Six Major Challenges In Chicago Home Remodeling

(And How To Overcome Them)

When it comes to remodeling your home in Chicago, there are a lot of things you can prepare for…and unfortunately, a lot of things you cannot prepare for. You could have everything picked out and ordered, just to get an email that says your material will be delayed another two weeks. You can also receive all of your materials on time, just for them to arrive in the wrong color or damaged by mistake.

Remodeling your Chicago home can be just as stressful as it is exciting, but it doesn’t have to be with a little bit of extra preparation. Things like knowing the lead time for materials, having a good idea of what you are looking for out of the remodel, and getting living arrangements in order if you have to move out of your home can be the difference between a remodeling dream come true and a remodeling nightmare.

Below are six common pain points that many Chicago area homeowners experience during their remodeling process and how you can do your best to avoid them as much as possible.

1. Timeline

Although we may wish home renovations can be done with the snap of a finger, that is just not the case. From the pre-construction meeting we hold a couple of weeks prior to starting your remodel to the final “To-Do” being checked off our list, this process takes about one to two months on average to complete, and that’s not with any variables being factored in.

If you have an average-sized bathroom, a complete bathroom remodel will take around three to four weeks to be completed. If you are looking to redo your kitchen, that usually takes five to eight weeks depending on the scope of the project.

If you want a complete interior remodel, you’re looking at anywhere from three to six months, and any total rebuild normally requires a timeline from six months to a year. Good things take time, and while we know how frustrating it is to have to leave your home for an extended period of time, we promise it will all be worth it once the remodel is complete.

2. Schedule Changes

When it comes to the schedule of your project, there are a lot of moving parts. We usually have multiple subcontractors working on one project at a time, and it is our project coordinator’s job to make sure that these subcontractors show up on the days that they are scheduled to work in your place.

Typically, we have workers in and out of your project each day, but it is not uncommon for the subcontractors to not be there for a day or two. If something comes up and the subs are unable to work on your project that day, our project coordinators will be the first to let you know about the schedule changes.

They will send you daily updates on the progress of your project that include photos and a list of things the crew got done that day. We dislike when a project goes over schedule just as much as our clients dislike it, so we do our best to ensure that everything gets completed on time and correct the first time.

3. Oversight Errors

With that being said, sometimes things can go wrong in a project. Our latest puzzle that we had to solve was finding a new spot for an elongated shower niche. In the original plan, we had the shower niche stretched along the whole side of the shower wall, but when we started demolition, we found some pretty important water lines that were unable to be moved in the place where the shower niche was supposed to go.

All this took was a simple visit to the project with our interior designer, some discussion with the homeowner, and some new renderings that split the shower niche in half to leave room for the water pipes. This is one of many examples where we had to roll with the punches and find solutions to issues quickly so our schedule doesn’t get delayed.

However, it is important to note that errors and omissions in remodeling occur on every project. People make mistakes, and generally the more complex the project, the more likely it is that errors will occur. It is up to us to fix these mistakes to the best of our abilities so we can keep the schedule moving and our clients happy.

4. Delayed Materials

Supplies of key building materials such as timber, steel, cement, and roof tiles have been dwindling for months, while prices have risen across several materials. This is expected to continue throughout the year at the very least. Covid-19 is primarily the reason behind the building materials shortage. A large reason for this is the social distancing requirements and limited manpower for material production.

These limitations aren’t only happening for US-based materials, but everywhere in the world. On top of the lack of manpower, the demand for these building materials has increased tenfold. As people spend more time at home, they are looking to upgrade and improve their homes. Being confined indoors made people realize that they want to make a lot of upgrades to their space, and what better time to upgrade your space than when you are stuck inside.

Things like a new at-home office space, a play place for your kids in the backyard, and kitchen upgrades are among some of the most common remodels we have seen throughout the pandemic. However, when everyone starts to need the same thing and there are not ample materials and labor to keep up with the demand, this is when delays and increased prices begin to occur.

The cost of materials for repair and maintenance work rose 1.9% between April-May of this year, and increased by 12.8% between May 2020 and May 2021, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Monthly Statistics of Building Materials and Components report for June.

It is important to make sure that our clients recognize these material and labor shortages and plan for them in their remodeling projects. To limit the delay of your materials, we advise you to minimize customization. The materials that many of our suppliers have readily available come from their standard product lines.

Another important aspect to note is that if you are looking to remodel and then sell, customized homes depreciate faster than a production home. If you design something with just your own family in mind, that same design may not be applicable to the next person looking to buy your place. If you’re remodeling to sell, sticking to standard finishes saves time and money.

5. Difficult Living Situations

Living in the midst of a home renovation is messy, loud, and distracting. While it is inconvenient to stay at your home during a large remodeling project, sometimes it is the only choice you have. First and foremost, your Chicago contractors should have the attitude that they are guests within your home throughout the entirety of the project.

This means communicating with you on a consistent basis, cleaning up any trash, sweeping and vacuuming dust from the construction, and listening to any rules you set in place. While noise is sometimes a difficult thing to control during a remodeling project, noise levels are also something that your contractors should discuss with the client, as well.

If you are working from home and they are doing demolition in your space, it’s important that you prepare for this type of distraction. If it’s possible, we suggest that you move out of the home for the project’s duration. This allows the crews to move unencumbered and complete the project with less downtime than if they’d had to accommodate the family’s schedule. If it’s not possible to move out, remember that the renovation isn’t forever, and the beautiful final result will be well worth the wait…and the noise.

6. Unmet Expectations

Obviously, not meeting our clients’ expectations is something we try really hard not to do. No matter how difficult the project gets or how many curveballs are thrown our way, we always want to make sure that our clients are still feeling confident about their remodel.

However, with that being said, you cannot please everyone. This is something that we have learned the hard way after being in the industry in the Chicago area for twenty years. Homeowners have a lot of expectations when it comes to their house, and rightfully so. We understand wanting things to be perfect when it comes to the space you want to grow in.

Money, time, and effort are all at stake, and sometimes outside forces cause lapses in communication between the contractor and the client. Maintaining good communication with your designated project coordinator as the project progresses is an imperative step to avoid not having your remodeling expectations fulfilled.

Contact The Top-Rated Chicago Home Remodelers At Areté

Areté Renovators strives to make your Chicago home remodeling project as smooth as possible. We are constantly putting new practices into place to improve our communication methods and to properly keep track of all the moving parts your project requires. To learn more about our services, contact us today at 773-610-4551.