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Design Studio + Billing & Deliveries: 2923 South Tryon St.
Suite 280
Charlotte, NC 28217
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Billing & Deliveries: 3421-M St. Vardell Lane Charlotte, NC 28217

(704) 759-3920

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When to Hire a Home Remodeling Contractor

When you’ve got a list of home improvement projects that vary in size, complexity, and level of importance, it can be tricky trying to figure out when to hire a design-build home remodeling contractor versus individual trade specialists or subcontractors. If you’re relatively handy, have lots of free time, have excellent management skills and take pride in doing things yourself, that’s another factor to consider when deciding if hiring a home remodeling contractor is the wisest choice for your goals.

Why Renovate or Remodel?

Ask anyone why they’ve renovated or remodeled their homes, you’ll get myriad answers. While it may feel like they just needed to improve the traffic flow through the kitchen or create better storage space in the bonus room, the truth is most renovations serve emotional needs: You love your location, and you don’t want to move, but your house isn’t cutting the mustard; you’re embarrassed to have people over; you find yourself fighting with your family members because your spaces can’t accommodate the various activities you need them to; something is broken or missing, or you know you’ll move eventually and want to increase your resale value when the time comes. Regardless of your motivation, it all comes down to the quality of life for you and your loved ones — but what will it take to get you there?

While part of a more extensive custom redesign, the fireplace portion of this remodel was strictly cosmetic. The traditional wood and brick surround was exchanged for a transitional cast stone mantel and raised hearth.

When discussing the scope of work, level of investment, and project timing, we prefer to break down home improvements into three levels: Cosmetic Renovation, Pull & Replace, and Custom Redesign. We’ll break down each level below and discuss when hiring a home remodeling contractor is necessary.

Cosmetic Renovation

To renovate means to make something new again – to revive it. You’re taking what was there and improving it, but the function and location of the space remain the same. When referring to a cosmetic renovation, we’re talking about updating easily removable products requiring little to no demo. A cosmetic renovation could include replacing countertops and backsplashes, sinks, faucets, or toilets, painting existing cabinetry, installing new cabinet hardware, updating decorative lighting, new kitchen appliances, wallpaper, or paint. 

Unless you are relocating, powder room updates are almost always cosmetic. This one got a new console sink, mirror, sconces, and decorative tile resulting in a simple but effective transformation.

Typically, a cosmetic renovation would not include relocating any plumbing or mechanical lines, new cabinetry, flooring, wall modifications, or requiring a building permit. Local building codes and permitting requirements will vary by city, county, and state; make sure to contact your local municipality for clarification or hire a reputable home remodeling contractor who knows their stuff. 😉

Depending on the scope of the changes, hiring a remodeling contractor to manage your cosmetic renovation is likely to save you time and a lot of frustration. Managing a project yourself usually requires coordinating and managing several different trades but taking a turn-key approach may not be necessary. Suppose you’re only interested in replacing your existing countertops and painting the walls. In that case, it may be more economical to work with a countertop fabricator directly and hire a painter to come in afterward.

Pull and Place Remodeling

As the phrase suggests, a “pull and replace” remodel is similar to a renovation, everything comes down to the studs, and newer materials go in their place. While we often open walls and reconfigure general traffic patterns during these types of projects, it’s important to note we’re only working within the home’s existing footprint. The locations of most major mechanical items like appliances and plumbing fixtures remain as-is or move only slightly from their existing locations.

This kitchen went from a galley style with a small island to an L-shaped kitchen with a peninsula. While the sink and dishwasher moved a few feet from where they’d been previously, it was otherwise considered a “pull and replace.”

Pull and replace projects are more complex than cosmetic renovations, and as such, they require more time to implement and execute. They typically include all new cabinetry, tile or hardwood flooring (or refinishing existing), upgraded appliance circuits and HVAC, lighting changes, tile showers and plumbing fixtures, and heated floors. There are more design decisions to be made, and as the scope of work grows, so too does the time to stage the materials and complete the job.

This main bathroom benefited from a new freestanding tub where an old deck-mounted tub had once been, new vanities, and a new shower that was larger than before but remained in the same location.

Even though most major mechanical systems will stay put, more trades will be involved, and a building permit will likely be required when workers bring your systems up to code. Partnering with a design-build home remodeling contractor to manage the various parties, oversee and assist with all the different installations and navigate home inspections is critical for increasing the likelihood that workers execute your vision as expected and you have a positive experience.

Custom Remodeling (Redesign):

A custom remodel includes everything mentioned above and significant electrical, mechanical, or plumbing upgrades or relocations. The custom remodels where rooms change location or function, and walls and traffic patterns change likely require structural engineering and additional support. Custom redesigns also include home additions or footprint changes built from the ground up and connect with adjacent living spaces.

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Ideas Pulls and Knobs
This extensive custom redesign included expanding the kitchen, a dining room, fireplace addition, main suite addition with a screen porch, redesigning the laundry and mudroom, and adding a powder room.

Whether you’re just hoping to add a great room off the back of the house, or you have grand plans that will require you to move out while completely redesigning your home, hiring a reputable home remodeling contractor will be necessary.

When to Hire a Home Remodeling Contractor

As we’ve outlined above, remodeling projects vary significantly in terms of the skills involved and the time it takes to complete them. A small, simple kitchen backsplash installation may only take a couple of days, but a complete home redesign will take at least a year of design, planning, staging, and construction. When to hire a home remodeling contractor comes down to a few things: Your level of knowledge of local building codes, comfort with project management, expertise in proper installation techniques, your motivations for improving your home, the scope of work, and how much time you have.

If home improvement isn’t your zone of genius, we’d be happy to assist you. We love partnering with Charlotte area homeowners to make their homes more functional and attractive, from straightforward cosmetic renovations to custom redesign and everything in between. Fill out this form to get in touch, and we’ll reach out shortly!