selecting a house remodeler makes sense for an owner when the project involves multiple skilled trades and some degree of complexity to the project. There are different types of contractors for remodeling homes.

They come in many sizes and skills, from self-performing individual tradesmen to full-service home remodel contractors. To understand the variety of different home remodel contractors read the link.

House remodeling can be a challenging event if you have little experience. Your goal in hiring a home remodeling contractor is to find one that is aligned with your interest and is like minded.

It requires researching their web sites, studying their portfolio and reading their reviews to create a short list to interview. It helps to prepare questions to interview your contractor for remodeling a home. Follow this link to get a solid list of questions; https://www.marwoodconstruction.com/process/questions-to-ask-a-contractor/

Clearly understanding the remodeling home process goes a long way at establishing the ground work for selecting the best home remodeling contractor that fits your needs. We will explore the most effective means of qualifying and hiring your contractor for home remodeling.

Selecting a Qualified Contractor for Remodeling

If you have not hired an architect or designer to prepare the required documents (project blueprints & specifications), you will need to interview and request a contractor for home remodeling to provide you a detailed proposal of their scope of work, including inclusions and exclusions.

Prepared with this information from several contractors, you can carefully review these documents and prepare a thorough question and answer process to complete your hiring of a qualified contractor for remodeling homes.

It’s appropriate at this point for you to understand that this hiring process is a give and take process. A professional home remodeling contractor will be interviewing you at the same time you are interviewing them.

This is a good practice that will result in both parties getting to know each other, while establishing a level of expectation and performance standards. It is also a successful method for establishing the basis of a trusting and efficient working relationship.

I cannot overstate the importance of this relationship development process. If you as a homeowner do not have a warm and trustful feeling that the home remodeler does not have your best interest at heart, it does not matter how much money he can save you or how good he says his workers are.

You are likely to regret ever entering into a legal relationship with them. Keep one important point in mind when hiring your house remodeler, even a good contract will not fix a detrimental experience and poor workmanship with a GC. A contract will only provide a remedy for the damages, not the loss of time of joy from your remodel home. Hire for character, quality and consciousness.

There are many factors to weigh in making your decision regarding hiring a qualified contractor for remodeling a home, such as insurance, time in business, cooperation and knowledge shared during the interviewing process. The willingness to work with your advisers, the day-to-day habits of housekeeping during the construction process and the overall friendliness and courtesy you can expect from his workforce.

After all this is a service business that takes place in your house, around your family for an extended period of time. You may think at times that they are never going to finish their work and will be moving in with you. To this I promise you, a good house remodeler is as motivated to complete a project as much you are to have them finish.

Most people look at Houston home remodeling contractors as individuals that repair homes. In part they are right. There are contractors that do general home improvements or specialize on kitchens and bathroom remodels. This in fact is a part of the industry but does not represent the home remodeling contractor you should hire for a major home remodeling project.

A contractor for remodeling homes that does major remodeling projects is a seasoned master builder. To understand the distinction further you will need to read this link about home remodelers near me.

Remodeling Home Architectural Design Process

With your design team assembled and your collection of ideas in hand, it’s time to put pen to paper. The actual architectural design process consists of 3 essential stages.

The first phase is the concept stage where the designer captures the geographic block form of the general proportional space desired.

The second stage is called the developmental phase. This stage begins to develop a scaled plan with dimensions.

The third stage is the working drawing stage completing wall sections, wall sections and MEP layouts.

Architectural Drawing Process
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  • Concept Phase –During this phase of design the owner shares their wish list, major product selections and collected image photos of the desired plan space. This will generally capture a proportionate room size, ceiling heights and doors & window locations.
  • Developmental Phase –This stage is considered the working drawing phase. The designer adds dimensions and required architectural features like cabinetry, wall sections and finished elevation profiles.
  • Construction Drawings –In this stage the designer completes the drawings by adding the MEP and structural drawings for permitting. For more on the design process see: Home Remodeling / Home Renovation Process

Step By Step Remodel Home Design Process

The design process is a vital part of a Houston remodel home. A complex method that requires a complete understanding of both the steps and process. Houston house remodeling design will have an impact on both your financial affairs and quality of your lifestyle. View our home remodeling design infographic.

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Client Priorities & Research

  • Identify the Homes Problem
  • Areas Develop Priority Wish List
  • Develop an Investment Budget
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Selecting a Home Architectural Designer

  • Vet Through Initial Phone Interview
  • Create Short List of Pros & Review Their Work
  • Select Based on Aligned Interest and Vision
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Construction Drawing Process

  • Concept Phase Design
  • Development Construction
  • Documents & Engineering
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Selecting a Remodeling Contractor

  • Short List 3 Professional Remodeling Contractors
  • Vet Based on Relationship & Aligned Interest & Capabilities
  • Request Detailed Proposal & Work Plan
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Pre-Construction Preparation

  • Develop a Construction
  • Schedule Finalize Products and Color Selection
  • Execute Contract
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  • Product Specs to Represent Design Plans
  • QC / QA
  • Color Mock Ups
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Remodel Contracts / Scope of Work / Insurance

I always recommend regardless of the size of the project, that both parties develop a comprehensive and detailed scope of work, a contract of substance and furnish the homeowner a certificate of insurance as name insured.

This agreement should clearly address such matters as payment schedule, allowance schedules, work schedules and the conditions and consequences for nonperformance and disputes.

It is very important that contractors for home remodeling have liability insurance, builders risk insurance and workers compensation (or waivers) if facilitating a major renovation. The State of Texas does not require general contractors to maintain insurance. This means if there is a gap in the insurance coverage of the home remodeler’s insurance, the liability of an unanticipated event could come back on your insurance company or worse, you personally.

A brief word about undisclosed (covered up) defects – This is an issue that causes many disputes and hard feelings between home remodeler and homeowners. The covered unknown is part of the remodeling and restoration process.

These conditions usually result from the home remodel contractor not being able to visually see a defect in the original covered area that could not be anticipated as part of the original scope of work.

The procedure of these conditions should be discussed in detail with the house remodeler prior to hiring. In addition, it is always wise to maintain a reasonable financial contingency reserve for these unwanted surprises. The amount depends of the size of the project and age of the property. Remember, the larger and older the house, the larger the reserve contingency.

Home Remodeling Project Schedule

It is best for the homeowners’ family during a major house remodeling to make other living accommodations or to go on vacation if possible. Unfortunately, this is not always feasible. In these situations, careful discussion and consideration between home remodeling contractors and homeowners for the homeowners every day convenience during the project is needed.

The best method is careful planning of multiple construction phases by allowing for a portion of the home to remain dust free and plan temporary utility rerouting avoiding service interruptions at less than opportune moments. These temporary adjustments and accommodations will more than offset the expenses of alternative housing during the duration of the project.

The home remodel contractor should provide some form of project schedule for the restoration project with weekly updates as to the projects progress. Weather and unexpected surprises can quickly cause schedule delays.

It is extremely important to the project and relationship successes that open conversation be shared between house remodeler and homeowner regarding concerns and expectations of projected scheduling milestones and completion dates. On smaller projects this matter is even more critical due to the relaxed nature of expectations due to short timelines.

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Preparing Yourself and Family for a Home Remodel Project

Although we have touched on many of the following items, it would be appropriate to cover these items in light of preparing the homeowner for the restoration project journey.

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    This topic causes considerable stress and conflict before, during and after a home remodel project. Pay a little more for a professional and the results will translate into greater value in your home and enormous sense of pride.

    Secondly, do not bite off more than you can chew. If the pricing is pushing your budget to the max, scale back the scope of work or look for acceptable alternative products. It is much wiser planning a contingency reserve for the unexpected surprises then living with stress of trying to figure out how to complete your project.

    This will only result in greater schedule delays, interruption of the use of your home and likely greater cost from remobilizing back to the project.

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    Align your Expectations with your Home Remodeler

    The home remodeling journey will go much more enjoyable if you and your remodel contactors interest and project goals are aligned. This means both parties are entering into a good faith relationship with a win / win attitude.

    The house remodeler should clearly understand the homeowner's vision and should be sensitive to the conditions stipulated by the homeowner. The homeowner should understand that as diligent as the remodel contractors may try, there is going to be dirt, dust and noise.

    There are also likely to be lost work days that push an optimistic completion date. It is a two way-street that is best traveled together with each other interest in mind and reaching the same goal.

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    Be Decisive

    It is acceptable to mull things over when faced with a decision regarding your dream project. Ask as many questions as you can to get a complete understanding about your options, what the consequences of the change will be and the pending what if's.

    But, be decisive when you make your decision or choice. Nothing will run up cost or slow a project down more than not making decisions or changing your mind too often.

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    Contain Your Emotions

    This is often a great challenge for homeowners who have become personally invested in their projects. Find a constructive way to share your disappointment when things don't go as planned or discussed. Communication of details can get lost in translation. It is best that you and your remodeler agree on several key items:

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a) Who is your project point of contact?
b) Who is responsible to you when you are displeased?

Losing it will not get you what you desire. Find a location away from the dust and noise that you can visit if you feel your blood pressure rising or tearful. In most cases, the trades do not make mistakes on purpose and when told of their mistakes, they feel bad for their short comings.

Home Remodeling Cost – Remodel Cost / Value

Home remodeling cost vary dramatically with the type and size of the house remodeling project. But there are some rules of thumb to guide you through preparing and accessing the remodel cost / value decisions that owners face in every project.

The cost for remodeling a house should be prepared before construction improvements begin but after remodeling design and construction documents have been prepared. Clearing defining remodeling contract prices and product selection allowances will keep your project on budget.

Keep in mind, that it is wise to also include a contingency for your home remodeling cost. It never fails that the actual cost and estimated time of completing the project takes far more in resources than the owner is expecting.


There are many moving parts to the complexity of planning and preparing for Houston home remodeling project for the family home. It is my desire that this guide will be of some value in your pursuit of your home remodel project.

If you have further questions regarding the home remodeling process or would be interested in considering discussing your remodeling need with us, we would be pleased to be of assistance to you in any way we can.

Marwood Construction is committed to quality craftsmanship and unparalleled customer service. We look forward to serving your luxury housing needs.