How to Avoid Common Delays Remodeling a Home in Houston

06:56 Jan 2024
Houston Remodeling a Home

Remodeling a home in Houston is filled with many delays including material back orders, labor crews not available when needed and of course weather.

You may not be able to manage your way out of every progress delay, but we have some sound recommendations for you to reduce the likelihood of them occurring regularly.

As well, if the major delays strike your remodel, we have some very constructive suggestions on what to do to get your remodeling a home project back on track.

Remodeling a home is so exciting at first. You can visualize what your new remodeling project is going to look like when it is complete.

You have carefully vetted your design team and your remodel contractor.  All along scrimping and saving to put the money aside for this much anticipated remodel.

The hours of research have piled up preparing for this major event in your life. You have prepared your well thought through questions for the remodeling contractor interviewing process and you are prepared to select your team and get this project started.

Flash forward, a 3-month project has turned into 6 months and you’re not even half way finished. What went wrong? More importantly, what do you do now…

Planning and Setting the Proper Expectations

Let’s roll the tape back and determine the possible steps or events that caused the wheels to come off the cart.

We all have preconceived ideas and expectations before we immerse ourselves into the details of subject matter articles and listen to our friends’ stories of their own personal adventures with a remodeling project.

You may even have had formed your own perceptions based on some previous remodel or some family of friends past home remodeling experiences in Houston.

In any event, most everyone has some fairly strong opinions before even starting remodeling a home.

This is not always a bad thing. It’s good to have a heads up that your dream remodel can quickly become a nightmare.

But it is very important to approach each project and all interested parties with an open mind and a reasonable sense of skepticism.

That is to say if you approach your design and remodeler team candidates during the interviewing process as experts sharing their knowledge and opinions, this process will only help form and shape a better project for you.

Share some of the opinions and facts that you heard from one remodel contractor with his rival. Your goal at this phase of the remodel is not to be an expert but rather absorb as much content as possible and to shake it up a little.

Determining which remodeling contractors are like minded and collect a general consensus on the difficult and challenging aspects of your project.

Develop Complete Construction Documents and Scope of Work

During your discussions with prospective remodeling contractors, it is necessary to have the home designer create a complete set of construction documents.

These would include architectural plans, an as-built plan of existing layout, elevation renderings of kitchen and bathroom casework, detailed wall sections, clear demolition plans and most importantly a detailed scope of work.

Why are these documents so important? Because it levels the bidding field allowing you to compare bids apples for apples.

This allows the remodeling contractor to provide a comprehensive bid that covers the general conditions that will need to be addressed before a proposal can capture your exact situation.

These covers things such as protection for parts of the house that will remain undisturbed, dust proofing, special conditions for working with the family remaining in the house during construction.

Needless to say, the construction documents, bid, scope of work are part of a contract agreement that cover the finer points of remodeling a home and the consequences of resolving disputes including nonperformance.

Remodeling a Home in Houston


Don’t Only Listen to What You Want to Hear

If we carry the previous discussed preconceptions as our general mind set into making a deal with your designer and remodeler, you will limit yourself to some very beneficial conversations.

I have been personally a Houston remodeling contractor for 35 plus years and I still need to check myself from doing this.

People have a tendency to listen more carefully to opinions we want to hear and instinctively avoid thoughts that we do not want to hear.

This can have a very negative consequence on the resulting performance of your remodeling contractors and the progress of the house remodel.

Keep in mind at this stage of the house remodel it is all about the remodeling contractors selling you something.

If your prospective remodelers feel you are not interested in hearing something you don’t wish to hear, they will indeed avoid sharing it with you.

This lack of open communication will ultimately lead to further issues in the project. For example, when an expensive special ordered product does not work as intended or when a potentially schedule wrecking event surfaces during design or the renovation that effects a previous commitment made by the remodeler.

The remodeler will not openly discuss these setbacks in a timely manner and will likely choice to handle the matter without discussing it with you the owner.

This pattern can continue until they cause major interruptions in the project time line too late to avoid them.

Structure an Exit Strategy for Unacceptable Contractor Results 

Much like a marriage, few of us want to discuss what will happen if remodeling a home turn’s south while you are discussing getting marriage.

As uncomfortable as this may seem it is a good idea to openly discuss the conditional provisions in your contract for the unlikely event that this becomes necessary.

As a general rule terminating your designer or your remodeler in the middle of a remodel will often result in even greater delays and more cost to complete their work.

Topics that should be considered in these discussions are the treatment of ordered materials not yet delivered to the site, pending special product orders not placed, permit transfers to new contractors, and the retaining of onsite working subcontractors.

If your payments have been associated with progress payments, this will provide some logical calculated amount of severing the contract due to the contract breaches.

Develop Plan B 

Plan B development is not planning for your house remodel to fail, but rather providing an interactive plan with your contractor’s plan to preserve potential project continuity, protecting critical product obtainment and to maintain future remodeling momentum in the event a undesired or unanticipated event occurs.

This plan addresses the critical milestones of the project like the delivery of long lead time items and critical conditions of major subcontractors that will be working through the entirety of the house remodel.

This plan identifies key products that require advance ordering with long lead times and implement an effective plan of taking delivery of these products in advance of their installation.

If you cannot store at the job site, you can rent a short term rental facility to hold them till you need them.

This will ensure that a) the products are available when the project requires them, b) that if you part ways with your remodeler, that products are there to move forward with the job.

Another important aspect of this plan is arriving at an understanding with the major subcontractors on site.

In most cases it is in your interest to retain these subcontractors on your house remodel because, a) maintains their warranty, b) it is a cost-effective alternative to replacing them, c) commits them to project accountability through the entire project.

Houston Remodeling a Home


Don’t Start the Project Before You Are Ready

This is one of the biggest mistakes owners will allow to happen while remodeling a home. They start the project before most of the product selections are made, or worse they before the plans or permits are complete.

They will allow the remodel contractor to begin demolition after the contract is signed but before all the details are ironed out with the construction documents.

Starting prematurely to gain time will often result in eventual project delays rather than reducing construction time.

The best practices for preparing to expedite your remodeling project on an aggressive schedule is as follows;

  1. Complete the plans and secure the building permits
  2. Complete the details of drawings on cabinets, built ins and floor designs (designer features)
  3. Create a Plan B with the general contractor scripting an exit plan if contract is breached
  4. Provide contract provision to retain subcontractors as part of exit plan
  5. Complete major product selections before you start any project
  6. Confirm orders and delivery on all long lead time products / services
  7. Take delivery on all critical products long before your need them

The best overall strategy for receiving a quality product on a timely project is to select a good seasoned working remodeler partner that you trust.

A home remodeler that listens to your needs and that you feel comfortable with on a business level and on a personal level.

Most often this will not be the lowest bid, but rather the best overall value for the quality, the customer experience and the assurance that your goals are met in a timely manner.


There are many issues that can materialize that can delay the progress of remodeling a home.

These issues can result in a few days delay or weeks. In some cases, they can the challenges you experience could shut down the home remodel.

Following the recommendations, we have suggested will indeed reduce the likely hood of issues derailing your home remodel.

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