• Maria Nicholson

Home Remodeling FAQ's

Updated: Feb 9, 2018



We get a lot of questions by concerned customers who do not know what they are getting into when hiring a General Contractor to do a project. This is why we compiled all of the questions that we have heard of when coming in for our free consultation, not because we don’t want to answer questions anymore, but because many of you might not live in Orange County.

Remodeling your home should be fun, so hopefully reading through this detailed list of FAQ’s will help you feel more comfortable when hiring a General Contractor to do work on your home. If you have any questions of your own that we don’t cover be sure to join our Facebook community where we answer each others questions about home remodeling.

If you have any questions that we didn’t go over, make sure you leave them in the comments and we will make sure to answer them and maybe include them in the article!


General Questions About Home Remodeling

Should I hire an architect or a contractor first for my major renovation?

The answer to this question depends on if you are planning on contracting your major renovation out to many contractors. However, It would be better to hire a design-build general contractor that has the skillset of both an architect and a general contractor.


Why do I need a design-build contractor?

A design-build contractor is a better choice because you will save money. With the architect and the contractor working together they will be able to work more efficiently and get the project done faster.

An architect can get you the plans that you want for your remodel, but when you ask them about pricing, they will have no idea how much the materials and labor will cost. This is why it is essential to hire a design-build contractor.


Does your company offer any discounts?

Most companies do offer discounts or they have in past. At Project Build we offer a free $500 stainless steel sink with every project over a certain amount of money. Additionally, a lot of contractors will be happy to work with a price if you plan on reviewing them kindly on Yelp or over to create a video testimonial for their website.


Will this project increase my home’s value or at least get me my money back when I sell my home?

The answer could be YES or NO. If you are planning on doing a large renovation and selling right away, then you might not get more money from it. However, if you are adding to a small home and many houses in your neighborhood are doing to same, then you might get more money from it. There are many factors, including the housing market value.


Should I hire an unlicensed contractor because he gave a good price?

It is essential to hire a licensed contractor because they have passed the tests, paid the fees and are insured to pay for the project if anything goes wrong. Without a licensed contractor, you are opening yourself up to getting dooped and left with poor quality and nothing you can do about it. Recently the Orange County police uncovered over 15 contractors who were doing business with a license and deceiving homeowners.


Do I need a city building permit for doing smaller jobs, like a bathroom remodel?

For most situations where you need to replace cabinets, sinks, walls, doors or roofing, you will need a permit. However, for little jobs where you are not replacing things, like painting walls, you will not need a permit. It is always best to ask your contractor what permits you will need.


Kitchen Remodeling Questions

What is the average cost to remodel my kitchen?

$21,000 is the average cost to remodel a kitchen in 2017, according to Home Advisor.

What return on investment can I expect from remodeling my kitchen?

According to HGTV you can expect a kitchen remodel to bring you about a 90% return on investment. This however depends on a lot of other factors.


How do I come up with a plan to remodel my kitchen?

The best route to plan a kitchen remodel is to work with a contractor that will help you create your vision. At Project Build we work with your vision to come up with multiple designs for you to choose from that will work with your vision and budget.


How long does it take to design a new kitchen?

The timeframe of designing and planning your kitchen remodel will depend on the scope of the remodel. If you want to tear down and completely redo your kitchen from the floor up, we will need to figure out the structural changes that need to take place. Typically a design can take upwards of 3-6 weeks. If seems like a long time then you should rest assured knowing that a good contractor and designer will have a frequent line of communication open with you to ease your nerves.

What fixtures in my kitchen are going to cost the most?

Typically, in a full kitchen remodel, the cabinets are going to cost the most because of how many you are going to have to purchase. However, a lot of money can be invested in the countertops and flooring, depending on what materials you want to buy.


Should I reuse and reface my existing cabinets to save extra money?

Refacing your existing cabinets can technically save you money, but there are problems and risks that can occur when doing do. Sometimes when refacing cabinets the frame of the cabinet can leave an unattractive seem. Another reason to just get new cabinets is to get something that will match your drawers and doors perfectly.


Plywood or Particleboard cabinets?

The answer may surprise you, but we feel that particleboard is typically a better choice. There are different grades of each that you can get, but generally particleboard is more resistant to climate and will last longer than plywood.


Is wood floor a good idea for the kitchen if I want to join it with another room?

I general it isn’t a good idea because over time the wood flooring in the kitchen will need to get refinished more often. Additionally because of the plumbing and the environment of the kitchen the wood will be susceptible to water damage. We would recommend a tile floor, but if you want the floor in the kitchen to match the floor in the adjoining room then you can always extend the wood into the kitchen; just know what you are getting into.


What are the best countertops for highly trafficked kitchens?

According to consumer reports and what our clients decide to go with; these are the most popular countertops for your kitchen

  • Quartz

  • Granite

  • Soapstone, limestone, and marble

  • Laminate

  • Solid surfacing

  • Recycled glass

  • Butcher block


Bathroom Remodeling Questions

What is the average cost to remodel my bathroom?

The average cost to remodel a bathroom is around $11,000.

What return on investment can I expect from remodeling my bathroom?

According to Angieslist, the average ROI for a bathroom remodel is roughly 80%.


How can I save money on my bathroom remodel?

You can save money on your bathroom remodel by not relocating the existing plumbing, update the lid and seat of your toilet instead of replacing the whole thing or sourcing cheaper materials. We are frequently able to source more affordable materials for our clients and achieve a similar style as envisioned.


Do I need to have a bathroom exhaust fan in my bathroom?

Legally a bathroom exhaust fan is only needed if your bathroom doesn’t have windows. However, you should want a fan in your bathroom when you do not have windows to cut down on the humidity in the room.


If I want two sinks for my vanity counter, how long does it have to be?

The minimum for a double sink vanity is about 5 feet long.


Why does my shower have a weird odor coming from it?

If your bathroom shower has a foul odor coming from it, chances are that it has a leak. Leaks are very bad and the only way to fix it would be to tear it down and replace the shower. We can inspect your shower to make sure that this is the cause of the smell.


Should I retile my bathroom shower?

Retiling a bathroom shower is a great option to brighten up your bathroom and remove any mold, broken tiles or add new style. However, the process of doing a retile can take a while. If you are doing it DIY you can expect it to take upwards of 3 days to complete. However, hiring a professional to retile your bathroom will not only save you time, but ensure that your shower will be watertight and drain properly.


Can I hire a general contractor for general plumbing issues?

Yes, we offer a range of plumbing services that plumbers do. In fact our plumbing services match what a plumber can do for you and we can talk about any other improvements that need to be done around the house while we are there.


Room Addition Questions

What is the average cost for a room addition per square foot?

No matter whether your are build up our out the general price range per square foot is $80 - $200. There are various factors that go into what your price will be.


What factors go into the price of my room addition?

There are many steps that go into a complete room addition. To see a full list of services that are provided please refer to our room addition service page.


What return on investment can I expect from remodeling my kitchen?

According to Reliable Remodeler, the average ROI for a room addition is about 62%.

My architect told me my addition can be done within my budget, but he was wrong.

Unfortunately architects tend to draw up some great plan, but are not realistic in regards to your budget. It is best to find an architect who is reasonable. Alternatively you can work with a General Contractor from the beginning


Can I get more value from from a room addition or a remodel?

If you are looking to sell your home soon after the addition you can typically get more value from a remodel. However, if your neighbors have a second story or a master suite and you don’t then a room addition would be a great investment.


Roofing Questions

How do I know I need a new roof?

Some of the common signs that you need a new roof or roof maintenance are if the roof is sagging, wavy, discolored or if it is leaking.


How often should I get my roof inspected?

We recommend that you get your roof inspected every year to make sure there is nothing wrong. This insures that a small problem will not turn into a large one later down the road.


How what pitch should my roof be?

Typically a steep roof will collect less debris, which is great for maintenance. However, when the roof has more pitch, one side will receive more of the brunt of the sun and weather, which causes it to wear down faster. There are many factors to take into consideration when deciding the pitch of your roof so it is best to contact us for a specific answer.


What factors go into my roof's lifespan?

The common factors that go into the wear and tear of your roof is the pitch, the direction it is facing and if it is getting the majority of the weather abuse, how often it is clean of debris, how well vented the roof is and the color of the roof shingles. We have some great roof options for you to consider when looking into roofing options.


What if roof flashing?

Roof flashing is placed over the joints of the roof and wall to prevent the water that might seep through the shingles from damaging the roof.


I have heard paper felt is used in roofing is this true? Why would we need that on my roof?

Paper felt is used as a buffer between the wood and the asphalt shingles. If a shingle cracks or breaks the paper acts a barrier for the weather to hit, without damaging the roof. There are different grades of felt paper depending on its purpose.


What is the difference between a skylight and a roof window?

A skylight is a window in the ceiling that cannot be opened; it acts an avenue for natural light to come into a room. A roof window is a window that can be opened toward the top of the roof. A roof window is a great option when you want both natural light and a breeze to come into a space.


Is it bad to have black stains on my roof? How can I remove the black stains?

The black stains on your shingles are algae that has built up in the debris that have landed on your roof over time. This algae won't damage your roof, but since it looks horrible we would recommend to remove it as soon as you can. Luckily it can be done by yourself with 2 parts bleach and one part water. After you are done scrubbing the shingles you can rinse the roof off with water. Do not you a high pressure washer, otherwise you might damage your shingles.


Flooring

What are my best options with flooring?

The top 5 best flooring options are wood, laminate, tile, vinyl and lastly carpet.


Should I install my new flooring first or my cabinets first?

In most cases the flooring should be installed before the cabinets to ensure the cleanest fit and to avoid damaging the cabinets during the demo process.


Should I get laminate flooring or hardwood flooring for my living space?

This is a personal taste factor, which depends on your lifestyle. Laminate is typically cheaper, but hardwood is seen as more classy. However, hardwood needs a lot more upkeep, while laminate is very strong, low maintenance and can look very nice.


Is there a way to warm up tile floor?

Yes, if you are remodeling your tile or thinking of doing a tile floor you might want to consider adding an electric mat under the tile to keep it warmer.


Can I use hardwood flooring in my bathroom or kitchen?

I would not recommend it because of the moisture in both of these areas. A tile or laminate would be great choice for either of these areas.


Can I refinish my hardwood floor or just replace them?

If your wood is thick enough to sand and there are no deep gouges then I would say refinish them, but if there are large gouges or missing planks then it should be replaced.


How often should I maintain my hardwood flooring?

According to the National Wood Flooring Association you should sweep daily, vacuum weekly, clean with cleaner monthly, add a maintenance coat every 3 years and refinish every decade.


If you have any questions that we did not go over be sure to comment them in the comments below so we can answer them and possibly add them into the FAQs.

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