Tips for Building & Remodeling Your Home - 13 Ways to Save | Engineer Supply - EngineerSupply

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Tips When Building or Remodeling Your Home

infographic tips when building or remodeling your home

The cost of a home renovation can go up quickly, and breaking a budget of a remodel is everyone’s biggest fear. You should add a cushion of at least 20% to cover anything unexpected, and be sure to get contractor references you can check. By thinking strategically about design, materials, and timing, you can cut costs without having to cut corners. Every little thing can drive up the price, so the first thing you need to consider is whether you want to demolish the entire house and start from scratch. While it may be surprising, it might not cost much more to rebuild a house than it would to remodel it. But if you have decided that it’s better to remodel it, here are some ways you can save money.

#1: Improve Efficiency Instead of Size

If you can reorganize your kitchen to make it more efficient, you may not need to blow out the walls to get more square footage. You can start by replacing shelves that are taking up space with cabinet-height pullout drawers, which have containing racks for canned goods and other items. You could easily outfit cabinets with upgrades (such as dividers, pull-out pot trays, and lazy Susans), but you’ll save a lot more by skipping the addition you thought you needed.

#2: Bring in More Natural Light Without Adding Windows

Before you decide to cut a big hole in the side of your house or to rearrange the framing, think about taking a less invasive (and therefore, less expensive) way to bring in more natural light. You might be able to use laser measuring tools to install a “light tube,” which goes between roof rafters and will funnel sunshine down into your living space.

#3: Go to a Recycling Center

You can save a lot of money if you use recycled or second-hand fixtures and building materials. You can buy salvaged materials at half the price than you would at a home center, but there’s one caveat. Many contractors won’t use construction tools to work with salvaged items (or even homeowner-supplied materials), because they don’t want to assume any liability if anything goes wrong. If you’re going to do your own work, you can find anything from prehung doors and acrylic skylights to partial bundles of insulation.

#4: Donate Your Trash

Before you use a laser level to remodel your home, you should think about donating materials and fixtures so they can be sold later. You’ll save space in the landfill, get a charitable tax credit for the donation, and they would go to a good cause. After all, approximately 85% of a house can be used again. SHOP LASER LEVELS

#5: Do Your Own Demo

While knocking down parts of your home may not be as expensive as rebuilding, you can still save money by doing some of it yourself — as long as you proceed with caution. If you want to demo a deck, you’ll most likely be able to handle it yourself. But when it comes to interior spaces, it might not be a good idea if you haven’t done it before. You might inadvertently take out a load-bearing wall. You could even plunge a reciprocating saw into live wiring or pressurized plumbing.

#6: Use the Resources Available from Your Contractor

Ask your contractor if he or she has any stock left over from previous jobs, because you might be able to use these materials (which can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars). It would also be a way to use construction tools for installing these materials instead of having them thrown in the trash.

#7: Hire an Architect

Depending on what’s involved in your project, you might not need a full-on architectural commission. This will involve long meetings, many visits to the job site, and several sets of architectural drawings. And all of it will be about 8% of a project’s construction budget. You might, however, be able to use an architect’s aptitude for design by having this person give you a one-time design consultation.

#8: Partner with a Contractor

While this practice is a subject of controversy for people who work in the industry, some contractors offer consulting and mentoring services to skilled do-it-yourselfers at an hourly rate.

#9: Make your Sweat Equity Count

Unless you have a lot of time and experience to spend on a project, the best way to add sweat equity is to do of the work yourself. You can help out with some the painting, sanding, and cleanup. You might even be able to save money by picking up some of the materials yourself. And for about $400, you can purchase a nearly new single-axle utility trailer online that you can tow behind an SUV. Just make sure you get one big enough to carry 4x8 sheets of materials.

#10: Don’t Spend Too Much on Wall Preparation

If your walls are so bad that it would take a painter days to prepare them, think about using a laser level to install certain materials (such as Texturglas) that will give them a similar look and feel of fiberglass matting used in auto-body work. You can find these products in a variety of surface patterns. They're ready for painting and are meant to be installed on top of existing surfaces. It will also make your walls stronger while covering up dings.

#11: Skip the Foundation

If your local codes allow it, you might be able to support a small addition on posts and beams just as you would for a deck. Doing this could save you thousands of dollars — much less than you would spend if you had built a foundation.

#12: Plan Your Project with Stock Sizes in Mind

If plywood comes in four-foot-wide sheets, it doesn’t make much sense to build something ten feet wide. And the same thing applies to stock window and doors. If you use “off the shelf” dimensions from manufacturers, you won’t have to deal with the added cost of custom fabrication.

#13: Make Decisions Early

Before the first construction crew shows up, start looking through hardware stores and home centers so you can get a feel for what you want in terms of fixtures and appliances. It will also give you an idea of what they cost. It’s important to be specific about what you want, or you’ll have to depend on your contractor’s estimate (which might be different from what you think is acceptable). If you’re looking for a laser level or some other tool you can use in construction, be sure to look at what we have at Engineer Supply.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a visible laser level outdoors without a receiver?

Because of the sun’s rays, the beam of a laser level may not be as visible outdoors. So, you want to wear the tinted glasses that come with most laser measuring tools. This will make sure the beam is more visible. If you plan to use it in an open area (such as your front yard or lawn), there may be people who will accidentally look into the beam without knowing about its dangers.

How often do I need to calibrate a laser level?

It’s always a good idea to perform regular calibration on laser levels or any other measuring devices that use this technology. You should calibrate your laser measuring tools at least every six months or immediately after they have been treated roughly. But if they’re not shooting at the target within their specified accuracy, they will also need to be calibrated.

What kind of tripod do I need for a laser level?

Most laser levels will come with a standard tripod. But even if they don’t, most laser measuring tools will have a mount thread that will allow you to fit it on most universal tripods. However, it will be a good idea to determine what type of project you’ll be working on before you purchase a laser level.

What are the different types of construction tools?

There are a variety of construction tools that can be used on a job site, which can be categorized as any of the following:
  • Hand tools (such as screwdrivers, brushes, trowels, and wrenches).
  • Power tools that use electricity, compressed air, liquid fuel, or hydraulic power.
  • Machine tools that are used for shaping materials by cutting, boring, or grinding.
These can include generic tools (such as shovels and hammers), or more specialized tools and measuring devices may be used as well. Some tools are even multi-functional.

Where can I buy quality construction tools?

If you’re looking for one of the best places to buy quality construction tools online, Engineer Supply has a broad selection from some of the best manufacturers in the industry. And we can offer them to you at a price you can afford. Feel free to look at what we have in stock, so you can find a tool that will meet your specific needs.
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