10 Tips to Enhance Your Whole-House Remodel

In case a whole-house remodel or second-story addition is in your future, here is are 10 suggestions to make the most of your investment, improve the functionality of your home and make future work easier. Keeping them in mind when working with your architect or contractor might help lower your costs and stress throughout your next remodel.

Coates Design Architects Seattle

1. Consider water. Do not add bathrooms without looking carefully in your water supply lines and also the ability of your water heater. A bigger tank or a single with lengthy recovery times may not fulfill your requirements.

This is especially true when you select a new 80-gallon soaking bathtub and you have a 50-gallon tank. Consider a separate tank or toaster heater for your next story, or a larger tank using a recirculation pump that keeps warm water in your taps.

Also consider how large your street-side water supply lines are. If you add enough fittings, the plumbing code could require you to upgrade to a larger supply line. And in the event that you still have galvanized piping, this is most likely the opportunity to take it all out.

Phil Kean Designs

2. Get the ideal gas meter. More gas appliances usually means a larger meter. Most utility suppliers will require you to add up the BTU (British thermal unit) requirements of your appliances (furnace, water heater, range, washer-dryer, barbecue, fireplace) and size your meter accordingly. Or perhaps you’re adding that fireplace and grill in a couple of decades? Sizing the meter larger now and running pipe where you will desire it can save you money in the future.

VM Concept Interior Design Studio

3. Deaden the sound. While your buddies will not be able to admire all that pretty insulation in your walls, they will be relieved not to hear what’s happening in the powder room since you insulated each of the walls with sound insulating material. You may pick from Rockwool insulation, sound board or drywall particularly designed to deaden sound transmission through wall cavities. Using resilient channels in ceilings can also help prevent sound transmission from one floor or space to another. You may also need sound insulation around your laundry room and press room and in common bedroom walls.

4. Avoid the waterfall noise. Decorative waterfalls are relaxing at a garden, but not when you hear them running through your walls. Plastic waste pipe in walls — coated or not can make the very perceptible noise of falling water. This isn’t an issue once the pipes run to an unfinished basement, but when you add a second story, those waste lines come down through one or more main floor walls. Upgrading to cast iron waste pipes will go a long way toward making them invisible to the ear.

Claudia Martin, ASID

5. Fans exhaust. They may be needed by code in several locations, generally where you have running water. But if you intend to frequently use your exhaust fans, invest in quiet ones. A loud fan can be perceptible and also shake the ground in which it’s installed.

Consider carefully how you are going to utilize your fans and get the most frequently used ones as quiet and low vibration as you can. Consider timers for them too, or humidistats, which measure the humidity in the air and turn the fans off when they reach their set amount. Motion-sensor lovers are also an alternative.

David Vandervort Architects

6. Plan ahead. Think you might like to add solar prior to the federal tax credit expires in the end of 2016? Plan for it. Pondering an electric car? Put in a circuit to get a charging channel just in case. Believe you can live without air but may want it when you are able to afford it? Strategy for this too. You may even have a second phase planned. Be certain all the mechanical and engineering systems for this next phase have been in place and ready to go. Pictures are crucial once you go this route. Take multiple photos using a measuring tape in the image before covering these provisions for your upcoming project.


7. Upgrade your electrical panel. Take a excellent look in your electrical panel. When it’s 100 amperes and each slot is full of chances are that you are a prime candidate to get a panel upgrade. Even if it’s 125 or 200 amperes, added rooms along with an upgraded kitchen will often expect a panel upgrade. Bear in mind, too, that code modulates where panels can be, and that means not at all a closet. In case you still have antiquated wiring, then this may also be the ideal opportunity to conduct new wiring and ground all those sockets.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

8. Weight the pros and cons of new siding, windows and doors. A second-story or bump-out addition begs the question: Stick with the windows, doors and siding you have or pick something fresh? Your decision could have by structural demands. If enough of the exterior walls need siding removed and plywood nailed on, it may make sense to replace everything. But should you have brick in the primary level, you may choose to use wood or cement siding in your own addition. Window and door fitting generally makes sense only if what’s existing is already in pretty good shape or is prohibitively expensive to replicate. The choice is unique to each home; consult with your contractor and architect about the best way to proceed.

Hammer Architects

9. Do not be short sighted. We’ve had clients ask for infant gates installed permanently on their beautiful custom-built railings. We’ve experienced families with toddlers convinced they need adjacent bedrooms, not looking ahead to the adolescent years and also the desire for separate bedrooms. You are investing a great deal of money and time on your own remodel, so make certain it’s going to last longer than the present phase your family is going through.

When looking for a lifetime residence, think about grab bars, accessibility and universal design — if not for yourselves, then for elderly adults who may visit. An accessible home can be beneficial for resale.

See more about remodeling for universal design

Motionspace Architecture + Design

10. Ask your architect and builder what they would do. Architects and contractors are generally focused most on meeting the needs you’ve said. But asking them what they would do if it were their residence is very likely to yield some intriguing and thought-provoking suggestions that might otherwise pass you by. Your architect and builder have seen what works, what’s worth changing and what could be well worth dropping altogether. Questions like these will save you from overspending on superfluous fads and put your money in the places that count in the long term.

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