Remodeling is a fine way to refresh a room’s look or to update dated elements like insulation and plumbing. Ranging in scope and difficulty from simply adding a new coat of paint, to tearing out the old walls and bringing the electrical components up to code, a successful room remodel follows some standard steps.
The planning phase of a room remodeling project is crucial. It narrows project goals, while establishing a timetable and keeping a budget in mind. The timetable is especially important when the project involves a kitchen. A few weeks of eating out gets expensive. This phase also includes prioritizing needs and desires, soliciting estimates from contractors, consulting an engineer if the project involves structural reconfiguration, and taking out a permit, if necessary.
For limited room remodeling that involves things like new carpeting, the demolition stage is typically simple; just remove the old carpeting. Larger projects that involve cabinet removal or tearing out walls can require extensive demolition. The caveat is to avoid removing any wall unless it is a partition, or non-load bearing wall, or unless an engineer makes provisions for weight load transfer before removing a load-bearing wall. If you’re remodeling a room in an older home, the demolition stage might include removing old drywall or plaster and lath in order to run new wiring and upgraded insulation. The general rule is to remove everything unwanted during the demolition stage.
Framing follows the demolition stage. If you didn’t tear anything out and you’re not adding walls or built-ins, you can skip this step. The framing stage includes constructing new walls, framing openings for new windows or doors, and reinforcing floor joists. It could also include extending rafter width in an attic for insulation purposes if you’re finishing a loft. If your project requires framing, this is the time to do it.
The mechanical stage includes the installation of new wiring, plumbing and ductwork. Not all room remodels call for this step, but if yours does, the time to do it is after the framing is complete. Depending on the extent and difficulty of the work, you might be able to do some or all of it by yourself. Check with your building authority for restrictions before tackling this step on your own.
If yours is an older house, it could have substandard insulation. This is the time to add new insulation in exterior walls for energy efficiency, or in interior walls for sound dampening. While walls are open, you can fit batt or roll insulation in stud and joist spaces.
Drywall, Tape and Mud
The next step is to install new drywall panels and finish them with drywall tape and mud to create smooth walls. If you’re installing new panels on the walls and on the ceiling, the best method is to hang the ceiling drywall first and the walls last. Applying joint compound is a task many homeowners can complete. But it requires practice to apply multiple thin coats of compound successfully and sand them smooth enough to create professional-looking walls.
The Big Finish
After taping and filling drywall seams, it’s time to add the finish elements that will bring the whole project together. This includes setting cabinets, painting, trimming windows and doors, running baseboard and installing new fixtures. The last step is usually the installation of new flooring. When you follow the basic step guidelines, each phase leads to the next and the remodeling project flows without major interruptions.
Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.