Tips to help you remodel your home

LOS ANGELES You might think home remodeling starts with the demolition, but for the project to be most successful the work should start weeks or even months before the first blow of the hammer.

"If they have all the decisions made, it makes it go like clockwork," said Lonny Davis, a licensed contractor for Alonco Construction. "People may like us but they want us out of their house as quickly as possible."

Davis says planning ahead makes a better project that's likely less expensive too.

Hubert Wong is typical of a homeowner who has never been through a remodel.

"I can't tell you how many times we went to the tile store. It's like learning a new language," said Wong. "You go to the tile store and you think, tile, how complicated can that be? And then you learn about things like grout -- sanded grout, non-sanded grout. You know, what is this?"

Using computer programs, designers like Steve Quinn and Colin Evans of the Kitchen Design Center can make a big difference in helping the customer visualize the end product.

"The ability to be able to create plan views, elevations and manipulate the drawings three-dimensionally and add color to them is a huge help today. Without that you really don't know what you are getting," said Quinn.

The earlier decisions can be made the better because some items may be out of stock.

"Without tile for example, if you are doing a tile back splash, it's hard to set the finished plumbing and appliances," said Quinn.

If you want to remodel your home:

  • Create a plan showing what work you want done and what your needs are
  • Set up a schedule to buy appliances, tile, flooring, etc.
  • Make your choices early

"Pictures are always helpful. If you can look through magazines and find things that you like, and lead us into a direction," Quinn advised.

No matter if your project is big or small, always hire a licensed contractor.

"I always tell people when I go on an estimate, be sure, whether you hire me or anyone else, check the license, check for proper insurances and above all get references," said Davis.

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