Remodeling your home to add space

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For some homeowners, instead of selling their house and moving, they are staying put. They like their neighborhood and schools so they are making improvements to their current home in order to enhance enjoyment while adding value for years to come.

One of the most common reasons to remodel a home is to create more space. Angie's List spoke with highly rated remodeling contractors who told us homeowners are remodeling their homes to make them more functional by opening up rooms.

In large-scale remodels, this could mean knocking down a wall or building additional rooms. This is a project that works well in older homes that may have smaller rooms and less square footage.

  • Create more space: Knock down walls between adjoining rooms. Removing a wall opens up the home, creating a new look and feel without having to do any new construction. It helps the rooms of the home flow into each other while allowing light to spread around. A popular project is knocking down walls between the kitchen and adjoining rooms like the family or dining room.
  • Install shelves and cabinets: For homeowners who don't have the budget for large remodeling projects, there are small, yet strategic improvements that will still create a lot of new space. Create additional floor space by removing bulky bookcases and entertainment centers and replacing them with shelves and cabinets. There are many options available from hanging basic shelves to building cabinets into the wall.

Whether it's a complete kitchen overhaul or a major bathroom upgrade, a home remodeling project is a big process that needs to be thought through. It's important to hire a qualified contractor for a wall demolition because it's dangerous work, especially if it's a load-bearing wall.

Angie's List Tips: How to hire the best contractor for your job

  1. Know what you want: Before you begin talking with contractors, read remodeling magazines, search the Internet for designs and materials and put your ideas on paper to give potential contractors a better sense of your expectations.
  2. Name your pro: Consider what you realistically can accomplish on your own. For projects that involve more than three different service providers, a general contractor may be needed to manage your project. If you're eliminating walls, adding rooms or impacting structure, you may need an architect or structural engineer.
  3. Do your research: Check with your local regulatory agency for licensing requirements and to check your contractor's license, insurance, and bonding status. Get the names of subcontractors and ask their opinion of the contractor.
  4. Get estimates: Get at least three written estimates to review. Documentation is often the best ammunition you have if things go wrong.
  5. Call back: Don't hire a contractor who will give you only a post office box or an answering service as his or her contact information. Hire someone with a real presence in your community.
  6. Read the contract BEFORE you sign. Know the details of the contract, as well as how any change orders will be handled. Check that your contract includes a lien waiver, covering payments to all subcontractors who worked on the project. 
  7. Money matters: Never pay the full cost of a project up front. Hold back at least 10 percent until the job is complete to your satisfaction and to your contract terms.
  8. Be patient: Regardless of size, all projects will include unexpected issues that may cost more or delay completion. Be prepared for stress as the project stretches on, work crews enter your home and materials may pile up. Know what your work crew hours will be so you can plan your life around them. 

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