(updated 12.31.20)


Ten Steps for a Successful Home or Office Remodel

You have agonized over the decision, now you are ready to get rid of the wood paneling and outdated electrical fuse box in your home or office building. Where do you start? Should you hire a contractor? Do the work yourself? What comes first, purchasing materials or removing the lighting fixtures, carpeting and other beat up accessories?

We suggest you follow these steps to complete a successful and less stressful renovation project.

1) Make a project list, include

  • Updates you want to complete.
  • Color scheme for the new look (paint colors, fabric colors, etc.).
  • Furnishings you desire for your new space (lighting, furniture, paintings, and other highlights.
  • Special needs or efficiencies (solar or high-efficiency lighting, green remodeling).
  • Handicap access for workspaces or other public access locations.

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2) Prioritize your project list

  • Must have updates or renovations. These are items that must be completed, an example of a “must do” work is updating your electrical wiring to meet current state or local building codes.
  • Necessary updates. An example of a “necessary” update is new flooring, paint, lighting, new
    electrical sockets.
  • Nice to do updates. “Nice to Do” updates are renovations that you would like to complete but if
    budget or time becomes a problem they can be crossed off your list. Examples of “Nice to Do”
    updates are installing cheaper flooring than the bamboo you would really like or purchasing light
    fixtures from Ikea instead of designer lighting.

3) Research, Research and then Research again!

  • Investigate material costs online, inshore and approach friends, family and business associates for
    feedback and recommendations.
  • Where possible get samples of the materials you want to use and review them in your space to be


How will you finance your remodel?  A Home Equity loan could by the answer!

4) Review your Project list:

  • Now that you have built your project list, do a thorough self-assessment of what work you can
    complete and what items need to be left to the professionals.
  • What is the skill set required to complete your project? Do you have the knowledge and proper
    certifications to complete the work? For example, a licensed electrician is required to complete
    most electrical projects in your home and business.
  • Determine if your project will require a building permit. Will the renovation work need to be
    inspected? Include room in your timeline for the permitting and inspection process.

5) Identify what components of your project you should hire professionals to complete

  • Typically, more complex and items that are potential safety issues should be left to skilled
    professionals, such as electrical work and plumbing.
  • Are you handy with a paintbrush? Save a few bucks by completing painting and finishing work

6) Budget conservatively

  • As part of your research phase be sure to collect and address cost.
  • Don’t forget to include shipping and transportation costs.
  • Always, always, include a contingency as part of your budget. Refurbishing existing buildings is a
    tricky business and there is always the potential to run into unforeseen problems, such as mold,
    asbestos, leaks or faulty wiring.

7) Complete your project timeline.

  • Include mandatory deadlines that have to be met.
  • As previously mentioned, add permitting and inspection tasks to your timeline.
  • We recommend including at least two weeks of flexibility to your timeline to allow for scheduling

8) Confirm your budget and funding for the project.

9) Your project list, budget, and timeline are complete, now what?

  • Research and hire the professionals you will need to complete your project.
  • Get referrals from people you trust. Confirm certifications and referrals, look for licensed and
    bonded professionals.
  • In Central North Carolina, Fortus Electric can help with your home and business electrical needs.

10) Order materials, hire an electrician and a plumber and get rolling.


For more remodeling help and information:

National Association of Home Builders: “Thinking about Home Remodeling? Start Here”.

This Old House:   21 Ways to Save on Remodel”.

Sweeten:  Commercial Construction:5 steps to Remodeling a Business Space”.

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