Five steps for a successful home remodel

Save time and money by using these tips from the Remodelers of Clark County

Home remodel
Aaron Marvin
AARON MARVIN A.C.T. Builders Remodelers of Clark County

It’s safe to say everyone can think of a home remodeling horror story: it’s either a do-it-yourself-nightmare or the series of unfortunate events in hiring the wrong remodeler. The Remodelers of Clark County want to save you time and money by offering some guidance regarding successful home remodels.

1. Ask for Recommendations

Searching Google and calling around is not the only way to find a reputable remodeler. A more reliable method is to ask people you know and trust – friends, family, co-workers, your local home building association or suppliers are all great options when looking to hire any contractor. You can go one step further by looking online at reviews, pictures of completed projects and checking their standing with the Better Business Bureau.

However, it is still a great idea to verify with Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries that the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. This is something that can be easily done on the L&I website. Mike Kinnaman, owner of Designers Northwest Inc., also suggests, “check to see if there are any complaints listed or if they have different company names listed that may or may not be current, as this could be a red flag.”

2. Interview Potential Remodelers

Once you’ve narrowed down your search for a remodeler, schedule an on-site consultation. This allows the remodeler to come to your home and discuss the scope of the project and the budget you’re willing to invest. It’s recommended to follow this step with a few remodeling contractors to ensure you’re picking the one that fits your needs, style and budget. Be wary of the contractors that estimate a substantially lower cost than others, as those are typically the ones to cut corners, and the ones you want to avoid.

It’s important you follow your intuition when choosing the remodeler for your project. You want to choose someone you’re comfortable around and can communicate with easily. Remember, they will be in your house for weeks, if not months at a time. Dave Myllymaki, owner of ReNew Creations LLC, reminds us that “the contractor you choose is critical to the success of your remodel. You want to put your home into qualified, reputable hands that do the remodeling work with integrity.”

3. Planning and Design is Key

Once you choose your remodeler, you can begin planning and designing. The sooner you do this, the more likely it is that your project will be completed within your desired timeframe. A written, detailed scope of work and complete design will be produced in this stage. This is by far the most important part of the process as it’s the best way to avoid misunderstandings. It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with your selections, you understand the contractors pricing and payment schedule, as well as the timeline for construction before both parties commit to the project. A reputable contractor will have a well-established process to work through these steps.

4. Seal the Deal with a Contract

If the planning stage has been done well, the contract should be easy. Before the start of a project, make sure you are provided a written contract that includes scope of work, specifications and selections, drawings, construction schedule, payment schedule, terms and conditions, and all the required forms mandated by Washington state. Contracts are important for protecting both the contractor and the customer, so be sure you understand and ask questions prior to signing.

5. Completion of Project

Once all these steps are completed, building can begin. The best part of remodeling is when all the planning comes to fruition. Be sure to document your journey by taking “before” and “after” photographs. For ideas on your upcoming remodel, join the Remodelers of Clark County at the Columbia Credit Union Remodeled Homes Tour on Oct. 12 and 13. Full details available online at

Aaron Marvin is owner of A.C.T. Builders and is chair of the Remodelers of Clark County. He can be reached at 360-975-0191.