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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    ...good point by below zero about the designer, but also, don't even go to those meetings, send the wife and do whatever they say. Seriously. Trust me on this.
    Man, I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger.
    And I guess that I just don't know

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    dude can't change a bike tire or install sprinklers in his lawn.

    1) hire an architect
    2) hire a GC
    3) have them do everything

    or stop being stupid and figure out how to do it yourself.
    I like remodeling and building new shit and I have some skillz but I don't want to do this shit by myself, way too hard. So I'd change 3) to get a good interior designer
    and change 3) to 4) and call it good.

    Tearing the house I'm sitting in right now the fuck down in about 3 weeks. I wonder if the house knows?

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post
    I don't quite agree with you there. I've seen plenty of beautiful tile showers done right to believe otherwise. Unless you're talking about those pimp one-piece marble pans, pre-manufactured pans are for trailers. A nice house needs a shower that's 100% tile and glass. Pre-fab stuff and shower curtains need not apply.
    Man, you guys are killing me. I know they can be done right. I know you can get qualified contractors. I've seen the ones that are done right, and they don't leak. BUT...I've seen plenty of mistakes when they tie in the waterproofing the the shower drain. I'm not saying you can't do them right. I am familiar with work done here in Colorado. I investigate building failure and I've seen problems. That's all. Many builders of homes in Denver and Boulder ($300,000 to $400,000+ homes) use pre-fabricated shower pans, and they look great. I just don't like relatively horizontal tiled surfaces that get exposed to heavy amounts of water every day. Oh, did I say I know they can work?
    "Can't vouch for him, though he seems normal via email."

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Man, I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger.
    I learned that you won't win, no matter how much taste you may have and how practical your ideas may be and how much sense you may make. So don't even think about it. You're in charge of the bones, she's picking the paint and hanging the curtains.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    I learned that you won't win, no matter how much taste you may have and how practical your ideas may be and how much sense you may make. So don't even think about it. You're in charge of the bones, she's picking the paint and hanging the curtains.
    I know, right?
    And I guess that I just don't know

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    I know, right?
    whaddayagonnado?

  7. #32
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    On a side note, I walked past the bar at the Providence airport a couple hours ago, coming up here to check in on this project that's about to get started, and a guy was sitting there, like 50 but trying to keep it real I guess, spiked hair, frosted tips, torn jeans, tats…and a "Matchbox 20 Tour 2003" tee.

    I found it humorous.
    Last edited by iceman; 08-27-2014 at 06:17 PM.

  8. #33
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    As someone who has done this hundreds of times for clients and in my own places all I have to say is listen to iceman, especially the bit about letting the wife have control.

  9. #34
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    When thinking about hiring a professional vs DIY, I always think about the cost of my time vs the cost of the project (planning, prepping & doing) and layer that with whether it's a fun project to do.

    If you think there's any possibility of moving stuff around (ie fixture locations), I'd suggest getting some design help on the front end. I don't advise it, but if you want to do that with a GC, at least make sure you get one that can do it efficiently (experienced design/builder).

    Good GC's can give you ballpark numbers for project types, but they will have an asterisk about material & fixture costs, which can vary wildly with individual taste. GC's can give you much better budgeting numbers if they understand what you intend to do (not necessarily a set of construction drawings, just a specific plan drawing & narrative of expected materials).

    Full gut bathroom with a GC in PDX is going to be $25k and up.
    Full gut kitchen with a GC in PDX is going to be $65k and up.
    You should talk to local architects & GCs to get a clear picture of what to expect and this will help you shape your own strategy.

    [edit to add]expect design fees for an architect to start around 10% of construction as a ballpark depending on experience [note: architects don't necessarily bill as a % of construction; it's just a starting point for early project math]

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by acinpdx View Post
    Full gut bathroom with a GC in PDX is going to be $25k and up.
    Full gut kitchen with a GC in PDX is going to be $65k and up.
    Crazy how close these are to what we were quoted on bathrooms and kitchens.

    I'd add that if you want to DIY don't be afraid of learning how to do this stuff...it's not that hard. I sort of enjoy this sort of thing though...and if you really hate it then obviously the work will suffer.
    Damn shame, throwing away a perfectly good white boy like that

  11. #36
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    If the OP is to take one piece of advice from this thread, its to figure out exactly what you want in terms of design, finishes, etc ahead of time.

    Changing your mind half way through or winging as you go will easily double the cost. You have been warned.
    Live Free or Die

  12. #37
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    ugh, this thread reminds me why I don't do interior work anymore.

  13. #38
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    Don't listen to me, I only do this for a living. You guys pretty much know what you're talking about but some of you miss some important parts of the process from the contractor side. In no particular order:

    a. You can't price what you don't know. Fixed prices are for defined scopes of work, pre-selected finish materials and no concealed conditions. You know...new construction.

    b. General Contracting is a vague concept - I break it down into three catagories 1) pre-construction - design, permiting, finish selection etc. 2) project management - running the job - getting the subs in and out, scheduling the walk throughs etc. 3) admin. - paper work, emails, customer communication, DEALING WITH THE CUSTOMER.

    Look at that list and be honest about what you can bite. I've learned that everyone if different with regards to how well you make decisions, the amount of trust you have, how frequently you want to meet and so on. I'll give you an allowance for these items but I'm charging you by the hour.

    I tell people that they have way more control of the project cost than I do. Scope of work, material cost/selection, and how useless/pain in ass factor the customer is way more important than whether the plumber is $85 or $95/hr.

    My suggestion to you is to look for a "hand on" or "self perform general". Kitchen and bath remodels ain't rocket science. You don't nee to pay for the lady in high heels or Mr. Dockers. On person and his crew (optional) should be able to to the tear out, tile, flooring, cabinet set etc.

    Oh, and BZ is kinda right. Of all the interior finish trades, tile gets hacked up the most. Its too easy to make it look good initially while not knowing what you are doing or not giving a fuck. Shower pans are the worst. And yes, your shower pan should be tested waterproof whether code makes you do it or not (ours doesn't but I do it every time). Use tec accugrout (or whatever) with the integrated sealer. Granite/Travertine etc. for the bench and shower curb.

  14. #39
    Hugh Conway Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Adolf Allerbush View Post
    I'd add that if you want to DIY don't be afraid of learning how to do this stuff...it's not that hard. I sort of enjoy this sort of thing though...and if you really hate it then obviously the work will suffer.
    No, it's not high end artisan craft for the most part, but good guys can do it far faster for the same, or better, quality for generally less or the same money* (at a minimum)

    *that's counting cost of acquiring tools and skills to do the job well.

    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    On a side note, I walked past the bar at the Providence airport a couple hours ago, coming up here to check in on this project that's about to get started, and a guy was sitting there, like 50 but trying to keep it real I guess, spiked hair, frosted tips, torn jeans, tats…and a "Matchbox 20 Tour 2003" tee.

    I found it humorous.
    Driving around yesterday there was a pissed off black guy looking at a lawn jockey. You know one of those painted yard figures - in black face? That's my quirky ancedote.

  15. #40
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    This thread is bringing the lolz. Big time.
    www.apriliaforum.com

    "If the road You followed brought you to this,of what use was the road"?

    "I have no idea what I am talking about but would be happy to share my biased opinions as fact on the matter. "
    Ottime

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post

    Driving around yesterday there was a pissed off black guy looking at a lawn jockey. You know one of those painted yard figures - in black face? That's my quirky ancedote.
    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    On a side note, I walked past the bar at the Providence airport a couple hours ago, coming up here to check in on this project that's about to get started, and a guy was sitting there, like 50 but trying to keep it real I guess, spiked hair, frosted tips, torn jeans, tats…and a "Matchbox 20 Tour 2003" tee.

    I found it humorous.
    Ha

    12345678
    "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    We're considering doing a fairly extensive remodel of our home (kitchen, bathrooms, ???), and I've never done anything of the sort. We have an idea of what we'd like in terms of big picture, but no idea re details. For example, we may know we want a tiled shower stall, but no idea beyond that. Will the GC we hire expect more details, or is it something that can be worked on as we go? And how do we estimate cost in this vague concept? Obviously, I have a zillion questions, and there are probably a zillion more that I don't even know to ask.

    Also, a couple of the things we want done are exterior painting (and some siding repair) and installing central AC. Is it better to go through the GC we hire for the remodel or is it something we should handle ourselves? Will it be cheaper one way or the other?

    So, for anyone who has done this before, any guidance or advice you can give, any description of the process, or whatever, will be appreciated.
    Quote Originally Posted by 4matic View Post
    If you want to do it right get an architect and detailed design plans. You can still make minor design changes along the way. I had a buddy that is draftsman due architect design without the signoff and they were a big help. Since I did mine on the cheap. My contractor went to jail twice and I crawled through a window for a month. Took twice as long and double the cost as my original estimate. Mostly due to my changes. House looks great now..

    I like Houzz.com for ideas.
    Honestly for what he wants to do just hire a Design/Build firm with a good designer. You really only need an Architect for new construction, and all they will do is rape you in fees, then walk as soon as their drawings are done.

    Danno, if you were in the DC area I'd absolutely put you in touch with my wife. She is a Certified Remodeler/Interior Designer (very different than a decorator) and folks like you are her core business. http://www.grossmuellers.com/ She meets with the clients, fleshes out their wants and needs, does the drawings and the estimate, and gets the permits, then babysits throughout the project.

    Don't know where you are but there has to be someone like her in your area if you're in a Metro. You can always contact your local NKBA chapter here: http://www.nkba.org/

    Another good resource: http://www.nari.org/

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    I thought there might be some discount because of volume, connections, etc. But if not, it may be worth it to do some of it ourselves, like house painting. What project did you do, I can't recall?
    Pulled out carpet and baseboards in the living room, installed laminate wood flooring and new baseboards, installed a flagstone hearthstone and woodstove/chimney, and put in recessed lighting and ceiling fan. Nothing super complicated, but I'm so inexperienced that having someone who could answer all the stupid questions along the way and point me in the right direction was valuable. Two examples:

    1. A flooring company had convinced me that I could just glue hardwood flooring directly to the concrete slab with no problems. GC said no way, it'll warp/crack because of moisture coming out of the concrete. Went with the laminate instead (high quality stuff, it looks like real wood and can be refinished). Later had some unrelated moisture issues with a wood stair in the room that proved the hardwood would've definitely been a problem.

    2. Getting the flagstone hearth from Lyons to Boulder, then into the living room, was a crazy process involving many burly men. I would have had absolutely no idea how to do that correctly, and would have probably done it too early (before the base was done), which would've made it nearly impossible to get into place.
    Outlive the bastards - Ed Abbey

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tippster View Post
    You really only need an Architect for new construction, and all they will do is rape you in fees, then walk as soon as their drawings are done.
    In addition to raping, we also steal precious family treasures when we do "site visits" and occasionally kidnap children too

  20. #45
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    I have some experience here. Ice had some good points. SCOPE SCOPE SCOPE. Figure out what you want done and do only that.

    I'd be surprised if you find a GC who will give you anything other than ball park numbers (IE - Kitchen 70,000, Bathroom 30,000). Those will vary depending on your input to the GC. They will want very much on a job like you're describing to do it cost plus. Point being without a clear scope they can't give you an accurate budget. They can help develop that scope, but that is often best done with an architect.

    Generally I'd lean towards custom cabinets.

    Let the GC handle the whole job. AC, Remodels, etc. They have the ability to influence subs. You don't (relatively speaking). This is best for you.

    If you hate yourself and don't want to have a life, do it yourself.

    Kerdi shower pans.

  21. #46
    Hugh Conway Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by acinpdx View Post
    In addition to raping, we also steal precious family treasures when we do "site visits" and occasionally kidnap children too
    jesus, no wonder the GCs, painters and drywallmethheads hate you. You steal the good shit first and leave nothing for them.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    jesus, no wonder the GCs, painters and drywallmethheads hate you. You steal the good shit first and leave nothing for them.
    What is it with flooring guys? I think there must be a union rule that they can't have a full set of teeth between a crew.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pegleg View Post
    Pulled out carpet and baseboards in the living room, installed laminate wood flooring and new baseboards, installed a flagstone hearthstone and woodstove/chimney, and put in recessed lighting and ceiling fan. Nothing super complicated, but I'm so inexperienced that having someone who could answer all the stupid questions along the way and point me in the right direction was valuable. Two examples:

    1. A flooring company had convinced me that I could just glue hardwood flooring directly to the concrete slab with no problems. GC said no way, it'll warp/crack because of moisture coming out of the concrete. Went with the laminate instead (high quality stuff, it looks like real wood and can be refinished). Later had some unrelated moisture issues with a wood stair in the room that proved the hardwood would've definitely been a problem.
    Yeah, your floor would've been fucked. Laminate floating floor was the correct choice.

    I used a gc on our kitchen gut job even though I had been de facto gc on the rest of renovating our last 100 year old house. I was glad I had someone else on that job. He had access to better subs than I could have reliably found on my own. And I had someone to bitch at to replace waterlogged hardwood when the sink shutoff valves failed.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tippster View Post
    Honestly for what he wants to do just hire a Design/Build firm with a good designer. You really only need an Architect for new construction, and all they will do is rape you in fees, then walk as soon as their drawings are done.
    I like this idea. The designer will think of a lot of things you won't, will know about options, materials, etc you've never heard of. Don't expect a GC to give you much in the way of design or materials advice. With a design/build firm all the materials and fixtures should be specified in the bid so you should be able to get a firm price. If there are things you're not sure about--for example the stove--the installation can be bid and the stove itself left as "customer supply". Unless the job is totally cosmetic (if you're removing a wall, bearing or not, it's more than cosmetic) you probably will need a permit and there will have to be professional plans to apply for the permit. Definitely go to the website for your states consumer affairs department, )unless you live in Texas in which case there probably isn't one) and read up on contracting law for consumers--stuff like fixed bids (required for anything over $500 in CA), mechanics liens, etc, etc. Get a completion date clause if you can, although I've never had one and I don't know if you can get that for a small residential job.

    We've done two major remodels--used architects and engineers for both because of major structural work, we generaled one, hired a GC for the other (Ron Adams in Truckee, fantastic guy, although he's a boarder). Although both jobs turned out well I'd recommend the GC if you don't go the DesignBuild way. You have access to better subs for the most part, the GC keeps them on schedule hopefully, they want to perform for the GC to keep the work coming but they know they probably won't get more work for you, and you don't get caught with two subs each blaming the other when there's a problem, leaving you SOOL. With the job we generaled ourselves, I did the framing and trim, including an oak tenon and wedge staircase. With the other job I just did the finish carpentry and painting.
    We also did a cosmetic bathroom job where we did the demo, had a plumber fix a broken toilet flange, had a pro repair and texture the sheetrock, had a company do the shower stall and vanity tops (Kerrock--great stuff, expensive, only in NorCal I believe). We did the tile, finish plumbing, cabinets, and painting.
    For the AC and painting--jobs which only involve one sub each and which are completely separate from the remodel--there's no reason to hire that through the KitchenBath firm, although they may be able to suggest subs for you.

  25. #50
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    I can't imagine that it is cheaper to remodel than to sell and buy something you like - it just doesn't make sense

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