How much will it cost?

In the many years that we have been going to meet people at their home to discuss possible home improvement projects, several questions are asked constantly.  Whether a bath renovation, kitchen expansion or addition, almost with out exception we get asked 3 questions:

  1. How much will it cost?
  2. How long will it take?
  3. When can you start?

Answering these questions in a way that satisfies is always a challenge. In a world where we can “ask Siri” or “hey Google” almost anything we want, the challenge has  multiplied. In this post we will attempt to give some clarity to the most common question,” How much will it cost?”

How much will it cost?

We are both blessed and cursed to be living in an age where the answer to almost any question can be as easy as typing in a few “keywords” into a browser. I am old enough to remember a time when you had to go to or call a store to find out a price. Unfortunately, prices for renovation projects are much harder to come by. Sure, you can type in ‘Bathroom remodel cost’, but the answers you will get are generally useless and tend to create more confusion then if you had never done so in the first place.

The trouble with providing useful pricing is that there are so many variables in renovation projects. Those variables include age of the house, location in the house where the work is being done, type of construction, and type of materials being used.

As an example of the differences in renovation costs, several years ago we compared the weight of demolished materials on two different 3 piece bathrooms (Tub, sink, toilet) that were exactly the same size (5’ x7’). The one house was built in the late 1940’s and the other was built in the early 1970’s. The difference in weight of the materials that had to be removed, transported, and disposed of in the 1940’s house bathroom was over DOUBLE the weight of the 1970’s bathroom. If you consider that someone has to carry all of that material, transport it and then pay (per pound) to dispose it then you can see why the older bathroom would be more expensive to renovate. This is but one small example of the variables involved in renovation work.

Providing accurate pricing for a renovation project requires research, expertise, and a plan. Even with those 3 items there are many things that we cannot know. Spending time to thoroughly research the existing structure gives us many clues as to what to expect and helps with knowing what can be done. With expertise comes the ability to make assumptions about how something was built. Even with years of experience we do not have X-ray vision and cannot know exactly what is inside a wall, floor, or ceiling until it is exposed. The final piece and most important part of the puzzle is the plan. Without a plan, which includes all the details and materials you intend on using, we can only guess what the price would be. The more detailed and accurate the plan, the more exact the price can be.

A good plan includes not just design, but specific material selections. For example, noting that you want a toilet in your bathroom seems quite obvious. Toilets are funny things considering their intended use. You can purchase an American Standard Toilet for $167. You can also purchase a Kohler Toilet for $619. Both of these toilets do the same thing. The plumber will charge the same amount to install them and yet the purchase price is over 3 times the cost from toilet to toilet. (And this does not even include toilets that have Bidet seats and can cost thousands of dollars) As you can see in just this one item, knowing exactly what you want will allow us to give you what you need (The price).

One way to get an accurate price on any project is to have a plan and know what you want to use in that plan. We know that for many people they don’t know where to begin. Fortunately there are many resources available at the tip of your fingers. They include sites like Amazon, Build.com, Houzz, Wayfair, as well as Pinterest. These sites and items can be used for information that can be shared with us.

Importantly there are people who plan spaces professionally. Whether you have someone you have worked with in the past or a trusted designer or architect, the creation of a design plan will save you from many headaches in the construction phase. We at Seydel Group have a talented bunch of designers and architects that can work with you to design the project that you are dreaming about. As an added bonus, because we are a design and build company, we can design and budget at the same time.

Regardless of who you use, remember that having a plan will allow for your contractor of choice to answer the important question of “How much will it cost”

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